* Posts by MatthewSt

248 posts • joined 12 Jun 2013


Whoops, our bad, we just may have 'accidentally' left Google Home devices recording your every word, sound, sorry

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Really?

It's "may" as opposed to "has" in the same way that outages affect "some" and not "all".

Virgin Media CEO says Brit broadband biz 'performed well' in Q2, which is a weird way to say losses almost tripled

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Usage may be down, yes, but I would imagine revenue is mostly covered by people having plans so unless they're cancelling or reducing them I can't see it being that different

Cloudflare's new serverless platform lets its Workers run for 15 minutes before giving them the boot

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: "Ninety per cent of the savings"

90% of the risk is more likely to come from available capacity rather than security I'd bet. One of the disadvantages of "only pay for what you use" for the provider is "only get paid for what gets used". To break even on these you have to massively over subscribe them and hope that it all balances out and people don't all want it at the same time.

That's why the likes of Azure and Amazon offer significant discounts for long term commitments and off peak usage.

It's mostly worked so far, and Cloudflare seem competent enough with everything else they do for them to get this right.

UK govt finds £200,000 under sofa to kick off research into improving mobile connectivity on nation's crap railways

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Do it themselves?

4G in the underground looks like the cables are a lot smaller, but requires repeaters every 15km (which may not be practical). Alternatively, there was this earlier in the year: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-51652934. Combine it with 4G mobile masts at the doorway of tunnels (that the tech on the train can handover to) and you could get full coverage

Maybe the crappy latency will get people to reconsider how chatty some apps and websites need to be!

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Do it themselves?

Maybe they could use some of the comms infrastructure they have already... https://www.ft.com/content/173b6c06-f1da-11e5-aff5-19b4e253664a

If they've worked out a way to give you a 3G signal all the way through the channel tunnel through leaky feeders, I can't see what's blocking progress here, apart from not wanting to spend any money!

Bill Gates debunks 'coronavirus vaccine is my 5G mind control microchip implant' conspiracy theory

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Correct, but most of what people think "the flu" is is actually the body's immune response to the virus rather than the virus itself, so while you won't get the flu, you may have a number of (dialled down) symptoms.

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Well of course he's going to deny it. It's only in the films that the evil genius confesses his plan well ahead of time when there's still enough of an opportunity to stop it. Not to mention, if he wanted to implant his 5G mind controlling chips in people he could just take a leaf out of Samuel L Jackson's book in Kingsman, and just give away free internet to everyone as a ruse.

Seriously though, I'm not quite sure a conspiracy theory can be "debunked" just by the guy that the conspiracy theory is about claiming that it's not true, as it would be a pretty straightforward process otherwise.

Microsoft wants to show enterprises that Edge means business, rather than the thing you use to download Chrome

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: New Edge = Chrome with Office 365 login

Bitwarden is a good alternative to a LastPass subscription. Supports single sign on with Azure AD

What evil lurks within the data centre, and why is it DDoS-ing the ever-loving pants off us?

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Football team web site throttles business

Yes, because if there's one thing I've learnt as a dev, it's that users can be trusted to use anything you've written correctly! What's the point of having tabbed browsing if, as a user, I'm meant to close them as soon as I flick to another page?

With a few rare exceptions, it's not the user's fault for how they use your website.

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Why is the IT manager deploying HA Proxy?

If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing right!

I'd be worried if my IT manager didn't at least know how to spin stuff up, even if they delegated it most of the time.

Microsoft quietly extends Azure reserved instances to five-year term

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Re: Ms is acting more and more like a [redacted] [redacted]

It's more to stop people abusing the longer "leases". On a 3 year deal you "save" nearly £980 per month. After 4 months the amount you've saved is greater than the termination fee for the remaining contract (so a 3 year deal that you cancel after 4 months is better than being on no deal at all). The break even point compared to the 1 year deal is about 7 months.

If they kept the existing 12% cancellation fee, the break even point for the 5 year deal would stay at month 4, whereas the 35% fee means it's month 9.

Yes the exporting bandwidth fees are high, but there are ways round that too. If you can pipe it out via OneDrive you don't pay fees (because OneDrive is _in_ Azure so doesn't cost your system egress bandwidth), or if you can pipe it out through CloudFlare something similar applies (as they have a "Bandwidth Alliance")

Finally, made it to the weekend, time to breathe, relax, and... Cloudflare's taken down a chunk of the web

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: DNS is supposed to be decentralised

"The outage occurred because, while working on an unrelated issue with a segment of the backbone from Newark to Chicago, our network engineering team updated the configuration on a router in Atlanta to alleviate congestion" - says https://blog.cloudflare.com/cloudflare-outage-on-july-17-2020/. The word "routine" doesn't appear in the whole post

MatthewSt Bronze badge

They're not usually: The problem was that the configuration change they (accidentally) made meant that all of a sudden they were.

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: DNS is supposed to be decentralised

Readonly Friday? They were fixing a problematic link. Should they have left that link in a problematic state until Monday 'just in case' they broke something else?

Here's why your Samsung Blu-ray player bricked itself: It downloaded an XML config file that broke the firmware

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Thanks Gray!

Last I checked, things like Chromecasts already hardcode DNS details so don't get stopped by Pi-holes. I wouldn't be surprised if they now use DoH

Twitter admits 130 A-lister accounts compromised to promote Bitcoin scam after 'social engineering' attack

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Bitcoin is for bats?

Mozilla unveils $4.99/month subscription-based VPN, says it won't hang onto user logs

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Re: Bad timing, sigh

That's all well and good but then all of your traffic can still be tracked and tied back to you with a public IP address. Using a shared VPN service means that your traffic gets combined with others.

(not to mention that if you're doing it to save money, your argument only makes sense if the amount of time you will spend configuring OpenVPN is worth less to you than $2/month)

GitHub is just like all of us: The week has just started but it needed 4 whole hours of downtime

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: "Microsoft-owned company"

Yes, maybe they should have stayed independent, because they never had outages then. Or maybe they should host on AWS as Amazon never have outages. What about Google Cloud? They never go down either. So many indestructible options to choose from!

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Eggs and Baskets

Or you could go fully distributed - https://www.ctrl.blog/entry/git-p2p-compared.html

Microsoft to pull support for PHP: Version 8? Exterminate, more like...

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: What???

Given that O365 doesn't have a website component it won't count towards the numbers.

What might be interesting (although probably just a rounding error) is how many Windows sites are reverse proxied through Cloudflare, as depending on what they use to identify server types it may not be correct

MatthewSt Bronze badge


I don't agree with all of the points, but this is a good start: https://www.pixelstech.net/article/1334166417-PHP%3A-a-fractal-of-bad-design

MatthewSt Bronze badge


You could always run it on .NET - https://www.peachpie.io/

Digicert will shovel some 50,000 EV HTTPS certificates into the furnace this Saturday after audit bungle

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Let's Encrypt

Digicert EV certificates come with a $1.75m warranty, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of claims come out of this

The reluctant log trawler: The buck stops with the back-end

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: 16bit

Some customers in the past have found that their bill is inversely proportional to how grateful they were

Never mind rail and ports, let's help DPD... and, er, Amazon: UK gov and ESA call for ways to slap logistics with 5G stick

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: For those of us on the wrong side of the pond...

Deutscher Paket Dienst operates in more countries than the UK...

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It would appear I did. Might be time to get some new specs

MatthewSt Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

An article about 5G without mentioning Coronavirus? Are you mad? Or are you part of the conspiracy too?

Another anti-immigrant rant goes viral in America – and this time it's by a British, er, immigrant tech CEO

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: I'm prepared for the down votes

So it's OK to be racist if they were racist first?

LibreOffice community protests at promotion of paid-for editions, board says: 'LibreOffice will always be free software'

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But the plans were on display...

... in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.

Utilitarian, long-bodied Nokia 5.3 has budget basic specs - but it does cost £150

MatthewSt Bronze badge

It's passive on one side yes, but when NFC is enabled on a phone it's constantly looking for devices that are also passive (or at least it used to be). Mine always used to ping when a credit card or a passport was within reach.

Barclays Bank appeared to be using the Wayback Machine as a 'CDN' for some Javascript

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Liability

I agree with you from a moral perspective (and the image example is nice and straightforward) but to take it a step further: if you were to show an inappropriate image, as much as it would be appearing on Barclay's website they are not actually the ones distributing it, the user's browser would be talking directly to your webserver.

If you are collecting data, isn't it the legal responsibility (GDPR and all that) of the organisation collecting the data to make sure they're only collecting what they should be? Yes Barclay's would be in breach of it by directing user traffic to you in the first place, but would that be enough of an excuse for you to not also be "in the wrong"?

MatthewSt Bronze badge


Genuinely curious about the answer to this question, but let's say someone hot-links to a file on your site, and you change the file to do something that users of your site have consented to, but hot-linked site have not, eg generically logging form data and keeping it for 30 days.

Are you liable for what happens to the data of the visitors of the other site?

Brit MPs vote down bid to delay IR35 reforms, press ahead with new tax rules for private-sector contractors

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: NHS Public Sector Roll Out

"Think is legal" is the bit that people seem to get confused with though. It's more a case of "think they can get away with".

What you've described is most definitely tax avoidance, but it's perfectly legal (unlike the loan charge, which is tax evasion). You're changing your business (and how you serve customers) in response to the climate that you're in. You're not making a change that _only_ affects the amount of tax you pay, and you're not using some a scheme involving an elaborate set up of different companies and issuing loans which are designed never to be paid back. Sure the government could introduce a tax on online purchases, but it wouldn't be applied retrospectively, because selling stuff online is not a loophole that you're exploiting. You'll need to come up with an example that doesn't involve a change of business strategy, but I doubt there are any that don't look like scams or loopholes (because anything they could change, such as what mileage is permitted to claim back or company vehicles, other expenses etc is all explicitly permitted rather than "try it and see").

I can't accept the argument that people who subscribed to these schemes did so in the belief that it was a perfectly legitimate way of avoiding paying tax.

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: NHS Public Sector Roll Out

I'm not sure where I stand on the loan charge (don't know enough about it to have an informed opinion) but it sets an interesting precedent to reduce the amount of whack-a-mole that HMRC have to play.

Effectively what they've done is indicated that if you are using any tax avoidance scheme you won't get any time to tidy up your affairs or warnings to stop using it. It'll hopefully make people think twice before going for any kind of loophole.

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Contractors already pay more tax

They weren't forgotten, they were out of scope of the claim which was "I pay more tax than if I was an employee".

That being said, if you reckon that your additional costs (insurance, gaps in work etc) minus your additional benefits (all the expenses you can claim) mean you are better off being an employee then I stand by my original point that you need a better accountant. If it's not a better deal for you then why are you defending it?

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Contractors already pay more tax

Glad you asked :)

Even though as a contractor you now owe the VAT man £15k more than you did before, the company that is paying you now owes £15k less VAT than before, as each VAT registered company only pays the difference between the VAT it charges and the VAT it gets charged. In summary, HMRC isn't any worse off now that you're no longer charging VAT (In fact, they're probably better off, because you as an employee are no longer claiming VAT back on things you buy "for work")

I agree about your point about contractors not being long term roles, and I do believe that they should be compensated accordingly. In theory (different from reality I know) IR35 isn't meant to affect those roles.

The offshoring comment doesn't make sense. Surely offshoring is already "cheaper" than contractors?

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Contractors already pay more tax

If you're paying more tax as a contractor than you would as en employee then you're obviously doing this whole contracting thing wrong and should get a new accountant.

On a 50k salary, you cost the company £55,687.26 and take home £37,641.80. If I was a 50k contractor, I'd be costing the company £50,000, paying myself a salary of £8,784 (no tax or NI required) and the rest (after corporation tax) in dividends. 19% corporation tax takes off £7831.04. First £5,716 of dividends is tax free (£2,000 allowance plus remainder of tax free allowance), remaining £30,996.24 at 7.5%. So my take home pay after all that would be £43,143.77.

So I would be paying £5,501.97 less tax, and the company I'm working for would be paying £5,687.26 less tax.

Microsoft sees the world has moved on, cranks OneDrive file size upload limit from 15GB to more useful 100GB

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: It's Microsoft, how long can this last...?

OneDrive has started using Azure as it's back-end for file storage, and as that has just announced preview support for 200TB files, it should be fairly safe!

Hats off to the brave 7%ers who dived into the Windows 10 May 2020 Update within a month of release

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Latest Image

A "Reset" in the latest version is up to date out of the box, and the ISOs that MSDN subscribers can download is updated every month

Working from home on Virgin Media's broadband? Too bad. Outage hits English capital

MatthewSt Bronze badge


Don't know what you're talking about! OFCom have introduced automatic compensation of £8 per day if your connection remains offline for 2 consecutive days... Surely you can't want more than that?


Wired: China's Beidou satnav system, 35th bird in orbit. Tired: America's GPS. Expired: Britain's dreams of its own

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: And next: commercial positioning

My (very rough) understanding is that they probably will, as all they need is a very accurate clock (to 40ns) and to know where they are. That and the ability to broadcast both of those things. The rest is just maths calculated by the receiver

Sure is wild that Apple, Google app store monopolies are way worse than what Windows got up to, sniffs Microsoft prez

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Why does Apple not take 30% of O365 subs?

Office applications and OneDrive have a free tier, so the apps can legitimately be used for free.

The one we should be comparing it to is Netflix

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: No I am not salty about Windows for Phones dying, why are you asking?

You don't buy the certs from Microsoft

Microsoft snubs Service Fabric as it plots to switch Teams infrastructure to Kubernetes

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Amazing

At risk of being informed (as opposed to just going along with what has been written and possibly mis-spoken) the read receipts are not an animation but a static indicator. It wasn't disabling an animation that saved them a load of server processing power, but the processing and transmission of read receipt information.

Same goes for the typing indicator. It may be an animation client side, but server side it's just a message going backwards and forwards. To be accurate it has to effectively poll (because you either need to say "user is still typing" or "user has stopped typing") so that's 1 message to receive and then relay back out to another.

They're both useful pieces of information, and we missed them a lot when they were disabled

HTC breaks with tradition to push out 2 phones someone might actually want to buy

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: The real question...

How else are they going to watch those YouTube videos...!

Wow, Microsoft's Windows 10 always runs Edge on startup? What could cause that? So strange, tut-tuts Microsoft

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Hint: Aren't they both one line?


Don't like Mondays? Neither does Microsoft 364's Outlook Exchange Online service

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Re: Exchange On Prem

Precisely. For £500 per year we can get an email system and document system with 1TB storage per user for a company of 10.

If anyone can beat that price for an on-premise system I'd be interested to know. We don't need 100% uptime, and to be honest we'd probably settle for 99%. Bear in mind though, that your fee for fixing it in the 7 hours per month that it can be down needs to be covered by your quote. We're not paying for you to fix it!

In Hancock's half-hour, Dido Harding offers hollow laughs: Cake distracts test-and-trace boss at UK COVID-19 briefing

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Thick Of It?

Life imitating art


'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails

MatthewSt Bronze badge

Re: Out of Office...

By design - https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/exchange-team-blog/dude-where-s-my-single-instance/ba-p/595267

As UK Parliament heads back to in-person voting, select committees are told they can continue working via Zoom

MatthewSt Bronze badge


It's nice to know that the same people who think it's possible to get 5 year olds to respect social distancing without teacher intervention are also willing to go back to sitting in close proximity to each other.

It would be even nicer still if they carried on with some of the efficiencies that the technology has given them



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