* Posts by Horned-Devil

38 posts • joined 22 Nov 2010

Sad reality: Look, no one's going to patch their insecure IoT gear

Horned-Devil

Re: Viva the Fruity Revolution

"It does not make sense to me to utilize something that can be hacked easily to gain entry to my house. Nah, I'll prefer to be old school and use a physical lock with a physical key. After all, these don't need electrical power to operate, will survive an EMP, and is not so easily hacked/bypassed if you use the right combination of hardware."

And somewhere on a locksmith's forum there will be a thread of 'how do people still use yale lock's, they are so easily picked...what they should be using is lock xxx with 27 pin capabilities etc'. You are aware of the risks you know and oblivious to those that you do not. The reality is that the general public will never know the risks they take with all the convenience features they have, be it in IOT or cars or locks or foods they eat. It SHOULD be mandated on the suppliers of all such products to be the experts and protect the public from themselves (with mandated firmware updates, avoiding ridiculous backdoors etc). How such a utopia could be achieved is sadly well beyond my ability to be able to dream up sadly...

If you absolutely must do a ‘private cloud’ thing, here's how

Horned-Devil

Finance Guy: Hey IT, we need a new expense tracking system which can handle cross border approval flows, document storage and keeps up to date with the various accounting rules of each of the countries that we operate in. Oh, and we will also need a mobile app for it and if it could load information automatically from the credit card system that would be great.

System guy: Sure we can build one for you, probably take about a year. Oh and we will need a number of contractors to help build it out as it will require a number of specialist skills, we will need to update the hardware and you will need to give us tax rules for each country you operate in (and regular updates), help us determine the data sources and data feeds from any other application you want to sync with

Finance Guy: F#ck that - I can buy one in the 'cloud' for a monthly subscription fee and have it live in 1 month. Will cost a fraction of what you are proposing. Users will already be likely trained on it when they join as its a commonly used software which they may have used in a previous company.

....

move on 12 months...

....

Finance guy: We need to transfer the expenses tool as there is a much better one which plugs into our new CRM software. Only issue is, I need to have historical access to all the old info but it's all in a different cloud system and we have no way to understand how to get it (legal requirement)...help...

Systems Guy: ...

Finance Guy: crap, our systems guys have gone as we didn't need them as we were self-administering....

pro's and con's people - no solution is going to be the best to cover existing business needs (and business timelines/budgets) and protect against future issues but I agree the collaboration between the business users and the systems/IT team needs to be a lot better and a lot more balanced on future needs - not just for security but also for future migration

Salesforce back in the red, reviews future black ink orders

Horned-Devil

Its because they have to spread the revenues on the software licenses so as they grow they will still be showing losses - they are generating net cash so they aren't losing money. Its normal for growth license businesses to not show a massive amount of bottom line movement but they can still be net cash generating

EU: Explain your tax affairs. Google, Amazon, Facebook: Mmm... nah

Horned-Devil

Re: Can someone help me ...

What do you define as sales - as another poster pointed out you could have a lot of sales which are actually to other group companies (and which don't get taken into the global number as they essentially get eliminated within the overall accounts)

Different countries have different rules on accounting - so your 'sales' number that you post in Madeupistan based on their accounting practice could be vastly different to what the tax man deemeth revenue in the UK

It would also require all companies to have completely transparent and consistent accounting globally to allow for this which would involve harmonisation of this from every country, and you can imagine how easy that would be...

World loses mind: Uber valued at TEN BEEELLION DOLLARS, Pinterest pegged at $5bn

Horned-Devil

I guess in the same way that Google was 'just' another search engine back in the day. Marketing and users can create a critical mass which, regardless of actual quality, means they become the defacto - more people using equates to more drivers and therefore more options/faster response/more 'invention' due to more money and on..just market forces at work (albeit in these cases, ridiculously sized VC investment creating market forces...)

Facebook will LOSE 80% of its users by 2017 – epidemiological study

Horned-Devil
Pint

@ I ain't Spartacus

Well done sir! I am going to be re-using this comment frequently over the next few months - where should I be sending royalties - I'm assuming not Thrace from the moniker?

Another pint from me!

Chuh! 'Grossly inadequate': Time Warner Cable rejects $62bn hostile takeover bid

Horned-Devil

Per share...

Facebook RIPS away your veil of privacy, declares NO MORE HIDING

Horned-Devil

Re: back to wetware to wetware direct interfacing

You think? And Visa/Mastercard don't know your buying habits?

UK economy to lose £198m if BBC and pals lose EPG slots - Ministry of Fun

Horned-Devil

Not strictly true - there are a number of channels out there which benefit from location - being next to a popular channel on an EPG can drive a degree of 'footfall'. With lower production costs, there are a number of channels out there that operate on quite small audiences. I used to work for one company which did ok(ish) out of that (albeit parasitic crap TV...) and one of the advantages it had was its EPG listing. Sky then decided to rationalise the EPG listing (eg move Sky's competing channel into a good EPG slot and move ours to a lesser viewed area) which killed a huge amount of the audience number. Amazingly, OFCOM etc weren't bothered about this abuse when it was a small operator who got trashed but when its good old auntie...

Hey Britain, want to link your mobile to your BANK ACCOUNT?

Horned-Devil

The consumer credit act is an odd one - I think (although willing to be corrected) that if you use your debit card 'and you are in your overdraft' that you are also covered...

HP knew Autonomy was a duff buy, claim HP shareholders in $1bn suit

Horned-Devil

Re: Something smells

Not quite - if the fair value of the transactions were say, $1m and $5m and both companies 'upped' the price to each other with a similar net of the $4m difference then it is accounting tomfoolery. Not saying that is what has happened in this case but just to make the point that sale value does not always equal real revenue.

Virgin Media: SO SORRY we fined your dead dad £10 for unpaid bill

Horned-Devil
FAIL

This is a pretty big fail on whomever set up/designed the automated billing system - the DD responses are standard (although I am maybe 8 years out of date on last working on a system): https://datacash.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/471/~/addacs,-auddis-and-arudd-reason-codes

It SHOULDN'T have been tough to have dealt with this.

Google sinks millions into plush new £1bn London HQ

Horned-Devil

Re: "a building that will "range in height" from 7 to 11 storeys tall."

Typical bloody google - can get away with that kind of comment and still get planning permission. My house was about 3cm too tall so had to redesign the whole bloody thing...

US taxman joins UK politicoes on hunt for Amazon cash

Horned-Devil

Re: Big Pharma has done this for decades

"Audit methods with teeth and assay and inspection rights are needed so that this profit exporting is discovered and denied."

So we end up with an enormous HMRC to be able to manage all of this audit and investigation which swallows up all the effective tax that it brings in? Could well be a zero sum game (or even cost more to manage/administer than would be gained in additional tax revenues)

Toy train company bids for West Coast Mainline

Horned-Devil

"We have not, nor never will, have an accident". I think that is a fairly bold claim and one which doesn't appreciate the average 2 year olds capacity to cause harm and damage from the most seemingly harmless objects.

HD

(father of a 2 year old...)

Do users have enough power?

Horned-Devil

or maybe, just maybe, some of these issues go beyond the pure technical. Director insists on pushing iPad's (or whatever shiny device is in vogue) to sales team. IT department state this is not cost effective, doesn't help and can be easily dealt with by much cheaper solution. Director realises that said sales team are fickle lot who don't care about the technology but are pretty good sales team despite being flash Harrys and over-rides IT. IT call director and idiot who is wasting money and getting no more productivity (and possibly less). Director understands there are possibly more factors in play and that these pointless shiny objects act as a decent retention tool and the cost is outweighed by the potential recruitment cost that would be caused by additional team churn...

Firm-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's tax dodge profit shift? Totally legit

Horned-Devil

You're all to blame

So who here works for an international business? Does the benefit of your work exist purely in the UK? Do you administer systems that cross borders or code software with an international sale/multi-country collaboration? If so, then your work is involved in off-shoring tax somewhere along the line (to/from some country). Your company will be 'charging' you out to sister companies in other countries and the intangible assets you develop will be owned by someone.

This is all perfectly legal - the big fail of the government is the allowance (despite supposed rules to the contrary) of the setting of the internal prices which allow this. I can understand to a certain extent Google - probably quite a degree of 'non-physical' presence outside the UK involved in running that operation but Starbucks? Yes, the brand is powerful and can understand the pricing to a certain extent but to take that much profit out based on just the brand? Surely they are accepting that it is crappy coffee and that store location and taste make NO impact to the bottom line? Can we see an Apple style judgement making Starbucks take out full page adds in the press saying "Our coffee tastes like shit, you only buy it because of the brand - that is why we can justify the transfer price"

Horned-Devil
FAIL

Re: So can I do that with my wages and pay no tax?

To be honest, taxing Euro's in the 70's was probably not the best policy...

French gov 'plans to hand Google €1bn tax bill' - report

Horned-Devil

Re: A couple of points:

Actually it may well be - transfer pricing isn't just a made up number (weil not quite) - technically it has to have some basis behind the calculations and justifications for the charges. The money gets routed back to Bermuda because (I'm guessing), Google Bermuda owns a significant portion of the IP and charges France for it. Similarly, management and probably the bulk of the servers are not located in France and so Google France gets charged for those. What the French Gov is probably doing is challenging the 'value' of these charges - certainly for the more intangible side of things around marketing and IP and therefore reducing the costs/increasing the profit and therefore the tax.

The problem here is that some of these will be judgmental and will need the French to be able to disprove Google's allocations - which will be subject, no doubt, to court ruling in both France and ultimately the EU. As this will hit the EU a 'victory' for France will be a 'loss' for Ireland/Netherlands in this example and so will be driven more by politics than the realities of the case. I predict a lot of posturing from both sides followed by some under the table settlement that both parties can claim means they 'win'

Bill Gates: iPad is OK, but what Apple really needs is a SURFACE

Horned-Devil

Re: He's dead wrong...

RE: Wibble

Docking stations? The bulk of heavy duty work is likely to be conducted at a desk so you could dock the tablet to a large screen/better keyboard/mouse etc but it still becomes very portable for use on trains or on the move etc. Also, can simply remove from the dock to do some of the lighter work (eg emails, consume content etc) on the sofa. From a business point of view this allows a massive peripherals market to spring up around the device (which if is using USB rather than specific proprietary connection ports would allow many players into this market) as well as native windows products to be used on it (excel, word etc) which are still used by most businesses. Obviously CPU vs battery life vs heat will be an issue and will not suit the more intensive 'power users' but what % of the market does that really make? Apple have proved there is a market for tablet devices so if M$ can make them more of an enterprise product (eg what the Blackberry Playbook should have been without failing monumentally) then there exists a market for it - potentially even beside leisure tablets (eg Ipad...)

Microsoft says tablets will trump PCs in 2013

Horned-Devil

Re: Confusion of numbers

2/3 of the global population don't have two legs? As the average is two (maybe with a fractional rounding difference) does that mean there are whole populations of three (or more) legged men wandering around (if wandering is what you would call that motion with those additional legs...)

RBS IT cockup: This sort of thing can destroy a bank, normally

Horned-Devil

Re: One tactic

In fairness - it looks a lot from dealing with HSBC commercially that they have essentially just rebranded it and probably not touched a lot of the bank end. The IBAN still refers to Midland and if you try and deal with them globally you quickly see that the different countries HSBC banks don't talk with each either systematically (or commercially) so I think they could well be untouched from an IT systems perspective

Half of Apple fanbois would bank with the iPad titan

Horned-Devil

Re: I <3 Apple devices

You have interest on your deposits? Not the biggest Apple fan but really, does it really look like the current lot have actually done what you have just suggested? As much as Apple are selfish, greedy bastards - it's hardly any different from most of the current lot - at least they have some attempt to address the user experience - when was the last time a bank did that?

Jackpot: astronomers tag Goldilocks planet

Horned-Devil
Joke

Blue dwarfs?

So does that make them Smurf class stars?

If thine brown eye offend thee, blast it with a laser

Horned-Devil

maybe having blue eyes...

...allows you to see the purple reply to button?

UK punters happy to pay £3 to top up e-wallets

Horned-Devil

Obviously never worked in an industry where you are presented with these choices.

Merchant accounts pay out based on your arrangement with them. I've had monthly, weekly and daily settlements in my past - all depends on their view of your businesses (and the transactions) risk.

Cash is quite an expensive way of handling a business - you have additional insurance costs for cash on the premises, banking isn't free (and any mug out there who thinks it is better wake up!), there is a risk of cash disappearing from the till, an additional cost of maintaining the tills as well as keeping an adequate float. Additional reconciliation headaches (although you have that with CC it can at least have a degree of automation) plus deemed time per transaction (possibly not an issue but again, depends on the business).

Whilst CC is hardly risk free (increasing CC fraud etc) it is a convenient way to get to the cash into the business if done right - the charges you quote are probably not a million miles off but it does depend on the volume of your business and its deemed risk to the merchant (for example, Tesco will not be charged 3% by VISA)

PayPal to move into the shop - without cards or NFC

Horned-Devil
FAIL

"Your Retarded" - so I assume that spelling was deliberate as opposed to "You're Retarded"???

Facebook music dashboard: Revenue at last?

Horned-Devil

Ah web vs local tax laws and banking requirements

I have a website ergo I am a global business...

this is all fine when you have a 'free to use' website (eg facebook) and make money from adverts etc - business to business transactions - easy to identify seller and buyer (and their location) but starts to get a little more complicated when you actually want to use said website as a platform - even more complicated when you are offering this platform for third parties and trying to link it into selling all manner of stuff.

Unfortunately, boring things like sales tax/vat; currencies; local laws; payment methods and merchant accounts all start to come into effect. For something like FB this becomes really complex - tonnes of users and annoymous so how would you determine which country they were in and if you were legally allowed to sell what you are selling in that country (eg as an example, gambling products would not be allowed to be sold to US customers). Then you get what price you sell at (could you sell to India at the same value you sell to Canada...)

Whilst these are not impossible problems to overcome it does make it slightly tougher to deal with (and extremely tough to launch with 750m users when you suddenly are opening yourself up to all manner of problems given a pretty much 100% worldwide user base)

This is one of the key points that a lot of the investors, commentators and users seem to miss on - the boring back office finance/admin style things which can't really be overcome with clever coding or marketing

Amazon to give up the fight in California

Horned-Devil

It ain't that difficult - in fact, it's a fairly simple logic - if condition x is y then charge z. European retailers and online businesses have been doing it for years (you see the requirements for the EC reverse charge and it can be more complicated). I'm pretty sure that the level of analysis they do on customer purchases etc is a lot more complex and difficult than assigning a tax rate...quite a lot of the rest of the world can deal with these complex tax issues fairly well (and different currencies as well!). I'm sure our American friends will be able to handle it...

Office 365, Hotmail and SkyDrive hit by outage

Horned-Devil

Optional

Maybe this was because he was fed up of the continual downtime he was having from locally hosted and supported servers...sometimes the move to put things in the cloud is driven by frustration with poorly run internal IT teams and not just because 'it seemed a cool thing to do'

Hey, Music Industry. You're suing the wrong people

Horned-Devil
FAIL

Just that simple huh?

So, the musician now needs to be a tax expert in every area where their potential customers could be located as tax rules (eg sales tax etc) may differ depending on the location of the customer? They then also have to be skilled in webdesign to build up this website so that these fans can access one. Also need to be upto date on latest PCI and data storage rules to ensure that they are correctly storing these credit card details. Have to have a relationship with the bank to get the merchant account. Need to be good at SEO and webmarketing in order for their site to be seen in general by the mass market. Need to have some form of server maintenance to ensure that this server has a significant amount of uptime as well as having decent enough security to avoid the above mentioned hacks...

or they could concentrate on writing and performing music

I fully believe the music industry has the wrong business model, the wrong pricing model and the wrong distribution model (and dislike a lot of mainstream music) but lets not pretend that the labels do absolutely nothing...

Angry S Koreans mass-sue Apple over iPhone tracking

Horned-Devil

Backlash

Unfortunately for the South Koreans, Apple hold a patent over the ability to sue a company for illegally storing their details and are making 27,000 counter claims for 5 million SK Won a pop....

Apple changed shape of Galaxy Tab in court filing

Horned-Devil

Physical evidence

So, let me get this straight. A court banned the sale because of a few pics and a complaint from Apple and THEY DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A LOOK AT REAL ONES? So, if I photoshop a picture of myself from 10 years ago holding what looks like an iPhone, can I just have a court ban iPhone sales in Europe for a while until Apple put a counter-claim in and go through all the work of proving that, in fact, I was probably not really telling the truth?

People don't want tablets, they want iPads

Horned-Devil

Ah, memories...

The Princess Bride - what a great film...

Hacked Sun site greatly exaggerates Murdoch's death

Horned-Devil
IT Angle

Outsourced

I suspect (although the people moderating this will know for sure!) that a number of websites outsource the moderation of their discussion boards in the same manner as call centers.

Brits lose out as iTunes prices jump

Horned-Devil

VAT headaches

Think its more complicated - something about selling over the internet (which I assume is technically true for app store-esque purchases) within the EU/EC - you get to register in one country and charge IT'S rate of VAT for sales to consumers within the EC. This is why they are located in Luxembourg for its low rate of VAT (and why its European HQ is located in Ireland with a cross charge to get the low rate of corporation tax). I think Luxembourg also has some silly exemption which makes it lower than 15% for these kind of sales. Whole thing changes in 2015 (at which point expect ITunes to get straight out of Luxembourg....)

UK is a closed source 'stronghold'

Horned-Devil

Define success

A lot of Opensource success stories end up moving to Sillicon Valley as soon as they feel they are slightly commercially viable in order to get that, oh so important, VC funding. Take Springsource - founded in the UK (ok by an Aussie...) but moved to the US (with the major R&D arm still in the UK) to ensure future funding. That is fairly typical - maybe the reason there arent so many British successes is because the funding and biggest market for their products is state-side?

Berners-Lee: Facebook 'threatens' web future

Horned-Devil

Yes but if you can't connect

What good is a browser based travel guide of VietNam? If I'm there and using it, chances are I'm probably going to struggle to get internet access - yet, if I had downloaded a searchable version onto my pad then I can access it as long as I can get power...

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