* Posts by J P

217 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Aug 2010


Tesla owners in deep freeze discover the cold, hard truth about EVs


I think the logic with using seat heater is it heats the person, not the air, so is more efficient in the EV context. ICE vehicles create vast amounts of waste heat anyway, so harvesting some of that for the cabin air is relatively low cost, whereas seat heaters are burning electricity which isn't a natural waste product of the engine.

Taxing times: UK missed out on £1.75B because of digitization delays


Re: Tax law complexity

A few years back a Chinese colleague forwarded me the entirety of their corporate tax code - it was about 4 sides of A4. The corresponding downside to that was the China Tax Daily: the newsletter which told you how you were supposed to interpret the high level principles set out in the legislation. Since interpretation was up to the local offices (notwithstanding the central guidance) there were multinationals who rolled out the same corpoate structure across all the provinces and then got conflicting and on occasions completely contradictary local interpretations on how they should be taxed.

It's a well recognised tension; simplicity vs certainty - you can write a rule for every circumstance so as to maximise certainty, but it gets very complicated, or you go for simple "rules", but then it's harder for the more unusual cases to know where they fit in. Given the current Forum, I'll let others comment on which is more suited to digitalisation (I'm a tax geek rather than a techie).

Although all the (former and) Commonwealth countries have had the chance to rewrite the words in their tax law, they often haven't particularly - but you're absolutely right that the context of the local economy is key. A few years back I was asked to provide some commentary on the local Budget for an Anglophone African country whose code was based on a 1930's Commonwealth Taxes Act; broadly indistinguisable from the then in force UK ICTA 1988. The law words were similar enough for me to be totally comfortable, but the economic context was more challenging - a two penny change in basic rate of income tax, banner headline stuff in the UK, was [in a country with 80% informal economy] pretty much irrelevant. On the other hand, a penny on parafin tax [which we'd laugh off as irrelevant in old Blighty now] was actually pretty significant in a country where a siginifcant chunk of the population (and related economic activity) were reliant on generators & Tilley lamps.


Re: Tax law complexity

Underlying legislative complexity is a huge part of the problem. HMRC maintains a list of "paper filing exceptions" for the interactions which its software can't cope with (interestingly, it's often the independent software suppliers who alert them to issues, and typically have a fix in their own product; they can be far more responsive than HMRC's system.)

HMRC/government were begged to simplify the tax code before trying to digitalise the process for implementing it, but didn't. The aspiration of integrated tax software for business will remain just that while the basis periods, filing deadlines and calculation methods for VAT & profits taxes (CIT or PIT) are all different. Using agile development on a "one size fits all" programme probably wasn't the best choice; there are features which were optimised for VAT, are now hard coded into the primary legislation, and which fatally compromise elements of the profits taxes exercise to the extent that most of the benefits on which MTD as a whole was sold to Ministers will no longer materialise. But all the costs (and more) will most definitely materialise.

When we asked how you crashed the system we wanted an explanation not a demonstration


Re: ... half a brain

Reminds me of the time someone on the front bench in the physics class was mucking about with his fountain pen and managed to flick an elegant arc of ink across the lab. It landed, mostly, on the whiteboard on which the teacher was writing.

Despite not having the benefit of spectacles in whose reflection to observe the class he did realise that Misbehaviour had been perpetrated as he looked at the whiteboard to his left, bearing a line of blue dots. And the whiteboard to his right, bearing a line of blue dots. And then he removed his previously pristine white labcoat and held it up, observing the line of blue dots which linked the other two lines of blue dots...

Scientists unveil a physics-defying curved space robot


Re: "didn't indicate the device would actually work. "

Absence of positive does not equal presence of negative. I can’t believe it takes a legally trained tax nerd to point this stuff out on a forum where you’d expect people to be quite good on logical thought and stuff.

A decades-old lesson on not inserting Excel where it doesn't belong


Re: Thingies cat

"You hire people expecting them to be able to do the job you hired them for."

Presumably, though this would (to pick an example at random) mean that you might expect a ferry hire company to maybe have some ferries? And if you 'expect them to be able to do the job' notwithstanding what might to any other observer look like a clear indication of incompetence, then perhaps there is more than one weak link in the chain here?

Don't worry, IT contractors. New UK chancellor says HMRC will be gentle pushing IR35 rules


The HoL consultation closes tomorrow...


Write to them by midnight tomorrow. From the Call for Evidence itself:

"The Sub-Committee welcomes views on any of the following questions relating to the proposed extension of the off-payroll working rules to the private sector. The SubCommittee is interested to know about the real-life experiences of individuals and organisations, as well as more general responses—for example, relating to the impact of these (and predecessor) measures on the tax classification of workers and the broader impact on the labour market." ie Public Sector rollout is also within scope.

Contractors welcome Lords inquiry into IR35 before tax reforms hit private sector but fear it's 'too little, too late'


Re: Aboyt effing time too

On the day of Geoff & Diana Jones' s660A case (Arctic Systems/Jones v Garnett) hearing, BiS website was still advocating H&W incorporation as effective (even though the '2 director' rule had been repealed even before Arctic Systems was incorporated, let alone by the time IR as was got around to challenging it)

So government was simultaneously encouraging and litigating against it as a structure...

BOFH: When was the last time someone said these exact words to you: You are the sunshine of my life?


Possibly the same as a university friend who picked up his key on arrival at the Boat Club Annual Dinner, put his bag in the room then lost the key and proceeded to drink so much he couldn't even remember which his room was, and in any event ended up accompanying someone else to their room anyway.

Remarkably, when he told the management about this the following morning, they retrieved his bag for him and then gave him a partial refund on the room as he hadn't used it... (it was a small country house independent place in Suffolk, not a chain. And I suspect they'd made enough on bar takings to feel generous)

Boffins don bad 1980s fashion to avoid being detected by object-recognizing AI cameras


Re: Psych out the psyche-less?

Pretty sure I've also seen references to early work which successfully identified grainy tanks as Russian and glossy hi definition colour ones as American.

Maker of US border's license-plate scanning tech ransacked by hacker, blueprints and files dumped online


Re: Ahem

As a general rule*, most "confusing" spellings with C/S alternatives (practice, licence etc) follow the same alphabetical order as the words noun/verb - so the C spelling is the noun form, the S spelling the verb form. But, as noted above, those rules are applied with varying strictness in different parts of the English speaking world.

*I can't off hand think of an exception... so on second thoughts, perhaps I should have claimed it was an absolute rule, as that would have been the quickest way to flush them out.


Re: From Hacker to Maker

That kind of cloning certainly already exists in the UK; there have been stories about people collecting vast numbers of parking/speeding fines while parked safely at home at the other end of the country.

Silent Merc, holy e-car... What is that terrible sound?


Re: Ringtones for cars

One year at the Dawlish Airshow they gave the Vulcan full beans as it headed back out to sea. It quite literally shook things off shelves and made things fall over in the hallway of my brother-in-law's flat (from where we were lucky enough to be watching). I have a feeling that there might be issues with having an entire high street full of those...

Happy Christmas! Bloodhound SSC refuelled by Yorkshire business chap


Re: Fuel pumped by a Jaguar V8 engine

The explanation for left-ponders is probably needed, since the wikipedia article about Art Arfons and the GE jet engine used to power the Green Monster LSR cars indicates that they don't really use sheds "He tested it by tying it to trees in his garden, a procedure which drew complaints from his neighbors."

(That said, I once mentioned to a client in the aviation maintenance business that you could at the time get tax allowances for a building if it was used for testing aero engines. He gave me an odd look, walked over to the window and pointed to a plane parked up in glorious isolation at the furthest perimeter fence. "That's where we test the engines" he said, "You'd have to be insane to run one up to test levels indoors". Which I suppose was why the Inland Revenue were prepared to offer the allowances, safe in the knowledge no-one would actually claim them...)

HMRC: 30 months to prep Northern Ireland backstop systems, 24 for customs


Wanted: Irony meter repair shop details

I got three paragraphs into this and wondered whether anyone at HMRC had thought to run the same logic on the MTD for VAT preparations - where HMRC have missed/delayed every deliverable to date, giving business no time at all to prepare. And looking forward, the much vaunted "delay to IR35 Public Sector Rules rollout to Private Sector" looks like it'll have the same fate; consultation early 2019, draft clauses at L-Day (July) and Final Draft clauses in Finance Bill around November/December 2019, for implementation April 2020. Given HMRC's form for significant revisions between L-Day and Finance Bill (see eg the Public Sector IR35 Rules...) the practical impact for business certainty is that they'll have about as long to prepare as they would have done with an April 2019 rollout...

Microsoft sysadmin hired for fake NetWare skills keeps job despite twitchy trigger finger


Apologies to those who've heard this one before

This seems like an appropriate place to recount the tale, possibly apocryphal, of an individual who registered with several different agencies on learning his role was potentially up for grabs and meanwhile perused Sits Vac for an alternative option.

Ultimately, he found himself applying for what appeared (from the advertisement) to be his dream role. His disappointment on discovering that it was actually the job he already held, but viewed through the rose tinted lenses of a recruitment droid, was tempered only by the discovery that his boss had selected his own (anonymised and "edited" by the recruitment agency) CV for interview at 1.5 times his current salary to replace himself in his own job.

Meanwhile in the real world, I had a slight conundrum earlier in my career (I'm now well past the point where people worry about this sort of thing) based the fact that one of my key distinguishing achievements was having won a couple of School Prizes for English. The Literary Criticism one wasn't a problem, but I always felt a bit awkward about the School Prize for Creative Writing...

European Union divided over tax on digital tech giants as some member states refuse free money


Re: Tax nerdery

The problem is we simply don't have a mechanism for taxing "what Facebook do in the UK". It sounds like nitpicking to say that what they're doing isn't avoiding tax, but unfortunately it's pretty fundamental that if the activities they're involved in don't fit the existing models then you can't really say they're "guilty of tax avoidance on a massive scale" unless your definitions of guilt and tax avoidance also sit outside currently accepted definitions.

It is reasonable to say that businesses should contribute back into the societies that support them and for all sorts of reasons tax is the best way to do that under current arrangements. But, taxes are generally national affairs, and allocated on the bases of time, geography and legal personality. Time isn't an issue here, but the geographic and legal things are a problem. It's not enough to be upset about what they're doing, you need a bullet-proof legal mechanism to do something about it - and as you'll know if you've been following this stuff in the press, the US is not entirely thrilled by developments (quite apart from the issues round slotting these things into the existing international frameworks).


Tax nerdery

It's been very neatly summarised by Dan Neidle, a tax partner at Clifford Chance:

"1. Taxes with high thresholds are a bad idea - they distort behaviour at the point of the threshold.

2. Sector/activity taxes are a bad idea - they draw an arbitrary line at which the tax applies, and invite uncertainty, disputes and avoidance around that line.

3. Turnover taxes are a bad idea - they over-tax new entrants and under-tax well-established players (and so under-tax economic rent)

The particular genius of the EU and UK digital services taxes is that they are sector-based turnover taxes with a high threshold."

Dan also makes the very pertinent point that most of these taxes are only going to work if you're able to track users to a fair degree of granularity, otherwise you can't deal with issues like multiple devices, travelling cross-borders etc. However, there have been some recent rules about that sort of thing, suggesting that either governments have done the assessment and decided their taxes are more important than your privacy, or they haven't thought about it yet.

Facebook names former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg head of global affairs

Paris Hilton

Mind elsewhere...

I rather liked the social media outrage from one commentator at Mr Clegg's imminent departure to Silicone Valley. Which I suspect would be something quite different to Silicon Valley.

Thunderstruck: Azure Back in Black(out) after High Voltage causes Flick of the Switch


Re: Dirty deeds

Presumably concerned that starting on AC/DC puns is just the first step on the highway to hell.

Fast food, slow user – techie tears hair out over crashed drive-thru till


Re: Onefang

You're assuming there's something in the flowerpot that needs watering.

We 'could' send troubled Watchkeeper drones to war, insists UK minister


You could have someone's eye out with that

For some reason I have an urge to go and rewatch Stephen Fry's "This is David Lander" - 'The Rocketing Cost of Defence', investigating the trials and tribulations of the Sea Demon rocket, its unorthodox live-fire sea trials and the Royal Navy's unexpected purchase of several square miles of seabed off the coast of Wales. And refusal to answer questions about where one of its destroyers has gone...

Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help


Re: My Dad...

In fairness, the reason my 79 y/o Dad spent ages prodding at the touchscreen on the laptop he'd borrowed to check his email when staying with us, before finally declaring that Windows had crashed, was because it wasn't a touchscreen - unlike the Surface Pro he'd treated himself to and got entirely used to.

(Not in any way a technophobe either; he spent most of the 1970s writing operating systems for IBM mainframes, and has spent most of the last 30 years complaining about code bloat in PC operating systems/software)

User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps



Always preferred TSR-2 myself...

No yolking matter: Google Translate cock-up gives Norwegians more than un œuf eggs


For to curry a horse

I can't remember many of the details of the Portuguese author's handy Russian:English phrasebook which had run through a couple of intermediate languages as the perpetrator didn't possess a direct Russian/English dictionary - but the one which has always stuck in my mind is the rendition of "Out of sight, out of mind":

Invisible idiot.

(Pretty sure it's in Stephen Pile's seminal Book of Heroic Failures)

KFC: Enemy of waistlines, AI, arteries and logistics software


Re: Have I missed something? - SMITCH79

Note to the utopians - people drive cars, and perhaps more importantly lorries full of stuff, across borders. It's going to be handy for autonomous cars to have some idea of what the human-controlled visiting vehicles are going to do in response to the locally perceived physical environment, including roadsigns, in real time - not just try to predict it based on a theoretical cyberspace model where the no-entry and one-way-street signs *haven't* all just been reversed by jolly rag week students.


Re: Have I missed something?

The satnav in my wife's 7 year old Landrover cheerfully tells us we're doing 60mph across a ploughed field each morning (they built the bypass 6 years ago). We could of course get the maps upgraded, but it's rather more expensive than the alternatives, so haven't bothered. However, if it was a legal requirement then we'd... probably sell the car. Most likely to someone who simply wouldn't bother, and take their chances. But to write off all that physical hardware, just for a software upgrade? It's a completely different set of equations for natural resource consumption considerations than we've ever used before.

User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster


Re: Hey Gran!

There are something like 1,500 gas lamps still running in central London (mostly round Covent Garden & the Mall, I suspect primarily for aesthetic reasons) and also one still running on sewer gas - ironically, just out the back of the Savoy Theatre which of course was the first electrically lit public building in the world.

Squeezing more out of slippery big tech may even take tax reforms


Re: Audit penalties?

Traditionally* the distinction between avoidance and evasion was that the former involved embracing the law in all its glory in order to find a legitimate path through the tax maze which didn't involve parting with cash, while the latter was about sidestepping the maze altogether and just not letting the authorities know about your income/profits.

So an avoidance scheme would involve declaring all your income, transactions etc, then explaining in painful detail why the law as written didn't tax it. Evasion would involve hiding income or transactions by booking them into secret accounts or not declaring cash takings. Also the former tends to be a civil offence, the latter criminal - so, corporations can afford the former in both financial (they can pay for the advice) and reputational (well, civil is better than criminal at least) terms. Evasion is cheaper provided you don't get caught and there's a mass of academic literature on why people think they won't get caught.

So, if following an audit the courts ruled/taxpayer and authority agreed that the law fell in the authorities' favour it wouldn't be evasion if the company had been up front about why it thought the income wasn't taxable. And if the "interpretation" had been made carelessly, negligently or fraudulently then yes, there'd be a penalty on top of the interest due, whoever the taxpayer is. (I think the UK is up to about 22,000 pages of tax law this year; plenty of room for ambiguity in there)

*Politicians tend to conflate avoidance and evasion, which muddies the waters. It doesn't help that the terms don't translate out of English either; conversations in Brussels have to be handled carefully. From a tax policy perspective though, it's very unhelpful - the tools you need to tackle avoidance are completely different from those needed to tackle evasion; one is about drafting your laws so there aren't loopholes, the other is about getting taxpayers to engage with the law in the first place.

UK taxman told to go easy on transformation with Brexit in headlights


Re: Hard for them ?

In fairness to the "cloudy crud companies" it was only in December that HMRC released the VAT regs which definitively removed the absolute requirement to use "cloudy accounts rubbish" rather than a good old-fashioned Excel spreadsheet, which can then be emailed/posted on a USB stick to a tax agent for submission via API enabled software.

MTDfB is mandatory for VAT submissions only for businesses who are trading above the VAT threshold from April 2019; no formal decision has yet been made on whether MTDfB for Income Tax will be mandated, which won't be before April 2020, and MTDfB for Corporation Tax is still but a twinkle in the draftsman's eye. (We've got full detailed IT regs, and have had for rather longer than the VAT ones, because IT was supposed to be compulsory from April 2018 until they postponed it).

If you're that way inclined, the consultation on the VAT regs is open until 9 Feb; docs at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-legislation-the-value-added-tax-amendment-regulations-2018

Dick move: Navy flyboy flings firmament phallus for flabbergasted folk


Re: resembling an obscene image to observers on the ground

@Korev Upvoted as that's precisely what sprang to my mind too.

HMRC's switch to AWS killed a small UK cloud business


Re: HMRC load peaks

You're quite right about the 4 peaks instead of one - the only real difference is it means you're using the capacity all the time instead of just once a year...

As to the issues round using VAT (transaction based tax) info for ITSA or CTSA (profits based taxes) it'll depend on HMRC's cunning plan to get all "records kept and preserved digitally" and how well they can integrate that into the 3rd party software that HMRC apparently expect taxpayers to use in place of their current beloved spreadsheets. Since they can't practically outlaw the use of spreadsheets, the conversion rates to integrated packages will probably be lower than they'd like. As for those (800k or so) taxpayers who can't or won't use "technology" to communicate with the authorities, we're not quite sure what HMRC's plans are.

In any event, the current draft ITSA regs set out reporting periods that are fundamentally incompatible with the vision of the MTD for VAT Legislation Overview to retain existing Prescribed Accounting Period rules for VAT. Until they sort that out, there's not that compelling a case to align your record keeping/submissions for the different heads of tax anyway - especially if they're not going to mandate any other MTD for Business until VAT has been shown to be a success. [Although that is 'shown to the satisfaction of HMRC & Ministers', which may not be the same thing as 'is']


HMRC load peaks

While it doesn't affect any of the other aspects of the answers (and being able to transfer the "hardware risk" onto a 3rd party probably does make sense for HMRC), it is worth noting that long term HMRC are looking to flatten the SA filing spike with their MTD proposals - all business taxpayers are being moved to a scenario of quarterly updates in real time (which will in itself increase the average workload) meaning that for a fair proportion of them they'll have all the tax info ready to file for the year within a month of year end, ie by early May.

The 31 Jan deadline will still be there (for those who have other affairs, or multiple trades with non-concurrent accounting dates) but will be less relevant in many cases.

Separately for non-business taxpayers HMRC want everyone to manage things in real time anyway via their Personal Tax Account, and mechanisms like Dynamic Coding for PAYE and Simple Assessments for those with non-PAYE sources of income should reduce the number of full SA returns due on 31 Jan anyway.

Note - although the Income Tax (ITSA) rules aren't mandatory, and won't be before April 2020 at earliest, HMRC are rolling out the underlying tech to VAT returns from April 2019. Unfortunately, what we don't yet know is how many businesses will be able to use the VAT transaction records to drive an income tax submission; but to the extent that they could, it'd facilitate earlier filing for ITSA.

It's high time we extend Freedom of Information Act to outsourcers


Just an observation

The scope of the "IR35 for the public sector" rules is "bodies covered by the FOIA". So if you extend FOIA to outsourcers then depending on how you word their coverage you could massively increase the application of the new IR35 rules, unless the underlying tax legislation is revised as well.

Not I know directly related to the underlying issue of transparency, but something which many readers might nevertheless consider worthy of consideration if any practical changes were to be made.

As Hurricane Irma grows, Earth now lashed by SOLAR storms


Just going to leave this here...


(Icon because, obviously)

Forget trigonometry, 'cos Babylonians did it better 3,700 years ago – by counting in base 60!


Re: Copyright and Mathematical Tables

"Cartographers are said to have done similar things with maps"

Cartographers have definitely done similar things with maps - I used a non-existent barn in Bedfordshire (OS landranger sheet 165) as a tie breaker question in a club mini-rally (What's special about the barn at grid reference XXXYYY?), and also been caught out instructing my driver to turn left at the barn while rallying somewhere in Scotland (that was in the late 1990s; the driver besmirched my map-reading skills, but much to my delight there was an item in the national press a few days after the rally confirming legal action between two road atlas manufacturers on similar grounds, vindicating my original instruction; IIRC, it was the AA who'd been copying OS maps, including the errors).

A sarcasm detector bot? That sounds absolutely brilliant. Definitely


This is totally sick

Now try to work out whether that's me or my godson posting, and calibrate accordingly.

Reg reader turns Geek's Guides to Britain into Geek's Map of Britain


Well obviously -->

Upvotes all round for Gypsythief

One-quarter of UK.gov IT projects at high risk of failure


Re: Not a big problem?

I agree with your analysis of the numbers*, and risk/return ratios, and as a general principle it's an aproach more people should take. But I think here the key point is in your final sentence - "costing more than just writing off the loss if they fail". If CDS fails, there'll be goods rotting on the docksides, patients dying in hospitals and factories standing idle. If MTD goes up the spout you'll have a major cashflow problem for government in the short term, followed by significant impacts on "taxpayer morale" for years to come - not to mention the direct impacts on business trying to cope with it. So on this occasion, I think it is a matter of concern that these key "enabling technologies" might fall over.

*There may well be key distinction between "government's major IT programmes" and "143 government programmes" - I've seen people caught out by the NAO press team's approach to drafting press releases before now, but don't have the time to read the full report on this occasion to check. However, reference to "39 IT projects worth £18.6bn" suggests IT projects average £0.5bn approx; the remaining 104 "programmes" are worth £436bn between them - so a risk of comparing apples to oranges if we're not careful.

€100 'typewriter' turns out to be €45,000 Enigma machine

Black Helicopters

Is there any particular reason why this has been filed under "Personal Tech"? I'd have thought perhaps "Security" would be more appropriate, but maybe the staff at ElReg have one of these each for personal use..?

Blighty's Department for Culture, Media & Sport gets 'digital' rebrand


There's more to culture than punctuation

As I understand it, the department now considers itself responsible for "Digital, culture media & sport" (see departmental page at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-culture-media-sport - although elsewhere on gov.uk they have used more commas). Either they're now in charge of agar jelly, or they should brush up on the punctuation of lists.

(Those who still aren't convinced of the importance of punctuation should read up on the US Oakland Dairies case, in which millions of dollars of overtime payments turn upon the use (or rather, lack of use) of an Oxford comma.)

Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes


Re: Humidity control

As a young lad* I was taken around Daddy's offices. Daddy wrote operating systems for IBM mainframes, and the computers** were kept in a custom built glass cube on the side of the Georgian mansion they'd bought as offices. In addition to the aircon, Halon systems etc I clearly remember being told about how we had to go through an airlock because they also maintained an artificial air pressure differential between the computer room and the outside world. So no, not really just "a room with computers".

*Some decades. Shoulder pads were in, as was (just) Margaret Thatcher. Still hadn't heard of the Falklands though.

*I was 8. I don't remember model numbers etc. They were big boxes with glass lids.

Scottish govt mulled scrapping £178m car-crash IT system


Digital exemplars

"the CAP system in England and Wales... was intended to be a Government Digital Service exemplar, but instead went over budget 40 per cent to £215m, and will incur penalties from the EU of £180m per year as a result of disallowance payments."

"instead"? I'd have thought overbudget and underperforming was a perfect exemplar of a GDS project.

Head of UK.gov's Common Technology Services Iain Patterson steps down


"the minister is open, articulate and obviously highly knowledgeable"

My inner cynic is simply overwhelmed and can't decide which Friday afternoon joke to go for first...

But thank you for the link; I will make the time to watch, as it's genuinely important stuff (and I do know personally a couple of politicians who also fit the brief of open, articulate and knowledgeable. I just wish they all were)

Rich professionals could be replaced by AI, shrieks Gartner


Re: In five years we could have Triage AI

@Rattus Rattus puts me in mind of the Doctor in the House advice to young medics examining a patient:

Eyes first and most

Hands next and least

Tongue not at all.

(Delivered by James Robertson Justice)

Australian Taxation Office named as party preventing IT contractors being paid


AIUI, yes - but operated by end-user, rather than intermediary, or entity-adjacent-to-intermediary. So has never caused the same issues as in the UK.

Snakes and bats cause more blackouts than criminal haxors


Apropos of which, DNTP, I've always understood one of the big hurdles for AI development was finding a truly random input generator. In which case, why are they faffing about with software stuff? History (and youtube evidence) suggests that the linkage between steering wheel & road wheels of a forklift would generate sufficient totally random outputs for a given input to meet the requirements.


Re: re:Forklifts

In context, probably the rarer (non-migratory) marsupial variant.


Now it's set me thinking; which would be more dangerous: 1 forklift sized keyboard, or 100 keyboard sized forklifts?

Dishwasher has directory traversal bug


Bewildered. (That's grown-up speak for "wtf")

Before I get too many downvotes, I do have tongue more or less in cheek on the title - but what follows is 100% serious.

Until we have self loading dishwashers, how can they need internet access? We don't run them til they're loaded. Humans load them. Once they're full, we set them off. If we don't want them to clean the dishes straight away, they have a "delay" feature so we can run them when the Economy7 has kicked in/while the sun's up and our solar panels are providing the juice.

Us humans put the salt, tablets & rinse-aid in. Needing internet access to order more rinse-aid etc when it's running low is (until the manufacturers can be trusted with anything sharper than a crayon or warmer than a cushion) a decidedly sub-optimal path.

So why on earth do we need internet enabled dishwashers? "Because we can" is a valid human argument for scaling Everest (for those humans so inclined/capable) but letting household appliances loose on the internet "because we can" (rather than "because we need to") is lazy, foolish & pointless.