* Posts by Gareth Morgan

16 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Nov 2007

Iain Duncan Smith's Universal Credit: A timeline

Gareth Morgan

As someone who has to make sure that a benefits calculator is kept up to date, I might be expected to have an interest in this.

Putting to one side the competence of designers and developers (far to one side), the whole project has been comprehensively shafted by political, rather than feature, creep. The original concept of a simple benefit, which was welcomed by benefits professionals, has been replaced by an increasingly complex and, in parts, unworkable system. A top-down design always has this potential danger, as detail is implemented, but in the case of Universal Credit that has been associated with rule changes, almost all of which have introduced new complexities. Most of these have been aimed at reducing entitlement, not just by lowering rates or qualifications, but by introducing sanctions and other time based limits. Add to this localisation and devolution, Treasury ignorance and HMRC's core place in the development of bottle-necks and all is clearly going to go to plan.

The people who are going to suffer at the end of this are not just those who don't, as IDS said, vote Tory. The worst hit will be the growing number of low earning self-employed who will face a complex, monthly nightmare of reporting their accounts to DWP, having a higher notional income than their real earnings, limited carry forward of losses and their 6 months previous earnings used to reduce their current benefit.

Reminder: iPhones commit suicide if you repair them on the cheap

Gareth Morgan

The Police and Justice Act 2006 amended the Computer Misuse Act 1990 as below.

36 Unauthorised acts with intent to impair operation of computer, etc

For section 3 of the 1990 Act (unauthorised modification of computer material) there is substituted—

“3 Unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computer, etc.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if—

(a)he does any unauthorised act in relation to a computer;

(b)at the time when he does the act he knows that it is unauthorised; and

(c)either subsection (2) or subsection (3) below applies.

(2)This subsection applies if the person intends by doing the act—

(a)to impair the operation of any computer;

(b)to prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in any computer;

(c)to impair the operation of any such program or the reliability of any such data; or

(d)to enable any of the things mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (c) above to be done.

(3)This subsection applies if the person is reckless as to whether the act will do any of the things mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (d) of subsection (2) above.


(6)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

(a)on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;

(b)on summary conviction in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;

(c)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to a fine or to both.”

The question may be whether the phones owner or user authorised Apple to carry out such acts.

SCC bags universal credit hosting contract

Gareth Morgan

I'd have expected the disaster recovery to cost more than that (or am I misunderstanding something?)

Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

Gareth Morgan

Tax allowances

increasing tax allowances gives more to the better off.

Means tested benefits are assessed using net earnings so increasing allowances increase net earnings and that reduces benefits. The better off keep the gain.

Universal Credit: £40 MILLION and counting's been spaffed up the wall on useless IT gear

Gareth Morgan

A bit of understatement

"However, IDS confessed last week that the target could no longer be reached as at least 700,000 people seeking Employment Support Allowance will still be absent from the new system a little over three years from now."

So they'll just need to keep one old system running for a while longer then ..... unless ... perhaps .... he wasn't being .... quite as open as he might have been ....

because people claiming ESA might have children, so the child tax credit system will have to be kept running by HMRC, who will also have to carry on running working tax credit for those who were working before becoming sick or with working partners. Some of these ESA claimants might be paying rent so that will mean that housing benefit will have to continue - in every local authority in the UK - as well.

Then there are the major changes to means-tested benefits for older people, which hinge around the introduction of single-tier pensions in 2016, and which have to be coordinated with Universal Credit timetables because of rule changes on age and many other reasons. I wonder (whistles innocently) what might be happening around IT development for the two new pension credit schemes due to start then?

BT blasts hundreds of would-be customers' data into Infinity

Gareth Morgan
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A genuine opportunity

It's not to be rural anyway. I trotted in to register and found it said:

"Sorry but your exchange is not eligible to win The Race to Infinity as it has fewer than 1000 premises.

We still want you to get involved so please go to 'VOTE NOW' to express your interest.

If 75% of your exchange registers, BT will engage with your community to see what we can do in your area."

So I went to the voting page and, after providing my compulsory marketing information for them to lose, got:

"The website cannot display the page

HTTP 500

Most likely causes:

•The website is under maintenance.

•The website has a programming error."

Job club firm loses thousands of details

Gareth Morgan
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UK citizenship test

Bizzarre indeed... and plain wrong as well.

It asked me about who qualified for free prescriptions and offered me four choices. The correct answer, in Wales, is everybody but this is clearly an English citizenship test only.

Hardcore mobile survey for hardcore users

Gareth Morgan
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Please, please please don't assume that mobile is synonomous with connected. There's a lot of mobile standalone around too.

Cheeky Chinese punt mini Android-based iPad

Gareth Morgan

Bigger and better

I was in Shenzhen yesterday and was offered an Android 2.1 10" screen with HDMI etc. iPed.

I was tempted but negotiations broke down

Wasted billions of government IT spending exposed

Gareth Morgan

Quis custodiet... ?

My own experience, sadly now lengthy, seems to imply an inversely proportional relationship between need and specification. Where there is a real urgency for a solution then government procurement is prepared to listen to new ideas but in the absence of that need then the relationship is simply one where the buyer tells the supplier what the solution is to be and no new thinking is welcome.

This does not lead to innovation.

Snipers - Cowardly assassins, or surgical soldiers?

Gareth Morgan

19c Snipers

Wasn't it 'chosen man' in the Napoleonic Army?

BBC Micro creators meet to TRACE machine's legacy

Gareth Morgan

Bigger and Better

I used to have a Torch. CP/M with a BBC hidden inside it and switchable. I even had a 20mb HD as well as 2 5.25 floppies. After that I had a Torch XXX Unix box which was wonderful, even the GUI. Shame there was no software to run on it.

US cruiser nails crippled spy-sat on first shot

Gareth Morgan

The real story

It was a complete fake - the proof being that they turned off the Moon (Lunar eclipse - a likely story) - so that there wouldn't be enough light to see that nothing happened.

Suicidal moose descends on Alaska

Gareth Morgan


I wouldn't eat that - it would be a moose-steak.

Remembering the Commodore PET 2001

Gareth Morgan

Real computers

I started with a Northstar and then moved onto a Superbrain - with *two* floppy drives (and an unfortunate experience with a Gemini S100 machine).

We laughed scornfully at Pet owners as we spent hours trying to work out the cabling for RS232 dot-matrix printers. No games for us (except Zork of course), we were running social security calculations written in Z80 Cobol.

Christmas Doctor Who exhibition at UK Space Centre

Gareth Morgan

Bigger show

Go to the permanent exhibition in Cardiff, It has buttons to press!