* Posts by Andy

36 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Aug 2007

Freelancers might be taxed as employees after High Court ruling


Big Five Next I hope

I was employed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers for many years. As a senior consultant, substitution was not allowed without client approval (the project was sold based on me being the technical lead). We worked on site for long assignments (up to 3 years for an SAP implementation).

Are the government saying that all the PwC consultants on-site were actually employees of the client. If so, £99,000 is a drop in the ocean. PwC consulting turnover is in the billions.

I look forward to all the consultants on the recently cancelled PA contract being declared employees of the government and demanding their public sector pensions.

Now Hollywood is chasing UK downloaders

Black Helicopters


Presumably the evil downloader has now been added to the database of terrorists and other enemies of capitalism and will be deep probed at any airport he visits for the rest of his days. I do hope he pursues Freedom2Surf for every penny they have (as an example to others).

Net shoppers bullied into being Verified by Visa


Couldn't agree more

My main on-line purchase used to be pizza for the development team. It's now impossible to order a pizza on-line without registering for verified by somebody. The outcome of this is that my development team now get bacon butties from the local truck stop instead of pizza if we pull a late nighter.

On a more serious note (although not much is more serious than lack of pizza) I think any on-line shop that takes your credit card details is suspect. I far prefer to be redirected to a real bank site that I trust and recognise to do this. The same applies to verified by... I really don't want to enter my card details, security code and extra security password into a web page that is under the Domino's pizza domain.

Chip and PIN made my Barclaycard unusable in real life (nowhere local to change the PIN to something memorable). Verified by means I can't use it on-line either.

Lower VAT could help small businesses amid recession fears


Why would this make any difference at all?

Unless you sell to people (rather than businesses) this will make absolutely no difference at all. OK, maybe it will add some extra IT costs to convert your tills, web site and accounts to a different VAT rate. The man's an idiot.

If he really wants to help small businesses, then not increasing the corporation tax rate for small businesses might have been a better approach.

AVG scanner blasts internet with fake traffic

Black Helicopters

What about accidental paedo or terror browsing

Presumably if you enter "children" or "al qaeda" into google then AVG will happily visit any dodgy web sites that appear in the results for you, thus ensuring that you move onto the police watch list for axis of evil members.

Labour isn't working for IT contractors


Well duh!

They passed legislation (IR35) that says you have to rewrite a perfectly good contract so that there is a possibility of making a loss and you can't claim expenses in order to not be an employee of the customer. Who the heck is going to vote for someone that stupid to run a country.

Actually, I take that back. It's the only way this government could deliver an IT project on budget. Also, most politicians are lawyers. They are just lining up business (rewriting perfectly good contracts) for when they get thrown out.

New Microgeneration report - what it actually says



Nice that someone read the report. It seems that what you are saying is that CHP would be bad in the long term if the government ever gets it's finger out and produces a lot of renewable energy. I think there is an obvious hole in that argument (the one where the governments finger is).

On the other hand, it looks like you are saying that ground source is great. I agree.

Finally, there was no consideration of planning. Microgeneration in general has much smaller opposition from the public than. I suspect it would take a lot longer to get permission to build a nuclear power plant in central London that to convert every roof in the capital to a solar PV system.

Time Warner gives America metered internet


Wireless hackers

So, who is responsible for the "over cap" charges if someone clones or otherwise hacks your connection and uses a heap of bandwidth, and how the heck would you prove it. Is it the people who provided the insecure modem or wireless network (i.e. the ISP)?

Media police assault takes down legit video website

Black Helicopters

Send 'em to Gitmo

I am sure that paying someone to commit a terrorist act (albeit digital terrorism) is a bad thing even in the US. At last, a legitimate use for Guantanamo bay. Fill it with record company executives. It would certainly make the world a better place.

Barclays Capital slashes contractor rates by 10%

Dead Vulture

Bad managment (or never be a project manager)

Budget Problems

Reduce rates.

Good people leave.

Productivity falls.

Project gets behind.

Aggressive CIO sacks project manager.

New project manager gets the good people back at increased rates.

Everyone blames the delay on the previous project manager.

Lots of overtime to make up the delay.

Aggressive CIO claims success.

Amazon sues New York over Amazon Tax


Locate foot, aim, fire

So New York is saying that if a company based in New York (an affiliate) advertises or promotes the products of another company not in New York, then sales tax becomes due as if the product company was in New York. Won't that kill the advertising industry in New York overnight?

Shell pulls out of Thames Estuary mega-windfarm



<fact>A modern nuclear power plant generates about 1.6 Gigawatts.</fact>

<educated guess>Probably a similar level of carbon emissions to a wind farm</educated guess>

<opinion>a nuclear power plant in the Thames Gateway would be significantly more unpopular than a wind farm</opinion>

<rant>and why should I allow building of nuclear power plants in my back garden to power London</rant>

Carphone Warehouse stares down BPI and UK.gov on three strikes


Yay! Sense at last

If copyright was strictly enforced no-one could go a day without breaking it. For example, do an image search on Google for "birth certificate". You probably just downloaded enough images which the national archive holds copyright on and you are not allowed to view on-line to be disconnected according to 3 strikes.

MoD opens pork incubator in UK 'Golden Triangle'


Translation please

What is pork in English please? I believe it means political bribes in American. Is that what you meant, or are you actually saying that the MoD has a surplus of pig meat?

Cambridge brain touts wind-n-server combo farms



Alternatively, put the nuclear reactors in the middle of the towns close to the network hubs and existing server farms. After all, they are perfectly safe aren't they...

Flame, because I couldn't find a mushroom cloud.

Dear ISP, I am not a target market


Google hacking through Phorm

Presumably, if I set up a browser plugin which just sets the oix.net cookie to each number in series and then browses to a malware web site repeatedly, I will eventually cause adverts for that malware site to appear in my "relevant" advertising. Providing I can do this faster than Phorm can remove the new malware sites, I can infect a decent number of customers in no time flat. It also gives a way to completely skew the results.

Paranoid partners to get GPS snooper


Perfect for thieves mk. II

Of course, if the tracking site is hacked it will be great for thieves to know you aren't at home.

EU waves through downloads tax reform (in 2015)


Countdown to apocalypse

So I can claim back VAT from countries I am not VAT registered in. This sounds like a massive license to defraud the various governments of the EU. The UK has enough trouble with carousel fraud already and that's just for one possible country worth of claimants.

US scientists puncture the ethanol biofuel bubble


It's nice that they are catching up slowly

It took 18 years for the US to accept Global Warming / Climate Change after Europe decided it was proved in (about 1990). It only took 5 years for them to understand why growing biofuels isn't really a good idea after Europe showed that. At this rate, the may actually get ahead of the game soon. Yay!

French motorwonk savages hybrid cars


Buy me a pint Lewis and let me do the thinking

Very entertaining fluff. However, the article is about marketing not science and how the word Hybrid is such a popular selling point that it makes people feel good about buying a car even if it still has hideously mileage. It's nothing to do with whether it's a useful technology or a Prius is a good thing. Possibly the same principle could be applied to the use of nanny state-ism in internet magazines discussing climate science.

Just for interest, some conservative real life mileage figures here if anyone is interested (http://www.greenhybrid.com/compare/mileage).

Skull and crossbones for using a dead detectives words in vain.

Taser unleashes leopardskin C2 and MP3 holster


Vaudeville lives

Mobile phone, mp3 player, taser - Just make sure you hold the right one to your ear.

Now RIAA says copying your own CDs is illegal


Ooops I did it again

Darn it, I appear to have copied the music from digital CD format to analog audio and then from that to neural net storage. Unable to stop my lawbreaking tendencies I then then played it back again in public (admittedly in a much degraded form) by humming it in the shower. Oh and bugger me if my girlfriend didn't overhear it and do the same.

Do I have to pay royalties if I just remember it or only for humming it out load?

Expressive e-commerce safe after judge sides with Amazon

Thumb Up

Thanks Judge

Three cheers for that judge. He is spot on. The prospect of the government stomping around with it's size 12 boots on the list of books I read would have stopped me buying from Amazon almost instantly.

Air France compensates 170kg passenger


Let he who is without sin....

I feel sorry for anyone sitting next to someone who doesn't fit the seat and I am a self confessed fatist. However, there is a general point here somewhere.

The 170kg passenger is too large. Anonymous "Not Just Weight" is over 2m tall - he has leg room problems. I am 65cm wide at the shoulder (I am a swimmer) - I'm too wide for the 42cm wide seats. I sat next to an 8 year old on a recent flight who had serious impulse control issues. I regularly end up sitting next to businessmen with serious post-prandial flatulence (low cabin pressure has a lot to answer for). While travelling to Spain on business I got stuck with a bunch of Neandertals going to watch England play France (average blood alcohol about the same as their IQs). Finally, on one particularly memorable occasion the lady next to me gave everyone a free demonstration of the behaviour of colostomy bags at altitude.

Which of these people would you charge extra because of the inconvenience they cause to other passengers?

Skype faces 020 7870 cut-off


Skype pretty good actually

On the good side:

I run Skype numbers in New York, LA, Tokyo and London so that I can deal with companies who don't trust their employees enough to let them dial international phone numbers. I've had less problems with call quality on Skype than I have with my normal BT line and I frequently use it for video calls as well. This applies even when using my laptop from wifi on the beach in Barbados or ski resorts. It does what I want basically.

On the bad side:

The number change is a huge marketing and management failure by Skype. Any telecoms contract worth its salt would have terms to ensure that the telecoms company can't just recall your phone numbers on a whim or increase the price more than a reasonable amount. I would have thought local number portability would also allow them to just take the number to another supplier.

It would be interesting to know the real reason for this change.

Oz Santas suffer no 'ho ho ho' blow


Causing offense to the linguistically challenged

Fire up the barbie and down another stubby

Tesco slaps cutlery ban on under-18s


The end of the world

It will keep the unemployed figures down as all those who leave school at 16 starve trying to open shrink wrapped food without knives.

Government plots escape from renewable energy targets


HM Government

Labour really are a useless bunch of wasters (pardon the pun).

A few simple actions to solve the problem:

1. Build a few of those nice safe nuclear power plants in central London. I believe there is a nice chunk of ready cleared land at Olympic park and it's local to MI5 HQ so it should be nice and secure.

2. Get the solar PV grants scheme into a state where people can actually apply for them.

3. Enforce building regulations.

...and since when was hydroelectric power not renewable?

Tasmanian tumours blamed on inbreeding


At least 3 transmissable cancers

Cerviacal cancer in humans is also transmissable. It is related to the human papiloma virus I believe (http://carcin.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/23/6/1057.pdf)

Blokey atmos drives women away from sci/tech


What world do they live in?

These people are living in dreamland. I have never in my entire scientific or IT career been to a conference where there were as many as 1 in 3 women; 1 in 10 is more realistic.

Left-handeders finally unlock the closet, researchers find


Oh, for flips sake

I am left handed, I wave with my right. So do a selection of my family and friends who are roughly half left and half right handed. People could wave with their right hand or left hand for all sorts of sociological and environmental reasons as well as left/right handedness (we salute with the right and shake hands with the right).

Here's an alternative hypothesis. In the UK we wear wedding rings on our left hands. The incredible weight of the wedding rings purchased by Edwardian's flush from exploiting the colonies prevented them raising their left hands to wave with. Following the fall of empire and with lower marriage rates nowadays we wave with our left hand more frequently (!?). Footballers wives, of course, with their outrageously sized matrimonial finger frippery continue to wave with the right hand.

This wedding ring hypothesis could also be extended to explain World War II. Germans wear their wedding rings on their right hand, the same hand as is used for the infamous Nazi salute. If only Eva Braun had made an honest man of Adolf before they got to that bunker, millions of lives could have been saved.

Bah, humbug and fie upon your research methods, sir. Get thee back to the laboratorium.

Lawyerless eBayer sues Autodesk over garage-sale miracle


It really is time someone sorted out licensing

This might be a good stalking horse for addressing a bunch of licensing oddities. "you accept this contract by looking in it's general direction", "you can't install this software on your new PC even if you destroyed the old one", "you can't sell this when you are done with it" and "if it doesn't work, tough" being the biggies.

On a side issue, how do companies which change their name cope with non-transferable licenses. For example, PriceWaterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand merged. Both companies ceased to exist and a new company (PwC) took over all their assets (including software). Does this mean that all the non-transferable software licenses have been broken.

Blind Judo master floors tobacco stealing skinhead


British Police Generally Fair

I have to admit the British bobbies are generally pretty fair about this sort of thing in spite of the dafter headlines in the press.

My old Jiu-Jitsu instructor got chased up a narrow blind alley by a national front march for shouting something inappropriate. By the time the police got to him he had broken several arms, legs and heads and was happily laying into the remaining skinheads with gay (literally) abandon.

The police arrested him and carted him off to the police station, but then were good enough to explain that it was only because they couldn't get a couple of hundred skinheads into two panda cars and let him of with a tsk, tsk, please don't do it again.

Google, Yahoo! and Amazon sued over email patent


Prior art flood

I remember implementing a system for the Whitehouse which filtered emails containing words like "bomb" and "explosion" and forwarded them to security way back in 1992. I know that Texas produces some very backwards presidents and tends to live in the dark ages, but this is just silly.


Legal Question

Does Texas have an equivalent of vexatious litigation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vexatious_litigation)?

Model train software spat threatens future of open source


Reputation is worth money too

As the US courts don't seem to care about much other than financial damages, you could argue that by not including the correct headers and attribution, the copier reduced the reputation, PR and good will value of all the people contributing to the original software. You could value that and award damages accordingly.

Say 100 people contributed to the software and lost $1,000 a year in reduced future earnings by not being correctly associated with it. Loss of earning for the rest of their working lives (say 30 years on average) gives $3m in damages. Add in some legal fees and a bit of compound interest or adjust for inflation and you get a number plenty big enough to discourage most people from breaking the license terms.

You would also encourage larger open source projects (if I get involved and contribute some code I might get a cut when someone breaks the license).