* Posts by fwthinks

59 posts • joined 18 Apr 2019

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UK chancellor: Getting back to the altar of corporate dreams (the office) will boost young folks' careers

fwthinks
Unhappy

It is a shame that the message is complete rejected simply by who is saying it.

I work from home and do not want to go back to the office, but I know that is a very selfish view and if I owned a company, I would want my staff to be in the office - apart from me obviously!

I benefited from the office for many years and now reap the rewards of all the skills I picked up from working with lots of different people. Also the social life after work where you build up most of your working relationships and people open up a bit. How you are supposed to replicate that sitting in a bedsit on zoom? Maybe possible, but not easy.

I already see the negative impact of home working in our company and I am sure other companies are noticing this. I suspect home working will continue for a subset of staff, but fully expect that the most companies will start wanting people back in the office. It may remain a perk for retaining the best staff, but not for the workers at the coal face.

You're not imagining it. Amazon and AWS want to hire all your friends, enemies, and everyone in between

fwthinks
Unhappy

Re: "talent Hoover."

Quite so! I don't see any feedback from the Amazon workers in warehouses or the third party agency staff that they pretend are not their responsibility. The article reads like an advert.

Any company which treats "talent" different from other workers (who are effectively treated as slaves) is morally corrupt from my perspective, but who cares about morals these days - divide and conquer!

Google cans engineering diversity training scheme after alumni complain of abysmal pay packages

fwthinks

Re: Clearly not. There peers were rejected outright.

"Employed to do the same job" does not automatically mean everyone performs to the same level. I have never been in a team where everyone is identical from a capability perspective.

Paying everyone in the same role an identical salary is a nice idea in theory, but in reality never seems to work that well. Unfortunately being paid by capability doesn't always happen either. Salary tends to be determined by how much you short and how desperate the company is to retain/hire you. Not that I agree with this, just have lots of experience.

VMs were a fad fit for the Great Recession. Containers’ time has finally come

fwthinks
Thumb Down

one sided

The problem with the argument, is that it is one sided - only looking at the issue from an application perspective. Containers do not run in the ether, they run on operating systems and physical hardware. So containers may make life easier for an app developer or app support team, but not from an infrastructure perspective. Even for virtualization today like ESX, the underlying hosting platform can be very complex to deploy and manage, but the benefit is that it reduces OS support costs. In a large enterprise with a wide variety of apps to deploy, I do not believe that containers add any additional cost benefit from an infrastructure perspective - as they add an additional management layer which somebody has to manage.

UK.gov wants mobile makers to declare death dates for their new devices from launch

fwthinks

Correction?

Is someone trying to have a dig at Which? or just slack work?

From their own site - they claim to be completely independent - https://www.which.co.uk/about-which/who-we-are

UK government may force online retailers to pick up e-waste from consumers

fwthinks

Re: All well and good..

I agree that most people don't care, but this kind of issue was resolved a long time ago - get money back when you return an item - just like the old drinks bottles.

I think we can resolve both the waste and fixablity issues - by charging a set fee for electronics which is proportional to the size, expected lifespan and ease of repairing. For example if you charge £200 extra for a iPhone then you get that money back when you return it to the vendor that sold it. For large stuff like TV's you might end up paying an additional 100% of the purchase price because they generate so much waste.

At least charging upfront would solve the issues of dealing with companies that only exist for a few months or customers who can't be bothered to try to dispose of items sensibly.

Copper broadband phaseout will leave UK customers with higher bills and less choice, says comparison site

fwthinks

Mobile to save the day?

I agree with the assessment - the base cost of having fixed line broadband will increase. If you have a house full of people with heavy usage, the cost is reasonable, but a single person just wanting to do a bit of browsing is paying way over the odds if they need to pay for a fibre connection.

What is missing from the assessment, is that I suspect mobile broadband will take up this slack. Even today a simple 5GB monthly SIM can be had for less than the price of fixed line rental. Connect a SIM to a Wifi Dongle and you have cheap broadband that will rival a basic copper connection. It just needs to be made a bit simpler to understand and install for non-techies. I am surprised that we don't see more bundle offers for mobile broadband as a replacement for fixed line.

HP loses attempt to deny colossal commission to star sales staffer

fwthinks

Sales people should get commission, but it should be linked to the profit on a contract and paid over the length of the contract. That would hopefully stop the kind of contracts which initially look good, but basically screw over the people who actually need to deliver the contract.

Also you need to pay sales people an actual salary - so they are not incentivized to sign any crappy deal just to get a normal income. I am sure large bonus for good contracts will still drive the sales.

IT contractor caught charging Uncle Sam expert rates for newbies, agrees to pay back $6m in settlement

fwthinks
Trollface

Re: "Consultancies" v. independents

Agreed that It's more difficult for independent consultants, but not impossible. You only need to know slightly more than the person you are working for, to give the impression of extensive knowledge and experience.

For some consultants, I have wondered how they manage to keep getting contracts, but then again hiring is typically done by managers who often don't have a clue.

President Biden to issue executive order on chip shortages as under-pressure silicon world begs for help

fwthinks

Re: Trickle down my arse.

Never understood subsidies / grants / tax rebates etc - that is just giving money away in the hope that you may get something back indirectly via other forms of taxation - this does not work very well in lots of cases.

If a company was to receive money from another private business, they would offer shares/profit/return on investment. So I am surprised that more governments don't do the same, but just put conditions on the investment. If it doesn't work out, then the government will not be any worse of than grants, but if successful, the government will get their money back directly.

In this case, I would see setting up a joint venture as a good opportunity - equal risk / reward. However I suspect that is against free-marketeers ideals - can't have nationalization can we.

Windows' cloudy future: That Chrome OS advantage is Google's to lose

fwthinks
Meh

Apples and oranges

I don't fully understand the comparison - I see Chromebooks as android tablets on steroids and have a specific use case - basic browsing & productivity . Maybe this is what most people need, but that is different to saying that Chromebooks are better than Windows laptops.

Maybe where Google are winning, is in convincing people that Chromebooks are equivalent to Laptops. I know people who have bought Chromebooks and then were disappointed in their limited functionality - which suggests that there is a element of hype in their sales pitch. On the other side, you have vendors selling cheap Windows laptops which struggle to do anything basic and make Windows look a waste of money.

Robinhood plays Sheriff of Nottingham as it pauses GameStop, AMC, BlackBerry etc stock sales, gets sued

fwthinks

Re: Piggly Wiggly

You only have to look at the Tesla and Uber share prices to know that "fundamentals" are irrelevant anymore. If the share price is high because of what is potentially possible in 5-10 years - then that is just a bet. No different from throwing money on a horse.

Negative Trustpilot review of law firm Summerfield Browne cost aggrieved Briton £28k

fwthinks

For me, the equivalent would be to bring your computer to PC World and expecting a highly trained engineer with years of experience to immediately fix your issue. What you might get is a part time teenager on minimum wage who uses google to try to work out what is happening.

The only difference is that solicitors have a much higher starting fee, meaning you think should be getting much more for your money.

Engineers blame 'intentionally conservative' test parameters for premature end to Space Launch System hotfire

fwthinks
Mushroom

hit their full power of 109 per cent

So they have a power dial that can go to 11, but they only got to 10.9 before they hit the big red button

Braking point: Tesla has had quite enough of Trump's 'unlawful' tariffs on Chinese-made parts, sues Uncle Sam

fwthinks

Re: Good luck with that.

The idea that consumers pay tariffs is misleading - it is only true in very specific circumstances. In most cases, there is an upper price for a widget or service that people will pay and beyond this, the sale volumes decrease and revenue decreases. So it is the upper price which determine whether the price can increase to cover the full cost of tariff or a percentage of it. Sometimes businesses just have to accept lower profits to keep continue selling their product. Generally, If they can pass on the full cost, then there is something wrong in the market - either no competition or cartel like activity where all vendors raise their price by the same amount.

iphones are a great example of how the retail price of something is significantly different to the cost and therefore allows Apple to generate large profits from each device. Whether apple pass on the full tariff cost to consumers or absorb it, is irrelevant - the point is that Apple charge what the market can afford and would increase the retail price further if they think they could get away with it, irrespective of what it costs to build.

The problem with Tesla, is that they are either making very little profit per car or even loosing money and so any additional costs will have a much more significant impact to their viability.

Amazon gets its tax excuses in early amid rising UK profits – but leaves El Reg off the press list. Can't think why

fwthinks

Re: Not the fault of Amazon

While I agree with the basic issue, that the laws need to be changed, the whole avoidance / evasion discussion is misleading and used by businesses to justify what they do as being completely legal. In effect they are publishing one set of accounts to the tax man which represents an artificial company structure and actually operating in a completely different way. As mentioned in this article, where they have declared to the tax man that the UK has 3 Billion revenue, but then declaring 13+ Billion UK revenue to the shareholders - to me that is effectively lying about your revenue, as both cannot be correct.

Take for example the ability for small businesses to claim tax on legitimate expenses. If a company claims a specific value in expenses which is higher than they really are entitled to, then they are using a valid tax avoidance method, but not being honest with the figures. The difference between a small company and Amazon, is that the tax man can easily audit small companies and determine the fraud, while they have no realistic possibility of doing it with Amazon, as the structures are so complex and they have unlimited funds to fight any legal case.

So for me, these large companies are committing tax evasion, but it is not realistic for this proved conclusively given the complexities involved.

You think the UK coronavirus outbreak was bad? Just wait till winter: Study shows test-and-trace system is failing

fwthinks

Re: But... but...

Both the Irish and German tracing apps are open source - why the UK can't just reuse this code is unclear. I will bet it is either politics or complete incompetence which is preventing us having a working app.

Never knowingly under-digitally transformed: Retailer John Lewis outsources tech function to Wipro

fwthinks

Madness

If you are a small company with a few IT people, it may make sense to get economies of scale by outsourcing, but I struggle to understand why large businesses with hundreds of IT staff would outsource.

It is such a short term view - haven't they seen all the other companies that continual go through the outsoucing / insourcing cycle, plus all the failed IT projects being run by external consultancies. Not to mention the fact that from now on, IT in retail is a core function - the biggest retailer in the world is an IT company - Amazon.

UK MPs to off-payroll workers: Delay IR35 reforms until 2023? You wish

fwthinks

Given that this is about "disguised" employees - there is obviously an element of people / companies trying to avoid matching such criteria. I personally would favor a more practical mechanism which would make a decision based on probabilities rather than a few black and white statements. For example if the majority of the following apply, you are likely (but not guaranteed) to be a disguised employee

- You are required to use a company PC - and not permitted to use your own devices.

- You are added to the company directory and required to use company email address

- You are required to attend regular company meetings that are not directly related to your work.

- You contract does not specify what you need to deliver just a fixed time period.

- You need to provide regular time sheets to get paid- not a report of deliverables completed.

- Your fees have no direct relationship to the quality of work - i.e. you are on a fixed rate with no quality review capability to adjust these fees.

- You are required to comply with the company ways of working and policies - for example travel class restrictions or traveling with specific companies

- You do not need to provide guarantees on the work you have completed which can be invoked after you leave - i.e. similar to sale of goods legislation.

Rogue ADT tech spied on hundreds of customers in their homes via CCTV – including me, says teen girl

fwthinks

Re: "ADT failed to monitor consumers’ accounts"

I would agree that ADT should not shoulder all the blame - but they are jointly responsible.

On the good side, they collected logs and were able to trace the issue. However on the bad side, it took a customer to monitor the logs and alert them to the problem. Why were ADT not monitoring the logs? probably because it costs time and money - so almost certainly somebody in ADT made this trade-off that they did not want to pay this work to be done.

Yes, you have to delegate control to employees and give them the ability to do their job, but every company is responsible for ensuring monitoring is not only in place but also regularly audited.

Uber, Lyft struck by sue-ball, no, sue-meteorite in California after insisting their apps' drivers aren't employees

fwthinks

Re: Meanwhile (according to the BBC)...

"it isn't substantially different to the IT contractor position of insisting they are not employees"

That is correct, but IT contractors generally get paid a lot more and financially benefit by not being classed as an employee - while Uber drivers and other gig economy contractors generally get near minimum wage and lose out from being a contractor. So the arguments are identical, but the view is different depending on how much money you make. If Uber drivers were paid a lot more, you would not hear many of them arguing to be considered employees.

UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy

fwthinks

Re: Difficult choice

^ This is the crux of the issue - what does amaze me is the number of people who just automatically trust the statements from google/apple - especially given the history of them deceiving people and covertly collecting data. To me the supposed additional privacy of their solution is dependent on them being and remaining honest. It only takes a few people to start seeing dollar signs at the prospect of using all that personal data, for the privacy to disappear.

I am very uneasy about the whole solution, irrespective of who manages the solution. However maybe us sensitive types are irrelevant in this discussion. Billions of people happily give personal data out on the internet every day. So maybe the critical mass requirements will be met by all the Facebook fans.

However there are dire consequences both economically and personally if this pandemic continues to control our way of life for the next few months even years - so my view is that I would install the app if this goes some way to allowing us to return to normal sooner. The privacy consequences could become irrelevant if things turned bad.

BAE Systems tosses its contractors a blanket... ban on off-payroll working under upcoming IR35 tax reforms

fwthinks

Re: "[HMRC] has predicted the reforms will recoup £1.2bn a year by 2023"

Previously when specific guidelines were published, all that happened was contractors/agencies/businesses modified the contracts to include specific statements that would be used as a means to justify being outside of IR35. Contractors and businesses were complicit in this game of moving the goalposts. The "substitute" agreement is typically in most contracts, but both the company and contractor know this will likely never be invoked or tested. In most cases its is completely impractical and could never work. Most businesses take several days/weeks to onboard new contractors and no company would allow a complete stranger to just walk in one day and have access to their IT systems. Advance planning may be possible in some cases, but not in any of the companies I have worked for.

So I am sure if HRMC stated that any contract less than x months would be outside of IR35, then suddenly you will see a massive spike in people changing their contracts to justify being outside of IR35. When in reality, nothing changes in the office on a day to day basis.

Auf wiedersehen, pet: UK Deutsche Bank contractors plan to leave rather than take 25% pay cut for IR35 – report

fwthinks
Angel

Ethics

It's not tax breaks - but contractors working in limited companies have more flexibility to use tax allowances and schemes to optimize their tax than people on PAYE. Nothing wrong in principle, but I suspect some people are not 100% honest with the tax man.

An example - if you employ your wife/partner in your limited company and they do not have another job, then they can make use of their full tax free allowance and reduce your company tax bill - overall your family will have saved a lot of tax.This is certainly allowed in the rules and there are plenty of people who are honest with this allowance.

But there is an ethical question - If you only pretend that your partner is working for you but you pay them a salary, then legally it is tax evasion. However if you know that the tax man can never work out whether they do any work and so will unlikely to be found guilty of tax evasion - then should you still use that mechanism to lower your tax?

That appears to the crux of the whole argument around tax - some contractors are very conservative with the allowances and only use them if they have a legitimate requirement. Other contractors are very aggressive and will try to use any allowance, even if their eligibility is questionable.

Steve Jobs, executives shot down top Apple engineers' plea to design their own server CPU – latest twist in legal battle over chip upstart Nuvia

fwthinks
Terminator

The future

I bet these companies can't wait for the ability to use a Men in Black type neuralyzer to wipe all your intellectual knowledge on the day you resign.

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

fwthinks

Re: hyperbole?

If a role is going to take more than 1 year, then I would be looking to ensure staff were involved and eventually take over the role - whether that is retraining staff or bringing in new staff. 1 year is more than enough time to train somebody on any platform/technology if you are willing to put the time, effort and budget into it. Any company that allows an external provider (whether contractor or consultancy) to spend 2 or 3 years working on a new solution and then they walk out without ensuring internal knowledge remains, is asking for trouble. However it does happen, which shows that a lot of companies are just badly run and looking at everything in the short term.

fwthinks

hyperbole?

Why is this issue being presented in such apocalyptic terms. It's just a issue around paying tax and whether you need to pay more or less tax. Work will still exist and rates may vary but both are dependent on demand / skills. Whether the tax rules are fair is a completely different argument.

Black cab / uber drivers are complaining about the amount of money they make, not simply because of tax laws, but because the market is flooded. This is also a risk in the IT contracting marking - as long as there are people who accept less money than others, businesses will always be able to get contractors. Just don't assume businesses care about quality. It's just another risk that comes with the territory.

You, FCC, tell us again why cities are only allowed to charge rich telcos $270 to attach 5G tech to utility poles?

fwthinks

Fixed fees have a place if you can then ensure that the extra revenue they save from large cities is used to subsidize other locations. However it seems from the article that this is an assumption by the FCC and not a formal requirement. Meaning businesses can completely ignore it if they want.

Are there people out there that still think businesses will provide services just because they want to be good to society?

Ever wondered how Google-less Android might look? Step right this Huawei: Mate 30 Pro arrives on British shores

fwthinks
Facepalm

Missed opportunity?

I would have thought that a bargain phone with good specs would be a better option - as most people would accept the limitations of no play store if they think they are getting a better deal on the hardware. If I am spending nearly a grand on a phone, I would want all the bells and whistles and not have to play around with side-loading.The only reason the amazon store exists is become their tablets are dirt cheap and people will put up with the limited options.

GitLab can proclaim diversity all it likes, but it seems to have a real problem keeping women on staff or in management

fwthinks

Correlation does not equal causation.

Companies that are diverse and are doing well, may have many other corporate traits that help drive that success. Diversity is good, but assuming diversity by itself is the single cause is in itself a very blinkered view.

And if you turn to your left, you can see the walls of Amazon Web Services' vast server farm. And next to it, a gift shop and visitor center

fwthinks

Re: No-one mentions AWS

I don't think Amazon is that different in terms of workers rights and low - they are just as guilty as the others.

I do see Amazon as different in terms of strategy and tax avoidance and they are my pick for becoming the monopoly mega-corp that we see in science fiction. They still do not pay any dividend and all their money is pumped into development and new services. Some will work out, others will not. If you don't make a profit, then you won't be taxed.

If you compare that to Apple, Microsoft or Oracle, who all seem to be sitting on large piles of offshore profit which they are afraid to bring home as it will be taxed. They appear to have very short term strategies - while amazon is playing the long game.

UK energy watchdog to probe National Grid and Scottish Power over fault-plagued subsea cable

fwthinks

Re: The future for undersea power cables

The cost / benefit may not be too good today, but I would be surprised if these schemes are being rejected instantly. There are lots of work being done with high-voltage DC transmission (HVDC) as this is more efficient for long distance cables.

Just look at the amount of long distance oil and gas pipelines - if there is enough money to be made, distance and engineering issues will be overcome.

By the way, conditions at the bottom of the sea tend to be a lot calmer than at the surface - as long as you are not too near any tectonic faults.

Brave, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla gather together to talk web privacy... and why we all shouldn't get too much of it

fwthinks

Re: bah

Completely agree - There are two completely different topics - Firstly the ability to track individuals for targeting adverts and secondly the intrusive nature of ads on sites (and their bandwidth stealing).

I just can't understand why tracking individuals is required to provide adverts - as people have said, you just see a different advert. If I am reading an article on El Reg, it is quite a good guess that an IT related advert could be relevant. You don't need to track every other web site I go to. Code which blocks adverts (whether targeted or not) is a separate discussion and I can understand why this could have an impact on content providers.

Tracking individuals does not provide advertisers any significant benefit - this is all bluff by Google / Facebook to charge extra for advert placement. The are the only people who would be significantly affected by not being able to target adverts, not companies like news sites.

How a Kaggle Grandmaster cheated in $25,000 AI contest with hidden code – and was fired from dream SV job

fwthinks
Pirate

What worries me the most, is that the code was available to view and the cheat code was not quickly identified. I think this is a major problem with software development today, that code is so complex with multiple layers of dependencies, people simply pick up code blocks and just assume it is secure and functioning correctly. Even open source code is not guaranteed safe until thoroughly reviewed.

EU declares it'll Make USB-C Great Again™. You hear that, Apple?

fwthinks

Sorry - i though this article was about charging - which is measured in volts and amps - not Mb/s

fwthinks

USB is over 20 years old - so already a mature technology. Wireless charging aside, I am struggling to understand what innovations have been made. Apart from reducing the size of the connector and making it reversible, there is little change. Incremental changes in power levels and control - but otherwise I don't see power deliver as an area that will see a quantum leap that requires complete freedom to deliver the next improvements. This is just a battle over revenue.

At present waste and pollution costs are not passed back to the manufacturer. Why should large electronic companies be able to make large profits on products which cannot be repaired or recycled at my expense by my increased tax charges for environmental management. We should be charging an additional tax on every device based on how environmentally friendly it is. If someone still wants to buy the latest shiny shiny, then fine, but they should pick up the full lifetime cost of that product.

Ring of fired: Amazon axes multiple workers who secretly snooped on netizens' surveillance camera footage

fwthinks

The article references an internal policy which I suspect gives employees little or no option but to agree to allow their videos to be shared. While this may give Ring a good stream of data to analyze, it is probably very stupid from a security perspective, as it means people who have authority to look at the data, very likely know the people who's data it is. I also see no reference to anonymization.

.

Who would have thought that people would like to know what their co-workers were up to outside of work?

UK government review of IR35 tax reforms? Like a broken pencil, say contractors groups – it'll be utterly pointless

fwthinks

Re: It's over....

Up until now, it has been the responsibility for each contractor to self assess their role. However so many of the contractors that have been in the same company for several years* refuse to accept that they were disguised employee's. So HRMC has decided to move responsibility to the companies that take on the contractors.

Yes this is a very blunt instrument and hits legitimate contractors as well - but did anyone realistically expect some contractors to voluntary start paying more tax to save others from being impacted?

How many steps was that, then? Uncle Sam's lawyers, watchdog race to probe Google's Fitbit gobble

fwthinks

Diminishing returns?

I can see the potential of collecting and aggregating large amounts of data on individuals, but only for selling as datasets to other businesses - for example I am sure health insurance companies would love to see fitbit data to help them increase your premiums.

However there must be a limit to this from an advertising perspective. Even if my best friend was deciding what adverts I should see online, I would be very surprised if I would suddenly start buying more stuff that I don't need.

Maybe I am looking at this the wrong way. It could be that companies that want to advertise simply don't understand that after a certain level of targeting, your revenue will not increase, but your costs will. If companies (and political parties) continue to demand ever more detailed targeting capability, then Google is simply meeting that demand.

20% of UK businesses would rather axe their contractors than deal with IR35 – survey

fwthinks

Re: Dangers of moving from outside to inside IR35

Apart from temporary skill gaps, there are two other key reasons why companies will take on contractors rather than permanent staff

1) Dealing with sacking/redundancies will require a good HR department to follow the correct process - but most companies HR department will typically mess up the process.

2) Teams of permanent staff need to have good managers - but most managers are not very good at managing people. It's just easier to to bully and terminate contractors when they don't do what they are told.

In the main, a lot of contractor positions in big companies are due to incompetence within HR and management rather than the technical skills that a contractor brings to the role.

'Peregrine falcon'-style drone swarms could help defend UK against Gatwick copycat attacks

fwthinks

Re: numbers game

I suspect the per-programmed drones rely on GPS signals which can be jammed. However jamming solutions today are currently a bit unpredictable.

Will someone think of the taxpayer? UK.gov needs to stop burning billions on shoddy procurement, says Reform

fwthinks

Re: Government has lost the capability to commission outsourced contracts

I have seen similar issues in private companies - when they outsource such a large percentage of the work, they simply lose the capability to manage suppliers or understand what they are doing. Leading to failed projects or overspending - as there is little incentive for suppliers to complete early or under budget.

Companies, and just as equally, government - need to have a significant percentage of skilled resources to provide proper oversight and governance. I would suggest a minimum of 20% of a project should be from in-house and cover key roles such as project management, architecture and security. Really you just want a supplier to provide the specialist resources or perform the volume grunt work.

UK tech freelancer numbers down for first time in 5 years since IR35 tax reforms hit public sector

fwthinks

Every benefit that an employee receives has a specific value that can be used to calculate the total remuneration package. Employee packages are not some magic pot of unlimited gold that companies cannot control. Companies can also mitigate risk using insurance to further control costs.

Comparing contractor and employee packages is very simple. In either case, each person needs to decide if the overall package/rate meets their requirement.

So any contractor complaining that employee's get a better deal are simply ignoring the fact that they personally decide whether they should receive any benefits or take the money instead.

IR35 blame game: Barclays to halt off-payroll contractors, goes directly to PAYE

fwthinks

Re: IR35 idiocy

Given the number of number of IT contractors in the country, it's highly unlikely that all of them can quit and look for other jobs either in this country or abroad. There simply aren't enough jobs available. It's the same for demanding higher rates. Some people will be successful and others will just have to accept what they are being offered.

Only the best contractors will be able to pick and choose their jobs and rates. It may come as a surprise to some people, but not all contractors are high performing experts that we expect. There is a mix of good and bad, just as in any industry. I have worked with some truly amazing contractors, but also contractors that I am amazed managed to get past the interview.

Consumer campaign to keep receiving printed till receipts looks like a good move – on paper

fwthinks

Re: The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

One other really important consideration - is that you need to be able to create an offline store for your emails, otherwise you can't access it when email is not accessible or your email account is removed / moved. If you don't have full offline access to your own data, you have no control over it.

UK taxman wins tribunal case against BBC presenters

fwthinks

Re: TL;DR they were badly advised by their own accountants ?

The more probably scenario is that these people are claiming ignorance of the tax laws to try to get a sympathetic hearing. As they were working for the BBC and being highly paid, this suggests a sufficient level of intelligence to be able to understand the basics of IR35.

Most accountants will explain the tax implications clearly to their clients and in most cases accountants are on a fixed fee. Meaning there is little incentive in deceiving your client if you are not getting any extra money. The main discussion tends to be around risk - i.e. how likely am I to get caught? and that is where maybe the accountants were not clear enough. Even in this case, these people would fully understand that they were taking some level of risk.

MPs call for 'immediate' stop to facial recog in UK as report underlines bias risks in 'pre-crime' algos used by coppers

fwthinks

Re: MPs call for 'immediate' stop to facial recog

Not necessarily. It depends on how successful the technology is. In an ideal world the evidence will be the determining factor whether this is adopted or not based on how well it works. Unfortunately we live in a world where evidence and science are considered fake news. So probably it will used to trick people into thinking it works - and that is where the risk exist. It is then adopted to to simply show that the police are doing something about crime.

Now on Amazon Prime: The Amazing Shrinking UK Tax Burden

fwthinks

I am not disagreeing with your statements, but these miss the point. The rules are to ensure consistency across all businesses. However companies like Amazon have processes which are designed to specifically maximize the ability to benefit from these rules.

You may argue that this is something that all companies could do and also represents good financial management, but I suspect that many of these internet companies are using artificial structures which do not align with the real world reality of how the company is structured.

The bottom line is that the tax collection models are still based on 20th Century (and before) business model and the Internet has fundamentally thrown that model on its head. It will take years before a new tax model is developed that is able to cope with the way these companies operate.

The issue for me is not the level of tax that is levied, but ensuring that the tax burden for each company/person is fairly distributed. So local companies can compete fairly with multi-nationals.

Web body mulls halving HTTPS cert lifetimes. That screaming in the distance is HTTPS cert sellers fearing orgs will bail for Let's Encrypt

fwthinks

Re: Follow the money

Automation does not solve all the issues - you just move control of the certs from a person to a scheduled task but this process needs permissions to manage your certs and for example perform the LetEncypt challenge.

I am not saying it cannot be secured, but about understanding whether new risks are being created or existing risks being moved to another part of the process. So moving to a 3 month renewal could increase risks if you are not careful.

Y'know how everyone hated it when tuition fees went up? Cutting them now could harm science, say UK Lords

fwthinks

Up until a year or two ago, nursing degrees were free of tuition fees - which made sense as it would encourage people to take up nursing. Why anybody in government thought it was good idea to bump up the cost to 9K is beyond belief.

If we had any sort of intelligent government, you would adjust the fees for each type of course to address skills gaps. For example charge 20K a year for a media studies degree and use this money to cross subsidise STEM courses.

Of course you would need to change the student loan model - because at present, the cost of the course is fairly irrelevant to the majority of students who will never pay off their loan in full. Personally I believe that if you want to recover costs from graduates for their course, you need to to do this fairly and charge all graduates additional tax, not just the ones that cannot afford to pay upfront.

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