Re: Many years ago....
Welcome to QA, Andy. Help yourself to whatever's in your kitchen - now get on with your testing.
1288 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Feb 2010
The BoE really only has one lever for inflation, which is interest rates. The government could have done a lot more:
Unsurprisingly, when UK inflation went up it was for reasons outside the government's control but now it's coming down they're taking all the credit for it.
Cos it's cheaper. Providing and maintaining redundant comms to dozens of sites would be expensive. With the web you can do it cheaply, but you can also do it securely. Even if you've been left with crap PLCs they can go behind a VPN, firewall and whatever other protection there is out there that I'm not familiar with. Christ, the NAS on my home network seems to have more protection than this stuff and I only really use it to store DVDs!
Evidence of god's existence, for me, would be dead easy. Something like "Hi god, make a filing cabinet appear on my lawn - a pink one full of soldering iron bits, then turn it into a flamingo". If it all happened then that would be evidence enough for me. I use a trivial example because for years the faithful have been praying for serious stuff like curing disease, erasing hunger, stopping wars, make daddy stop hitting mummy, etc. and none of that's happened, so I thought that maybe a change of focus might get his/her/its attention.
Final salary pensions worked fine from the end of the second world war to the mid 00s. Three things killed them: Thatcher taxed surpluses that companies built up in good times to fund the bad ones*, Brown removed dividend tax relief and in the mid-90s the financial rules changed requiring companies to show pension liabilities on their balance sheets. The first two affected the size and performance of the funds, but were surviveable. The last one was the killer. It meant that companies had to treat their pension funds as if they were a single-year investment, not a long term investment which would recover from short term losses. This forced them to keep the pensions topped up on an annual basis, so they binned their final salary pensions and went to defined contribution which took the pension "risk" off the books. A system that worked fine for 60 years was killed by a combination of greedy governments of both colours and a badly thought out accounting rule. I'm sort of alright, Jack, but anyone under about 30 will end up paying dear by having to work into their 70s or 80s paying much higher taxes just to pay the state pensions of the generation behind me when they retire with bugger all in their personal pension pots.
*this meant that companies with pension surpluses took payment holidays. I had at least two years when neither I nor the company put any money in. This was a stupid disincentive because the surplus one year will cover the stockmarket fall and deficit next year. Pensions are multi-year investments.
(I didn't downvote you.)
The way the wealth is shared is also important. If you take out London's contribution (mostly banking) then the UK has a GDP on a par with Mississippi and Mississippi's GDP is growing faster than the UKs. One report I read said that the UK could better be described as a developing country with a few very wealthy people. 50 families in the UK between them are wealthier than the bottom 50% of the population by wealth.
"Is it too much to ask that the government employees and postal services employees do their job that they are paid for?"
It is if the medium-term prospect is the undermining of your working conditions and pay. If Tesla get away with it with their employess then sooner or later someone will come after the postal workers' jobs. It's called "union" for a reason.
Working for the UK Post Office used to be a good enough job to support a family and retire with a decent pension. Then companies like Amazon, Hermes, DPD came in with zero hours and fake contractor jobs. Unlike the Post office they don't pay national insurance, holiday pay, sick pay, etc. and can treat people like crap becase they are not "workers". Because they don't have these costs they can undercut the Post Office and people don't seem to care that their courier is treated like shit and provides a shit service as long as it's cheap. Pretty soon the Post Office (which still has to deliver domestic letters by law, for the sampe price irrespective of distance and is penalized if they miss targets) will be out of business and every delivery to your house will be by a courier whose delivery targets are so tight that they don't even have time to knock on the door.
Of course, in the long term we'll get to the stage where this generation's workers want to retire and have no workplace pension and the workers that are left are earning so little that they don't pay enough tax to pay them a state pension. I guess the likes of Musk will be making their billions in euthanization services by then.
I'd be wary of iCloud. I barely use it and only store gig and travel tickets using the free allowance in case I lose the paper when I'm out and about. It seems that I'm one of the "tiny minority" that has the synch problem whereby files will stop synching up to iCloud from Mac and down to iDevices from iCloud, needing manual intervention in both cases to make it synch.
I remember when I got my first camera as a kid and taking my first film to the chemist to be developed. They gave me a receipt and said to be sure to look after it because I'd need it to get my photos. I kept it safe and read and re-read the bit that said something like "Films are accepted on the basis that their value does not exceed the cost of the items submitted". It was a long time before I understood what it meant, and a lesson I'd rather not learn the hard way.
Don't be surprised if Devs, effectively, ban any non-Chromium browser by not bothering to test their websites on other browsers. It's happening now. I can't book my local sports centre because its website doesn't work properly on FF or Safari and their solution is to use Chrome and there have been a couple of others in the last 6 months or so.
Your post made me wonder about the future of Youtube advertising. I assume that before long I'll be able to tell an AI to go and "watch" a few of my favoured channels' vids with no blockers and to skip about as its fancy takes it so it looks like a real person. This will give my favoured channels some revenue while I continue to use blockers for an ad-free experience. How will Google know that a real person is watching?
About a month ago I hit the "three strikes" limit and then had no choice but ads. I deleted Youtube and Google cookies and FF cache and updated U-Block origin and and the ads disappeared. The other benefit was that it lost my Youtube viewing history (I don't have a Youtube account) and got me out of the rabbit hole of viewing I was in. I find it hard to believe that clearing history fixed this, so I assume the U-Block update fixed it.
As for the long delay - and delays in the middle of vids too - I get them now, but if you drop the video quality a notch or too then it sometimes speeds things up. There's also an app called FreeTube that can help. Someone here suggested it the last time this topic came up and it works, although it's more useful if you follow specific channels than if you just drop in to Youtube while having pause from doing something more productive to work.
It's like all outsourcing - the CFO can prove with a spreadsheet that it's cheaper to outsource services than do it in-house. Then, when you book half a day's waiting time because your new keyboard has to be brought from Portsmouth because that's where IT support is, the CFO tells you that's not a valid use of waiting time and that you have to book it to the project. HR tell you that outsourcing is good because it makes it easier to "right-size" departments and reduces management costs but when you ask how many HR jobs are going now that we've outsourced IT, Facilities, Cleaning, etc. you get labelled as a troublemaker.
As my old mate Dave used to say - "It's only funny if it's not true".
Maybe one of the reasons he bought Twitter was so he could be in complete control of something that would keep him in the spotlight. With SpaceX he is pretty constrained in terms of engineering, process, regulation and the-real-world, whereas Twitter is his to fuck up as he wants.
"We anticipate an AI-powered business process reengineering wave that will sweep over every organization and every industry."
MD - AI, tell me how to improve my business
AI - There are too many pointless meetings that waste people's time. You have two layers of management and reporting that could be ditched if you tasked your people properly and trusted them to do their jobs. You should run with a 17% resource surplus so that every unforseen issue wouldn't delay multiple projects as you try to juggle staff around to fix them.
MD (turning off the AI) - Just as I expected - bloody useless.
In the UK Liquidated damages can be put into a contract but they have to relate to genuine damage - i.e. some sort of loss made and those costs usually have to be defined in advance if you don't want to end up in court arguing about them. Typically they apply to delays in deliveries or milestones that can be quantified and the contract would have, say, £/day, or something, up to a limit specified in the contract.
The only way I can think that Musk could consider that LDs apply in this case would be that demand outstrips supply, thereby creating a grey market where buyers sell immediately at a premium thereby "depriving" Tesla of a sale and they would consider this to be damage. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm sure there'd be an argument that the "damage" is self inflicted either by Tesla taking orders for stuff they can't deliver or by not making stuff fast enough.
It depends, of course, how the contract's written and how much money you've got to challenge the richest bloke in the world in court. In the UK it might be considered unfair under the "significant imbalance" rules but it would still need someone to go to court.
I thought that the clickbait ads were designed just to get clicks up so that websites could claim more interest than they really had and thereby charge more for advertising.
I assume that there's an arms-race going on in the background. A couple of years ago the local papers were full of "Top 20 killer insects in Dorset" and "Premier clubs rated by the pies they sell" type articles which, when clicked on, only presented the results a few at a time requiring multiple clicks to get through them all and find out the best/worst one. These seem to have disappeared now and I assume that the advertisers got wise to them.
Pubs didn't start by giving away free beer to sell something else to someone else. Value is defined by the person paying, not the person charging. I value the pub, the service it provides and the drinks it sells and even though the beer is 3 times as expensive as the supermarket it's not hit a price above the value I place on it, so I don't mind paying for it. If people aren't willing to pay for ad-free Facebook, Twitter, news sites or whatever than that's the fault of the service providers who overvalue their offering after cheapening it by giving it away. It might work for heroin, but not social media. When I was commuting I used Twitter to get push notifications on the train service, but if they'd charged me a subscription fee then I'd have binned Twitter - it was useful, but not valuable (to me). I agree with you about paying your way and I do pay some subs - the Grauniad (I could use it free, but I value daily news) and a couple of apps, but I've never used Facebook, Instagram or anything similar and I haven't used Twitter since I stopped commuting about 5 years ago.
BTW - pubs in my town are closing because young people don't drink like I did - and still do, and for a couple of them it's only pub quizzes that are keeping them alive.
I think that's the missed point in all this. I'm surrounded by ads outside my PC; roadside billboards, ads in magazines, ads on trains, buses, taxis, airports, underground stations.... They are everywhere, they are mostly for stuff I don't want, they don't get in my way and they don't annoy me in the slightest. What the ad industry has done to the web is the equivalent of there being traffic lights every 1/4 mile on the road at which I have to stop and wait while a parade of billboard ads is dragged across the road in front of me. If I had a choice between giving them all my personal preferences and seeing non-intrusive ads or being completely private and having websites FUBB as advertisers try to ram ads up my nose I know which I'd prefer.
I don't see search, or apps in general, as part of Apples core offering, though. They don't make any other apps that are world leading and even in the creative areas they historically dominated they are no longer the best. Everything that comes as standard on my Mac is serviceable for creating shopping lists, films of your kids' birthdays and a spreadsheet to track your spending, but there's nothing you'd use if you were a professional or power user. It would cost them a tiny amount of their budget to turn Reminders into a decent GTD app, but they don't seem interested. They make their money on the hardware that's good enough to run pro-apps that they seem happy for others to make and they take their slice off the sales. Unless they start losing money on hardware, or there's a very, very long-term strategy to lock users into the garden before hitting them with home-grown produce, I just don't see Apple even trying to compete in search.
uBlock origin does the job for me and you can use it to permanently block that annoying row of "shorts".
I started getting the warnings a couple of weeks ago and last week I was completely blocked. I tried deleting youtube and google cookies and deleting cache with little expectation that it would work but it seemed to. The only difference is that playback is delayed a lot more than previously; presumably because there's a battle going on in cyberspace. Like you, if there's something I'm really interested in I download and watch it later.
The problem is that the stock market wants blingy new functionality every couple of years. What users (well, this one at least) would like is for them to focus on fixing bugs that have been in the OS for years. I could rant and bore you with my list for MacOS and I'm sure there are equivalent lists for Windows, but a if Tim Cook stood in front of a 20m screen with an audience of thousands and his big announcements were that they'd fixed the bug where iCloud synch gets stuck at 99% and you could now paste UK street addresses straight into Contacts then the share price would plummet.
Scotland's recent legislation on domestic detectors requires a heat detector in kitchens.
I used to live in a house where the detector in the hall was too near the kitchen so it went off without much provocation. It was great for grilling meat. Put the bacon/chicken/chops under the grill, leave the door open and retire to the living room to watch telly. When the smoke alarm went off it was time to turn the meat over. The meat wasn't burnt - it was just right. I think it was fumes from the fat that set the detector off because it was always a bit late if the grill pan was clean.
If the company's got a hard requirement for UK hosting then it should have ensured its hosting contract included guarantees and liquidated damages to cover the costs of moving if their host renaged. Atlassian would, I'm sure, have said "it's our standard contract - take it or leave it", at which point the company could have walked away.
Or - IT were ignored when they warned the directors that this could be a problem and running their own servers could be cheaper in the long run than moving to a new provider every few years.
When I ditched my cassette deck and used the space to move my home IT (NAS, Router, Streaming, USB A/D converter, etc) to the HiFi rack I wish I'd had the foresight to put the rack on wheels. As it is, it's on those pointed feet that are meant to make everything sound better (I know...) so it's a two-man lift to move it. As a result, whenever I plumb in something new it I just push any new cables into the rats-nest tangle of mains, phono, UHF, VHF, and cat 5&6 cables that's lurking at the back and probably evolving into a new form of wiry life.