* Posts by ChrisB 2

84 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jun 2009


Tesla knew Autopilot weakness killed a driver – and didn't fix it, engineers claim

ChrisB 2

Re: Its probably not the cross traffic.

You make a very good point.

Not that many drivers have ever driven sub 8 seconds to 60 mph cars, far fewer sub 5 seconds and hardly any sub 4 seconds. This will be an increasing problem with EVs capable of high acceleration flooding the second hand market.

In the UK prices of even top-spec second hand Teslas are dropping like a stone, meaning more and more inexperienced (and not just young) drivers will have access to "family" cars with supercar performance.

What goes up must come down: Logitech sales tumble amid PC slump

ChrisB 2

Well, this doesn't disappoint me because

A) I'm not a shareholder

but, more importantly,

B) They discontinued their Harmony remotes and I'm bitter about that

Tesla reports two more fatal Autopilot accidents to the NHTSA

ChrisB 2

Re: I still don't understand how they get away with this!

I find the whole Tesla marketing ideology around "Autopilot" to be incredible - even marketers (should) have ethics.

My car has driver assist with lane-keeping, active cruise control, vehicle detection, pedestrian detection, object detection, traffic light detection, collision avoidance and self-steering, but if I take my hands off the steering wheel there's a three stage alert:-

1 The dash and steering wheel light up like a Christmas tree

2 The car gets annoyed, beeps loudly at me and vibrates the steering wheel

3 The system cuts out, slows the vehicle and (I think, not going to test it) tries to pull over safely and comes a complete stop.

The user manual is covered in warnings that the driver must be alert and is at all times in control and fully responsible for driving.

It's still a great car to drive and on motorways it does do most of the driving itself, subject to the above, which makes it a less exhausting task.

UK facing electricity supply woes after nuclear power stations shut, MPs told

ChrisB 2

Amusing and informative - podcast with a comedian and a _real_ nuclear physicist

NSFW at all.

If you don't like the humour skip to c31 minutes int where the scientist (https://www.kevinhickerson.com) answers the questions rather than the comedian Jim Jefferies.


Good news for UK tech contractors as govt repeals IR35 tax rules

ChrisB 2

Re: Let me get this straight

to be clear, most people around these parts think that only IT contractors suffered under IR35 but that's because this is an IT site and IT contractors are/were fairly highly paid therefore drew headlines.

IR35 affected - and will continue to affect - loads of different industries. Medical locums, journalists, agency nurses, engineers, designers, graphic artists. social workers and loads of other people with their own businesses, even down to the guy with the sandwich trolly on board a train. Its effects are widespread.

Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made

ChrisB 2

Re: Scheme

History repeating itself.

cf Mapeley Steps - as part of the STEPS programme HMRC sold almost all its freehold property to Mapeley and immediately leased it back, Mapeley taking on the building/facilties management and, of course, getting lots of lovely rent from HMRC.

Unfortunately Mapeley's ownership chain ended offshore and through a series of sub-contracting arrangements no "profit" was made within the UK so no corporation tax was ever due in the UK.

There was, of course, tons of profit and it ended up offshore and tax free.

See Eyes passim for details, read this https://www.accountancyage.com/2010/04/14/mps-slam-hmrc-business-acumen-over-offshore-company-deal/ or just Google Mapeley Steps.

Elon Musk orders Tesla execs back to the office

ChrisB 2

Re: Ego Musk for President

If you mean the US presidency, then you're (we're) safe unless there's a further amendment to the US constitution. Musk is neither a natural born citizen of the US nor does he have birthright citizenship of the US.

Star loses $500,000 NFT after crooks exploit Rarible market

ChrisB 2

I think this very much explains it. I have a couple of good quality prints of the work of a fairly famous photographer. Bought in the 90s, they cost a few tens of pounds in a poster shop in Covent Garden. Did the photographer's estate get a share of that, no matter how small? Probably, his copyrighted work is well managed.

Would I like to own the original negatives so no-one else could ever make another print? Probably not. Would that even work, since anyone competent can take a print already in the marketplace and reproduce it? I don't know, it'd maybe deprive others of the ability to view the work and I'm not sure I would want that.

Would I like a signed limited-edition print? Sure that'd be nice. Would that change the way the prints look? No. Would it change the way I feel about the print? Maybe. Would it be more valuable? Yes.

Art is a (funny) business. But it is a business.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel green-lights Mike Lynch's extradition to US to face Autonomy fraud charges

ChrisB 2


Yep, that was the Guinness takeover of the Distillers' Company - which eventually evolved into Diageo.

The deal and the shenanigans were a fiasco at the time.

However the wholly remarkable recovery of Saunders from an incurable condition was surely worthy of multiple Nobel Prizes for the doctors, research pharmacists and other scientists and clinicians involved /s

Fatal Attraction: Lovely collection, really, but it does not belong anywhere near magnetic storage media

ChrisB 2

Yeah, I did that once too.

Only I knew what I was doing - I was upgrading FoxPro versions via M$ and they wanted a photocopy of master disk 1 as proof of previous purchase. in order to give me the discount. So off I trotted to the local library to perform said copy.

The kindly librarian pointed out I was doing The Wrong Thing. Which I wasn't really.

Feature bloat: Psychology boffins find people tend to add elements to solve a problem rather than take things away

ChrisB 2

Re: You see this in every bureaucracy


This. Very much this.

Tax working from home, says Deutsche Bank, because the economy needs that lunch money you’re not spending

ChrisB 2

Re: Tax failure to consume

Tax the failure to understand percentages!

Transport for London dangles £1.1bn carrot in pursuit of suppliers for new revenue collection deal

ChrisB 2

Re: So they're going to spend a billion quid

This - it does seem a bit strange. I get that things become old/outdated, but the system in place at least appears to be working reasonably well.

Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer

ChrisB 2

Yep, until...

After many 10s of hours doing freebie stuff for my (now late) father's small business, I finally, in a fit of exasperation, snapped at him, "Look, don't you know I get paid £xx per hour for this sort of stuff?" His reply was, "I wondered when the penny would drop." In fairness, he then paid me my rate.

Lesson learned.

20% of UK businesses would rather axe their contractors than deal with IR35 – survey

ChrisB 2

Luckily, there's a sensible approach too


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

ChrisB 2

Re: Curious reaction

https://twitter.com/cjbryce/status/1149334588512227329 helps explain it in broad terms. All the tax and none of the rights.

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

ChrisB 2

Re: IPSE mean well but have no teeth

IPSE have done both and worked with IHPA to have blatant misuse of CEST by the NHS over-ruled in Court. IPSE have also successfully helped a member pursue HMRC themselves, as our member's end-client, for compensation for HMRC's own lack of understanding of the end-user obligations created by public sector IR35.

Like any other body IPSE can only support those who come forward and are prepared to go through the Court process (whether ET, EAT, TT or law Courts). It can be arduous and time-consuming and many people fear it makes them a target.

IPSE continues to fight against IR35 https://ipse.in/IR35Hub

Are you sure you've got a floppy disk stuck in the drive? Or is it 100 lodged in the chassis?

ChrisB 2

Sort of the reverse.

Many, many moons ago I wanted to upgrade from FoxPro to Visual FoxPro and the sales people at Microsoft said, "Sure, just send us a photocopy of the label on the first install disc of the old software with your order and you'll get the upgrade offer price."

Off I trot to the local library to photocopy the disc, pay my 2p or whatever to the librarian and saunter over to the copier to make the copy. Cue the librarian slowly coming up to me and, in the most gentle, sympathetic and understanding tone, saying, "I don't mean to be rude, but that's not really how you copy floppy discs."

How many Reg columnists does it take to turn off a lightbulb?

ChrisB 2

This, so very much this.

"You will be aware that even the tiniest of hotel rooms have multiple light switches on various wall surfaces for the same lamps but in different groupings. In my case, I found that switching some lights off had the effect of toggling others back on again. After spending a minute flicking the switches up and down in alternate configurations but without succeeding in extinguishing all the lamps at the same time, I got out of bed to try the other banks of switches."

Over the years I have stayed in some of the best and some of the worst hotels in the world and this is their one commonality. FFS! It appears to be beyond the wit of mankind (or even the spark actually wiring the room) to solve this problem. We can (could) send men to the moon but... &etc

A boss pinching pennies may have cost his firm many, many pounds

ChrisB 2

In the relatively fluid* mid-90s at my second or third major contract at a trading bank we had an overnight batch on an Intel server which took, on a good day, about 8 hours to run. On a bad day it took about 10 hours - which cut into the traders day by about an hour. Traders being raiders (this was an autocorrect but I like it so it's staying!) there was much shouting of abuse when this happened but the IT bosses would not fund a newer/better server so the support desk just had to put up with it.

Cue my impatience and a visit to the Head of Desk to have words about the abuse my team were being subjected to by his team. I explained the issue - that IT wouldn't shell out for a new server - and he asked how much one was and how quickly one could be obtained. About £4k, says I, and six weeks via regular supplier/order process or about 2 hours via Tottenham Court Road. He handed over his credit card and £20 for the taxis.

Problem solved - although I got some abuse from the IT bosses for the out-of-process solution.

*i.e. JFDI was not entirely frowned upon.

HMRC opens consultation to crack down on off-payroll working in private sector

ChrisB 2

David 135 - can I plagiarise and slightly adapt this for public consumption?

ChrisB 2

The consultation runs largely through the Parliamentary recess - meaning MPs (who may take a stand against this idiocy) won't be there to receive submissions or constituency communication.


Batteries are so heavy, said user. If I take it out, will this thing work?

ChrisB 2

Re: Hmmm :(

"She can use a PC and her smart phone - but it is interesting that she will always avoid anything technical with 'I don't understand technology'."

I suspect that the same applies to many men who "can't figure out what setting to put the washing machine/dishwasher on" or similar.

Tech (mild) sexism works all ways.

Budget 2017: How to make a downbeat forecast sound better. Say 'tech' a lot?

ChrisB 2

Lip service

Ah, you cynic you:) It's my job, and IPSE's, to at least have stab at this.

If we win, you'll benefit too - we're generous that way.

ChrisB 2

Big up Tech and then screw Tech contractors - illogical dear Chancellor

However, thanks to the contracting community and IPSE in particular (well, I would say that, wouldn't I) Philip didn't actually screw tech contractors too much this time round.

IPSE's relieved (and slightly/rightly proud of themselves) that Philip Hammond listened to them on VAT thresholds and further extending IR35. They look forward to at least trying to achieve a serious and meaningful consultation with him and HM Treasury. Keep your fingers crossed that this'll be no sham with a pre-ordained outcome.

80% of IT projects in public sector delayed due to IR35 – report

ChrisB 2

They're probably coming for ALL contractors

IPSE is extremely concerned that Philip Hammond may be about to launch the biggest attack on the flexible economy since Gordon Brown in 1999 and roll out the disastrous public sector changes in IR35 to the private sector too.


Blade Runner 2049 review: Scott's vision versus Villeneuve's skill

ChrisB 2

Saw it in IMAX last night. Stunning.

Blade Runner is by far my favourite movie and I was prepared for a modicum of disappointment, despite the largely very positive reviews of 2049. I was not in the least bit disappointed. I thought the movie was incredibly good, the visuals staggering, the plot excellent and well developed - but not the in-yer-face-here's-all-the-answers-in-a-neat package demanded of some. Like the 1982 movie it explores the moral dilemmas of the human condition, and also like the first film, it does so subtly and without proselytising.

For me, it was quite an emotional experience. I shall be seeing it again soon, possibly multiple times.

Ex-MI5 boss: People ask, why didn't you follow all these people ... on your radar?

ChrisB 2

Re: Says it all

You're right, that's what she should (rightly) have said.

I've read her "novel" - she can't write/plot. I suspect her talents are more spying than comms and she thought that that plain speaking would make her appear more down-to-earth and non-politician like.

'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem

ChrisB 2

Re: Giving the users what they ask for......

Yep, $diety forbid that the guys bringing in the dosh which pays your salary get any support, off policy or not.

No wonder most non-IT departments hate the IT department.

And, yes, I worked in IT for 20+ years.

New York Attorney General settles with Bluetooth lock maker over insecurity claims

ChrisB 2

Re: Is IoT things developed by non IT people?

Well, you might be right but remember - it was IT people that did the coding. Not all IT people are good at what they do.

Hard-pressed Juicero boss defends $400 IoT juicer after squeezing $120m from investors

ChrisB 2

Re: Easy juice? Sounds good to me.

Actually I sort of agree with you here. My smoothie maker regularly gets fed with pre-packed pre-cut fruits and frozen packs of berry mix for the very reasons you expound - I simply don't have the time/inclination to go fresh fruit shopping every couple of days (in other words, ICBA).

Why on Earth anyone would need/want an Internet-enabled juicer or smoothie maker is, however, completely beyond me.

Lyft drops $27m on the table to make annoying driver lawsuit go away

ChrisB 2

Yep - just like Uber drivers at least in the UK. Can't speak for other jurisdctions.

ChrisB 2

I'm a bit jaundiced by all this app-taxi bashing. My dad was a private hire driver about 25 years ago - and just like all the other drivers he rented the radio from a bloke with an office, a landline and an advertising budget. AFAICR the rental was £400 a month - quite a lot back then. Account work was paid via the office with a deduction for "admin" the rest of the work was, in those days, cash only.

Today, most private hire drivers in the UK work as self-employed - many still rent radios from the minicab firm although apps are being rolled out. Today, most black cab drivers are self-employed and pay a fee to the cab companies, many rent cabs from other self-employed drivers. Account work is paid via the office still with a deduction for "admin" and the rest of the money is still largely cash only although the rise of 4G connected terminals mean a lot of the drivers can now take cards.

All the app-taxi firms have done is automated the middle-man process and payment collection and remittance with new tech. But that's all they've done - it really isn't a revolution, just evolution as tech has evolved. I suspect all the railing against them is driven by people who see their hegemony being flushed down the toilet by the Internet or by people who never knew what the "old" business model was anyway.

When a new so-called "disruptor" comes a long and "disrupts" well, that's just business as it always has been, harsh or not and whether we like it or not. Progress? Maybe, maybe not. Are the firms involved perfect? Possibly not - but then again, who is?

Fancy that – the sharing economy lobby doesn't speak for the sharers

ChrisB 2

Taxi drivers have traditionally been mostly self-employed

See title.

Whether Uber is "A Good Thing" or not is irrelevant to that. Let's not confuse/conflate the two separate issues.

My old man was a private hire driver - no apps in those days, but it cost him £400 a month to rent the two-way radio from the guys with the portacabin and the advertising budget.

Vegans furious as Bank of England admits ‘trace’ of animal fat in £5 notes

ChrisB 2

Vegans are also realists

My son is a staunch, nay crusading, vegan, and on getting the old questions about what they call "cross contamination" his response is something along the lines of "birds crap and insects die on the wheat fields, and the fuel that powers the (vegan) food delivery vans comes from dead animals, but if you think I give that a second thought then you're ****ing crazy"

Oh and he'd prefer his M&D not to have leather seats in their cars, but accepts that it's just not on to have cloth seats in any decent car (i.e. any car that can do 0-60 in less than 7 seconds, preferably German or Italian made or a "proper" 4x4 :rolleyes:)

Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

ChrisB 2

Re: What a choice

"No, the original statement was correct. They may have been a majority (albeit too small to justify so large and permanent a change) of those who voted. They were still a minority of the country."

Decisions are taken by those who show up. I didn't like the decision, but I now think it has to be carried through.

Patriotic Brits rush into streets to celebrate… National Cream Tea Day

ChrisB 2

The quick bread - scone as in gone, fawn, pawn

The stone and the place - scone as in boon, loon, soon

Scone as lone, phone, stone - never.


Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

ChrisB 2

Re: Dissent

I like watches, I have a couple, so the time-telling thing was not a driver for me. I have to say I largely agree with you. I got an Apple Watch, used it for a few weeks, lost interest and only recently started using it again. I find it useful during the working week for almost all of the things you mention. At weekends I prefer my older (and nicer) mechanical watches.

Hurrah! Uber does work (in the broadest sense of the word) after all

ChrisB 2

"Uber ignores both"

I'm not a great defender of Uber preferring the traditional Lahndahn cabbie (they can use bus lanes!), but in London at least their drivers have to be licensed and insured as private hire drivers - i.e. exactly the same as book-on-the-phone minicab drivers.


HSBC takes Twitter tongue-lashing over failure to offer Apple Pay

ChrisB 2

Re: Why?

Nothing like keeping yourself well informed before uttering a pointless and wholly inaccurate iOpinion, is there?

LG's six-sided battery to take smart watches into new timezones

ChrisB 2

Watches are round?

No, not really. Most watches may be round, but there's plenty that aren't. Plenty of mechanical watches are square or rectangular. A few classic examples can be found here:- http://www.thewatchgallery.com/magazine/hip-to-be-square/

Apple to devs: Watch out, don't make the Watch into a, well, a watch

ChrisB 2

Re: Communication with phone

AIUI yes.

I suspect that in the fullness of time Apple will give developers access to the watch face IDE

Watch a hot, speeding space alien explode all over Earth's Beaver

ChrisB 2

Yes - invoice on the way to El Reg for the wholly unnecessary processor overhead and the cost of warding off Flash exploits. Oh, and BTW, the BBC are getting an invoice too - their news site still insists on Flash for some of their output.

Euro iTunes customers get 14 DAY refund option

ChrisB 2

The Library of Apple?

Whilst welcome, I can see an issue with this if it applies to the iBook Store - those people who are, shall we say, less than scrupulous, now have access to a pretty impressive and free lending library. I can read quite quickly and could easily read any book within 14 days. Except Stella Rimmington's "novel" - I wish I had been able to return that for a refund!

Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch

ChrisB 2

Re: Square watches

Square/rectangular designs for watches have been around for a tad longer than any smart watch:-

Cartier Tank

Bell & Ross

Baume & Mercier

Richard Mille

Round vs. square is simply personal preference and sod all to do with tech fanboyism of any flavour.

Apple SOLDERS memory into new 'budget' iMac

ChrisB 2

Horses for courses

This machine is clearly aimed at home/education/light users. There won't, or shouldn't, be any 3D rendering use cases for this starterMac™

It's still a bit pricey though even if it is an all-in-one requiring no separate screen purchase, but having been a convert from Windows to Mac some years back, I've still got and use my original 2010 (I think) 24" iMac whereas and my similarly aged 13" MackBook still works without interruption/slowing/breaking, although it's now in the hands of the student offspring of a friend rather than mine. In the same time period I've "burned through" at least two Windows laptops, so total cost of ownership works out very well for Macs and me.

Internet rejoices over Star Wars, um, clapboard pic

ChrisB 2

Re: hmm..

In fairness, STOS was designed to be a space opera. By Roddenberry.

I QUIT: Mozilla's anti-gay-marriage Brendan Eich leaps out of door

ChrisB 2

Re: Animals

'Further, being CEO is rather different to most jobs - he has considerable scope to make hiring and advancement decisions and he is inherently the "face" of the company.' - bolccg


'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

ChrisB 2

Re: Few CIOs or VP ITs can code

This is so true. I do remember one place where I was contracting the PM took me aside after a month and asked me to slow down as the rest of the team (and him) were being made to look bad and that they relied on the weekend overtime payments being slow brought them! This was a financial institution where they were all on bloody good base salaries and some were also contractors.

However, I have to say that, as a (now) senior manager who used to code for a living, the number of times I've been given delivery estimates which I _knew_ to be ridiculously long and grossly "padded" is legion. The trick is to discuss properly with the developers, challenge where necessary, sign off what's agreed and then have solid change control to avoid the dreaded scope creep.


ChrisB 2
Black Helicopters

The IMF team...

...should be consulted.