* Posts by Ledswinger

5859 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

ISIS and Jack Daniel's: One of these things is not like the other

Ledswinger
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Pint

After some experimentation

It seems that the best similarity is if you invert the JD flag, then reverse L to R, and then simply invert the Daeshbag flag. On that basis, fluttering in the wind the JD flag might have seemed a bit scary, if the observer were VERY drunk.

So, here's another beer for the Swiss AC:

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MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why

Ledswinger
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Re: If you found the plane it wouldn't bring the people back.

But I still think it is a disgrace that the airline and governments concerned will not continue to fund the search for the wreckage, to allay all doubt.

Well, a quick look indicates that total search costs to date must now be in the region of $100m. Since there's not really a better idea of where to look than "somewhere else", it would seem that a further $100m would not be an unreasonable ballpark for another search of many thousands of square km. And then there's the slight issue of salvaging anything useful from 15,000 feet or so - the AF447 salvage operation cost $42m.

Is a further $150m a reasonable expenditure, with no certainty that the data recorder will found, or be able to tell anything useful?

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Ledswinger
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The idea that since 9/11 we're not tracking the precise location of every aircraft everywhere, is just not credible.

Ground based radar tracking over built up areas and conflict zones is quite precise, but out in the vast featureless wilderness of the oceans, nope, there's no coverage. Normally the tracking outside of radar cover is via the aircraft's satellite comms systems, but AFAIK that's not continuous, and in the case of MH370 those systems appear to have been switched off or failed for reasons unknown. For these incredibly remote, unpopulated areas, before MH370 why would you bother precision tracking (and even after, in all honesty)?

I suspect in future we'll see near-continuous tracking via the satcomms, whether that will be fault resilient and tamper proof who knows.

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The axeman strikes again: Microsoft has real commitment issues

Ledswinger
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The curse of the monopolist

Much of Microsoft's dithering, and inability to make new successes is because of their effective monopoly on OS and office productivity (and to an extent mail). When you are a multi-billion dollar monopoly, senior management can't comprehend a growth product that in two years time would be "only" a $100m dollar operation (even if as an SMB it would be hailed as one of the fastest growing businesses in the land). They'll sniff and say "your margins are pathetic, look at how many bucks per minute of pure earnings that we get from Office". Any small product or service is denied resources (although often getting a full plate of overhead costs), and in their impatience the bigwigs demand unfeasible growth. That leads to over-promise, under-delivery, management shakeups, and fundamental proposition and marketing errors. A lack of real innovation and real entrepreneurial freedoms mean that these monopolist corporations react late to other people's innovation, and all too often launch weak me-too services, usually destined to fail (Google+, for example). All the time, any internal small growth platforms that might have big potential are unfavourably compared with the sexy, exciting world of M&A. So rather than invest in genuinely new areas, or supporting innovative growth, the big money is pissed on aQuantive, Nokia handsets, LinkedIn and so on.

If you look at the near monopolists of tech, they're much in the same boat - Alphabet without Google's search engine is a ramshackle collection of doomed businesses. Amazon without the online tat store is just another bit-barn operator. Microsoft without the enterprise desktop monopoly is nothing.

Actually, it isn't just monopolists - any oligopolistic market features similar crap-head management, hidebound by a sense of incumbency and entitlement, and with a misplaced confidence in their own commercial judgement. If you look at large ERP vendors, UK mobile network operators, or UK energy suppliers, you see the same sort of mindset in most of them.

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BBC Telly Tax petition given new Parliament debate date

Ledswinger
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@ Lee D

Why should you pay for schools if all your kids are grown up?....et al

Your examples are all essential services mostly provided or regulated by a monopoly provider. Independent provision exists in some of your examples but (as you well know) that isn't for the same universal, free at point of use service.

And that's why your argument is rubbish - the Beeb don't do anything that is or requires a natural monopoly, they provide regulation, they don't manage the transmission monopoly, and (no matter what you claim about the "quality" of the Beeb) there are independent broadcasters of good quality. And unlike those services that are tax funded, the Beeb is not free at point of use. You pay if you use the service, (along with a minority who don't use it, but are unfortunate enough to be caught in the scope of "owning and using a TV, or watching iPlayer"). But it is a selective tax - it can be legally avoided, unlike the unhypothecated taxes that go to (say) streetlighting or education, and so it isn't really "free at point of use".

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Thomas the Tank Engine lobotomised by fat (remote) controller

Ledswinger
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But not the command trains of Schar's World?

Task, tsk.

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Brit prosecutors fling almost a million quid at anti-drone'n'phone ideas

Ledswinger
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Re: Low-tech solutions

(2) locking fewer people up in the first place

Referring to the appalling rates of re-offending, we can be sure that a spell in clink doesn't reform the bastards. But having the scum put away certainly minimises the inconvenience the rest of us whilst they can only offend against fellow offenders (a "problem" that I don't give a shit about).

So, if you want fewer people put away, what offences that currently carry a custodial sentence do you propose should be non-custodial, bearing in mind these are people who we can confidently say are scofflaws who will take every advantage of not being in clink? Or are you proposing that the sentences net of parole should be even shorter than they already are?

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Ledswinger
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Even so, incarceration is and always has been a bloody big disincentive.

Not much of a disincentive, given that we've got 80,000 crims in clink in the UK at any one time, despite most prisoners being released halfway through their sentence. And the re-offending rate for prisoners released from a custodial sentence of less than 12 months is a staggering 58% re-offending within a year of release, showing that the majority are neither reformed, nor deterred. And the more previous offences an offender has, the more likely to re-offend in future.

So not a bloody big disincentive. To paraphrase the immortal words of Messrs Clement and La Frenais, it would appear that inmates are mostly habitual criminals, who accept arrest as an occupational hazard, and presumably accept imprisonment in the same casual fashion.

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China cools on Apple's high-priced iBling

Ledswinger
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Re: Far too early to call

whether Huawei can come to market with an iPhone X killer around the same time.

Whilst I'm all in favour of the emerging Chinese brands, and the incredible value on offer (and have one in my pocket), I doubt that any of them are yet ready to offer a device that competes head on or "kills" the premium Samsung and Apple devices. I expect they'll quickly offer something visually similar, with very strong specs and a much better price, but the pace at the top of the market will remain the big two.

We'll only see a Chinese brand iPhone killer when that company has a customer base willing to pay the very high prices for all the bells and whistles required, AND it can innovate ahead of or around Samsung and Apple. That day will probably come, but it may not come very quickly.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Well yeah ....

I must be one of the very few that finds the location of the finger print on the s8 just fine. I have big hands and it allows me to unlock it one handed.

The S8 had to be operable one handed, on the grounds of costing an arm and a leg.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Well yeah ....

The price of the latest models is shocking for no justifiable reason

Well, we might not think it justifiable, but its easy to see where the money goes:

1) Samsung's corporate bloat. As corporation live, they get middle aged spread, and build large cost bases simply because they think that adds value, when in reality it is just empire building by PHBs.

2) Samsung want to try and retain higher net margins in phones, when challenger brands will tolerate making commodity handsets and making smaller margins.

3) Samsung do probably do more R&D, and product innovation at the high end

4) Samsung need to recover the costs of the $10bn Note 7 disaster

5) With an official UK/EU/US presence, there's a lot of expensive marketing - the UK promotion budgets for a new flagship phone is around £40-50m, and then there's generic brand marketing on top of that. Globally Microsoft spent over $400m pushing its phones, with not much evidence of success.

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BYOD might be a hipster honeypot but it's rarely worth the extra hassle

Ledswinger
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Re: academics and PFY's who can bearly produce stubble!

To avoid possible embarrassment: Do not try an image search for "shaved bear".

From the safety of a home machine, I've tried this, all in the public interest. And Google deliver, lots of picture of shaved bears. Proper, shit-in-the-woods bears that have been given a very close trimming. And I can tell those who choose not to look, that a shaved shit-in-the-woods bear looks just like a small elephant with a lion's head, all dyed black. Heraldic illustrators will be delighted to know that not all of their work is made up. HOWEVER, you're right that there were some images that were of shaved bears of the sort that (probably) don't shit in the woods, and you probably wouldn't want popping up on your work computer.

As an act of public service, here's a safe link to a reduced hair bear, although the article says that the hair went on holiday of its own accord, without involving any trimming:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/11/bizarre-baldness-strikes-female-spectacled-bears-in-leipzig-zoo.html

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Ledswinger
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Re: academics and PFY's who can bearly produce stubble!

I'd have thought bears were quite good at producing stubble ... assuming you ever managed to successfully shave one, that is.

Once it had grown back a bit, the short hair bear would probably look ever so cute? I'll have to drop this in the suggestions box next time I go to a zoo. But you're right, there would be some challenges to shaving the bear. I suppose we could work the other way round - trim and dye a dog to produce something that looks like a short haired bear. The outcome's near enough the same, and the dog would like that attention far more than the bear.

For those who've not done it, try a Google image search on "dog dyeing". My favourite is the panda-dog. And don't have a mouthful of coffee when that search comes back.

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Musk: Come ride my Big F**king Rocket to Mars

Ledswinger
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Re: HOTOL / Skylon / A2 is a very different cryptid

You can understand why they don't want to get involved with the dead hand of government again

Of course. But in my imaginary universe of a competent government and competent civil service, they'd be paying the full bill, rather than a bit of crappy seed funding followed dog-in-the-manger stupidity.

The MPs and civil servants who've fucked up UK technology, aerospace and manufacturing for years deserve to have their fingers broken one by one. Maybe BEIS could offer seed funding through TechUK to support a competition for an automated means of breaking fingers?

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Ledswinger
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Re: HOTOL / Skylon / A2 is a very different cryptid

but I think you will concede that any such effort would not, and should not, end with a single project

I do concede that. But if they committed say an additional £2bn a year, then as and when Skylon (or whatever) became a reality, the nation could keep that up. No shortage of follow on projects elsewhere - look at Crossrail - we spent £15 billion to speed middle class Thames Valley commuters to their over-paid City jobs. And now that's nearing completion, they are talking about Crossrail 2, a £16bn+ boondoggle that essentially duplicates the existing Thameslink services.

If the idiots can justify that, and still find £13bn every year to give away to other countries for little or no return, then £2bn is peanuts. Or they could get a grip and fund it from stamping out benefit fraud (£1.6bn+ annually) or tax and VAT fraud of about £15bn (that's not including the US tech tax dodgers).

The UK can easily afford an effective space programme. We're already seeing tax and spending levels that could deliver one, but our lazy, feckless, ignorant, dishonest political classes are so beholden to the Canutian fight against climate change, and so disinterested in this country and its people that all that money is just pissed up the wall.

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Ledswinger
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Re: HOTOL / Skylon / A2 is a very different cryptid

The advanced technology for Skylon/A2 requires large investment over a long time period.

Using the £7bn mentioned on Wikipedia, that would be about half the money being frittered on the UK smart metering programme. Or a quarter of the cost of a new power station in Somerset. Or less than 10% of the cost of the ridiculous HS2. Or half of one year's waste by the British government on "foreign aid". Or less than the cost of the failed NHS records project. Or about three year's "average" waste and inefficiency by the MoD in cancellations, failures and overspends.

The money's clearly there, what is needed is a British government with vision, spine, technical competence. Those sadly won't be arriving any time soon, given the collection of wankstains sitting on both sides of both houses of Westminster.

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We went to Nadella's launch of Hit Refresh so you didn't have to

Ledswinger
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Re: Lords Cricket Ground?

Bit harsh old chap

I didn't think so. Imagine if the boss of Sage software wrote a book, and then launched it in a country which represented a trivial proportion of sales, a yet more trivial share of employees, and the actual event were hosted at a sporting venue that was home to sport alien to most employees?

So if Sage's boss Stephen Kelly writes an employee handbook, which I'll title "Amazing yawns and how to do them", he goes to Thailand, and launches this book at Bangkok's "700th Anniversary Stadium", well known in that part of the world for hosting the King's Cup, the world championships of sepaktakraw.

If he did that'd I think most people would conclude he had a screw loose. So am I really being too harsh on Nutella?

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Ledswinger
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Lords Cricket Ground?

So, because HE likes "the boring game", he chooses to launch his book for employees in a country that is host to what, 2% of Microsoft's workforce, and at a venue that probably most Microsoft employees have never heard of. And in case you missed it, your corporation is soooo committed to the UK, that it uses every opportunity to avoid paying tax here.

OI! NADELLA! You BERK. Its bad enough that a volume of CEO brain-droppings are going to be foisted on your employees, but if you're going to delude yourself that you're an author, and need a book launch, why not do it somewhere you can bus a stadium of unwilling drones in to to offer you some faux-applause?

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Geoboffins claim to find oldest trace of life in rocks 4bn years old

Ledswinger
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Re: Contratulations to Tashiro et al.

I teach a lecture course which includes the geologic history of the Earth

So, how do you fell about being a "geoboffin"?

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IKEA flat-packs TaskRabbit to crack assembly code

Ledswinger
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If I were a teenager, I'd do it.

IME, if you were a teenager today, you wouldn't know how to do it, or have the initiative to find out.

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Dome, sweet dome: UAE mulls Martian city here on Earth ahead of Red Planet colonization

Ledswinger
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Re: Just curious

Surely that has to be accurate enough for god's magic to work.

Priceless.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Cost?

That seems exceedingly cheap

Its amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. Of course this sort of stuff helps keep the cost down.

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US yanks staff from Cuban embassy over sonic death ray fears

Ledswinger
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Re: Old research

it was promoted as a possible weapon. If only they could work out how generate it at will, and how to aim it.

The research found that you couldn't aim it, but you could still move the source around, creating a brain-melting bubble. MoD research built specialist vehicles like this, that moved round low income areas generating ultra high intensity infra sound from a relentless DOO-WHOMP-WHOMP-DO-DOO-WHOMP-WHOMP, mixed with the sounds from illegally modified engine and exhaust. Sadly the volunteer drivers were quickly reduced to slack-jawed gibbberers, devoid of sense or good taste, often resorting to back-to-front baseball caps and Burberry attire. Entire neighbourhoods were made uninhabitable, and boffins feared that if enough of these sonic-death-mobiles met together at a "cruise", it could provoke a subsonic singularity, tearing a rift in time and space. This led to many councils seeking injunctions to ban "cruising", but unfortunately the worst fears were realised back in late 2015 when a cruise in Luton created the necessary conditions, linking the present day to 1970 in a feedback loop. It is because of this loop that we have a US president reigniting the cold war, a mad, socialist fuckwit seeking to nationalise everything in the UK if he can get elected, people chuffing on about building rockets and supersonic passenger jets, and huge government borrowing that can never be repaid.

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Twitter's 280-char blog mode can be enabled client-side. Just sayin'

Ledswinger
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Re: Meh @ scrubber

Happy now?

Hey! Which bastard downvoted that? I thought that was f***ing genius, and I'd have upvoted myself if I could. No pleasing you lot.

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Ledswinger
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Devil

Re: Meh @ scrubber

W's story? Couldna gv flyn f**k bt TwittTwats. Magnet 4 bad sht n ‘tards w/out gr8 wrd sklls. Een sht like FB, Uber ad mor to world n Twtr

Happy now?

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Ledswinger
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Meh

Where's the story? I really couldn't give a flying f**k about Twitter and its Twats. It seems to be a magnet for everything that is bad about digital communications, and for the pea-brained retards unable to express themselves in any longer form than an SMS.

Even including such grim names as Facebook and Uber, I still can't think of an organisation that has added less to the sum of human history than Twitter.

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Essentially invisible: Android big-daddy Andy Rubin's hypetastic mobe 'flops in first month'

Ledswinger
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I would imagine for the same reason that some US rapper believes that the earth is flat.

But the important thing is that the bloke has sought funding to prove his idea. That's the scientific method, of repeating observations to confirm a hypothesis.

I'll bet you lot just ACCEPT that the earth is round, and you've not checked. Of course, Rap-man's bold project might turn up important surprises, for example that the earth is in fact a cube, as depicted on the Chris Rea's Road to Hell album cover.

As for those ISS videos, they're just made up by the same studio that did the moon landings, Chris Hadfield is really a jobbing actor, but at least that's better than Tim Peake, who never existed, and was a CGI creation, motion captured by Andy Serkis. The giveaway in Peake's madeup case was that the studio outsourced the programme credits to a cheap offshore graphics house, and they wrote it down as Major Tim, when EVERYBODY knows that it should be Major Tom. But for that one typographical slip, we'd all believe Tim Peake was real.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Shame it's not available here

It's got a nice screen and powerful innards, what more,really, do you want?

About three hundred quid in change?

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Ledswinger
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Most of the people I know, here in Germany, are buying their phone outright, and carrier free.

UK's moving the same way, but slowly. At start of this year about 27% of phones were connected on SIM only deals (ie user provides their own phone), but there's been a steady increase, with estimates that by the end of the year it will be around 31-34%. Whilst it is best to be careful with market forecasts, the people doing that expect that by 2021 more than half of UK contracts will be SIM only.

There's a couple of things that make the UK a bit slower to adopt this than Europe - first the UK public are absolute suckers for credit, and second Apple have a much higher market share in the UK. With Apple's high prices, buying an iphone on credit bundled with a 24 month contract tends to be more popular than finding many hundreds of quid to buy it outright.

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Ledswinger
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Re: First I heard of these

but I have never heard of the brand or phone.

Sounds like you're a gift to marketeers everywhere. There's plenty of makes of phone that have little or no brand presence in Western markets, offer comparable or better specifications and much better value. There's some stonking good devices at bargain prices, particularly in the mid-market. Consider names like Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, Meizu, Elephone, etc etc. The website techadvisor.co.uk does a nice niche line in reviewing some of these.

You can buy as a personal import (so do your research, set it up yourself, wait for delivery, pay the import duties), or in several cases there's small UK based importers bringing them in, configuring them, and selling via Ebay, in which case you pay a bit more, but it works out of the box, arrives quickly, you don't have any import duty concerns, and you are protected by Ebay, Paypal guarantees, by UK consumer law, and (depending on how you pay) by the Consumer Credit Act.

I'm running a Xiaomi and it is a really, really good phone. Anybody who is thinking about buying the expensive brands being promoted in the UK and EU should check that they really are getting something extra for the money (and maybe they do, but they should make sure they know what that extra is). There's little wrong with most products of the big brands - its just that those companies have to recover the high costs of UK branding, promotion, an official presence and head office, a sales force, "bribes" to MNOs, they tend to be corporations with higher overheads, and often they are exploiting a UK willingness to pay high prices via regional pricing, or models that are "only available in the UK/EU".

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Ouch: Brit council still staggering weeks after ransomware bit its PCs

Ledswinger
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Re: Victim of what?

Any organisation can be hit by ransomware,

But most are not badly hit. I've worked for a company with 90,000+ employees across the UK, Europe and US, with about 80-90% having a laptop or desktop. The breadth of the attack surface was immense, and this was a high profile household name with around 15m customers. We were running older versions of WIndows, crappy old browsers, but through proper planning, proper controls, proper security management the company didn't get hit by ransomware or related attacks, or rather it did, but they were ineffective, or controlled at the first point of infection.

Councils and health services have no good excuses - even if you have to run old and unpatched software, there's mitigation strategies that work. Of course, their weak excuses are still much better than those for idiots like Maersk, who have the scale, money, commercial interest to avoid this type of attack, but didn't.

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Ledswinger
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Random, malicious, professional?

I'd have thought you could perm only two of those three.

Then again, when you're writing excuses for your own incompetence its best to chuck in the kitchen sink. I see that it was "possibly international"....c'mon guys, say it was Russia. Everybody knows Putin doesn't want those eight houses on Cleator Moor to be built.

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It's a real FAQ to ex-EDS staffers: You'll do what with our pensions, DXC?

Ledswinger
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And yet we offer them to VAST TRACTS of industry and civil servants.

FTFY. There's very few people now in final salary industrial schemes, and many of not most of those are formerly nationalised industries. But otherwise, spot on in every other respect and the underlying maths.

Personally, though, the pensions I'd go after before the civil service scheme would be those of MPs - unearned, undeserved, and outrageously generous.

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The UK isn't ditching Boeing defence kit any time soon

Ledswinger
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Re: nowhere else to go and buy defence aircraft rather than Boeing

We do make Airbus wings on Deeside. And jet engines at Derby. Theres probably quite alot of other stuff we do as well.

Oh there is. My original post might suggest otherwise, but I don't believe we've lost this country's engineering talent, and you're right to point up the expertise in wings, engines. I suspect that for all the brickbats, BAES are very good on airframes and manufacturing, Augusta Westland have world class skills in helicopter design, MBDA have cutting edge experience in missile design down at Filton, and so on. My moan was that as a nation we've lost a lot of control over how those skills can be used, the control exercised by MoD produces persistently wrong outcomes, and as a result we've apparently lost the capability to build a high quality indigenous aircraft. If a country the size of Sweden (about the same population as Greater London and suburbs) can knock out the hugely impressive Gripen on their own, then we could certainly make out own. The persistent, long term and enduring failure of MoD and government to sort out UK made strike aircraft, heavy transport helicopters, and carrier aircraft is unforgivable - we should find those responsible for the decisions, and publicly hang them on the Embankment, so that MPs and MoD employees can see the corpses dangling in the wind (maybe send a few to be hanged outside the front door of MoD Procurement at Abbey Wood in Bristol as well).

And one other thought, in the light of the Chinook bungling by MoD in the last decade. Back in 1952, the UK actually had an indigenous tandem rotor helicopter, the Bristol Belvedere, developed largely as a commercial venture. As ever, a few military sales but the cancellations of orders, and no visionary interest from the MoD. Had that been supported, then future developments would have meant that there wasn't only once choice for heavy lift helicopters.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ John Smith 19

To the contrary. It was the MoD (and it's predecessors) blind faith that the UK needed a "National Champion" that allowed (and in some cases forced) the wholesale merging of the UK military aircraft industry.

You're correct, but I don't think that is contrary to my point, I think it is all part of the same thing. It is the UK bunglement that encouraged the formation of BAES (with much of its roots in Labour's idiotic nationalisation programmes of the past), the same government that has specified that it actually WANTS aircraft to be international collaborations, and has got itself to a point that it now believes its purpose is to micro-massage the specifications of what it does buy to the point that the resulting product is (a) too expensive for export, (b) takes twice as long to become available for export, and (c) doesn't actually do what people want. Bunglement also have contributed hugely to the consolidation of the industry by their incompetent boom and bust procurement, utterly naieve about the need to keep a sustainable industry (in aircraft, missiles, helicopters, ships or army equipment, too). What they should have been doing (since forever) is phasing specification, design and build programmes across training, close support strike, stand off strike, air defence, transport, tanker, AEW & surveillance requirements.

Look at a continuing, if ageing British success story the Hawk. Started off in 1968 as a commercial venture by Hawker Siddeley (because they saw that the MoD's preferred option of the international collaborative Jaguar had turned out too big, too complicated and far too expensive) . Designed by blokes using pencils, paper and slide rules, they came up with a brilliant little jet with stonking performance that's been licensed to both the Yanks and to India, and many hundreds have been built, and in service with around 20 countries round the globe. The critical success factors (above pure engineering talent) were that although intended to meet a UK military need, it was built as a commercial project, it didn't have the albatross of the MoD round its neck, micro-managing every aspect and regularly changing the specification, and it was the creation of a single design team in a single country.

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Ledswinger
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A curious note, thinking of the C17

That Shorts (The NI plane maker now part of Bombardier) did once build long range heavy lift transports for the RAF. But of course, that was a long time ago, before the traitors of Westminster painstakingly and completely dismantled the vast majority of our indigenous aerospace capability. Either by outright cancellations, by early retirements, by preferring crap, expensive multinational junk. Funny to think British engineers developed brilliant machines like the Vulcan, Victor, Canberra, Bucaneer, TSR-2, Harrier, Hawk, Belfast, Nimrod, the Lynx (early ones, at any rate). But now what indigenous capability is there? I daresay Taranis will soon be cancelled "to save money" so that MoD can then buy some expensive foreign product a few short years later.

Now that the tosspot clowns of the British government look round, and find they've got nowhere else to go and buy defence aircraft rather than Boeing, they might care to note that it is ALL THEIR FAULT for years of dithering, poor decisions, a total lack of strategic judgement, and persistent under-investment in a military whom they routinely call upon when they're in a fix (invariably of their own making).

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Ledswinger
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Mine is the one with a one way Ryanair ticket to an airport outside of Benidorm.

So your plan is "walk, hitchhike, swim" to get there then?

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Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

Ledswinger
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Re: Get your facts right

Recent polls have shown that, despite all the lies they were fed by the well organised and very well funded anti-EU campaigning groups

Well funded? Well organised? That's some of the finest revisionist history I've ever seen made up on the spot..

The Remain campaign had the entire official weight of all political parties present in Parliament (check the numbers, they're readily available on the web still). It had the full weight of the Establishment, specifically government (as distinct from the political party), the Civil Service, the BBC, the EU itself, the trade union movement, a whole litany of major companies and their bosses (BAES, Vodafone, BT, M&S, Centrica, BP, Easyjet, and others). Even the bearded tax exile, hiding in his wine cellar in the British Virgin Isles was telling the people of the UK to vote Remain. In the very large company I worked at, the CEO of the €90bn turnover foreign parent company flew over and addressed all UK employees and asked them to "make the right decision". The "Leave" campaign was led by that buffoon Bozzer (who was widely reported to be privately a Remainer, but opportunistically taking on the Leave campaign to further his ambitions).

And in terms of UK spending (so not including EU activities) the Electoral Commission concluded that the Remain campaign spent £16.2m, against the Leave campaign's £11.5m. So there was 40% more spent by the Remain campaign - not including the £10m of government spending on the Remain leaflet sent to every household. As for your utterly fucking nonsensical idea that because the Tory government were "leading" the Remain campaign, the Labour party couldn't possibly support that position, and somehow that is "unfair" and favoured the Leave campaign - what are you on? Incidentally, the Labour party was the second largest donor to the Remain campaign, but in your bitterness you might have forgotten that.

So in one respect you are right: It wasn't a fair fight, and that could be seen as undemocratic. But that unfairness was the desire of all those political and corporate bodies, all those 1%ers trying their bloody hardest to impose their view on the British public.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Get your facts right

but according to you, (to paraphrase), "we had a vote so shut up"

I don't think that's a fair paraphrasing in any way at all. I was making the point that there will have been few decisions in world history with better democratic credentials. Even now, the Remain camp are going "Boris lied! Boris lied! Not fair!", when in fact both fucking sides made up all of their arguments. And the entire weight of government, opposition and establishment was arraigned to support the Remain cause. And despite that, the population gave the EU the bird.

So, the simple fact is, the people of Britain want to leave the EU. Rather than using the opinions of a hugely successful businessman who was a Brexiteer to berate him, maybe you should leave that out of the equation. Because otherwise the argument here is PURE FUCKING HYPOCRISY.

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Ledswinger
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Re: cyclonic filter

So he couldn't fit his cyclonic filter to the power plant itself?

Not much point, as the flue gases of any coal station these days go through some very clever electrostatic precipitators. If they used a cyclonic separator you could ultimately make it work, but it'd cost too much to make it work as well as the ESD gear.

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Ledswinger
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Re: You miserablists

I propose a new El Reg unit: One Musk as the threshold of engineering achievement at which bickering reaches zero.

Thank you for that well thought out and amusing riposte! Although funnily enough, Musk is by academic background a physicist, not an engineer. I'd agree we like to "stick it to the man" on anything, even Musk gets cut no slack round here over Hyperloop. Another contributor opined that Dyson hasn't been dead long enough (or even at all) to be appreciated, I suspect that's true as well.

But it was the relentlessness of the criticism of Dyson that got me, such as criticising him for being good at marketing his products, even one or two disparaging comments that Dyson is like Apple, as if that's a bad thing. I'll wager that Franco-British genius IK Brunel was a bloody good economist and a master of spin and salesmanship. If you can't sell it, then other than as a hobby there's no point making it.

Interesting thought experiment for all: Would you be proud to work at Dyson? I bloody would.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ Doctor Syntax

You only have to look at the progressive increase in battery capacity of the Nissan Leaf to see that the range issue is being addressed. Battery makers know that 140 mile range is crap, so do car makers. In large part that's why established car makers *appear* to have been slow on the uptake. But as chemistry improves, and people work out how to fit more cells into a car body we're seeing that range go up. I'm not sure we'll see such rapid progress on charging speeds, but if you can drive 400+ miles between recharges, then the need for frequent and fast charging should be reduced. If you had to charge your car once every week or ten days, would it matter if that was ten hours of overnight slow charging?

Car makers know that (if government objectives are achieved) the phase out of ICE vehicles will not be slow and steady - at some point the costs move in favour of an EV, and then the market will rapidly abandon ICE technology other than for selected use cases, such as (genuine) off road vehicles. It'll mean a collapse in second hand ICE car values, and a panic amongst many owners to avoid being left with an expensive asset they can't use. Government policy may be less significant here than local actions, like city air quality zones that result in outright prohibitions or draconian road charging policies for ICE vehicles.

I'd agree that government actions look like they don't like personal mobility, excepting when its on their slow, crap public transport toys, but I don't think the Tories will actually set a goal of limiting or reducing car ownership. Corbyn, on the other hand would seem quite likely to make this a policy goal, to support his renationalisation of everything programme.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Get your facts right

James Dyson is a multibillionaire who shuttered his UK manufacturing and moved it to the far East.

You obviously missed the point that he actually tried to do his manufacturing in the UK in the first place, despite all efforts of government to make this the most costly business location on earth. Would you rather his products were even more expensive?

I'm all for UK government investment in UK technology, and that money would be much better spent by giving it to a genuine research establishment (e.g a university) than to a private business, where it would also help to train the desperately needed next generation of scientists and engineers

Again, you appear to have missed all that Dyson has done for UK engineering training. His investment in a UK technology institute to become in effect a complete new school of engineering and science, extensive recruitment for degree and regular apprenticeships. Government waffle and achieve nothing, Dyson's doing stuff, out of his own pocket.

who will be so badly harmed by brexit, rather than rewarding someone who selfishly lobbied for brexit because it suits his own tax arrangements.

Oh, god, another remoaner going on-and-fucking-on about Brexit. We had a vote. More people voted than in any previous election, and more people voted leave than for any single referendum or electoral outcome in British history. There will be changes and consequences as a result of Brexit, but the thing is to make the best of it, rather than wringing your hands about what a tragedy it is. I think its quite telling that another privately held company that is globally successful and majors on engineering and UK manufacture (JCB) are also pro-Brexit. The corporate voices clamouring for remain don't appear to have been entrepreneurs, but instead suit wearing corporate accountants, worried that their tax efficient cross border trade arrangements were on the line, or their ability to source cheap labour from Eastern Europe. And channelling all of their on-line sales through tax havens like Luxembourg or Ireland, isn't that because it suits their own tax arrangements - that's different, I take it?

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Ledswinger
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Re: The UK mostly powered by coal?

Your coal based power plant throws away vast amounts of heat

As do gas turbines. Running in combined cycle operation efficiency is better (c58%, cf c52% for older coal plants) and so waste heat is less from CCGT than from coal, but its still there. Unfortunately, the panicked adoption of renewables has added all manner of intermittent generation to the grid, and requires the CCGT to do far more peaky operation, that earns lower overall income. The heat recovery plant for combined cycle operation then isn't always economic to run, because it is fundamentally a parasitic load that needs long spells of continuous operation to make economic. So quite a few UK CCGT aren't running in combined cycle mode even though they have the plant to do it, and when running in open cycle mode they have similar thermal efficiency to a coal plant, and similar heat losses. That isn't as apparent because the cooling medium is the exhaust gases, and therefore there's no need for huge cooling towers and plumes of water vapour. But its still being wasted.

If you can re-use the lower grade waste heat from a CCGT for an industrial process, then you can see plant thermal efficiency rising to 75% (eg the Isle of Grain CCGT, when pumping heat to the National Grid LNG terminal). But that's a niche case, requires the gas turbine running long enough to make the combined cycle economic, heat networks are wildly expensive, and use cases for low grade heat are few and far between. Even Grain CCGT isn't able to achieve that 75% very often, because the LNG demands are very intermittent, and may not coincide with times when the CCGT is running for electricity. My boss at that time was an engineering director who had commissioning and asset management accountability for Grain CCGT; I can assure you that there's no way that the plant would have been built if the pre-investment models had accurately predicted the operating environment, load factors, and wholesale prices. Which is why, despite the need for new build plant, there's no big queue of people wanting to build them.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The UK mostly powered by coal?

Coal dispatchable on request? Pull the other one! It’s slow to fire up and better suited to base load.

Actually it is VERY slow to fire up, but the point is that other than in heavy maintenance you don't let a coal fired station go cold. Ramp up times aren't as fast as a modern CCGT, but the output of coal can be significantly varied through changing the firing rate, and against reasonably predictable patterns of demand coal stations are a really good generating asset.

Yes, we need addional capacity if we have a fully electric transport network, but that’s not going to happen anything like overnight

As an industry insider, I've a good degree of insight on this matter, and the change to EVs is likely to be demand led post 2020, and that changeover will be sudden and dramatic (like the disappearance of CRT displays and TVs). If it weren't for the electricity system constraints, UK car sales would be around 85% EV by around 2030. Post 2020, what sane car maker will spend £5bn developing a new ICE car for European markets? And when the EV volume matches ICE volume, people simply won;'t want the heavily taxed old tech, and suddenly it is in a death spiral of falling economies of scale, low investment, and rising taxes and restrictions as cities rush to ban ICE vehicles (as they've already announced plans to).

It also will increase demand during what is currently off-peak, so won’t need as much extra as they are implying.

Wake and smell the coffee, Steve! Look at the end of life dates for the AGR fleet - 9 GW of baseload power going off line by 2030, with a third of that gone by 2024. And about 15 GW, half of the UK CCGT fleet was built in the 1990s "dash for gas", and is coming to the end of its service life - they were only ever designed for 20-25 years use. The remaining coal plant is becoming less and less economic, and policy is to close it by 2025, so that's another 10 GW of mid merit plant to replace. So those need replacing regardless - and we've got sod all reserve capacity in the system, BEFORE we start adding EV loads. So that's needed regardless.

Now, if the load profile changes to have more off peak demand (which I concur with you that it will), that will require higher peak capacity (unless you can guarantee that nobody will charge their car between 16:00 and 21:00 on a winter evening). And you STILL need to change the asset mix, because the plant that currently runs as peaking plant or festers down at the low-merit end of the curve isn't suitable to run more often - its far too expensive and has high emissions. Personally, I think EDF are (deliberately) being wildly conservative in saying we need 1/3 more generation capacity, because of the issues I've outlined above, and because government policy is also to "decarbonise heat", meaning more use of electric heating systems.

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Alleged dark web drug baron cuffed – after he flew to US for World Beard Championships

Ledswinger
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Re: Distributing drugs from France to anywhere in Europe?

That's what I'd do and i'm *not* a criminal, i'm a boring middle aged random man who just thinks that it would be preferable to not spend the extra hour or two having everything checked. I'm not someone raking in hundreds of thousands on some silk-road style amazon for drugs and the like. I'm just someone who would prefer to minimise time spent in an airport.

Select your preferred response below:

1) He doth protest too much, methinks.

2) That's what they all say.

3) Tell that to the judge.

4) No smoke without fire.

5) Book him, Danno

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Ledswinger
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Re: One more reason to avoid the US

Quotation marks now brand you as a criminal.

Let's wait and see. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would assume that the indictment presumably contains the reasons that the Feds believe there is a case to answer, and doesn't contain the detailed evidence that will form the basis of prosecution?

What we can see from the press reports of the indictment is that they've got reasonable grounds for believing he's been up to no good, and now they're chucking that to a court to decide. You can argue whether the court will give him a fair hearing separately, but procedurally this doesn't look unreasonable?

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Ransomware keeping cops, NHS and local UK gov bods awake at night

Ledswinger
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Re: 'The Digital World has gone at a steep curve'

The interesting thing here is that the Cyberrozzer-in-chief confidently tells us "every year the key cyber threat has changed significantly. But next year, I confidently predict that the threat will be the same as this years".

How convincing does that sound?

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Microsoft gives all staff a marked-up 'Employee Edition' of Satya Nadella's new book

Ledswinger
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Re: And at the same time, not so Good

But have they no risk management processes in place?

Books of pompous, self-aggrandising tripe like this are boring beyond any form of scientific measure. Doling them out to the unfortunate employees could be very dangerous. What happens if somebody slips into a coma as a result of reading the drivel for too long? What about the wider impact on employee well-being and mental health? What if the vile, upbeat monotony of the prose trips somebody over the edge and they go postal? What if abandoned copies of the volume create new fire or trip hazards?

I wonder if Microsoft's employees will be expected to read this, and if so, will that be in working hours, or as paid overtime? Even then, it's pretty degrading, exposing them to the vacuous thoughts of the PHB in chief.

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In a surprise to no one, BT and TalkTalk top Ofcom's whinge-list

Ledswinger
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Re: Regulator needs to damn well regulate.

If that doesn't bring about some improvement, nothing will.

Contrary to popular income, telecoms retailing is a fairly low net margin business - less than 4% PBT margin for Talk Talk last year, and they thought that a good performance

So any material refund of customers bills would bring about two bankruptcies each quarter. Obviously assets and customers would get bought up by a vulture fund, or a competitor under SoLR rules that Ofcom probably have. But would that get you more competition and better service? I think not.

There are other remedies Ofcom should consider - like restricting new customer sales. I can assure you that REALLY frightens services retailers.

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