Archive for category Business

I watched this and didn’t know whether it was exciting or frightening – you decide!

Sony showed this to attendees at their Annual Shareholder’s meeting in 2009 but I have only just come across it and think it needs a wider audience.

The frightening thing is when they talk about first year and third year students…

Tell us what frightened or excited you below in the comments!


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One 71 year old that leaves our politicians standing – a man to be greatly admired.

Colour and excitement returned to the City yesterday as Glencore announced a former French foreign legionnaire, Algerian war veteran, author, explorer and financier as its new chairman.

Photo of Simon Murray CBE

Simon Murray CBE (via Vodafone)

Simon Murray (pictured) will be tasked with leading the firm’s up-to $11bn (£6.7bn) float, valuing it at about $60bn, the details of which were confirmed yesterday.

The move heralded a return to the days when interesting and complex characters, rather than faceless executives, ran the City.

Earlier this week, Murray said: “This is very exciting, but you are talking to someone who has been chased by a leopard. You are talking to someone who has been shot at with a machine gun and missed.”

Murray, whose tales of derring-do include carrying two severed heads in his backpack during his time in the French Foreign Legion, was born in Leicester in central England. As a teenager in 1960 he joined the Foreign Legion on a whim, going on to fight for five years in Algeria. He later wrote a bestseller, “Legionnaire”, about his time in north Africa.

It was made into a film in 2002.

Educated at Bedford School, one of England’s oldest public schools, Murray was turned down by the British Army before signing up with the Foreign Legion.

“I think perhaps I was just a young buck without much confidence in himself setting an extreme challenge to see if he could hack it in a man’s world,” he says in his book.

He has since run a 240km race in the Moroccan desert, climbed Mount Everest and become the oldest man to walk unsupported to the South Pole. Glencore unveiled its blockbuster initial public offering (IPO) to the market yesterday, following months of speculation.

According to Wikipedia, he has been awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by H.M. The Queen, and the Order of Merit of the French Republic and is a “Chevalier de La Legion d’Honneur”. He holds an Honorary Degree in law, from Bath University and attended the (SEP) Stanford Executive Programme in the US.  He also trekked to the South Pole in his sixties.

Murray married long-time sweetheart, the former Jennifer Mather, with whom he has three children. Jennifer Murray was the first woman to fly around the world in a helicopter.

What a family

Read the full article in the City A.M. newspaper.


Amazing and incredible technology arriving from Japan in the near future!

You  will not be able to know what is ahead  until  you  have seen the four pictures
and read the  explanation of what  they are, our future is here, incredible! what  an age we live in.
Look closely and guess what they  could be…


Are they pens with cameras?


Any wild guesses? No clue  yet?


Here  is how it works:Ladies  and gentlemen…. congratulations! You’ve  just looked into the future…
You’ve  just seen something that  will replace your PC in the near future.


In the revolution of miniature  computers, scientists  have made great developments with blue tooth  technology…
This  is the forthcoming computers you  can  carry within your pockets .
This ‘pen sort of instrument’  produces both the monitor as well as the keyboard on any flat surfaces
from where you can  carry out functions you would normally do on  your desktop computer.


This idea has been around for some time though


But now, the light comes from the actual phone or PDA

I don’t think it will replace the Notebook as such, but in the future I can imagine that larger laptops will replce the desktop and the above computer might will replace the Notebook.




by Anton Howes

We’re all now familiar with the way the online exchange market eBay works. However, it should also be seen as an example of how unregulated free markets can work. In 2010, 90 million people from across the world, often unable to speak the same language, and totally unknown to each other due to adopted pseudonyms traded $2000-worth of goods every single second.

Without any government input when it came to advertising standards or fair trading, or any of the usual regulations we see with conventional off-line markets, a whopping 98% of trades managed to get a positive rating. This shows that trust can be built between and amongst people who will never meet, and may even conceal their identities.

You may argue that this is simply because of the rating system, something put in place by the eBay designers, and that this provides a justification for a similar government scheme. But then eBay, like all other markets is entirely voluntary – we buy at our own risk but try to reduce it. Even if eBay had not built in its own ratings system and provided free Buyer Protection, the huge demand for these services would have prompted someone to design them in any case.

Whilst government may wish to get involved, the chances are it would be a waste of taxpayer money, and would displace both consumer wariness and voluntary approaches more open to innovation. Furthermore, regulations always respond to the last disaster. But consumer ratings are likely to be more immediate and effective, whilst also changing seller behaviour without the need for intrusive or expensive top-down rules governing everyone else too.

Read the full article at The Adam Smith Institute

My own monika is “ampers” on eBay and I have traded 158 times with a perfect 100% record.

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Why I moved to OpenSource

I am often asked why I moved over to Linux from Windows. A question which is difficult to understand when replied to verbally, but a little easier when written down. A few years ago I had a wonky hard drive and kept on having to reformat and reload Windows. After I had done this a few times I received a message on my screen asking me to ring a number (Microsoft’s) immediately.

The guy on the other end introduced himself as Microsoft’s fraud department and demanded to know why I had tried too many times to use the same disk to load up Windows. I was furious and called him a few names and told him I had trouble with my hard drive. He wanted to know where I got the disk.

I suddenly saw how I could have some fun at his expense and said a lady in a London club gave it to me. He became very alert and asked me details of the person. I gave her name and a Reading phone number which he wrote down and suddenly he said, but that’s a Microsoft head office number in the UK. Yes, I said, I am an IT Journalist and she gave it to me at a Microsoft event in London and if he’d prefer, I could scrap this disk and get her to send me another one. He then grudgingly gave me a code to enter into my computer to release Windows. I was amazed that he believed me though!

But it got me thinking. I evidently hadn’t bought the software but the cost is expensive for most, and that this proved most windows products are only on loan, you are not entitled to do anything you like with them, as you wood a book for instance. Lend it to a friend or resell it. Similar to DRM and Music CDs, they are not yours, you have to obey the rules laid down by the music company. Even Kindle books for example can’t be lent to a friend, it has to stay on your Kindle.

It was then that I decided that I would never rent anything again. I would only buy products which were mine to dispose of how I wished. With music I had to be allowed to make up a backup copy and MP3 files for my portable music. I had to make this concession else I’d never buy CDs.

I flirted with several distributions of Linux and decided to settle down with Ubuntu as it seemed the best behaved. And two years on, I have never looked back. I have a choice of a single click download of 43,000 programs which automatically put themselves in the right menu on my computer, I have just counted the number of programs I use, it comes to just over 100! And, these don’t include the administrative files there to help you run the operating system.

Who should run Ubuntu? Not an easy question to answer, but at the lower end of the scale, if you just use your computer to use email, browsing on the web and word processing, then you should definitely seriously consider it. Get the following three programs for Windows or the Mac: Firefox Browser, Thunderbird email and LibreOffice. Google for them. Use them for a few months and, if you are very happy with them, change over to Ubuntu and load the same three programs into your computer and you are away. Easy Peasy! If you want to remain with windows, remember, the free LibreOffice reads, and saves to, Microsoft Office so you can avoid paying such huge prices for that program.

There are some good programs for editing photographs (Picasa from Google is available on all three systems) and music playing, cd ripping, video editing. And a terrific help forum where you get answers in no time at all. Look at

Most other users would probably benefit unless they either use their computers for serious gaming, or Adobe’s more serious software – although “The Gimp” is almost as good as Photoshop and is available on all platforms.

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Batteries in mobiles and laptops to run 100 times longer

A team of electrical engineers at Illinois University in the US believe their method will enable mobiles and laptops to run for up to 100 times longer between charges.

It focuses on changing the way a device’s digital memory works, as this consumes much of the charge.

At the moment mobile phone memories contain thin metal wires. Every time information is accessed, electricity is passed through them to retrieve the data.

The electrical engineers thought that if the size of the components used to store and retrieve the information could be reduced, so could the amount of electricity.

They have discovered a way of using carbon nanotubes – tiny tubes 10,000 times thinner than a human hair – instead.

The full article is in the Daily Telegraph



The difference between Barclays Bank and the Gardian Media Group

The following has been lifted unashamedly from Guido Fawkes website,


On Saturday morning The Guardian decided to give UK Uncut a front page boost.  The protestors managed to shut down three dozen of the 1,720 branches of Barclays bank. Surprised they found any branches to occupy given Saturday opening hours.

The gist of the shabby story was Barclays bankers are evil tax dodgers. The evidence was a hatchet job with the paper making the spurious claim that Barclay’s only paid 1% tax on their £11.6 billion profits. In arriving at a profit before tax figure of £11.6 billion, The Guardian has added the profit from the ongoing business (£4.5 billion) to profits from a disposed business (£726 million) and the gain made on disposal of that business (£6.3 billion) to reach a total of £11.6 billion.

What they chose to ignore however was the total tax take Barclay’s had to pay; payroll taxes, bank levy, non-recoverable VAT, employers NI, SDRT and so on. Over the weekend Tim Worstall and the FCA Blog tore chunks out of the piece:

The article compares the cash paid to HMRC in respect of UK corporation tax in 2009 (£113 million) to the profits generated by the consolidated Barclays group worldwide in 2009. In the UK, tax is paid in arrears, so 2009 taxes would relate to widespread 2008 losses, not 2009 profits.

Multinational companies such as Barclays pay tax in a number of jurisdictions. Generally speaking Barclays only pays UK corporation tax on profits it generated in the UK.  Anything earned outside the UK doesn’t get taxed here. So it’s a howler to compare the UK corporation tax payment to the global consolidated profit. Most of those profits were taxed where they were made.

In 2002 (under Gordon Brown, Chuka), the UK government introduced the substantial shareholdings exemption, a corporation tax exemption for UK businesses disposing of a substantial shareholding in a part of their business. The idea was that businesses should be able to restructure their businesses without having to worry about chargeable gains implications. Barclays are heavily criticised by The Guardian for using it.  The last time that Guido saw this being used was by the, err, Guardian Media Group to save themselves some £60 million of taxes in 2008:

“In 2008 GMG sold half of Auto Trader publisher Trader Media Group and made an exceptional (one-off) profit of more than £300 million. No tax was payable on the return from that sale because under UK law GMG qualified for SSE”

In 2008 The Guardian made £302 million in profits and paid no corporation taxes. The CEO, Carolyn McCall, was paid an £827,000 package. Yet we don’t see the UK Uncut crowd kicking up a stink about The Guardian’s tax structures or their fat cat pay and bonuses.

Over the weekend the Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger (half-a-million a year since you asked) tweeted about Barclay’s offshore holding corporations. Guardian Media Group holds hundreds of millions in assets in a Caymans Island domiciled offshore corporation.

Guido put it to the GMG press office that GMG has £223.8 million invested in an overseas/offshore hedge fund managed by Cambridge Associates which trades currency derivatives. They don’t deny it and have declined to confirm the fund’s structure for tax purposes.

Guardian readers seem to be under the illusion that it is owned by a not-for-profit charity. The Scott Trust was wound up in October 2008 and the Guardian is a for-profit-privately-owned media business, the well paid directors of which confirm in their annual accounts that they operate tax strategies in line with their fiduciary duty to the shareholders – just like any other business.

The old Scott Trust was set up in 1936 to avoid inheritance taxes and wound up in 2008 so that GMG could cynically exploit the SSE capital gains tax shelter to pay 0% in corporation taxes on their £302 million in profits that year. GMG claim that it was about modernising the holding structure, in fact it was a disingenuous cover for corporate venality.

For three quarters of a century the The Guardian has been shirking taxes, Guido has no problem with them acting in their shareholders’ best interests. The hypocritical cant from them however about others doing the same is beyond contemptible…

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Mobile phone companies charging new VAT for December

Take a look at:

It seems like several cellphone companies are charging the new rate of 20% VAT a month earlier.

I am not accusing the companies of dishonest practice but of pure laziness of not wanting to work out which parts of the bill attracts which rate. But it should be noticed that they are erring in their favour not ours.


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I could separate the Banks investment arms from their high street banking in five minutes flat!

I have been following Cameron’s attempts to persuade them to split up over the months and wonder at the ineptitude of it.

If I were Prime Minister, I would make a phone call to the newspapers saying that the Government will be withdrawing the £50,000 savings guarantees for peoples savings as from 31st December 2011, and after that will only guarantee the savings of savers who save with banks who do not have an investment arm.

There, it will be done.

You can bet your bottom dollar than by the end of this year, most of the banks will have separated the two business otherwise they would have dead high street branches.


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What is Ubuntu

Ubuntu, in Xhosa or Zulu means a shared progress0 for the help of all. The Linux program Ubuntu was based by a fellow South African, Mark Shuttleworth, on that premis and it has expanded rapidly in the five or so years it has been in existence.

I have been dabling with Linux on and off for ten years now, First with SuSE and then with Ubuntu, and for the last two years have used Ubuntu solely on my desktop and for one year on my Notebook and on my Netbook.

And have never looked back, or spent a penny on software.

Take a look at their latest software. It is quite impressive.

If you only use a wordprocessor, spreadsheet, browser and email program, then it is foolish not to use this. If you also like software to edit and watch videos and photographs, then it is foolish to use anything other than this. If you like to play music and edito mp3 files for your cellphone, then this is the operating system to use.

There is only one “lie” in the entire video. It states there are thousands of free programs available. This is wrong but I understand why they have said this. There are, in fact, tens of thousands of free programs and I have said this here as I am sure my readers will be able to get their heads around this fact.



Tell them why you’re leaving

The English don’t complain verbally, they just complain with their feet.

This may be a way of punishing the shop or supplier, but is it fair to your fellow Englishmen?

For example, if you don’t like a shop because the staff are rude to you, complain to the owner and tell him you don’t need “rudeness” and won’t be shopping there again. For example, I use Virgin and will leave for Three when my contract expires. I will tell them it is because Virgin charge me 10p to call them, and Three don’t charge anything.

OK it may be too late for me, but if enough of us complain about the same thing, the supplier may change his ways.

British management is renowned all over the world for being at the bottom of the list of countries with regard to employer employee relations. This can be partly because we don’t complain. If you hate your boss and you want to leave, state the reasons in full; send a copy of your resignation letter to the managing director (but be fair, add “copy to managing director” on your letter. The MD will do nothing at the time, but if the next person who leaves gives the same reason, he’ll start asking questions and if three do the same…

If you are stuck with a supplier because you are under contractual obligations, start a notebook with all the things which occur that has upset you, date each item. Write a report on all these just before your contract expires and tell the CEO why you are not renewing.

If you are not happy with the Government, write to your MP and tell him why. But to be effective, this has to be for genuine reasons. Of course, this is more potent if your local MP is of the same party as the one in power at the time. The same applies to complaining about local issues to your councillors.

There are advantages of us turning into a race which complains about everything that is not right. Eventually, it could strengthen the country as a whole and your local community in particular.

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Is it Capitalism which is evil?

There are three listed types of business, I am going by figures a decade ago, although now different EU states have added a category and changed the figures. For this exercise we will use the simpler terms as used a decade or so ago.

Companies with up to twenty employees were known as SoHo, companies between 21 and 500 were known as SMEs and Corporates had over 500 employees. This is really only a rough guide but is useful. The figures are a little hazy but SoHo was around 97.5%, SMEs around 1.5% and corporates around 1%. These refer to numbers of companies in the UK.

International conglomerates are a different kettle of fish and are a law to themselves and are no longer capitalist businesses. They really come under the title of Dictatorships and give good honest Capitalism a bad name.

I show a video here about the drug companies in the USA and this adequately describes what I am getting at. It is a shame that this has been presented by Al Jazeera as it meant I had to check all the figures and companies to make sure they were being truthful. They were.

As I mentioned earlier, these huge international businesses are a law of their own and do not respect the laws, either moral or legal, in any country they operate. Recall in the earlier part of the video how they weighed up being dishonest against the fine, and indicated that they thought it was worth disobeying the legal laws of the country as a good business decision if the profits far outweighed any fines or penalties involved.

I call on the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, and David Cameron personally, to re-examine the reductions in taxes he is offering business in the UK.

If the real reason is to create jobs, then the 97.5% of companies which are in the SoHo sector are the ones more likely to employ people. Do away with all Capital taxes including Capital Gains Taxes, and NHS Employee contributions for the SoHo sector. Add a rider on the NHS contributions, so that these will only be on a net increase of staff; this will prevent them firing a few so as to take on another few and avoid the tax (entrepreneurs are wily creatures).

My plan above will probably be lower in cost to the governments plan, but it will be more directly aimed at the entrepreneurial SoHo sector which are then more likely to grow into SMEs.

People have to differentiate between our capitalist system which provides productive jobs (not with the socialist vision of a huge civil service which do not bring in finance) but with the huge dishonest and criminal section of the International Conglomerate sector.

I hasten to add, not all of this massive corporations are disreputable – I am sure one or two aren’t.


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What is Dropbox?

I have found an interesting website called DropBox in the USA. This is a special service which offers cloud computing. All cloud computing means is your data is on another computer.

The program adds a folder in your Windows Explorer or Linux Nautilus file display folder, and whatever you add into that folder is added to your DropBox cloud account and is immediately visible and shared on each of your computers and/or your smart-phone. However, you have to register (free) each computer/phone on their website but from each computer/phone. Mine, for example, is visible on my Linux machine, my Netbook and my HTC Desire smart-phone.

You can grab a link for any individual file and send it to someone who can view it without a DropBox account.

There is also provision to share folders but this is done a different way. Each person you share it with must have a DropBox account. And once they have clicked on the link to share, that folder is also visible in their DropBox folder. This is very handy for sharing files that need constant updating with your family, friends or office workers. My wife and I share a folder and, as she uses Windows, it is very useful for sharing files.

When you join DropBox you have the opportunity to select 2GB of storage space which is free or, if you want to store all your files on DropBox (they will do your back-ups) it is $9.95 (£6.42) a month for 25GB or double that for 50GB.

The nice point about the free 2GB choice is, you get a bonus of 256MB when you perform five of the six examples of learning how it works. This is a good deal as you get to know how it works by performing these requests.

You also get a bonus when you introduce anyone. 256MB for both you and the new person so everyone gains. I use DropBox so if anyone contacts ampers on gmail before signing on, I will send you a link to use so we both gain a 256MB bonus.

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Transport and Telecommuting

Our problem here, in England with our transport is that we were the first to establish the railway, we were the first to establish the underground system and, as these occasions took part well over 100 years ago, they are more than ready for renewal.

The real problem is, we have let too many people into this country, too quickly, and all our public services, such as schools and hospitals are over-stretched. The police are over-stretched because of the rise in crime and apart from dilapidations, our railways are increasing due to the increase in customers needing to get from A to B, mainly for work. In addition, our roads are over-crowded for the same reasons.

We need to do something, and the following plan might help.

Telecommuting has never really caught on because our bosses cannot trust their employees. Although, in so many cases, companies who have embraced telecommuting and hot-desking have more than benefitted by greater productivity of their staff.

Take a company with a thousand employees, a hundred of them being office staff. If seventy-five of them worked from home for four days a week, a company can benefit with the space of fifty desks, calling in 20 staff each day to use one of twenty desks put aside for hot-desking. This could mean letting of part of their building, thus saving on expenses.

The trains would benefit by having fifty more spaces for commuters each day. The roads, locally, by having fifty people less driving to the station each day.

Multiply this my 10,000 businesses throughout the company and we begin to see a seat for every commuter, less cards locally on the roads, and less urban space taken up with offices so therefore, more space for housing.

So we have to nudge companies, and the railways, to embrace telecommuting.

The government could introduce a 100% increase in business tax for all companies with more than 100 office staff in one or more offices within a 50 mile radius who do not introduce telecommuting for at least 75% of their office staff. The money to be loaned to the local transport company to increase their throughput. So the reason for the extra tax is to help the local transport system which will benefit the companies concerned. Naturally if they introduce telecommuting, it wouldn’t be fair to tax them extra as the company concerned is doing enough to ease local transport.

The railways could also have a similar rise if they don’t introduce season tickets on a per day per week basis. So a telecommuter can go into work, one day or two days a week and pay prorate a fifth of a season ticket for each day requested.

This could be done on a two year trial basis, starting from six months in the future, to give business and railways the six months to investigate how they attempt the exercise.

If a company or railway does not do anything, hoping to ride the two years out, then they should be told that those who don’t enter into the spirit of things will pay double taxes for the next twenty years.

I know this seems awfully complex but we need to shock companies into trusting their employees. British employers are considered some of the worse in the world and this has been my experience in my working life. I have always performed better, been paid more and have been happier when working for foreign bosses.


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