* Posts by Mike Street

145 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Oct 2007


No big deal... Kremlin hackers 'jumped air-gapped networks' to pwn US power utilities

Mike Street

You're Missing the Point

Its obvious that the spooks are trying to tell us that the Russians have weaponized Telekinesis.

Its definitely not that they didn't' understand what they were briefing about, and knew that the reporters didn't either.

No siree.

In a touching Monty Python tribute today, Microsoft's Office 365 makes everything spam

Mike Street

This is News?

I have Office 365. From our systems I get an automated email every morning with system statistics from the day before. I have been receiving this email for years.

Every so often, Exchange 365 decides it's 'Clutter', and puts it in that folder. Every day, I tell it that it isn't clutter, and have it moved back to my Inbox.

After a couple of weeks of Exchange refusing to learn this simple fact, the email disappeared from 'Clutter' and from Inbox. I eventually found it in 'Junk Email'. I have now reported it several times as 'Not Junk' but it still puts the email in the Junk folder.

Needless to say, the email comes from the same domain as it is delivered to.

Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

Mike Street

It's on Tidal

I am not sure why I would want access to that track, but it is available for streaming on Tidal.

Nathan Barley blamed for global GDP slump

Mike Street

Re: I'm sceptical

"If Apple, Microsoft, Google and others are saying that they barely make any profit here, and they make oodles in Luxembourg, Dublin, the Channel Islands and so on,"

Don't believe everything you read in the Guardian.

Taxes are levied, according to international law, not where profit is made, but where value is added. So, most of the value of an iPhone is created in Cupertino, not London or indeed China. Ditto for Google, Microsoft etc. The concept, software design, development, marketing etc. etc. is mostly done in the USA.

So, that's where they are liable for tax. If the USA decides to levy that tax only when the money arrives in the USA, not if its in the Caymans, that's a matter for the US government.

UK.gov cloud fave Amazon comes under fire for tax bill

Mike Street

Re: Legislation, Boycotts and Real Change

massive corporate tax evasion

If you have any evidence of tax evasion, you should report it to HMRC, as it is illegal. Tax avoidance is legal - it just means 'paying the amount of tax required by law'.

MPs and journalists really should know this stuff. Amazon invests a lot of money in warehousing, systems, stock, AWS and other investments, in the UK and elsewhere. THIS IS A GOOD THING.

And all of those investments reduce profits, and therefore tax liability. This is the system working as intended.

Amazon also gives us quick & easy access to quality products at good prices - much better than we had before (true for both books & AWS).

Boycott them if you like - but not because they pay the correct amount of tax which, as far as we know, they do.

Dear Santa: Can gov.UK please stop outsourcing?

Mike Street

Re: Law against offshoring

"If your business deals in the UK, 100% of its staff, must be based in the UK. No wing or department of any business can be run by another business; everything must be done in-house."

First, of course, we'd have to leave the EU, and probably end any idea of future trade deals with them or anyone else.

Apart from that, its a stupid idea. Why wouldn't you use the best/most cost effective supplier? Why spend more than you have to?

Kiwi judge rules Kim Dotcom can be extradited to USA

Mike Street

Prima facie does not mean 'the facts speak for themselves'. You're thinking of 'res ipsa loquitur'.

Prima facie means 'on the face of it' - the plaintiff has supplied sufficient evidence that there appears to be a case to answer. The respondent is not required to produce rebuttal evidence at this stage, so it does not mean the plaintiff will win, only that they have sufficient cause to proceed.

Vanished global warming may not return – UK Met Office

Mike Street

Re: record temperatures every year, who said it stopped and why the biased article title?

Last year as measured by temperatures was the hottest year on record since record keeping began.

No, it wasn't. Even NASA was forced to admit that there was only a 38% chance of it having been the hottest. Less than 50%, in other words. Error bars, dear boy, error bars.

And the satellite temperature records continue to show no warming throughout their entire record. Only 1998 was an anomaly, due to that year's El Nino. Another El Nino is currently ramping up.

All of these - El Nino, La Nina, AMO, PDO etc. are simply natural variations. No upward (or downward) trends are apparent.

Why is that idiot Osbo continuing with austerity when we know it doesn't work?

Mike Street

Another Example

Do we not have another example of Keynesian stimulus across the Atlantic?

Deficit spending in the USA created lots of jobs - though maybe not so many proportionately as 'austerity' did here in the UK. But the cost was enormous. At one time I worked out that it took $1m of stimulus to create each job.

Unless you have China willing and able (and, because of their surplus, almost being obliged to) underwrite this, I can't see how it is possible for any other country. It is not even sustainable for the USA.

Keynes' ideas seem not to work at a level which makes then anything other than interesting theories, not capable of application to the real world.

So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?

Mike Street

"I'm tired of my super bonus regular savings fixed term limited withdrawal deposit account paying fuck all in return for the money deposited within."

That's something else you can blame on the EU (though probably the Government would have done it anyway).

Interest rates (like any return on investment) are a reward for taking a risk. Since the Bank Deposit Guarantee Scheme, (under the recast DIRECTIVE 2014/49/EU and previous EU directives) guarantees your money will be paid by the State if the bank goes bust, up to £85,000 since 2010, you aren't taking any risk (except perhaps inflation, which is currently zero, or the UK government becoming bankrupt). So you don't get any reward.

Iceland not being in the EU, it had no scheme (or not one anyone believed in) so a deposit there carried more risk, and hence had to offer higher interest. So they paid 8% or so, around twice what UK banks offered. People seemed to be surprised when that money disappeared, as they claimed not to know they were taking a risk. The interest rate paid is the best possible indicator that they were, even if they closed their eyes to it.

You can get 8% (or even more) if you are prepared to risk losing the lot, just not in a bank deposit. Some corporate bonds pay 4%, and some Government bonds even more (Greece and Argentina probably do, for example). Do you feel lucky?

But if you, sensibly, decide not to risk your money, no-one will pay you much reward. Why should they?

Guardian: 'Oil reserves will soon be worth NOTHING!' (A bit like their stock tips, really)

Mike Street

Re: You seem to be the one who doesn't know any economics

"Even if only a few industrialized nations were to move towards those kinds of bans (or even just restrictions), it could change valuations significantly."

And if they did, they wouldn't be industrialized nations for much longer, so would very quickly be irrelevant.

The only thing that would make any difference is a world-wide ban of fossil fuel use. Since that ain't going to happen in any foreseeable timescale, the point is moot.

Mike Street

Re: The main point of the petition isn't economics, it's ethical

"The point of the petition is to call on two science funding organizations to divest from fossil fuels, because continued investment would be against their core principles"

Presumably, their core principles are to do good by spending money on worthy projects.

If they fail to get the maximum return on their investments, by taking investment advice from numpties with an axe to grind, then they can do less 'good' in their chosen areas of operations, thus violating their core principles.

It would really help if people were introduced to the concept of 'Opportunity Cost' early in their education. Most people who regard themselves as educated seem never to have heard of it.

Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

Mike Street


In the 20th century, global temps rose by about 0.7 deg C, sea levels by about 17 cms. If there were any deleterious effects from this, they were wiped out many times by the advances in technology, by changes in population density and distribution, and by improvements in governments (especially in China, but elsewhere too).

It seems reasonable to expect that these the scale of these changes will be at least as great in this century - probably greater. This will completely overwhelm, whether for good or ill, any supposed harm caused by a few degrees of warming.

In other words, unless a catastrophe is really in the offing, and the IPCC says otherwise, then all our efforts should be aimed at increasing global trade and growth, thus lifting millions more out of poverty. Green policies which seek to prevent this - which is all of them - should be abandoned immediately.

MPs back call to boycott low-taxed tat from Amazon over Xmas

Mike Street


"LIke allow for fair competition, so that British business can compete with the off shore companies? SO basically, your telling everyone to STFU and your justification is that you can get cheap goods from Amazon.."

Amazon's European HQ is in the EU - in Luxembourg. The EU is a Single Market - which you don't appear to have heard of. They can have their HQ wherever they damn well like in the EU.

Don't like it - vote UKIP.

'Only nuclear power can save humanity', say Global Warming high priests

Mike Street

Not the only ones

To his credit, George Monbiot has also been advocating nuclear. So at least there is one thing I can agree with him on, though little else.

Greenpeace, by contrast, is even against research into nuclear fusion. I assume they will be taking ship to the Sun to complain about its dirty energy production, polluting the solar system - and then wonder why their solar panels don't work after it stops as requested.

And they wonder why we are not behind them and their Arctic Numpties.

Tech giants' offshore cash-stashing is only ever a delaying tactic

Mike Street

"I spot a flaw in your basic premise: "the whole point of being a company is to send money to your shareholders".

Some might argue that large corporates appear to have been hijacked by the managerial class to the detriment of other stakeholders (cf board-level remuneration rising far faster than other measures of company performance)"

Management are employees of the company, so the point is correct. Corporate tax incidence is on customers, employees or shareholders, or some combination thereof.

You make a good point about management though. In my view, company management should be much more under the control of the owners. At the moment, shareholder votes on remuneration are advisory only.

Some changes to company law would undoubtedly be beneficial.

Mike Street

"practiced a sport or mastered a musical instrument" - Ah now I see. You must live in a country that is not the UK, the EU or the rest of the world, for that matter. Because in those places the richest people with the highest amount of income are not made up of the very few athletes that make it to the top, or the even smaller numbers of musicians that make a significant, above average, income. I feel happy for your planet, because a few rock stars together with some sport figures can by themselves solve the imbalance of public spending vs. taxes collected."

Are you saying Bono isn't rich? That Sting doesn't have a butler, and his wife access to a private jet?

And that the richest woman in the UK (leaving aside the queen, for the moment) has written some books, and inherited nothing whatsoever?

I don't begrudge those people their comfortable lifestyle (though I could do without their lectures to the rest of us) but at least I acknowledge that they exist.

You're still an (anonymous) idiot.

Mike Street

Re: And this is where the complexity comes in..

"To my downvoter, which of the following statements do you disagree with and why?

* VAT is regressive."

It isn't so much of a problem as is usually presented. Food, after all, is free of VAT, as is rent and mortgage.

Also, VAT on a second hand car, such as I have, is zero. On a £10k car it is £2k, and on a £100k it is £20k. Last time I looked, £20k was a bigger number than £2k. People who buy more expensive items, even of the same type, pay more tax. Are you saying that's a bad thing?

"The consequences of massively unequal distribution of wealth are undesireable."

Often claimed, though usually spelt correctly, but not proven. Consider, for example, China. Inequality has increased markedly in the last 10 years, due to fewer constraints on the market. Yet in those same 10 years more than 500m people have been lifted out of poverty in that country, because there are now fewer constraints on markets.

Maybe, despite what you might want to be true, greater inequality is a by-product of generally increasing wealth overall.

"The more wealth one has in surplus, the more there is available for investment, resulting in ever greater concentration of wealth in the absence of redistributive taxes."

Investment is generally regarded as a good thing - investment in companies after all produces jobs (including my own). Perhaps, as a by-product, it increases inequality, but so what if the overall effect is good?

If taxes are too redistributive, they may reduce or remove the incentive to invest and create jobs. Which in turn lift people out of poverty.

Mike Street

"Don't forget how they became rich in the first place: either by inheriting the money or by making a very good use of it."

Of course, no one ever started a company, practiced a sport or mastered a musical instrument and made lots of money those ways.


Announcement of 'churnalism detector' gets furiously churned

Mike Street
Thumb Down

Re: Hilarius stuff.

"BTW requiring a 2/3 majority of all MP's to change how a body is run makes it a damm sight tougher for any govt minster to change than slipping in the old "statutory instrument" into legislation."

and a damn sight less democratic too.

Under cap-and-trade, flying is greener than taking the bus

Mike Street

Re: 1980s?

Generally agree, but the Stern Review found that taxes on fuel were already higher than required to offset the carbon emissions. So the price of fuel should fall...

I do not deny climate change, but I do deny that most, or perhaps any, of the schemes promoted by Greens actually have the effect of decreasing emissions at as low cost as possible. Let's have nuclear for bass load, fracked gas to replace coal, and invest in research into tidal. This will reduce emissions and costs, in contrast to cap & trade, wind & solar which only increase costs.

Hm, nice idea that. But somebody's already doing it less well

Mike Street

Maybe Not

"If there was a single, central regulator then these companies would only have to fight the battle once per country."

Nice idea, but then the central body would spend years 'seeking the views of all parties affected', and the decision would be much delayed, perhaps permanently, certainly until the upstart had run out of cash.

What we see in the West is State Corporatism, major companies and government 'working' together to protect their common vested interests, and keep newcomers out of the market. The worst example being the EU, where money is applied much more to large corporates and charities than small ones, since the application for funding process is so bureaucratic. No doubt the US Federal government operates the same way.

Its a shame - a single market is a boon, a single, powerful bureaucracy is a nightmare.

Secrets of an ad broker: NoSQL, millisecond auctions and FLASH ARRAYS

Mike Street

Do They Really Do That?

All sounds fine, sensible even, until:

"Tapad's system then contacts these potential advertisers' systems and says: "I have a potential spot for you with this requester's metadata. Do you want to make a bid?" The potential advertisers then match the potential spot to their needs."

It seems a bit odd that they spend all that time & money optimising their own system, and then make calls to sundry other external systems with unquantifiable response times and round-trip latency, which together are probably at least an order of magnitude longer than their internal system response. Surely they have the advertisers' bids already in their system, as Google does with Adwords?

Google, Apple, eBay shouldn't pay taxes - people should pay taxes

Mike Street
Thumb Up

Good article

I notice few people who decry the article actually have any sensible facts to deploy.

Must try harder.

Sydney Uni boffin wants database to track smokers

Mike Street

Nanny State - Again

I wonder if people like this Professor realise how much potential damage they are doing to socialised medicine.

At the moment, I support it, free at the point of delivery and delivered regardless of ability to pay. The day it becomes, as this proposes, a reason for the state to control behaviour to save costs and protect us from ourselves, I will be in the queue to vote for the first politician who wants to abolish it.

The Big Debate: OK gloomsters, how can the music biz be FIXED?

Mike Street

Re: Denial

I've no doubt that baying at moon is satisfying, but it doesn't put bread on the table.

If the world has changed, the industry has to change with it. Or die. I don't say that is a good (or a bad) thing - its just a thing.

You can complain all you want, but that on its own won't change anything. If you really think the western world is going to lock up most of its offspring for copyright violation, or someone is going to create magic DRM which doesn't piss everyone off, then by all means wait for the old models to come back. The wait could be a long one.

Mike Street

Re: Denial

"the creative industries need to ask how they need to re-organise themselves"

"Why? Because copyright abusers demand that we do ?"

No - because the world has changed, whether for better or worse. You can moan about not being able anymore to exploit the old situation, or you can think of ways to exploit the new situation. I can't guarantee the second option will ensure the success of the creative industries, but I am sure the first option will lead to their demise.

Mike Street


Lots of people in denial, it seems to me.

I agree with Andrew that new ways are needed to monetise cultural artifacts, but forcing an old model on a new platform isn't new.

I do not pirate, am a Spotify subscriber, and sometimes buy downloads from artists' sites, CDs, SACDs and Blu-Rays, so I this is not special pleading, but instead of asking how do we enforce copyright on the Internet, the creative industries need to ask how they need to re-organise themselves if copyright cannot be enforced in the traditional way.

What new models will allow artists to thrive without traditional copyright? It may not be legal, or moral, but it is reality that paying for music in the traditional way may be dying. You can complain about that, or you can see what other opportunities are available that weren't before.

US trounces UK in climate scepticism jibber-jabber

Mike Street

Re: They are only less balanced

"Carbon plans are overall neutral, by design."

No, they aren't.

The Renewables Obligation (aka The Climate Change Levy) increases the fuel bills of every consumer in the UK. It is not matched by any reduction in prices or taxes anywhere.

Guardian's Robin Hood plan: Steal from everyone to give to us

Mike Street

Guardian Reader - Coming Through

I read both articles in the Guardian. As Andrew says, both were savaged by its own readership.

It is not hard to see where cuts could be made - Alan Rusbridger, the editor, gets 400k per year for running an entity that loses 50m a year. Their 'star' columnist, Polly Toynbee, gets >100k for producing practically the same fact-free rant every few days. Various rad fems produce articles about 'Why I Hate Men' and so on. Then there are the complaints about celebs being villified (or not) and the innumerate environment blogs.

All of these emissions are regularly trashed in the comments, but the Guardian doesn't listen to its own readers. Maybe it should.

Osborne hands £80m tax break to punters drilling in 'old' oil, gas fields

Mike Street

Re: Why?

"Why do some of the most profitable companies receive any form of subsidy from the taxpayer? This is interfering with the Free Market (TM)."

This is not a subsidy, it is the removal of additional taxes which no-one else pays. Arguably, it makes the energy market more free.

Wind power - now that IS subsidised.

Vodafone UK web titsup blamed on 'holiday maintenance'

Mike Street

Not Uncommon

I have often waited several minutes just to login to the Vodafone site to check my bills. I have also recently renewed the contracts for one of the phones I manage. That contract is now is a in different Vodafone department, so I can't see the bill for that phone with my other ones, or indeed on line at all.

Vodafone really need to start thinking about their customers, or they'll go on losing them.

British Gas parent to grab £500m North Sea gas tax break

Mike Street

Re: @Mike Street Let me see if I understand this.

So if your income tax was 45% and everyone else paid 25%, if your tax was reduced to 35%, would you call it a subsidy?

No, you wouldn't.

And Greens are trying to categories these types of arrangements as 'subsidies', because their favourite technologies, like the perfectly useless wind generation, actually do get subsidies - the feed-in tariff is the only thing that makes some of them economic.

That is a subsidy, this isn't.

Mike Street

Re: Let me see if I understand this.

Is that right? No, it isn't.

Greens may want to present this as a subsidy, but as the article clearly says, it is a reduction in the amount of extra taxes they would otherwise have paid on income from extraction - taxes that no-one else is subject to.

Now, you might believe that paying 25% income tax is equivalent to a government subsidy to you of 75%, but the rest of us believe that it amounts to a 25% tax, not a 75% subsidy. It depends on whether you think all your money belongs to the state or not.

Behold: First look at Office 2013, with screenshots

Mike Street

That UI

I thought Windows 7 looked quite nice. I used it for a few months, but was relieved to go back to Ubuntu, which always seemed to need one less click for any particular operation than Win 7. But, for looks, it was nice.

But those screenshots of the new Office on Win 8 are just horrible. I have them full-screen, and I cannot imagine how awful it would be to look at that UI every day. What are they thinking?

All you Windows users have my sympathy.

How to fix the broken internet economy: START HERE

Mike Street

Its a Minefield

You make some good points - faults on all sides of course.

But content licencing (an area in which I work) is a minefield. I can get video of a sporting event by signing a complicated and absurd contract and putting my house and children up as collateral. So far so good.

But if the crowd is chanting a copyright song (like 'You'll Never Walk Alone') I have to contact, and licence, and pay, collection companies in every damn country in which I want to show it. And pay more per view than I make in revenue - just for the crowd noise!

It is actually impossible to know if you, or anyone else, has fully cleared rights. You may think you have - right up until the moment someone takes you to court in Absurdistan or somewhere. The only people getting rich are lawyers, and they are getting rich mostly by saying 'I don't know the answer to that. I can put you in touch with someone in that country who also won't know the answer, but it will cost you'.

I am not surprised that even Google can't innovate in a space with so much uncertainty, and so many organisations claiming money for nothing.

As a user, I don't pirate and I am a Spotify subscriber. I am trying to do the right thing. But please provide a broader range and better quality for my 10 quid a month.

As a user and as an innovator, it seems to me it should not be this hard, or this expensive.

EU's 2020 CO2 target 'will add a year to economic slump'

Mike Street

Not just Cost-Benefit

that's missing - no concept of Opportunity Cost seems to be applied either.

Could we better spend the money currently being wasted on wind and solar on retro-fitting insulation instead? I am pretty sure we could.

UK.gov energy policy: You can't please all the people much of the time

Mike Street

Re: It's not the fuel but the source

"Given the politics today, do we want to rely on gas from Russia, the Middle east, etc?"

No - which is why we need to develop Shale Gas as quickly as possible, if it is economically viable. There may or may not be enough on land, but there is plenty off-shore.

Facebook underwriters accused of hiding forecast

Mike Street

Re: Anyone in the private sector who bought into Facebook at IPO ...

Perhaps - I certainly thought it was grossly over-valued.

But a free market depends on the free availability of information. This would appear to be anything but that.

You can't expect people to make sensible decisions without access to all the information, as no doubt a court case will prove at some point.

Chrome spends a week at the top of the browser charts

Mike Street

Re: Windows 8 will save Microsoft

Agreed, 2000 was OK.

But token ring was really rubbish, wasn't it?

How politicians could end droughts forever But they don't want to

Mike Street

Re: Absurd (@Filippo)

Read the article - it doesn't matter how much we use. This is a wet country, an island surrounded by sea - not the bloody Sahara.

And it water, not oil. It isn't going to run out, as a visit to the seaside will confirm.

There does seem to be a shortage of people who can think though - wonder if we can make some to be Mayors, MPs and so on, instead of the stupids we have now.

ISPs torch UK.gov's smut-blocking master plan

Mike Street

Make it Illegal

The solution is easy, and staring them in the face...

make it illegal for children under 18 to go online. Give the Internet an 'X" certificate.

Then we can all have as much adult stuff as we want (which appears to include medical information they don't like, according to the reports) and no problem with children.

And of course, being a law, no-one would ever think of breaking it.

SpaceShipOne man, Nobel boffins: Don't panic on global warming

Mike Street

" After all, if due to a landslip you find your house which was previously 1/2 mile from the cliff edge suddenly gets a lot nearer"

That would be due to a landslip, caused by erosion. Not sea-level rise.

"So whereas sea level rise wasn't a problem in times gone by, it's A Big Problem now."

It's about a foot per century. Tidal ranges are more than a few metres - you are unlikely to notice 30cms a century when there is a 3-4 metre change twice a day. The sea level is rising about as fast as your fingernails grow. And has been for some hundreds of years. It may even be slowing.

Virgin Media broadband goes titsup for 3 hours

Mike Street

I was affected...

and was down for some time. Even now, Wednesday 11:50, some sites and services are slow.

The services is generally fast & reliable for me, and even my own systems have been known to have the occasional outages, so I am not concerned.

Stuff happens, but as far as I can tell, the world didn't end, so all's good.

Panasonic pitches portable Skype screen

Mike Street

Well, yes, they are...

likely to already have a laptop - otherwise what would be the point of having an Internet connection?

It doesn't make sense to pay for Internet connectivity just for the occasional Skype call.

Verizon retreats on ‘convenience fee’ for online bill payment

Mike Street

Listening to your customers

Whilst I applaud the idea of listening to your customers, often a better strategy is to actually think before making these kinds of changes.

No doubt the additional revenue looked good on a spreadsheet of the type loved by certain MBA graduates. Perhaps best though just to pause & consider whether it is a good business strategy to piss off your customers.

Still, heads won't roll I expect, unless its very junior ones who didn't have much if any input in the first place.

Lumia sales fail to set world alight

Mike Street

Not so..

I was alive in the 50s and I can tell you that blue & pink were the same way round then. I think it was much earlier that they swapped.

You're right about the the two management structures though...

A simple HTML tag will crash 64-bit Windows 7

Mike Street

No - that's Just iTunes

"I'm seeing a consistent pattern on Win7 64 where iTunes is installed (and the associated update processes) that system performance periodically tends towards dead snail like."

I thought that was the default behaviour for iTunes?

Online store offers secondhand MP3 marketplace

Mike Street

Good Luck With That

So, in order to get a few vouchers I have to give you sufficient access to my PC so that you can delete any files you feel like.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Cabinet Secretary: Freedom of Info law stifles policy confabs

Mike Street


I remember a BBC radio programme about Sweden a few years ago. The Swedish PM - Persson - showed them a letter sent to him by Tony Blair, then British PM. It didn't say anything controversial, but it was required by Swedish law to be available to everyone.

The same letter was unavailable to be shown to a British journalist (or anyone else) in the UK. So they would have to go to Stockholm to see a letter written in the UK by the UK Prime Minister on behalf of the UK Government and its citizens.

Politicians and Civil Servants have had it too easy, too long, and they don't like to come under scrutiny at all.

What, do we suppose, do they have to hide?