A tech company with Ethics?
Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather.
Well done O2! (who's broadband service was also excellent before they sold it).
15 posts • joined 18 Dec 2017
Oh dear. Is it a slow news day?
At the risk of sounding pious, I stopped sniggering at this kind of thing at some point during my time at primary school.
It really doesn't do anything for the image of people in the industry other than reinforce the view that most IT Professionals are socially stunted.
The inevitable downvotes will probably demonstrate my point for me.
You don't need to know anything about the subject matter in order to manage a project, whether that's managing a new baby or managing a house-building project, it's all just management. It's fatal for a project manager to get bogged down in the boring details. Not knowing anything about the subject matter enables them to properly focus on the higher level aspects of "Managing the project"
Anyway, just off for a beer after telling mine that two-line code change will take two weeks of exhaustive problem solving and testing.
Whilst Trevor Baylis' wind up radio did wonders for people in Africa being able to listen to the radio, I would question whether the actual 'wind-up' design deserved a patent.
As I recall, one of the conditions of being granted a patent is along the lines of the design should be sufficiently unique and of sufficient ingenuity that it would not be an obvious solution to someone involved in the relevant discipline - in this case, electronic engineering. Attaching a clockwork (not original) dynamo (not original) to an existing device in order to power it is neither.
If he re-designed the radio circuitry to be considerably lower power than what was available at the time (I seem to remember this may possibly have been the case), then that could be considered to be of sufficient ingenuity for a patent and a completely different matter, but not for sticking a clock mechanism with a dynamo in the battery compartment.
The 'clockwork radio' concept was clever in that it identified a market for a product that everyone else seemed to have overlooked and Mr Baylis deserves credit for that, but that's not what patents are for.
I'm too lazy to look at the patent application, but those shouting that the actual 'wind-up' part was genius and deserved a patent seem to fit into the current american model of applying (and often getting) patents for mundane and obvious solutions, which is becoming a major problem for those wishing to truly innovate these days.
BTW, I take it all those giving examples of the open source community being a shining example of why we should abandon patents and evil capitalism will be refusing their salary at the end of the month and won't mind when there are no medicines to treat them when they get alzheimers or parkinson's or various cancers in later life. There are serious problems with the patent system, but the principal of people or organizations getting a return on their investment (or even, shock horror, making a profit) is a morally just one.
Maybe Robin's just fed up with clueless managers imposing the next silver bullet they've read about in mangler's weekly in order to pad out their CV and thinking that by shouting 'DEVOPS' (or whatever the current fashion is) at every opportunity, everyone (their own managers in particular) will think they know what they're talking about.
On the positive side, I've had a very pleasant time with PlusNet (yes, I know, evil BT) and also O2 a few years back before they were bought by Sky. In both cases, I had to make a techy call, and the person on the other end knew their stuff and solved the problem quickly - and the PlusNet guy was a real yorkshireman too (The O2 guy was a geordie). The service is reliable and I've had no speed issues.
Contrast that with my well-deserved appalling customer service experience when I switched to TalkTalk. - Half an hour trying to explain to someone in India that they had one digit of my sort code wrong causing them to try and charge me for a failed DD. The language barrier was just painful and eventually the line just went dead (no fault of mine, I managed to stay very polite throughout). Served me right for being tight fisted.
You get what you pay for. My current contract is £40/mth and I'm happy with that if I know I can actually communicate with someone should the need arise.
I'm not an investment manager but I often wonder if the folks who make these kind of decisions have any connection with reality. I strongly suspect the only thing they look at is waffly sales and potential growth forecasts and it looks like they never actually venture into the real world to see what they're buying (ironically, a bit like buying online).
In 2014, I wouldn't have touched Maplin with a barge pole, never mind paying £85m. I don't claim to be any more astute than the next guy, but anyone visiting one of their stores surely couldn't have not noticed the over-staffing and lack of customers and the disjointed array of tat. 2014 was recent enough that it was obvious there was no way a bricks and mortar outfit could survive selling this stuff.
If the business had radically changed direction as others have suggested, then possibly maybe, as a very risky gamble, but between 2014 and now, I've seen no difference in their offerings. Seems they were bought with no business plan in place.
As for EWM buying it now - Well, I'd like to offer my services for the going rate as an investment consultant and guarantee I can save them a few million quid.
Wouldn't surprise me if they do close. As has been mentioned in the comments in previous articles, they must be the most overstaffed outfit in the land. It's excruciating walking through the door knowing that you're going to be followed at every turn by one of the bored staff in case you should want to steal some cheap, but grossly overpriced tat.
As a loyal Maplin customer in the early/mid 80's, I remember berating Tandy back then for their overpriced, over-packaged, low stock levels and poor range of electronic components, and always thought they sold mainly tat.
It's ironic that Maplin, an independent mail order company with only a couple of shops went down precisely the same route as Tandy, and seem destined to suffer the same fate at the hands of the competition in the form of mail-order only outlets.
They're good for batteries, as long as you buy them at the 'offer' price and not the interim inflated prices, but then Poundland just around the corner also sell decent alkalines for around the same price, and as for the rest of the tat, get it from eBay at less than half the price.
As for kids of today needing Maplin to get into electronics, I don't think so. That just sounds like an excuse for today's "I want riches without any effort" youth. As a enthusiast then student of electronics in the 80's, I can tell you that there has never been a better time than now for a kid to get in to electronics. Components are stunningly cheap, test gear is cheap, and the amount of information available at your fingertips (literally) is vast. No more ordering data sheets for 25p at time and waiting for a week for them to turn up in the post. You can buy a complete microprocessor system for a couple of quid and teach yourself proper assembly language on the family laptop. Hell, there are even analogue circuit emulators out there more than powerful enough for hobby use for free.
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