* Posts by jzl

400 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Jul 2015


Some engineers are being paid between $250k and $1m, says salary survey


That's me

I'm easily being paid that much. Oh, wait. No I'm not.

20 years of .NET: Reflecting on Microsoft's not-Java


Thank you for a great career so far

I've built the majority of my career on writing software for .Net and I still love the platform. It's proven extensible, flexible and scalable, and I love the elegance of the CLR.

C#, meanwhile, also just keeps getting better and in my opinion it remains one of the best programming languages ever created.

Microsoft are a company with a checkered history: a lot of hits, a lot more misses and .Net is something they should be truly proud of.

£42k for a top-class software engineer? It's no wonder uni research teams can't recruit


What idiot lets one company's plans dictate their career? If you don't like your salary, move.


Re: Wait. what?

I'm 46, so hardly young, and Java was invented while I was still at university.


Re: "In IT" != software development

I started off on £18k in London back in the day myself. My comment was about starting salaries now.


Re: Can confirm

Why "Oh poor me"?

Did you think I was *complaining*?

I'm not complaining. I'm extremely happy about my personal situation. I'm just pointing out that if you want to hire decent senior developers, you have to pony up. You may like it, you may not like it, but the market decides.


"In IT" != software development

This is the point the writer was making. There are a wide range of careers in IT, as there are in many other fields.

A software engineer would expect to *start* their career on at least £40k these days and ramp up quickly from there.


Can confirm

I do not manage a team and would not get out of bed for £42k. Hell, I wouldn't get out of bed for £84k for that matter. I'd drop down to £100k *maybe* if the job really was sufficiently rewarding and interesting.

Can you get excited about the iPhone 13? We've tried


Mini Mini Mini Oi Oi Oi!

The regular iPhone and the Pros? No. Nothing interesting there.

The Mini though is lovely. I've bought one and I think it's my favourite smartphone out of all the modern era smartphones I've ever owned. The form factor is perfect (iPhone 5 size, just right) but the screen is closer to a phablet from the old days (iPhone 8 Plus).

It's an absolutely gorgeous piece of kit. I love it.

Lenovo says it’s crammed a workstation into a litre of space – less than three cans of beer


Re: There's no such thing as a workstation

These days, "workstation" seems to mostly be slang for "has a Xeon CPU" and even that doesn't seem to be a guarantee.

I've certainly seen no indication that most workstations sold by the likes of Dell, Lenovo or whatever, routinely carry certification for particular software. That's not to say that such machines aren't important, of course, but it certainly doesn't seem to be a requirement to have the workstation moniker applied.


Re: There's no such thing as a workstation

There is still a continuous spectrum, even for these criteria. There is no magical spec which suddenly makes a computer a workstation.

"Workstation" is defined by context, so a computer can be a workstation in one context, but not if transplanted to another.

Which is what I was pointing out. The idea that a company can say "this is the smallest / biggest / cheapest / quietest / whatever workstation" is meaningless. The word is defined by the context that the machine is being used in, rather than being an intrinsic property of the machine itself.

As to your comment about certifications, well it's certainly *possible* to get a computer certified to various standards, but there's no indication that the machine in this article has any of those certifications and I've never seen anyone say that certification is a requirement to call a computer a workstation on a sales website.

The term "workstation" is so broad and so ill-defined as to be meaningless.

The various qualifications that you're talking about, well they're not meaningless, but they're not the word "workstation" are they?


Re: There's no such thing as a workstation

Indeed. Not to mention that people almost always emphasise the wrong parts when specifying computers in the first place.

The number of times I've seen someone worrying about whether their machine has an "i5" or "i7" processor, without even thinking about how much RAM it has....


Re: There's no such thing as a workstation

And powerful as it was for a mid-80's machine, it is still comfortably outclassed in every performance metric by a 2021 smartwatch. This is kind of my point really. That Sun 3/60 isn't a workstation now - it's just an old, slow vintage computer with some collector value.

If "workstation" was a meaningful label, it would be intrinsic to the hardware. A workstation would be as much a workstation twenty years after being made as it was when it was new.


There's no such thing as a workstation

There's no such thing as a workstation. There are just computers. Some are more powerful, some are less powerful.

The idea that there's some magic spec level where a computer suddenly becomes "a workstation" is just silly. Desktop computers exist on a continuous spectrum of performance.

Preliminary report on Texas Tesla crash finds Autosteer was 'not available' along road where both passengers died


Then you're an idiot. I have a Tesla with Autopilot and it's a superb additional piece of safety. It keeps me refreshed on the motorway and ensures that if I ever have a lapse of concentration, bad outcomes are less likely.

Not being aware of your own lack of perfection is hubris.


Yes, and Teslas have that tech. A Tesla will complain if someone is sat in a seat without a seatbelt, same as most other cars.



Autopilot doesn't require white lines to operate. If they disappear while it's engaged, it works perfectly well.

It just requires white lines to be present in order for the driver to be allowed by the car to engage it.

Source: me. I own a Tesla.

But can it run Avid? The Reg hands shiny new M1 MacBook to video production pro, who beats it with Blender, Handbrake, and ... Hypercard?


Multiple monitors

The big thing holding me back for now is that the new Macbooks don't support more than one external display. I use my Macbook with two external monitors most of the time.

My working assumption is that this is just a limitation on the first generation of Apple silicon with Thunderbolt. After all, one of the least talked about (but most interesting) things with these new machines is that they're the first implementation of Thunderbolt on ARM to my knowledge, and one of the very few non-Intel Thunderbolt implementations of any kind.

Is this an ASP.NET Core I see before me? Where to next for Microsoft's confusing web framework...


Coding vs devops

Increasingly, being a programmer is more about devops than writing code.

What I mean is that the insane proliferation of platforms, libraries, widgets, protocols, languages and architecture options means that you spend far more time fiddling around with versions of things, packaging, buzzwords and keeping stuff current than you used to.

I don't like it one bit. Writing code is an entirely separate intellectual skill from collecting libraries and buzzwords.

UK government puts IR35 tax reforms on hold for a year in wake of coronavirus crisis


I actually own one

Because you become your own employer, essentially. Umbrella companies provide sick pay and holiday pay using accounting tricks from your own daily rate.

Sick pay is no more than statutory, and it comes from money held back from your daily rate. IT staff in real full time employed positions would expect sick leave at full salary (normal for a professional role). Paid holiday, again, simply comes from withholding a portion of your daily rate and labelling it "paid holiday".

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


Re: Anonymous Contractor

If you think you're underpaid, get a better job. This isn't North Korea.

"Wage slave" is meant to be an ironic phrase - you are actually a free person.


It's not a bit more, it's a lot more

And it's a sudden increase, rather than a gradual one. I - like many - have a mortgage, car payments and childcare to pay for, all predicated on the amount I currently earn.

A bit more tax would be fine, I could absorb it, and even a lot more would be manageable if it was gradually staged to give me a chance to reduce my expenditure. But suddenly being hit with a 20% increase in one go is too much. Much too much.

Electric cars can't cut UK carbon emissions while only the wealthy can afford to own one


Re: I actually own one

A Model 3 long range will do 400 miles with one approx 20 minute charging stop at around the 280 mile mark.

That's 5 hours of driving, a 20 minute stop, then another 2 hours driving. If that's not acceptable, then I can only assume you drive with a catheter.

And all the days when you're *not* doing long journeys, your car is permanently full. No taking time out from whatever you were doing once a week to drive to the petrol station.


Yes, fossil fuel is indeed consumed. But less.

The perfect is the enemy of the good.


Re: Diesel

Emissions aren't a single thing. Diesel produces less carbon dioxide - the main climate change gas - but more pollution nasties.

Diesel exhaust is nasty stuff in the short term, particularly if you're breathing it. Carbon dioxide is nasty stuff in the long term.

Basically, burning oil products is a bad idea full stop.


Except that volcanoes don't actually produce as much carbon as mankind. Not even close.


We burn relatively little fossil fuel in the UK for the grid. About 50% generally - most of it natural gas, almost no coal.


I actually own one

I drive a Tesla Model S. It was expensive as hell when I bought it three years ago, but wow. Just wow. It's an absolute blast to drive.

My previous favourite car was my Mazda RX-8, but the Model S took the crown from that easily. Not quite as much fun on a B road, but waaay more fun the rest of the time and having a full car every morning is a suprisingly good bonus.

The Model 3 is better than my car (in my opinion) and cheaper too. It'll be my next car. Battery prices are dropping fast at the moment.

NASA is Boeing to get to the bottom of that Starliner snafu... plus SpaceX preps to blow up a Falcon 9



I think I used to work with the guy who did the Starliner programming.

It's mostly a collection of spreadsheets and VBA macros. The bug in question was on line 586 of Module35.Timer37_OnTick().

ReactOS 'a ripoff of the Windows Research Kernel', claims Microsoft kernel engineer


Microsoft is missing a trick

With Windows becoming slowly less relevant, now is the perfect time to open source it. Fundamentally, it's a good OS. Sure, it's got issues - but then what doesn't?

They could then follow the Red Hat model of paid support, all the while keeping Windows relevant.

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


I actually own one

Unlike most of you armchair warriors, I actually own and drive a Model S (with Autopilot 2) on the roads in the UK. I've had it for several years and have driven 30,000 miles.

Autopilot is actually excellent. Like, in the real world used by me, rather than in some theoretical internet argument. It is *not* a better driver than I am, and that's not really the point. It's a great augmentation. It holds the lane, it never blinks, never gets tired, never gets distracted. I am still driving, still holding the wheel, and still making all the executive decisions. The combined team of Autopilot +human driver is undoubtedly better than human alone.

And as I said, I'm basing this on my own physical experience with it in real life over thousands of motorway miles.

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses


Re: Whisper it…

Additionally, Autopilot works well. I should know, having covered thousands of tedious

traffic-laden motorway miles with it.

All of you saying it doesn’t or can’t work, have you actually tried it? No? Thought so.

Armchair keyboard warriors.


Re: Whisper it…

My wife and I actually own a Tesla Model S in real life. It's been our only car for two years now. That makes me relatively well qualified to comment on it.

Much of what you say is true, but I dispute - deeply - the assertion that it's not a very good car.

Have you actually driven one? For more than just a spin round the block? They are incredibly satisfying to drive in a quite difficult to define, but utterly real way. There's something about the immediacy of the power - the total and utter lack of any sort of lag - that makes every other vehicle feel a bit wrong. It's not the steering - a Model S has steering which is firmly in the middle of the pack in terms of feel and weighting. It's the powertrain. It really is qualitatively different and in a very pervasive way.

Powerful electric cars are like that, it seems. The Jaguar I-Pace (I've driven one) is similarly satisfying. But there really isn't much competition - it's basically the I-Pace or bust at the moment if you want to actually buy something.

They don't have the best quality interior for the price, but they're improving significantly. The Model S in particular has improved substantially in the last two months or so since they did a mild interior refresh and replaced all the cheap looking chrome and plastic with graphite and much higher quality materials. A late 2018 Model S is rather different beast to even a late 2017 Model S, or heaven forbid one of the early cars.

My Tesla is - by far - the best car I have ever owned. Not just because it's a gadget, but because it's such an impressively rewarding vehicle to drive. It's comfortable, spacious, fast as hell and almost telepathic at the throttle.

Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally


Re: Eight times brighter than the Moon?

Also worth pointing out that this isn't a uniform reflector like the moon. It'll be a shaped mirror focussing on a relatively small area.


Re: Eight times brighter than the Moon?

Not that I disagree with you in principle about the scale of this thing, it's worth pointing out that the moon is not very reflective. It has an albedo of around 10-15%. A mirror would be closer to 100%.

The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB


Radio 4

The only radio I listen to is Radio 4 and Kirsty Young would still sound amazing even at 8kbps.

Reg writer Richard went to the cupboard, seeking a Windows Phone...


Re: "Nor did my car, or my heating system,"

Your paranoia is causing you to miss out on some very useful stuff.

Ever tried banking by app? It's much more convenient than walking into a branch. Most of the big banks have an app, but sadly not for Windows.



It was the apps.

I liked the look of Windows phones, I really did. But my bank didn't have an app. Nor did my car, or my heating system, or my accountancy software, or my work's VPN token provider, or any number of other suppliers of useful services.

Much as I'd have liked to play around with a Windows phone, I've come to find those apps far too useful to lose.

Intel’s first 10nm CPU is a twin-core i3 destined for a mid-range Lenovo


Tiny, really tiny

10nm is 50 silicon atoms end-to-end.

That's absolutely ludicrously tiny and, when you think about it, a monumental achievement for a bunch of jumped-up monkeys in clothes.

Tesla forums awash with spam as mods take an unscheduled holiday


Tesla forums?

Does anyone still use the in-house Tesla forum?

All the action is on teslamotorsclub.com and the various Facebook forums (all of which are incredibly active).

Lap-slabtop-mobes with Snapdragon Arm CPUs running Windows 10: We had a quick gander


Apple's next

This makes an ARM based Macbook an absolute certainty.

Abolish the Telly Tax? Fat chance, say MPs at non-binding debate


Radio 4

I would pay the TV license just for Radio 4 alone. The fact that we get a world class broadcaster and news organisation attached is a bonus.

When you consider how much Sky charge for 572 channels of utter garbage, the BBC is a wondrous thing.

Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma


Big Log

by Robert Plant

Hard-pressed Juicero boss defends $400 IoT juicer after squeezing $120m from investors


There's one born every minute

Enough said.

SpaceX yoinks $96m GPS launch deal from under ULA's nose



If someone from ULA calls your idea "dumb", you know you're onto something good.

UK Home Office warns tech staff not to tweet negative Donald Trump posts


I don't work for the Home Office

Donald Trump is a total and utter goat fucker.

What went up, Musk come down again: SpaceX to blast sat into orbit with used rocket


Re: Don't call it "re-used"

Don't call it reused. Call it launch proven.

What does a complex AI model look like? Here's some Friday eye candy from UK biz Graphcore


Re: It looks like bacteria blooms

You can think of it as loosely analogous to a diagram of neurons and the connections between them in a brain.


Re: Can someone explain

Graph means a set of items of data (nodes) connected by pointers (edges). In this case, the nodes are probably functions which transform tensors (multi-dimensional arrays of numbers).

Graph (abstract data type)

Speeding jet of Siberian liquid hot Magma getting speedier, satellites find



Just for some perspective, 45km / year is 1.5mm / second.