* Posts by Why Not?

448 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Apr 2011

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Privacy watchdog urges companies drop emotional analysis AI software

Why Not?
Facepalm

Why do the persist trying to put it back in the box?

It's coming, it won't be perfect at the start but honestly it will save lives and fight crime. Nurture it and see it grow.

Sage denies misleading customers over perpetual licensing, users not happy

Why Not?

The cloud is someone else's computer and a software subscription is someone else's code.

There you go ladies & gents a the sales team want you to pony up every year.

Shocked I tell you!!!!

How important are tech and other contractors to UK? PM candidate promises tax review if elected

Why Not?

Shocking they don't mention PSCs.

That would be because HMRC keeps losing in court?

Why Not?

Then they would become sole traders?.

If so you pay £6 a week NI and a claim third of your household bills against your tax.If your revenue falls the government sends you money!

Oh sorry the Tax man prevented that years ago when certain contractors left without paying tax.

We became limited companies because that was only route open not to avoid tax.

Why Not?

Excellent so all those MP's being hired as board members must pay full employment tax on 100% of their fee, along with sportsmen and celebrities?

Its not like David Bangham (if they like pigs) Or Gary the Crisp can just send a substitute? Maybe Hessy will send Mike Lynch or Camamoron will be sending Dominic Cummings?

The reality is few clients will accept a substitute when the rubber meets the road. I have done it but it is hard work.

Why Not?

Hey the country chose Bojo, the alternative had to be really scary!

Excel @ mentions approach general availability on the desktop

Why Not?

Re: Gerrof my lawn!

Excel

The most used BI tool.

The most used Migration tool.

The most used front end tool.

........

Client demo in 30 minutes. Just what could go wrong?

Why Not?
Joke

Re: What's in a name?

that explains the 44 inch chest!

How experimental was Microsoft's 'experimental banner' in File Explorer?

Why Not?

Re: So you are saying ...

Nokia phone my third or fourth true Android phone likes to reboot regularly.

Raspberry PI is a lovely toy but until it booted off disk was almost useless in production due to SD card woes.

XBMC / KODI on various platforms was just patch after patch.

Windows phone mostly worked.

Windows media player the same.

Business wise at a recent job no one knows how DB2 or AS400 works and just follow guides plenty of us could use SQL server to a high level etc. I probably could understand DB2 & AS400 if I wanted. I sussed AIX, HPUX & Oracle on my own but it would take too long to provide value.

Why Not?

Re: Usual answer

In 30 years it has got a lot better.

Windows for crashgroups

windows ME (Multiple exceptions you couldn't count them)

Windows 95 (crashes per month)

windows 2000 (crashes per 2 years roughly 5 a day in my experience)

windows XP (10 crashes - roman numerals a week persistently)

Windows 7 (3 crashes and 4 reboots a week)

Windows 8 (reboots per fortnight it tends to slide to a near stop and refuses to move rather than crash)

Windows (10 reboots per 2 months)

Windows server properly fed falls over less than once a year nowadays.

The point about symbiosis is that the parasite needs to eat enough to survive without killing the host.

Microsoft spend billions on creating windows so that everyone loves it, then give it away almost free with a new PC which people use for 10 years expecting updates without subscriptions. Then people get upset because Microsoft try to monetise it, someone has to subsidise Windoze phone!

30 years ago I struggled to open one decent spreadsheet, 1 document and 4 browser tabs. I now have 10-20 times those numbers open all the time.

Visual studio is still like lifting a cart horse on your little finger, sometimes it breaks!

Having supported most leading UNIX variants with professional support contracts in place, systems falling over is not uncommon. It happened less because you only ran approved applications on such boxes and the pricing for everything is 4 to 8 figures 10 million+ was the most expensive box I worked on , it broke regularly.

Note I know you pay a portion indirectly to Microsoft for a windows license with a PC but compared to

a SCO licence at $1000 etc cost is almost nothing.

I think Microsoft possibly should be more clear about the offering

1. Windows business with subscription - No ADs ever!

2. Windows home with cheap subscription - No ADs!

3. Lapsed subscription / 'free with the PC' its like watching American TV more ads than programs.

Now are you prepared to pay an annual subscription to avoid ads?

Buy an Amazon Fire tablet (based on a free O/S) you get offered 2 versions

1. with ads

2. without ads + £10. Note the O/S is still firmly connected into the Amazon eco system so its easier to buy from them.

That seems pretty clear to me.

Your data centre UPS could feed power to the smart grid, suggests research

Why Not?

Batteries have a limited number of cycles

As above not only does investing in a UPS mean you expect to have a runtime normally specified based on cost i.e. 20 minutes costs X and 40 minutes X*3, big bosses aren't going to be keen on the extra risk.

But if you are charging/discharging then you are using the limited number of battery cycles and X/2 is probably the cost of replacing the batteries.

Both costs will need to be factored into any payment.

How can we recruit for the future if it takes an hour to send an email, asks Air Force AI bigwig in plea for better IT

Why Not?

False economy hidden costs are

Having worked with the client machine team of a large corporate who had a 3 year replacement policy for laptops and 3-5 for desktops one of the big costs as they got older than 3 years was they started breaking down. One on site call costs > £150, more if remote. That doesn't include lost productivity. Phone based call ~ £50.

As I explained to my boss 20 years ago, you supply a salesman a company car at ~£200 a month but refuse to spend £200 a year giving them a decent laptop that doesn't break down and replace it every 3 years.

Any large organisation who can't buy a decent laptop from one of the big suppliers for less than £600 needs to sack their procurement team. Even desktop replacement laptops are less than £1000. Desktops cost peanuts.

Such decisions need to come from the top.

IR35 is the biggest threat to the contractor working model, survey finds

Why Not?

Indeed real companies only pay 1% tax !

Why Not?

Re: £300bn annually to the economy?

oh blimey HMRC took that as well?

Why Not?

Re: £300bn annually to the economy?

See its all made up like IR35.

1. I paid more tax overall because I turned over twice as much as my permie salary. I even spent it in the UK unlike my future employers.

2. Many of my peers started up companies using their contractor returns. Some even employ other people. I just sub contracted other people and paid them.

3. As using an Umbrella or an accountant doesn't actually protect you when accounts they file are incorrect many just file minimum accounts when IR35 caught 5% of turnover is easy to calculate. So caught probably won't go Umbrella.

4.No PL etc insurance purchased by an employee.

etc

Why Not?

Define a 'real contractor' - HMRC can't.

Why Not?

Re: £300bn annually to the economy?

1.5 million - 2M UK contractors, a reasonable developer nowadays can get £500 a day = £125K. Senior Finance and business management contractors would expect £500-£1k a day = £250k. I have talked to senior management consultants that charge £10k a day, where do you think the money goes during insolvency?

Not entirely unlikely. Add the Agents cut 20% and other bits and bobs £300 billion seems almost reasonable. £200 billion is probably a better guess. Though many contractors have multiple clients and charge different rates for each.

90% of them not paying the "right amount of tax" i.e. 20% less than they should be= laughable.

Why Not?

Re: Not just a UK issue

That sounds like the Australian rules. The 80% from one customer (related companies count as one) triggers a determination and the worker pays extra tax.

Easy solution get multiple customers. Under Australian rules I would have definitely escape IR35 via this. I got to about 30% from other companies.

However there are 3 initial questions you can pass and not need the 80%.

Is payment only received after the work is completed?

Does the contractor’s business need to provide tools and equipment?

Is the contractor required to correct mistakes and defects at their own cost?

answer no and the 80% rule kicks in.

then there is another series of questions do you have a business premises, employees, unrelated clients or advertise.

Credit CUK for detail.

Key thing these are are objective tick boxes that the contractor can prove not some HMRC wonk making it up as they go along - e.g. if it walks likes a duck I don't know "rhymes with Duck"

Why Not?
FAIL

Ah good job HMRC know the difference between their Arse & their elbow.

"HMRC reckons that only one in 10 contractors in the private sector who should be paying tax under the current rules are doing so correctly. It estimates the reforms will recoup £1.2bn a year by 2023"

Hmm remind me again how much of the £6 billion COVID grants etc fraudulently claimed from HMRC that ended up in Organised crime hands should not have been paid out? Oh yes none of it!

Fraud of 8.7% by a conservative estimate is not as bad as those filthy contractors paying their hotel bills to work away before tax.

Hint for HMRC - the elbow is the bit that doesn't normally smell of poop!

Back when I was a contractor the fear was that HMRC would make up an imaginary figure then pursue you to bankruptcy unless you had legal representation, then they normally eventually lost the case. HMRC have a 35% win rate at court (last 20 years) and a thousand+ cases they didn't take to court. See CUK's figures.

Many people decided to become employees to avoid these risks, I for one pay less overall tax than I did then, earn less so contribute less to the local economy.

Many multinationals (the sort of clients I had) are incorporated abroad and due to transfer price manipulation and internal fees avoid paying corporation tax or buying products in the UK

"You don't actually think they spend $20,000 on a pound of coffee, $30,000 on image rights, do you?"

If you are caught by IR35 paying for your own training (in the UK) as I did is after tax so much for retraining the workforce.

The robots are coming! 12 million jobs lost to automation in Europe by 2040 – analyst

Why Not?

Such naiveite

As we know from the years of Downsizing, Age related redundancy, Offshoring, onshoring, best shoring and using 7 year olds to make trainers most corporations don't give a damn about most of their workers. They are only interested in making the world's richest men richer.

If you have been watching the truck driver & hospitality staff shortage you will have realised that the only thing that puts up wages is scarcity of cheaper labour.

Unless more high grade jobs replace those removed its a race to the bottom with a Dollar a Day the corporate wage target.

Many of us in IT will reinvent ourselves as needed, but we will have our fair share of ex miners who will be unemployed for decades.

Why Not?

Oh they are being born but due to immigration because our lords and masters are solving the wrong problem. They think we need cheap biddable labour, we don't we need taxes to care for our population.

Automation is happening now. 10 + million people will be affected we need to get on top of that.

Why Not?

Yep delivering takeaways and working in warehouses on zero hour contracts..

Why Not?
Boffin

Already here, keep up at the back!

Now when I walk in to the nationally known Burger/Chicken/Pizza joints I have to order from an electronic kiosk or my phone. The staff numbers have reduced by 30%. With 3d printing / automatic grilling its going to reduce by 60%. Ending with just a security guard, cleaner and someone who loads Burgers etc in a hopper. Franchises will disappear and be replaced by automated restaurants remotely monitored and taxed (yep the big thing is the hole in taxation to pay for benefits & the NHS).

Any supermarket now has self service which has cut the number of higher paid till staff massively.

Robot stocking is a thing and will replace staff.

10 years ago I spent an interesting evening drinking with a couple of Germans commissioning an Asparagus picking machine near the site I was visiting. Most fruits & vegetables can be mechanically harvested now.

(X)ponics & vertical farming are reducing land use with the side benefit that fruit etc is much easier to pick.

Printing houses is a thing, Expect it to grow massively no more Brick layers.

Modular housing also a thing, fewer Carpenters, plumbers, electricians.

Bots are replacing customer service agents in their thousands.

Taxi & delivery companies are frantically working on driverless deliveries so your takeaway will arrive via drone etc.

The suggestion that servicing these systems is going to be enough to replace the jobs lost has a number of problems

1. POS systems are normally only fixed when they break so 8 self checkouts replacing 7 till operators (you need someone to change till rolls / authorise Alcohol) on each of 3 shifts would probably only supply 2-4 hours of work total for an Engineer a week for all 8 tills . How often do you see an Engineer fixing them rather a member of staff closing it until the engineer arrives.

2. Whilst loading burgers in the auto-grill is not highly skilled most Technicians need a modicum of intelligence and training even to swap modules out that are repaired in workshops, of course wages are driven down because a third party does the maintenance. Not sure I would let some of the staff I meet in supermarkets near sharp objects!

3. Sorry programming this stuff is quite difficult, as you can see when using the self service tills in some shops who have a GUI that is just plain annoying. Having programmed massive ACD systems and Bots it is quite challenging predicting all paths users may take and making the experience bearable.

4. As stuff gets more common and we learn more the suppliers try and reduce staff interaction completely or place the staff remotely in a lower cost country. That is their 'edge' saving staff costs.

5. Any job that tries to replace the jobs lost must be suitable for those replaced, that means they will need aptitude and training this may not be suitable for the pimply teenager that is in the supermarket. Some may be passing through but many find shelf stacking suits them for their life and or periods when they need to regroup.

6. If you replace the jobs then we need to ensure the new jobs won't disappear in the next wave and pay enough that workers are a benefit to taxation to pay enough for those unable to work.

We need to train and prepare for this so the pain is limited.

It's more than 20 years since Steps topped the charts. It could be less than that for STEP's first fusion energy

Why Not?

We need to replace Vlad's Gas

Until we are self dependant for Energy we are really exposed as a country.

I prefer well managed nuclear to fracking.

Machine needs more Learning: Google Drive dings single-character files for copyright infringement

Why Not?

20 years ago I worked for a big American corporate.

They scanned all network drives and eventually personal drives for Audio & Video files , if any were found you got a personal meeting with HR because RAA threatened them with massive fines if Audited. It wasn't actually too bad a decision overall the number of pirated songs, films and porn decreased rapidly.

The thing they hadn't thought about was the technical team generated their own content, our technical manager who recorded videos showing how to operate or fix our products was invited to HR on a daily basis.

This sort of thing needs to happen because copyright abuse is rife.

'Please download in Microsoft Excel': Meet the tech set to monitor IT performance across central UK government

Why Not?

Survey Monkey would do this initially and keep the data safe.

Why Not?

Re: Straight out of Yes Minister

Kerching!

Why Not?

Re: Ideal for data

One hopes there is no GDPR / Confidential data in it otherwise it will be spread faster than Chlamydia!

Doing migrations I love data from spreadsheets, the user will change the layout a couple of days before go live, multiple copies will be sent and of course there are technical issues with data and conversion.

10-15 years ago I was replacing such things with SharePoint and similar. Coding took a few days the main problem was documenting the rules that the users made up as they went along.

Excel, sadly doesn't with most users.

Philanthropist and ex-Microsoft manager Melinda Gates and her husband Bill split after 27 years of marriage

Why Not?

The Gate's foundation is doing wonderful things. People keep buying windows or at least office.

Some geek has made billions legally , married an intelligent and beautiful woman then raised kids with a sense of humour ('Sadly it did NOT implant my genius father into my brain.'). Then they together donated massive amounts of money and skill (otherwise like with our foreign aid the princes would just buy nicer cars while their people starve) to solving the worlds problems. That needs respect.

Solving Polio, Malaria, Sanitation , birth control, education, environmental issues what's not to like?

Good luck Mr & soon to be ex Mrs Gates hope it goes well!

All I can see is jealousy.

I started with DOS3 and windows 3.0 competing with Novell, SCO, AIX , OS2 , CPM etc. back in the early 90s Strangely windows won, Microsoft did bundle windows with many OEM PCs then, their competitors could have done it but preferred to charge a weeks wages per install instead .

Why did windows win? Because not only was it easier to use it also was much cheaper with NT3.51 you could have a server and workstation in one for the same cost as just a Novell license.

Think of it this way if Microsoft hadn't won and we had gone with UNIX every part of the O/S would be an extra and starting prices would be £1000 per desktop.

I remember Wordperfect and lotus 123 being market leaders Microsoft out developed them, Lotus Notes was crushed by a far easier but less technically advanced (at the time) Exchange.

Docking £500k commission from top SAS salesman was perfectly legal, rules judge

Why Not?

Well let's hope the customer demands an 800K discount because the cost of the contract has fallen.

I hope future SAS employees become aware of this and ask about it.

Vegas, baby! A Register reader gambles his software will beat the manual system

Why Not?
Angel

Re: Log every user input

Everybody lies - Gregory House

so true!

Half a million stolen French medical records, drowned in feeble excuses

Why Not?

Re: 8 glasses

How many Bulgarian Airbags?

Enquiring minds need to know.

UK Supreme Court declares Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed: Ride biz's legal battle ends in a crash

Why Not?
Paris Hilton

Re: Not all Californians are idiots...

Kinky!

Paris - You have to ask?

Amazon coughs up $62m to shoo away claims it stole driver tips, cut pay rates without telling them

Why Not?

Re: Just say no

Thanks for the link interesting.

Yes it seems the government has colluded with employers to undercut the minimum wage and it should stop.

It does seem to be a very Big corporation view that ripping off your employees is acceptable. You would have thought Amazon and others would realise employees are your best asset they will build your bottom line if you let them. I thought Bezos understood this.

Images of women coerced by adult companies poison dataset popularised by deepfake smut creators

Why Not?

Re: Police in Moscow are investigating ..

Vodka?

Heavy-duty case closed: Peli tried to steal peli.co.uk from rightful owner, says Nominet

Why Not?

Seems odd

If you have developed a trading name and wish to purchase a domain that matches another trader with a similar name it then you would expect them to defer to the first registrant.

So if PELI lipstick had registered peli.co.uk then PELI cases would have to approach Peli lipstick and offer them money to part with it.

However if a registrant who has no stake in the mark and the domain has no value on its own without the marketing and they hold it to ransom you would expect Nominet to rule in Peli's favour or cap the amount it could be sold for. A £1000 limit would stop the law suits.

Generic names such as BOSS should obviously be a free for all.

Missing Alan Turing memorabilia to be returned to Blighty from the US, 36 years after it went walkabout

Why Not?

Why irrelevant? we need modernish heroes, given the choice between Turing or BOJO& Dunkers contributions to history I know which one I would celebrate.

Why Not?

Re: And the next story will be ....

old habits die hard!

Tax evasion is popular too

UK tax dept's IT savings created 'significant risk', technical debt as it faces difficult conversation with Chancellor

Why Not?

Re: A new Child Benefit IT system to replace the existing one

Unfortunately government departments only administer the laws they are given. Bad laws = Bad administration.

As has been seen in Universal credit it was intended to be a way back to many when we had near full employment, it turned out it turned out to be a bully's charter.

Combine this with a reluctance to pursue sensible taxpayer targets HMRC are bound to fail.

Sack the idiots at the top until they start sacking the idiots in the middle.

India floats superior ship-management software as a route to regional relevance

Why Not?

Good for them

If they want to develop world beating software and compete on level playing field then lets hope they get somewhere close.

They managed space and many other projects.

Quick thinking and an explanation for everything – key CTO qualities

Why Not?
Facepalm

Re: I've been fired ...

get a £40 tablet for personal surfing - sorted.

The exodus continues: Less than half of contractors expect to stick with their employment set-up after IR35

Why Not?
Facepalm

Reality is not agreeing

"HMRC reckons that only one in 10 contractors in the private sector who should be paying tax under the current rules are doing so correctly. It estimates the reforms will recoup £1.2bn a year by 2023."

Strange the courts & tribunals do not always agree with HMRC. Look forward to them disclosing how much the public sector IR35 has gathered.

UK's Cheshire Police tenders for whole new ERP system after Oracle Fusion went live with 'significant deficiency'

Why Not?
Facepalm

These are basic audit checks surely you do these before going live?

Having access to whole areas of systems is not impossible, its having non logged usage of systems for Admins in my experience.

As mentioned a DBA in smallish shop probably needs access to the whole database server but probably needs to use elevated accounts that are logged when they go off the standard work.

Where are we now? Microsoft 363? 362? We've lost count because Exchange Online isn't playing nicely this morning

Why Not?

The cloud is someone else's badly managed computer?

British Army develops AI shotgun drone with machine vision for indoor use

Why Not?

Re: Timing will be critical

Agree using the rotors would be a challenge, it seems more likely they use a recoilless mechanism.

Surely the cost of a kill is much cheaper than the political cost of a death of our serviceman? That has been the trajectory of weapons for a while. Something most people will support, we just need to make sure its not so easy that the Pentagon etc toss a few drones into civilians for good measure

I'm pretty sure a dead Drone at ~ $1 million loses less votes than a military funeral.

Next drones with Tasers for law enforcement and ones with a safety tent /breathing apparatus for fire rescue.

FYI: If you're running HP Device Manager, anyone on your network can get admin on your server via backdoor

Why Not?

Oh dear

Admin users with default weak passwords where have I heard that before?

Oh yes even senators understand that is bad, come on HP.

Bad boys bad boys, what you gonna do? Los Angeles Police Department found fibbing about facial recognition use

Why Not?

Re: Its coming

Actually when it first started out it was in American and some of the spellings of technical words were missing or questionable so we had to screen the spelling correction just as we do autocorrect on texting nowadays. That was the reality. Now I rarely find the spelling wrong when I feel the need to check.

We are at the point that we need to review recognised images before use them, let us encourage that rather than saying they are currently inaccurate and we will never need to use them!

A working facial recognition system will reduce wrongful arrests and criminals staying at large. You see we want the same thing.

Why Not?

Re: Its coming

OK lets try an experiment put 999 people in a room with Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie (pick your celeb it can be an airhead with a big bum if you prefer) I bet the majority will correctly recognise the celebrity from the others. Facial recognition works between humans, super recognisers can do this with a list of thousands of suspects, in a few years many computers will manage it for a near unlimited list. The Birthday paradox is looking at one point, facial recognition works on thousands of points.

There are rules and we partially understand them presently. What I was trying to show that we thought spelling and grammar checkers were considered too difficult decades ago I remember using early versions of word & wordperfect. Now they are completely normal. Facial recognition is on the way. Deny it all you like, it doesn't care, it will appear without you.

When it works then it will revolutionise policing and uncover misbehaviour on the police side. How nice will it be if the Police only stop people that actual verifiable intelligence suggests need stopping and searching. It will mean crime will be solved quickly & efficiently if we support its evolution.

With H-1B workers not exactly rushing to America this year, Uncle Sam plans to spend millions home-growing IT staff

Why Not?

well lets hope both in the US & UK governments start training locally. It makes sense.

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