* Posts by Franco

938 posts • joined 11 Apr 2008

Loose tongues and oily seamen: Lost in machine translation yet again

Franco Silver badge

When I was at school (in the 90s) we were still getting taught French with textbooks that had such key phrases as "there's too much blue in my laundry" or "you don't put enough starch in my collars". I suspect these textbooks had been written by Enid Blyton.

It's happening, tech contractors: UK.gov is pushing IR35 off-payroll rules to private sector in Finance Bill

Franco Silver badge

Re: I don't understand...

Yep, that's Government's favourite thing regardless of who is in power. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, except of course that we will use laws designed for one purpose to shaft you another way.

Meanwhile, the BBC are in blatant breach of IR35 and have been for years, but they aren't getting taken to court, the people that they shafted with it are.

Franco Silver badge

I made a note in my diary on the way over here. Simply says "bugger"

Knew it was going to happen, HMRC do not care how wrong they are in the eyes of industry or the courts (I believe the current score is 14-1 against HMRC on IR35 cases). I suspect though it will be the same as the public sector rollout was, utter chaos for the first few months as most if not all contractors are terminated and then 2-3 months later they'll be back with much more tightly defined contracts.

Franco Silver badge

Re: "This measure is expected to impact 170,000 individuals" . . .

I thought (according to Malcolm Tucker) it was NOMFUP - Not My Fucking Problem.

Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away: Partner boss explains yanking of free licences

Franco Silver badge

I, and the vast majority of contractors I know, subscribe to the Action Pack. Yes, the software benefits are great, but it is also a great boost to your chances of securing more contracts when you tell potential clients that you are a Microsoft Partner and have access to technical support incidents which they would have to pay through the nose for.

As I said in another post, pulling the lot is pretty draconian. It would be a much smoother transition for everyone and would win MS back some good will if they cut the allocations and/or allowed companies to choose their benefits depending on their needs.

Internet imbeciles, aka British ISP lobbyists, backtrack on dubbing Mozilla a villain for DNS-over-HTTPS support

Franco Silver badge

Nice one El Reg!

Might I suggest your old friends Nominet as a replacement in the villain category? Purely in a light-hearted way of course....

Microsoft middlemen rebel against removal of free software licences

Franco Silver badge

I could understand them cutting the allocation, as the Action Pack IUR is worth thousands and thousands of pounds (last time I checked there were 10 Windows 10 licenses and something like 16 Server licenses, plus 5 Office 365 E3, $100 a month of Azur credits and loads more) but killing it completely is pretty draconian.

I use the server and client licenses largely for demoing things on a non-production enviroment and my own training, so should be covered there, but the Office 365 license will cost me about the same for a single user as the Action Pack subscription does.

Yuge U-turn: Prez Trump walks back on Huawei ban... at least the tech sector seems to think so

Franco Silver badge

Re: The Art of The Deal. Just waft enough cash

That's ironic, given that by all accounts (other than his own) he had almost no part in actually writing the book. He of course disputes that.

I just watched Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and had a good laugh at Jared's attempts to broker a deal in the Middle East as well.

Could an AI android live forever? What, like your other IT devices?

Franco Silver badge

I seem to destroy mice at a very fast pace. My current mouse has an affliction where it has been replaced and the new one is in the post, so it knows this and either doesn't click at all or triple clicks when tapped once. Consequently I have a drawer full of spares, as the old cabled mice never seem to die but fancy wireless ones do constantly.

Don't have much issue with headphones, except my current pair of running/gym bluetooth headphones annouce "low battery" when it thinks the battery is low and does this every 30 seconds until the battery is actually dead, a rate which is greatly increased by the number of times it annouces "low battery". I think it's an advanced strain of Lemmings disease.

Finally hard drives. I tend to keep the platters and use them as coasters for my own ones, although playing whac-a-mole with them is always very therapeutic.

Queue baa, Libra: People will buy what Facebook's selling. They shouldn't, but they will

Franco Silver badge

The Day the World Went Away

I was living in blissful ignorance of the fact that Miley Cyrus had butchered a Nine Inch Nails song

UK industry calls for delay of IR35 off-payroll tax rules to private sector

Franco Silver badge

"The Register has asked HMRC for a comment."

La la la, not listening is my guess. Either that or "the success of the public sector rollout proves that we should extend this legislation to the private sector"

I was contacted last week about a contract with a public sector body which is "managed" by one of the usual crowd of large outsourcing companies. Based on what they offered me (and after I stopped laughing) they are taking £100 a day minimum profit per contractor based on usual industry rates for the type of contract, and you can bet they have the tax arrangements in place to minimise what they pay compared to directly hiring contractors, yet individuals are the problem according to HMRC.

The recruitment consultant was almost apologetic when he told me the day rate, that's how low it was and anyone who is a contractor and deals with consultants on a regular basis will know what a rarity that is.

Those darn users don't know what they're doing (not like us, of course)

Franco Silver badge

Re: Scoff not

I take your point Bangem, but at the same time (in my experience) users don't get mocked unless they fall in to one of 2 categories.

1. I don't like computers, I refuse to learn and will ask the same questions constantly. Fair enough, some people are set in their ways but computers are not going away and a refusal to learn new things (not just limited to computers in the case of these people) means they get no sympathy.

2. Users who think they know things, but don't. Developers often fall in to this category, they don't like IT having control over their machines and either try to fix things themselves or try to bypass restrictions that they don't think should apply to them. My pet hate for this being developers who insist (and are often backed by their equally ignorant line managers) that they need to be admins to develop, then are shocked when what they have developed doesn't work for the users it's intended for.

It's official! The Register is fake news… according to .uk overlord Nominet. Just a few problems with that claim, though

Franco Silver badge

Re: Speaking of "fake news",>>>here's a wikipedia article>>>>

The spycatcher effect is great fun for those of us that live in Scotland, as injunctions obtained in an English and Welsh court don't apply under Scots law. Same thing more recently with the super injunction fad, most of them were reported in the media here too.

Franco Silver badge

Re: "Fake news"?

They have at least dispensed with "alternative facts" which was another doublespeak variation for a while.

This is yet another example though of laws not evolving quickly enough to deal with technology. What Nominet are doing would be insider trading if it was stocks and shares, yet they are publicly announcing that they are doing it and even trying to defend it.

Uncle Sam wants to read your tweets, check out your Instagram, log your email addresses before you enter the Land of the Free on a visa

Franco Silver badge

Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

Remember this was about 5 years back, so before all the revelations about just how bad Facebook in particular were at slurping data, and also the people doing the interviewing are frequently HR rather than techies.

I agree with all of the above comments regarding IT professionals being more likely to avoid social media, other than LinkedIn and even then I tend to only see fellow contractors rather than permies for obvious reasons.

Franco Silver badge

Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

"Are they going to put me back on the plane because I don't like social cesspools?"

I've posted this here before, usually in response to an Alistair Dabbs column or something like that, but about 5 years ago I was asked in a job interview if I had something to hide. I asked why they would think that and they said that in their opinion my online footprint was very small for someone who worked in IT.

Having decided at that exact moment that this was not a place I wanted to work, I made one or two suggestions regarding how stupid an assumption that was, which probably didn't go down too well.

UK's internet registry prepares a £100m windfall for its board members – and everyone else will pay for it

Franco Silver badge

"The key challenge for Nominet is to ensure the integrity and resilience of our registration systems, both for these names and for names registered in the normal course of business."

As the BOFH might say, eau de rat is in the air. Nominet are essentially allowing cybersquatting for profit, so long as their hand picked squatters get the domain names and then promptly sell them for a profit to the companies that should already technically own them, and seeing as domain name registrars have a monopoly over their namespace it's not like you can go elsewhere.

Mozilla returns crypto-signed website packaging spec to sender – yes, it's Google

Franco Silver badge

Re: Web, the new desktop...

I can only assume you don't deal with a lot of recruitment consultants. They would have to pay attention to what you were saying to hear that advice.

Franco Silver badge

Re: Web, the new desktop...

I get that constantly. I send my CV in PDF format, so it can't be edited or have recruitment agency tat added to it, and they frequently object to it and ask for Word format.

Back on topic, I am inclined to believe that this is another attempt by Google to bypass ad-blocking though.

Sex and drugs and auto-tune: What motivates a millennial perp?

Franco Silver badge

Re: 30 Years Ago

Circulation in the hundreds and usually ended their life under a hedge to be found by teenage boys who were playing football until the person sent to retrieve the ball from said hedge found a jazz mag instead.

I am also reminded of a Chewin the Fat sketch where cave paintings were invented in prehistoric Paisley, follwed almost instantly by the first drawing of a cock and balls. The point being that almost every new form of media becomes a vehicle to deliver porn.

Let's make laptops from radium. How's that for planned obsolescence?

Franco Silver badge

Wow, a joke about Alfa Romeo reliability, I bet you're a hit at parties.

Franco Silver badge

Saw a documentary once about the Longbridge plant. The body shop was on one side of the road and the paint shop on the other, so the unfinished body shells had to moved through British weather on a low-loader to be painted until they built the conveyor bridge.

Can't top the 300000 miles car, but I did get an Alfa Romeo 159 to 150000 before I sold it and it was still solid.

Swedish prosecutors request Assange detention: First step to European arrest warrant

Franco Silver badge

Re: re: The charges on the US sheet only carry a maximum of 5 years.

There was a piece on Trump and WikiLeaks on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver quite recently. Yes, he claimed to love WikiLeaks during the campaign but is now denying that he knows what WikiLeaks is.


Polygraph knows all: You've been using our user feedback form

Franco Silver badge

Re: Hot desking

"Hot desking is high on my list of Very Bad Ideas"

I agree when it's applied to everyone, regardless of status, not least because there is always one person who glares at anyone who dares to sit at "their" desk or insists that they must have the same chair every day because of some made up affliction.

However, being a contractor, hot-desking for us is the norm IME. On current project, about 20 engineers across various different systems with about 16 desks normally available. Also a seperate hot-desk area for people visiting from other offices, so that their delicate sensibilities aren't offended by outbreaks of technological tourettes.

Essex named sexiest British accent followed closely by, um, Glaswegian

Franco Silver badge

Strathaven is your next one.

Bonus points also for those who know how to pronounce Greenock (hint: it's not like Greenwich, despite how the football scores refer to Greenock Morton on the BBC)

katrinab - I agree they aren't Glasgow, but they are part of what is considered "Greater Glasgow" and would simply be areas of Glasgow to most people not from the area. I'm in Greater Glasgow myself by most definitions.

Franco Silver badge

I was thinking the same thing. Someone from Govan (Rab C. Nesbitt's location, seeing as he was shown in the story) sounds nothing like someone from Milngavie or Bearsden, and if you count places with a G postcode as "Glasgow" that takes you as far out as East Kilbride or Blantyre or Rutherglen, all of which are actually in South Lanarkshire.

I'd probably be classed by most non-Scots as having a Glaswegian accent myself, despite being from about 15 miles outside Glasgow.

AI has automated everything including this headline curly bracket semicolon

Franco Silver badge

Re: Dabbs has been told right

If you want to be a proper grammar pedant don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

Franco Silver badge

Re: Dabbs has been told right

First we need to teach computers (and indeed people) that the difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits.

Popularly credited to Einstein, but more probably first written by Alexandre Dumas (son of the one who wrote The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo) according to Quote Investigator.


Personality quiz for all you IT bods: Are you a chameleon or an outlaw? A diplomat or a high flier? Vote right here

Franco Silver badge

“culture fit specialists”

There is a veritable shit tonne of turd polishing going on these days. I've had several phone calls this week, some from recruitment consultants, some from talent acquisition specialists and one from the head of candidate attraction.

Wasn't asked by any of them if I'm a chameleon or an outlaw though....

A day in the life of London seen through spam and weak Wi-Fi

Franco Silver badge

Re: Good Guest WiFi

A few years ago now that was a very regular argument between the company I worked for and our customers. We always recommended routers with multiple WiFi SSID and subnet capabilities so that users could connect their personal devices and guests could use it, and usually got told no, they're too expensive (Watchguard devices were our preferred choice at the time).

Then of course someone would be going on site to them and we'd get a support call demanding some sort of guest access in the next 24 hours so that the person coming in the next day had internet access, which would usually get passed straight to their account manager for a polite variation of "told you so"

Apart from anything else it's often useful for the IT department as well, given that things like remote PowerShell don't particularly like going through proxy servers.

Julian Assange jailed for 50 weeks over Ecuador embassy bail-jumping

Franco Silver badge

I'm being disingenuous when you are comparing standing on train tracks to fleeing a country and seeking diplomatic protection when accused of rape?

Franco Silver badge

By your ridiculous argument Harvey Weinstein would have been justified doing a runner as soon as the first allegation against him hit the the press

Franco Silver badge

"They ARE out to get him for something else, and as rendition from Sweden had ALREADY occurred for some other poor bastard, JA's fears of the same happening to him were well based."

They were not at the time he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy, he only feared they were, committing a crime (bail jumping) as he did so and also avoiding the due process of the law for the crimes he allegedly committed in Sweden. The fact that he turned out to be correct 7 years later does not justify his fleeing. He, as part of WikiLeaks, claims to be fighting for truth and justice, whilst running away from it himself.

Franco Silver badge

"I guess the point is, it doesn't matter how much good you do, it doesn't make you above the law."

Absolutely agree, I was going to post the same thing.

Take WikiLeaks out of it. The guy who has recently been convicted of causing the death of a girl in a speedboat accident and fled to Georgia has been roundly condemned, and quite rightly. Assange is alleged to have committed a crime, has not faced due process for those allegations, and fled himself, but seems to think it is OK because the US are out to get him for something else.

America's anti-hacking laws are so loose, even Donald Trump Jr broke them. So, what do we do about it?

Franco Silver badge

Billy Connolly used to do a piece on this in his standup.

When he was a working class boy in Glasgow, he was just fucking daft. Now that he's wealthy and famous he's from a dysfunctional family and has abandonment issues.

Did have a good laugh at "weapons-grade idiot" though.

Cheapskate Brits appear to love their Poundland MVNOs as UK's big four snubbed in survey again

Franco Silver badge

They did offer me a deal to stay, but this is the second price increase (they discontinued my tariff a while back and tried to put me on what they claimed was a better fit for me but was three times the price) in not that long, plus iD is an MVNO using 3 so I knew what coverage to expect.

Franco Silver badge

Re: 1Gb Data a month - Really ?

Can't speak for others but I don't stream and app updates don't happen automatically on data, only on WiFi. I was on 500mb with 3 for years and the only times I've ever run out was when I was tethering, either due to changing ISP at home or needing to do some testing at work.

Franco Silver badge

I've just left 3. As I've said before, their customer service was (IME) better than most among mobile providers, but they put their prices up again so I've gone to iD Mobile. £5 a month for 1gb data with rollover and tethering, 500 minutes and unlimited texts. £3 cheaper than 3 were, for half the amount of data with no rollover and 200 minutes.

Motion detectors: say hello, wave goodbye and… flushhhhhh

Franco Silver badge

Re: "less reliable delivery companies than Hermes"

The regional variations are pretty clear from the other comments, other than Yodel being shit everywhere.

For me DPD are pretty good, I get an email with a delivery slot and can reschedule or move it to a pickup point if I'm not going to be in. Hermes quickly learnt I'm out during the day so usually appear about 6pm or later, and I usually use Amazon lockers to avoid any issues with them.

Franco Silver badge

Re: "less reliable delivery companies than Hermes"

I can only assume Yodel don't operate in your region

Franco Silver badge

Oh great, motion activated flushes. We already have motion activated taps (which either don't dispense water or run continuously IME) or soap dispensers (which either jizz out soap constantly or are replaced for 2 minutes by a bottle of Carex until someone steals it).

Most toilets now have the eco flush split button, so how does a motion activated toilet tell what is required? And what happens if the previous night's meal was several pints and a curry and more than one flush is required? Do you guard the door until it's finished refilling then go back in and back out to trigger another flush?

London's Metropolitan Police arrest Julian Assange

Franco Silver badge

I really hope that they don't, it would really puncture what is left of Assange's pomposity.

I suspect though that whilst he is facing his punishment for bail jumping in the UK, the charges in Sweden and therefore the European Arrest Warrant will be re-activated, so that will be his next stop.

HMRC accused of not understanding its own IR35 tax reforms ahead of private sector rollout

Franco Silver badge

IR35 was "supposed" to be designed to stop companies doing exactly what the BBC have done, by forcing people off the payroll to save themselves ENIC costs and so on. The sample scenario was "Friday Employee to Monday Contractor".

However, it's very rarely used in this way, seeing as individuals are getting hauled over the coals by HMRC and the BBC are being invited round for a chat to discuss the way ahead instead of getting their pants pulled down.

Franco Silver badge

"Just pay your fucking taxes like the rest of us, you selfish bastards, and stop trying on clever-clever dodges to wriggle out of it. Because, to be brutally frank, if you were that clever you wouldn't be working as a contractor."

How about you stop blaming contractors for your own failed career? Because if you had the skills and the balls, you would be doing it too.

Franco Silver badge

Re: What will clients do?

"How about they train their staff to do the job?

Not enough staff hire some, or don’t take on work you are not equipped to carry out."

That makes sense when the work being done by contractors is a part of BAU, and in fact carrying out BAU work is often considered a pointer towards employment. However the vast majority of work I get as a contractor is project based, whether it's large upgrades or migrations. Whilst staff need to know general administration of Office 365, it would be utterly pointless to train one how to do the migration, as that is a "one and done" job usually.

IT Consultants often get lumped in with, for example, plumbers and electricians. In general most companies do not keep them on staff, you call one when you need one. Even very large companies with lots of maintenance to do might have a few on staff, but moving to new premises or refurbing exiting offices would bring more in for the project.

Sick of being the bad guy, UK taxman needs YOU(?) to help it be more 'customer-centric'

Franco Silver badge

Re: Sick of being the bad guy

I almost want to upvote you (for quoting my favourite song by The Who) and downvote you for tarnishing it with HMRCs brush!

All's fair in love and war when tech treats you like an infant

Franco Silver badge

Re: Supermarket profits up again, I see

Personally I prefer the self-scan option. When I was a student I worked in one of these fluorescent hell-holes. When I started it was fine, we were told to judge for ourselves whether or not customers wanted to talk or be left alone, until "American customer service" came in to all the supermarkets and we were told exactly what to say to every customer. British people of course don't like American style customer service, so complaints went though the roof largely along the lines of "tell your staff to shut up and leave me alone".

Having to queue at ye-olde checkouts these days reminds me too much of that job, and the multitude of customers who thought that supermarket staff were there as an outlet for how shit their lives were, worst offenders being people who though they were a bank. People who wanted English notes for going on holiday, or taxi drivers wanted cash for pound coins being the worst offenders IME.

Franco Silver badge

Re: new sign

"there is a new sign in the loo's here: Please do not throw chewing gum in the urinal"

The place I saw a sign like that, the fucktards started sticking the chewing gum to the sign thinking it was some form of ironic protest

Capita bags £13.2m Police Scotland deal for crime-snooping tech

Franco Silver badge

What kind of moron sees a contract that Accenture have already fucked up and thinks that Capita are the people to put it right?

Apple redesigns wireless AirPower charger to be world's smallest, thinnest, lightest, cheapest, invisible... OK, it doesn't exist anymore

Franco Silver badge

1. If they used Qi properly, then it would be interoperable with other vendors kit. It is not, therefore Apple are proprietary even if they are using parts of the Qi standard.

2. They have now removed the 3.5mm jack, what they did in the past is irrelevant. If they could get away with it they'd lock out bluetooth to only work with Airpods as well.

3. That is the most ridiculous argument I have ever seen in my life. Apple have never done anything that is the interest of the consumer, only that is in the interest of Apple. They have always been proprietary on the connections, and caused a lot of problems for people when they changed to Lightning and docks didn't work anymore.

Apple spent years criticising Microsoft for their anti-competitive practices, now they are the industry leaders in it. More and more people that I know are leaving Apple because of their attempts at vendor lock in and ever increasing prices for no particular upgrades.


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