* Posts by Ledswinger

5867 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Tech can do a lot, Prime Minister, but it can't save the NHS

Ledswinger
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Re: The basics...

If an advanced, rich industrial society can't afford to spend the proceeds of its real wealth generation on health and education....

Any accurate assessment of real wealth generation (rather than massaged GDP accounts) will conclude that the ***real terms*** wealth of most western countries hasn't grown for almost a decade. Meanwhile the costs of healthcare continue to increase for the reasons stated, and the population are only happy with solutions like "everybody paid more than me gets a tax increase", and the sums for that don't add up.

Fair enough, if everybody is happy with a significant tax increase. But to balance the Treasury books, tax revenues need to rise by about 30% in total, and with real terms tax increases every year. You won't squeeze more than about a fifth of that out of millionaires and US tech companies, so it means that the tax threshold has to drop dramatically so that the low income groups pay a lot more tax, and the tax paid by middle income groups needs to go up by at least 20%.

Simple reality mate, is that free at point of issue health care is no longer affordable unless you start limiting what you're giving away, or dramatically increase the tax take. Vote Corbyn today, and then if he wins, see if he really can find all that extra money from the mythical rich. But no socialist before him has ever run a successful and sustainable welfare state economy, anywhere in the world.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Real world underfunding

What happened to the other £319 million?

Well, here's a thought for you. Hospitals, health centres, and GP practices are charged business rates, so the government gives and takes away. I'd stop that circular nonsense tomorrow, and that would provide over half a billion quid a year extra. Only 0.5% increase, but that's all extra money, and an additional £2.5bn over the next five years.

The beards and sandals of local councils will weep that they need that money for social care, but mine still has money to piss up the wall on public fireworks displays, music and poetry festivals, "LGBT history month" and many other crappy "cultural" services so I'd happily cut their income.

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HPE to staff: 'We are permanently clipping your costs'

Ledswinger
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Re: Really?

Colour me not convinced.

Why's that? They reckon that after the DXC divestment they'll have 50-60k staff, so they've only got to save $2,500 per employee from travel and subsistence.

Soon the travel policy will read "For essential, pre-approved business travel, employees must draw a Stanley knife (on loan, subject to deposit) from stores. This can be used to slit open a curtain-sider in a layby, and to despatch any migrants already hiding in the back, before hiding up in the back and being transported free of charge. Do this in the evening, so that travel is outside working hours. On arrival the same knife can be used to prepare road-kill for a barbecued breakfast. After the meeting the same technique will allow return to base, whereupon the knife must be returned clean and in good condition to the stores to avoid a paycheck deduction."

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Rustle up a privacy research project and ICO queen Liz will see you handsomely rewarded

Ledswinger
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Re: Oi! Infomation Commissioner!

(2) is really hard and almost never happens. Really it requires primary legislation, which isn't really an ICO job.

Only requires new legislation if the ICO are to do it.

If the ICO worked with the Insolvency Service in respect of unpaid penalties, they have the power to investigate and then disqualify directors for any "unfit" conduct. We might not get the money back quite that easily, but we could certainly hinder these twats running phoenix companies. I am confident that it is illegal to close down a company to avoid a likely statutory penalty, so in addition to a ban, the Insolvency Service could then go after the directors personally, or other companies in the same group.

The Insolvency Service are pretty good once they get the bit between their teeth, so sorting out the first couple of penalty-evasion cases would allow them to "cookie-cutter" all future cases. All the ICO need to do is make a formal referral of the company directors alleging unfit conduct, and see what happens.

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Ledswinger
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Oi! Infomation Commissioner!

Stuff research on crap like blockchain, AI and the rest.

What will make the public have more confidence in data protection is:

1) You issuing some eye-watering fines as soon as GDPR comes into force that'll make twerps like TalkTalk get their act together;

2) You making sure that the SME fly-by-night shysters who try and evade fines are hunted to the ends of the earth and their entire personal wealth confiscated;

3) Working with OFCOM to force the lazy, complacent telcos to block shady automated dialers, international scam calls.

I might also add that you allowed as a mitigating factor in a recent penalty notice that "the adverse publicity might affect Bright Homes future business". For crying out loud, that's THEIR well deserved and self inflicted problem, not a reason to reduce their penalty.

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Would you let DJ E-to-the-Musk set the playlist for your roadtrip?

Ledswinger
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Re: I think Elon needs a holiday...

I agree, Elon should sell Tesla is to someone who knows the motor business inside out

I suspect this is inevitable.

Despite Tesla's undeserved market capitalisation, and attractive, innovative cars, the reality is that they're a low volume, loss making car producer, tied to a solar PV business that has no synergies with car making. To remediate existing problems in spares and service there's a need for more investment with limited returns, and big management distractions with things they've not previously had to worry about like accident repairs, insurance costs, aftermarket parts logistics. To grow even to become a mid-sized car maker, there's huge capital demands to build new car and battery factories (and reprocessing facilities for the batteries). And although Tesla investors and the equity analysts might believe that the volume car makers are dong too little too late, they're wrong - those companies are doing a hell of a lot of development to ensure that when they launch their products, they will be mass-market ready. When that happens over the next few years, even with the likely exponential growth of EV demand, Tesla go from having almost 100% market share in their target niches, to having a much lower share. And customers (in Europe, certainly) certainly won't keep buying poorly assembled Teslas if there's comparable products from companies that can build cars properly. Even in the US, Consumer Reports rated Tesla as 25 out of 28 on brand reliability.

I don't know if a sale (probably wrapped up as a merger) is Elon's game plan, but in my view if he doesn't do this in the next three years he'll find that the commercial tide turns against Tesla, and he'll be forced to sell out for less. With all the R&D there's probably a strong IP play that can be made for Tesla, but actual making, selling and supporting cars: I don't see a long term future as a standalone car maker. If nothing else, the real volume car makers own entire stables of brands that can share parts and development costs, whereas Tesla are struggling to get three different models on the market. I think Tesla cars are innovative, attractive, desirable, and I'd love to have one, but simply making a better mousetrap has rarely been a business model in its own right.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I think Elon needs a holiday...

I suspect he was dribbling on about in car entertainment primarily because there's no news that he can reveal. Although the latest results were well received, the losses are growing, and that's with zero credible competition for electric cars (certainly in the segments Tesla have products). Making cars in high volume, and delivering spares, support, servicing and charging are all a lot harder than churning out the first 100,000 vehicles.

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What a tit! Uber CEO hijacks his staff breast-pump room to meditate

Ledswinger
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Re: Seems to me that ...

After observing my sons growing up, I'm surprised we've lasted this long.

And how do they compare to you at that age? I'm very pleased and grateful that Ledswinger Jr. is actually a far more mature, worldly wise, considerate, harder working, less risk-taking animal than I was at his age. The soap-aversion is just the same, mind you.

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So despite all the cash ploughed into big data, no one knows how to make it profitable

Ledswinger
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Re: Big data profits?

So what are the Facebook & Google parasites (on personal info) using to convince advertisers to spend with them and hoover up 98% of internet advertising revenue?

That in their respective fields and target markets they're a near monopoly?

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Hyperloop One teases idea of 50-minute London-Edinburgh ride

Ledswinger
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Re: Whatever the technical merits/flaws

Operating a rail network well is not really the same as building a sensible one, is it? Inevitably, what China are finding out the hard way is that the returns per dollar or per km or route shrink when you just keep building. A classic repeat of the railway mania, and in many ways of the Soviet Union's five year plans.

...white elephants. But which country doesn't have its fair share of those? Robin Hood or Kassel-Kalden airports perchance?

I can't speak for Kassel Kalden, but Robin Hood was for many decades a military airfield, so to build an additional big shed, and call it a civil airline terminal hardly meets the criteria of a white elephant, does it? It's the same with Newquay Airport, or Manston. I'd give you the Humber Bridge. But that's not in the same league of the multi-billion dollar excesses that China has gone for, and if you added up every pointless public or private project across all of Europe, including Greece and Spain, you'd still only have a rounding error on the Chinese over-build.

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Ledswinger
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Re: 50 minutes travel. 2hrs in security.

No duty free.

F*** that. Maybe they could loop the route undersea and outside UK territorial waters?

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Ledswinger
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Re: You have obviously not understood the bubble economy

That's how we got the Iridium satellite system. That's how we got long distance fibre in Germany

That's how we got a lot of the UK rail network, during the "railway mania" of the 1840s, it's how we got the Channel Tunnel, and the HS1 link from the Channel Tunnel to London, the M6 Toll, and big chunk of the UK's cable networks.

This is a peculiar thing about infrastructure - in any extended build out it does provide very, very long term returns, but these are often well below prevailing interest rates, meaning that the investment makes a loss. Something China is now finding out. Without all the "free" concrete runways that became available after WW2, civil aviation would never have grown in the way it has.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Um

I admire Musk's achievements, but he is throwing far too much money away at a hilariously impractical idea.

I don't think he's using his money - the statements on funding suggest that its rich venture capitalists, risk-on sovereign wealth funds and the like.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Demonstration

how is anybody hoping it'd work on a larger scale?

I suspect that the reason for this plethora of EU ideas, and links between different small countries is to get interest and development funding from government and EU bodies, and the plan and hope is to build a proper sized trial in Nevada at the expense of taxpayers (in the US, EU or anywhere else). If somebody would pay for a real world trial, then that'll be even better, just a lot more expensive.

If Hyperloop said "lets build London to Paris", governments would say "lovely, that's a commercial route, we like your proposal, now you fund, you build it". Now got to Estonia and say "we can connect you to Finland without touching Russia", and both governments go "Oooh, lovely idea, what do we need to do to help you make it work?". The Scotland to Wales proposal could be seen as an attempt to suck up feasibility funding from the devolved administrations. And the loop around the Netherlands - why bother? The bulk of the Dutch population live in a triangle around Amsterdam, the Hague and Arnhem that has sides of about 70 km, and the rest of the country has much lower population densities. So why suggest the idea, other than to a government who might fund the development to link up all the places nobody wants to go?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Um

But isn't most of that cost a matter of acquiring rights of way

Probably not. If you consider the topography of much of Northern and Western Britain, there's a problem with anything that is ground tracking at c700 mph. The gradient changes would incur significant vertical loads on the tube and supports which could be managed (at a cost) but you wouldn't have happy passengers when you pulled negative-g over every single summit you cross.

Which means that the civils work to build a hyperloop route will be significantly greater than the sluggish HS2 which runs at one third of the speed. Potentially you're going to have to build a lot of tunnels, and immense viaducts, even choosing the easiest routes. Take the arc from Liverpool to Edinburgh, and see how they avoid the difficult Cumbrian terrain, but still have to cross the Pennines and the Cheviots.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Whatever the technical merits/flaws

What can you say of their actual use and the return on the investment?...Pretty good and improving

Come off it Mr Clark. I think you know better. China has a desperate problem of excess infrastructure investment as a driver of the country's economic growth plan, vast amounts have been and are being wasted on roads to nowhere, ghost cities and airports without traffic.

https://www.ft.com/content/b1d9177c-7650-11e6-bf48-b372cdb1043a

http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/asia/2016/09/china-ghost-towns-developers-run-money-160914084316042.html

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/10/15/446297838/chinas-white-elephants-ghost-cities-lonely-airports-desolate-factories

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Ledswinger
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I am going to single this one out: Estonia – Finland.

I suspect the main flaw is that a good proportion of the routes have no obvious high volume traffic potential. The population of the Finland and Estonia are low, and the intra-country traffic flows limited. For the 90km mostly underwater route I'd guess the geology is less challenging than building sub-surface on land. This "build it and they will come" approach appears to have been replicated elsewhere, eg the proposed Scotland to Wales route. Have they ever been to either place? Have they looked at the traffic flows? Have they considered what travel rationale there might be for traveling from one to the other? The Spain to Morocco route appears to have plenty of (one-way, non-paying) traffic potential, but I can't see the economic case.

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No hypersonic railguns on our ships this year, says US Navy

Ledswinger
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Re: Downsides

A perennial problem with any form of gun, and seemingly more significant as size of the projectile increases. If you're just lobbing lots of shells in the general direction and hoping a few hit (WW2 style) the barrel wear isn't significant. If you're hoping for accuracy then even the RN Kryten will wear its barrel out after about what, 200 rounds, which it could in theory deliver in about eight minutes of max rate shooting.

With a rail gun (or any hypersonic gun) you'll never get high fire rates due to heat and wear issues, so accuracy is vital....and the whole idea starts to unravel once you need more than a six shot wonder.

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Lloyds finally inks mega 10-year cloudy outsourcing deal with IBM

Ledswinger
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Re: 10 year deal

4 years of bringing back in house

Sadly, if they're stupid enough to believe the promises of an outsource salesman, then when they find they're getting rubbish service from IBM, they'll believe the siren voices of other outsourcers, and they won't bring it back in house, they'll move to Wipro. TCS, HPE or similar, and wonder why the same thing happens.

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Russia is struggling to keep its cybercrime groups on a tight leash

Ledswinger
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shoving back in the bottle is very difficult

For people like the CIA and other western intelligence agencies yes, And they've got plenty of experience of that, from their own hoarded exploits going AWOL, or their support for Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the 1980s. For the FSB I'm far less convinced that they can't rein in their proxy warriors. Certainly there's a problem of "leakage" of tools and exploits. On the other hand, the FSB are part of a government entirely happy with brutality and lethal force, full knowledge of who these "players" are, and a willingness to exact revenge outside of their borders.

If Putin and his chums decide that some cybercrim contractors are getting out of hand, I'd imagine that some very horrible examples will be made, and these examples will be exhibited to the other players, with a clear message "Stop making our lives difficult, stick to our rules, or this happens to you, your friends, your family - and even fleeing the country won't save you".

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Europe's looming data protection rules look swell – for IT security peddlers. Ker-ching!

Ledswinger
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Touching optimism

s SMBs realise they have little time left to implement changes if they are to meet the deadline, many will turn to their channel partners for help and support,

I'd guess that most SMBs will continue doing what they've always done, and that's concentrating on commercial survival, whilst approaching all forms of regulation and compliance with a strategy that could be summarised as "seat of the pants"

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IBM: ALL travel must be approved now, and shut up about the copter

Ledswinger
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IBMs only real contemporary asset right now is the brand. And that is being devalued with stunts like this.

Sadly I think the evidence is against you. Round THESE parts, you, I and the rest of the Commentariat know IBM are hollowing themselves out, and no good will come of it. But in the offices of business decision makers, this is not known, not cared about. Those decision makers know so little about the outside world, having expended their energy climbing the greasy pole, that they can only identify big brand names, and automatically assume that the brand implies solidity, resilience, capability. That's why any FT, Forbes, or Fortune survey of "most respected companies" highlights fading glories like Microsoft and IBM, along with tax dodging coffee shops, burger vendors, rubbish airlines, even gob-shops like Accenture, or dubious outfits like Walmart, or data-breachers par excellence, like Target. In the UK, "Management Today" even featured Merlin Entertainments and McDonalds UK as two of the twenty "most admired companies" in 2016.

The IBM brand is so strong and so resilient that they can do largely what they want with limited commercial consequences. However, this cost cutting drive is I suspect in response to one irresistible force that IBM cannot ignore, and that's activist investors. Warren Buffet's sold his holdings because he thinks IBM are done. Meanwhile, the short termist financial sector will be looking at IBM as ripe for upheaval. The last desperate defence of a useless board is to try and boost profits by these pathetic cost cuts - I know, I work for a non-tech company in exactly the same position, with the frightened board taking similar decisions simply to try and save their own bacon, when the root cause of the problem is directors who have screwed up time and again.

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Russian data scientist unable to claim £12,000 prize in Brit competition

Ledswinger
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Re: clause 2.3b of the competition rules

I find it a bit puzzling to allow someone to enter but then specifically exclude them from being awarded a prize, should they win.

Not that puzzling, this is the usual "kick the Ruskies" shit that emanates from the British government. Regardless of the poor state of Russian governance, I see no reason that the winner should be blocked from receiving the prize he's due, on arbitrary criteria for which he has (I suspect) no personal responsibility. And of course, the thieves and bureaucrats at DSTL will now be claiming that they own the intellectual property of the entry. When it comes to stupid, petty, unfair rule making, the British government is world class, so we shouldn't expect anything more.

I do hope the Kremlin get involved, and do something that causes the British government some suitable embarrassment and expense.

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The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

Ledswinger
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Re: Prophets of doom

Except perhaps religious organizations.

Well, British Airways may not want any prophets of doom, but as a consequence they're now enjoying the profits of doom, to the value of minus £100m. Serve the fuckers right, too.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sunny when it is working

getting rid of people that know how things work or are held together is a dangerous risk

This is an inevitable consequence of the regular "efficiency" pogroms that most companies undertake against their own support services (and that applies to functions like finance and procurement too). There is a vast amount of tacit knowledge in employees' heads that is never written down, and which the business places no value on until things go wrong. By then it is too late, because these pogroms are always selective - the people seen as whingers, the challenging, the "difficult", those simply so clever or well informed that they are a threat to management, all are first on the list to go. And unfortunately those are often the people who know how much string and sellotape holds everything together.

I work for a large company that has a home brew CRM of great complexity. It works pretty well, costs next to nothing in licence fees (cf SAP or Oracle), and we have absolute control - we're not beholden to a tech company who can force upgrade sales by "ending support". Over recent years we've outsourced many levels of IT to HPE, and each time something new goes over the fence, HPE waste no time in getting rid of the expensive talent that has been TUPE'd across. We did even have a CIO who understood the system - but he's been pushed out and replaced by a corporate SAP-head. You can guess what's going on now - the company is sleepwalking into replacing a low risk, stable CRM with a very high risk, high cost SAP implementation, and at the end of it will have a similarly complex CRM, except that it will cost us far more in annual licence fees, we'll have no control of the technology, and the costs of the changeover alone will total around £400m, judging by the serial screwups by all of our competitors.

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Amazon granted patent to put parachutes inside shipping labels

Ledswinger
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Re: Delivery method

Current multi-rotor drones....

So, if they could parachute tat to the masses, why would they be using a rotor drone? The obvious examples of drone deliveries to date have involved fixed wing techniques, albeit with the last mile managed by rocketry rather than parachute.

If they could use fixed wing drones, now THAT might revolutionise merchandise delivery. Other than for the dismal success rate likely from parachute deliveries.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Antiquated?

I don't know how good the 18th was.

Smooth, Mage, smooth.

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Ledswinger
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Sounds to me like a bogus patent to stifle potential innovation by competitors.

Sounds to me like a pointless patent from a department who's KPIs and bonuses include a target for number of patents filed. Amazon don't see themselves as the same "big warehouse + tax dodging webshop" that the rest of us do, they think they're a cutting edge technology company, the sort that thrives on intellectual property. There will be entire divisions devoted to research, and to prove their worth they'll be patenting anything they can, regardless of real world value.

If there's nothing else, they'll happily patent "Disclosed is a unique and innovative system of lifting one buttock to reduce stress on the anal sphincter, thus reducing the probability of noisy flatus" and hope that (as usual) USPO ignore all the evidence of prior art.

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UK trigger-happy over fines for data breaches compared with Europe

Ledswinger
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So, do other European companies keep a better grip on data or are their ICO's too lazy to issue fines?

I daresay some will presume the former The Breach Level Index annual report for 2016 showed 161 known incidents in the UK, but only 8 in Germany and 4 in France, so the data suggests that those people might be right.

For me, a common sense alarm bell rings loudly when the fourth largest economy in the world claims to have had only eight data breaches.

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Pai guy not too privacy shy, says your caller ID can't block IP, so anons go bye

Ledswinger
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Re: Blue alerts?

What am I supposed to do? Go and help?

No, of course not. It's so you can turn the TV on and check to see if there's any good live footage that the press are showing of the spectacle.

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Walmart workers invited to shuttle packages

Ledswinger
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Re: It starts as "Voluntary"

I wouldn't worry, this is not going to be the next big thing. Dinosaurs like Walmart won't be able to compete with the real on-line focused players (and there's many more than just Amazon). So this idea will be trialled, but they'll find the net benefits are small and possibly even negative.

I believe it will die - the question is whether the pea-brains of directors accept that from a trial, or whether the bad idea ORIGINATED from the board, and they'll demand national roll out before admitting that it is a crap idea.

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Samsung's Bixby assistant fails English, gets held back a month

Ledswinger
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What was wrong with caribou?

How about shite?

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Bixby bailout: Samsungers bailing on lame-duck assistant

Ledswinger
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Re: But...

Voice assistants are the biggest thing since sliced bread.

Amongst the moronic corporations that produce them, yes. Here in the real world, there's a few happy users, with the other 99% of the world thinking "Is that all you've got? Where's my jet pack? Where's my flying car? Where's my robot butler? Where's my robot sex doll? ......And all you bring me is this crap robo-DJ"

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BT considers scrapping 'gold-plated' pensions in bid to plug £14bn deficit

Ledswinger
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Re: Much like my pension, which I'll likely never get.

They're only no longer viable because some dickhead accountants decide the money in the pension pot could be used elsewhere.

Nope, they're no longer viable because average life expectancy has dramatically increased, and regardless of the deficits, the real problem is the cost. There's two ways we can make a defined benefit scheme viable - increase the contributions both to match current life expectancy and keep increasing them if life expectancy rises. That will have big and largely negative consequences for most people of working age. Or we increase the retirement age - far more than is planned - so that the pension pot pays out for a relatively short average retirement.

Society and politicians don't like to consider the issue, because the solutions are unpalatable. But it used to be the case that male life expectancy was 70 years in 1970. Retirement was 65, so the pension paid out for five years on average. Life expectancy is now approaching 80, and the rate of increase is showing no sign of easing off. Even with retirement at 68, that's twelve years the pension has to pay out for, a 140% increase in the period of payout.

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BA CEO blames messaging and networks for grounding

Ledswinger
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IT and the CIO don't fall under him, IT is provided by [parent company] IAG "Global Business Services" as of last year.

As a director of BA, he is in fact responsible in law, even if the group have chosen to provide the service differently. I work for a UK based, foreign owned energy company. Our IT is supported by Anonco Business Services, incorporated in the parent company's jurisdiction, and owned by the ultimate parent. If our IT screws up (which it does with some regularity), our customers' have redress against the UK business, and our directors hold the full contractual, legal and regulatory liability, whether the service that screwed up is in-house, outsourced, or delivered via captive service companies.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Even if it is sourced locally

IT is not a cost center in a modern airline. It is a key operational component and in fact a profit center.

Its more than a profit centre. A modern airline is an IT business, one that just happens to fly aircraft. There's no manual processes to backup ops management, scheduling, pricing, customer acquistion, customer processing, ticketing and invoicing.

Until BA (and many large businesses) get a grip on this concept and start treating IT (people, infrastructure, systems) as the core of their business, we'll continue to see this sort of screw up

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Ledswinger
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suggest something very simple and not some unavoidable impossible to understand failure

The weasel isn't going to take any personal responsibility - even though he is THE chief executive officer. But it is his fault, all of it, in that capacity. The total and absolute failure of everything is clearly a series of multiple failures, and he (and BA) are trying to control the message as though that denies the reality of this catastrophe. He should be fired for his poor communication and poor leadership if nothing else. But that's what you get when you put the boss of a tiddly low cost airline into a big, highly complex operation with a totally different value proposition.

Looking around, press comment reckons that it'll be two weeks before all flight operational impacts are worked out (crews, aircraft in the wrong place at the wrong time, passenger failures made as good as they can), and the total cost will be about £100m loss of profit. I wonder if that will affect his bonus?

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Your job might be automated within 120 years, AI experts reckon

Ledswinger
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Re: Non working

with a lack of goals and incentives will a significant portion of the population resort to mischievous behavior to alleviate their boredom?

Already happening. Both amongst the "won't work" types in a welfare state, and amongst the "can't find or make honest work" everywhere else.

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BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'

Ledswinger
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Re: Power

From experience, I can tell you that bringing a data centre back online involves more than flicking the switch.

Cruz should know that, given that his CV on the IAG website claims he worked for Sabre for five years. But maybe he cleaned the toilets, or was in marketing? Looking at that career history, quite how somebody so under-experienced got to be CEO of one of the world's largest airline groups I cannot guess.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Back in the day...

"shared costs across companies as it's very unlikely all of them go down the same day?"

If this were something on offer and BA had signed up for it, how would all the other corporate clients feel knowing that BA are now using the DR centre, so if anything goes pear shaped, they're on their own? Its like paying for an insurance policy that won't pay out if somebody else has made a similar claim before you on a given day. Would you buy cheap car insurance with a clause that reads:

"RBS Bastardo Ledswinger Insurance plc pay only one claim each working day across all policies written and in force; If your claim is our second or subsequent of that day it will not be paid, although we will deem the claim fully honoured. No refunds, the noo!"?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Cynical Me

'You should be able to have a physical chaos monkey'....

Where do I send my CV?

Appears they already have a well qualified candidate filling that role. Along with a complete menagerie of of senior managerial chaos monkeys, running round in a panic, parroting that its all the fault of the power supply.

Like many large businesses, big airlines are now just IT companies with a few (usually leased) planes, maintained and sometimes crewed by third party companies. For the senior management to be so evidently clueless in the design, testing, and operation of the business critical systems that ARE their business is utterly unacceptable.

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Sainsbury's IT glitch spoils bank holiday food orders

Ledswinger
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Re: Thank God it wasn't Ocado

I'd hate to see Islington burning.

Speak for yourself, mate. I'd bloody love to see the Great Fire of Islington. I'd even be prepared to contribute some cans of petrol, matches, and drag along a few additional elderly Guardian readers as kindling.

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Ledswinger
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Re: First world problems

Bravo Sir, Best rant in ages

Watch out Alistair Dabbs. Somebody is passing you on the inside.

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Sergey Brin building humanitarian blimp for lifesaving leisure

Ledswinger
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We have enough of a challenge controlling the frankly tiny number of conventional aircraft that are flying. Any "successful" flying car or delivery drone is going to increase the number of flying vehicles by what - two or three orders of magnitude, AND that is generally going to be concentrated around population centres or logistics hubs. If the only use for a flying car is Suffolk, or the plains of Kansas, then the market won't be very big.

So you need to sort out traffic control, flight control, certfication and safety all at the same time. The costs and complexity of doing all of those will undoubtedly keep flying cars the same niche market as private helicopters, even if you could produce something that a rich thicko could safely control. And in the modern era of vehicles as weapons, how long before somebody uses a flying car or a BIG civilian drone as a weapon? And then what will the politcial response be? Or when sooner or later the said rich thicko crashes into a school bus, or shorts out the power grid?

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'Major incident' at Capita data centre: Multiple services still knackered

Ledswinger
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Re: It is an eternal mystery

"when you get big enough no amount of incompetence and failure can be enough to bring you down"

The concept of too big to fail was pioneered by the banks with great success. I think that other sectors saw the financial crisis, and said "we'd like a piece of that". So Crapita have made themselves a de-facto part of the public sector and too large to be allowed to fail. But not just them. You might argue that there's alternatives to Google, and that Facebook is an unnecessary frippery. But would the US government really let those huge and convenient spying machines collapse if push came to shove?

As another poster comments, the public sector customers ought to be able to nail Andy Parker's scrotum to a gate post, but won't because they are poor at agreeing contracts, poor at interpreting contracts, and worse at holding big suppliers to account. In fairness, the OP didn't mention Fat Andy's knackersack, but the general drift was there.

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Ledswinger
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Still at least the weather is perfect!

For meatsacks not inside a building, yes. But an interesting thought is that summer is now a time of real grid instability, because all that essentially unplanned solar PV dumped on the grid causes huge instability. Varying output (both predictable and not), asynchronous supply, lack of system inertia, all of these cause network and transmission problems. The hippies may b e rejoicing when there's a "no coal" day, but the system operators are sweating, I can assure you.

And those network stability problems don't need to be absolute failures - just sufficient to push a particular line or substation out of tolerance and trip a breaker, and Bingo! Then you get the knock on effects. I can't say that had any bearing on Crapita's problems, but its a big deal that worries the network operators.

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Battery-hungry cars roll over Lenovo's FY 16/17 bottom line

Ledswinger
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Excuses, excuses

cars are consuming more batteries and making them hard to come by

I can see that it would make lithium costs go up, but there's no real shortage. A tight market, yes, but nobody else is crying into their beer, and Platts even expect demand to exceed supply by next year. Whether they're right or not is not important, the point is that supply and demand are fairly well balanced.

Even if Lenovo had to absorb a lithium price rise, so does every competitor. Even then, the battery is a tiny part of the BoM for any halfway decent phone, and a small part for a computer, and of that battery cost half is the production, packaging and connectors of the cells, not the commodity lithium.

Can we have a better quality excuse next quarter?

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IBM asks contractors to take a pay cut

Ledswinger
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I really dont know why anyone would want to outsource to HPE or IBM. I say that with my boss head on.

Many companies have bosses that believe the outsourcers' marketing, you know. Rather than ask themselves what the reputation and performance of these companies is, or examine the economics of outsourcing, they actually choose to beleive that somehow IBM. HPE etc can somehow do a better job for a lot less money, and these companies will, out of the goodness of their heart, share the copious bounty of those savings with the client.

Quite how anybody that stupid even knows how to breathe I can't really say. Ask Bombardier, who signed up with IBM a few weeks ago. Then again, Bombardier are a troubled company, bailed out by the Canadian taxpayer, and whose execs then tried to award themselves a 50% pay rise, even as they shed over 16,000 workers. How do these people know how to breathe? And why doesn't somebody stop them?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Who ends up with IBM's business?

they looked at the costs and measured the quality and realised it was cheaper to do the work in house

It usually is. The outsourcers win the contract on the basis of promised savings, the customer signs after lots of vendor-to-vendor bid comparisons, yet carefully not asking any questions about the vendor's average labour rate, their overheads, contract set-up costs, current margin, balance sheet capital and return on capital, and investor commitments for margin growth. A few scant years later the customer is paying far more than they did in house, for a worse service.

That is the problem with professional procurement functions and finance teams. They're very good at comparing the price of apples with apples. Unfortunately they never consider that next year you might need a pear, or the consequences of agreeing a price for the apples is below the cost to the seller.

Outsourcing works when you want a pure commodity service that won't vary much, you're not fussed by the delivery standard, and you're equally not fussed by the price you end up paying.

Interestingly, this isn't just ITO and BPO. Big companies often can't procure commodity outsource deals competently. Big, multi-national companies I've worked for have been repeatedly screwed on catering and cleaning, because the same rules apply: The winner bids a price well below any sustainable margin, and then has to build up to that level, either by "variations" or by hiding other profit streams. In those commodity examples, the commonest way of squeezing out profit is by making sure that the contract is labour and materials - in which case the vendor either directly hikes up the prices, or more commonly negotiates bulk discounts with their own materials suppliers that are taken centrally, and don't appear on the site invoices that the client companies see.

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Venezuela increases internet censorship and surveillance in crisis

Ledswinger
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Why pick on Venezuela?

When the Turds of Westminster are all planning to censor our internet and expand online surveillance of citizens. Arguably our country is also currently in a state of emergency, as huge numbers of troops and police are deployed to keep politicians safe.

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