* Posts by pop_corn

92 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Sep 2011


China lists 100 topics citizens can't include in online vids


Seems to me that President Xi Jinping has been reading Plato's The Republic!

UK watchdog fines biz £130k for 900,000+ direct marketing calls to folk who had opted out


> "getting someone to merge against the contact list you've bought, and remove the relevant entries."

That requires spending money up front on someone with half an IT brain. I would hazard a guess that such a step is not high up on the list of priorities for people in this business.

Tech contractor loses IR35 tribunal appeal: 'Right' to substitute didn't mean he could, say judges


Yes I was assuming step 0) is you have a right of substitution.

IANAL however I don't believe a fettered one would matter as you have actually exercised it. Fettering only is an issue if you're arguing you have a right, even though you've not exercised it.

Exactly, the contract is with your LtdCo, that's the whole point. Most of us have the Missus (or whatever) on the books as well, so they're perfect for this.


Re: Typical

> Pfft, booze, drugs, expensive holidays and hookers is my bet. Easily explained

Yeah and he probably just squandered the rest! :D (Credit: George Best)

Though it seems that £37M was the total amount of cash that flowed through the company, so the total of everyone's pay too.


How to exercise substitution, with evidence:

1) Work from home one day, much easier in the current Covid climate than it once was

2) Choose to take the day off and instead substitute yourself for CoSec / CoDirector (wife, husband, partner)

3) Have them proof read your latest doc, correct spelling, correct formatting, layout and tables, maybe insert some images etc

4) Ensure they increment the document version history, with their name as the author

5) Amend your invoice for the month to include 1 day of their time and only 19 days of your time

Job done. I've done this. Silver bullet with paper trail achieved.

Microsoft staffers restive as annual employee poll lands – without questions about compensation


Re: Mgmt

> "Staff: How about a salary raise so we can pay our bills/mortgages, hiring more staff so there are enough people to do the job and not setting ridiculous deadlines?"

Most companies that did that would go out of business.

Atheists warn followers of unholy data leak, hint dark deeds may have tried to make it go away


For a question that you claim is poor, or uninteresting, you certainly seemed to enjoy devoting 3 paragraphs to its answer. ;)

I happen to agree, given my quote, there is no such thing as magic (by which I mean some spooky unexplainable power) only a lack of scientific understanding.

I also agree with you about worship, the use of that term was deliberately inflammatory.


> "belief - /bɪˈliːf/ - noun - an acceptance"

> "If there is proof, there is no belief, only acceptance"

You literally quote a definition that says belief means acceptance, and then immediately claim that belief and acceptance are not the same thing! :D

So rearranging the stars would make you think that such a being "built" the matrix, i.e. was the creator.

Defining what "god" means is a whole topic in of itself, something I've yet to fully resolve myself.

My use of the word "worship" was deliberately inflammatory.


A question for ATHEISTS: what evidence would make you believe in god?

Most atheists (me included) say they're evidence driven and will change their mind on a subject if the available evidence changes, which got me wondering: what evidence would I need to see to believe in a/the god?

This is a problem complicated by Arthur C Clarke who said: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

E.g. if you saw someone defy gravity and walk on water, or turn water to wine with a wave of his hand, would you fall to your knees and worship him as the creator of the universe?

What about if someone snapped their fingers and realigned all the stars at night to spell out: "The Jews are right"?


Re: Same could be said about religious people

Atheism is not a faith, it's the absence of faith.

Do you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden? No? What do you call that faith?

"Saying atheism is a belief system is like saying not going skiing is a hobby. I've never been skiing. It's my biggest hobby. I literally do it all the time." - Ricky Gervais

H2? Oh! New water-splitting technique pushes progress of green hydrogen


> "transport"

The promise of hydrogen fuel cell powered cars, is that the garages can generate their own hydrogen in situ, without the need for fleets of tankers transporting fuel from big refineries.

Brit accused of spying on 772 people via webcam CCTV software tells court he'd end his life if extradited to US


Re: Team America: World Police

I completely agree. They can have this douche bag when we get Anne Sacoolas. Extradition is as much about politics as it is about justice.

Yes I accept the point that Anne Sacoolas fled for next to no reason. She may have been done for 'death by dangerous driving' or 'death by careless or inconsiderate driving' and likely wouldn't have served a jail term, probably got community service or a suspended sentence, but that's not the point. Justice wasn't served. Due process wasn't followed. Harry Dunn's family didn't get the closure of their day in court.

Google contractor HCL America accused of retaliating against unionized techies by shifting US jobs to Poland


Re: IT skills are fungible

> "Make it unattractive to employ you and companies will find more attractive options."

Agreed. Whilst unions may have started out with laudable goals and were useful 50 years ago when there were few employers in town and workers had little choice and fewer options, that's not the case any more for many industries, IT especially.

Any form of protectionist interference in a labour market (which is what the unions exist for) is anti-competitive, anti-business, and ultimately anti-worker. Why do you think China has become the factory of the world with a positive balance of payments of around a $Trillion (with a T!) every year? Lower regulation / less red tape, it's as simple as that.

Unionisation is short term gain for long term pain, as evidenced by this story.

If you don't like your working environment / conditions / pay, then either make yourself indispensable and renegotiate from a position of power, or vote with your feet and leave, retraining / up-skilling as you go if necessary.

Unionisation will not only work against you in the long term, but it's a lazy move, abdicating your individual bargaining power to someone else, hoping they negotiate in good faith on your behalf.

Five bag $300,000 in bug bounties after finding 55 security holes in Apple's web apps, IT infrastructure


Re: And nobody at Apple spotted this massive attacks on their systems?

I would imagine they get millions of hack attempts every day.

My insignificant little wordpress blog was hacked 3 times in 3 years before I figured a fool proof way of locking it down (putting a .htaccess file in the wp-admin directory to block all ip addresses except my own).

But last time I looked, the site was still getting attacked dozens of times a day. So often that I have to sporadically clear out the error_log as it grows and grows due to hack attempts.

Prepare your shocked faces: Crypto-coin exchange boss laundered millions of bucks for online auction crooks


Re: Quite close to home

I had a similar problem. Someone registered a domain name in my company name, setup a pukka looking website, and registered an address at a serviced office site. Then they ordered 10 brand new iPhones in my LtdCo's name.

I only found out when my normal £50 pcm phone bill suddenly jumped to £850, as they'd managed to get their order added on to my account!

Fortunately it was stopped before any phones were sent out, my bill was sorted, and I successfully seized the domain. But it wasted about 10 hours of my life.

FYI: Mind how you go. We're more or less oblivious to 75% of junk in geosynchronous orbits around Earth


Re: One wonders what the future of satellites and space explorations is going to be...

> "We clearly need to build an orbital tower."

I assume you mean an orbital tower with space elevator? It's a fine idea, that will never happen.

Even assuming it could be physically built (extremely unlikely) when the risk of it breaking leads to it whipping around the earth, destroying everything it collides with, it will never be acceptable.

You had one job... Just two lines of code, and now the customer's Inventory Master File has bitten the biscuit


Re: Defensive Coding

> "The interpreter didn't cache values, it was all immediate by reference therefore there was a distict difference between the two statements:"

That's a shocker! And people wonder why programming is a lot harder than it should be.

I gave up coding when I realised I was still solving the same problems that I had started my career fixing 20 years earlier, e.g. writing a UK formatted date to a database, and reading it back later only for it come out in US format!

Even this very week I've come across the same issue using SharePoint. *facepalm*


Re: Defensive Coding

Thanks for saying that Bill, my work here is done. :D


Defensive Coding

Back when I was a coal face programmer, coming from a VB background, I got caught out by this C error 1 time too many:

if (a = 1) {

// Bug: code here always executed irrespective of 'a'


Of course the first line should be: if (a == 1) {

Before compilers cottoned on this common mistake and issued a warning, I started reversing the variable and constant, so:

if (1 == a) {

because if I accidentally used a single = the compiler would catch it.

Oddly I never convinced any other code to follow suit. They just didn't like it.

Boffins baffled as supergiant star just vanishes – either it partially blew itself apart or quietly turned into a black hole


“Lost a [star] Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing.” - Yoda

20 months behind bars for IT support worker who nicked £30k worth of crypto-cash


Re: Self-employed!

10 months. He'll be out on parole after serving 50% of his sentence.

How did the victim manage to prove it was him though? I know the blockchain is visible to all, but how did he determine the thief's wallet belonged to this guy?

Fire Brigades Union warns of wonky IT causing dangerous delays in 999 control rooms


Re: Maybe the FBU shouldn't have sabotaged FiReControl then

Can you explain how 46 CEO's is necessary replication? Or 46 HR mangers? How about 46 procurement managers? What about 46 differently specified IT suites, complete with 46 admins to manage and upgrade them?

Apple tells European Commission it's nutty for slapping €13bn tax bill on Irish subsidiary


Re: Ireland's taxes are within it's [sic] remit

> "in short - it is the EU interfering in a sovereign tax matter"

And that, in a nutshell, explains Brexit. The 1975 referendum to join the "European Community" of like minded but independent sovereign states, in a loose trading block, was never about handing over that level of control.

Talk to the old timers who voted in it. They'll tell you they never voted for the EU as it is now, and would never have voted to join if they'd been told the truth about how it would turn out.

Or indeed dig out old TV footage of the original EC referendum for & against debates. The Join side explicitly denied it would become what it has.

That's why so many older people voted to leave, because whilst they voted to join, they never wanted nor voted for the EU, and the Brexit referendum was the first proper chance they had to say so.


Re: An an Irishman

> "allowing the EU to interfere in it's sovereign tax laws"

Well that's what they voted for when they joined the EU. The solution of course would be an Irexit, freeing up Ireland to rejoin the UK, which would solve the border problem! :D :D :D


Re: Ireland's taxes are within it's [sic] remit

If it wasn't for the tax advantages of being in Ireland, none of the big companies that have their European HQ's there would have gone to Ireland. I'm talking about: Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Paypal, eBay, LinkedIn, Accenture, Johnson Controls etc etc etc.

It's a simple choice for the Irish gov't: run the lowest corporate tax regime in the EU and accept lower corporation tax receipts, in exchange for a massive domestic employment boost and inward investment. These foreign companies employ over 1/2 million people (Irish citizens and EU citizens working in Ireland) nearly a quarter of the entire Irish workforce who all pay income tax there and spend their money locally, and these companies still pay over 3/4 of all its corporation tax take. Hence Dublin in sometimes referred to as the EU's Silicon Valley.

That's why the Irish gov't itself is fighting this. It's worth more to them in the long run to forego the €13bn windfall and not scare off all these companies employing its citizens and propping up the entire economy.

Hey, it's 2019. Quit making battery-draining webpages – say makers of webpage-displaying battery-powered kit


> "Save the family joules"

That's journalism at it's finest right there. Thomas Claburn, I salute you!

Let's see what the sweet, kind, new Microsoft that everyone loves is up to. Ah yes, forcing more Office home users into annual subscriptions


Is the Microsoft Action Pack wheeze still a thing? I'm looking at 2 MAP boxes on my shelf right now, which have supplied most of my software needs for the last 15 years (yes I'm still clinging onto my Windows 7 Professional edition for grim death!) all for a few $hundred. :D

Science and engineering hit worst as Euroboffins do a little Brexit of their own from British universities


Re: Well, you're leaving

Errr did you read a different article to me?

> "The number of EU academics in all disciplines working in the UK is still growing"

E.e.: they're not leaving faster then they're still coming; net growth; numbers going up. Which bit don't you understand?

Anatomy of an attack: How Coinbase was targeted with emails booby-trapped with Firefox zero-days


Re: Discovered 'simoultaneosly', or leaked?

Given that the estimate is $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency was stolen just in 2018 alone, there are people with very deep pockets, who would likely pay very handsomely for as yet unreleased vulnerabilities.

Chinese fireworks, Indian orbits, and NASA names Maxar as maker of its first Moon module


It's already been done with the satellites now orbiting the moon:


Not to mention that we can and have double checked by bouncing a laser off the reflectors they left behind on the moon:


Tesla's autonomous lane changing software is worse at driving than humans, and more


Re: Incomplete

> "its when you kill other road users that the shit will really hit the fan"

Tesla's will always kill other road users, as will all self driving type cars. As long as they kill fewer road users than humans (approx 5 per DAY in the UK!), that's an improvement.

Mumsnet data leak: Moaning parents could see other users' privates after cloud migration


Re: Mumsnet penetrated

Hmmmm, is this dodgy reporting by theReg? I got the mumsnet email about this and it clearly says:

> "How many people are affected? We're confident that number of users affected is 44 (2 accounts were breached twice, bringing the total occasions to 46). We have emailed these users directly. "

Apple: Good news, everyone – sales are less bad than we thought. Not amazing but not bad. $84bn is $84bn, tho


Re: Hmmm ...

At 24% it's a GINORMOUS profit margin. Compare to say Tesco for 2018:

Group Revenue: £57.5Bn

Operating Profit: £1.6Bn (before exceptional items)

Margin: 2.9%

Source: https://www.tescoplc.com/investors/reports-results-and-presentations/financial-performance/five-year-record/

Get drinking! Abstinence just as bad for you as getting bladdered


Re: More likely hypothesis

Dressing up correlations is "science" really annoys me. Isn't it far more likely that the majority of people don't drink alone (your A), and that drinking alcohol is a social activity (your C), and that being sociable with people prevents dementia (D)?

Please forgive me, I can't stop robbing you: SamSam ransomware earns handlers $5.9m


Re: What can save us from this malicious computer ransomware infestation

Yeah, because the death penalty has done such a good job of stopping all violent crime in the US hasn't it? Oh, wait...!

The issue with the death penalty, is no one doing a crime that calls for it (or pretty much any crime) believes at the time that they're going to get caught, so the ultimate sanction, is ultimately useless.

Sysadmin trained his offshore replacements, sat back, watched ex-employer's world burn


Re: Not in IT...

> "And most HR departments pretend they care for the employees but they don't. They are their for the company and that's it."

The hint's in the name. When "Personnel" departments became "Human Resources" departments, humans just became resources to exploit.

Boss sent overpaid IT know-nothings home – until an ON switch proved elusive


Plugging in the phone

Many moons ago, the mother in law decided she wanted to get on "that internet thing". To her credit, she'd popped down to Tesco's and pickup up a Tesco.Net CD and was studiously following the instructions therein. She called me when it wasn't working.

After much over the phone diagnostics, I discovered her mistake: when it came to plugging the computer into the "phone line", she'd actually plugged the computer into the "phone".

She had literally unplugged her 1980's style phone from the wall, then plugged the cable from the phone handset into the back of the computer... so now neither were connected to the wall socket (she was calling me on her mobile)!

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough


Re: The Swiss are in it

Agreed, ESA has nothing to do with Brexit. From ESA's own website: https://www.esa.int/About_Us/Welcome_to_ESA/ESA_and_the_EU

> "The European Union (EU) and ESA share a common aim: to strengthen Europe and benefit its citizens. While they are separate organisations, they are increasingly working together towards common objectives. Some 20 per cent of the funds managed by ESA now originate from the EU budget.

> "ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, whereas the EU is supranational. The two institutions have indeed different ranges of competences, different Member States and are governed by different rules and procedures."

Opportunity knocked? Rover survives Martian winter, may not survive budget cuts


Re: Crowdfunding

> "or that the Earth is getting warmer, so it must be stopped!"

That's a new one, I've never heard of stopping the earth as a solution to global warming! ;)

Make Apple, er, America Great Again: iGiant to bring home profits, pay $38bn in repatriation tax


Re: 15.5 percent and Apple Incentive

So that you can return that money to the shareholders, i.e. the people making the decision to repatriate the money.


Re: 80 hours

Just because you're massively in debt, doesn't mean you should give up trying to repay it.

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Tokyo crypto-cash exchange 'hacked' for half a billion bucks


Stolen crytocurrencies could be managed like this

I don't get it. There seems to me 3 possible solutions to stolen cryptocurrencies:

1) The Blockchain records what a legitimate transaction is and is visible to anyone. When the NiceHash wallat got raided for $60M in bitcoin, the destination wallet was there for all to see. You could go to the public blockchain and see the stolen bitcoins were still sitting in the destination wallet.

As transactions are committed when a miner solves the mathematical puzzle to prove the next block in the chain, and as miners are often part of large networks of miners working together and sharing the reward when one of them hits on the solution. Could not the exchange that was robbed submit a reversal transaction to the blockchain (effectively stealing it back) and as long as enough miners agreed to try to validate the transaction in that block, is it not possible to validate that transaction?

2) Again as the stolen currency in visible in the wallet address, could all the exchanges work with law enforcement to make sure that transactions out of that wallet are tracked, and where possible the recipients identified as handling / laundering stolen goods.

Basically you should be able to keep a track of where the money goes, because all transactions are public (at least bitcoin transactions are), and in the same way as if you buy a stolen car, that car isn't really yours, the stolen bitcoin etc could potentially be recovered, maybe bit by bit (pun INtended, haha).

3) Again because it's all public, exchanges around the world could agree to block any transaction from the wallet that's the recipient of the stolen currency, effectively freezing out those funds. Sure this would require considerable global co-operation, but it's doable. There could be a public black-list of wallets, and subsequent wallets, all of which are frozen out of the system for handling stolen goods.

Anyone then could check, or their software could check, any transaction against this public list, to flag up that they may be transacting for stolen goods. Ok this may not get the currency back, but if the people who steal currency suddenly discover that it's worthless because they can't use it for anything, that's a massive deterrent.


Re: What unpleasant memories?

Presactly! I seriously considered taking a punt of £10k in Bitcoin when it was £250 a few years ago, i.e. 40 BTC. In today's money that would have been £240,000! Cool, awesome, great, I'd have been rich!!

But the reality is, when it doubled to £500 per BTC (£20,000 in total) not having a crystal ball, I probably would have sold half (20 BTC) to get my original £10k out.

Then when it doubled again to £1,000 per BTC (again worth £20,000) I probably would have sold half (10 BTC) to get another £10k out, realising a 100% return on my original investment.

I suspect I would have repeated this formula of selling half every time it doubled, so by now I'd have extracted £40k profit and still hold £10k in BTC. Don't get me wrong, £40k would have been very nice to have, but it's a far cry from the theoretical and mortgage clearing £240k it could have been.

Aut-doh!-pilot: Driver jams 65mph Tesla Model S under fire truck, walks away from crash


Re: Don't call it Autopilot, for a start

> "... accidents like this will happen."

What's your point? Are you saying that "autopilot" or whatever you want to call it, is only worthwhile if it's 100.0% perfect?

Of course not, it only has to be better than humans, and as the article says, it's already 40% better than humans, a figure I expect to improve as time goes by.

If we put self driving (or whatever) on a pedestal of perfection, it's doomed to fail. It's the very fact that it's already very good, in that accidents like this are rare, that make them newsworthy. If Tesla's were crashing like this every week, we wouldn't be reading articles like this.

Brazil says it has bagged Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean for £84m


I typically translate the national debt interest repayments (approx £43Bn*) into Wembley stadiums (appox £800M).

Roughly we could build a new Wembley stadium every week all year long, a new one in every city in England (51) in a year. That's how much money the gov't gives away servicing (not decreasing) ours, our parents', and our grandparents' debt.

How much debt interest will we saddle on our children and grandchildren I wonder? An aircraft carrier (£6.2Bn) a month perhaps?

*When interest rates were higher, IIRC this figure was over £50Bn pa.

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


My iPhone 5S runs just fine...

... because I'm still running iOS v9. Yes it's annoying to have to dismiss the weekly "Do you want to upgrade?" and "Are you sure you don't?" (paraphrasing) messages, but by not upgrading the iOS I've skipped this very predictable problem entirely.

Sadly I wasn't so clever with my iPad which despite being blisteringly fast when I first got it, now struggles to notice that I'm even typing, forcing me to wait every 3rd word for it to catch up.

I realise that from a security point of view, not upgrading to the latest iOS is not ideal, but I don't do any internet banking on my phone so the risk is minimal.

NiceHash diced up by hackers, thousands of Bitcoin pilfered


Bitcoin is basically a Ponzi scheme

The only way investors who already have bitcoins can get their money out, is when new investors put their money into the scheme. That's the definition of a Ponzi scheme.

Everyone's rushing in because the returns are amazing at the moment, which is pumping more money in at the bottom.

Eventually however you'll run out of new investors (people buying bitcoins), and existing investors will want their money out but won't be able to find new buyers, and the price will crash. Simples.

WW2 Enigma machine to be seized from shamed pharma bro Shkreli


Re: Enigma

Don't forget the very small matter that the Polish intelligence enigma breaking efforts were disrupted somewhat by the rather inconvenient invasion and occupation of Poland by German right near the start of the war!

Which is why (so I believe) that all their enigma breaking material was rushed out of Poland to England, so Turing et al could continue their work.

French activists storm Paris Apple Store over EU tax dispute


Moving tax to a tax haven explained

Of course it's more complicated than this but as many people don't seem to understand how companies like Apple move corporation tax profits offshore, I thought a simplistic example would help:

Company A in country X makes a widget for $100 and sells it for $150 making a profit of $50.

- Corporation tax in country X is 10% so they pay corp tax of ($150 - $100) x 10% = $5.

Company C in country Z buys the widget for $150 and sells it to the end-user for $250 making a profit of $100.

- Corporation tax in country Z is 20% so they pay corp tax of ($250 - $150) x 20% = $20.

With me so far? Now company C is unhappy about paying 20% corp tax, so opens a new company B in country Y. Country Y is a tax haven that charges no corporation tax. Now company B sits in the middle of this transaction so buys the widget from company A, like this:

Company B in country Y buys the widget for $150 and sells it for $250* to company C making a profit of $100.

- Corporation tax in country Y is 0% so they pay corp tax of $zero.

Now company C in country Z has bought the widget for $250* and sells it to the end-user for $250, making no profit.

- Corporation tax in country Z is 20%, but they've made no profit ($250 - $250) so they pay corp tax of $zero.

The same widget has been sold to the same end-user by the same company, but by putting a middle company in the way in a tax haven, and here's the crucial bit: inflating the price of the widget to company C, company C have made no profit from the sale. Therefore, there is no corporation tax to pay by company C and company B doesn't pay any, it's in a tax haven. Of course really they're same company group.

This is how Apple, Google, Starbucks, Microsoft etc etc all divert profits to low or zero corporation tax havens. It's why Ireland's 12.5% corp tax rate attracted so many IT companies. This is why Apple are sitting on $250Bn in cash, all of which is offshore in low / no tax havens. They've saved about $50Bn in tax doing it this way!

* In reality the figure charged from company B to C flexes enough to allow company C enough profit to pay it's staff and bills, but not enough to make anything more than a token taxable profit.


Re: But which Tax are we talking about?

There is an attempt to close that loophole with the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) tax now: