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Comment: Re:Nothing unusual (Score 1) 39

by FireFury03 (#47399623) Attached to: Free Wi-Fi Supplier, Gowex, Files For Bankruptcy

No, business are sat down and are interrogated like ordinary people. For some loans they just hit the credit bureau, just like ordinary people. Sometimes they go over the documents with a fine tooth comb, just like ordinary people. And just like ordinary people sometimes business enhance, fudge, or outright lie.

Also, even if your business is a limited company, you'll usually find that small business investments are often secured against the directors' themselves, so frequently it is _not_ the case that you can just move the money out of the company and declare it insolvant, coz if you do that you'll lose your home too. Where this tends to fall down is bigger companies, where the bank perceives the company itself to be worth enough to secure the loan... which is a problem if the company's value is fictional.

Comment: Re:Nothing unusual (Score 5, Interesting) 39

by FireFury03 (#47398039) Attached to: Free Wi-Fi Supplier, Gowex, Files For Bankruptcy

Why is it compulsory that I have to be sat down like a child when I want to take out a £1000 loan but nobody questions businesses or enforces them to give enhanced accounts or audits in their first few years of operation.

Well, to some extent I think people who run businesses are probably expected to have a bit more of a clue to managing finances than the average man-on-the-street. (And I guess you only have to look at the number of "pay day loan" companies that charge several thousands percent APR to realise that there are a *lot* of members of the public who really don't understand how to manage their finances). So the whole being sat down like a child thing is basically to stop people who don't know what they're doing ending up with mountains of debt _by mistake_, it's not to stop people intentionally cooking the books.

A company cooking the books is serious, but arguably, a privately held company cooking the books is probably not _that_ bad - yes they avoid paying a bit of tax, but auditing costs the government money so you have to weigh up this cost against the amount of extra tax revenues they're going to get (and certainly, my privately held limited company has never been audited by the inland revenue, not that I have any reason to believe that such an audit would raise any warnings).

Things are a bit more serious with a publicly held company though, since cooking the books will artificially raise the share price and then risk a crash (as has happened here) so innocent third party investors are going to get screwed over. Its hard to decide who should be paying the costs of an independent audit in this case though. Maybe investors should value a company's shares more highly if a independent audit has been published for that company since investing in that company should presumably be a lower risk.

Comment: Re:Haha (Score 1) 234

by FireFury03 (#47383595) Attached to: Radar Changing the Face of Cycling

But the bottom line is, if they are in the lane you are driving in, it is no different then another car except you can pass them without completely changing lanes.

Worth pointing out that the British highway code says that you give bikes as much room as you'd give a car (i.e. you must pull all the way out into the next lane). I say this as someone who still has a bunch of painful cuts from about 3 weeks ago when a driver decided that it was safe to overtake me on a single track road, leaving around 2cm between his car and the end of my handlebars (I swerved to avoid getting hit by his wing mirror, lost my balance and wobbled into the side of his car, which is exactly what leaving zero margin for error gets you. I ended up with cuts, bruises, grazes and a ripped T-shirt from where I hit the road, he ended up with an expensive handlebar scrape the full length of his car, which will hopefully remind him not to be such a bellend in future.)

Comment: Re:How is this different from sensory deprivation? (Score 2) 333

I'm familiar with sensory deprivation studies, but personally I find it shocking (pardon the pun) that people are willing to self-administer painful shocks just to avoid being alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes. Don't you?

I've not read the article, but the thought that immediately occurred to me was whether there was a curiosity element involved. i.e. did people really shock themselves because they were bored, or did they shock themselves out of curiosity to see if it really did hurt as much as they were told it would?

Electric shocks aren't something that most people have experienced - if you were asked to cut yourself then you'd probably guess how much it'd hurt since most people have had cuts before, but if you're told "this button will shock you", you're in a complete unknown - most people haven't had electric shocks, and even if you had you don't know anything about the voltage, etc. they're administering so no way to gauge how much pain to expect.

Comment: Re:Well, duh... (Score 4, Insightful) 210

"A new law that has a fairly vague scope"? It's a law which dates back to 1995, and its scope is fairly clear. See the ECJ's Factsheet.

The whole idea of treating a news report as "personal data" seems completely flawed to me.

But in any case, there seems to be a "public interest" judgement to be made, with respect to this law. In general I think "public interest" judgements need to be made by judges and other public organisations within an established framework, rather than as ad-hoc judgements by private businesses.

Comment: Re:Well, duh... (Score 5, Insightful) 210

...but that's exactly what the ruling does. The original case was a businessman objecting to Google links to newpaper stories about his life. This is no different.

Fact is, the court that issued this ruling screwed up big time. Perhaps, if Google can find a few more egregious deletions to make, the European Parliament will correct the error.

I think the big problem here is that Google are expected to be the judge, jury and executioner and are getting smacked down when someone thinks they made the wrong judgement call. This stuff should be going to an independent judge instead of expecting Google to uphold a new law that has a fairly vague scope.

Comment: Re:One stupid question (Score 3, Interesting) 88

How do they choose the exchange? Government property must be auctioned off to the highest bidder, otherwise they are favoring a business over others.

One of those little things that they do to maintain the appearance that they are not corrupt.

I'm curious how they handle foreign currency which is seized - if they seize a truck full of euros, do they auction them or of just exchange them for dollars? If the latter, what's the difference between that and doing the same with bitcoins?

Comment: Re:Sounds about right... (Score 2) 441

Home owners can't really lose with solar PV, unless they somehow get screwed on workmanship or installation costs. The panels with always pay for themselves in a few years and it's shear madness that new houses are being built without it.

If you're going to live in the house for at least the break-even time then yes, you probably can't lose. However, I'm less convinced that it adds so much to the value of the house: if there are 2 identical houses for sale, but one of them has a brand new £20K installation of PV panels on the roof, are people really going to pay £20K more for that one? I suspect not, because its an up-front cost and some people simply won't be able to afford that much up-front. (Ok, so people will tack it onto the mortgage, but that means convincing the bank to give you a bigger mortgage).

So that is why new houses aren't built with PV panels - because it almost certainly doesn't raise the sale value of the house by the amount spent on the panels.

In general, solar panels work well for the rich but not so well for the poor: If you've bought the house you're going to live in for a significant number of years and you can afford the large up-front cost of the panels then it's a good investment. But only the richer part of the population can do this, so subsidising solar power actually just ends up transferring wealth from the poor to the rich, which is why it's contraversial.

Comment: Re:The article actually made two points (Score 2) 254

by FireFury03 (#47300459) Attached to: The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble

Data mining and intercepting bad company experiences and "making good" on them. For example, we had something delivered via UPS. The driver left it on our front step, didn't ring the doorbell, and just left. It sat out there for hours before we realized it was there. The package could have easily been stolen during that time and neither UPS nor I would have known until it was much too late. We complained on Twitter and UPS contacted us in an attempt to find out what went wrong and how they could improve their policies.

I think this is a bit of a red herring. If the company cares about customer service then you shouldn't need to complain on a public forum to get them to pay attention - they should provide a customer support line and actually take all calls to it seriously.

Spot bad experiences, help minimize bad PR by helping those customers, and minimize future bad PR by fixing those problems before more customers are affected.

Now you've hit the nail on the head. Social media is actually a problem for companies: prior to social media, a company screws up, you complain, they ignore you, you moan about it to about 3 of your mates. Now, a company screws up, you complain, they ignore you, you moan about it on twitter, it goes viral and a hundred thousand people see how badly the company treated you. The company isn't interested in helping their customer (if they were, they would've helped their customer whether or not it turned into a PR disaster), instead they are interested in avoiding really bad PR - really bad PR that wouldn't ever have happened without social media.

I don't use Twitter, but I have sometimes wondered whether its worth getting an account just to make complaints, since complaints on Twitter seem to attract a much quicker and more helpful response than calls directly to customer services.

Comment: Re:Secret courts are the stuff of dictatorships (Score 1) 240

by FireFury03 (#47170683) Attached to: UK Seeks To Hold Terrorism Trial In Secret

Short of a bloody revolt, what exactly can the citizens do about it?

They can stop voting for people who pander to their fears.

Who exactly do you suggest? Coz the only way I can see to do as you say is to simply not vote for anyone, and I can't see how that's going to help.

Comment: Re:Secret courts are the stuff of dictatorships (Score 2) 240

by FireFury03 (#47170027) Attached to: UK Seeks To Hold Terrorism Trial In Secret

And the global dictatorship is slowly being pieced together.

And citizens do nothing, amazingly. People with any knowledge of history should be scared shitless - I know I am.

And soon it'll be too late to do anything about it...

Short of a bloody revolt, what exactly can the citizens do about it?

Comment: Re:Since there seems to be some confusion, (Score 1) 93

by FireFury03 (#47118133) Attached to: Hunt Intensifies For Aliens On Kepler's Planets

Picking up an unnatural, focused emission of energy from another planet would already be pretty good, even if we cannot decode the signal or even recognize it as such.

How do you determine what is unnatural? Over the years astronomers have picked up *lots* of signals that had no natural explanation at the time but do now...

Personally I think the whole thing is likely a waste of time - we've only been using radio for interplanetary communications for a few decades and things are now rapidly moving towards laser communications. Assuming another civilisation follows a similar path, the time between "not advanced enough to detect" and "too advanced to detect" seems pretty short.

Comment: Re:I'm abandoning it anyway (Score 4, Insightful) 53

by FireFury03 (#47054715) Attached to: Robyn Bergeron Stepping Down As Fedora Project Leader

The absurd release frequency, the unnecessary changes, and the bad quality forced me to air-gap my system and freeze it in an ancient version in order to keep it running (or, better said, in order to reduce the risk of it breaking down). I stopped recommending fedora ages ago. Now that that system fulfilled its original purpose, it will be repurposed and updated with something different, probably CentOS or Mint.

I think you're rather missing the point of Fedora. The whole point is a Free, rapid release cycle distribution to track the (b)leading edge technologies. The good stuff that drops out of this goes into RHEL a few years later, whilst the bad stuff is abandoned. If you wanted a long-term-support distro, why did you choose a rapid release cycle one in the first place? RHEL, CentOS or Scientific Linux are much more sensible if your're not interested in the latest features; but you can't have both - you can't have the latest stuff that was only developed last month unless you go with a rapid release cycle distro.

Comment: Re:UK EU more problems than solutions? (Score 4, Insightful) 341

by FireFury03 (#47037123) Attached to: UK May Kill the EU's Net Neutrality Law

Are there any benefits that a random British person could point out, that are the result of UK being in the EU?

Economic advantages, of course, but also a whole swathe of good laws have come from the EU. The anti-EU crowd always like to point at the bad laws (and of course, there are some) as a reason to leave whilst completely ignoring all the good laws that are only here as a result of the EU.

A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.