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Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 2) 241

by Richard_at_work (#47927845) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

but the downside for the UK with sterlingisation is that Scotland would not be liable for any share of the UK accumulated debt.

I'm afraid you have fallen in Salmonds trap - debt and currency are two entirely separate things, they are not linked in any manner and while Scotland can *refuse* to take its share of debt, that refusal is not automatic based on not taking the currency.

A countries debt is denominated in the currency that country uses, but its not linked to it in any other way.

If Scotland do refuse to take its share, then it will have a poorer credit rating on the international funds markets because of it.

The Treasure have already confirmed that the debt belongs to the UK and only the UK.

No, what the Treasury did was confirm that the entirety of the debt was safe, it would be serviced by the UK even in the event that Scotland refused to take its share - they did this because it eliminated pre-referendum uncertainty about the financial situation, and prevented pre-emptive financial issues surrounding borrowing rates when lenders refuse to lend to the pre-referendum UK on the basis that it may not get its money back.

Again you have fallen into Salmonds trap by accepting his statements at face value - the UK just guaranteed the entirety of the debt, but that doesn't have any standing as to exonerating Scotland from its share when it comes to post-referendum negotiations. This isn't the school yard here.

Comment: Re:Not going to be as rosy as the YES! campaign sa (Score 2) 241

by Richard_at_work (#47927411) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

The UK can't refuse to have a currency union in practice. It might go as far as the European courts or other international bodies, but the currency is basically as much theirs as it is the rest of the UK's.

Actually the rUK can refuse a currency union, and it will - there is nothing stopping it, and no foreign court has jurisdiction here. There is nothing stopping Scotland from *using* Sterling as its currency, but that's not what's being discussed here as I said in my earlier post - Salmond wants a seat at the table when it comes to Sterling fiscal policy, while none of the Westminster parties want to sit next to him, because they do not want to be beholden to a second economy when setting fiscal policy for the rUK.

That's what this discussion is all about. Why should Westminster have to share fiscal decision making with an "independent" Scotland?

Go ahead and use Sterling as the thing you use to buy and sell things - but you aren't getting a seat at the Bank of England table.

Infact, Salmond could quite easily take the entirety of the Bank of England and Sterling with him, but that won't solve his issue - it doesn't get him a stable currency because the Bank of England will no longer be backed by the Westminster treasury, and as the Bank of Englands assets would still be sliced up as before, he wouldn't get any more money with which to base his lender of last resort on.

What Salmond is after when he says "I want a currency union" is actually "I want a backing lender that I can rely on to bail me out regardless, but I don't want to set up my own backing lender because that is costly and would mean I would have to renege on my taxation promises, and anyway said new backing lender would not have the standing on the international financial markets because of its lack of history and backing of an established economic policy and government treasury, so what I actually need is a backing lender linked to the Westminster government. Crap."

Problem is, the voters don't understand the complexities of all that and simply believe Salmond...

If the vote is yes then the rest of the UK will negotiate a union because it's in their best interests. Otherwise investors are going to start pulling out of the UK fast because if Scotland doesn't keep Sterling the rest of the UK's debt will increase massively in proportion. Sterling would also lose many of the assets it is valued against, like North Sea oil.

Investors aren't going to go anywhere, because the financial worth of the City of London far outweighs the potential revenue of the north sea oil - don't get me wrong, that oil revenue is a nice to have, but it won't break the rUK not to have it. The bulk of the GDP of the UK resides outside Scotland, so we aren't in anywhere near as much of a sticky place as you think we are, especially as most large Scottish financial institutes will have to move south of the border to satisfy EU and WTO regulations.

Sharing fiscal policy with a brand new government, one that has to find its legs, sort out internal taxation, find the balance of its people etc - thats not something we want as a country, because all that brings uncertainty and instability. Salmond can have all of that, we will just get on with our own fiscal responsibilities thanks.

I also don't see how the rUKs debt will "increase massively in proportion" - if Salmond tries to make good on his threat of not taking Scotlands portion of the national debt, then the fledgling Scottish treasury will have a fairly poor international credit rating, right at the time it needs to be borrowing in order to set up its central bank.

Don't fall into the trap of believing Salmond and his supporters when they link a currency union to debt - a countries debt is not linked to the currency that country uses, its an entirely separate thing. It might be denominated in that currency for the purposes of reporting, but it isn't linked to it - it doesn't magically go away if the UK stopped using Sterling, and it doesn't mean that Salmond can legitimately refuse to take the Scottish share of debt without a currency union.

Comment: Re:Not going to be as rosy as the YES! campaign sa (Score 5, Interesting) 241

by Richard_at_work (#47926105) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Its not the Bank of Englands assets that Salmond wants, its the Bank of England itself. He wants to be able to retain the BoE as a lender of last resort, while maintaining a say in how Sterling fiscal policy is created - inflation controls, interest rates, ability to borrow at a base rate etc etc etc.

Without the BoE, Scotland would need to set up its own lender of last resort, or risk having less foreign investment as Scottish banks have to borrow on the standard market, which is a lot more expensive.

There is no positive to the rest of the UK to allow an independent Scotland to continue to have access to the BoE in the capacity it wants to, which is why the Westminster government parties have all ruled it out - Salmond mean while continually pushes the fact that "Ireland was allowed to have a currency union with the UK when it was granted independence in the 1920s" but ignores the fact that the Republic of Ireland did not actually have a currency union as it had no say in fiscal policy in the few short years where it actually used Sterling as its currency, it simply just used Sterling like any person on the street does. Then they pegged the Irish Pound to Sterling for the next 50 or so years, again with minimal fiscal decision making as a result.

Salmonds other argument is that Scotland cannot be held liable for any debt that the rest of the UK has already acknowledged responsibility for, which Westminster did the first time Salmond made his threat because any doubt over that would cause fiscal policy difficulties with foreign markets - but that doesn't mean foreign lenders cannot view Scotland as a higher risk as a result, because it is after all refusing to take a portion of the debt it helped create.

Whatever happens, Friday is going to be very very interesting - if its a "Yes" then Salmond starts making his demands and then runs into difficulties where he insisted there wouldn't be any (currency union, which he has insisted all along would happen, despite being told time and again that it wouldn't, and membership of the EU, which Salmond has again insisted would be nearly instant while major EU politicians and leaders have said a newly independent Scotland would be required to apply to join as a new member state, the same as any other new member state seeking membership).

If its a "No", Salmond won't back down but will probably use it to fuel more dissent toward Westminster, insisting on another referendum in the near future.

Ho hum, the weekend is going to be fun.

Comment: Re:Edge routers are expensive (Score 1) 76

by dgatwood (#47924071) Attached to: Why Is It Taking So Long To Secure Internet Routing?

I keep thinking that if an ISP really wanted to cut costs, they could proactively monitor their network for problems:

  • Provide the CPE preconfigured, at no additional cost to the customer. (Build the hardware cost into the price of service.)
  • Ensure that the CPE keeps a persistent capacitor-backed log across reboots. If the reboot was caused by anything other than the customer yanking the cord out of the wall or a power outage, send that failure info upstream. Upon multiple failures in less than a few weeks, assume that the customer's CPE is failing, and call the customer with a robocall to tell them that you're mailing them new CPE to improve the quality of their service.
  • Detect frequent disconnects and reconnects, monitor the line for high error rates, etc. and when you see this happening, treat it the same way you treat a CPE failure.
  • If the new hardware behaves the same way, silently schedule a truck roll to fix the lines.

If done correctly (and if clearly advertised by the ISP so that users would know that they didn't need to call to report any outages), it would eliminate the need for all customer service except for billing, and a decent online billing system could significantly reduce the need for that as well.

Comment: Re:Gee I do not know. (Score 1) 370

by thesandtiger (#47922281) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

If I want someone with the potential to be brilliant, I'd go for the candidate who, despite NOT immersing themselves in the field for the last 4+ years of their life has just performed as well as the candidate who has dedicated their education to the field.

Even if things weren't precisely equal, I'd be inclined to go with the person who isn't trained yet performed well enough to be considered for the job, since they clearly have a lot more potential to grow and clearly have a desire to learn on their own rather than just because they "had" to in university. That person might have some deficits, but they will very likely be able to remedy them, given their already demonstrated desire to learn on their own.

If I'm just hiring a cog and they need to hit a few boxes on a checklist in order to be slotted in to a role where brilliance would actually be harmfully disruptive, then sure, give me the person who treated university like a vocational training course, I guess.

Comment: Re:Article shows fundamental lack of understanding (Score 2) 178

by dgatwood (#47921615) Attached to: Why Apple Should Open-Source Swift -- But Won't

They won't see people switching to Swift uniformly. There are trillions of lines of code written in Objective-C, and programmers already know it and are comfortable with it. There are no tools for migrating code from Objective-C to Swift, much less the hodgepodge of mixed C, Objective-C, and sometimes C++ that quite frequently occurs in real-world apps, so for the foreseeable future, you'd end up just adding Swift to your existing apps, which means you now have three or four languages mixed in one app instead of two or three, and now one of them looks completely different than the others. I just don't see very many developers seriously considering adopting Swift without a robust translator tool in place.

I do, however, expect to see Swift become the language of choice for new programmers who are coming from scripting languages like Python and Ruby, because it is more like what they're used to. In the long term, they'll outnumber the Objective-C developers, but the big, expensive apps will still mostly be written in Objective-C, simply because most of them will be new versions of apps that already exist.

BTW, Apple never really treated Java like a first-class citizen; it was always a half-hearted bolt-on language. My gut says that they added Java support under the belief that more developers knew Java than Objective-C, so it would attract developers to the platform faster. In practice, however, almost nobody ever really adopted it, so it withered on the vine. Since then, they have shipped and subsequently dropped bridges for both Ruby and Python.

Any implication that Swift will supplant Objective-C like Objective-C supplanted Java requires revisionist history. Objective-C supplanted C, not Java. Java was never even in the running. And Objective-C still hasn't supplanted C. You'll still find tons of application code for OS X written in C even after nearly a decade and a half of Apple encouraging developers to move away from C and towards Objective-C. (Mind you, most of the UI code is in Objective-C at this point.) And that's when moving to a language that's close enough to C that you don't have to retrain all your programmers.

Compared with the C to Objective-C transition, any transition from Objective-C to Swift is likely to occur at a speed that can only be described as glacial. IMO, unless Apple miraculously makes the translation process nearly painless, they'll be lucky to be able to get rid of Objective C significantly before the dawn of the next century. I just don't see it happening, for precisely the same reason that nine years after Rails, there are still a couple orders of magnitude more websites built with PHP. If a language doesn't cause insane amounts of pain (e.g. Perl), people are reluctant to leave it and rewrite everything in another language just to obtain a marginal improvement in programmer comfort.

Comment: Re: Apple not in my best interests either (Score 1) 178

by dgatwood (#47919715) Attached to: Why Apple Should Open-Source Swift -- But Won't

No, they're saying Apple switched because GCC's core wasn't designed in a way that made it easy to extend the Objective-C bits in the way that Apple wanted. And that could well be part of it—I'm not sure.

But I think a bigger reason was that Apple could use Clang to make Xcode better, whereas GCC's parsing libraries were A. pretty tightly coupled to GCC (making it technically difficult to reuse them) and B. licensed under a license that made linking them into non-open-source software problematic at best.

Comment: Re:Here in Massachusetts (Score 1) 145

by Richard_at_work (#47915551) Attached to: Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla From Selling In Massachusetts

Interesting to see that version of history making the rounds - the pilgrims weren't kicked out of England for anything, they left because they felt they didn't have the freedom to oppress their group members under English law. So they went somewhere with no laws.

Comment: Re:Will continue to be developed for other platfor (Score 2) 324

by dgatwood (#47911603) Attached to: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

And you know what Mojang's opinion means at this point? Absolutely NOTHING. They can't tell their new owner to honor their intended promises, even if it were written into the deal. All they have to do is replace the boss with someone willing to change the company on Microsoft's behalf and POOF! It's happened with every other developer that's been bought out thus far that came out and said they were told/promised nothing would be changing.

Depends on how good their lawyers are. If they write into the contract a term that says that all rights revert to the original authors if the new owner violates such a term, then yes, they can force the new owners to honor those promises.

Comment: Re: +-2000 deaths? (Score 3, Interesting) 119

by dgatwood (#47899259) Attached to: US Scientists Predict Long Battle Against Ebola

Ebola may not be easy to transmit, but it sure as heck isn't hard to transmit. It's not pedantically known to be airborne, but it is believed to be spread by droplets (e.g. sneezes). There's a very, very, very fine line between the two.

And yes, I can provide citations if you'd like, but it's not like they're very hard to find with a Google search.

"Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit!" -- Looney Tunes, "What's Opera Doc?" (1957, Chuck Jones)

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