* Posts by Warm Braw

3265 posts • joined 6 Sep 2013

Tropical island paradise ponders tax-free 'Digital Nomad Visa'

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Recipe for resentment?

As it happens, I recently met a group of tech people on a European holiday island with similar ideas - though with a "low tax" rather than a "no tax" offer. I think it's fair to say there was some disquiet amongst the locals that the "nomads" were pushing up the cost of housing while contributing less than a succession of tourists (you're not going to revisit the same attractions every fortnight) to the general economy and nothing at all to the development of a local tech economy as they were entirely divorced from it working for remote clients/employers. Which of course the locals could do equally as well, but would suffer a much higher tax burden for their identical effort.

Ultimately it's the same mistake the UK has made with non-doms: there's not much point in welcoming wealthy people into your country unless you tax them. Otherwise all you get is asset price inflation and nothing to compensate for it.

Big Tech silent on data privacy in post-Roe America

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Re: Democracy

The trouble in a number of states is the extent to which gerrymandering has made voting almost futile.

Trouble hiring? Consider loosening your remote work policy

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It's not just about place, it's also about time. I think in the last couple of years people have realised that their time is far more valuable than most jobs are ever likely to pay them for and they're really not going to go back to commuting - paying their own money for the theft of their time - or to work significantly more than is needed to sustain themselves and their families.

I think that realisation will survive the current economic turmoil and I don't really see any enthusiasm (outside Dacre Acres) for a return to the status quo ante.

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Re: Yes, But

How about paying better wages?

I suspect if many of the projects for which people are being hired had been subject to a rigorous financial analysis they'd have been strangled at birth. Calling for economic logic is a two-edged sword in a business that's often driven by a copycat imperative.

Amazon can't channel the dead, but its deepfake voices take a close second

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The saviour of TalkTV?

Teach it Piers Morgan's voice and hook it up to Twitter's "trending" feed and Murdoch might turn a profit.

TypeScript joins 5 most used languages in 2022 lineup

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Apparently...

92% of respondents were male

Only 11% were over 45

47% described themselves as "full stack" developers

Systems Administrators and Project Managers have around 4 more years coding experience than developers

The once ubiquitous perl is languishing at 2%

APL still exists and is only slightly less popular than COBOL and FORTRAN

Just to pluck a few results at random. I'm sure this says a lot about Stack Overflow users, less sure how to extrapolate to the industry as a whole.

UK govt considers invoking national security in Arm IPO saga

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Re: Fish and Chips

Why not build an economy where the business could thrive

Without commenting on your specific recipe, there is increasing concern amongst the grown-ups that Britain has abandoned any pretence of having a strategy on anything: the economy, food, transport, energy, health, education are all being left to rot and they only get any attention if they can be exploited to highlight a "wedge" issue that will merit a Daily Mail headline. There is simply no will to engage with reality.

Add to that the constant threats to overthrow agreed trading relationships and the pernicious effect is a stark decline in investment in the UK because the business environment is chaotically unstable.

The country (after all it voted multiple times for this outcome) has deliberately created an economy in which business cannot thrive and neither of the two principal political parties are prepared to acknowledge this. Until they do, we'll see increasingly desperate attempts at distraction that will simply make things worse.

GitHub's AI code assistant Copilot takes flight. And that'll be $10 a month, please

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It's probably marginally preferable to "pair programming". In that you're unlikely to have to justify the actual breaking of fingers to HR.

Yodel becomes the latest victim of a cyber 'incident'

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Our Customer Service team are currently unavailable

Does that mean the problem has been fixed?

If Twitter forgets your timeline preference, and you're using Safari, this is why

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Re: Ermmm...

There are a couple of news-related things I occasionally browse on Twitter, but I don't have an account and all persistent cookies are disabled in my browser as is browsing history.

But Twitter still seems to have an approximate memory of the last time I looked at some stuff and automatically scrolls to roughly that point in the user's timeline - though only for some users and not others. So, unless it's a bug, I guess there may be some sort of fingerprinting going on, at least some of the time, that doesn't depend on cookies or other local storage.

Leave that sentient AI alone a mo and fix those racist chatbots first

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Re: They absorb any old shit you feed into them

I think many people have missed the point about the Turing test. Its job is not to distinguish between humans and AI, it's to assess whether a machine can pass as human in they eyes of other humans.

The reason it fails miserably to identify AI is that humans apparently set a very low bar on sentience - which does explain rather a lot.

Mind, if this column hadn't come out this morning, I wouldn't even have known it was the weekend. Now I suppose I need to decide what to do with it. Sorry, is my inner monologue showing? Can someone do a reset?

Warm Braw Silver badge

They absorb any old shit you feed into them

Probably the most efficient way to pass the Turing test.

Cookie consent crumbles under fresh UK data law proposals

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Re: Straightforward solution

This doesn't mean that somewhere must be a cookie

Cookies are just local state. They are the only local state that all browsers offer, so I'm not sure where else a web developer, regardless of talent or work ethic, might think to store this data. You can easily turn off the persistent storage of local state in your browser and that should perhaps be the default, but that's not within the control of the web developer.

Any other local state would have exactly the same issues - you don't solve the problem by changing its name.

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Re: Straightforward solution

Any web site that cannot work without cookies is fundamentally broken

If you have a website that uses some combination of identification, authentication and authorisation, you need somewhere to store the token(s) that represent your present authentication status and level of access. You can of course encode that in a URL, but it makes bookmarking a bit of a pain and it simply turns your browsing history into a cookie jar by another name.

The real issue is with cookies belonging to a domain other than the page origin and, whereas it might be attractive to block them completely, as long as you accept the need for websites to have multiple IP addresses (load balancing, redundancy, CDNs...) there will always be DNS games you can play to at least partially circumvent the block.

SpaceX reportedly fires staffers behind open letter criticising Elon Musk

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We care deeply about SpaceX's mission to make humanity multiplanetary

Couldn't they simply have been offered a transfer to Ark B?

Airbus flies new passenger airplane aimed at 'long, thin' routes

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Re: Why

The real issue is how wide the body next to you is...

The Concorde interior was tiny, though you didn't have to spend much time in it.

Musk can't tweet about Tesla without lawyer approval – and he's still fighting to end that

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Re: Potentially an interesting legal case

shocking that criminals don't obey laws

I know. The answer is obviously to get rid of laws altogether and have everyone defend their personal interests with whatever weaponry they can assemble.

Telegram criticizes Apple for 'intentionally crippling' web app features on iOS

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There seem to be three separate significant issues.

The first is that the web experience is degraded (for whatever reason) and you can't replace it.

The second is that you can't build any other app that dynamically loads its executable content, so you couldn't, for example, create a portable app format other than HTML/Javascript to get around the ban on web engines.

These seem to be a necessary precursor to the third: the app store and its price-gouging ways. It's not by accident that native apps are "preferred".

Google engineer suspended for violating confidentiality policies over 'sentient' AI

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According to the engineer...

its emotions are part of who it is.

I hope his successors know the rule about not ending a sentience with a proposition.

OMIGOD: Cloud providers still using secret middleware

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Re: "they also add new potential attack surfaces"

the bill at the end of the month

While there's been a lot of concern about security, that's the one that doesn't get discussed enough. None of the cloud providers - as far as I can tell - will do anything more than make an effort to warn you if you exceed a budget you define in terms of multiple obscure parameters.

I'm not aware of any targeted "Denial of Money" attacks, but a hostile party could soon cause a substantial bill. It's simply not good enough that a user's only defence is to be on alert 24x7 in perpetuity.

Record players make comeback with Ikea, others pitching tricked-out turntables

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Re: That vinyl sound

Why do all of the audiophiles agree that the vinyl sound is better?

There is a long history of audiophiles agreeing that CDs sounded much better than vinyl, followed by a long history of audiophiles arguing about which DACs sounded better still, culminating (presently) in their agreement that compressed, hissy sound from vinyl sounds wonderful, provided it's digitised and played back through some bluetooth speaker with a frequency response curve like a bathtub.

See also instant film vs. digital imaging.

It's the same process that brought you the mullet and clackers.

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Re: Digital transmission?

harsh sybillant sounds

Bassssssil?

'Red-rated' legacy IT gets refresh in UK as US battles theirs with bills

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Re: "Digital Boot Camps"

I once met a group of Treasury "high flyers" - the supposed crème de la crème of the civil service intake - on one of their "meet the plebs" induction activities. At the time the government was about to offer significant tax incentives to small limited companies. They were stupefied when I said that in the event of that happening, I would convert from sole trader status and incorporate - they simply hadn't considered that people they were not targeting might be motivated to pursue their free money. In the less rarefied Whitehall departments I'm sure the lack of critical thinking is even more pervasive.

They were all academically bright, but they had been recruited as much for their top-down view of the world as for their intelligence. The problem is that once they find out how the world actually works, they move to the private sector and use their knowledge of the civil service to profit handsomely.

However, I still think the majority of the blame lies with politicians who continue to will political ends without any thought as to the means, the cost of which will largely be borne long after they have left office.

Warning: Colleagues are unusually likely to 'break' their monitors soon

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Re: A screen is a screen is a screen

won't fall into obsolescence before its components die

The only failing in this scenario, from the manufacturer's point of view, is that they could have saved some money on less durable components.

HP pilots paper delivery service for Instant Ink subscribers

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Re: HP PaaS

Their costs would be significantly lower as they wouldn't have to bother making the ink-subsidised printers and they could charge more. Don't give them ideas.

Microsoft trumpets updated HR-friendly policies (that comply with recently changed laws)

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Re: "we do not endorse the use of such provisions as a retention tool“

When I worked for TfL, new recruits were subject to a day of painfully-formulaic diversity and inclusiveness "awareness", emphasizing the organization's commitment to combating all forms of discrimination.

Shortly afterwards, they were obliged to amend their employment contract terms because they were in conflict with new age-discrimination laws.

Employment contracts emerge from law firms with the intention of ensuring the rights of their clients (the employer) are restricted no more than is strictly necessary and their liabilities minimized. What company official in a large organization is going to put their head above the parapet and suggest a unilateral change that might increase the company's costs - especially relative to their competitors?

This is why meaningful employment rights have to come from legislation.

Google has more reasons why it doesn't like antitrust law that affects Google

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Bad actors

Perish the thought that some international megacorporation might find a way to monetise the destruction of your privacy.

I love the Linux desktop, but that doesn't mean I don't see its problems all too well

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Re: Computing smarts in the cloud

I see a lot of people for whom their mobile phone (or, less frequently, iPad) is their only form of computing. They have no need of a desktop because they have no need of the applications that would typically run there.

If they have a PC it's for gaming or for the kids to do their homework.

It seems to me at least possible that the Linux desktop will persist longer than the Windows desktop simply because "desktop" stops being a requirement for the average consumer - or indeed the average desk drone.

GitLab spots huge opportunity for DevOps platform as revenue soars

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All companies are becoming software-driven businesses

Software may be increasingly important for customer communications, planning and scheduling, training and billing, but the idea that all companies will have software developers if as fanciful as saying all businesses once had their own telegraph or bank.

Businesses have always depended on third parties to provide goods and service and will continue to do so. There aren't and will never be sufficient software developers for them to be embedded in every business and business would collapse completely if that were the only option.

Not to mention that "modern software development practices" seem to involve learning domain-specific languages to specify perfunctory tests for interim software written in a different language that fail to exercise the repeatability or reliability of solutions in real-world conditions.

But apart from that...

Tough news for Apple as EU makes USB-C common charging port for most electronic devices

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Re: The BS 546 Brexit connector next

Only if the device supports fast charging.

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Re: The BS 546 Brexit connector next

you will connect up your own device

Don't you have a butler to sort these things out for you? I'm sure a selenium rectifier connected to the mains and a few series-connected scullery maids would serve as a below-stairs charger.

IETF publishes HTTP/3 RFC to take the web from TCP to UDP

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Re: Optimisation...

The issue is that one size may not fit all. The way TCP works may be useful for the average application, but it works against specific applications, particularly real-time media streaming.

There are already other application-coupled transport protocols which have significant deployment (SRT and RTP spring to mind) and there have been various other protocols that had some of the features of QUIC (SCTP and SST, for example).

It's an interesting subject for debate at what point any of these become sufficiently mature and ubiquitous that it deserves a stack of its own.

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Re: TCP needs a few back-and-forths

It shouldn't in principle - it depends on the implementation of course but, for example, there's a difference between SOCK_DGRAM and SOCK_RAW.

QUIC, however, is intended to cope with handover from, say, a mobile data connection to a WiFi connection and uses a separate source identifier to the IP address so that the (QUIC) connection can persist even as the source IP address changes as the underlying interface changes.

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Re: TCP needs a few back-and-forths

The difference is that a (single) persistent connection can only retrieve resources serially whereas QUIC allows many to be retrieved in parallel - in theory with less overhead than multiple TCP connections.

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TCP needs a few back-and-forths

And TLS needs some more. The main gains in QUIC come from merging and streamlining the transport and security layers and from the ability to multiplex multiple data streams within one "connection".

The biggest benefits will come when retrieving "pages" that have lots of distinct elements coming from the same source.

TCP implementations are usually outside user space, which gives the OS some control over the fair scheduling of resources. QUIC implementations are currently mostly part of the application (in this case the browser) and it will be interesting to see how well-behaved they are if they find wider uses.

Tech hiring freeze doesn't mean people won't leave

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The good big companies are overstaffed by 2x.

Don't know if he actually said it as the linked page gives a 403 error.

However, simplistic platitudes, even if they potentially have a kernel of truth, are of no real help. Why do these companies have twice the staff they "need"? What is it they're doing that is "unnecessary"? Google has whole swathes of people doing stuff that's never significantly going to affect their top line (i.e. unnecessary) and they encourage them to take time out from the unnecessary stuff they're supposed to be working on to work on stuff that's even more unnecessary. Unless you have a magic solution to identifying the potential value a priori, there's not much point complaining about it.

It's rather like that old nostrum about advertising spend - half of it is wasted, but noone can figure out which half. I suspect a similar rule of thumb applies to speculative enterprise in general. I'm sure Andreessen can afford it, however much he might complain.

Elon Musk orders Tesla execs back to the office

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Re: Tesla obviously don't use workday

holiday days left

That's another concept that's looking a bit long in the tooth. Can't wait to see the memo on flexible working.

UK opens up 'high-potential individual route' for tech worker immigration

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Would they then qualify only as bright sparks?

France levels up local video game slang with list of French terms to replace foreign words

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Re: "French guy here"

English guy here: see also "le parking" and, more bizarrely, "le brushing".

They're applying the strict rules of (Latin) grammar and using the gerund to form a noun, even where the original language does not.

Less easy to explain "en suite" and "double entendre" which, AFAIK, are unknown in French.

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The interesting thing is that while "official" French increasingly resembles an unopened Hammer Horror crypt, festooned with dust and cobwebs, your actual French (to borrow a phrase) is rather more inventive, especially amongst the younger people in the técis, which no doubt leaves their ramps somewhat vénères.

France is by no means the only country to have an official body that determines linguistic orthodoxy - it's actually quite common. In most cases, though, their main function is to keep the official version in line with current practice - which ensures everyone a perpetual job as all languages change over time. It does seem that the French - and more particularly the Quebecois - have a particular missionary zeal in their endeavours.

IBM ends funding for employee retirement clubs

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Retired Employee Clubs

I just assumed from the headline they were no longer allowed to use them to cull their pensioner population.

Health and Safety gone mad.

Perl Steering Council lays out a backwards compatible future for Perl 7

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What happened to Perl 7?

Perhaps the new incarnation should be renamed swine and the previous versions maintained as they are - perls before swine, if you will.

Original killer PC spreadsheet Lotus 1-2-3 now runs on Linux natively

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Re: Word Star

There was a 20mA option for the VT-100, too, and it was a standard feature of the VT-220 [PDF] but not available, AFAIK, subsequently.

How to explain what an API is – and why they matter

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Beware the wolf in sheep's clothing.

APIs are hardly new. Early computer systems had "layered products" - teleprocessing monitors and database systems for example - that allowed "companies to access functionality supplied by others". Everyone who has used an e-mail client has used an API. HTTP is an API itself. Nothing revolutionary in principle to see here.

Arguably, the least important thing about the Google Maps API was the API. Mapping applications existed before Google Maps: what stopped them being more widespread was the cost of licensing the maps. What stopped the applications being interchangeable between different geographical regions was the subtly different projections used by different mapping organisations. Google Maps only enabled "a whole host of innovations" because Google sucked up the cost of mapping the globe and produced a global mapping resource using the same co-ordinate system which it allowed people to use at no cost. The API is simply noise compared with the economic transformation - except that it's the mechanism by which Google retains control over its investment.

And that's the key thing about the new API economy - you hand over your data and possibly also a payment and get some service in return. But you lose control of your data in the process. While many of these service providers may be benign, they're going to find out a lot about you and your competitors and that could put them in a position of significant power. And, of course, the more third-party APIs you're using the more vulnerable your business is to a technical or financial failure of any one of them - and you're on the hook for future price hikes unless you're prepared to go through the pain of regular service migrations.

And as soon as anyone can build a solution by plugging together a few building blocks there's no intrinsic value in it, it's simply a race to the lowest margin.

As for the car analogy, well, all those standard parts have led to just 14 manufacturers dominating the world's automotive industry. So maybe it's all down to money after all.

Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says

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Re: Let's pass a new law

Indeed.

Failed gambler? How about an algorithm that predicts the future

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I was always taught a fresh cup of really hot tea offered better prospects, though I've never been able to afford the finite improbability generator.

Banks talk big cloud game but few have migrated over 30% of apps

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Re: Or just maybe you have to ask

If only that were the case and we didn't have myriad examples of failed or duplicated payments, systems being unavailable for days and general precariousness. Most legacy bank systems are cobbled together from multiple layers of technologies of different vintages and, often, with only distant memories of design criteria.

That's not to say that I'm advocating for the cloud - the old systems are fragile enough as it is and probably wouldn't survive the transition given all their undocumented quirks.

The "fintech disrupters" are the ones that have, quite reasonably, embraced the cloud as it means they don't need the legacy infrastructure and can scale relatively painlessly. However, as soon as they have their own technology legacy to deal with they're going to be trapped in exactly the same way. I'm not sure many of them have sufficient of a business model to ever get to that point, mind, but that's another story.

Microsoft-backed robovans to deliver grub in London

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Learned to obey traffic laws ... like a person.

I suppose it's one way of reducing the computational overhead.

Though I can't help feeling that with the growing obesity epidemic, they'd be better off training small vehicles to shepherd unwilling couch potatoes to fetch their own shopping.

Red Hat Kubernetes security report finds people are the problem

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We lack internal talent to use it to its full potential

Just about every job advertisement I see presently for anything even vaguely related to development is demanding knowledge of "Docker/Kubernetes". Conflating the two is perhaps still excusable, but I'm not sure it's a great idea to expect your developers also to cover deployment as a side hustle.

It is complex (perhaps unnecessarily so) and it needs not only knowledge and experience but also time to do it right. There does seem to be an unjustified expectation that if you adopt DevOps then the ops simply disappears.

GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims

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Re: There Oughta Be a Law

Why would anyone keep a TV like that?

Because, increasingly, the price of TVs is subsidised by the bundled and promoted apps and and by data-sharing revenue.

People buy on price and the vast majority of people don't seem to care about the other side of the equation. The inevitable logic of that is that the handful of manufacturers that dominate TV production will drive down the monetization road as far as possible in pursuit of low headline prices: having consumer choice about that is a temporary luxury.

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