* Posts by Old Cynic

30 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Jan 2011

Biden cranks up the heat on China with wall of tech tariffs

Old Cynic

Usual story

I seem to remember Trump was the spawn of the devil for introducing such tariffs and was bent on destroying global trade. Now it appears to be perfectly acceptable to the lefties, including Europe.

The problem is, the West can't compete with China, especially as they have cheap energy, low wages and no welfare costs like Europe has. You'll still buy the imports but will pay more for them, i.e. pay even MORE tax. Which can then be pissed up the wall on more welfare, more green lunacy, more red tape, more civil servants - ultimately making it even harder for Western industry to produce anything useful at a competitive price.

The chip that changed my world – and yours

Old Cynic

Fortunately these will never really be gone (just like the 6502 et al), they will remain, be prodded, poked and programmed for for eons to come.

The benefits of these simple-processor computers to individuals as well as industry is, in my opinion, incalculable, almost like the steam engine to the industrial revolution. But, the onboard BASIC interpreter ,I believe, was the gotcha that really hooked beginners. The ability to turn on a print "Hello" all over the screen with a couple of lines, leading to more complicated things was the spark that led some people into the real heart of the machine, into the Z80, 6502 and to explore the support chips and other hardware.

Without that initial gotcha, I might have just played games and not bothered trying to conquer machine code and understand the nuances of the VIC2 & SID chip or learn how to mask software sprites on the weird screen memory of the old Speccy. Most 'Developers' these days would benefit from the experience of trying to create efficient code on one of these old machines where there were no libraries, no internet, no sample code. Just you, a flimsy reference guide and the desire to create something.

Strong electric car sales expected for 2024, but charging grid needs work

Old Cynic

Here in Blighty, EV adoption is mostly a salary sacrifice/tax avoiding lease arrangement where the punters might as well save 40+% tax when getting a new motor. This means someone who might privately buy a £40k car can grab a £70/80/90k car for effectively the same monthly payments. The Germans were quite happy to oblige with things like the e-Tron range, Taycan etc...

In other words, they've focused on the top end of the market which has left no progress on cheap, mass market motors for the plebs. And those expensive motors depreciate like a brick and languish on the used market at 25% of list when only 3 years old. Even then, not many people want to spend £20k on a motor that might suddenly identify as a battery-less car and need another £20k spending on it.

Not sure where this extra demand will come from as most people with a tax-avoiding company car already have one.

Only the availability of cheaper EVs or banning petrol/diesels will increase demand in any meaningful way. Or, maybe if the tax advantages of a company car could be extended to the used market then the huge swathes of ex-lease EVs would find a buyer rather than being 'recycled'.

UK government faces calls to end IR35 double tax anomaly

Old Cynic


Let's face it - there is very little between the Conservatives and Labour, maybe Labour would spend more but they're being careful to appear more responsible. With the current mob, we have spending off the charts, inflation off the charts, absurd energy policy, no growth, high borrowing, high immigration, high taxes, failing NHS. This sounds like a Corbyn government, no?

The only alternative put forward in recent memory is that of Liz Truss - unfortunately, we all know how the 'system' reacted and made sure as sh1t that low tax for mere mortals couldn't even be contemplated. And no, her budget didn't crash the markets, the markets were poised for a wipe-out due to pension LDI risk taking. And the markets, media, BoE and civil servants were in on the coup to get things back to normal i.e. making sure us mortals stay skint, heavily taxed and in debt.

Take Sajid Javid's comments on IR35 UK contractor rules with a bucket of salt, warns tax guru

Old Cynic

HMRC say they can add £xB to the coffers by fixing tax 'avoidance', no minister is going so say no to that.

Big companies stop engaging contractors, bring in more people from offshore to fill the gap.

Some time later, none of the promised income appears, more local people are out of work and money goes to offshore companies.

Obviously it will be claimed to be a massive success.

Delayed, over-budget smart meters will be helpful – when Blighty enters 'Star Trek phase'

Old Cynic

Re: Complete and utter waste of money unless you want to spy on people

Electrically heated water storage tanks (immersion heating) is also very common in the UK - and currently not benefitting from off-peak tariffs or fancy meters.

Gas is common as well, as you say, and you might heat water by burning oil, wood, dung, wet dogs - it doesn't change the fact that a lot of people use leccy and aint getting a benefit from fancy meters.

Teardown nerds return to the Fold with word of warning: Samsung kit still 'alarmingly fragile'

Old Cynic

Re: Bend vs Fold

They already are properly flexible and can be hit with a hammer - check out Samsung Youm, some 5 years old I believe. OLEDs are flexible but on phones/tablets have a glass front that solidifies them. Without the glass, I suspect the surface would be prone to scratching badly.

I can see these displays being used on things like car dashboards where the dash itself is the display rather than a rectangular thing stuck into a plastic dash - the possibilities are profound.

Contractor association blasts UK.gov guidance on hated IR35 tax law's arrival in private sector

Old Cynic

It's obvious - they want more money without the hassle of chasing big players who can defend by throwing money and lawyers at it.

And, the people who told them to do it want less competition for their mates running Indian body shops and the likes of Capita. The result - more bodies brought in from offshore and the ability to charge a grand a day for recent graduates without pesky local contractors getting in the way.

How many companies have you worked at that are full of work visas, where local talent can't get a look in? It will just get worse, now BAs, PMs, Architects flown in will become the norm.

Cough up, like, 1% of your valuation and keep up the good work, says FTC: In draft privacy deal, Facebook won't have to change a thing

Old Cynic

A few dollars for the tax man

Looks more like governments continuing to extract money for tax avoidance to me, no doubt this will be just the first as skint European goverments look forward to getting their hands on many billions without bothering with sorting out the complicated tax mess.

I'm still amazed that people expect the likes of Facebook to respect privacy - you give them all of your information, use their services, pay no fee and expect them to do that for free? Facebook may have started as an idea to let friends keep in touch but once it grew to a certain size, it had to be monetised and had to keep growing and take over the world.

Can you really expect a massive, global free service to treat you with respect in any way? If Ford gave away free cars, could you believe they were doing it to provide a service for your benefit?

You TalkTalk a big game, says ads watchdog, but your testing not good enough to say your Wi-Fi's best

Old Cynic

Now that inflated speeds are a no-go area for most ISP, the next best way to sell their poxy service is by promising the best wifi. Most customers use wifi and know all about patchy coverage in the home so likely a good way to churn customers onto their service - until they realise it's just as shite as the service they came from.

Unfortunately most users aren't aware enough to know that the only way to improve things is throw away the shitty router and install something like a Nighthawk. Or to make a real difference, add an additional WAP to extend coverage properly. My house has thick stone walls and 5 WAPs to ensure decent coverage - I can't see TalkTalk supplying that kind of service for 30 quid a month.

Google's teeny UK tax bill 'just not right', thunders senior MP

Old Cynic

I seem to recall

Labour were happy enough encouraging globalisation, offshoring, manufacturing in the cheapest place, bringing workers in from around the globe and paying them peanuts.

Now some companies are globalising their tax payments they don't like it. Why not use the cheapest option - they were encouraged throughout Labour's reign....

UK games market clutches chest, bleeds out sales in 2012

Old Cynic

No mention of taxes?

Interesting that this story hasn't led to howls of tax evasion by the people who scream at Amazon/Google/Microsoft et al...

If you think about it, the UK's large spend on games, music, software, movies could (likely already is) handled through tax-efficient arrangements and no physical goods change hands so even easier than the Amazon setup. It would be interesting to quantify the impact on the treasury as soon there'll be no workers in shops selling these things, so no income tax, NI, shop rents etc...

Major Freeview EPG revamp to go ahead after appeals rejected

Old Cynic

Here we go again

I'm sick and tired of re-doing my programme list across 4 tellys every other day. Can they just re-do the bastard thing so that any dedicated shopping/smut/religion/music or subscription channel is at the top end and normal stuff is at the bottom end. That way I can use the normal channels without ploughing through endless lists of crud (or re-programming on a daily basis)

Apple iPhone 5 hands-on review

Old Cynic

Erm isn't the Droid Razr

thinner? 7.1mm vs iToy5 7.6mm?

And, wasn't it released quite some time ago? And didn't it have memory card expansion? And a kevlar casing to make it robust ?

I'm sorry but the new shiny shiny has produced nothing new, all of the innovation is courtesy of the manufacturers e.g. Samsung, LG, Hitachi etc... who actually make the components.

NFC? No way until Apple get a slice of every transaction. Wireless charging? No, apparently that is too complicated.

I see they are being vague on the CPU - why not just say it's a fast dual core? Oh that's why, because quad-core is now standard on flagship phones except for Apple's.

The new screen res is interesting, now it's a 16:9 ratio, oh like most other smartphones have been for years. The aspect means most apps will have black borders until the developers sort it out - sounds like fragmentation to me.

Build a bonkers home cinema

Old Cynic

Sounds expensive

and I doubt if all that equipment would work so well in a smallish room - no doubt amazing in a large room.

My ~£6k setup has most of the features mentioned apart from a disc ripper (mine is a 3TB NAS that holds a few HD movies dowloaded, ahem ripped by myself).

I'm not an audio/video-phile but I honestly can't tell any difference between being at home and being in the cinema. Even now the cinemas have gone 4k, you're such a distance from the screen, I don't see how anyone will appreciate it.

The sound is probably the only area where there's much of a difference but I think that's got a lot to do with the size of the room. However, in my dedicated room at home, there are no interruptions from arseholes coughing, rustling, talking, or lighting up there bastard phones. And I've got a (silent) beer fridge at hand ;)

Samsung whips out Galaxy Note II, cam-phone with proper zoom lens

Old Cynic

Re: " it's clear Sammy sees bigger blowers as something consumers crave"

This is Android mate, you can have almost anything you want. Apple may let you have a choice of 3.5" or 4" screen in a couple of weeks time though (apparently)...

Old Cynic

Court case has been booked....

...that is a blatant rip-off of the Apple iCam, which was the first ever camera with a zoom on one side and a screen on the other.

Oh wait, it's not 2014 yet, the iCam hasn't been released.

Millions face Megaupload data deletion by Thursday

Old Cynic

imagine if banks were forced to open up every safe deposit box in the vaults because somebody thought there was something dodgy in one of them...

Now imagine if the contents disappeared...

Samsung threatens Apple in response to patent lawsuit

Old Cynic

mmmm anyone remember the prada Phone?


Rectangular phone with rounded corners.....check

Black bezel.....check

full screen touch......check


Purchased months before the iphone was launched.....oh yes.

I'm not saying it's better than the jesus device, but sure looks close.....

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

Old Cynic
Thumb Up

Keyboard is a good idea....

...and they've added value by putting a pad and a battery in it.

I use a Vega - £250 very well spent and can now be had for less. Hooked up to an old wiresless mini-keyboard & pad that I had lying around no problem. Cursor is on-screen and I can get around Android 2.2 quite nicely, I suspect Honeycomb will be built with this nav method in mind.

Unlike the transformer though, I can use my wireless keyboard to drive the Vega when it's hooked up to the bedroom telly playing vides or games (and it's damn good cos it can handle full HD).

Looking at the Android scene, ther are so many tabs coming out with different forms, resolutions, attachments and capabilities from prices starting at rock-bottom that I think we're seeing the end of the i-pad. Unless Apple can get properly creative....

I just donwloaded the wank-o-meter app this morning, fantastically funny. Is it out on the iThingies yet cos I know some people who really need to get a copy!

George Lucas 'very happy' with 3D Phantom Menace

Old Cynic
Gates Horns

It will probably be very good...


Bearing in mind non of the actors saw anything other than a green screen, it should be easy to stereoscope them. The rest of the film was rendered by computer so simply doubling up there can't be difficult.

Still a back of shite, just shite in 3d.

I'd prefer them to put the effort and money into remaking the film properly, from scratch, with minimal cg, decent script, and actors who are allowed to actually act.

That means no input from the bearded one.

Dvillish Bill Gates cos there isn't an icon for Lucas.

Samsung teases with trim tablet snap

Old Cynic

could the battery life be the killer here?

78910 seconds is nearly 22 hours and the event is march 22...

Doubtful they can be much better than an ifad for screen/apps/accessories etc... Plenty of other tabs have usb, hdmi etc... but a massively better battery....hmmm.

Samsung intros 10in Android tablet

Old Cynic

just got meself an advent vega

While everyone drools over these new tabs, i picked up an Advent Vega for 250 notes. 10" screen, multi-touch, android 2.2, decent screen res, decent battery, hdmi at 1080, micro sd and usb for good measure.

Dual core tegra at 1GHZ is good enough for anything and angry birds looks amazing, there's some kind of display hardware smoothing going on.

Don't know why all the fuss about these new pads....

Apple tightens screws on hardware hackers

Old Cynic

once again

Doing everything to make it as hard as possible for your average punter to upgrade or enhance without pennies falling into Apple's coffers.

Most phones these daft screws but laptops and desktop machines?

UK short 100K tech recruits this year

Old Cynic

Sounds like...

...a few more work permits dropping out of the printer.

Some big offshoring companies have no doubt been lobbying MPs, plus big business in the UK complaining that pesky UK-based IT workers are terribly expensive, making them less competitive.

Apple's Jobs stand-in touts iPad's enterprise reach

Old Cynic

cant see enterprise coughing up for ios devices....

...for the minions. Most big companies give the plebs really quite cheap phones. You need voice and email, - that'll be a few thousand blackberries at tuppence each, locked down for security reasons of course.

No point having your staff running around with iPhone playing angry birds all day "being creative". Only the boss "needs" an iPhone.....

Prisoners cannibalise mice for mobile power

Old Cynic

no 3 pin plug needed

...as they have access to the basics needed for a minimum standard of living (ie hd tellies and ps3s), they only need a usb charger.

I'm surprised they haven't adapted the charge cables they use for their pods......

Raised res iPad 2 to sport four-core chip?

Old Cynic


They've run out of things to do with the software (apart from make more revenue) so they up the hardware spec. A large chunk of Apple buyers have no idea about the technicals....

No court order against PlayStation hackers for now

Old Cynic

reality check

Sony don't give a monkey's about some geek hacking his own box so he can run Linux or OS whatever. They only care about losing revenue through blagged copies of games. Everything else is just noise.

They will use any possible avenue to stop it - just like any other company would.

Mitsubishi commuter e-car goes on sale

Old Cynic

nobody ever mentions....

How much co2 per km these things emit (assuming grid-fed power)

How much to charge it up and what would the equivalent cost be if taxed in the same way as normal fuel? Sooner or later hmrc are going to have to tax these things....