* Posts by Ledswinger

5860 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Sniffing substations will solve 'leccy car charging woes, reckons upstart

Ledswinger
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Re: EV GSM and metering?

Anyway, if HMG start charging me an extra energy tax to charge my EV at home,

Not the preferred model. Government have already looked at and (in effect) chosen road pricing as their future model, although they're not sure how they will actually do it. I expect it'll be GPS real time tracking, possibly using the e-call capability (you remember they said there wouldn't be any scope creep? Not that anybody believed them). Because GPS isn't always that accurate they might struggle with road specific charges, though time of use would be easy. Busy or trunk roads might see higher pricing by using ANPR in parallel with the GPS tracking. Additional great benefits for government include charging you more when it suits them, a vast database of everybody's movements, the ability to issue speeding and parking tickets automatically.

But regardless of that, your EV charging costs will at least double anyway, for two reasons - first the continuing "climate change panic" changes to the energy systems, and all the subsidy fuelled PV, wind, and network changes, that's putting up your charges every year for the next decade as a minimium, and second because with the emergence of EV charging demand and static battery storage for peak loads, the idea of really cheap off peak electricity is doomed, because as off peak demand rises significantly, so will overnight power prices.

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Apple's iPhone X won't experience the joy of 6...

Ledswinger
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Re: Numbers

I guess it’s like buying a Dacia vs a mini or bmw something

No. Dacia's are wilfully devised to be as cheap as possible without challenging the owning company (Renault). Many of the challenger brands in phones don't have a parent with a premium brand, or they segment the market differently.

My next car may be a Skoda

I think that makes my point. Certainly VW Group try and make sure that their challenger brands Skoda & Seat don't compete with VW (or in any way with Audi, or Porsche, or Bentley). But I drive a Skoda, (Octavia 1.4 TSI 150) and it is a fabulous car. In many ways better than cars I've owned before costing twice as much, If you want all the frippery and trimmings, look away. If you want a quite exquisitely balanced engine, body shell and transmission, look no further. Seats are great, but (in my cheapo variant) not leather, the ICE is really basic by modern day standards.

And that's where we are with phones. For less than £200 you can have a really good octa-core 5.5inch display Android phone, 4,000 mAh battery, nice screen. You don't get wireless charging, USB-C, or waterproofing, but you do get SD compatibility or dual SIM.

Apple are cruising, relying on the inertia of their customer base. How long that will last I really wouldn't want to predict, because other incumbent companies have exploited their customer for decades, but what I would say is that the maths of justifying share price on ever-incremental product price rises simply doesn't work. My hunch is that either iPhone X or 11 will be the ones that wipe out the myth. Maybe they can create a multi-tiered offer around models 7, 8, X, and the plus variants, and segment the market for success. But as a reluctant Jobs admirer, I think the "one Coke" idea really matters. The cracks are there. When they rupture I really can't say.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Numbers

You're right. But the interesting thing will be if Apple have misjudged their own market by a bigger measure. That's the elephant in the room. Analysts rarely go out on a limb (for a range of reasons) so they stick with the herd. And no bank or analyst wants to be blackballed by Cupertino in future, so they all keep close to the myth. The only really substantive thing Apple have done is take the display out to the edge of the phone (cos wireless charging and 5.5" display can be had on an 8+), and its barely much of an advance on the Galaxy S8, which is £300 quid or more cheaper.

Maybe this will be the iPhone that's just too expensive, and flops. But if it isn't, the Apple strategy of making each new phone more expensive than before will eventually reach that point, for reasons of simple maths. If a £1,000-£1,300 phone sells, what will the iPhone 11 have to be priced at? If that reaches £1,200-1,500, will that actually sell? Then what of the iPhone 12? At some point the market will say "Far out! This is the price of a second hand car, and I can get 90% of the experience with a £200 Android". Then "pop", the Cupertino bubble bursts.

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Et tu Accenture? Then fall S3er: Consultancy giant leaks private keys, emails and more online

Ledswinger
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Re: One More Holey Bucket

Don't forget that the cloud providers, bit barn landlords and outsourcers make all sorts of rash and half-true promises, but what REALLY differentiates them from in house, is

1) A marketing budget and greasy, heavily incentivised salesmen. What is the in house team's marketing budget? And how many professional salesmen can it deploy with your own directors?

2) Even if that weren't a problem, the outsource team have more access to your directors than you'll ever get. Faced with dull senior manager Bob from IT coming to demand another bucket of cash for a server refresh, or the offer of golf and a free lunch with Scumbaghost's Galactic President of Customer Service EMEA (or a free "fact finding" visit to Prague), where will your CTO, FD, CEO invest their time?

3) They are New. Fresh. Clean. Everybody knows about the challenges, costs and problems of what you have in house today. But like an external job applicant, the outsource team don't have any baggage, and nobody ever looks very hard to find the (often ample) dirt of their failures at other companies.

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Samsung rings death knell for disk, gears up for QLC flash production

Ledswinger
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Rings the death knell for storage, more like

On your (excellent) QLC primer, the table at the bottom shows circa 100 P/E cycles for QLC NAND. What effing use is that? All the downsides of rewritable media (eg vulnerable to ransomware), but durability similar to the paper hat in a party cracker. All the clever algorithms in the world aren't going to persuade me that's a sensible form of storage.

Oi! Samsung! Bugger off back to the drawing board, and come back when you've got something worth my time.

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Star Wars: Big Euro cinema group can't handle demand for tickets to new flick

Ledswinger
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What about the Odeon Kinobi?

"These are not the smelly, popcorn rustling riff-raff that you are looking for."

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Cortana, please finish my sentences in Skype texts for me

Ledswinger
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Re: I hate eloquence

I hate all grey animals with large ears.

I only hate some of them

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Ledswinger
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Re: 'Redmond's not-at-all creepy service'

after a few billion epochs, it will be so set in its ways

Why so long? Microsoft is resolutely set in its ways, and its only taken how many years? 42.

Honestly, that is the answer.

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Stealthy storage startup wants to fly read-write heads closer to disks

Ledswinger
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Re: Too little, too late

Flash is outpacing HDD drive capacity increases

But largely at the expense of endurance. Unless flash makers can break the inverse relationship between flash storage density and endurance, then HDDs will continue to be an important technology.

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BlackBerry's new Motion will move you neither to tears of joy nor sadness

Ledswinger
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why can't you Motorola put one in a more expensive phone ?

Because Lenovo don't want to undermine the more expensive Moto X and Z offerings. It's just the same as car makers option availability - everything is crafted to give a reason to go to the next package up, that way you make the most money.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the EU Moto G's do have a magnetometer chip built in, but disabled at the firmware or driver level.

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Hitting 3 nanometers to cost chipmaker TSMC at least US$20 billion

Ledswinger
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Re: Well at 3nm it's a case of...

At 3nm... Dunno... If it is regularly running at 70C+ (fairly common in a CPU under load) I have some doubts it will survive for more than 5-6 years.

I would guess (from a position of ignorance) that once you get down to 3 nm, there would be a lack of resilience to imperfections that currently do not cause too many problems, and even before they end up in devices, production yields at the fab would fall dramatically.

Any thoughts from those with knowledge of these matters?

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Microsoft's foray into phones was a bumbling, half-hearted fiasco, and Nadella always knew it

Ledswinger
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Re: What the market wants...

and for these people it will be alright to pay that price,....I know I will at least

I do soooo want it to succeed. But €50? And even if you're willing to pay the cash, that has to be for a supported phone, of which there is only one at present. Now, got to start somewhere, but when app makers struggle to persuade people to part with a couple of €, what's the chance that a viable number of punters will pay €50 to replace an OS on a phone that already has one, and then how many different phones can Sailfish support? Personally, in their situation I'd look to build a sizeable presence in the Chinese mid range market, just to get the volume and to interest Chinese phone market leaders, but those customers won't pay anything near fifty euro.

You can of course root your device and load a community image of Sailfish for free - with no guarantees that it will all work, and the risk of bricking your phone in the rooting process. Great for tinkerers, for the rest of the world this (sadly) has as much relevance as Cyanogenmod and LineageOS. And even then, you have to use third party app stores, like Yandex. Now, would any sane person load software found on Yandex?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Microsoft is suffering from a desperate mind-set of locking people in

I think Microsoft should have persevered. Stuck with mobiles and slowly create the brand - but they seem too petulant.

Looking at their market share in new sales, how could they create a brand when they've got no differentiation now, and when this news merely confirms what everybody else believed years ago, that MS were not in phones with a long game? In the consumer and enterprise markets, they'd need some utterly compelling new feature that Apple and Google haven't thought of, and can't easily replicate, and in all likelihood, the enterprise and consumers wouldn't be captivated by the same USP, so they need two stonking new features.

In the enterprise space, Continuum was going to be that USP, except that it was never clear that the enterprise customers wanted it, and it hasn't delivered. Microsoft also undermined that potential market with its business tablets. In the consumer space...well, there's nothing. All the old Nokia USP's (better audio quality, better maps, better cameras) were dropped other than for a couple of "show off" models, and now every phonemaker is trying to carve out some profit by focusing on those quality hardware elements (including the reborn Nokia) so doing it now would be too late and undifferentiated. Microsoft could have tried to differentiate on (eg) hardware durability, battery life, enterprise security, consumer privacy, but they didn't, they just made "me too" handsets that offered nothing new, nothing novel, and carried an OS that nobody really wanted.

Nadella is right, but deserves no kudos for that - all he's done is admit what the rest of the world knew years ago. After spending what, $10-15 billion, MS achieved 0.1% global market share of new phone sales in Q1 2017. For every Microsoft phone pushed largely onto unwilling corporate users, 800 Android phones and 200 Apple phones were sold. I can't see that they'd ever rebuild a brand with such low sales figures - even basic stuff like manufacturing economies of scale are out of their reach on those sales figures, so all the hardware has to be sold at a loss. All the overheads of R&D, marketing, software maintenance all spread out over fewer and fewer phones. Third party phone makers won't touch the OS now, so they are and would be limited to what they could make themselves.

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Ledswinger
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Re: What the market wants...

Jolla is releasing his Sailfixh X OS the 11 october

Interesting idea of selling a supported image for selected phones at €50 a throw. I hope I'm wrong, but I really can't see this selling in sufficient numbers to make it worthwhile.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Hand up...

Indecision and lack of commitment killed it, not the OS /Hardware.

Au contraire, EVERYTHING killed it:

- Microsoft didn't have a plan, didn't know or care to find out what customers really wanted

- Microsoft pissed everybody off by repeatedly abandoning older mobile platforms

- MS/Nokia didn't help themselves by abandoning everything that had gone before in Nokia

- Microsoft were spending huge amounts on acquisitions that they didn't understand and then struggled to integrate - between 2008 and 2016, they bought about 76 businesses. Microsoft's purpose was nothing more nor less than buying companies, and hoping for the best

- Buying a hardware maker when you know nothing about hardware is a big bit daft

- The hardware was mostly crap - particularly the low end stuff bought by IT departments, and even compared to similar priced dogs like the Samsung Galaxy Ace models

- The OS and UI followed the failed Windows 8 look, and were different for the sake of difference

- MS failed to understand and offer the Enterprise segment what they wanted, and that was the one area where MS could have profitably owned a worthwhile segment without needing to be a major force in consumer phones.

There's plenty of other things, many known, some that we can only infer, but I think its clear that when it came to phones, MS made every mistake that was available to be made, and not just in phones. Even today, they're buying up more companies like Altspace VR, which looks to be more of the same "if it moves, buy it, if it doesn't move buy it". And Altspace VR is yet another crap distraction - worth doing a search to see the 1998 educational software graphics.

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Ghost in Musk's machines: Software bugs' autonomous joy ride

Ledswinger
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Re: Really??

60g is survivable.

Its also an average across the 0.05 second time the car decelerates. At the first moment of impact, zero deceleration, zero G, the airbags have yet to be triggered, fired and inflate. Realistically the G it is going to spike to a much higher value. And in such a fast crash, if the car stops in four feet and 0.05 of a second, then by the time the airbag is fully inflated (say 45 milliseconds from the crash sensor being triggered to full inflation of the airbag), the initial impact is almost over. If it stops in five feet, the car's gone under more than half the trailer width and although the G force may be lower, the loadbed of the trailer's probably come through the windshield and connected with the driver's head as they flop forward on the seatbelt.

You get to the point where survival is a possible outcome

I don't dispute that side under-run bars ought to be mandatory. A quick looks supports my expectation that they offer protection up to 40 mph (Angelwing). A lighter car might be protected at higher speeds, but I'd be surprised if the kinetic energy of a two ton car would be stopped above 40 before the cabin is penetrated (look at the test pictures, and you'll see that at 40 a large car only just gets stopped before the A pillars get sliced). Now consider the two ton car in a perpendicular 74 mph impact - that's got 3.5x the kinetic energy of the same car at 40, so the impact is way beyond the design parameters of even a notably stronger than average under-run protector. The A pillars will never be strong enough to lift a trailer and buy more time. Look at the pics of the crash in question, and you can see that they left marks on the trailer, but clearly weren't able to lift it.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Really??

You could more reasonably attribute the death to the lack of safety features required by law in US HGVs

I doubt that. JB's two tonne car was doing 74 mph when it hit the truck, it'd be a very impressive side under-run bumper that'd stop that. Even if it had, to avoid a similar fate, the vehicle has to stop in about four feet - which means that even if the bumper, the car body, and the airbags spread the deceleration evenly during the circa 0.05 seconds of the impact (which I doubt) then the driver would be subject to a minimum of about 60 G.

JB and his car had a part to play in his demise, but I'm unconvinced that a different trailer design could have saved him. However, the real root cause of this accident is the poor primary safety of US roads, often designed with uncontrolled flat 90 degree junctions on high speed roads (to save on the cost of alternative, safer layouts). These mix high speed through traffic with slow moving traffic crossing at right angles, and thus set up regular high risk conflict movements, regardless of whether a vehicle is self driving, or meatsack controlled. Anywhere in the world where there are this toxic (and cheap) mix of high speed and flat junctions, there's a history of high damage accidents. There's three choices here, all have nothing to do with self driving cars:

1) Do nothing, live with the risks and consequences of a cheap road design.

2) Pay to build or retrofit road layouts with better primary safety.

3) Pay a bit less for controls such as traffic lights, along with more enforcement at flat junctions, and accept that there's still some risk, and a modest check on through traffic volumes and speed.

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SCARY SPICE: Pumpkin air freshener sparks school evacuation

Ledswinger
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Re: Impossible!

They are especially nasty in small areas like toilets, chock! They should be banned,

We need to teach people to enjoy biological aromas, that'd fix it. Get them to savour that bile-laden whiff of really loose diarrhoea, the sophisticated whiff of mercaptans and sulphides in a rich, hot fart. The smell of stale vomit in the back of a cab, the exquisitely deep, cumin like scent of a cab driver who hasn't bathed for ten days, the heady, distinctive niff of dog shit on a nearby shoe. The ripe, cheese-ammonia-leaf mould pong of sweaty feet. The distinctive beef + cheese + shit hum of a sweaty, unwashed arse crack (talking of which, was anybody here a commuter out of Marylebone in the mid 2000s, and do they remember "The High Wycombe Sweater", who stank the front carriage out with that distinctive fragrance?).

If we can get people to ENJOY these, then there will be no need for hazardous artificial odours.

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Let's go live now to Magic Leap and... Ah, still making millions from made-up tech

Ledswinger
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Re: That's not a pattern you've given us

My only concern is what will the baristas look like?

Chosen by the management team. Nude baristering is not something for a fully time person, so we'd be able to pick eight - morning and afternoon shifts, for our four day working week. Obviously we'd all need a three day weekend to refresh our creativity, and spend those generous salaries we'd be paying ourselves.

My choice of barista would be somebody of the age and appearance of Michelle Pfeiffer; Female (or gay male) members of the management team might want somebody who looks like a Chippendale; If the choices of some members of the team overlapped, we'd have some spare slots to indulge ourselves with a collective choice.....what's Monica Lewinsky doing these days? On second thoughts, she'd not be on barista duty, she'd be in charge of selecting and managing the interns.

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Ledswinger
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Re: But think of the children!

Even if you just converted it to $1 bills and burned it publicly, some needy people could gather around it and keep warm for a while, and this would still be a more efficient use of the money.

Well, burning a paper dollar doesn't actually make a blind bit of difference to the accumulated wealth of society. It would trivially inflate the value of remaining dollar bills by an amount too small to measure.

But here's a thought for you, where is the multiplier effect maximised? If a rich twat buys a yacht, then the yacht maker makes money, employs people, they buy stuff, that goes to people who grow stuff, mine stuff, make stuff, and in turn they buy things. A Larry "Fat Twat" Ellison yacht certainly doesn't represent a useful investment, but it won't represent a loss to the poor unless you're going to redirect the resources to this mythical "poor". Which means you take people who are specialist hull and sail designers, the state of the art manufacturing people, the expert crew, hell, even the top-of-their-game marketeers, and you;re going to have them shovelling swedes and carrots? And as a logical extension, society abandons all cutting edge technology, because that doesn't in the short term benefit the peasants. If that's what you want, then Venzuela and Cuba are your economic models.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Very Useful

Segway is still a thing,

And if you haven't had a go on one, you don't know what you're missing. The rough terrain one is a stonking bit of fun, that'll have you bruised, laughing, and begging for more.

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Ledswinger
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That's not a pattern you've given us

It's an operating manual, and as a future vapourpreneur, I offer you my thanks.

Initially, I thought, Elizabeth Holmes, Meredith Perry, they had it easy, one smile and a wink, and the VC's were drooling, that won't work for me. Then I saw the pictures of Rony Abovitz, and I thought, yes, in fact that approach could work for me.

So far so good, I have the plan, I have a face (if not a pretty one). Help me out here commantards, because I need a snazzy name, and a vapourware product. Self driving vehicles and AI appear to be the flavour of the day, so I think I should promise a "quantum advance in autonomous vehicle technology" using "secret algorithms derived from protein folding mathematics". Demonstration vehicles would be shown, although they'd really be driven by dwarfs, or remotely controlled by gullible RC enthusiasts to give me a convincing demonstration product. The name? Autonamo sounds good to me, and has an "Autonomy" ring about, suggesting cutting edge software and a high value exit to a flat footed corporate.

I can't do this alone, so who's up for this? There's at least three years fun, fuelled by the cash of gormless VCs, we'll have bean bag offices, attend and speak at global AI and AV conferences (only if they are in nice places), have our own coffee shop (with naked baristas, natch), pool tables, massage at desk, our corporate policies will allow molesting of willing interns, and anything goes when it comes to expenses. Company car policy is Teslas all round. And unlike Uber, there's no sexism here, if we have any ladies willing to sign up for the management team, we'll let you recruit your pick of interns to molest or abuse.

At the end of three years the VCs will be wondering where it all went wrong, but you'll be known as an experienced tech entrepreneur (who has "learnt wisdom from failure"), and can just slide onto another fully funded gig. But be under no illusions, there is a price for this: The two main downsides will be that we will have to have an office in Shoreditch, and any younger male recruits will have to grow a pointy beard and wear a lumberjack shirt in order to keep up with VC expectations.

Sign up below.....

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Mattel's Internet-of-kiddies'-Things Aristotle canned before release

Ledswinger
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Re: Self-imploding IoT? Please lets see more of this ....

Regardless of what they said, what they just did was pretty smart for a supposedly clueless toy company.

Maybe. But what did they just do?

1) Cancel Aristotle outright, write off the development costs, sack the AI team, and securely delete all the intellectual property?

2) Conclude that they'd get panned at the Congressional hearing, and decide that they'd defer launching an AI product, and ideally let somebody else go first to test the water?

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Is that a bulge in your pocket or... do you have an iPhone 8+? Apple's batteries look swell

Ledswinger
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Trollface

Pop, pop, pop, pop

...but no need for popcorn. Androidistas, get a chair, and a beer, no snack will be required.

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Fresh strike action ballot planned at Fujitsu over pay, pensions, job cuts

Ledswinger
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Strike action never works

And Ignite should know that. But there's other strategies for the modern day that they (or more likely the TUC) could adopt. How about either a league table of all large employers based on how they pay, and how they treat their staff, their employee relations, and their conduct during any disputes? Obviously Fujitsu would be jostling with DXC for the title of Britain's Shittest Tech Employer (or would they?). And that would be helpful to prospective applicants, it'd make recruitment more difficult, as well as highlighting to these companies' customers that they are dealing with a disreputable outfit.

The TUC would need an insight and data team to correlate all this, and make sure that the labelling has good evidential backup (to avoid having their arse sued off), but that team could also evaluate data on management salaries, director payments, company profitability, so that they can differentiate between the companies who HAVE to cut costs, and those who simply want to gouge more profit by crapping on employees, and fling that into the mix.

If the worst employers had a label, widely reported in the press (who'd love this) of "Rubbish employer: Avoid applying to this company", that would help put a whole lot more pressure on management than strikes, for the simple reason that strikes lower the payroll costs at companies who clearly don't care about their service anyway. And the recruitment impact goes beyond the unionised staff - as a manager, would you want your career stained by working somewhere like DXC, if they had the BSTE accolade. The press would love it.

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How much for that Belkin cable? Margin of 1,992%?

Ledswinger
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Best practice is 3% margin?

My arse it is. It is certainly what buyers would LIKE to pay, but even as a net corporate margin, you'd get more as a regulated zero risk utility.

Of course, it may be that 3% is what vendors tell buyers that they're making.

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He's no good for you! Ofcom wants to give folk powers to dump subpar broadband contracts

Ledswinger
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Re: Cue more tweakery

The question is if this is a case of the speed test sites colluding with ISPs, or they're all using the same ports and ISPs are trading lists of IPs to ensure they get priority service.

Of course they're prioritising sites like Ookla. With a regulator as robust as wet lettuce, wouldn't you?

However, it should be easy to check that, and insert new licence conditions that ban them from doing that. Since ISP culture seems to be "if you can get away with it, do it", you'd quickly have a bag full of complaints to investigate, but after a couple of guilty ISP's had been banned from new sales for a month or two, the industry would get the message. I've worked in a business offering retail services, running outbound call centres, big campaigns and inbound sales call handling. All the time fighting to acquire new business to offset churn, and I promise you that the threat of a sales ban (even for quite short periods) scares the living daylights out of these companies.

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Ledswinger
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@ Andrue C

One of life's real skills is simplifying complexity. Round these parts, most people understand some fraction of the complexity. But what goes on round the back, customers don't care about, in fact the only people who do care are those paid to care.

So from a customer point of view, it is quite simple - can the ISP deliver the maximum speed they advertise for a decent amount of the time in normal usage? If I've paid for an 80 Mbps connection, can they deliver that between my router, and their connection to the internet backbone, for say at least 18 hours a day, and at least 60% of advertised speed in the remaining time? Admittedly they can't be held to account for wider web slowdowns, but they contract for the local loop and for the trunk telecomms and routing services, so unless its some major DC or international cable failure (or simply a slow web site host), they should have control. In commercial situations you'd have an SLA that defined what was, and what as not acceptable, there's no reason why a customer SLA can't be forced on ISPs as part of their telecommunications licence, and (as per my comments earlier) give Ombusdman Services the remit and resource to test lines and deal with complaints - not testing for noise, jitter, signal strength, et al, merely the data connection quality, and perhaps latency, since that's important to a lot of users.

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Ledswinger
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Wrong way round

Rather than letting customers exit a contract if the company don't perform, why not have a legal obligation that the company must (regardless of the cost) deliver that contracted minimum standard of service? And that minimum guarantee must be headlined with the same emphasis as the maximum speed. A guarantee is only as good as the policing, but there is already a Telecoms Ombudsman service, they'd be the ideal people to deal with this - it would be fairly straightforward to set up a remote speed testing service (and a check to prevent telcos from prioritising that service).

As these proposals stand, if a customer signs up for some ultra-fast broadband offer, and Openreach only have a damp string connection, exiting the contract doesn't help resolve the customer's problem because all other VDSL providers will be subject to the same problem. Nor will it deter the misrepresentation in advertising, since the penalty of losing an unhappy customer is negligible to the company. However, a complaint to the Ombudsman will be somewhere in the region of a £300-£500 case fee, charged to the company.

Obviously the broadband resellers would overnight become a lot more careful about the offers they make and the advertising they place, but that wouldn't be a bad thing.

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Australia approves national database of everyone's mugshots

Ledswinger
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Re: Only yourselves to blame

And nanny needs to keep a close eye on all her children in case you have a poopy diaper.

I don't have a poopy nappy, because I've just been to the crapper and squeezed out a fair dinkum Turnbull.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Laws of Mathematics

What was he thinking?

Nothing. Between his ears (and Amber Rudd's) is nothing. A vacuum of space, time and emotion. Physicists could probably observe a form of "ignorance lensing" as sub atomic particle and rays bend round his head to avoid being quenched in that void, and disturbing the balance of the universe. Maybe the contents of his head are the mysterious dark energy?

Either that, or he was thinking anti-thoughts. Just as anti-matter is the opposite of matter, anti-thoughts are negative knowledge. Not stupidity, which is the absence or misunderstanding of knowledge, but its actual opposite. These people reduce the sum of human knowledge by simply breathing.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Clearly essential...

it is vital to keep a close eye on everyone because....

And there was me thinking that the idea that all Aussies were criminal transportees was merely a light hearted joke to wind 'em up. But apparently, Australia's leaders actually believe it.

Out of curiosity (being in the UK), a few questions to accompany my sympathy: Are there any sane politicians out there, speaking out against this? And in particular, any parties? How's this going down with the voting public?

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Boeing borgs robot aeronautics biz Aurora Flight Sciences

Ledswinger
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Re: Will not gain acceptance

I still wonder why the US is still more or less the only country without fast trains in the world and still the perfect country to use them.

History. At the end of WW2 there was a surplus of concrete runways, transport aircraft, pilots. Railways at that time were slow and uncomfortable. Air travel wasn't encumbered by security theatre, aircraft and runway utilisation wasn't high enough to cause the interminable delays of today (though I'm sure individual aircraft reliability was far, far worse). Put simply, for the longer distances in the US, flying in the 1950s and 60s was much faster and more comfortable. Add in a lot of lower value land than in Europe, and building wide highways wasn't such a problem either.

Given the financial distress of the railroads, why would anybody have invested in US rail between 1945 and 2000? With the congestion at airports and the sheer unpleasantness of flying these days, its easy to say that high speed rail would be a better experience, but if there were money to be made then you can be sure that somebody would be throwing bribes at Congress, and if there isn't why should federal or state governments subsidise a loss making new rail link?

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US Senate stamps the gas pedal on law to flood America's streets with self-driving cars

Ledswinger
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Re: A dangerous hands-off approach to hands-free driving

Ugh, roundabouts. I hate those. Trying to guess which cars are going to veer off and which are going to continue 'round.

You know those funny flashing orange lights at each corner of the car? This is where they get used. The key thing about a roundabout is that you're simplifying the rules to give way to the left (for a country that drives on the RHS), and then the majority of conflicts will be lower speed, merging movements, that are far less dangerous than trying to do a 90 degree turn across traffic, or cross a road at a right angle.

It's especially bad when you're a pedestrian; instead of having a signal to at least give some order to things, you're left playing Frogger in a world where no one stops and no one signals.

Well, we do a lot more walking in the UK than the US, pedestrian casualties are not common at roundabouts, and the majority of roundabouts don't have much pedestrian interaction. If they do you put in a pedestrian crossing. Regarding signalling, that brings us back to the issue of driver competence.

You do see them in the US, but only in suburban areas. Cities just don't have the space. You'd have to demolish three or four buildings at each intersection to put roundabouts in a typical American urban center.

In the absolute urban centres that's true (and largely true in the centre of European cities), but those aren't the roads where you get the fast collisions that must contribute to your far higher road casualties. But (for roads with lower traffic flows) there's even a solution to the lack of space, the mini-roundabout, which is just a paint circle on the road and roundabout signage that indicates the priority of traffic - again not for the busiest urban centres, but they're usually gridlocked anyway.

But, lets go with the flow of your argument that roundabouts are not an answer for the US. What is? I guestimate the US road casualty rate per passenger km as being around three times that of the UK, when your patterns of vehicle use should make your roads notably safer than the crowded roads of the UK. What that means in practice is that every single year, an additional 20,000 US citizens die in road accidents that could be avoided (and that would still mean over 10,000 deaths each year).

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Ledswinger
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Re: A dangerous hands-off approach to hands-free driving

@ Wade B

To be fair, we've got many of those problems in the UK. It is now an offence to use a hand-held phone whilst driving, but you still see it. And we don't for the most part even have to renew a driving licence until we're 70, other than for change of address, or if it has been revoked by a court.

It would be good to have a controlled test, and see if periodic (say 5 yearly) retests made a material difference to driving standards. My immediate feeling, having been out for assessment drives by former police instructors, is that these sometimes renew forgotten skills and behaviours, but they don't stop my worst behaviours - I simply don't display those to the assessor.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A dangerous hands-off approach to hands-free driving

@ Orv " I'd think the interesting statistic would be the number killed per passenger-mile,"

Well do the analysis, the data's public! A twenty second check still shows that the UK has half the number of deaths per vehicle km compared to the US. Adjusted for passenger km, I'd wage the difference would be greater still, because the limited US data I can find tends to support my expectation that the US has notably lower average vehicle occupancy, and lower use of non-car road traffic compared to the UK.

If there's one thing I'd pick out about the US, it wouldn't be the distances, speeds, or vehicle design, it would be the failure to adopt the roundabout as a normal means of traffic interchange. That means far more high-risk conflicting movements at major junctions than are necessary. An absence of lane discipline doesn't help either, but maintaining speed stratification across more than three or four lanes will be a problem given the lower maximum speeds generally permitted on many US highways.

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Ledswinger
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A dangerous hands-off approach to hands-free driving

Per capita, US drivers kill four times as many as UK, Swedish or Swiss drivers.

With 35,000 people a year killed by road accidents in the US, the self driving cars are going to have to be well crap to beat the meatsacks in Deathrace 2020.

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Foiled again! Brit military minds splash cash on killing satellites with... food wrapping?

Ledswinger
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Re: Space Sponge

Lovely idea, but most aerogels are quite brittle, and therefore impacts would probably create large volumes of micrometeorites.

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Google finds 200m more people to advertise to in a single day

Ledswinger
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And when are they going to do actual proper English as spoken / written in England

Don't get me wrong here, I'm British, and I really enjoy a good bit of jingoism. But English spoken by whom? In many parts of England there's strong regional accents, and in Inner London's densely populated squalor, over 40% of the population were born abroad, so English isn't even their mother tongue. On an everyday basis few people in England speak the Queen's English, which is essentially an invention between the late 1700s and 1950, that people somehow think is a linguistic form set in stone. Before that, so few people could write or afford books that English (like other languages, although perhaps more readily) continually evolved according to the needs of its time.

It is tempting to dismiss the colonials' abuse of the language, but we really ought to be pleased and proud that it is so widely spoken, so open to change and adoption of new words and new variants of grammar. And if you do want to adopt a historical form of the language, there's plenty of research that indicates that US English is far closer to the common form of the language spoken in the UK in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Now, if your point is just that you don't like the synthesised voices of "talky" tech products, or their accuracy with anything other than mainstream US pronunciation, you'd have a fair point that Yorkshiremen, Scousers, Geordies and others might sympathise with.

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Ledswinger
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And next....

Undiscovered tribes of South America, Google is coming to help you, and everything they offer is free!

Imagine, people could be "monetized" before they're even known to science! A bit of machine learning, and the computers could work in the local language before outsiders can even translate to and from it. And finally, no part of the world will be free from a ready supply of Coca Cola, Adidas tee shirts, or from the unprincipled spying of Big Tech. Get there quick, Google, I'll bet there's no rules on data protection in that part of the world at the moment.

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Amazon told to repay €250m in 'unfair state aid' from Luxembourg

Ledswinger
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Dear Lars

Dear Brexiteers it's never too late to think,

I thought beforehand, I've continued to think.

Notwithstanding the embarrassing performance of the British government in the negotiations, I remain in favour of leaving the EU. Let's be clear, we're not "leaving Europe", we're simply saying that we don't want to be a member of the EU, which is a conveyor belt of ever closer integration. That has always been an obvious necessity, an end game of a single European federal state, with national assemblies reduced to insignificant theatres of parochiality. The current disputes over taxation, the widespread refusal to obey budgetary and financial rules, these all show the obvious fact that you can't have political union without some form of close fiscal union. You're welcome to that, personally I don't want to be governed by foreigners from Brussels, where local representatives of all political colours will be outnumbered 10:1, and where UK representation on the over-powerful, unaccountable Commission is 1:28.

I'd be the first to agree that UK politicians are venal, hypocritical, self interested, incompetent fuckwits. But the EU politicians appear to be equally as bad and in some cases worse. Faced with the choice of being governed by a smaller number of home-grown fuckwits all of whom are locally elected, or being governed by a hodge podge of un-elected fuckwit commissioners, and a rabble of fuckwit Euro MPs the overwhelming majority of whom this country has no influence upon, I'll take the former.

And here's a thought for you: If Britain is such a poor European, and its government needs that soothing micromanagement from Brussels, why is half of Eastern Europe beating a trail here? It would appear that the European project has failed to revitalise their economies, and in practice used them as means of importing cheap labour elsewhere in Europe? Is that the best that Europe can offer new members?

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Ledswinger
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Re: But this brings up the critical question

Oops. Clarification.

Once the accountants have established the taxable profit, the relevant rate of corporation tax is applied to the taxable profit, and then that TAX CHARGE is added in as a cost (or credit).

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Ledswinger
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Re: But this brings up the critical question

Also consider that capital costs like building a new warehouse are not charged against taxes, at least not in the US, but rather are depreciated over a period of years...

Are you sure? Depreciation is an accounting convention. Tax doesn't rely on the full conventions of accounting. So normal practice is that you depreciate a warehouse from your balance sheet against your profit and loss account at the rate you assume for depreciation, that gets you your ACCOUNTING profit that you report to shareholders. But for tax purposes, depreciation is ignored, and in the company tax computation you get a state-selected depreciation allowance, of (say) 4% before you reach your TAXABLE profit. That's then added in as a cost (or credit) below your pre-tax profit.

So an asset gets both depreciation allowances, AND tax allowances, just not in the same context. The purpose of this is simply to stop companies using false depreciation rates to lower their tax costs.

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Russian suspected of $4bn Bitcoin laundering op to be extradited to US

Ledswinger
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Re: At what cost?

Same reason that any law is ever enforced. If you don't chase criminals, you get more criminals.

That assumes that criminals are logical and well informed, which I dispute. My guess is that Russian cybercrims have zero fear of extradition (and on the numbers, they'd be right). The rotating prison populations of the developed world indicate that you're either a criminal who will reoffend on release, or you're not. I don't steal, not because there's a law against, but because I don't need to and the moral code in my society is that you don't steal. Those who break that code and do steal aren't put off by actual or the risk of arrest, they steal because that's what they do (with half of it to fund a drug habit).

The data's fairly clear, enforcement takes criminals out of circulation for a while, but it doesn't reform many of them, and it doesn't deter them.

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European Commission refers Ireland to court over failure to collect €13bn in tax from Apple

Ledswinger
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Re: Race to the bottom

The International Corporate tax holidays are coming to an end.

I will believe that when I see it. Note that at the moment, the law prohibits transfer pricing, but in many cases that's exactly what many of the US tech (and even coffee) companies are doing. If the EU and national governments won't enforce the existing rules, nor clarify them, what are the chances that the very clever tax accountants and lawyers won't find a way round any new rules?

As much as anything, any new rules will undoubtedly be additive, rather than replacing existing rules, and that means greater complexity. Greater complexity means more chance of unintended outcomes, and more opportunity to find loopholes. Tax codes are no different to computer code: The bigger the volume of code, the more flaws it will have, and once you get to a critical mass, there's no way of fixing all the real and putative flaws, other than by starting again. And if national tax codes are a huge program, then all the international treaties and EU laws are code libraries - you link into those hoping for the best, but they're approximated for another purpose, and nobody has real control over whatever the outcome will be.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Race to the bottom

So the EU is prepared to take action to prevent a race to the bottom.

Not yet it isn't. This is about a one off sweetheart deal, not about different rates of corporation tax, nor even about legal tax avoidance. Since Luxembourg (home of the EC's president) is a tax haven of greater significance than Ireland, do you really, really think that the EC are going to eliminate these practices? If you do believe that, you might want to read this.

At the heart of this is nothing to do with fairness, "race to the bottom", or even with harmonisation of tax rates, this is all about nationality. The EU is a resolutely Franco-German-Belgian club (of which Luxembourg has always been an honorary member), and you can see this in the way that they hung Greece out to dry, when the problem in Greece was excess lending largely by French and German banks. Or the way they imposed their own choice of government on Italy, because they didn't give a hoot about democracy for Italians The always strained relations with the UK you could argue are our government's fault, I don't believe that's anything like as one sided. And Ireland are in the dock because they are Irish. Portugal was shafted by the EU, but hey! It's only Portugal. Looking at the billions spent by the French propping up Areva or subsidising Airbus over the years, its quite clear that "state aid" is alive and well - so long as the right country is handing out the money. What about the way that the EC threatened action against Spain and Portugal last year for budget deficits that exceeded the 3% rule, but France which has been in breach of that rule since 2008 is left alone? Are you noticing the pattern yet? Likewise, Germany has exceeded the 6% BoP surplus limit for a couple of years, and its currently around 8.5%, and is major contributor to the structural problems of the Euro. No action yet, do you really think the EC will take any?

There appear to be plenty of people who think that the sun shines out of the EU's arse. I really can't understand why they hold this crooked little cabal in such high esteem, when its true nature is as a means of pressing selective national advantage, by stamping on the weakest nations after luring them in with a few free bridges and motorways.

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Ledswinger
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Re: "The Register has asked Apple for a comment. ®"

And hope beats eternal in the heart of the Irish government, that if they delay, mumble and fudge for long enough, the whole sorry mess will resolve itself without pain. Of course, if it were Germany or France in the dock, then the outcome would be a compromise that let the country off the hook so long as there were some sort of moral victory for the Commission.

But that's not the case here. The French and German government have always wanted to stop "tax shopping", despite writing the rules that permit it, and now they are delighted to see the Commission demanding a full kilo of flesh from the Irish government. And the fact that Apple may have to pay is immaterial, if the Commission win, the real damage will be inflicted on Ireland's tax arrangements, and cause a resultant worsening on their balance of trade with the EU. In this situation the people of Greece can explain to the people of Ireland what happens to small countries on the periphery, when the chips are down.

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Town wants Amazon's new HQ so much it plans to split off new town called 'Amazon'

Ledswinger
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Re: Stonecrest, Georgia?

Yes, it's near Atlanta

Near? Its seven miles to downtown Atlanta, and in terms of developed land, there's not really any obvious break between Stonecrest and the greater metropolitan area of Atlanta. For UK readers, it is not unlike saying that Hounslow is near London. The statement is correct for a given legal definition of the city, for most people there both an integral part of the (relevant) metropolis. And Stonecrest is only about twelve miles from Atlanta's main airport. So on that basis, I wouldn't discount their chances entirely, although I'd expect other cities to be able to offer bigger cash bribes.

Moral of the story: Just because we've never heard of it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist

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DeepMind now has an ethics unit – which may have helped when it ate 1.6m NHS patient details

Ledswinger
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Devil

Google and ethics

Bwahahahahahahahaahaa! Who do they think will be impressed?

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Russian bot-herder and election-fiddling suspect closer to US trial

Ledswinger
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Re: "I will die within a year"

Russian efforts to quiet troublesome people aren't limited to their own shores:

In Spanish custody or not, the Ruskies would already have terminated him if that was what they wanted. My guess is that although Levashov is a bottom feeding schmuck, and most of his (reported) stuff is low level fraud, he probably has been taking payments from, or subject to control by fear from Russian intelligence, for the purposes of deniable attacks, or for distributing malware, or for information on his associates. So for preference they'd prefer not to have him plea bargaining with the MIB, and by trying to extradite him themselves, they can pretend that they are interested in stopping their citizens form doing this.

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