* Posts by Professor Clifton Shallot

393 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Mar 2013


Hey, fatso. If you're standing desk-curious, the VariDesk Pro Plus won't break the bank

Professor Clifton Shallot

Bitter pill to swallow

Were Pro Plus really sugar coated?

My memory of them suggests otherwise.

Beer because something to take the taste away.

Review of IR35 is in: Quelle surprise, UK.gov will forge ahead with controversial tax reforms in the private sector

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: You're not supposed to kill the goose

What you do get though is contractors sucked back into boring permanent jobs in big companies, rather than contractors who could and did use the money earned from well paid temporary work to set up their own companies, innovate and increase general economic prosperity.

Will that be the effect though? I know contractors who are doing precisely the opposite - they were always the ones who were likely to do something useful and productive and this has shifted them sufficiently out of their comfortable rut that they are doing something about it.

The ones who have shifted to permie roles either were just permies on a tax dodge (let's not pretend there have not been any of these) or who were forced to work as contractors at employers that wanted to avoid their responsibilities.

People will end up getting what the market deems they are worth - and it's a global market.

I'm not sure the short term disruption will be especially problematic, it's just a bit of sorting sheep from goats.

(That's not to say any of this has been implemented or policed well, or that clients are sufficiently well-informed and confident in the processes that they feel able to do the right thing)

Good news: Neural network says 11 asteroids thought to be harmless may hit Earth. Bad news: They are not due to arrive for hundreds of years

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Sounds like ...

An infinite number of AIs operating typewriters would definitely create Shakespeare's complete works.

And would do so an infinite number of times.

What do we want? A proper review of IR35! When do we want it? Last year! Bunch of IT contractors protest outside UK Parliament

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: 50 Shades of Grey

I was contracting in my 20s

UK contractors planning 'mass exodus' ahead of IR35 tax clampdown – survey

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: It's not just about the contractors which HMRC appear to forget

"If I was paid holiday pay I would take time off and paint the house myself."

In my experience very few permanent employees use their limited holiday time in that way.

A fine host for a Raspberry Pi: The Register rakes a talon over the NexDock 2

Professor Clifton Shallot


"You will, however, need most of the bundled cables to coax a Pi 4 into life"

Tried and failed three times not to read that as co-ax.

Back up a minute: Private equity outfit coughs $5bn for Veeam

Professor Clifton Shallot

What sort of scale have you found it unsuitable for?

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

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Life goes on

>The construction and civil engineering industries run on contractors.

>Skilled specialists who are mobile between clients and can command top rates as a result.

If they are contracted to specific projects and have multiple clients then they have a good chance of being able to successfully demonstrate they are in business of their own account.

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Life goes on

> none of the things that you mention are indicators of being inside IR35

Right of substitution is absolutely key.

If we can provide alternative workers to the client as a contractually enforceable right then IR35 is not going to apply - if the company has one worker, and can provide that worker or no one or if the client won't accept a substitution then IR35 bites.

So the fact that in almost every case the same worker is supplied to the same client day after day with no contractual obligation on the client to accept, and no ability of the company to provide a substitute is precisely an indicator.

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Life goes on

>Is a plumber/joiner/builder/decorator/cleaner

>running a business when setting out on their own?

Do they invoice the same single entity once per month?

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Life goes on

> Contractors are not avoiding tax, they are running

> businesses and paying tax according to the tax code.

This whole 'just following the rules' thing would be a lot more believable if my fellow contractors didn't immediately depram the toys at any change to the rules that doesn't benefit us financially.

Most of us are not really 'running businesses', are we? We're one person companies, two at a push if we're pretending to employ a spouse, providing one client with one worker, and always the same worker.

If that description doesn't apply then there's a good chance IR35 doesn't either.

IR35 looks like being a bit of a pain in the bum, but it wouldn't have happened if 'contractors' who were to all intents and purposes permanent employees hadn't been taking the piss for so long.

In the end there's work to be done so there's money to be earned and if we are all so amazing as we claim we'll still get plenty of it.

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Life goes on.

I am sure your valuable skills, geographic flexibility, and preference for working as required at a price the market deems reasonable will ensure you do not spend a great deal of time on the dole - you are much more in tune with the gig economy than all these stick-in-the-mud defined benefits permies.

Microsoft middlemen rebel against removal of free software licences

Professor Clifton Shallot

> the Office 365 license will cost me about the same

>for a single user as the Action Pack subscription does

Unless you need to download the Office apps you can go for O365 Business Essentials which is about £45/year.

Still, this does seem like a mean, goodwill-shattering move on MS's part.

We regret to inform you the massive asteroid NASA's all excited about probably won't hit Earth

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Live every day as if it was your last.

> Live every day as if it was your last.

Terrible advice. Your last day is almost certainly going to be horrible, not to mention shorter than average.

Is Google's new cloud gaming service scalable? Yes but it may not be affordable, warns edge-computing CEO

Professor Clifton Shallot

> so it has always been about latency, and still is

I think (and I may be being overly generous to him here) that what he means is that the latency problem, while critical, is not inherently difficult to solve, it's just difficult to make that solution commercially viable.

Windows Admin Center: Vulture gets claws on browser-based server admin

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: "you open up a browser (must be Chrome or Edge)"

>As there are two paths, I will give the 2016 server path a try.

>Oh, wait, I will have to spin one of those up too!

It will run on W2K12 with WMF 5.1.

Gmail is secure. Netflix is secure. Together they're a phishing threat

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: This has happened to me for years

> I've had property rental statements, mortgage application details

> house sale agreements, job contracts.


It turns out that a lot of people have a firstname.lastname that is the same as the single name on a gmail account I use - and it seems plenty of them are handing out the wrong address or friends and family are misremembering / guessing wrongly.

I was copied into one conversation involving organising, and paying for tickets to a group trip to an event at the Sydney Opera house that in total gave me a perfect little identity theft kit overnight.

I've had very many opportunities to activate post-sale services for someone in California who bought a posh car. And for someone on the East Coast who bought a much less posh one.

There have been plenty of invites to things that sounded like a lot of fun but were happening on the wrong continent and more than a few pieces of very personal news.

It's not really much of an inconvenience for me but I suspect some of the intended recipients would really rather it did't work the way it does.

Cambridge Analytica 'privatised colonising operation', not a 'legitimate business', says whistleblower

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Really?

>There is no way an advertising agency can have that much of an effect on anything.

Then why pay such a large proportion of a limited budget (well, supposedly limited) to a company doing this?

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: The BBC

>Why can't they just replay "Hancock's Half Hour"?

They do, on [url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b009t2ld/episodes/player]Radio 4 Extra[/url].

And he's still a man, and none of the rest of the cast is non-white or gay for any reason other than comic effect.

Same station for 'Hello Cheeky', 'Round the Horn', 'The Navy Lark', 'I'm Sorry, I'll read That Again', 'The Men From The Ministry', and many other comedies untainted by the passage of time.

If you hanker for a world where politeness was strictly observed but went no further than tipping your hat to the secretary before you pinched her bum then the BBC still caters for you.

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: The BBC

>>Claims 'cheating' may have swayed Brexit poll.

>Persuading people of a political view is not "cheating" its "winning."

Persuading people using carefully constructed and focused lies that opponents have no opportunity to counter might be considered cheating, I suppose.

Regardless, the 'cheating' in this case would be the breaking of the spending limits if that's what has happened.

UK.gov: Here's £8.8m to plough into hydrogen-powered car tech

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: ' Current industrial production of hydrogen gas'

What are the prospects for improving the efficiency of this?

Are there any unbiased, layman-friendly explanations of the challenges kicking around?

Slap visibility beacons on bikes so they can chat to auto autos, says trade body

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Reality Check.....

They are just lulling you into a false sense of security.

Reality becomes a lot easier to code for if you take out that awkward "avoid killing all the humans" part.

UK Court of Appeal settles reseller's question: Is software a good?

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: A digital watch?

One with fingers instead of hands?

Hip hop-eration: Hopless Franken-beer will bring you hoppiness

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Happy to be living near Germany

Germany's beer laws have done some good but they've also stifled diversity.

The reason German beer is good is that by and large their brewers are skilled and their customers are discerning - restricting ingredients doesn't by itself guarantee anything in terms of quality.

In any case I don't think the Reinheitsgebot (or its subsequent updatings) would prevent this brew as they are proscriptive rather than prescriptive so not having any hops would not be a problem. (If there's an expert who can confirm or contradict this that would be great).

Stephen Hawking dies, aged 76

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

> You take an Obit and try to make it political.

What a strange reaction.

I don't think anyone was trying to make anything political; given Hawking's determined and enthusiastic support for the NHS it seems entirely appropriate to mention it in this context - I certainly don't think he or his family would disapprove.

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

I'd like to know which arseholes downvoted that.

Apple's new 'spaceship' HQ brings the pane for unobservant workers

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Just wondering

> I ... have no difficulty seeing and recognising glass when I encounter it.

How would you know? You might just be lucky.

10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10

Professor Clifton Shallot

I had a ZX80. It may have been inferior to the ZX81 (and indeed every other computer I've ever touched) but it looked terrific - sleek and futuristic.

The Cambrian Explosion of home computers round that time was really exciting - and while I appreciate that standardisation has allowed to get a lot of stuff done more easily, I do miss the wild diversity of that period.

Swiss see Telly Tax as a Big Plus, vote against scrapping it

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Good Value

>"Netflix subscription costs me less than £100 per year, that's approx 2/3 of the cost of the license fee"

Although you do also have to buy an internet connection to use your Netflix subscription - I'm sure you would buy one anyway, of course, but if the BBC could avoid its obligation to provide a universally accessible service it would be able to make some savings that might bring it slightly closer to the Netflix price.

The BBC has a lot of obligations that make it a poor candidate for successful market competition but arguably bring some social worth.

The lack of means testing and the really unpleasant Capita enforcement system definitely need attention though.

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Commercial TV is also a mandatory tax...

A very sound policy.

However the point here is that you are paying for the adverts whether you watch them or not.

And not just the adverts on the channels / networks you actually consume, but on all the others too.

Wearables are now a two-horse race and Google lost very badly

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Fitbit - lost the plot

I was very peeved when Pebble was swallowed up and effectively eliminated.

I'm currently trying a stupidly named ZeTime from the even more stupidly named MyKronoz and I have to say it has the balance about right - long battery life, waterproof, useful as a watch, with some notifications / fitness features.

Apple / Google seem to be treating smart watches like smart phones where the 'smart' part completely overwhelmed the phone (I don't know about anyone else but I make very few phone calls). I don't need my watch to be particularly smart - it's just for quick checks on the most relevant info, not for doing stuff.

UK.gov's Brexiteers warned not to push for divergence on data protection laws

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: @ Halcin

> "No, mostly remainers. The ones who want to be in the EU at all costs"

This is a matter of fact rather than debate, one's position on leaving the EU has no bearing - if we want to trade with the EU then we have to comply with their rules for trade. The 'at all costs' position is the refusal to comply even if it means losing the ability to trade.

As a punter GDPR looks like a good example of legislation that works in my favour in theory but is not something I'm ever likely to think about much. As a Data Processor it's a pain in the bum. On balance I'd probably rather it went away because I'm lazy (and complacent about how my data is used and abused, I guess).

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: BoJo's divergence priorities

Although Maggie got the UK into a the Single Market.

I don't know why Remainers don't make more of the fact that Brexit is tearing up Thatcher's legacy - it seems to me there's considerable overlap of the Brexit and Thatcherphile areas of the Venn diagram whose loyalty to the former might be tested.

It's been 50 years since those damn dirty apes took the planet by storm

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: The most recent Planet if the Apes was utter garbage

Ah, got you. Thanks.

On that note am I alone in thinking that the first Star Trek film was pretty good - I haven't watched it since I was a kid but I remember really enjoying the premise.

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: The most recent Planet if the Apes was utter garbage

"I really want a return to gritty passionate sci-fi as good as WoK, alien, Star Wars iv, silent runnings, moon, love, predator, gattaca etc."

I watched Silent Running for the first time in at least 20 years. Worth it, even if it's really not as good as I had (mis)remembered, with some over-caffeinated acting, and not enough story; the design is still terrific though.

What's WoK? (I'm prepared to be embarrassed at my brain fade here . . .)

Heart Internet outage... three days and counting

Professor Clifton Shallot


KVMhost69 - some kind of head alignment problem, I guess.

FYI: That Hawaii missile alert was no UI blunder. Someone really thought the islands were toast

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: I'd guess along the lines

>On the flip side - this is pretty much what drills are designed to iron out

Right. Which makes the idea that

"The decision to run a no-notice live drill on a shift change is also met with raised eyebrows. "

seem a bit daft. They had problems with their system that this drill uncovered - some of them sound like problems they might have predicted but still it's better to know about them than not.

Serverless: Should we be scared? Maybe. Is it a silly name? Possibly

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: It's not serverless it's 'server couldn't care less'

'Cloud' was in common use in my workplace in the 90's (and quite possibly before - I'm not as old as all that) well before it was being redefined, sprinkled with fairy dust, and sold back to our management.

It was the bit in a drawing where you stopped caring about the precise details - someone else's stuff (your network guys', a telecomms provider's, some sneakernet, whatever), represented by a cloud-shaped squiggle. You cared about the stuff going in and coming out but not about how it got from one end to the other - in fact remarkably like this 'serverless' idea now.

We all know we're being marketed at but that doesn't mean there's not a kernel of good stuff in this. I've worked in places where providing tools to people who knew what they wanted out of the data was really important - we did have developers but we didn't want them to have to be involved with things like "Do sales of product-x increase on the weekends following the mode pay date for for region-y? Is there any difference in the delta for men and women?" so they made the tools for the people who could formulate the questions.

Security will be a thing, but only the thing it always is; getting stuff done will be the driver and if this sort of setup helps get stuff done affordably then it will succeed.

Meltdown/Spectre fixes made AWS CPUs cry, says SolarWinds

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: I trust

Sadly the end result of this is likely to be Amazon spending a lot more money with Intel for new kit and passing the bill on to us.

A bit like the banking crisis, causing a massive screw-up doesn't preclude you from benefiting from it due to being the only people who understand and can sort out the mess.

Remember those holy tech wars we used to have? Heh, good times

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Floyd reference

And 'get your filthy hands of my desert'.

I love 'The Final Cut' but I'm aware that is not a sentiment universally shared.

PowerShell comes to MacOS and Linux. Oh and Windows too

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: PowerShell?

Yes, that's more or less how I see it.

Those of us raised with tools like grep find it awkward to work the way we are used to when we move to Powershell but once there are people brought up in that environment they'll find it equally clumsy should they be asked to move in the other direction ('What do you mean it just returns a single property from each object combined into a text stream? I want my objects!')

I don't know how useful it will be on my non-Windows systems but I'm certainly not going to rule it out just because it's Microsoft.

At Christmas, do you give peas a chance? Go cold turkey? What is the perfect festive feast?

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Goose

I'm a huge fan of goose but all the same turkey is (or at least can be) much better than it is getting credit for here.

Just as is the case for chicken you have to spend what seems an obscene amount to get a good one because the economic benefits of rubbish ones are huge but once you have splurged a bit you've got a high quality product that tastes of something, as is the case for all geese in my experience. If geese were subject to the same sort of farming methods I suspect you could produce something equally as insipid as the average turkey.

As well as the reduced cooking time that the higher end turkeys require, three things contribute hugely to the issue of dryness* protecting the breast meat (bacon over, butter under the skin is my preference, but some time cooked upside down is something I've seen done with good results), not stuffing the bird so that you get it cooked through before it dries out, and giving it a proper resting time so that it reabsorbs juices.

Roast spuds and parsnips are essential (not fussed about honey as parsnips are sweet anyway), as are sprouts. All other veg optional but I almost always have carrots, some roast onion and garlic, mashed and / or boiled spuds, some red cabbage, and something else green for sproutophobes.

Cranberry sauce or redcurrant, not bothered which, bread sauce, mustard, and gravy.

Christmas pudding (on fire at some point), brandy or rum butter, cream, and custard. Ice cream if there's some around, ditto any other pudding-friendly dairy product (I have family in Normandy so Isigny creme fraiche usually arrives).

Cheese (all the cheese - a full-on England v France cheese-off), chutney and token salad leaves before (French style) and after (British style) pudding and at all points from then on anyone feels they have any interior space that doesn't need filling with cake (fed with at least one bottle of spirits over the course of maturation), mince pies (my mum's no no one's), or chocolate ("Quality" Street, or whatever gets gifted).

Fizz (with or without orange juice, blackcurrant liqueur etc) to start, lots of red wine with the roast, preposterous dessert wines with pudding, whiskey, whisky, Armagnac/Cognac, sherry, coffee, more red wine etc from then on

All of this commencing some time after 14:00 with some manner of keeping wolves from doors prior to that (my folks like foie gras which my mum does make very well, and which does justify another addition to the wine list to accompany it so . . .).

Crackers with silly hats and jokes also required.

Obviously all of this is subject to change if something blows up or burns down or if someone has a good idea or it turns out everyone though someone else was taking care of some part of other of proceedings.

Proper eating starts on Boxing day when leftovers are rolled out along with a ham, and people can get on with bubble & squeak, ridiculous sandwiches, slices of cold gravy etc

*I actually like a bit of dryness to the meat - it works better in sandwiches and justifies what might otherwise be considered an undignified amount of gravy

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Rabbit

Rabbit's great if treated right - not much flavour of its own so it can handle a strong sauce with something like juniper (is this enough of an IT angle?).

Eat it like a small game bird (is this enough of a Carry On angle?) being prepared for lots of bones and possibly some shot.

Still, Christmas meat? Not for me Clive. And none of that vinegar neither.

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Follow that star (trek)

> What the previous generation would have considered undercooking

> is the secret to palatable sprouts. And indeed most veg.

Worth repeating!

Sloppy coding + huge PSD2 changes = Lots of late nights for banking devs next year

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Poorly written code is not down to the language *cough* PHP *cough* but the developer

I agree but Microsoft go to great lengths to provide good tools to allow bad developers to get more bad work done.

Prosecute driverless car devs for software snafus, say Brit cyclists

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Hmm

" if you know that an AV will emergency stop if you step out in front of it will everyone just wander into the road whenever they feel like it?"

I wouldn't, and I doubt most people would want to take that much risk, but I can certainly see kids pranking the safety systems of cars by hopping in and out of the road.

Mm, sacrilicious: Greggs advent calendar features sausage roll in a manger

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: “Pie love thee, Lord Jesus”

Crust Almighty.

Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

Professor Clifton Shallot

Re: Great idea, pity

>The problem is the "complete dependency on the state"

Given that most people would want more than the UBI I'm not sure how many would be completely dependent on the state and I'm not sure it would be too much of a problem for democracy if they were.

It would be difficult for a party that wanted to abolish it to be elected unless it was detrimental to more people than it helped but that would just mean those standing for election would have to differentiate themselves in other ways - the arguments about how best to run an economy would not change particularly.

If you consider UBI as dividends on shares in UK plc to which all citizens are entitled then all will still want the country to do well and most will seek to take advantage on the extra opportunities it offers.

If you set the UBI fund apart from government with established rules for distribution and a ring-fenced proportion of GDP then it doesn't offer much scope for subversion of democracy as we know it - certainly less than the NHS currently does.

KFC turns Japanese bath tubs into party buckets

Professor Clifton Shallot

KFC's twitter account

Follows the five former Spice Girls and six chaps called "Herb".

So there is a thing that I like about that company.

These bath bombs do not make that two things.