* Posts by SimonC

97 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Jan 2010


Real-time tragedy: Dumb deletion leaves librarian red-faced and fails to nix teenage kicks on the school network


Re: Let's be honest...

I think Tiberian Sun? Or possible RA2, required you to do that, I'd completely forgotten! A 2kb compressed file would expand to be 700mb so the game was content that the file was present and accounted for. It wasn't about piracy, it was just about wanting to occasionally play 4 player games with only one copy! Tib Sun was the only one my group of friends didn't have a copy each, and with good reason... the game was pretty poor.


Re: Let's be honest...

Actually, it was a tool called RAMIX or RAMIXER (Sam forgets), a tool that Sam definitely used to strip out the cutscene animations, music, missions, and other non-essential files. The game would boot up to the menu, and wouldn't crash - trying to start single player wouldn't work, but multiplayer worked fine and it didn't complain about the music.

You could use -cd as a command line argument to point to where the CD was, something most C&C games supported.

There was no piracy as Sam owned every game - his group all did - and C&C came with two CDs, one for each faction anyway. :)

HMRC claims victory in another IR35 dispute to sting Nationwide contractor for nearly £75k in back taxes


Re: Rigged definition of an employee

Something similar did happen, to HMRC themselves of all people.


I think that from April, with the liability being on the employer, that what you're suggesting definitely could happen.


Re: Heads we win, tails you lose

Basically comes down to SDC, you're not hiring contractor Bob, you're hiring Bob Service Ltd, so they could send anyone. Much like when I had my chimney swept with Pete The Sweep, I was dismayed to find the guy that showed up was in fact, not Pete himself. Of course, it did not matter.

If I demand pete and only pete, then it's a red flag that my relationship with Pete The Sweet Ltd. is actually not a service/provider but potentially one of employment.

However it falls away when other factors are revealed.

The LED contract would purchases and fits the lights. This puts financial risk onto him, if the client changes their mind or is unable to pay (goes bankrupt), he'd be out of pocket. He also has to manage cash flow, if he's installing £3,000 of lights across the office, he needs to have £3,000 in cash while the invoice is paid. Financial risk is a big indicator. As an IT contractor, there's no risk of that type. Your only financial liabilities are car mileage, equipment, and insurances. But these aren't job-specific so it's hard to argue.

The work he's providing is also strictly agreed, his job is to install LED lighting in all of the offices. It'll be a case of say, 30 lights must be fitted. He'll likely charge a fixed fee, therefore incurring additional financial risk because if there are delays or the work proves more difficult, or there are issues sourcing the lights, he will have to suffer the extra time it takes to complete. It's unlikely he would charge per hour for a job of that nature, whereas an IT contractor would.

He probably also has additional jobs, not just one single job. This is consistent with a service company. He might order the equipment, do some other work in the morning, come in in the afternoon, etc.

He chooses his own scheduling. They don't say, you must work from 9-5 every day, because that might not even be possible, and it might be impractical - if he is waiting for things to arrive, then he's not going to sit there on an office chair staring out of the window all day. An IT contractor might do exactly that.

They can't move him to another project, for example if they say while you're here, could you just wire in a few new sockets? It's not part of his agreed work and it's not consistent with a service company if he says yes, unless a new contract is created/agreed or the existing one modified. Once he starts looking like a handyman, that's when he looks like an employee.

I think HMRC has shot itself in the foot though going forward. I'm an IT contractor and I'll be moving onto a new Outside IR35 contract from April. Everywhere is super paranoid so they'll be coming up with a compliant statement-of-work driven model, I suspect that plunges nice and deep into service company territory so there's no ambiguity. And I'll continue to do what I've been doing for the past several years already, only this time HMRC will not be able to pull a 'gotcha' because it will be fully above-board using their own assessment tool. The tool that is designed deliberately to place you inside IR35 by being epically misleading will now backfire and mark everyone sensible enough to care about their IR35 status as safe. Wouldn't surprise me if they pulled it once they realised it's actually helping people prove they're outside.

I'm currently on a fixed project, I work ~8-4pm occasionally work from home as I see fit. The client has a fixed budget so I'm not always called in, they just tell me to work less/more days to fit, which is a strong indicator of being outside IR35 (employees don't get told, work 3 days this week and we'll pay you less, 5 days next week and we'll pay you more). I'm working on a specific project, everything is timescaled and estimated, and I'll be gone when the project is completed unless they want to sign a new contract.

But I am also insured up the wazoo in case I get investigated, which is annoying. I've heard of HMRC making life a living hell for people who are completely innocent just due to them investigating, demanding meeting after meeting, all kinds of documents, evidence, etc.

It is quite hard to maintain an income when you're being called away all the time. Scary stuff.


Re: Rigged definition of an employee

From April onwards, in the private sector, Yes. The rules are changing.

All that Samsung users found on UK website after weird Find my Mobile push notification was... other people's details


Makes you wonder, I just got a new samsung phone and when I opened find my phone it popped up with a bunch of terms & conditions. I press decline and the app closed. I couldn't uninstall it.

Then I got that notification. What was the point of the T&Cs again?

UK government review of IR35 tax reforms? Like a broken pencil, say contractors groups – it'll be utterly pointless


Re: It's over....

In my experience contractors are hired in one of three cases - when the permies have made a mess of the project, when the management has made a message of the project, or when it's a new project that needs to be done in a hurry at short notice.

If the contractors make a mess of the project, it's actually usually the 2nd choice, I've seen SO many contractors told to do X while management walks away and never talks to them again. Six months later they come back and review the contractor's work only to decry "That's not what I wanted you to do! I can't believe I just paid for 6 months of that! Yes, I know it's what I *told* you to do, but it's not what I wanted!"

Contractors are a tool, it's up to management to wield that tool correctly.

Sir John Redwood backs IR35 campaign, notes review would have to start 'immediately' before new off-payroll working rules kick in


Some people prefer an easy normal 9-5 working life without any particular risk or danger. Which is totally fine, I never said it makes them better or worse... until the same people turn around and start moaning about it being unfair. Very easy to sit in your reinforced pleiglass house and throw stones at people

As easy as passing judgement on a person's character based on two paragraphs of text, it would seem.


Yawn, why don't they do it as well, oh that's right they have 2 kids, a mortgage, and no marketable skills having been doing the same job for 14 years and never studying anything else. They can't afford to be out of work a week nevermind 6 months or fired on the spot from a sudden budget pull.

But they're happy to moan while they eat the cake the company gave them on their birthday and take a few days off when they have the sniffles until their employer Daddy Corp Ltd. gives them a hug and welcomes them back to work.

USB4: Based on Thunderbolt 3. Two times the data rate, at 40Gbps. One fewer space. Zero confusing versions


If it's HD and Full then the next iteration would surely be USB True, aka TRUSB


Someone tell me why we need 40gbps

If only they made USB-C a single cable type, with a reversible connector, where *every single cable* must fully support *every single function* so we can live in a world where we can plug anything into anything, charge up anything with anything else from any cable in any system. Slap the USB4 spec on top of it.

I have a battery pack for a camera light that says warning: only use usb chargers rated 2 amps or more (had to fish around for ageees before I found one).

If you have to hunt for the right charger, and the right cable, it's NOT UNIVERSAL. Call it SB4 instead.

Mine's the coat with the 6 usb cables, one's too short, one's too long, one's the wrong usb type, one only works when you wiggle it, one only does charging, and one of them is the messiah that charges and connects anything but frequently goes missing while I await its return.

We are absolutely, definitively, completely and utterly out of IPv4 addresses, warns RIPE


Re: re: If you don’t see traffic

Always feels like the only social activity left for people who don't use facebook et al is to tell people that they don't use it with some sense of smug superiority.

We lose money on repairs, sobs penniless Apple, even though we charge y'all a fortune


Re: Quelle Surprise

You could try and open such a restaurant, but I predict heavy 'losses' :-)

Royal Bank of Scotland IT contractor ban sparks murmurs of legal action


Re: Poor well paid tax-dodgers

Ironic you'd mention the NHS, maybe think next time you need a life saving procedure and they don't have a surgeon on hand, that they'll probably use a Locum surgeon, aka a Contractor, commanding a hugely inflated income (up to £20,000/day it was reported a while back for some due to legally requiring certain skills in the hospitals to avoid an even bigger fine).

Perhaps you can tell them that they're a tax dodger choosing not to pay proper tax cos they got out of bed and showed up to save your life. They'll have time to think about that when they go home and wonder when their next callout will be.


Absolutely not. I've been offered perm at my current gig.

I'm working on a specific IT project with specific deliverables, with no supervision or guidance as to how I do it. After this project, there is a phase 2, and after that, new work is coming in...

I declined the perm role. I'll finish my current assignment, and then consider taking the phase 2 assignment, and then probably move on.

I don't have any HR faff, performance meetings, or people telling me how to do what I do. The only thing I get told is what the project is, and then we have a project manager tracking timelines and who is doing what and if anything is being held up by anyone else.

I work on all aspects of the project, and I liase myself with 3rd parties directly. I work 3-5 days a week of my choosing and choose my own hours to work which don't line up with anyone else.

Welcome to cultured meat – not pigs reading Proust but a viable alternative to slaughter


> We've evolved to eat natural products

Sips glass of strawberry squash (Ingredients: Water, Strawberry Juice from concentrate, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrates), Flavourings, Sweeteners (Acesulfame K, Sucralose), Plant and Vegetable Concentrates, Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Metabisulphite), Antioxioidant (Ascorbic Acid).

Yes, Quite.


Re: Mmm!

How would you deal with finding out that of all the cells they grow into burgers, worms made the tastiest? Once you remove all the worm guts and you're just left with a patty of worm muscle, that is.

Honestly I'd eat it but someone would have to lie and say it was something else...


Re: You can't grow burgers in a test tube.

Interesting, I never actually thought of that.

Although presumably they can use the same tech on any kind of cell, so you can still have your hot dog sausages, they'll just make hoof cells instead of rump steak cells.

Any promises to extend rights of self-employed might win an election, hint Brit freelancer orgs


> and can take out income protection insurance if they wish to further minimise risk

No, no they can't. You can get sickness cover but it's very expensive unless you choose the 'terminal illness' cover. And you can get jury service cover, which will do about 2 weeks. But that policy and many others rely on you actually being in a contract for them to work. If your income is 0 because you don't have a contract, no insurance is gonna cover that other than your own savings. And as you can get walked at any time with no notice, there is a definite risk.

Apple's credit card caper probed over sexism claims – after women screwed over on limits


Re: Sex as a cheap substitute

But every single factor is the same! Every single one! Everything on the application forms are identical, and the same, and so the result should be the same because everything is the same!

Okay so we declared different amounts for our income but everything is the same! It's clearly sexism because everything is the same. We share everything equally, including the money that I make and she doesn't!


It's not surprising, a company isn't going to make money by letting you borrow £1000 and pay £1000 back. The ideal customer is someone who makes their payments... eventually... and pays a nice chunk of interest in the meanwhile.

IT contractor has £240k bill torn up after IR35 win against UK taxman


Re: IR35 is complicated by design

Just make your own umbrella. Find a contractor mate, invoice each other. Lots of contractors have done this.


Re: As a contractor

You can't claim JSA if you have 16k or more in savings, last I checked.

If you're a contractor with less savings than that you likely have bigger problems when the work dries up in between contracts

Socket to the energy bill: 5-bed home with stupid number of power outlets leaves us asking... why?


Easier to just electrify the ceiling, not only can you just toss a hook upwards to connect new devices, but you can drive a dodgem around from room to room

Deepfakes, quantum computing cracking codes, ransomware... Find out what's really freaking out Uncle Sam


> Politicians have also recently fallen prey to deepfake attacks, where their likenesses have been manipulated to say and do things they haven’t actually done.

Any citations? I've been waiting for this to explode in the news for years and so far, nothing. It would be trivial to create one of Trump or Johnson saying something sketchy and leaking it. Since TERROR in the news is $$$$$$$$$ leaking that our leaders can be impersonated with ease at any time, accompanied with video footage, would sell papers like hotcakes.

UK tech freelancer numbers down for first time in 5 years since IR35 tax reforms hit public sector


TBH I think much of it is knee-jerk reactions from big companies particularly banks. The agents are becoming wise to IR35, finally I have statements of work and QDOS et al approved contracts from the getgo instead of having to explain to a confused agent what IR35 is and why I can't simply sign this contract.

I reckon the agencies will come up with a standard procedure to adhere to the stricter assessments, and the companies will follow suit, then it'll all blow over.

Where there's a will, there's a way.

I could be wrong though, so we'll just have to wait and see...

See you in Hull: First UK city to be hooked up to full-fibre broadband


I went to uni in hull in 2002-2005, and KCOM were the spawn of the devil at that time, reaping the benefits of their monopoly. While the rest of the country could get decent broadband, we, in the city centre, were given a 1.5mbps line. Connecting it to multiple computers was forbidden in the TOS. It would frequently go down or stop working for multiple days with no explanation.

They sent us the wrong password for the initial modem setup, and blamed us for it. The guy that set it up wasn't moving back into the house for a couple of weeks either, fortunately their state of the art call-center was able to help us when one of us pretended to be the guy (since they wouldn't talk to anyone else) on the phone - despite him answering the security question 'what is your date of birth?' with 'I don't know' and 'what is your mother's maiden name?' 'I don't know'. Fortunately the third question was 'what is your cat's name?', and one of us happened to know he was called Tibbles, so that was enough - 'Thank you Mr Smith, how can I help you?'.

The price was extortionate compared to the rest of the country, the service was total garbage, and there was *no* alternative. I sent a letter to OFCOM asking if there were any alternatives to KCOM, and they replied back with a generic 2 page letter ignoring my question about how KCOM is *not* a monopoly... which wasn't what I asked. When there's no alternative providers, it's a monopoly, though...

Since those two years of hellish unreliable internet, I will NEVER trust KCOM ever again.

Six-day cruise lies ahead for India's Chandrayaan-2 probe before the real lunar shenanigans begin


Just a single lunar day. Which is ~29 Earth days.

Outsourcing giant Capita handed £145m for UK.gov's Personal Independence Payment extension


Re: "Our healthcare team"

Some of the controversy was that they were encouraged to meet certain quotas. I can only assume this was financially motivated by ATOS.

If it weren't then all ATOS would have to do is turn around and say 'here are the guidelines we were given, here's how we've followed them to the letter'.

Instead, we see falsified reports, outright lies, and a system that makes it illegal (for want of a better word) to record the assessments etc.

These are not the actions of an innocent company just doing what it's told.

No DeepNudes please, we're GitHub: Code repo deep-sixed as Discord bans netizens who sought out vile AI app


Re: Finally a killer app for Google Glass

As a kid the idea of x-ray specs was always a fantasy prop used for comic effect in cartoons, I never imagined until your post that it could become a reality.

Scumbags can program vulnerable MedTronic insulin pumps over the air to murder diabetics – insecure kit recalled


Re: And my doc wonders why I hate them?

a la the XKCD $5 wrench comic, or perhaps the one with the script to move the mouse, instead of short range communication, how about an ultra high tech plastic sliding *on/off* switch for the wireless antenna...

Sneaky fingerprinting script in Microsoft ad slips onto StackOverflow, against site policy


> ...has previously stated that its policy "includes but is not limited to running only static, non-animated banner[s],...

Recently they've been testing advertising which includes animated banners, with a discussion here: https://workplace.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6157/were-testing-advertisements-on-the-workplace#comment19633_6157 they are apparently 'investigating types of banner'.

What do sexy selfies, search warrants, tax files have in common? They've all been found on resold USB sticks


Who even destroys them? I'm pretty sure in my Box Of Things I Will Definitely Need One Day I have usb sticks that are measured in tens of mbytes...

Overhyped 5G is being 'rushed', Britain's top comms boffin reckons


Re: Well then

Implying it's any more difficult to make users buy a new handset than


SendMessage("New, Shiny, Expensive.", Users.AllUsers);`

UK tech has a month left to bare gender pay gaps, but less than a fifth of firms have ponied up


Yep - but the quicker we get this info out in the open, the quicker people might start to believe it.

I at least gain some satisfaction of how there are lots of people waiting to go 'aha! oppression!' when the information is released, who are going to be terribly disappointed that they've just shot themselves in the foot.

Then again they'll just find something else to blame, it's always someone else's fault, DEFINITELY not yours for not actually studying one of the underrpresented subjects and trying to climb the career ladder it, no no. Study gender studies instead and complain about it.

Equifax how-it-was-mega-hacked damning dossier lands, in all of its infuriating glory


Can someone explain how an expired certificate causes problems? In our systems if a certificate expires the website goes down / APIs stop working / everything grinds to a halt.

I see it like a combination lock that rusts up. Nobody is getting in, even the people that know the passcode.

Doom: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins


idspispopd master race

Intel hits target: 27% of staffers are female? Apparently that's 'full representation'

Paris Hilton

Excellent, I wonder how their ginger hair quotas are doing, we need 25/25/25/25 representation by hair colour (black, brown, blonde, ginger) and also height quotas, 50/50 for those born below 5'6" 1/2.

I'm sure people won't look at the extra 6% as Quota Women who were hired to fill the gap and are less qualified than the best candidates for the job, no sir. Were I a woman I'm sure I'd get lots of respect joining a company that has a goal of hiring women over hiring those who are best qualified.

Paris because she reminds me of a woman I heard saying the other day that she *loves* all this diversity stuff, because she's highly capable and motivated and it lets her fly under the radar and scoop up all the opportunities, while pretending to be innocent and clueless.

Contractors slam UK taxman's 'aggressive' IR35 tax reforms


People keep saying about leaving the UK but where will you go? Contractor software dev here, genuinely interested.

Also regarding the comment about suddenly getting taxed as an employee but without the benefits, the case noted in the article means that isn't actually the case - HMRC said to the contractor (who was doing work for HMRC) that they're an employee and to pay tax as one, but didn't bother to give them the holiday pay. They took them to court and won.

I'd laugh if they got pregnant and took a few months off on maternity leave. But I'm surprised the ordeal doesn't result in them signing off with 'stress' for a few months, all while HMRC has to continue to pay them since hey - they're an employee, right?

Can you imagine hiring a plumber and then having the guy show up and sign off with stress for 2 months, during which you have to continue to pay him...

Early bird access to .NET Framework 4.8? Microsoft, you spoil us


.NET Core is hard to deploy

I wouldn't recommend using .NET Core for anything other than enterprise level. It's very hard to deploy it correctly, because they release a new version every other day, and if your assemblies don't match on client and server... kaboom, errors galore.

I made the mistake of doing an interview tech test in .NET Core and they failed me stating they couldn't get it working. I deployed it to my own server afterwards to investigate, server had a 0.1 difference in the version and that was enough to bugger it up. Updated my local machine, rebuilt, it worked.

I will stick to .NET, I think... never really saw the advantage of Core anyway. If one more person at work tells me that it's cross-platform then I'm going to lock them in the tape storage room. Our 6 year old .NET application suite isn't going to get ported over to linux, so stop touting it as an advantage.

New Google bias lawsuit claims company fired chap who opposed discrimination


> Chevalier later commented on the now-infamous James Damore post that argued women are biologically ill-suited to working in technology.

Good to see the register is unbiased, the actual quote was;

> "I'm simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership."

Somewhat of a difference, saying women are biologically ill-suited when what was stated is that they're less inclined to enter the industry - not that they're inferior when they get there.

Cops find ATM spewing cash, car with dodgy plates, stack of $20 bills and hacking kit inside


Re: I believe...

I'm sure they'd get a nice 20 second shot of a bloke dressed in all black wearing a balaclava

Cox blocked! ISP may avoid $25m legal bill for letting punters pirate music online


Re: A broken judicial system...

Aye that's where we're going wrong, for illegal cannabis we should be going after the DVLA for letting them transport it around

Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI


With Ajit involved can someone tell me how to subscribe to the priority notice plan? I'd like to receive my emergency notice first, and not have to wait 2 minutes for non-subsribers low priority message traffic

1 in 5 STEM bros whinge they can't catch a break in tech world they run


Wow the author of this piece is really hammering home the numbers of males and females as if that is a good argument against the genuine complaints.

Truth is for every female CV we get 30 male CVs. One or two of the 30 males will be a superstar developer, but they're complaining that because the 31st CV is female that trumps their skills. It doesn't matter how many men are in tech, that's still someone getting the shaft.

And the problem is getting worse. Implying women have had the short end of the stick for years is nonsense, most good developers learned like I did: reading the instruction manual of their family computer at age 6, scrounging bits out of programming books at the school library, begging parents to buy a magazine that had a compiler on the coverdisk, and slowly building tons of programs and poring through the help files of QBASIC to make tons of silly games, buying a copy of visual basic 1 from a charity shop for 50p, making more stuff, writing tons of home projects etc. all of this ANYBODY could have done, and if a child under the age of ten with no money or income can get ahead then anyone can.

That was fast... unlike old iPhones: Apple sued for slowing down mobes

Paris Hilton

Pull the other one

So these phones go full speed as soon as you plug them in right, because it's about protecting the consumer not about planned obsolescence.

Paris to represent those that believe it's about the UX

Has Git ever driven you so mad you wanted to bomb it? Well, now you can with this tiny repo


How much cheddar do you get for reporting that?

Walkers' Crisps pulls backfiring Tweet campaign that paired Gary Lineker and a bunch of nasties


Surprised it nobody linked to that clip from the Brass Eye episode about paeophilia he was in.

It's time for a long, hard mass debate over sex robots, experts conclude


Re: Plastic Pal

The mindless jerks are only in version 1, the patch for version 2 smooths out the motion

Majority of contractors distrust HMRC's IR35 calculator, survey finds


Re: Beatings will continue

Who will simply increase their rates to cover it, screwing over the public sector.