* Posts by Ledswinger

5407 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Prez Obama expels 35 Russian spies over election meddling

Ledswinger
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Re: Evidence it was the Russians what dunnit

Look for a Trump impeachment early, followed by a Pence presidency and the end of democracy.

Democracy ended some while ago in many "democratic nations" where you have entrenched political parties who have adjusted the system to try and ensure that no challenger parties can get a foothold, and the established parties play Buggins turn for who runs government.

The extensive and blatant gerrymandering of electoral boundaries in the US is a fine example. In the UK a broadly similar situation has been upset by the emergence of electors failing to follow the script, whereas in the US, Trump had to take on the Republican party, whose establishment didn't want to back him.

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US cops seek Amazon Echo data for murder inquiry

Ledswinger
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Re: Probable Cause

Google? Nah, this is Amazon and their recording

But otherwise the OP made a good point. The privacy fundamentalists seem to ignore that a murder has taken place, and it is possible (even if unlikely) that the Alexa device may have recorded critical information.

In the scenario where somebody was murdered, and the cops wanted data off the victim's phone to investigate the case, would these same people be standing up complaining that it breached the victim's privacy (and potentially that of the murderer)?

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Trio charged with $4m insider trading by hacking merger lawyers

Ledswinger
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Re: Lawyers lose small change behind the sofa

is it? If you overhear a conversation in a lift and trade on it that famously isn't insider trading.

Strawman!

A better example would be to intentionally get in the lift with a selected M&A lawyer, and pick his pockets to get any inside info. And that would certainly qualify for an insider dealing rap in any civilised part of the world.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Lawyers lose small change behind the sofa

The way they got that information is illegal, not how they used that information.

I think you'll find it is both in most major economies, although the niceties of the actual offence of using the information does vary.

In the US it certainly is illegal to trade on the basis of non-public information, whether the trader or beneficiary is themselves an "insider" to the companies concerned or not. Across the EU it is illegal under the terms of the Market Abuse Regulation, and the definition uses the term "inside information" as well as "insider". You don't have to be an insider yourself to be illegally using inside information.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Lawyers lose small change behind the sofa

I'm sure the perps will feel the full weight of the law

With the M&A partners being very obvious, very high profile targets for a bit of insider trading, you might hope the law firms themselves would have at the very least a professional obligation to make sure their systems were suitably secure (and hopefully an enforceable legal obligation to the SEC). A whole 20 seconds of searching reveals reports going back to 2011 of hackers targeting law firms for M&A data, so this isn't anything new.

Sadly the list of "Big Law Firms Held to Account" is a very, very short list.

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Tesla set to up prices by 5% in new year because of 'currency fluctuations'

Ledswinger
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Re: 5 percent

Where are the BEV's that look like average cars

Until they can perform well enough, makers WANT them to look funky and different....

that the average punter can afford and actually get a decent range on the Battery?

Truly vast amounts are being spent on battery research. All the car makers are doing this, along with battery makers. If you look at year on year upgrades, battery capacity is increasing, the new model Leaf in 2017 might even have a max range of 350 miles. Cost will fall in line when the volume makers start producing BEVs.

And at that point Tesla are dead. Their costs are too high, the build quality if very iffy, and the only thing that will keep the name around will be if there's a ton of IP somebody else is willing to buy the company for.

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Rollout of smart meters continues at a snail's pace

Ledswinger
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We'll all pay more but those with "smart" meters will pay a bit less more.

Probably true. But in the UK that will be because the government bureaucrats who conjured up the idea want that to be so. But note that with very detailed energy use, it is feasible that smart meter customers with very expensive demand profiles might find themselves on higher and very unattractive offers - it doesn't follow that all smart meter offers will be cheaper than flat rate! Things that (as an energy supplier) I'd be looking to attach a high cost to would include erratic demand profiles, high use in peak periods, or high maximum loads, as all of those push the wholesale costs up. And with a smart meter they'll know who these customers are.

Evidence to date is very sketchy that time of use tariffs can actually reliably shift much load. There's some studies from very different markets that say they can (often markets of dubious comparability), but imagine you're at home of a cold winter's night when there's peak load pricing - what loads would you be able and willing to shift, and how much difference would that make?

Even Economy 7 exists only because builder's installed storage heaters, not through real customer choice - if you took away the "forced" use, there would be a handful of perhaps 2% of customers who would take part. Absent much load shifting, there's no case for smart meters, the tens of billions being spent push system costs up, but those are smeared across all customers, including those who don't want smart meters.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Blighty calls that Economy 7.

Here in the UK we have had cheaper offpeak electricity tariffs since 1978. Named Economy 7,

Which made sense in the 1970s when the vast majority of power was generated by big coal power stations, and you needed sufficient of them to meet peak demand, meaning that they spent all night twiddling their thumbs.

Now, having pissed hundreds of billions of pounds on renewables, we're no longer int eh situation of having a comfortable excess of baseload-capable generation. And moving forward, the overnight dip in demand will start to disappear when electric vehicles get taken up en masse (which they will, given a range of government interventions to make sure of that outcome).

So you're OK for a good few years yet. But eventually the idea of "off peak" electricity will disappear as short term (<48 hour) price arbitrage gets ironed out.

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Ledswinger
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So far, its cost the company the call out charge, form filling and hassle and the benefit so far to them is precisely zero.

Speaking unofficially for a supplier tasked with installing these, this is pretty common. As suppliers face huge fines if they can't show that they tried to install smart meters, it makes more sense to fit them, find they don't work, then remove them. Using a cheap test performed by the customer to show that they won't work is not sufficient for the hostile bureaucrats at Ofgem.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sometimes, just sometimes ...

Coupled with the desire of the manufacturers to try and make everything proprietary and disincentives open standards.

In this particular context you're wrong. The energy suppliers are obliged by law to install the meters of a specified standard (and as an energy supplier employee, I can assure you there's precious little upside for us, and big, big downsides).

There's two reasons why the current crop of smart meters won't work when you change suppliers. The first is that government incompetence led to an initial incompatible specifcation (SMETS1) being issued as a stop gap. Rather than do the job properly, the usual pell-mell panic over climate change meant the fuckwits of DECC required suppliers to install smart meters before the current, supposedly final specification SMETS2 was completed. But, that wasn't enough. DECC used such a cack-handed approach to the exchange of meter data that the "Data Communications Company" simply didn't exist to move the data between meters and suppliers - and that's before the involvement of Crapita.

The sad thing is that there never was a case for the rushed roll out of smart meters, nor their complicated specification. This will run and run, because the one thing that politicians and their civil service lackeys will never, ever admit is being wrong. In this case they were wrong, they are still wrong, they always will be wrong.

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White House report cautiously optimistic about job-killing AI

Ledswinger
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Re: Welcome to the future!

But, while jobs were eliminated by computers, more were created. Not sure what the final score is on that, but I'd say that nearly all the old lost jobs were soul-killingly dull and better off gone, just like the assembly line jobs replaced by robots.

Yep, many of those blue collar semi-skilled jobs have indeed gone. More to China than to robots. Now the idiots of the US government want robots to eliminate the jobs that they and Wall Street have been unable to offshore. And people at the top of the tech industry are cheering this on. Simply supporting AI development and the elimination of "bread-winner" jobs won't help the US economy at all, it will however make wealth inequality much, much worse, as the techno-barons and financial sector get richer, whilst the real economy shrinks. The outcome will be more urban poverty, crime, race riots and social instability. Think of poor, fractured cities of today - and then abolish half the jobs that still exist there. Are a million truck drivers doing to successfully retrain as better paid video game programmers? I think not.

As for the net gain/loss, I think you'll find that the amount of jobs isn't much different, but far more of them are low wage, part time and intermittent compared to the 1950s and 1960s. All the data is in the BLS jobs reports, but you'll need careful analysis by somebody like David Stockman to illustrate how bad this is. People voted Trump because they are seeing this hollowing out of the US economy, and decent jobs being replaced by crap like Uber gigs, zero hours retailing contracts, theme park attendant or burger flipping jobs. Manufacturing and truck driving might be boring, mundane, unrewarding to you, for many people they are reasonably paid, dependable and satisfying jobs.

This may seem a big bit Luddite. But absent a clear, convincing, fully funded plan to create more good quality jobs for people with limited intellectual skills, then more automation is a recipe for disaster.

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Energy firm points to hackers after Kiev power outage

Ledswinger
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Why is the substation connected to the internet?

Maybe it isn't. But far better to tell the Ukrainian government that the mongo powercut it is the Russkies fault for hacking a switching station than 'fess up "It was us, we're a bunch of under-investing bunglers".

And longer term, if the government can be persuaded of this then everybody's happy: Government get to blame Russia for yet another thing, the power company will be delighted that government agree all the power infrastructure needs hardening - more money to spend and make a return on, more loot to skim or steal outright, more juicy contracts to funnel to your mates....

The only losers are the Ukrainian proles. Even the Russian's benefit, because they seem to be revelling in the status of international bag guys (if I was Putin, I certainly would be). Moving swiftly off topic, I was rather amused to see the BBC claiming that Russia was "deliberately allowing European jihadists in Syria to go free in order to bring terrorism back to the EU". If Russia carpet bombs Syria it is at fault. If it summarily executes suspected jihadis, it is at fault. If it lets them go it is at fault (apparently there's no blame on the Western nations for failing to integrate minorities, turning a blind eye when thousands of suspects "go on holiday to Turkey", and then allowing them back). And of course, Trump is Russia's fault.

I suggest we blame Russia for climate change, globalisation, poverty in Africa, drugs, and child abuse. Perhaps Mrs May should take the BBC's lead, and establish a Department of Blaming Everything on Russia.

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HMRC IT cockup misses nearly 1m Scottish taxpayers for devo PAYE letters

Ledswinger
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Live in Carlisle, nearest branch in Wigton

So use the fast switching service to change to one of the range of banks with a branch in Carlisle. Surely if you are being treated as a commodity by your bank you're not going to put up with that?

A search indicates that there's plenty of other choices in Carlisle.

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Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable

Ledswinger
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Re: Out of State

Well, they voted for Trump so what do you expect.

I think that the global political establishment of all colours and persuasions have missed the memo on Trump, Brexit, the Italian referendum, and indeed quite a few other things as well. The memo reads something like "Stop fucking us over, and passing shite laws like an incontinent anus, stop dipping your filthy grasping paws in the till, and just do the basic job to a minimum standard of competence".

I can appreciate that turkeys don't vote for Christmas, so the politicians are all sticking their fingers in their ears. At a more proletarian level though, Guardian readers in particular don't seem to understand the message, despite the utter collapse of their preferred party. As a right winger myself, I don't rejoice in that, as I'm no happier with Mrs May's "progressive" attitude on social engineering, and her total failure to address the unaffordable follies of prior energy polices, or government's ridiculous and unproductive foreign aid obsession. Clearly the Tories haven't got the memo either.

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Elon Musk wants to get into the boring business, literally

Ledswinger
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Re: Yeah because its so easy

This is London we are talking about. Money for transport is no problem

Money for shit public transport is no problem. FTFY.

I appreciate the rest of the country might think London has it good with public transport, those who routinely endure the dystopian conditions of the underground, or even the overground in many place would beg to differ.

The nearest it has ever managed to investment in car sector transport was when Red Ken re-phased the traffic lights to slow cars down before the bearded tw@t introduced the "congestion charge".

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Ledswinger
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Re: Yeah because its so easy

A tunnel that went all the way from south to North London would be brilliant. Skip the M25 & London traffic and deep enough to skip all the other tunnels.

The estimates for the proposed Lower Thames (road) Crossing, or for Crossrail suggest to me that your solution has an indicative cost of c£40 billion. Unless you can invoke some causative effect on climate change or claim "northern powerhouse" benefits then government won't find this sort of money.

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Ledswinger
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Coat

Re: Bridges are cheaper

Put tunnels on the bridges.

Robert Stephenson did that in 1846, across the Menai Straits.

Mine's the anorak.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Yeah because its so easy

Even if you say "hey if you go deep enough, its not a problem"....well, that's true, but you still have to get yourself to/from ground level. Good luck with that.

For somebody prizing himself as the lateral thinker and innovator, this "build more tunnels" idea is fairly run of the mill, merely treating the symptom. The cause of congestion is almost always a bad case of megacity, putting far too many people in close proximity, and then compounding that by centralising the work and cultural life a fair way from any accomodation, and a long way from anything affordable. If you're a top City lawyer, great, you can afford the country des-res, and a nice flat a short tube ride away. If you're more of an office prole, or the salt of the earth unskilled worker keeping the City running, then you're looking at a one hour plus commute.

Changing the mess that we have now isn't going to happen quickly, but the key problem is that centralisation of work and culture, and a simple start would be to stop the endless building of ever higher density office in metropolitan centres - planners and developers are actively making the situation worse. Even with "mixed use" claims, the reality of (say) the Shard is that you've got perhaps 7,000 jobs on a ground space that the preceding building only had a couple of thousand, and of the 7,000, I'd imagine the number living and working in the Shard is in single digits. With London's transport network already over-capacity, it wasn't exactly a brainwave to add circa 5,000 jobs at one of the busiest transport And wherever you look, the story is the same - the Heron Tower off Bishopsgate is 46 floors, and that replaced a previous building of nine floors.

If cities want to solve their hideous mobility challenges, then they need to start off trying to be smaller and more decentralised. How many cities are both saying and doing either?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Umm

The drivers of said cars still have to breathe, which requires ventilation.

On a well designed tunnel without ICE vehicles, I'm sure that passive ventilation would be adequate, and powered ventilation for standby/emergency use wouldn't be either rocket science (tm) or costly.

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Sexbots could ‘over-exert’ their human lovers, academic warns

Ledswinger
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Re: Kill arachnophobes

Given the way spiders control flies without the use of toxic chemicals

So, injection of a potent neurotoxin to paralyse the fly, and then injection it with enzymes that melt it alive is not toxic? Are you a vegetarian or otherwise critically impaired?

Note: Re-reading that, it sounds horribly aggressive and insulting, and it isn't meant that way. Imagine the sort of ribbing you'd get in the pub, if you would. Maybe one day we'll have an icon for that.

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Beeb flings millions more £s at Capita for telly tax collection

Ledswinger
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Re: 3% collection costs

HMRC have a budget of c. £4Bn and take something on the order of £450-500Bn, so do a far more complex job at about 1% overhead

HMRC have the vast majority of their work done for them free of charge by companies, under PAYE, VAT, Excise duty and Corporation Tax regimes. If you included the marginal cost of tax collection that companies are stuffed for, I think total costs would probably be nearer 5%.

I suppose that leaves HMRC free to do the value adding stuff like harass small time IT contractors, or cutting highly favourable deals with large Yank tax dodging corporations?

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Banks 'not doing enough' to protect against bank-transfer scams

Ledswinger
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Re: More hindrance than help

And I wonder if their IT security manager, assuming they have such a thing, is happy to have a subdomain resolve to a server not controlled by the bank. If I were in that position I'd be livid.

I doubt that the ITsec team even knew about it before the retards of marketing let that loose. And they're probably doing so much internal fire-fighting that they can't proactively chase the incompetence of people outsourcing "marketing".

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Around 1.4 million people have sub-10Mbps speeds - Ofcom

Ledswinger
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my small village in South Wales is ....

..unwilling to pay for a high speed broadband ?

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Poor software design led to second £1m Army spy drone crash

Ledswinger
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If the Tornado is zimmer frame, are these aircraft zombies?

No. There's a story on the Reg today about a Tri-star launching a satellite (=missile), and what that shows is that relatively dumb weapons platforms can be ages old, but still effective. But fast jets are different, because they are supposed to operate in much tighter envelopes, closer to hazard.

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Ledswinger
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Phoenix is now a museum exhibit, boy does that make me feel old.

Hahhahahaa! Obsolescence boy! I supported Tornadoes at the same time, and they're still in service.

Admittedly they need the aerospace equivalent of a zimmer frame, but, yeah, well.......can I offer you a Werther's Original?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Outsourcing

For dropping shit, yes. But if you want grenades throwing over a fence, or IEDs leaving in dustbins, then Yodel have more expertise than Amazon.

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Don't panic, friends, but the Chinese navy just nicked one of America's underwater drones

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Fox's meal Sky ready to smother Europe with foreign language OTT content

Ledswinger
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Re: Change of heart

Looks like the internet has caught up with them and given them a change of heart.

Makes no odds to me. Where I have a choice Turdoch and his clan won't get a penny out of me, and I wouldn't pay for Sky if they were the last TV channel on earth.

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Facebook hires Hillary Clinton to lead assault on fake news*

Ledswinger
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Re: What about the mainstream media?

Have you read the shit the grauniad has published recently? And I'm sure the mail has been doing clickbait since before the click part became a thing.

They are much of a muchness (other than that the DM appears to make money, and the Graun doesn't), but I wonder if the key thing here is that these are the last vestiges of free-to-web news by the old barons of news, and the problem with "free" is that it doesn't pay for journalism (and advertising revenues all disappear into Google's uncreative maw).

Telegraph is now behind a paywall, Times and FT have been for years. Indy sadly stands for nothing these days.

Where do you turn for decent journalism? Even behind the paywalls, those publications have such low readership and low income that there's no depth, and you're getting good quality curation of Google and Facebook news.

Welcome to the sharing economy.

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Murdoch's 21st Century Fox agrees £18.5bn Sky takeover deal

Ledswinger
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Re: More like Russia under Yeltsin every day

who is going to emerge as our Putin?

Imagine Mrs May riding a horse without her shirt on, judo throwing willing victims, and shooting bears.

I quite like that imagery, although absent many native bears, she'll either have to shoot particularly hairy fat people, or Scotsmen.

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'Public Wi-Fi' gang fail in cunning plan to hide £10m cigarette tax fraud

Ledswinger
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Re: Proof (if it were needed)

Proof (if it were needed) that crims really aren't the brightest bunnies.

These ones. Proper organised crime rarely sees the top dogs get their collars felt. The other day I got a 2005 pound coin in my change. Nice and shiney it was, very good condition, which seems a bit strange for a twelve year old coin. Maybe it was one that had been in a sealed tube or coin collectors case for over a decade and then tumbled into circulation, but I don't think so, I've seen a few of these. You occasionally see the bumblers done for poor quality forgeries, but I'd suggest that the people doing a high quality copy, and keeping their "business" clear of electronic communications get away with it.

For the druggies, thugs and twats, crime probably doesn't pay. Further up the tree I think it does pay and pay very well (sadly). Meanwhile Plod are busy investigating people for sending nasty tweets, using naughty words, or covering up their own misdemeanours.

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IBM boss pledges to hire 25,000 Americans in next four years

Ledswinger
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that's a mental image not even single-malt can fix.

Well, you could at least try. If the first double doesn't help, increase the dose.

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Uh-oh! Microsoft has another chatbot – but racism is a no-go for Zo

Ledswinger
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Left wing misanthrope are per definition impossible! Or are they?

You could ask Jeremy Corbyn. Or Gordon Brown. They'd know.

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If only our British 4G were as good as, um, Albania's... UK.gov's telco tech report

Ledswinger
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Re: is anyone surprised?

This could be a totally stupid question but could train design have an effect?

Yes. Rolling stock is earthed, so sitting in a large, earthed tin can isn't going to get you a strong signal. Obviously the window apertures provide some signal, but the spread within the carriage is limited, and the orientation to the mast will be quite important. Reception on the West Coast Virgin Pendolinos as built was very poor because the windows are much smaller than on most trains.

They were (allegedly) retrofitted a few years ago with picocells to overcome this, but I can't say I noticed much difference in the reception. At a guess, the picocells are as poorly specified and of similar dubious reliability as on train wifi routers. That's compounded by the fact that you'd expect stuff all reception in cuttings and tunnels, so the picocell isn't going to help much there, and lineside infrastructure, gantries, overhead wires and electrical noise all add to a potent mix.

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Microsoft quietly emits patch to undo its earlier patch that broke Windows 10 networking

Ledswinger
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Re: Unacceptable

I know the world is running out of network addresses, but refusing to give them to end users' PCs is going to help that problem.

Ooh, that depends. Maybe somebody at Microsoft has found a dusty old copy of "The Limits to Growth", or is a closet follow of Malthus? As befits a dinosaur like Microsoft, rationing is a good soviet-style solution.

But looking at the trajectory of Microsoft's business model, some might imagine that the code released was actually a broken bit of code actually intended to enable a future revenue stream of "internet connectivity as a service". Got a computer, Windows 10, and a broadband connection? Tough, unless you've paid this month's Redmond tax for the DCHP app, computer says no. An income stream as reliable as being an ISP, except that they don't have to have to build or own assets, or do anything gooky like run a big distributed telecoms network.

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EU dings Sony, Panasonic over rechargeable battery cartel

Ledswinger
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Re: Nice, I hope next they fix the sparc plugs Cartel in Europe

Ridiculous prices in Europe.

But since we see major companies being fined big money YET AGAIN for competition law breaches,

it is clear that in the longer term "game" the risk is worth taking (otherwise we wouldn't continue to see investigations and fines). And by implication the majority of breaches go undetected and unpunished.

The thing is that monetary fines don't scare big companies. That's just an occupational hazard and rarely affects bonuses. What does scare big companies is "punishments in kind", like a temporary sales ban, because that affects the top and bottom line and does harm bonuses, and there's the shame of having to turn down business. Another measure the authorities might consider is rather than fines as a percentage of turnover, fines as a percentage of equity, paid in new equity. That would permanently dilute the existing shareholder's returns and avoid fines paid by customers.

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Trump's 140 characters on F-35 wipes $2bn off Lockheed Martin

Ledswinger
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Re: F*** winning a fight

You have the most advanced air force in the world, you might not win any air-to-air fights or any air-to-ground fights, but you have the most advanced air force in the World (along with a lot of other nations)

War is horrible, beastly and expensive. Lockheed Martin are proposing that in future instead of wars, we settle the dispute by a physical manifestation of Top Trumps (no Donald relevance, just coincidence). It's still expensive, but as a general rule less beastly and horrible.

I'd call that progress wouldn't you? And the whole game is simplified. Instead of dissimilar attributes like speed, payload or reliability that might see a MiG 25 beat an F35, the attributes are now twofold, just cost and technical complexity. And there's nothing to challenge the F35 on either.

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Ledswinger
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Re: 400 billion? Try 1.5 trillion

They say that every dollar spent on NASA generates 18 in the economy. I'm guessing a similar multiplier for defence spending in the US

if you believe that nonsense (that simply spending borrowed money creates wealth), then the $400bn spent to date on F35 has generated over $7 trillion in wider wealth. If we posit that most of that money was spent in the past five years, then about 10% of gross US GDP is attributable to a programme that's produced token numbers of such a high quality product it couldn't even be delivered on time because of the weather, and whose underlying design concept was Russian.

That's the problem with these misunderstood views of the multiplier effect - it does certainly exist, but it is (a) often overstated by people wanting to hose money all over their pet cause, and (b) it doesn't work in economic terms if the original investment is on something without real economic value. That of course is why Japan's had two decades of no growth, despite throwing huge amounts at infrastructure projects, showing that it isn't just space or defence programmes that can burn money.

At the heart of this is the misunderstood idea of Keynes around stimulus. Keynes simply suggested that government could even out booms and busts by selective increases and decreases in public spending, and it was a reasonable idea. Sadly today's politicians didn't understand that Keynes was starting from an assumption that governments would in fact balance the books over time, and they've proven in most developed economies that every year they will spend more than they raise in taxes, and never pay down the debt, or balance their budget. That's akin to using your credit card every day for two decades, but never making anything other than the minimum payment. In the case of Japan, they got to the stage that the credit card company said "no", so the answer was (in effect) to make their own credit card, issuing themselves a higher credit limit every time they maxed out.

The Trump gets a bad press, and some if it is deserved. On the other hand at least he's spotted some of the big challenges that previous presidents have refused to even acknowledge exist. If he cuts back on the F35 and US hobby wars, but them spends the same amount on make work infrastructure programmes then economically the US will still be in a pickle - although arguably at there's a benefit that it won't be dropping bombs on foreigners.

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Samsung, the Angel of Death: Exploding Note 7 phones will be bricked

Ledswinger
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Re: Is this even legal in the EU?

Its unsafe. You've been told its unsafe and you've been told not to use it. If you ignore that advice you're an idiot and deserve to have your ass reamed in jail

Not the case in the UK. There's been a known safety problem with some Whirlpool group tumble dryers for some years now, making them at risk of catching fire. The recall has been slow and ineffective, despite publicity the faulty machines are still causing fires (a recent one did set a towerblock ablaze, though no fatalities), and in other cases people have died. Whirlpool aren't in court (yet, certainly), and none of the users are likley to be sued or prosecuted. Look at the pictures on the link below, ask yourself why Whirlpool are still in business. By comparison Samsung,s actions on the Note 7 make them look like a corporate saint (although Samsung's risks are a tad wider, they're exposed to things like in-flight cabin fires, whereas I haven't seen many passengers operating tumble dryers in aircraft).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-37203933

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Busted Windows 8, 10 update blamed for breaking Brits' DHCP

Ledswinger
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Re: Not just BT

Personally, nowadays I never actually "shut down" my computer. My laptop is always on sleep on the docking station and when on the move, and my PC I hibernate.

Why? I'd assume you've got an SSD as your boot drive on both, so the speed gains of "fast boot" are minimal? Of course, if you're a recidivist still reliant upon spinning rust, then there's no hope anyway.

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All aboard the warship that'll make you Sicker

Ledswinger
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Re: The last "ship" to bear the name HMS Tamar

it's difficult to imagine how much of that huge vessel must have been below the waterline

Not as much as you might think in volume terms, due to the density of water. Draught of a really big carrier would be circa 35 feet, even though it would have a height perhaps 150 feet above the water, and be 250 feet wide.

The real miracle of naval architecture is how they make these things float upright....

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Brexflation hits Lenovo's Phab2

Ledswinger
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Re: How far back does Brexploitation go?

Perhaps I was completely wrong and it was Brexploitation 30 years ago too.

Probably. There's always been a big element of charging what any market will pay, and with reduced options to pop across the border (compared to say France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands) the UK is geographically set up to be ripped off. And (to an extent irrespective of the Euro) because France extends down to Spain and Italy, it becomes difficult to set regional prices in larger countries, or to try and have one price for Northern Europe and another for Southern Europe.

There's something else relating to this long term markup which is that UK distribution chains have persistently had higher costs than many apparently comparable economies. I recall some academic research that concluded the underlying cause was that property prices were higher. At first thought property seems like a small part of the cost build for flogging imported tat, but the thing about our high property costs (strongly linked to planning policy and population density) is that they of course affect everything - the land value for a shipping terminal, the costs of the domestic haulage company, the importer's own office costs, warehouse costs, the costs external professional services have to recover, the cost of the retailer's premises etc.

YMMV, but I think that property and an island constrained market are a big contributer to the longer term GB markup.

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Shared services centres flop: Only one UK.gov department uses them

Ledswinger
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Re: Oxymoron

If only one department is using it, it's not really "shared", is it?

If that department previously ran three payroll teams, four recruitment centres, two HR admin centres, and everybody did their own procurement, bringing them all together and having a single set of procedures and standards would meet the definition of a shared service centre.

This isn't rocket science (well, outside the public sector it isn't), and there's standard metrics for performance that can tell you whether change is worthwhile - eg average time to recruit, cost to recruit, payroll cost per employee, payroll error rates, onboarding cost per employee, exit cost per employee, AP cost per invoice, AP error rate, user satisfaction etc etc.

As with any "problem", you start by defining the need for change, and then quantifying it by some rigourous comparisons - and at the end of that consider what the gap between current performance and best in class is, and ask the question, "is this worth the hassle?". In shared services, there's only one company that really know their stuff in benchmarking these areas, an outfit call the Hackett Group. Of course, good data doesn't lead to good decisions, and my private sector employers used Hackett, but then screwed up the decision and moved from decent national shared services to a pan-European service centre that offered appalling performance and incurred higher costs, whilst pissing the users off immeasurably. And as a result they'll now have to spend money backtracking. Proving that whilst the public sector might be world class at bungling, they don't have an absolute monopoly.

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Earth days are getting longer – by 1.8 milliseconds per century

Ledswinger
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Re: "I don't understand how that can be measured"

so that other scientists can corroborate or invalidate the figures

Yeah. Lots of funding to repeat already-performed experiments, is there? As far as I can see most science funding is to prove something the funding body already believes in passionately, and the prospect of getting further funding that might upset the apple cart is non existent.

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Brits think broadband more important than mobes, cars or savings

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Those in large contry houses...

OK, if I could get 10Mbit/s I'd probably upgrade for the slight extra convenience,

As a pissed off Virginmedia customer, I'd happily downgrade from my 150 Mb/s cable connection to 10 Mb/s if it would stop the thieving bastards ripping me off. Sadly the pricing structure and discounts are intentionally set to make that a Pyrrhic victory.

The sooner Openreach are forced into a separate holding company (and Oi! Ofcom! Don't forget the razor wire ringfence!) the better.

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Revamped Cortana finally lands on UK mobe mass market

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Ha bloody ha

Are they for real?

Most certainly are. In Redmond nobody can hear the customers' screams.

However, it should be amusing to see how few voluntary installs they get.

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Information on smart meters? Yep. They're great. That works, right? – UK.gov

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: 21st Century Economy7

cheaper off-peak energy could encourage running washing machines and dish washers through the night.

OK. Get yourself an E7 meter, fit your house with timers, run all your appliances at 02:00. Fine by me. But why should the rest of us have to fund a £19bn plus programme for that?

Also, very important to note that your fixed rate tarriff is an average against your expected demand profile. Translating that through mathematics and into English, if you have off peak electricity cheaper than your flat rate tariff, you have to pay more than the flat rate for the standard or peak rate periods. As of today you need 40% of your 'leccy in the off peak period for it to be worthwhile, but as a result of distribution code change DCP228, chances are that will be 50% or greater as from April 2018. Can you really use half your power between 02:00 and 07:00?

The other thing is that smart meters aren't about E7: in government's fanatical carbon-obsession, they expect the system to move away from predictable winter peak demand, to crunches between renewable generation and varying demand, so that the pricing jumps around unpredictably. So their ideal world is where we have a "dynamic smart tariff", and that means you and I pay the going rate on an ex-post basis. Not tariff table, little or no notice, just whatever the market decides is the going rate.

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Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Energy supplier resonse

as it was a legal requirement to have a smart meter fitted by 2020

Well, it is for them. Only this very day British Gas Business got fined £4.5m for failure to complete the installation of AMR meters (a sort of smartish meter) for business customers, E.ON got fined IIRC £7m for the same crime months ago, and Npower are shortly to find out their fate on the same charge.

British Gas installed 42,000 meters against a target of 43,000. So the penalty is £4.5k per meter fitted late. From the suppliers point of view, they don't want to have the blasted things, but faced with being fined millions, how would you respond in their shoes?

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HMS Illustrious sets sail for scrapyard after last-ditch bid fails

Ledswinger
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Re: I am enough of a naval history buff...

And thanks to Brexit, our supply lines are likely to grow longer and more vulnerable.

Why? Are China and Saudi being towed even further away?

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New British flying robot killer death machines renamed 'Protector'

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: ha! - Brimstone is a bit dark as well - renamed Jellystone

<i<The RN used to give its smaller ships friendly names like....Gannet.</i>

Friendly only to people who don't know what a gannet is.

If the twats who give names to military products had thought for about 20 nanoseconds, they'd have realised that instead of "Brimstone", "Hellfire", Statanic Death" or the other usual missile names, they would have had far less of a PR problem choosing names like "Gannet", "Kingfisher", and "Kinell".

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