* Posts by Ledswinger

5867 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

DARPA orders spaceplane capable of 10 launches in 10 days

Ledswinger
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Re: Anyone else get the impression...

It would violate WTO rules to simply give $Bn to Boeing

I very much doubt that WTO rules ban the US defence research agency from giving the money to whom it wants, for what it wants.

I know Airbus (recipients of generous EU state aid for decades) made the case to the WTO that Boeing benefited in the civil sector from US military contracts, but given the A400M fiasco, Airbus might now be regretting lodging the claim.

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Ledswinger
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It about rapidly replacing them when Chinese, Russians, are shooting them down missiles or lasers.

Most probable forms of anti-satellite aggression would result in a huge amount of high velocity space debris. Unless the US have also got a space debris road sweeper, putting up a new GPS satellite fleet won't last that long. Of course, the same applies to the satellites of any aggressor, so they stand a good chance of putting their own assets out of commission - and because much of the debris will remain shooting around in LEO, that risk will remain for years afterwards.

Not that such a risk will deter the jar-head's of many countries' military from trying to develop anti-sat weapons, though that's more of a deterrent than a practical military asset. However, for the Iranians or the Norks, whose total orbital assets are a couple of dead hamsters, and a wildly tumbling beacon with no actual function, then there are not that many downsides to developing anti satellite weapons. Both the named countries have access to long range and ballistic missiles - converting one to an LEO muckspreader would be well within their capabilities.

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Britain's on the brink of a small-scale nuclear reactor revolution

Ledswinger
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Re: And what about solar?

Okay, we have a different climate to India, but interesting...

But this is true anywhere that you have a lot of reliable sunshine, and the power demand peaks during the day. Solar is a great fit with the power demands in lower latitudes (say anywhere between the equator and 44 degrees) - although worth noting that if you've got a monsoon season, there will be several months of very low direct sunshine, and that needs to be given some thought.

The UK situation is that we have poor azimuth on the sun because we sit on the top edge of the temperate latitudes, our power demand peaks in winter, and maximum demand is correlated with low wind speeds after dark. Which means that even if UK solar power came down to $38/ MW, it wouldn't help us one jot - we'd still need all the fossil and nuclear plant we've got, and if we built more PV then we'd have to pay bigger subsidies to keep the CCGT's available for when we do need power, because PV and wind reduce the running hours of thermal plant, and absent subsidy it wouldn't be economic to keep it open.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Decommissioning

Well it used to be (Windscale).

About 90-95% of the UK's nuclear waste is down to the nuclear weapons programmes of the 1960s. You can see that in published NDA documents. Windscale (and before that Calder Hall) was never a commercial prospect, it was always about making weapons grade fission materials. Any power output was purely incidental. And unfortunately, in the pell-mell panic to make more and more nuclear weapons, all common sense was ignored, leading to accidents, vast amounts of high grade waste, and lots of contamination.

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Ledswinger
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Re: After Manchester

I could see how having one of these reactors next to a large consumer of power with preexisting security like aluminium smelters would work though.

This assumes that we have such large consumers of power, and ignores the commercial "counter-party risk". As an example, Wylfa nuclear power station was built next to an aluminium smelter, which has now closed, meaning that in the now highly unlikely event that Horizon build Wylfa B, we'll have a 3 GW power station built as far away as possible from any population centre, with local energy demands essentially streetlighting for Pontypandy.

The British government having forced the vast majority of heavy industry offshore over the past forty years, we simply don't even have suitable industrial clusters to match with a big nuclear power station.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Fusion is saleable.

But fusion won't make wind farm builders and their lobbyists in Brussels rich, will it?

I work in this sector, have good connections with my employers policy, lobbying, PR teams. The reality is that industry is following policy, not shaping it. EU policy is formed primarily by the broad red-green political alliances in Brussels who are fully committed to the climate change cause. The influence of commercial lobbyists in this sector is weak, but it doesn't really matter - the policy is set, and the political classes are happily committed to it. The commercial sector follows the money, and in this case, the money is all about pushing the fashionable "renewables", and the great thing for the British government is that most of the costs of this are completely hidden in your electricity bill. As a broad estimate, about 50% of your entire energy bills are consumed by the various costs of UK government decarbonisation policies - ECO, RO, CfDs, RHI, FIT, and then the huge costs added to electricity distribution costs by having to cope with all the renewable toys. And that's before the twats of Westminster start "decarbonising" heat and transport.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sounds sendible but...

Genuine question - what size are the reactors on subs? How are they cooled?

a) All systems included, about the volume of two or three 40 foot containers. But that's for a submarine reactor of 30 MW, which in a civil context is about 15 MW of electrical output.

b) You know all that cold seawater on the outside? Incidentally, the thermal trace of a sub is a problem when you're aiming for a stealthy, invisible vessel, and the designers want to minimise it, but unfortunately there's nowhere else to dump the surplus heat.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Has there been anything beyond some marketing graphics yet?

How proven a technology do you want?

From memory, the reactors on subs are about 20-40 MW, although I suspect that's MWth, not MWe (meaning that the useful electrical output is about half of that) . If you have to build ten units for a 300 MWe plant, then it will be hopelessly expensive. For an individual power station you need no more than four reactors (and ideally less), so for a 300 MW power station, you've got to increase the unit output several multiples over a submarine reactor, from what is already a military grade cost-no-object design. That won't be quite as easy as some people seem to think.

Then you've got context. In a submarine there's a whole ocean of heat sink, but for a land based plant you need to add cooling (and likely heat recovery) plant, you need the system to be acceptably safe against terrorism and foreseeable accidents (eg, build them near cities, means build them near airports), and you'll have the cumbersome safety regulations for civil plant.

So, the OP was correct: There's no working example, no reference site, and all we've got is marketing graphics. Going back some years, before the Germans raised the white flag on nuclear matters, they came up with a different SMR concept, the PBMR, and they had a proof of concept plant built and working (IIRC). When the Green party carried out their evil wish to rid Germany of nuclear power, that technology was sold to South Africa, who really didn't have the resources, technology, or will to develop it, although the ghost still lives. Personally, I think PBMR had/has a lot of promise for simple, safe, relatively low cost nuclear power, but I suspect that the British government will as usual pick a winner, and then wonder why it all fails abysmally.

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Ledswinger
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Anybody know why the plan isn't to install lots of tiny reactors at the grounds of the existing large nuclear power stations?

Grid losses, and heat. Government want the SMR build close to demand centres (cities) so that they reduce transmissions losses of around 2-3%. Overall grid losses are lower, but the existing nukes have very long distance transmission routes because they were built in the middle of nowhere. And there's a plan to use the heat from nuclear power to drive district heating systems - about two thirds of the energy potential in nuclear fuel is waste heat, and you could recover about half of that heat if you could dump it into a heat network. It's technically feasible, but even by Hinkley standards it would be hugely expensive.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I hope they succeed ... but! Economics!

I never found out whether that was a stunt

No not a stunt, just an artifact from slinging a huge load of wind and solar assets at the grid, and having operating and payment arrangements such that these assets become "must run", and indeed even get paid if there's insufficient demand or grid constraints.

Today's a minimal coal day (see for yourself, search on the terms templar and gridwatch), but as I write, the reality is that nuclear is running at full chat around 8 GW, the Dutch and French interconnectors are importing the better part of 2 GW, Drax is burning the forests of Louisiana to make 2 GW, and the biggy is gas turbines are humming away to the tune of 16.5 GW. Wind is producing a miserable 1.39 GW, merely serving to push coal off the grid at the moment, and thus require "Capacity Market" subsidies to keep it available.

Going back to your point about SMR, I've had some limited professional involvement, and I think your view on costs is correct - that by the time you've got something buildable, the cost per GW will be astronomical. However, this won't stop the mad fools of the British government. With their obsession about saving the planet by cutting CO2 emissions, they hope to decarbonise not just electricity and transport, but heating. And what they (wrongly) believe is a possible solution, is to have cities linked to large and astronomically expensive district heating systems, using the surplus heat from small, local nuclear reactors - these SMR. You might think that's utterly, utterly mad, but this is laid out in the government policy documents (eg Chart 18, p46, The Future of Heating, DECC, 2013). Obviously there's no heat demand around Trawsfynydd, Hinkley Point or Sizewell, so the bureaucrats plan to take the nuclear reactors to where there is heat demand.

The cost of solar PV built so far in the UK averages about £150 MWh across the portfolio. Hinkley has a contract for £92 MWh, but at 2012 prices, so uplifted by CPI we're already at £104/MWh, and by the time it is operational (I guess) in 2032 it'll also be up to about £150/MWh. These SMR will need the same sort of price (even if simpler than an EPR, they lack the economies of scale). Which means the average commodity element of electricity bills will roughly triple by 2030. Add to that all the money being frittered on energy storage and network reinforcement for all the crappy renewables, and the plans for another seven nuclear reactors, of about four different designs and people in the UK won't be able to afford to have electricity. And they won;t be able to afford heat, either, because the cost of district heating is about £10k per connected property.

You couldn't make a worse mess of energy policy if you actually set out to do things wrong intentionally.

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Schiaparelli probe crash caused by excessive spin, report concludes

Ledswinger
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Re: Given this is a Pathfinder for the main event...

However, choosing those limits is probably quite difficult.

Rejecting negative altitudes wouldn't seem that difficult, nor would "enveloping" each parameter to exclude obvious outliers. The real problem is whether there's sufficient different data to inform a choice of which is most probably correct, and what to do next when the systems receive data that cannot be trusted.

Scientific exploration is always risky, but the loss of Schiaparelli still seems to have a ring of undue carelessness in a €230m project. Conflicting or palpably wrong data has been a control issue since men first started fitting sensors on machines. And it isn't as if there's plenty of precedents, particularly in aviation - the root cause of the loss of AF447 in 2009 was the inability of the automatic control systems to cope with sensor data conflicts. And modelling control systems on Earth should be amongst the easiest parts of the whole task - but as we all know, software testing is the dullest, least rewarding, most under-appreciated part of any code-related exercise.

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Redmond puts wall around Windows 10 for Chinese government edition

Ledswinger
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Re: Do some evil

No as Dylan said money doesn't talk, it swears obscenity.

Ah, yes, a "people's poet". Does his personal net worth of $180m swear obscenely, or does money work differently if you're a Nobel laureate rich twat singer, trying to be a trendy socialist?

And as an aside, what's gone wrong with the Nobel prizes? They used to be proper prizes awarded to people for real work and talent. Now we get tossers like Obama being awarded the "peace" prize for simply not being George Bush, and Dylan gets a "literature" prize for scribbling out a few moany songs.

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Ledswinger
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Do some evil

Well, that's how it feels. Money doesn't just talk, it persuades.

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Dodge this: Fiat-Chrysler gets diesel-fuelled sueball from DoJ

Ledswinger
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Re: It's not just diesels

From what I've read buses and lorries are a comparatively small part of the problem becuase emissions testing on them is actual done in "real world conditions"

Bwahahahahahahahaha! That explains why the air on Oxford Street is so shitty and filthy - it's because somebody in a VW Polo took a wrong turn and entered the bus lane!

I used to work for a company making trucks, and can assure you that the HGV makers play the testing system as required. If you think that these larger vehicles are in any sense clean, or more compliant then you have been had.

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Capita and Birmingham City Council 'dissolve' joint venture

Ledswinger
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Re: Been there, billed for that

As an employee of a huge company being reamed out by HPE (or whatever they're called this week), I can confirm that the modus operandi is exactly the same between outsourcers and private sector clients. The industry speak for the approach you describe is "back loading of revenues", although for private sector companies the outsourcers usually try and appear cheap for the first couple of years.

Then it's open season. Bill for everything, and make sure anything not specified in the original contract is a "special variation order", charged at £700 just to raise the ticket, and then whatever the outsourcer has the gall to bill for in respect of "delivery".

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IBM's ShinyHappy™ SAP Ariba deal papers over SaaS fail

Ledswinger
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Re: Acquistion from six years ago

Customers may take their data and move to a rival in a matter of weeks.

You may be right, but I think its more likely to work in the manner of outsourcing IT or business processes rather than pure data or software hosting. So in theory you could move all your data at the end of the contract - but that's likely to be several years. And even then, because the cloud apps are not commoditised in their functionality or interfface, there's likely to be significant switching costs and some risks, making it far safer for lazy PHBs to go with the renewal quote.

I think the ongoing trend we're seeing is the ever-increasing outsourcing of critical business processes and data, where fashion and vendor marketing are persuading otherwise sensible companies to hand over their data and processes to people who shouldn't be trusted as far as they could be thrown. And once it is out the door, and your IT asset base is reduced to an internet connection and a load of low end PCs with a browser, the cost, effort and risk to in-source it will always be astronomical.

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Chinese e-tailer beats Amazon to the skies with one-ton delivery drones

Ledswinger
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Re: A hijack target?

Possibly, the Chinese have a different attitude as to the risks and benefits

Of course they do, because they're not a democratic country. If the party says "yes", then there's no questioning that. That does mean that China (and many dictatorships) are far better at *some* aspects of planning and strategy, because they can approach the questions in a purely logical manner. In this case, the use is put of rural distribution, and the chances of a random drone crash landing on somebody or something in rural China is apparently an acceptable risk. In the US (and to an extent Europe), there would be somebody successfully arguing that would not be an acceptable risk, using worst case arguments of a coach full of pensioners, a regional gas transport hub, a high speed rail line, or a wildlife sanctuary for endangered toads.

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Ledswinger
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Re: sounds familiar @Iglethal

Your argument was going so well....and then this:

"if cars were designed to the same strict guidelines as aircraft, you would get a new model of car (e.g. a new VW Golf) every 7 years. Not yearly relases as you get now."

Cars ARE designed on that c7 year timescale. It takes about five years and costs about $/$/€ 1 billion or more to design and get approval for a new mass market car across major markets, and the costs are several times that amount if the car maker is developing a complete new car, sharing the platform and key components across different models and brands. Despite marketing lies to the contrary, most of the yearly "model refresh" is not in anyway a new model, it is simply low cost changes like new light clusters, modified grilles and styling trim, sometimes out-of-cycle new engines or gearboxes, a few modified panels, a change of interior trim, options or model names. Budget for these model year changes can vary hugely, but we're talking typically of the order of $100m, of which I'd guess 30% is engineering and design, 40% vendor tooling, and 30% marketing programme, campaigns, and collateral. But you could do a model year refresh purely on paint colours, trim mixes, and then all you'd need is a few million to market this "new, 2017 model".

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Three-quarters of IoT projects are failing, says Cisco

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I've been saying for years IoT is pretty pointless.

I think the lack of purpose and added value is at the core of the lack of security. If the benefits or IoT tat are small, so's the value that can be garnered commercially. And if the volume or margins are slim, the development budget will be tiny. We've seen enough security vulnerability on higher value products (eg wireless car keys for premium makes) to know that security can be weak even when people do think about it.

Now imagine what the budget and effort for security will be when some spotty startup goes begging for VC funding to develop an IoT lighbulb, a smart thermostat, or an internet connected goatee trimmer? The VCs don't care - all they need is to prove the concept sufficiently to sell onto a greater fool.

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Euro Patent Office staff warns board of internal rule changes

Ledswinger
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Re: "seize private property" ?

Someone needs to take this guy down soon.

Not a single government or multi-national body in Europe has the balls or energy to grab Bastardelli, and grind him to a metaphorical pulp.

Quite amusing to see European "leaders" wanting to show how grown up and integrated their little sub-cotinent is, yet this sort of third world practice is happening on their doorstep, and by doing nothing they connive and approve.

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No nudity please, we're killing ourselves: Advice to Facebook mods leaks

Ledswinger
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Re: So I can live stream my suicide

"but male breasts are, apparently, fine"

American males make the rules; Maybe, just maybe they're all morbidly obese, and feel that the US constitution gives them the freedom to flaunt their moobs, but doesn't allow the ladies the same rights.

It is as if there is one last amendment to the constitution that says:

The above rules were written by prudish white guys to protect their interests; All parts of the constitution will be interpreted according to the hierarchy as noted below:

1) Rich white men

2) Non-rich elderly white men

3) Rich white women

4) Non rich non-elderly white men

5) All other white women

6) Rich black men

7) Indian and miscellaneous other ethnic groups not included elsewhere

8) Hispanic individuals employed by rich people

9) All other Hispanic sub groups

10) Black women

11) Elderly and middle aged black men

12) Young black men

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Ford to replace CEO with connected car division boss – reports

Ledswinger
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I will not be buying any car that has any more connectivity than a Radio. Don't need to be messing with apps on a screen, in a car.

Better buy your last car soon then, because soon you won't have a choice in the matter. In Europe the bureaucrats are mandating eCall from April next year, and that will soon become a precursor to real time tracking and retention of the data (to protect you from terrorists, natch, although it'll then be used for "road pricing" to charge you for the use of said roads). It's getting nigh on impossible to buy a car without on-board analytics, Canbus electronics, and dumb old FM radios are as rare as hen's teeth.

And shortly after eCall becomes a tracking and road pricing aid, they'll mandate retrofit of these boxes to older vehicles. You can drive, but you can't hide.

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Japan (lightly) regulates high-frequency algorithmic trading

Ledswinger
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So any money invested into HFT is money which is money which is withdrawn from investment into "legacy" investment activities

Well most equity markets are now "legacy investment", because they are secondary capital markets. The original purpose of stock exchanges was the raising of primary capital AND the secondary trading to allow the initial owners to sell out, and others to buy-in, as they saw fit. Over time the exchanges (driven by regulators) have become risk averse, and virtually never see primary capital raising - that role has gone to "angel" investors, private equity, and platforms like Kickstarter. When you see an "IPO", that's simply the first public listing, not the raising of investment capital.

The reason for that little explanation is that money circulating in the secondary equity markets doesn't generally get abstracted from the real economy, because if I invest my savings in 5,000 Diageo shares, other than the trading cost, exactly the same amount of money is released to the seller - every trade has a buyer and a seller. You do "lose" the tiny transaction costs, and the casino economy does absorb a tiny net amount of capital as the shares slowly appreciate in value above the book value of assets, but even then, "market values" are only an approximation based on the last traded value on the secondary market.

Where HFT sucks out money is that it hopes to manipulate the system against other secondary traders, and the "losers" are not the real economy as such, but those involved in secondary equity trading who can't take advantage of HFT to fight back. So perhaps your pension fund, small insurance companies, private day traders, companies putting short term cash into equities are all losers, and the big trading houses (investment banks, larger private equity operations) are the winners. But the losses are individually small and thus do not attract regulatory attention. Individual HFT trades are (edit!) NOT intended to scrape billions of profit in a single trade - these are not automated "London Whale" trades. If individual HFT trades had hundreds of millions of profit potential, the banks would have higher risk exposure, need to raise more capital, and there's be emabrassingly large profits to explain (even by fatcat banker standards). Instead, they are looking for 0.01% additional value on thousands of trades a minute - sometimes driven by mathematics, sometimes trying to exploit millisecond differentials in information between international finance centres, or different trading parties. and sometimes trying to manipulate the behaviours of others for profit.

Personally, I can't see any social value from HFT, and some downsides, but essentially they are just part of the technology genie we've let out of the bottle. If you banned HFT, they'd come up with new ways of using technology to scrape profits. The regulations to stop market manipulation do exist, but the regulators are so far behind the technology curve that they stand little chance of catching the real crooks - hence that day trader from West London being on the hook, rather than RBS or Goldman Sachs. Apparently all the HFT wrong doing in financial markets was down to one bloke living with his parents, trading from his bedroom in his dressing gown. Either that or financial regulators are slow, toothless and clueless.

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Crooks use WannaCrypt hysteria as hook for BT-branded phishing emails

Ledswinger
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Re: Shortened URL's

Maybe it's because I have Adblock Plus so this is youtube's way of making me see adverts anyway. If so, it's disproportionate.

Not to Google. Adblocking damages their business model, and if they can pressurise a proportion of people to abandon adblocking, that's worth what, $15 a year per head? A quick search and first (google) hit on adblocking numbers claimed over 600m devices using it last year. Assuming 2 devices per user, so 300m unique users, only 3% pressured to drop adblocking, and that's $135m pure profit dropping onto Google's bottom line. And more importantly, if Google can inflate the downsides to users of adblocking with those 4 minute videos, they hope it discourages others taking up adblocking, thus protecting far more than the $135m.

Google and the advertisers should consider that the root cause of all of this is their lax attitude to user privacy, worsened by the egregious long, boring, multi-media crap spewed by advertisers, and change their ways. But why do that, when they really don't care about users? It isn't like we pay Google directly, and I suspect at a big data level, there's probably no real evidence that users "blacklist" brands like Heineken that vomit 4 minute adverts at the public. I would, you would. But we're offset by the schmucks who sit staring at car and beer high-gloss adverts, and then foolishly buy the shit.

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Google offers devs fat bribes, hopes to lure them to its Home

Ledswinger
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Re: This isn't the race you're looking for

"This isn't the race you're looking for "

Certainly isn't the race I'm looking for. It'll be the twelfth of never before one of these slurp-o-matic waste of space POS find their way into my home. And anything pre-loaded on my phone by Google already just sits their, a few megabytes of unused storage and unwanted code.

Even if all this AI and voice recognition worked, I simply don't see the incremental value that this device brings to adults; as somebody mentions above, its probably great for kids (although how they'll grow up, if they believe that Amazon or Google know all the answers.....).

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Cook fights for life after Google summit blaze

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Re: Good headline

In very poor taste, IMHO. Some low wage employee is fighting for his life, and the Reg use the opportunity for a bit of clickbait.

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Blighty's buying another 17 F-35s, confirms the American government

Ledswinger
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Great idea Kev!

Let's buy the most complicated, expensive, problematic version,. Yep, the one that's dragging the whole F35 programme down because of its excess of ambition over capability, and the one that nobody actually needs other than the British.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Appeal to armchair strategists

About the only ones who will have it worse is the Yanks with the Ford/Zumwalt/LCS

Actually, the Yanks don't have it worse, because they've still got a huge, functioning navy of older designs, even if the costly screw-ups you name are overlooked. The Royal Navy don't have that luxury as they don't have any older carriers, cruisers, and destroyers to rely on. And whilst the traiterous actions of Blair, Brown and Cameron deserve the ultimate penalty for each of them, the RN has never had any modern, world class naval assets in its surface fleet. The Invincible class were a penny-pinching compromise, they have never had a credible missile cruiser, and the destroyers and frigates are under-armed, and lack multirole capability.

The only thing you can say about British warships, is that most of them them are very smart to look at. Compare a US Arleigh Burke to a type 45, and the Arleigh Burke looks like it was the debris ball from the collision between an old washing machines and a ham radio operator's hut. OTOH, the Arleigh Burke is reliable, carries proven weapons, and has better all round capability, particularly in the important area of surface to surface missiles.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I'm in the mood for being a downvote magnet

Perhaps more effective than the Eurofighter

I'd hope so. The Typhoon is a single purpose interceptor fighter. The F35 is intended to be everything to everybody.

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Ledswinger
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I'm not too clear on why or how Turkey ever got to it's current position with Erdogan pulling the strings

I am.

Erdogan threatens the EU with nothing more than standing back and letting through a tidal wave of migrants. That's a huge lever over the EU because once the migrants are in, EU countries don't have the balls to expel many. But rather than let everybody in, they rely on somebody else to hold their borders, and that "somebody" is Erdogan.

With the US, its different, and there's two dimensions: Syria and Russia. The Syrian dimension is that the US needs access to the Incirlik airbase to support bombing operations (if often indirectly), and they need Turkey to do some policing of the Syrian border. The Russian dimension is that Turkey is supposedly a member of NATO. The US can't afford for any Turkish/Russian romance to blossom, and the potential for a withdrawal from NATO. So they're on Erdogan's hook to serve the US "bomb the brown" agenda, and the desperate need to avoid Russian influence growing.

Erdogan is a nasty thug, who I'd happily see turning slowly see on a kebab spit. But he's playing all sides for all they're worth, and doing that rather well.

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Why Uber threw top engineer Levandowski under self-driving bus

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Re: Hes truely and rightly screwed

In his shoes:

I wouldn't give a stuff about the $250m option, since having sold Otto for many hundreds of millions, I'd have no need of the money. I would of course be VERY worried about a criminal trial, the risk of compensation that wiped out my entire wealth, and a visit to the big house.

You're probably right that a plea bargain is his best chance, but I guess that only works if he can prove that Uber knew he'd lifted the documents and that they did use them, or intended to use them - otherwise it is all about him. So an unprincipled individual and an unprincipled corporation tussle on the sidewalk, each hoping to throw the other under a bus, whilst the bystanders of the world look on in astonishment.

I just hope Google don't come out of this smelling of roses.

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IBM CEO Ginni flouts £75 travel crackdown, rides Big Blue chopper

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Re: Of course it's easy to justify this!

If you are paid $31,000 an hour, it makes sense to spend a few $1000's to save an hour travelling

No. Only oiks are (supposedly) productive for every hour they work. At any senior level you do the work you have to do, or believe has to be done, and so IBM don't get anything more out of any board member by saving them a few hours here and there.

Arguably, if the entire board and senior plonkership team spent 8,760 hours a year in unproductive travel, the rest of the business could actually get on with doing some real work, so far from saving time, the board should spend much more time travelling.

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Dell BIOS update borks PCs

Ledswinger
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Re: VinceH

Quote of the week, sir!

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Nukes tests caused space weather, say NASA boffins

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Ivor Biggun

egad! Thanks, AC, for exposing me to such genius.

----------------------------------------------------------------->

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Ledswinger
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Re: Norks "getting instantly flattened"

but the world powers would absolutely end the Nork regime within weeks. No question. No doubt.

I think you underestimate the Chinese and Russian's grasp of strategy, which is very advanced - far better than any Western power. They are prepared to tolerate a HUGE amount of inconvenience from Fat Boy Kim for the simple reason that FBK's posturing is entirely anti-American. Any collateral damage to the Sorks or Japan is not a problem, and FBK's comedy villainy serves to keep the US tied up militarily, diplomatically, and to a much smaller extent economically. FBK is a bloody nuisance, but with no upside scenario for the Yanks, because the Chinese won't allow them to do their trademark "regime change", as seen in Afghan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and attempted in Syria.

If we agree that the US have the most advanced satellite capability, then if FBK screwed most LEO satellites, that would be a net win for China and Russia - albeit they'd lose their own eyes in the sky.

Imagine FBK as an act of (gruesome) theatre, now consider that China and Russia have royal boxes, have paid for the performance and plenty of popcorn. The US are the pantomime knight, but forbidden to slay the dragon. It isn't a good situation, but that's the outcome of seventy years of aggressive imperialism.

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The real battle of Android's future – who controls the updates

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Who are they kidding?

therefore Google's revenues which on Android remain half of that generated on iOS

The implication is that Google could double their revenues if Android weren't a festering swamp of fragmented code. How does that work? How exactly would Google make more money from pimping my data if my ageing Sammy S3 were running Noughat, Orangesauce, (or next year, Poop), instead of Jelly Bean?

And even if it is true, it doesn't fix the central problem for Google (which they have carefully ignored) which is that too many phone makers aren't making money from Android phones, because all the profits accrue to Google, with Samsung just about washing their face.

Now, in some parallel universe, less fragmentation might mean double the revenues, AND in that parallel universe, the Google equivalent says "hey, lets share all this revenue with the handset makers to encourage a healthy and sustainable ecosystem". Back here, nope, ain't going to happen.

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Bloke charged under UK terror law for refusing to cough up passwords

Ledswinger
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Re: "used only in extreme terrorism cases"

I know the guy has a terrist beard and I can imagine that he is a lot more suspicious-looking to paranoid racists

CAGE has plenty of form as apologists for active extremists. As an example, CAGE are the outfit that mentored Jihadi John and subsequently described him as a "beautiful young man".

I'd have the bastards shut down.

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French fling fun-sized fine at Facebook for freakin' following folk

Ledswinger
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London.... often looks a right ****hole with litter everywhere near main tourist spots

IME from working in London, there's a reason that the litter's all round the tourist spots: The chavvy bastard tourists dropping the bloody stuff. And in particular, parties of French schoolkids, who evidently come from a culture where the whole world is a litter bin.

In small numbers, or in locations where there's little other economic activity, tourism's (sometimes) great. But in a busy metropolitan location where people are trying to do real jobs, tourists are just a pestilence, of value only to hotels and restaurants. Creates more congestion, more noise and pollution from flight-loads of camera toting peasants into the over-capacity dump that is Heathrow, pushes up accomodation prices, and worst of all, gives life to crappola non-authentic businesses like Aberdeen Steak House, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, Hard Rock Cafe and the like.

I think we should promote the accurate image of London as a scabby, crime and litter infested dump, stuffed with ersatz history and culture, with the specific intention of putting off tourists. Let them go to Paris, where they can traipse along the Champs du Dogshite, dodge the Parisian drivers, and experience the traditional pickpocketing around Gare du Nord.

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ICO fines telco £100k for 3.2m mobile phone text spamhammer

Ledswinger
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Re: P.S.

We're going bust later this week to avoid the fine

Certainly what we've come to expect, but a look at Companies House shows that in 2014 and 2015 Onecom were raking about £10m a year of profit after tax on turnover of around £55m. They can certainly afford to pay the fine.

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Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry

Ledswinger
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Re: "Those of us that have ever written serious code (eg medical, nuclear, military).."

So, what you're saying is that there are serious programmers who do the top-of-the-line stuff for the military and such and who's code is flawless, fit to withstand the test of time, and there are the doodlers that do the enterprise-grade stuff for the rest of us, code which falls over itself as soon as the wind blows.

Come off it Pascal, it 2017, FFS!

Are you really saying that when we're able to use virtualisation and entire DCs to fuzz test software in a few hours, that there is any reasonable excuse for the rankly amateur quality of much business software? Your example of the F35 (or any defence project) is naieve because the "business analysis" changes with the requirements every five minutes, and because there's no comparability. Windows code has been an evolution since version 3, there's no fucking excuse for Microsoft.

The reason that crapware continues, is not because it somehow "has to" but because lazy shitbag companies like Adobe can't be arsed to fix it, and they'd rather book the income as pure profit, as opposed to paying to fix the junk they originally shipped.

Somebody earlier wrote that "if they were held to account for all their flaws, they'd never write any code". People still make cars despite stringent quality, reliability and product safety laws, and the need for recall and rectification years after manufacture. What's more, tnd there's a total global IT spend of around $3 trillion a year. If the shrinking violets currently in the software industry want to take up candle making or garden landscaping because they're not competent to write decent code and 'fess up and fix their flaws afterwards, let 'em go, there will be plenty of people willing to plug the gap and get access to a share of that $3 trillion.

It isn't 1991 anymore, and the US software majors need to wake and smell the coffee, LAZY FUCKERS.

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Ledswinger
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Re: If I had a Ford vehicle...

they'll recall cars even if they're 15 years old to fix damaged lightswitches or airbags

As a general rule, they only do this because of consumer protection or product liability laws in major markets, not out of any sense of duty or customer obligation. Software will remain a wild west for users and buyers until the same laws are extended to software. I'd guess in some markets the same laws do in theory already apply, but simply are not applied effectively, because when you're a tech company, all forms of law, tax, privacy, and compliance are things for other people that you can avoid.

If Microsoft were on the hook for the costs of malware exploiting code errors, you can be sure they'd have made a much better job of fixing the problems. They thieves are sitting on a cash pile of about $116 billion. Assuming 200m lines of unique code, ten minutes to review each and every line, $50k blended annual salary, it would cost about $1bn to fix the entire Windows code base. less than 1% of the cash they're sitting on.

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Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Hang on a minute...

And you'd have supported him paying $800 a year per machine for a few token patches, with no real guarantee that they'd keep the machines secure?

I'll give you that Hunt is a *unt, the NHS is underfunded and mismanaged, and its IT shambolic. But that is a second order issue when the root cause is Microsoft selling fault-ridden software, and expecting the customer to shoulder the risks. Several large private sector outfits have been hit hard by Wcrypt, they will have similar second order triggers to the NHS outbreaks. But the root cause remains Redmond's poor quality product, and Microsoft's repeated and enduring failure to properly fix Windows security - FFS, they needed a patch to protect W10 from this, lord knows that gaping holes lie undetected elsewhere in W10.

Microsoft don't take security seriously, because they believe know they can sell bug-ridden code with impunity, and where the downside risks sit with customers.

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It's 2017 – and your Mac, iPad, iPhone can all be pwned by an e-book

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Greedy Apple!

I don't blame the hardware for that, because that's not just Apple.

It may not be only Apple, but since Apple & Samsung want to charge premium prices, shouldn't they both get off their lazy, lazy backsides, and do what Motorola offered with the X-Force a year and a half ago?

Wireless charging? Pffttt.

NFC payments? Yaawwwwwwnn.

16:9 screens? Ptooh.

Wrap round dispays? Nahhh.

Fingerprint and eyeball readers? Nope.

Now offer me a really decent phone that's not fragile as a snowflake, now that's worth having - second only to order-of-magnitude improvement in battery life.

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Cryptocurrency miner found armed with same exploits as WannaCrypt

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Here's a thought

Maybe the NHS should "buy" a tranche of Adylkuzz, and run their own PC estate as a crypto-currency mining asset, doing some code adjustments to run it as a lower priority process to avoid conflicting with the day job. They could make them some money, and block Wcrypt.

Heck, maybe they'd make enough money to stop robbing us blind for car parking.

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Do we need Windows patch legislation?

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: All products have a support life

All products have a support life, after that it's tough.

Let's differentiate between new functionality, and fixing flaws in what was originally built and sold. In my view MS should not have to make XP work with new peripherals, interface using new protocols or the like, but I do think they should be obligated to fix faulty code that they've already been paid for.

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Blighty bloke: PC World lost my Mac Mini – and trolled my blog!

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Quite simple...

doesn't say who'd set it up that way. If it was PC World then it's still on them

Potentially true. But on the basis of the word "after" I still hold him careless for ordering tat online and placing the order without checking where the tat was to be sent. We are talking about PCW, so there's plenty of chance it is entirely their fault, but I'm still leaning towards a belief that inappropriate care was exercised when placing that order.

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Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Quite simple...

If a company won't deliver the product the won't get the money.

Appears he'd placed the order against the wrong address, and his case won't be so clear cut. Obviously if he immediately notified PCW in a time scale that they couldn't have despatched the order, and they responded in writing that they'd resolve that issue, things may be different.

I may be a bit harsh, but I think Mr Moore was (a) careless for ordering from an account that had the wrong address attached, (b) careless for ordering from a company with such a poor reputation, and (c) should have paid with a personal credit card, so that he'd got recourse to the card company if anything went wrong.

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While Microsoft griped about NSA exploit stockpiles, it stockpiled patches: Friday's WinXP fix was built in February

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Plenty of blame to go around

If Hunt quits or is forced out he'll just be given another £70,000+ ministerial position

My company's well connected political relations team tell me that Hunt is kept in Cabinet and as health minister purely and intentionally as a firewall, to isolate the PM from the various NHS screw-ups. He's got no talent, but Hunt is conveniently an unpopular man, and a head ready to be plated up, should the going get so tough in the NHS that somebody has to be fired.

Imagine you are PM. If (hypothetically) there was a really good, strong, well connected MP, who you wanted to retain, and looking for a ministerial brief - or simply anybody who was great mates with you as PM, the last job you'd give them is minister for health, because it is such a high risk portfolio, yes? Whereas being Home Secretary is unjustifiably isolated from all the crap decisions taken by or under the authority of all post holders. Or if you're minister for the environment, or work and pensions, nobody really cares, no matter how obviously you mess up. So there you have it: Jezza Hunt does have a purpose in life. Sadly nothing that benefits society.

On a seaprate topic, am I the only person to have thought that Hunt, Daniel Craig, and Alistair Dabbs appear to have a time-share on the same face? What do they wear the other two thirds of the time...

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Lib Dems pledge to end 'Orwellian' snooping powers in manifesto

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: shame for Timmy B

Where are these people living then?

They are cohabiting, renting rooms in shared housing rather their own flat or house, living with parents. And in the case of many low wage migrant workers, they're hot bunking in dormitories because there's nowhere affordable to rent. You might choose to turn a blind eye, but I can see this out of my window, where even in the sticks there's loads of working adults living with their parents, clagging the pavement up with their cars because there's insufficient drive space.

If you bothered to look at ONS data, you'd see that there's been rising housing demand and shrinking supply for decades. The average housing price outstrips any credible affordability for young adults. In London and the SE, average property price for first time buyers was £430k. Even in the West Mids it was £140k. How many young working adults who haven't been to university can afford that? And if you're a graduate with a debt of £40-50k already round your neck, how's that going to work?

There's currently about 3.3 million young adults aged 20-34 living with their parents at the moment. How many do your really think WANT to be there? There's an increasing population of older "singletons" a rise of over a million since 2001, rising life expectancy, increases in the number of unrelated adults living together, and in "multi-family" households, where parents with children are house-sharing with their own parents, in-laws, aunts or uncles. By any reasonable measure there is a suppressed housing need of AT LEAST 5m homes in the UK, and on top of that the "rate of household formation" requires about 250k properties a year to be built every year. Until housebuilding reaches 250k a year (which it won't for another couple of years, and then maybe not) that backlog is increasing.

You might have your head in the sand, but we have a huge housing crisis. It is made worse by reactionary green belt policies, by planning that seeks to oppose development, development land prices and government policies that encourage expensive yet shitty high density developments, by wages stagnating as house prices rise, and by policies that continue to encourage new jobs in locations where there's already housing and transport problems. And that's without even thinking about the poor quality of much of the older housing stock.

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Sophos waters down 'NHS is totally protected' by us boast

Ledswinger
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Further correction

"Sophos now understands the security needs of the NHS in the light of recent events"

Maybe Sophos management can tell us why it all went wrong at their annual results shindig this very Wednesday? Couldn't have been timed better.

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