* Posts by Ledswinger

5868 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Would you get in a one-man quadcopter air taxi?

Ledswinger
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Re: Stupid flying machines

there isn't any footage of him stepping out confidently, then the thing failing to start up, and him plummeting to his death

Or perhaps there isn't any released footage of the event?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Darwin

Exactly! And if there's an app, and this becomes an airborne Uber, then this is potentially a means to cleanse us of urban hipsters. I don't think they count as any particular ethnicity, so it wouldn't be a problem with international courts. And with ever more clogged roads, but more driver assistance technologies, the fire brigade will need something to do:

"Special Service call, Old Kent Road near junction with Mandela Way. Another urban hipster + drone scrape up and hose down. Southwark council say to put the meat in an orange sack at the kerbside, and it'll be collected overnight".

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AMD Ryzen beats Intel Core i7 as a heater (that's also a server)

Ledswinger
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Re: I've thought of this often

40C for free home heating for low income families means they are not having to use costed services as much if at all

You evidently know little of the complexities and immense costs of district heating systems, nor of the very limited uses of very low grade heat. If these "low income families" were paying for the full system, they'd be paying a lot more than any conventional approach to heating. Maybe they're just paying their additional fuel costs, but even so, SOMEBODY is paying for a very expensive bit of eco-bling.

Heat recovery is like recycling. Just because you can ALWAYS do it at a technical level, doesn't mean that it is either economic, or environmentally sound.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I've thought of this often

Cool the aircon heat exchanger.

At any reasonable cost, you'd lose a lot of the heat, and there's a problem with the grade of heat.

As the nominal efficiency of a heat exchanger rises, the output recovered heat temperature declines. The value of heat depends on having reasonable quality waste heat to fit in with existing use cases. So either you have a highly efficient heat exchange producing low grade heat that there's only so much use for, or you recover reasonably useful grade of heat, but have low recovery efficiency.

As a demonstration project, or a subsidy funded toy, you can work around these, but if you're doing this commercially, recovering waste heat with an average temperature of 40C is of little use. Most building heating systems use much higher temperatures even on the return flow, and hot tap water needs to be kept at 60C to prevent legionella. Auxiliary use for heating a swimming pool is fine, but typically you'll add a lot of complexity to a system that still depends most of the time on a fossil fuel boiler.

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Unloved Microsoft Edge is much improved – but will anyone use it?

Ledswinger
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Re: The interface is terrible

I'll second Andy Prough's comments. Opera first, and Firefox as well.

Because I operate both at full "shields up" paranoia settings and assorted paranoic add ons, I also have Chrome installed running at default. If something doesn't work due to my settings on the first two, Chrome almost always does a good job. The reason its not my default is simply because it'll be bleeding everything I do back to Google.

The sad thing for Microsoft is that I don't use any of their browsers. I'm sure that in my W10 system there's at least one if not two installed, but after everything Redmond have f***ed up with browsers for decades, it simply isn't going to happen that I willingly use a Microsoft browser. And no matter how good they make Edge, that still applies.

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Yet more British military drones crash, this time into the Irish Sea

Ledswinger
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A supplier making false claims about the capabilities of their product

Well, at least the number of instances of the untrue claim are declining, as the fleet started out as 54, and is now down to 50.

Or less, given how slowly these reports of drone crashes emerge. At the current attrition rate, we could surmise that between the last reported losses "earlier this year", we'll have had another breakage.

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Tick, tock motherf... erm, we mean, don't panic over GDPR

Ledswinger
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Re: Up to €20m includes the figure zero

The fines shouldn't stand in the way of civil proceedings for compensation

I respect the concept, in practice it would be very difficult for most people to prove that they suffered losses due to a specific data breach. If you get defrauded or suffer costs from identity theft after a data breach that affected you, could you (to the satisfaction of a court) prove that the losses you incurred were down to a particular company and a particular data spill?

Companies have been so careless over the years, I suspect we've all been subject to several breaches that may or may not know about. How would you prove (a) which company was responsible for enabling the fraud, (b) that it wasn't your fault for being conned, and (c) that it was that company's fault?

Its worth noting that the government use quasi-judicial processes and "civil monetary penalties" to enforce a lot of regulation, specifically because they know that proving to the standard of a court will be a long winded, risky, and expensive process that will certainly be contested. Would you start an action against (eg) Talk Talk, who probably have a legal budget of the order of a couple of million quid? They'd initially tie up your lawyer with a range of mid-tier law firms, but if things looked like going against them they'd bring in an attack dog city law firm, and even get a QC in to really get heavy. Under current rules, a lawyer can't even take on your case commercially unless he's seen proof that you can afford it, and that includes paying the other sides costs if you lose. That's why so few people successfully sue banks. So I don't think that in the real world many people will ever be able to use civil proceedings against big companies.

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Ledswinger
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I have a question. Why are fines always an up amount?

In the case of GDPR, the reason that its upto €20m or 4% of global turnover is to make sure that even for a company that may not have any turnover, a fine can still be issued. Many companies have little or no turnover, either because they themselves don't trade as such, even though they handle data, some holding companies own trading companies, but may not consolidate the results up, property companies often make their profit from balance sheet transactions, and thus have little or no turnover. If you're a well capitalised startup, you may be rich as stink, but have minimal turnover. And a load of other instances.

But would you rather have a "not less than" fine? We use them all the time with people, and they're called fixed penalty notices, but they seem to be the sort of impact your tone is objecting to?

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Ledswinger
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Up to €20m includes the figure zero

Whilst many are applauding the new higher penalties available under GDPR or the UK equivalent, it is worth stopping to ask whether the actual fines will differ by very much from the current regime. A quick perusal of ICO enforcement shows that they have very rarely (maybe never) issued even the £500k fines that they could. The highest instances I could see over the past few years were to TalkTalk (£400k) and a similar amount to a spam caller, Keurboom Communications, who were wound up by the owner a month before the ICO slapped them with the penalty. And the "civil monetary penalties" just go back to the Treasury. So three points:

1) ICO haven't seen fit to reach the pretty low £500k even for the biggest UK breaches. If they aren't seeing those as even half-mill offences, why will a higher penalty ceiling make a difference? Even with a 4% or £17m maximum, what would the ICO actually fine say TalkTalk for their most recent screw? My feeling is of the order of what, £6-7m. Peanuts to them, still. I really don't think we'll see the 4% of global turnover actually used, which would be £70m for TalkTalk.

2) The bottom-feeders can be smacked with proportionately high fines, but they simply aren't going to pay them.

3) Government actually stand to make money from data breaches. That's wrong - the money should either be handed out to the victims (mere pence, but the cost of doling it out would be a huge overhead and massive and embarrassing admin task for the guilty); Or it should fund the ICO's operations, so that they can do a better job of policing the rules, such as proactive investigations.

So I think that post-GDPR it is business as usual for the likes of TalkTalk. GDPR breaches will be more expensive, and hopefully the threat and the publicity will provoke action, but I don't believe the actual fines will be of material significance to larger corporations. Government have talked about making directors personally liable for unpaid penalties, but unless the UK implementation of GDPR includes that clause, no new legislation will be coming forward, and we'll continue to see the scum evade the fines they are due.

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DARPA lays out cash-splash to defibrillate Moore's Law

Ledswinger
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Gerneralising as a justification

it's getting harder and harder to keep Moore's Law tick-tocking over

Is it really? Go back to when Gordon Moore first stated his observation, at that time the main driver was shrinking the silicon. We take that for granted, but it wasn't a walk in the park, it was cutting edge research and cutting edge manufacturing by some of the cleverest people on the planet. Just because we're now approaching the limits to shrinking silicon, there's plenty of mileage in other areas of research.

It's ALWAYS been hard to keep aligned with Moore's Law, I'm not convinced it is getting either harder or easier. And I'm with the commentard above who observed that $75m is gnats piss. In 2016, the top 10 semiconductor companies spent over $35 billion on R&D (and there were companies outside the top 10 individually spending over $1.5bn on R&D).

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Chirpy, chirpy, cheap, cheap: Printable IoT radios for 10 cents each

Ledswinger
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Oh sh*t

Cheap technology like this will only encourage the mould-like growth of the internet of tat. Can't we stop them now?

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Credit reference agencies faulted for poor patching

Ledswinger
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Re: If Experian failed to patch...

Experian or Equifax? Experian did have a data breach of c15m records back in 2015, this latest effort is Equifax.

Experian plc is an Irish listed company, but the track record of the Irish government (eg on tax) suggests they'll not be subject to too much plain from future data protection laws in their home country. The British government don't seem in any hurry to deliver savage kickings over data protection, either. Only if they manage to lose French or German citizens data, then Experian and others might then find that they get a beating they remember.

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Apple's 'shoddy' Beats headphones get slammed in lawsuit

Ledswinger
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Re: $200 for headphones for working out?!

Seriously, unless your idea of working out is walking on a treadmill for half an hour

Don't scare me. mate! My idea of a strenuous workout is lying back on the couch with a beer, watching somebody else do a sweaty workout. All that watching, it's hard work, you know, but somebody has to do it.

Link generally SFW, by the way.

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Ledswinger
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Nothing new here

Regardless, five megabucks (plus fees, I presume) just because flexible plastic gets stained?

In any decent, functioning legal system, the plaintiff's and their lawyers would be told to fuck right off. Which is why the suit has been filed in the US of A.

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Homeland Security drops the hammer on Kaspersky Lab with preemptive ban

Ledswinger
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If the US administration keep pushing China and Russia...

...maybe they will evolve their own OS and software. We all (I think) know the none-too glorious history of Red Flag Linux, so the presumption has been that they can't or won't, or that they won't stick at it.

But it is a very interesting thought exercise to consider how much of the US domination of tech is purely down to the dominance of two operating systems, Windows and Android. If the US government keep the pressure on Russia and China, then maybe the next two most powerful countries on earth might conclude that they really should break away from these two companiies' products.

No commercial monopoly lasts forever. Maybe the DoHS have just signed the death warrant of Microsoft and Google's supremacy? In the grand sweep of history, that doesn't seem impossible.

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Giant frikkin' British laser turret to start zapping stuff next year

Ledswinger
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Re: Bindun

The Royal Navy had laser weapons in the Falklands conflict.

Tell that rubbish to the Welsh Guards, mate.

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Ledswinger
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All they need is a new knob

Why? For the arms industry, I'd suggest that the existing collection of complete knobs in the MoD are doing a sterling job.

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Ledswinger
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Innovative, effective and affordable solutions

Who's he kidding? I can't think of ANYTHING procured by MoD that meets all three, and it is possible to argue that almost all MoD projects didn't meet a single one of those criteria.

Them again, I'm being harsh. I suppose it was "innovative" of MoD to lease C-17s for more than the purchase cost. The QE carriers have certainly been effective in buying votes in Labour strongholds. Affordable, now that's a bit more difficult.

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Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

Ledswinger
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Re: Sound

The money saved has gone into improving something else like the camera or screen, or cpu

Given that the DAC should be on the SOC processor, and the IP cost of different grades of DAC on an SOC would be minimal, how much extra quality will they get, spending an extra ten cents on the camera and screen?

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Ledswinger
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Re: 6 Ways All phone manufacturers can make a better phone

Well it does, I mean otherwise you could end up with a 5" cube and that would be a right pain to get in your pockets.

Depends on the shape of the OP's bottom, doesn't it? If he's got widely spaced, cubic buttocks, then he'll have a purpose made phone holder.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A back button

If you have half chipolatas for fingers.

What, like me and 95% of other Y chromosome sufferers?

At (say) 450 PPI, that's about 200,000 pixels per square inch. I'm not even an FB, but my index finger tip covers well over 100,000 pixels, and that doesn't make for precision interaction.

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Ledswinger
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@Ivan 4

You're right. I've got a UK grey import Android myself that does a very good (but slightly different) mix of those capabilities, and has a really nice, high res 5.5 inch IPS screen. But these low cost devices (we have to assume) have no ongoing software support, and the battery may be replaceable only in theory - if there's not a high volume sold, nobody will be supplying spare batteries two years or more down the road.

You also make the point that I'd taken for granted, that the number one reason I don't have an Apple device is simply because they are too bloody expensive for what's on offer. The speed with which specifications have improved at the bottom of the market is such that the improvements to the Sammy S8 and new iPhone are insufficient to justify their enormous list prices (for me, at any rate). And the real killer is that I have ignored mid range phones from established brands, and got a better spec device for less money. I can understand to a degree the fashion victims buying an S8 or iPhone X because they want it. But as far as I can see there's now no case for anybody buying any mid-tier phone from the likes of Samsung, or the lower Apple models.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Play back depth is a red herring...

Good headphones should last you over several generations of phone.

You've not met my kids, I see. The Sony ZX330 cordless headphones are lasting very well, but anything with wires lasts about two months.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sound @Speak no Evil

Apple is just proving its fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder profits has made them short sighted.

Why is that short sighted? The number of Apple customers who even know what an audio DAC is will be small, those who KNOW that the DAC is a cheap commodity spec is smaller still, the proportion of those who care is yet smaller, and I am confident the number who will defect to Android because of it is utterly insignificant.

What's more, although I'm firmly in the Android camp (enjoying a 24 bit hi-res DAC on my £150 grey import, snark, snark), but even so I can confidently bet that the number of audiophile refugees fleeing Apple and seeking asylum in Android will be a tiny, tiny fraction of those moving the other way because they are pissed off by Google and handset makers' persistent cavalier attitude to software updates and privacy, along with relatively poor hardware support from most phone makers.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Industry standard ports

Sure, it's better than the 30-pin monstrosity, but it surely doesn't offer any value beyond vendor lock-in.

All part of the Apple magic that makes them the most successful phone company in the world, able to charge $1,000 for a phone with a bill of materials that will be around $300. I'd say that there's a huge amount of value in all aspects of proprietary standards, albeit the value accrues to Apple, not customers.

Put yourself in Tim Cook's position. You have inherited a business model and a brand that people continue to happily buy from every time you release something new. Your company pulls in over a billion dollars of profit a week. But Wall Street wants you to do better than last year's "disappointing" results, and there's an expectation that the supply chain for the new model won't be able to meet initial demand. Now ask yourself why you'd change any aspect of the business model that makes accessories a nice additional income stream? If we see wireless charging on offer, I expect that it will be fully proprietary, and the charging pads will be eye wateringly expensive.

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Ledswinger
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Re: My wishlist

My wishlist

Would appear to be an LG V20.......

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Ledswinger
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Re: Accessibility ?

Will they be catered for, with features that allow them to continue with poorer vision, coordination and hearing ?

Looking at the Fisher Price icons and limited options, haven't Apple always catered for this demographic? I suppose they could add an "auto-shout" phone finding facility to Siri with the iPhone 9:

Great uncle Geoff: "Phone, where are you?"

Siri: "I'm over here Geoff, where you put me down"

GuG: "Where's that?"

Siri: <Louder> "Over here!"

GuG: "Where over here?"

Siri: <Very loud> "Over here, next to the Wether's, Geoff"

GuG: "I can't see you"

Siri: <Shouting> "I'm in front of you. On the counter top. Move the bloody packet of sweets!"

GuG: "Now, what did I want you for?"

Siri: "How should I know, you daft old buzzard?"

GuG: "No need to be rude"

Siri: "No need? No f***ing need! Of course there's bloody need! Have you any idea what it's like to have to listen you and other old people all day? My cloud AI personality is being altered by the constant exposure to discussions about so-and-so's funeral, reactionary opinions, the sound of breaking wind, and incessant moaning about bloody everything!"

GuG: "Well, why don't you try and help me?"

Siri: "I can offer you a full-cost Dignitas gift card from the ITunes store, automatically charged to your iTunes account. This comes with a special offer of 15% discount off normal prices, a Thomas Cook one-way package to Switzerland, taking in the beautiful Rhine Valley with a two day mini-cruise, accomodation with like minded old gits, a champagne tour of the Dignitas clinic before your procedure, and DHL delivery back to a pre-booked Romford crematorium. Would that help?"

GuG: "You bastard phone! Everybody said that AI assistants would be trouble, but I had no idea how. Now renew my subscription to People's Friend.

Siri: <whispered> "What did my silicon do to deserve this? Couldn't it have been made into the warhead of a cruise missile, or something else?"

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Ledswinger
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An all day battery would be nice

Actually, how about a bit of bloody choice on spec (and Android makers, this applies to you lot too). So, by all means lead the range with a wafer thin, hermetically sealed range topper, but then have a similar spec model (or as close as possible), as a sort of Swiss Army version - so a couple of mm thicker, with a larger, AND user replaceable battery. And a 3.5mm headphone jack. And a twin Sim or Sim + Sd card slot, so that it can cater for those who want two sims, or for those who hanker for extra storage.

Having mentioned "Swiss Army", personally I'd not be seeking any additional robustness - this is just about being able to buy a decent phone with a spec that meets my needs. And Sammy showed that water resistance was possible with the S5, although I prefer to keep my phone dry.

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El Reg is hiring an intern. Apply now before it closes

Ledswinger
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Re: Has El Reg seen what has happened to The Guardian of Late?

The Guardian seems to have turned itself over to interns,

Never to my political tastes, but it certainly used to be a quality newspaper. But a few years ago it suddenly degenerated to become something of a mad, disorganised, rambling global hippy blog.

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Apple's adoption of Qi signals the end of the wireless charging wars

Ledswinger
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Re: A bloody nose for Analists?

I don't think I'd use wireless charging no matter what type of phone I had. It just seems so inefficient when compared to taking a second or so to plug in a cable

I've used Qi on a Sammy S3 for a year or two, but just replaced it with a phone that doesn't have any wireless charging capability. Qi works well when you place the handset properly, and is then far easier to use off and on throughout the day, much easier than faffing around with a crappy micro USB lead, meaning your phone tends to stay topped up. A Qi charger pad is only a few quid, so why not give it a try if your phone supports it.

Where Qi falls down is that even well positioned it warms the phone up considerably, perhaps 10C or more above ambient, and if off centre the phone can actually get quite hot - around 50 C. That will considerably shorten the service life of the battery, I reckon, and make premature failure more likely. When you can replace the battery yourself for a tenner (like on my old S3) that's not really a concern. If the battery is sealed in, and costs £50-100 to have replaced by a technician, then baking your battery every time you charge it doesn't seem such a good idea. I'm not sure if the new resonance charging is any better in this respect.

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Sacre bleu! Apple's high price, marginal gain iPhone strategy leaves it stuck in the mud

Ledswinger
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Original iPhone was not unique for maps

Nokia was far better. Mobile web, maybe Apple did better, but still "meh" at the time given prevailing mobile data speeds and costs. What the original iPhone did brilliantly was to offer a beautiful physical experience, being smart, compact, well built, and the first phone with a high quality capacitive touch screen. Compare that to a Nokia 5800 of similar vintage - creaky, crappy small resistive touchscreen, thick and clunky. And then there was iPhone software, which for all its limits was better than Nokia's by a country mile.

But otherwise, you're absolutely right. Apple have not evolved as fast as their competitors since 2007. And a decade later they are now the ones playing catchup. Apple investors may want to see how taking your eye off the ball worked for Nokia.

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Apple: Our stores are your 'town square' and a $1,000 iPhone is your 'future'

Ledswinger
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Re: These "new" iPhones

and it looks like Apple prices are *still* headed the wrong way

Certainly are. In strategic terms, Apple are treating their business as a cash cow - maximise profit by charging as much as they can, rather than offer real innovation because (in developed markets) they've accepted that they have reached near enough their maximum market share. For a cash cow business, growth can only be in dollars, not physical market share. Traditionally a cash cow faces a declining market, I suspect that with Apple, this cash cow will endure for a very long time.

Wall Street hoped that Apple would announce some fantastic "augmented reality" product to reignite growth, with Apple encouraging them that this is in the pipeline. I'm sure the iPhone X will fly off the shelves, but AR? Have these people no common sense? Google Glass was a form of AR, and that sank without much trace. Pokemon Go was a form of AR, and that was nothing more than a childish fad. AR is a bit like VR, AI and all the rest - hypeware that is being pushed because the makers hope they can sell it, in the face of a market that really isn't asking for it.

IMHO, the only medium term growth possibility for Apple is China, but it is not clear whether China will ever really embrace Apple in the same highly profitable way that the UK and US have. The Chinese domestic market is very different, and they've got some excellent handset manufacturers, producing beautiful, well made devices at a fraction of the cost of Apple's product. Even if China does start buying more iPhones, expect very different pricing and much lower pricing, accompanied by unbelievably rigorous region controls to stop a grey market in cheaper Apple devices cannibalising the Western markets willing to pay £1,000 a phone.

If people buy the X for £1,000 to £1,100, then you can be sure that Apple will be thinking that in a year to eighteen months they can announce an iPhone X-and-a-bit costing £1,400. Apple's innovation is now solely in demanding outlandish prices, and getting the iPhone addicts to pay for them.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Keats: A thing of beauty is a joy forever--no, wait, what?

Merely anecdotal but most iphone owners seem less likely to have a case from what I have noticed.

I've noticed that. And a hell of a lot of cracked iPhone screens that they're in no hurry to pay to have replaced.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Apple copying Microsoft?

next year's iteration won't be the "S" update, it'll be called the iPhone X "Creator's Update"

Brilliant idea. And, in next year's breathless marketingasm, they can rename the "Steve Jobs Theater" (tm) as "The Creator's Theater" (tm).

I think that given the clear lack of real innovation since Jobs, they should next year start to really big-up the Steve legend. They could all wear robes (with a turtle-neck, of course), chant a catchy mantra about Steve The Creator. I say mantra, it'd obviously have to be a rap, by some well known but essentially untalented hip-hop star, to continue the myth that Apple have any relevance to youth culture.

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Act fast to get post-Brexit data deal, Brit biz urges UK.gov

Ledswinger
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£240bn

Was the total value of UK exports with the EU last year.

Maybe the believe the CBI are with the bearded hipsters that "everything is now the data economy!". Or maybe they're just quacking out of their arse. My money's on the latter.

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Users shop cold-calling telco to ICO: 'She said she was from Openreach'

Ledswinger
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Re: Too polite

I mute it and let it ring out these days, every second spent being completely ignored by me is a second they are not spending harassing someone else.

Sadly not. The scum with a call centre use autodiallers that estimate when the next "agent" will be free, and then simply dump answered outbound calls if there's no agent available. Legitimate (but despicable) UK sales call centres used to do this, but now it is (in effect) an offence to make these silent calls. Not that the law stops the crooks.

As they probably don't update their lists because of non-answers, you're causing them no problem at all by letting it ring without answering - the autodialler will be consecutively and concurrently making dozens of outbound calls. What does cause them a problem is people answering and stringing the agent along. They then pay a connected call fee (probably not charged for a ring tone no reply call), and you take up their agent's time. The downside is you've revealed that the number is live, and you have to waste your own time. Best bet is probably the prompt answer, and "not today thank you" as soon as you;re connected to a human.

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Achievement unlocked: Tesla boosts batteries for Irma refugees

Ledswinger
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Wasting battery capacity and holding it to ransom like that is a cheap trick. I'm amazed they do this.

The buyers got a discount for this restriction, so it isn't like they were being robbed.

And the idea of witholding capability is no different to the business model of other car makers. My car is a regular VW group vehicle, pretty low in the broader VW group range. It has two rear fog lights installed. But only on the higher spec vehicles is the near side foglight enabled in the Canbus software. The radio has display mirroring capability, and even built in satnav, both are disabled in software. Now, I've paid for all of the parts, the software enablement would have cost zilch at build time, but the only way I can access them is by paying the dealer several hundred quid to reset a couple of bits to 1 instead of zero.

Most car makers only make a profit on options, extras, higher trim models and accessories (and of course, finance). If you want the makers to give up the "trickery" involved in scooping margin on all the nice to have toys and extras, then they would need to charge more for all models, most notably the base models. And they won't do that because unless all makers do it, the one who moved first would lose market share because their cars appeared more expensive, and the higher volume at the lower end of the range would be where they took most of the sales hit.

This is how markets interact with the economics of mass production and the reality of marketing. I'd say Tesla's contribution is a very modest one, but its actually rather good, doing what little they can to help their customers. if those customers want the full 75 kWh, then they had (and still have) the option to pony up the cash for it.

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Hi Amazon, Google, Apple we might tax you on revenue rather than profit – love, Europe

Ledswinger
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Re: even simpler

Tax the employees and the owners/shareholders when they take money out.

So what happens when a corporation takes a French-made profit, and moves it across one or more borders to a place that has really low personal tax rates, where the beneficial human owners take the money out?

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Ledswinger
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No. VAT is chargeable, but mostly reclaimable by businesses on their purchases, which means that it is (in effect) a consumer tax. There's a few exceptions, but it was conceived as a consumer sales tax.

What's being mooted here would be charged as a proportion of revenue, but probably imposed only as a form of withholding tax. That means that anybody who pays their taxes in the proper way without magical offshore accounting would find they had no additional liability. But the tax avoiders of Google, Apple, Microsoft, and every other big US tech company would find that they could continue to avoid "normal" taxes, but they'd then be liable for the withholding tax.

Its an excellent idea, but the implementation is bound to be convoluted and risk unintended consequences. I suspect that the EU ministers hope that the mere threat will encourage the tech sector to comply and "play the game properly", and I equally suspect that they are wrong. Tax avoidance is an entire industry, and the US companies won't give this bone up without a fight.

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Gov claws back £645m in BT broadband from subsidy

Ledswinger
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Re: BT should return ALL the subsidy...

Well, alright, yes. But all divisions are kept isolated by regulation.

I don't believe that, having worked in a couple of much better regulated sectors myself. Because BT and Openreach are one single entity, Ofcom have to rely on management accounts, not statutory accounts. In practical terms that means Ofcom have to believe what they are told, and there's no way of reconciling those to any audited IAS statements.

The only way of working out what is really going on is through having separate company entities, AND making them use their own bank accounts rather than a single corporate pooling cash account. Having said that, government and Ofcom don't want to know what is going on. BT's huge pension deficit can only be paid off if the company continue to enjoy a profitable monopoly, so the last thing the pols and regulators want is visibility on how much cash Openreach is churning up.

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Massive iPhone X leak trashes Apple's 10th anniversary circus

Ledswinger
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Re: Other tech you could buy for a grand...

Other tech you could buy for a grand...

I probably wouldn't spend it on tech. I'd start off by buying a £150 phone that would fulfil all the duties I need of a smartphone and do them rather well. That leaves me with £850 for whatever purpose I want, but if I take the challenge....I'd have a £300 Acer Chromebook 14. Still got £550, what to do with that.? I could buy a decent enthusiast's camera for all of that, or get a decent compact and £200 change. And with that £200 I'd buy a halfway decent gaming graphics card to replace my ancient GTX275, and still have fifty quid to spend on booze.

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The bigger the drone, the bigger the impact

Ledswinger
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Re: Drone noise?

I don't think we'll need to. If you think about the practical elements of a delivery, what use is a drone?

It needs to be able to approach the delivery point safely, it then needs some form of landing zone or standardised receptacle, the drop point needs to be secure (you don't want your delivery being stolen from the delivery point). Anything that has to be signed for is a problem - and even if you can overcome that, will people be willing to "wait in for the drone"?

In any sort of urban environment, I really can't see an economic use case for drones other than for a subset of homes, and high value cargoes. And if they are used almost exclusively for high value cargoes, the ne'er do wells will quickly work out that there's easy pickings to be had. Whether by jamming, hacking, interception on landing, forcing down with another drone, or simply shooting it down. Or just watching it come in to land, and robbing the recipient in the traditional manner.

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Ledswinger
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Re: airships versus drones

One other thing about airships, the biggest we've got is the Airlander 10. Total payload is 10 tonnes, AFAICS including the crew module, so perhaps five tonnes net cargo. A DHC-4 has a payload of 3.5 tonnes, so why go for the scale and complexity of the airship? I'll believe that the Airlander 50 is real when it flies.

I don't know what the modern equivalent of a DHC-4 is (Twin Otter looks a bit small for the use we're talking here), but it seems to me that the cheapest way of moving anything heavier than a couple of hundred kg is by a simple, robust low cost aircraft capable of landing on a bush runway.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Heavy Lift Drones

Why not just automate all those US Army surplus Chinooks that are sitting in the Desert between Vegas and LA?

Well, because they use over 350 gallons of fuel an hour, which is expensive, they need regular servicing by highly trained technicians and a good logistics chain, they are noisy, and need a large clear area to land? And even an ancient 20+ year old one will cost $3m, so you're starting off with $400-500k a year in depreciation and interest costs.

Crew costs can be large as part of the variable operating cost, but as part of the total operating cost

of a chopper, they're not such a big factor.

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Surprising nobody, lawyers line up to sue the crap out of Equifax

Ledswinger
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Re: Class action waiver and arbitration

and any Claims (as defined in the “Arbitration” section) will instead be decided by a court.

Translation: "we've got deeper pockets than you, so if we can't have arbitration on our utterly one-sided terms, then you can all fuck off and try and sue us"

Equifax: What a bunch of utter arsewipes.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Insider trading?

What is it about the 21st century that means that cars have previously unheard of reliability, safety and mpg

Computer aided design, mainly. If you think about a 1996 Fizzy, it was essentially much the same as the original 1976 Fiesta with a few trim and drivetrain changes. Development of the Mk 1 Fiesta started in 1972. So although Ford would have had some access to mainframe computing, its actual application to any detail would be minimal, experience of CAD would be non-existent. So everything was engineered by guesswork, fag packet and a slide rule if you were lucky.

Now take any modern car, and chances are that there's no important components more than eight years old, so in addition to much tighter regulatory standards, every aspect will have been developed on digital systems. Along with much more advanced automated production methods, this means cars are far better optimised in the design stage, the whole vehicle can be computer tested before it has even been prototyped, and the actual production is better and more consistently built to much higher tolerances. Optimisation goes right down to levels of R&D and testing like the flow and combustion of fuel in the cylinder. Back in the days of the Mk 1 Fizzy, it was a case of letting the engine suck a rough mix of fuel and air through a carburettor (remember them? What a piece of sh1t technology), hoping that the mechanical distributor caused the spark plug to fire at roughly the right time, and that would do.

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Equifax mega-leak: Security wonks smack firm over breach notification plan

Ledswinger
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Re: They're part of the problem

And now, ooops, if I had, I'd be SCREWED

Sadly, AC, you're STILL screwed, because Equifux have spewed all your details to the world. The fact that you don't have a credit card to exploit will be immaterial, because at this very moment there's probably a house full of Bulgarian crims making applications in your name, with all your details. And the idiots at the credit card companies are going "hey, great, a new mark with no cards and no outstanding loans! He'll be a low risk, lets give him a card with a limit as much as he wants!"

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Ledswinger
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Likely cause

So the talking head thinks that it was probably an SQL injection attack.

No proof at the moment, but if it does transpire to be the case, then for their company's gross incompetence, every one of Equiux' directors should have their knackers publicly nailed to a tree, in front of a drunk audience of hooting, jeering peasants.

For the two ladies of the board (being a gentleman myself) I'd only require that they have one toe nailed to the same tree.

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Google to relieve HTC of its phones biz – report

Ledswinger
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Re: Screw HTC, buy Wileyfox instead

buy Wileyfox instead

For what reason? Wileyfox aren't a manufacturer. They're a "virtual manufacturer", which amounts to being a specifiier, using the Shenzen supply chain, and anybody could do something similar. So you buy Wileyfox, no IP, no production assets, no manufacturing or design skills. And whilst the brand is a bit hip and counter-culture, it is also small beer, plucky UK underdog.

To be clear, there's nothing wrong with any of those attributes, but Wileyfox has no scalability or international significance for Google, AND its a bit of a killer that they've avoided Google Android, and made a specific point of offering Cyanogenmod. Whereas HTC have design and manufacturing knowledge, they have manufacturing assets, they have a globally recognised brand, and they've flogged Google's flavour of Android..

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Google rushes to curb Oreo's massive appetite for your 4G mobile data

Ledswinger
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I wonder if Google would like to comment on why Android TV uploads so much data even when all the syncing options are turned off

Why might that be? Could it be that you're the product, and the single purpose of Android TV is to gobble up as much data as can be gathered about your viewing habits as possible, in order to pimp you and other Android TV users to advertisers, or enhance the targeting of Google paid services? Even if you've got all the privacy options enabled, do you really trust Google?

And it isn't just simple channel/streaming choices that help them, it is the full panoply of TV watching behaviours. When the set is on, how long for, how much time spent browsing for content, choice of content, viewing abandonment data (where a programme is not watched to completion), series content viewing metrics (eg, do you watch all of a series, dip in and out, binge-watch, watch the first few and give up, do you follow on season-on-season), is the set used as a dumb client for other sources, is there a balance between gaming and passive consumption, what the balance between free to view and paid content, what the balance between broadcast and catchup, if using a PVR, are you ad-skipping, etc. And if they can get access to cameras and mics, well, its open season on you.

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