* Posts by Steve Foster

553 posts • joined 10 Oct 2007

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The voters hate Google. Heeeeyyyy... how about a 'Google Tax'?

Steve Foster

"If you want big corps to stop avoiding taxes you need to close the loopholes that allow them to do that."

As Tim has been trying to explain, paying corporation tax in your home country is not a loophole.

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Steve Foster

Re: Taxing at the wrong end

"A foreign company can sell 10 choccy bars to a customer in the UK for £10 because he pays no tax here, a UK company has to sell the same choccy bars for £12 because it has to give the taxman £2."

But ForeignCo does still have to pay tax to ForeignHMRC. That might be £2. Or maybe £3 or £5 or £1.50 or 2½p. Whatever rate ForeignGov decides is appropriate (and I think £0.00 as you claim is very unlikely).

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Ad bidding network caught slinging ransomware

Steve Foster
Happy

@omg...

Hmmm, sounds like you may have identified a gap in the market...

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The BBC wants to slap a TAX on EVERYONE in BLIGHTY

Steve Foster

@J.G.Harston

The actual comment was: "Hall also noted that the BBC was the only British website in the UK’s top five."

Presumably the "UK's top five" refers to most-visited rather than source location, in order for the comment to make sense.

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Steve Foster

@Doctor Syntax

The BBC is already subject to influence from the government of the day. Whether it is funded by the licence fee or by grant from general taxation is not relevant to that status.

A switch to grant-funding doesn't have to mean any other changes (though such an opportunity might be considered as a good time to look at whether any such changes are appropriate).

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Steve Foster

@Riku

True, but Capita are just agents acting under instruction from the BBC. So ultimately, it is the BBC calling the shots, and prosecuting those who watch TV without a TV licence.

I think that last time I looked at the figures in the BBC accounts, they were spending somewhere in the order of £140m on licence fee collection (ie that's the amount paid to Capita for carrying out those prosecutions).

Which means that any other method of funding the BBC that doesn't involve criminalising those who are almost unable to avoid it would automatically benefit the BBC to the tune of £140m pa.

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Prawn cocktail offers hot new way to make solar cells

Steve Foster

@Jess--

That will be part of the work to come, but ultimately if (say) power-comparable solar cells made with chitin last half as long but are only 10% of the cost of rare-metal based cells, then they'd make commercial sense.

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Microsoft tells big biz: No free Windows 10 for you, crack wallets open

Steve Foster
Boffin

Re: @Sampler

Ctrl+V can be configured to work in CMD, and that has been the case since at least XP. In the Properties for your command prompt, set "QuickEdit Mode".

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Professor's BEAGLE lost for 10 years FOUND ON MARS

Steve Foster
Joke

Hmmm...

But what about after it left earth?

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No, the Linux leap second bug WON'T crash the web

Steve Foster
Boffin

Bah

All these minor system concerns around airline booking systems, check-in desks and so on and so forth, and yet no-one has thought to ask whether the SPB have tested LOHAN's systems for leap second bugs. Let's face it - if NASA's boffins decide to batten down the hatches, the question is are SPB up for the challenge? (presumably NASA having a quiet lie down gives LOHAN a reasonable launch window!)

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Latest NORKS Linux and Android distros leak

Steve Foster
Headmaster

Re: unfiltered access

"Unfiltered" - no content restrictions were imposed.

"logged" - a record of what activities were carried out is kept.

Two distinct options which are not mutually exclusive.

The use of a proxy would allow filtering to occur, if the operators of the proxy so desired, but the implication is that they have chosen not to do so.

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*HIC*... tweet: Sloshed birdsh shlur songs, boffins say

Steve Foster
Joke

Re: This is the kind of research the world needs.

Presumably, you were expecting (hoping for?) a story about tits...

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LOHAN's Plucky Playmonaut touches down at Spaceport America

Steve Foster
Boffin

"Can you guess which one of these is not going according to plan?"

HA! Clearly this is a trick question, and the correct answer is:

(D) All of the above.

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QEMU, FFMPEG guru unleashes JPEG-slaying graphics compressor

Steve Foster
Holmes

Amazed this hasn't been posted already, but...

...obligatory XKCD.

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FOUR, count 'em, FOUR big rockets launching in next seven days

Steve Foster
Joke

Re: Talking of rocket launches

I believe that is en-route to the colonies by packet steamer.

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ICO warns UK broadcasters over filming using drones

Steve Foster
Alert

Re: Hypothetical situation:

I rather think the answer would be to equip your garden with a big ole' water sprinkler, and if the drone happens to get in the (ahem) "line of fire", that'd hardly be your fault!

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What the 4K: High-def DisplayPort vid meets reversible USB Type C

Steve Foster
Joke

Re: its all made of serial....

Ah, did you mean:

It's serial all the way down...

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SHARE 'N' SINK: OneDrive corrupting Office 2013 files

Steve Foster
Joke

Makes a nice change...

...from Office 2013 corrupting Office 2013 documents.

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Russia: SEXY LIZARDS which landed FROM SPACE are all DEAD

Steve Foster
Joke

Re: Geckos! Frozen Geckos!

From CMOT Barnes? Probably bacon.

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EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday

Steve Foster

Text Explained

This article explains why I received an apology SMS from EE this morning.

Not that I'd noticed the problem, mind you, as I tend to use my phone data as backup for when I'm not otherwise connected.

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Steve Foster

Re: Where???

If you take that sentence fragment by itself, it means nothing.

But the original sentence reads correctly (if a little awkwardly). Adding some emphasis might help to make the meaning clearer:

"We posted hourly updates on the T-Mobile data issues all day on Friday for customers with repeated apologies."

ie the updates posted hourly on Friday contained apologies as well as being about the data issues.

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Six of the best gaming keyboard and mouse combos

Steve Foster

Re: One True Mouse

The Intellimouse Explorer 2 is indeed (in my view) an excellent mouse, and I have several in use. But they do have one key flaw - the USB connector wiring cable is rather weak, and liable to break with anything more than very light desktop use.

I did pick up a batch directly from the Microsoft Store a couple of years ago, but I'm down to the last few.

My main PC has the bluetooth variant, which avoids the cabling flaw (along with the matching MS keyboard), but that has also been discontinued (indeed, decent bluetooth keyboard/mouse combos seem incredibly rare). And mine is getting rather worn (the battery covers are held on with sellotape & blutack), and I'm dreading the day they finally pack up completely.

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Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo

Steve Foster
Holmes

Re: "generally inappropriate use of matrix signs"

Ah yes, these should be reserved for messages that are actually reasonably important and relevant to a motorway driver.

There are a number of pointless "propaganda" messages that do not generally meet those criteria, and turn the signs into a distraction (and again inspire Craigie's Pavlovian response).

Examples include "Don't Drink and Drive", "Congestion Stay In Lane" (when the variable speed limit indicators on the same gantry are already active) and "X minutes to <significant junction>" (these are minorly useful, but not really important enough, IMHO, to justify putting them up).

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Steve Foster
Facepalm

Re: "Red X on tunnel"

Of course, because using the Lane Closed sign for "Queue Ahead" is so obvious!

Incompetent use of the available tools partly explains why idiots like Craigie exist (that and the safety features of modern cars militate against Darwin).

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Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs

Steve Foster
Pint

Happiness loves company

Don't worry, you're not the only one who has not had their valuable time wasted (thereby leaving it free for more useful things [see icon]).

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Supermodel Lily Cole: 'I got a little bit upset by that Register article'

Steve Foster
Joke

Re: BTFO yet again

And yet #think! how much #worse! #things! could be if #Yahoo! had #invented! the #hashtag!

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Still using e-mail? Marketers say you're part of DARK SOCIAL

Steve Foster

Re: Telephone Tracking

Would that be the one with the stupid and utterly pointless "corporate whalesong" rebrand that (temporarily) went titsup recently?

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Gigabyte Brix Pro: You don't need no steenkin' Xbox... when you have 4K-ing amazing graphics

Steve Foster

Re: Intel 5200 at 4K?

I recently replaced an HD5450 in my mATX case with a R7, which is (I understand) about as far as it's possible to go with ATI^H^HMD graphics in low profile at a reasonable price.

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BSkyB eyes up Uncle Rupert's telly channels in Germany and Italy

Steve Foster
Big Brother

"Media Plurality Concerns"

Hmmm, seems more likely that a reduced Murdoch influence (currently he has 100% of Sky DE & IT, and this would be cut to an indirect 40% [via his BSkyB stake]) would be seen as a positive move.

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GOV.UK push in action: Er, FEWER Brits filling out govt forms online

Steve Foster

Re: Convoluted registration

Oh my, yes. Whereas the old paper VAT return had just 7 boxes to fill, and a space to squiggle a signature at the bottom (I must admit I was surprised that they never tried to redesign the form, given how beautifully straight-forward it was).

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Steve Foster

Re: Just what am I supposed to be doing online?

"What am I meant to be doing every 3 months?"

I suspect it's mostly businesses and employers that are being forced into using gov.uk this frequently (or more), as VAT returns now have to be done electronically, and so does PAYE.

(don't get me started on the "we did nothing" reporting that now has to be done for PAYE if you don't pay someone - WTF is the point of PAYE RTI if we have to do this as well???)

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London Tube has new stop at Azure Station

Steve Foster
Joke

Re: So what are the 'things'

I think you'll find it's actually "Intransigence of T'unions".

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Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics

Steve Foster
Mushroom

Re: A blue LED indicates the light is on

So that when you have a blown bulb, you know what state the circuit is in (and can avoid that "argh, I'm blind" moment when a new bulb is fitted).

(the closest icon for indicating a classic "lightbulb" moment that I could find)

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Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters

Steve Foster

Re: Do people still use ISP email accounts these days?

Lots of "ordinary" punters do, yes. Often for business purposes too! (it's not uncommon to see tradesfolk with aol.com/hotmail.com or similar cheaply stencilled on their vans)

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Steve Foster
Alert

Re: Spam

And increasingly, legitimate small businesses like mine are finding that the likes of Google will silently blacklist us in ways that make it impossible for us to know whether a single person to person email will be received. (yes, right now, if I send a genuine email that the recipient wants and their email is hosted by Google [such as virgin.net], there's a good chance it won't get there, yet I won't know that [until the client and I are in contact via some other means])

It's a bloody nuisance.

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Electronic kit low on juice? SPIT ON IT

Steve Foster
Joke

Hmmm...

...seems they have that problem licked then.

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AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'

Steve Foster

Re: Diminshing returns

I just dropped £50 for an R7 (having previously had a 5450, though that had to be hijacked for a new Esxi box I was building). And I thought that was pushing the boat out somewhat!

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Overland Storage in fiendish reverse stock split share value ploy

Steve Foster
Headmaster

"reverse stock split"

Oh, you mean a consolidation.

(I'm getting a sense of deja vu that I've seen and commented on similar butchery of the english language in a story like this in the past)

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The Reg's desert XP-ocalypse aversion plan revealed

Steve Foster

Re: TeamViewer

Yes, W7 does come with Remote Assistance. And RA provides a better experience (than TeamViewer, IME) for the person providing assistance when it works. But I've also found it to be much less reliable at connecting than TeamViewer - particularly if the remote site is bandwidth-constrained (as is apparently the case here). So I tend to use TeamViewer by default, because it just works.

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Beastie Boys settle with toy maker over Girls copyright dispute

Steve Foster
WTF?

Re: Who sued who?

Well, I could live with the pink, but Meccano made out of plastic? WTF? That really is outrageous.

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Wackadoo DIYers scissor-kick beatboxer

Steve Foster
Joke

Re: happy birthday www

What do you expect from a principally "dead tree" publication?

(is that on the list now, I wonder... hmmm, doesn't appear to be)

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Boffins demo FIVE MICRON internal combustion engine

Steve Foster
Joke

@David W.

Don't you mean Formula 0.00000000001 ?

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

Steve Foster

@roytrubshaw

"You mean you know of an IKEA store where you can actually pay for stuff before your credit/debit card has expired?"

There are two key items of knowledge for successfully visiting an Ikea store in less than three lifetimes:

a) where the internal shortcuts are (so that you aren't forced to circumnavigate the building), and

b) never, under any circumstances, visit after 4pm or on a weekend.

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Samsung brandishes quad-core Galaxy S5, hopes nobody wants high specs

Steve Foster

Silly Question...

I still have an S2. It does what I need. Why would/should I upgrade? (this isn't necessarily aimed at the S5 per se, but the latest crop of phones in general)

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Dr Hurricane unleashes FUSION POWER at Livermore nuke lab

Steve Foster
Joke

Timescale?

Hmmm, so I guess that practical fusion power is now, what, say 20 years away?

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Bletchley Park spat 'halts work on rare German cipher machine'

Steve Foster

@AC

And there used to be a model railway group, sited between the Polish memorial, the codebreakers huts and TNMOC (and the Harrier when that was there too).

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It's big, it's expensive and it's an audiophile's dream: The Sonos Sub

Steve Foster
Flame

Re: Dream? Nightmare more like.

"proper wire"

Ah, made from de-oxygenated copper, right? Or is it oxygenated, I can never remember.

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Good news: 'password' is no longer the #1 sesame opener, now it's '123456'

Steve Foster

Re: It's not just about websites though is it?

«Take my work; every 28 days I'm instructed to "change my password for my security"»

The default in Windows domains is 42 days. I usually push that out to 90 days or so (it's a reasonable compromise for the environments I'm normally managing).

There are a couple of valid reasons for requiring regular password changes - a) if someone leaves and IT isn't informed (no, really, it does occasionally happen!), the password expiry should limit exposure[1], and b) it discourages users from password-reuse (in the same-password-everywhere sense).

[1] assuming supporting secure policies are in place (such as preventing remote changes of expired passwords).

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Steve Foster
Boffin

Re: Seeing the password

"The fact that the entered password is only seen as a string of ******* doesn't help either."

The theory goes that this provides protection against shoulder-surfing. I suspect that this is less of an issue than previously thought (and those keen observers can probably achieve the same result by finger-watching).

This seems to be being belatedly recognised - I've seen a number of places where the user can now opt to show passwords as they're typed (for example, when connecting to WiFi networks in recent versions of Windows).

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Nearly 1 in 5 of UK's Xmas gifts were bought online... not that it helped

Steve Foster
Happy

Re: Imagine how much better it could be

Conversely, in the run up to Christmas, I placed an order with eBuyer on Fri 19th, with next (working) day delivery, and received confirmation that my goods would be delivered on Monday 23rd.

So when the courier rang my doorbell on Saturday 20th, I nearly missed him because I wasn't expecting the delivery.

Not only that, but when I didn't answer (because I hadn't heard the bell), he knocked on the door as well, and was trying next door as I did belatedly get to the front door. And this was Yodel (formerly HDN).

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