* Posts by Will 28

175 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jun 2009


Why cloud costs get out of control: Too much lift and shift, and pricing that is 'screwy and broken'

Will 28

Re: Who needs to worry about efficiency in the cloud?

I'd say it's actually a bit more about cloud programming and architecture models encouraging less efficient programming. I'd point out first - it's not necessarily bad programming, but more focused on redundancy.

In our main cloud system we took a process that was previously a long running DB task, mostly synchronous single thread. We put it into a clustered environment (Service Fabric, though K8s would have been no different) and moved the processing into C#. We then had to cope with the new programming issue that services may stop at any point, and nodes can go down (and definitely do), so we needed to introduce persistent storage points throughout processing. Now that it's not running in the DB then there's an overhead to processing data that was previously done through table joins, so to counter this cost we split the processing out and allowed it to parallelise, but in doing so (as well as running multiple instances of the service) we needed to reproduce what would previously have been single in-process caches with a distributed cache, which then required that cached data to be further held in each process memory locally to reduce load on the distributed cache. Then we find the instability of the environment means we need to scale this to multi-region, which at the completely redundant level means running 2 versions of the system one in each Azure region we use. This meant 2 express routes, double the infrastructure costs generally, and for the system itself x2 every component.

So we went from 1 process in a DB to a 5 node cluster with multiple persistent storage points and complete redundant processing, we had to put (and pay for) load balancers in front of the new clustered services and tie into app insights for logging. We then had to double that cost to go multi-region. This is a better system, it never goes down and it is highly redundant and scalable. We haven't written inefficient code, but there are implicit cost overheads (both in code efficiency and in infrastructure) to performance and stability scale outs that mean this system is getting noticed as being significantly more expensive that the previous DB process.

Microsoft loosens Teams' necktie as platform courts your forensic accountant relatives

Will 28

Profanity Detection - needs work.

Work claim to have some form of teams profanity detection turned on (which I must be topping the list for, just can't help myself), and yet I found all I needed to do was search the gifs for "flip the bird" and now I can swear at people all I want :). I found this out while my colleague was complaining about the lack of "middle finger" gifs in response to something I said (which probably contained profanities).

Is this an ASP.NET Core I see before me? Where to next for Microsoft's confusing web framework...

Will 28

Re: I think "EF driven hellish wasteland of something little better than...

I had this argument (I argued from your side) with another developer on a project I started 3 years ago. I recounted the horror stories of projects being sunk by EF, and we agreed that there was no way we'd use it for anything but SELECT. I still felt that it would do as you say and generate poorly performing SQL. We agreed that when I could demonstrate it was doing that despite well formed linq queries, we could move to procs. Three years later I have accepted I lost that argument. It does create a crazy amount of nested subqueries with curious renaming of columns from C1 to C2 and vice-versa, and it makes liberal use of cross and outer apply statements. However everytime I look into it and throw in a simpler query, the actual execution plan that SQL server generates is the same. Now we do have a fairly simple schema, it's just your basic joins, aggregates and groupings. I would still say that I have observed that the apparently crazy SQL generated by EF is actually just as efficient under the hood.

If you have some direct examples of linq queries generating worse execution plans than the SQL you could write, I expect it would be useful to publish them somewhere. The EF core team will probably want to review it.

Bada Bing, bada bork: Windows 10 is not happy, and Microsoft's search engine has something to do with it

Will 28

Of all the timings

I had just turned on windows subsystem for linux, installed a load of shells for ssh etc. None of which I really understand because I'm investigating and learning about it right now. Next thing I know the search box is broken, so then I'm rolling back the installs, re-indexing search, starting and stopping search services, only to find I didn't do a thing to it. I expect in turning on the windows feature it also took the opportunity to screw up my machine, hence they were slightly related, but it really was a massive time drain on my day with nothing that I can explain to the rest of the project team beyond a "dog ate my homework" explanation.

Observation: Slow-burn space HAL 'em up fires adventure game genre into the exosphere

Will 28

Great article - keep them coming

Sure there may be differences on origins of adventure gaming, but I really liked this review. IMO I agree with you that the Monkey Island games played a part in the success of this genre.

I haven't played Observation, but will check it out once it's not just on Epic, based on this review. Sounds like my thing.

BTW. check out the Syberia games if you haven't, they are in my opinion one of the adventure classics that pushed the genre on a bit later.

Kenshi: Sandblasted sword-punk D&D where the dungeon master wants everyone dead

Will 28

You didn't mention the bugs

Firstly - like the new column, as an avid gamer I'll definitely be following it.

Your review of Kenshi is nice, and highlights some of the excellent features of the game. Overall I agree that it's something special that any gamer should try. However it's rather a glaring hole not to mention that the game is massively bug ridden, and will always be that way. The developer has stated that they are only focussing on bug fixes now, rather than any new content, but during my time playing through (about 2 months ago) I encountered bugs that ranged from frustrating to game breaking. The bug fixes being released aren't addressing these things, they are more around balancing. Examples of bugs include random invisible walls appearing in your buildings causing your team to be trapped, team members getting "snagged" on corners and just standing there starving to death unless you help them (or getting eaten by something if it's their not in a safe place), and raiding parties that forever occupy your base, forcing a reload from before they spawned (often losing hours of play).

It's a great game, and would be even better if they finished it, but they won't. It's worth playing, but I hope to help people realise in advance that you're going to get frustrated by all the issues.

Bitcoin drops 7 per cent on New York Attorney General's allegations of $850m fraud by Bitfinex

Will 28

Re: So does the US apply the same rules to other currencies?

Very simply - yes, all other currencies and businesses are held to the same accounting rules.

If a company has debts (which is very literally what this was, people "had" bitcoins owed to them by the exchange), and there is no realistic way the company can pay those debts, the company is insolvent. If that company then raids a different source of money (in this case a ring fenced currency, but a similar example would be companies raiding the pension pot) that they don't have the right to do so, they have committed fraud. There are many examples of this happening with other companies, and it is treated entirely the same way.

Is it the same with national currencies? Yes, if a bank did this with pounds, it would get the same treatment, just faster because there is more transparency.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

Will 28

Re: Not actually a first

Wow - that's some hateful downvoting. Was referring to this story:


Didn't realise it was made up. it was being reported pretty widely.

Will 28

Not actually a first

There was that one where the guy had a heart attack and programmed the autopilot to take him to hospital. Pretty sure that happened something like that,.

UK taxman told to chill out 'cos loan charge is whacking tax dodgers and whoopsies alike

Will 28

Also recommended

"The government should withdraw clauses 79 and 80 of the Finance Bill, which would extend HMRC time limits to assess offshore matters to 12 years"

Presumably because this also "disproportionately affect unrepresented and lower income taxpayers".

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is worth 154 median minions

Will 28

Re: Why are Politicians and CEOs like Satya.....

Looks a bit menacing to me tbh. Like he's trying to go all "Game of Thrones" Mountain style on an imaginary Steve Ballmer's head.

World celebrates, cyber-snoops cry as TLS 1.3 internet crypto approved

Will 28


I'm confused. As I read the "reduced" list of conversation requirements that are stated, it just seems to indicate that there's not a handshake anymore.

Could someone clarify please? Is it that the handshake indicated in the second "reduced" steps is because of some assumed process that would involve a handshake. Or have we found a nicer, and more simple way around a security handshake?

Is it to do with the random letters thing? Not trolling, genuinely confused.

Senators call for '9/11-style' commission on computer voting security

Will 28

I don't understand the subtitle

So it's "closing the door after the horse has bolted"? Why is the horse meeting the door?

I think there's something of a horsemeet scandal here.

Your emotionally absent pic-snapping partner's going to look you in the eye again

Will 28

Go to the BBC website, Rory Cellan-Jones is already there wearing a pair. That gives you two independent identifiers for who you should punch.

Microsoft Master File Table bug exploited to BSOD Windows 7, 8.1

Will 28

Re: Cross origin?

Yes, exactly that. It would require a phishing or similar attack to first breach security. At which point they are unlikely to decide to prank the user with this, they will install ransomware.

To emulate the subtitle - "The nineties called, they want their benign hackers back."

Will 28

Re: Cross origin?

Well, if you want a stream of thoughts on the subject, I found this link at least demonstrated some people were aware of the actual situation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14422706

Long story short, it's all a storm in a teacup. To actually do something with this you would need a user to download an HTML file and run it locally. If you can get someone to do that, you'll probably be doing something far nastier than locking up their PC.

Will 28

Re: Cross origin?

Agreed, this doesn't add up. I'm guessing that people have "proven" this bug by opening an HTML page on their local file system, and having this link in an img tag.

Maybe there's an actual vuln here, but the idea that my website could go crawling around on your file system sounds like a far greater security issue than just this, and would surprise me if two major browsers both failed to protect against it.

PayPal peed off about Pandora's 'P' being mistaken for its 'PP'

Will 28

Re: For once I am with the plaintiffs

No, I am friends with a trademarks and patent lawyer, and we have spoken about such cases on a few occasions. While initial perception might hold some sway, the criteria applied is much less subjective. From what I remember from our discussions, I would suggest that the following make the case for PayPal unviable (this is me, not the lawyer, talking. I'm just applying similar rules that he applied in other similar discussions):

1) The angle of the letter is different, this makes the comparison very hard to relate as the angle is one of the distinguishing things about the logo.

2) The length of the stalk before the bulk of the P begins is significantly shorter for the Pandora logo. Given this is a defining point about the letter, that makes it substantially different design.

3) The bevelling around the corners of the P is different, on the PayPal logo all edges are bevelled, including the underedge where the body meets the stalk. On the Pandora logo only the bottom right corner of the stalk is bevelled.

4) The colour is different. You cannot trademark "Blue", it doesn't match either shade of the Ps on the PayPal logo.

5) The body of the P is bigger. Obviously coupled to the length of the stalk, but also given significant weight in the distinctiveness of the logo.

6) There's only 1 ******* P! It's a pretty significant difference in the logo.

I think Paypal are trolling here, possibly hoping to scare them off before they attempt to fight in court, as I'd happily bet money that if they fight this in court PayPal will lose.

$6,000 for tours of apocalyptic post-Brexit London? WTF, NYT?

Will 28

that well-known hotbed of pro-Leave activists, the London School of Economics

Wasn't that Tim W's Alma mater? In fact, if you hadn't said "History Graduate", I'd be advising you to check the name of the guide :).

(I know... he lives in Portugal)

Booze stats confirm boring Britain is drying

Will 28

1960s health advice?

Is that in any way a useful comparison? It was only in the 1950s they'd acknowledged a link between cancer and smoking. I'd say the health advice in the 1960s simply wasn't very good or informed, so the fact they advised a bottle a day is kind of irrelevant to the advice given now, and does not imply puritanism but just better science.

Doesn't mean I'm going to change my drinking habits because of it, but they're fine to try to tell me accurately what's healthy.

Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

Will 28


I think this article would have benefitted greatly if at the start you had defined what you considered an "algorithm" to be. Without this, especially given your apparent definition differs from what most programmers would use (I think, I can't be sure because you didn't give a definition), it isn't really possible to give any value to the subsequent points made about them.

By the end of the article I got the feeling you could have just replaced the word "algorithm" with "scary thing".

DNA-bothering eggheads brew beer you were literally born to like

Will 28

What if it decides you don't like beer?

I'm sorry sir, but... God just wants you to have a rotten life.

COP BLOCKED: Uber app thwarted arrests of its drivers by fooling police with 'ghost cars'

Will 28

I'm more interested to know where they're getting their data from

Are plods phone details formally registered somewhere? Blocking your drivers from performing an illegal act sounds ok, selectively doing it doesn't. Tracking law enforcement officials all around the world based on their phone details sounds like their accessing a source of information that really shouldn't be available / isn't legally available.

It's possible that they're just recording details after they've been stung once, but that sounds a little bit too easy to circumvent.

Is it the beginning of the end for Visual Basic? Microsoft to focus on 'core scenarios'

Will 28

Re: Oh dear ...

Actually, that problem is already here. I worked on a commercial application with some legacy VB6 code, and owing to some dll hell with MSCOMCTL.OCX, we were unable to find a way to compile it using Windows 8 or 10 (we tried very hard). I've since left the company, but I believe they still have to do their release builds from a win 7 VM.

Once compiled it works on most machines, but really that timebomb started ticking years ago.

Annoyingly precocious teen who ruined Trek is now an asteroid

Will 28

Wesley didn't fail the star fleet entrance exam

Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this, but unless you're thinking of a different episode to me. The one where he "failed", was not the entrance exam.

Amazon files patent for 'Death Star' flying warehouse

Will 28

Re: Nothing new here...


The power needs would indeed be significant for calculations, but my point (and I think theirs) was that the horizontal component of the travel would not add to these costs. If you're calculating a way down, you're making these decisions. Whether that's a direct drop, or a "glide" is irrelevant to the calculation costs. The glide itself is unpowered.

Will 28

Re: Nothing new here...

"Really? It can fly horizontally using NO power?"

They said using "little to no power", not "No power". That is entirely feasible given the height the drone would be descending, they are clearly stating that the horizontal component of the journey would not significantly contribute to the power consumption, all the energy from that would be contributed by the very thing you were suggesting they'd forgotten, the air resistance generated by the descent (i.e. they'd effectively glide horizontally).

Unfortunately you focused on one of the things that is pretty solid and achievable. What I find more curious is how, once the drone has descended 45K feet and delievered its package, does it get back up there? A quick google suggests that the most people have managed to fly a drone to is about 11K feet, and it then needs some way of docking. Alternatively they might be intending to then fly the drones off to some collection point to then be re-installed when the plane lands, but at that point you have to wonder if that's a cost effective solution.

It’s Brexploitation! Microsoft punishes UK for Brexit with cloud price-gouging

Will 28

It's not Microsoft's job to be fair

Others have pointed out things along these lines, but I just wanted to chime in with how utterly stupid this article is. Is this actually trying to suggest that the thing that keeps microsoft's prices where they are is their sense of fairness and their desire to provide their services to us at as low a price as they can manage.

Other commenters here seem to be suggesting that prices are dictated by the costs of providing the service / product - that's a very bad model for a business to follow, I think HP tried it with their tablet range. Microsoft are a business, while they might have certain "community responsibilities", their primary job is to squeeze as much money out of us as they can. They will sell their product for as high a price as they can get away with, and they are right to do so.

The things that are stopping them from sending prices through the roof is whether we feel that we're willing to pay that amount for the service at all, and whether we feel it's the best deal for us compared to what else is on the market (i.e. the competition). It is completely non-sensical to demand a justification for price rises from companies, I'd be perfectly satisfied (in fact I'd find it refreshing) if they replied to this article and said "it's because we like money, you idiot".

Florida Man's prized jeep cremated by exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Will 28

Re: The windscreen glass melted

This is a totally uneducated guess, as I know nothing about windscreens, but it could be that it was damaged in putting out the fire. My experience of hot glass and cold water is that it tends to shatter. While the windscreen may be some composite rather than sheet glass, a jet of cold stuff fired into it may have had a similarly destructive effect.

Newest Royal Navy warship weighs as much as 120 London buses

Will 28

So, what's it for?

Genuinely curious about this. Why did we build this massive ship (contract stuff aside)? Somebody said it was patrolling safe seas, in which case, what's the need for it to be so big? Is it to enable longer journeys? So that it can perform better in choppy waters?

Could somebody break it down into dummy speak for me please? About the level of a simple strategic computer game like "Aircraft carriers to launch fighters but weaker in direct combat, Destroyer class ships to engage in naval combat with big guns, Corvettes speedy but weaker, this 1600 ton warship for...".

Your colleagues will lie to you: An enterprise architect's life

Will 28

Enterprise Architect - definition

The definition of an Enterprise Architect does not align with what I've encountered for the role. I certainly wouldn't associate them with the phrase "highly technical masters of electronic wizardry". Wikipedia also suggests a less technical slant to such a role (accepted it's not the most reliable source, but it indicates some measure of opinion).

Those I've encountered with such a title are more concerned with processes and high level interaction between components rather than technical details like authentication systems and group policy. I fully accept I may well be wrong, but it would be interesting to know where this definition that is being worked to came from.

Going! going! pwned? 200! million! Yahoo! logins! leaked! allegedly!

Will 28

Re: Since when is MD5 "easily breakable"?

Well, it's called an assumption for a reason.

Yes, the collisions mean that you won't necessarily get the correct password, but with 200m you'd get quite a few, and I still hold their more valuable passwords than your standard low quality website hack..

Will 28

Re: Since when is MD5 "easily breakable"?

If they're using MD5, then they're unlikely to have salted the hash. In that case the passwords can be cracked using rainbow tables, so deriving the password from the hash is easy (even with your random password suggested).

Why would you do it? My main reason would be that a lot of people have only 2 passwords. The weak one that they use to sign up to services using their email as the userid, and of course the strong one which they use for specific services like online banking etc. They would of course use this for their email password, as they don't want to give out their email password when signing up to new services using their email address.

Why Agile is like flossing and regular sex

Will 28

Re: Agile......what about package software?

By "Package" I assume you mean "shrink wrapped" software that you'd previously have burned onto a CD, and sold (also referred to as COTS).

If so, then yeah agile works for this, as does DevOps, but Scrum does not for anything complicated (see my post above). DevOps is nothing new, we've always had modular systems, used interfaces, practiced continuous deployment. It's not really viable to push that to your customers regularly unless you've got a very intrusive upgrade system like some gaming platforms have, but if you consider your PO to be the end point, then it's viable. You just build a lot of point versions of your product, and make sure that it's all automated right through to your signed and packaged installer.

From what I can see of Kanban, it could be viable as a process, and the backlog management that it brings can certainly aid in developing such software.

What do you see as the roadblocks of Agile when it comes to packaged software?

Will 28

Re: Having never done Agile...

Having just worked on an Agile scrum project where this was most definitely going to be a regular problem, I'm afraid the answer is that you lie to the Scrum Master. You create a sufficient number of over-estimated tasks, and smuggle in some good engineering practices. Either that or you find a "particularly tricky" bug that takes up your time.

My recent experience of Scrum has demonstrated to me that it doesn't work for exactly this reason. The re-work wouldn't be so bad if it weren't caused by the fact that we're working to an arbitrary deadline of a 2 week sprint that we've set for ourselves purely in the name of "processes". Sometimes to do a job well takes 4 weeks solid work, sometimes that work cannot be divided up usefully between team members, and most terribly for a scrum master & product owner, sometimes that work doesn't directly add business value (The product owner cannot directly demonstrate the product actually works, so seems to think this isn't a requirement). The answer from the Scrum process is avoid doing that work. My answer is to avoid doing that Scrum process.

I tried to shift the team over to a Kanban process to see if it would do any better, but met with political resistance from the P.O and the Agile "expert" in the company who feared it would reduce their control on the processes (which it would, and should because their not software engineers).

If you're working on a system with any complexity or that requires a well planned architecture (most systems) then avoid Scrum.

Brits who live in 'smart cities' don't really know or care

Will 28

Movement activated lighting, the basis of a lot of horror scenes

Did anyone else flag that up from the movies?

You have to walk into a dimly lit area, in the hope that the light will then come on, only then when in proximity do you discover what's in the dimly lit area. Suddenly you're face to face with the masked killer!

I wonder which direction I need to walk for the next one to come on. Lets try over here and AARRRGGG, I WAS ON A BRRIIIDDDGGGEE.

Restaurant booked, flowers ordered ... Microsoft has a hot date for SQL Server 2016

Will 28

SQL Server 2014 boasted up to 30x performance boost

So now, if SQL Server 2016 is boasting up to 34x performance boost, we should be seeing up to 1020x performance boost on SQL Server 2012. That should be fairly easy to spot, your struggling query that was just hitting that absurd default .NET timeout of 30 seconds is now near instantaneous.

Thing is I didn't ever observe that 30x performance boost for 2014, I assume whatever tech they had ready for it got pulled, and we're going to see it in 2016 instead. That's the nicest way I can spin those figures, a cynic might just say that we've heard all this before.

Confused by crypto? Here's what that password hashing stuff means in English

Will 28

Why do you want to limit a password length


I have to ask, as you clearly know a fair bit about this stuff, but then have dropped in this suggestion that you would have a length limit on a password. Why?

I had a quick search on the subject, but cannot find any security benefit to applying a limit.

Yahoo! is! up! for! sale! – so! how! much! will! you! bid!?

Will 28

Sell the email routing

There is one thing of value that yahoo have, and unfortunately for me, I'm one of those affected. There was a time when the internet was coming in, and I was about 16, when it seemed a good idea to grab a yahoo email address. That account is now the username to so many services that it would be a major ball ache to try to untangle myself from it. I've got my own domain now, but I think I'd probably be ok to pay a small subscription amount to route email to that, rather than change everything to directly hit it (where it's even possible to change it).

I don't think I'm the only one affected, so there's money to be made there...

LinkedIn sinkin': $10bn gone in one day as shares plummet 40%

Will 28


I'm not a tax expert, but I'm reasonably sure you don't pay tax on an option until you take it (in fact even then I'm not sure what you have to pay, surely the bulk of the tax, if not all, is when you sell those shares?). I also don't think you can sell options, just elect to buy the shares at that price.

However I'm no expert on the matter...

Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 nagware shows signs of sentience

Will 28

I'm still running 8.1, no updates pushed

I wonder if you're looking too carefully at the vocal community. I run 8.1 on my machine and the get10 thing is a notification. It's still 8.1 there's no pressure or anything.

Are you sure you're actually getting good stats here, or just heresay?

Cache-astrophic: Why Valve's Steam store spewed players' private profiles to strangers

Will 28

Do we have any comment from the ICO?

Normally when someone spews customer data out to unintended sources we're told the ICO will investigate. Do they apply to Valve? I would have expected so, but cannot find them on the list of companies under the jurisdiction of the ICO.

Were The Register able to get a comment? I couldn't even see where to email to ask them.

Firefox-on-Windows users, rejoice: Game of Thrones now in HTML5

Will 28

Silverlight end of life in 2021?

If you believe MS I assume that is? It's end of life right now for everyone else. Chrome won't run it any more, Firefox will ditch it very soon, even the new Windows browser "Edge" won't run it.

People are rushing to ditch SilverLight right now, I very much doubt it will be around beyond next year. In 2021 when it officially ticks over, nobody will notice.

It's shame in some ways. Hate MS all you like, detest plug-ins as much as you want, but I doubt that many people would say they wouldn't like a cross browser supported XAML driven web site with a strongly typed language backing it. It speeds up dev time enormously. My hope is that someone brings in some kind of XAML to HTML framework (it gets suggested by various people, but I don't ever see anyone really committing to it).

Microsoft to OneDrive users: We're sorry, click the magic link to keep your free storage

Will 28

Re: Disingenuous little f*ckers

MondoMan, it does indeed say that. As a result I decided to go ahead with keeping the storage, then I would go and disable the app.

Unfortunately it was lying. I have searched for about 5 minutes now. I can find no option to change this. You'd think it would be in the "Options" section, but I assume that somewhere via some other menu I have to find the "Account Settings" screen.

They have either lied, or made it very difficult to find.

EDIT: Found it, it's not in the one drive options, you need to click your profile picture, go to edit profile, then click your picture again and there's an option for "Account Settings".

Doctor Who: Oh, look! There's a restaurant at the end of the universe in Hell Bent

Will 28

For me this summed up everything that Moffat is getting wrong

I appear to be in the minority, but in my opinion, every Moffat story seems to have the same flaw. He's planned out some scenes, then he has connected the scenes. He hasn't remembered to actually make a story. We had the scene where The Doctor returned to Gallifrey and confronted Rassilon. Having done this they very swiftly skipped through a quick note that Rassilon might come back, some mentions of the prophecy, then onto the scene where he rescues Clara. Some quick shots of people panicking and running around, then we're onto the scene where they're walking around the matrix with all the old favourites jumping out. Then a Clara to Doc conversation to lead onto the scene in the tardis...

I could go on, but personally I watch these episodes and feel like I'm just being pulled around into little bits of script. The actual plot to the episode was very weak, just a lot of suggestions of a plot, which is what he's been doing right through his time scripting. I keep finding myself saying "Ok, where are you going with this then? Oh, you're not".

IT manager jailed for 5 years for attempting dark web gun buy

Will 28

@AC - Entrapment - not perfectly acceptable

I'm not a lawyer, but even a quick google of the subject shows that you're not entirely correct here. Cases have been dismissed in the UK on the grounds that they were entrapment. It sounds as though the case you're highlighting where they actually persuaded the person to commit a crime, the judge should have thrown the case out.

From my brief read on the subject, it appears that police are allowed to create an opportunity for a crime (leave goods unprotected then arrest the thief, or run a shop on the dark web that can be contacted for gun purchase), however they cannot encourage you to commit that crime. So I assume that they could not leave some goods unprotected, then pay someone to go and steal it for them. However it's up to the judge to conclude that was done, you cannot submit it as a defence to the jury.

Once again - not a lawyer, just breaking down the results of a quick search on the subject.

Doctor Who's The Zygon Invasion shape-shifts Clara and brings yet more hybrids

Will 28

Re: "this story is influenced by current affairs"

Kate Stewart wasn't caught out by the "not-a-cop-anymore" Zygon, as I expect we'll be amazed to discover next episode.

Hell, if Queen Elizabeth the 1st can kill one then I'm pretty sure a unit operative can.

It's all Me, Me, Me! in Doctor Who's The Woman Who Lived but what of Clara's fate?

Will 28

I think you guys are being unfairly harsh on Rufus

He wasn't telling jokes, he was acting out a person telling jokes. If he was just being genuinely funny then the acting wouldn't have worked. It's a bit like when someone in a film / tv show is then "in a play", they have to convey the story point that they are acting. Similarly so, he was acting out a person that wasn't a comedian, that was making cheap gags in order to delay his execution. Would it have been more convincing if he'd come out with a finely polished routine?

I thought it was actually quite well done. He conveyed the sense of desparation well, trying to find anything to keep him alive.

We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

Will 28


A real shame to see you go Tim, I've really enjoyed your articles. Guess I'll have to start following your blog now, it was easier for me to have the articles distilled and produced on schedule.

I hope you advised the new elite of El Reg to get economists with contrary views to write some articles - you could get to dish out some of the commentard magic in the other direction.

OH GROSS! The real problem with GDP

Will 28

So is it actually a good idea to measure it at all?

Given it's a figure that we almost all agree is at best a guideline, and is open to some pretty significant distortions, does it have value as a figure? It's all very well to say it's the best we've got, but when you put a figure on something people tend to go absolute on it. To an economist GDP may be a guideline with (un)known variance, but that same figure once reported will get reported by an economics journalist to a readership of vaguely informed people (us), who will then repeat such figure to completely uninformed people and then suddenly it's a rock solid measure of our economy.

Let's not even start on how politicians use it.

Is it the best measure we've got, when "no measure" is taken into account as an option?