* Posts by Matt Siddall

155 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Jul 2007


D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'

Matt Siddall

"UKIP began as a minor party" - and now it has just as many MPs as the Monster Raving Loony Party !!

And had more votes than the Lib Dems and the SNP put together, or to put it another way, half a million more votes than:

SNP + Green Party + DUP + Plaid Cymru + Sinn Féin + Ulster Unionist Party + Social Democratic & Labour Party (who between them got 77 seats)

UK.gov departments accused of blanket approach to IR35

Matt Siddall

Re: Stop taking the p***

The problem is not with the contractors, but with the way the tax law in this country is structured. Why not just have all income taxed at the same rate, and allow for dividend payments to UK nationals to be made before Corporation Tax is taken out (and for non-uk nationals, ideally: corporation tax is a bad tax).

If you want people to respect the spirit of the law, get someone competent to write the words to match.

GitLab.com melts down after wrong directory deleted, backups fail

Matt Siddall

Saw this last time backups were in the news - seems relevant


All those backups seemed a waste of pay.

Now my database has gone away.

Oh I believe in yesterday.


There's not half the files there used to be,

And there's a milestone hanging over me

The system crashed so suddenly.

I pushed something wrong

What it was I could not say.

Now all my data's gone

and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.


The need for back-ups seemed so far away.

I knew my data was all here to stay

Now I believe in yesterday.

Samsung fans flames of burning Galaxy Note 7 mystery

Matt Siddall

Re: "Why should he care, it's peanuts compared to what he'll make"

I heard that it was planned. The building cost more to build than planned and more to run than they like, and they could get a big wodge of taxpayers cash if a compulsory purchase is necessary.

Not sure where I read it, but similar ideas can be found online, see for example this blog post from back in July 2015: http://www.cityunslicker.co.uk/2015/07/another-hidden-reason-why-ba-would-liek.html

AMD is a rounding error on Intel's spreadsheet and that sucks for us all

Matt Siddall

I used to go with AMD exclusively for my CPUs, but the Core 2 Duos from Intel changed that. They were vastly better than what AMD was offering. I get the impression AMD has never really caught back up (although I'll admit I've not been following that closely recently).

Founding exec Bill Maris quits Google Ventures

Matt Siddall

Bring me some doughnuts and I'll comment!

Microsoft debuts VR management suite as it expands HoloLens sales

Matt Siddall

We got to have a little play with one of these at work. I have to admit, I want it - just not for £3k.

The way it lets you use augmented reality is really nice, it seems to recognise surfaces very well and lets you stick things in place in the real world in a very cool way. The UI still seems a little clunky (the hand gestures are a little hard to get used to at first) but this will likely improve as we get used to it.

Sign me up for the consumer version once it comes down in price a bit!

Did Donald Trump really just ask Russia to hack the US govt? Yes, he did

Matt Siddall

Re: What's the male equivalent

All mouth and no trousers?

Meet Riffle, the next-gen anonymity network that hopes to trounce Tor

Matt Siddall

Re: Not sure i see how this works

My understanding is likely not particularly accurate, but as I understood things:

With TOR

(i) Only the entry node knows who I am, and if I'm operating a passthrough node even they can't be sure that my address is where the traffic originates.

(ii) Only the exit node knows my destination, and it has no idea who I am

(iii) Unless the same entity controls the whole network of nodes that I use, noone (including those nodes) can know both who I am and what my destination is.

In other words, I don't have to even trust the nodes in TOR - they can't compromise me directly even if they wanted to.

It sounds like that first point is not at all the case on Riffle - and if the exit node is one of the possible entry nodes, then whoever controls that single node can see who I am and my destination.

Thus (although I'm probably missing something), I can see Riffle being useful for critical communication, but not anonymity.

Matt Siddall

Not sure i see how this works

In TOR, user anonymity is partly provided by the fact that the user only directly communicates with the first node in the chain, and each of the subsequent nodes has no idea where the data is coming from. With this, it sounds like you broadcast your initial message to all nodes, so each of them know where the message came from?

I'm sure there's more to it than is being said, but I'm not sure how this makes sense.

Lester Haines: RIP

Matt Siddall

RIP - very sad news

Tinder bans under-18s: Moral panic averted

Matt Siddall

Re: Why is 18 improbably old?

I thought the proper rule was from (half your age +7) to (double your age -14) as per XKCD (https://xkcd.com/314/)

Google kneecaps payday loan ads

Matt Siddall

Re: Shame not illegal on TV adverts too

I'm not sure about this. The rates sound massively high, but that's always going to be the case for a short term loan, as they're still going to have to do credit checks, file paperwork and so on - the admin costs are independent of the duration of the loan.

Consider - if a mate lends you £100 and you pay him back two days later and buy him a pint to say thank you (let's call it £2) - that's an effective APR rate of 3,611%

If the banks had a more sensible policy when it comes to overdrafts then there'd be no need for the payday loan companies, but when exceeding my credit costs me £50 then payday loans look awfully tempting. There should probably be some sort of monitoring and/or restrictions (no more than 4 in a year?) to prevent dependency, but I've no idea how best to achieve that.

The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

Matt Siddall

Re: Courtesy of Barry White

I don't want clever conversation

I don't want to work that hard...

Uber wants UK gov intervention over TfL’s '5-minute wait' rule

Matt Siddall

Missing the point

Never mind who the rule is aimed at. Who does it benefit and who does it hurt?

An enforced 5 minute wait would benefit the black cab drivers who can pick people up straight away. It would hurt the punters who have to wait longer for a reasonably priced ride home, and it would hurt the Uber drivers.

Call me old fashioned, but I reckon the needs of the customers should be put first, which is why I think this is a bad idea.

Google gets all lawyered up for ‘ambiguous’ EU anti-trust case

Matt Siddall

Re: If search is a contestable monopoly

Then so was Windows and so was Standard Oil. After all, you just needed to drill your own wells, build your own refineries and open your own network of service stations to sell the gas.

Windows has some level of lock-in, in terms of software that runs only on Windows and the cost of re-purchasing software for another OS. Where their monopoly becomes a problem is where they actively try to persuade people to not develop for their rivals.

Standard Oil has a massive barrier to competition in the form of capital required to purchase land and drill wells.

In contrast, how much does it cost to host a website?

The investment to compete with Google on search is massive. Economic barriers to entry are still barriers.

I could write a (very crappy) search engine today and put it on the web, thus competing with Google. It may be tough to take market share from them, but that's because they're really good at what they do, and that's what they would risk if they engage in dodgy behaviours. Bing, Yahoo, etc show this. If they had a better offering, people would use them in preference to Google.

Man hires 'court hacker' on Craigslist ... who turned out to be a cop

Matt Siddall

Ahh yes

The internet. Where the Men are Men, the Women are usually also Men and the Children Hitmen Hackers are Police officers

El Reg celebrates Back to the Future Day

Matt Siddall

In this alternate TimeLine, Google Glass managed to look even worse, but somehow made the coffee smell better

Microsoft now awfully pushy with Windows 10 on Win 7, 8 PCs – Reg readers hit back

Matt Siddall

"Fuck off" is basically what God said when he kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden:

"Go forth and procreate"

I figure someone in the editing department sanitised it a little...

Minicab-hailing app Uber is lawful – UK High Court

Matt Siddall

Re: What am I missing

I think the main difference is that a Black Cab measures the cost as you go, whereas the Uber/Lyft/whatever app measures the distance and works out a cost before the journey.

In practise, it means that when you book a cab and the route is blocked due to a road closure (as happened to me a week ago), they'll take you around the issue and still get you home for the same fee (as it was agreed before the journey), whereas a Black Cab would charge more.

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Matt Siddall

OK, I admit it. This bird watching lark is better than I thought...

Dear do-gooders, you can't get rid of child labour just by banning it

Matt Siddall

Re: flawless logic

Could it possibly that:

- before the enactment of child labor protection laws, we did not have a good grasp of the extent of child labor exploitation, simply because, it not being illegal, it was not measured accurately, or at all?

Actually, if anything it would be a lot easier to determine who's doing it and how much there is when it is legal, solely because it is legal and thus not something that you'd want to hide.

Once it's made illegal, people are likely to ask anyone coming round and saying "are you employing child labour" as a risk, and are more likely to hide it.

Apple's big secret: It's an insurance firm (now with added finance)

Matt Siddall

Re: Long-term value

I have an £89 HP Touchpad that I bought in 2011 that's on at least Android 5.0. Not sure if there's a 5.1.1 update available, I only check every once in a while (although given how the community works, I expect there is, and that it will get 6.0).

Granted, I had to root and am using Cyanogenmod so it's not for the average user, but it's still an option (unlike on an Apple device).

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Matt Siddall

The BOFH decided to make today's "blindfold typing test" a little more challenging

Well, what d'you know: Raising e-book prices doesn't raise sales

Matt Siddall

Re: Bah!

No e-book is worth more than five bucks.

To you, perhaps. I've paid more than this on occasion.

That goes double for any book by an author who has been dead for a quarter century Mr Heinlein.

Actually, I'd say it applies more for books now than for those published decades ago. Books published now are likely already available in computerised formats and so can be published as ebooks fairly easily (and thus cheaply). Books that were written decades ago have an initial cost associated in getting it into a digital format, so initially at least may have a higher cost.

As the great man himself said: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

Matt Siddall

Re: Elasticity of Demmand


Actually, if you drop your price by 10% and get an 11% rise in sales, you're still slightly below where you started:

(1-0.1) * (1 + 0.11) = 0.999


Hacker chancer looking for $500,000 after offering Clinton emails for auction

Matt Siddall

Re: Political comment (sorry)

Sorry mate, not sure how else to tell you this, but I never got any flavour crystals or anaesthesia...

Wangling my way into the 4K gaming club with a water-cooled whopper

Matt Siddall

Re: Hurrah for you

Granted, but then it should have been:

"You got a free loan of a computer, it's great. Free stuff is awesome."


Matt Siddall

Re: Hurrah for you

From the article:

"Thanks to Overclockers UK for the loan of the Infinity Vesuvius 4K gaming rig."

Spaniard trousers €60,000 bank error, proceeds directly to jail

Matt Siddall

Re: So just to confirm.

From what I remember of working in the pensions world, if we accidentally overpaid someone's pension and didn't notice for 6 years, we couldn't recover it (or at least could only recover the extra paid in the last 6 years) - I believe the same limit would apply here.

tl;dr: statute of limitations is likely to be 6 years for this sort of thing (in the UK at least)

Anonymous UK 'leader' fined for revealing ID of rape complainant

Matt Siddall

Re: A few facts to base your rants on

The police and CPS seem very reluctant to actually prosecute people for making false allegations. They have their reasons for this, and I can understand where they're coming from but I think that they do err on the side of too cautious. The fact that there were only three prosecutions for false allegations of rape in the period of the review doesn't mean that there were not more cases than this, and cases that were known to be deliberate.

I've seen one site that seems to keep half an eye out for such things in the news: http://thylacosmilus.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/lying%20about%20rape

Microsoft replaces Windows 10 patch update, isn't saying why

Matt Siddall

Re: Those of us who haven't "upgraded"

The useless "tiles" desktop whatever the hell it is called thing just keeps coming back, no matter how many times I switch away from it to our shipping application. Printer managment is retarded in so many ways.

Install Classic Shell (for free). I haven't seen the tiles since the day after I got my laptop - and other than that it works perfectly.

Here's why Whittingdale kicked a subscription BBC into the future

Matt Siddall

Re: Licence 'rewording" required?

I actually don't listen to radio, but even if I did, I didn't think you needed a TV license to do so any more.

To be honest, the only things I like that the BBC produces are Doctor Who (of which I usually end up with the DVDs anyway) and Sherlock (which is very much few and far between). I did get a license before the last season of Sherlock started, found absolutely nothing else that was even slightly watchable and cancelled it after 3 months.

I do find catch up a lot more convenient. I don't have a lot of time to watch TV anyway, so it seems odd in this day and age that we still have to wait for a given time to watch a show. I'd rather just watch when and where I want - if I wind up seeing things a day or two later than everyone else, I can live with that.

Matt Siddall

Re: Licence 'rewording" required?

This is exactly what I do - watch TV on catchup (nothing live) and hence pay no license fee.

Why is it that women are consistently paid less than men?

Matt Siddall

Re: He's got a point.

IMHO, there should be no difference in pay. Equal pay for the same work.

That raises two issues though:

(i) How do you incentivise people to work harder if everyone doing the job gets the same pay. You'll be surprised how many people will do the bare minimum...

(ii) How do you determine who is doing "the same work"? Where I work there are a bunch of people with the same title who do widely differing work, some having been there for a lot longer than others and knowing a lot more.

Lonely Pirate cheers on Big Copyright-bashing EU commissars

Matt Siddall


They could start with outlawing region locking on DVDs.

Doom, Mario, Pac-Man level up to video gaming's Hall of Fame

Matt Siddall


I don't really get why World of Warcraft is listed here. It was the biggest (in terms of subscribers) but did absolutely nothing new, other than make a ton of money for the producers.

Meet the man who inspired Elon Musk’s fear of the robot uprising

Matt Siddall

Re: "By definition we couldn't"

Actually, there have been a few papers which claim to have found evidence for quantum activity within the brain (see for example http://www.kurzweilai.net/discovery-of-quantum-vibrations-in-microtubules-inside-brain-neurons-corroborates-controversial-20-year-old-theory-of-consciousness)

The brain is likely not a straightforward "machine" - of course that's not to say that we can't create the same thing with quantum computing etc...

Money-for-mods-gate: Valve gives masterclass in how to lose gamers and alienate people

Matt Siddall

I may be in the minority here, but I think allowing for paid-for mods could be a good thing.

I do think that anything previously offered for free should remain so, but giving developers an incentive to produce good quality mods (or up-to-date iterations on older mods) can only be good for the playerbase. That said, the developer would have to get a reasonable amount of the money for this to work - say 70% to the developer, and then Valve and Bethesda split the remaining 30? Or 50% to developer, 20% to Bethesda and 30% to Valve, if Valve and Bethesda will police the paid-for apps.

The Apple Watch: Throbbing strap-on with a knurled knob

Matt Siddall

Re: Obvious reasons

I don't disagree with you - I'm sure there are definite advantages to having no browser or on screen keyboard, but the point is that it would have been nice for the article to at least mention the Android watches available, and let us know how the Apple watch differs - and possibly even which is better (or which the writer prefers)

Matt Siddall

I’ll say this for the Watch, though: I’d rather have it round my wrist than Google Glass on my head.

But would you not rather still have an Android Wear watch that has a browser and on-screen keyboard? Why no comparison?

Hungry Apple fanbois can now buy a lunch date with Tim Cook

Matt Siddall

Re: Rich People

I dunno. According to Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2014/03/03/forbes-billionaires-full-list-of-the-worlds-500-richest-people/), the 500 richest people in the world are collectively worth $4.4 trillion. There are just over 7 billion people in the world, so even if the 500 richest gave every penny, each person in the world would get $617. I'd be impressed if that's enough to see off debt, homelessness, hunger, etc.

Osbo: Choose a IoT fridge. Choose spirit-crushing driverless cars

Matt Siddall

Re: Am I missing something here?

I can see some benefit coming in the next couple of years. All we need is the expiry date encoded into the (or an extra?) barcode or an NFC tag and the fridge could let you know when things are going out of date, and you could check your phone at work to see what you have in the fridge for dinner to decide whether or not you need to make a trip to the shops on the way home.

Sure, it's not life-changing but could be very convenient.

Last Pirate in Brussels: Put ME in charge of yer IP treasure chest. Yarr!

Matt Siddall

2) The CJEU also made clear that restricted content, accessed by a hyperlink - e.g. where the hyperlink circumvents some restriction (paywall or whatever) - would, without the permission of the copyright holder, mean the publisher of the link is committing copyright infringement pursuant to Article 3(1) of the EU Copyright Directive.

Whilst I may not like paywalls or similar, I see the above as perfectly reasonable. i.e. not copyright infringement where made freely available by a rights holder, but in other circumstances may well constitute infringement. Reda is a little vague here. Specifics will follow I am sure.

If it's possible to circumvent your paywall or login system with a hyperlink, you're doing it wrong...

Tax Systems: The good, the bad and the completely toot toot ding-dong loopy

Matt Siddall

Re: Land Value Tax

In that case corporations pay Corporation Tax, not ordinary people. And VAT. You cannot say that it's the consumer that pays VAT and the landlord that pays LVT: they are the same thing.

The thing is that corporations are not people, and for tax incidence we are looking at which people have less money in their pockets as a result of the tax. The incidence of Corporation tax is split between three groups of people - customer, workers and shareholders. There have been numerous papers, studies, etc that show the customers wind up basically unaffected, and the incidence of the tax is split fairly evenly between the workers and the shareholders (the exact ratio depending on things like the rules around investment within the country).

I've not looked at VAT before, but a quick google shows us items like https://editorialexpress.com/cgi-bin/conference/download.cgi?db_name=IIPF63&paper_id=31 which state that VAT falls largely upon the customer. Not entirely sure why, but I suspect that this is due to it's being a form of transaction tax, rather than a yearly tax like LVT or Corporation tax.

Matt Siddall

Re: Land Value Tax

LVT would not make any difference to development of land. Amending the planning system would do that. LVT is a stupid tax as will tax people who have no income but lots of value in their home, e.g. pensioners. So will they have to sell their home and move to a cheaper land value property?

Hypothetically speaking, why not? Suppose you have a house in London that someone bought for naff all 20 years ago and is now worth £1m+. They have a couple of options - sell up and move to whatever house they want outside of London plus have enough money to live on for the rest of their lives and free up the valuable housing for someone who needs to be in London for work, or stay there and either get relatives to pay the tax (if they are hoping to inherit at least) or let it accumulate against the value of the property until the owner dies or the property is sold.

We seem to make a religion of "your house is your home" here, and anything that might possibly cause someone to have to move is forbidden - even if it would be better for everyone.

Or will there have to be lots of exceptions - which complicates the tax system and downgrades its efficacy and efficiency.

Not lots - you just have to allow payment to be taken as equity in the property, with a proviso that the state can't do anything with it (such as charge rent or try to sell) until the house is sold or the owner dies.

Arrr: The only Pirate in European Parliament to weigh in on copyright

Matt Siddall

Whether or not it is harming them, theft is a specific term which has a meaning incorporating the intent to permanently deprive the owner or the person with rightful possession of that property or its use. It is not accurate to use it in the case of copyright infringement.

Matt Siddall

Re: @Fluffy Bunny

1998 called. It wants its argument back.

So your counter-argument, which you've had 16 years to prepare is...?

Matt Siddall

Re: Copyright contract with the public is broken.

The Public Domain Day backfired badly, because no matter how you slice it, it means privileged white college kids want to stop paying black people. Living black artists.

Straw Man much?

Given how wealth allocation was skewed 50 years ago (and now, for that matter) I would think that actually having copyright come to an end in a reasonable time would impact white artists a lot more than black artists.

Firms will have to report OWN diverted profits under 'Google Tax' law

Matt Siddall

Re: The right way to tax Google in the UK

Except that doing so would place us in violation of EU law. Not that I normally give a crap about EU law, but the people in power probably should pay some attention to it...