I can only hope the poor sods that have to use the telephone won't have to wait the 50 mins it took HMRC to answer my call last week.
87 posts • joined 7 Dec 2007
I can only hope the poor sods that have to use the telephone won't have to wait the 50 mins it took HMRC to answer my call last week.
After vowing never to let anything from Adobe onto any machine I was going to use ever again I switched from Adobe to Foxit some years ago. Life just got better.
Then my local public library forced me to use an Adobe product to read their on-line offerings. They haven't got any better.
No way I'd voluntarily sign up for anything from this outfit.
One point which tends to get overlooked in these discussions is just what is the overall effect of a Corporation Tax (at least as it works in the UK).
If megacorp makes a profit of (say) £/$/€1M, then it pays tax on those profits (not it's turnover, as some politicians would seek to imply. We use VAT to tax turnover.) at whatever rate it's home country charges.
If Corporation Tax didn't exist, then the same profits would still be taxed, only as dividend income in the hands of shareholders
So the net effect of a Corporation Tax is to bring more tax into the coffers of the "home" country, at the expense of shareholders - both domestic & foreign - who have less profits distributed to them. Nothing to do with "fairness", just a pre-emptive tax grab by the local government.
Thanks folks - all a bit clearer now.
As one who watched Neil Armstrong make his "one small step...", what I've never figured out or had explained to me is just why we need the heat shield at all. Surely the craft could just spend longer gliding to earth?
Any commentards able to indicate just why or where I can find the answer appreciated.
I used a thumb drive for years and then when I plugged it into a Linux box I found a hidden partition with executables (and couldn't access the Windows partition).
So even after formatting a new drive, I reckon it's not possible to be secure knowing a drive is "clean". And this was from a known brand name, supplying UK gov't.
All a bit scary.
The middle / senior realms of the civil service are not where I'd look to find people with the skills to oversee such a project (I speak as one who was given a performance bonus for being the only member of the team able to apply a filter to an Excel spreadsheet).
In my experience of a (different) large civil service project, the aims & objectives were under constant review / adjustment, and consultants were able to utilise this lack of precision to pad the project out, giving every input from senior management an answer in the form of "yes, we can do that". Without, of course spelling out the costs & delays inherent. Needless to say, the deadline dates were wildly overshot.
Systems guru John Seddon of the Vanguard Method predicted this likely outcome when the project got underway in 2010, and, sadly but apparently inevitably, he seems to have been proven correct. (In brief, Seddon suggested the system be decentralised to local government and added to the Housing Benefit scheme they run, as they already held all the relevant data. It would have been up & running within a year, but not under the direct control of Whitehall).
Maybe the sheer unpleasantness of iTunes on the PC might be a contributory factor ?
A truly horrible website
One point that tends to get overlooked is that AFAIK Starbucks and other outfits are predominately franchise operations.
So mostly they are local businesses who can't escape paying the panoply of PAYE, NIC, VAT, Business rates, and Corporation Tax. They also pay royalties to the multinational for the use of the name and to receive marketing support, and it's those royalties we're talking about when we excoriate the megacorp for not paying taxes here. The local guy is just a businessman trying to earn a crust, so don't boycott him / her (and no, I've no connection to any franchise operators).
Don't want one, don't need one, won't use one.
According to my Dad, he served in WW2 on a Motor Torpedo Boat which was Merlin-powered.
So the Merlin was more than "just" an aeroplane engine.
A few years ago I was involved in analysing employment figures & concluded that the average company in the UK has about 12 employees. (The actual average was 15, but that included leavers, so 12 seemed about right).
But it's the safe 90 mph which will get you a speeding ticket in Blighty.
Apologies to both Clarke and Plank - I was so convinced it was a Clarke-ism I didn't check. Maybe the version I quoted was Clarke's succinct paraphrasing?
Scientists whose living depends on the government dole agree with the line the politicos want, which of course keeps them in a job.
According to the sage Arthur C Clarke, when asked what causes changes in science, "Old men die". We'll just have to wait & hope they don't do anything too daft before a more rational set take over.
Me, I want them on the "B" Ark.
I've just had the "pleasure" this morning of experiencing the Border Force in (in)action.
Four checkouts, only two staffed, for 600 ferry passengers. But they did have a chappie pointing out to us which of the two checkouts to use. Obviously I'm missing something when I go to the supermarket & have to choose a checkout all by myself. A complete waste of taxpayers money.
The guy isn't even there as a security backup - the five plods at the back of the hall doing nothing but chat amongst themselves were more than enough for that.
Usually the instruction to turn off the device is after bags have been stowed, seat belts fastened, the safety drill being demonstrated, & the plane toddling it's way to take off. Virtually no-one at that stage will disrupt everything to unstow hand baggage to turn off their phone if it's in the hand baggage.
I reckon most flights take off with many devices in full working mode.
The anagram of "Deano"
When I hear "blue" in an IT context the association I have is with "Big Blue", i.e. IBM. MS isn't "blue", it's "Azure", surely ?
It'll be interesting to see how MS holds on to it's revenue stream. My view is that they'll hold onto the business customers for Windows / Office in a single word: Excel. Every business outfit I know has lots of stuff on Excel that's been around donkeys. No one really knows how it does what it does & no one in their right mind would risk their job by suggesting an alternative. It's easier, cheaper & less livelihood threatening simply to pay MS's rental fees. The overwhelming majority of users neither know nor care what OS / software they're using, they just want it to work the way it did last week & no changes, thank you very much. That's a heavy inertial load in favour of MS in business for the foreseeable future.
Outside of business, there doesn't seem to be much reason to pay MS's increasingly hiked-up charges. XP still works just fine, & MS are asking £190 for W8, way more than Apple ask for OSX. Old versions of Office also work just fine & the latest versions (home & student) have had their price hacked up from £80 for 3 licences to £109 for a single licence. Unless you need or are required to use Office then Google's "Drive", at a purchase cost of zero, and a maintenance cost also of zero, seem very attractive. And, being cloud-based, it's got automatic backup built in, which means you don't need to wrestle with Windows Backup. Or as is often suggested Libre / Open Office might be worth looking at (can't say I was too enamoured of it myself when last I tried it, but that was some time ago).
I reckon that for the first time for years MS have a real fight on their hands. It'll be interesting to see how, or if, they can effectively respond.
Surely it should be the originators of most of the dross on You Tube who should pay for foisting the stuff on us???
Can't see many sales for a device that shone lasers into the eye. Bit of a tricky thing to sell?
I know a chap who was asking for one of those a couple of weeks ago - he's inherited an old coffee maker that uses such a lead & there wasn't one with it.
Put it on eBay please!
We've had cattle for hundreds of years in Britain & Badgers are native fauna. They seemed to have got along together now just fine for a long time. So why do we now need to start shooting them ? What's changed in the last few years to make this so necessary ?
Personally I'd be looking to see what changes in farming practices have coincided with this apparent rise in the TB "threat".
So do I just put everything I'm unsure about into a sub-folder of "Personal" & it's no longer available to investigators ?
Let's go for SI units & join the rest of the human race. Honourable exception to be given to aircraft height & beer.
Yes - if paying under PAYE the rounding system usually means you pay a few pounds less than is actually due -
e.g. allowances £6545 gets rounded in the employer PAYE calculation to £6550, so £5 @ your tax rate too little is paid.
It was explained to me, long ago, that this was to prevent small overpayments arising which would create mountains of clerical staff to calculate & repay.
A s Isaac Asimov pointed out: "The universe isn't hostile, it's merely indifferent".
The climate is beyond the ability of most (if not all) of us to comprehend, so to fix on a single factor, be that CO2, sunspots, or <your chosen factor goes here> isn't likely to be useful. By continuing to argue over causes (which is valid research) we're missing the wider issue that come what may, the climate will change. Surely the rational approach should be to decide what we need to do to mitigate the potential adverse effects of climate change. (E.g. stop subsidising the insurance policies of homeowners building on coastlines subject to hurricane risk to discourage such development). If, along the way we can reduce substantially CO2 emissions then, on the precautionary principle, that seems a very good idea. But unless the IPCC is way wrong, we're going to have global temperature rises across the whole of this century, at least, irrespective of sunspots, Earth's orbit, passing asteroid clouds or whatever.
No, American technical isolation began when they stuck to the imperial system of measurements.
I've long thought a carbon tax seems both rational & sensible - but only if it replaced VAT as a spending-type tax. Unfortunately, I just don't trust politicians sufficiently to replace VAT. On past form, it would be brought in as yet another additional tax.
These ninnycompoops seem to want us to move back to the caves. I wish they would.
My favourite distracted driver was spotted in Florida. The car was weaving about the Interstate & we decided to put some distance between him and us. As we went by, we noticed the driver was steering with his knees, both hands being needed to eat his bowl of cornflakes.
My main problem with the CO2 figures being bandied about is the method of presentation. We're continually given CO2 as 300 or 400 ppm, as if that were a 33% rise. But ppm is a scientific shorthand, used mainly by scientists. In straight numbers, it's a rise from 0.003% of the atmosphere to 0.004%.
It just doesn't seem to ring true that the climate system is so sensitive to such tiny changes in CO2 levels.
I thought as you did, it must be 27 (3 X 9), but some astronauts went twice, e.g. IIRC Jim Lovell was on both Apollos 8 & 13.
So 24 is probably correct.
Wasn't there a serious program that used that name once ?
Paul Allen has something approaching an aircraft carrier - with heli pad & submarine launchers.
The Hungarian that invented Excel has a nice 200+ foot cruiser called the SKAT, which also has heli pad & boat doors for the zodiacs. Saw it in Stockholm in May & it looked very desirable. No chance on being allowed on board, unfortunately.
What planet is he living on?
The trouble with the formal approaches is that they tend to focus attention on completion of paperwork - progress reports, red / amber / green "flags" and the like - which diverts the PM's time & attention away from actually understanding what the reportees are actually doing. If the PM can't or won't interpret just what he / she's being told against the cold light of reality then the project will fail, no matter how many interim targets are allegedly met.
If the PM actually understands what he / she's being told - irrespective of formal targets - then it's much more likely the project will proceed to successful completion. The formal approaches only work when they are used as an aide where appropriate, & not an end in themselves.
Further comment is superfluous
Yet again sloppy security from those who should know better.
Why are DVD/CD drives & USB ports even available to users ? Just superglue the lot & the problem disappears.
Leaving only laptops, Blackberrys & smartphones to be left in wine bars, trains, etc.
Intranet-based ? Que?
This is a CD-ROM sent out to employers by HMRC. Intranet isn't relevant.
And the system is donkeys years old (which presumably is why they are replacing it with a web-based app) - when it was invented, this new-fangled interweb thingy was just a geek's wet dream.
The "autoupdate" is a user spotting an error that's slipped by QA/QC & reporting it to HMRC. Who then have to decide if it's worth doing anything about.
More akin to an error in a published book.
This is soo sad. When I worked for HMRC we were bombarded with compulsory "diversity" courses & awareness events. I really wouldn't think anyone within HMRC would behave in this manner (or be so stupid as to think they wouldn't be caught).
And, Mr AC, HMRC mgt take extreme umbridge to any of their staff who are not 100% honest. Just because you may not like what they tell you (esp in relation to IR35), that doesn't justify the "nine bob bit" slur.
Maybe because they don't want software that crashes repeatedly & runs like treacle ?
Pity we're not informed as to how many of these intercepts resulted in successful prosecutions. I'd hazard a guess that the answer is "not many", because if they had been successful, the results would be trumpeted from the rooftops.
The suspicion is that it's just prurient, ineffective snooping, achieving very little other than wasting police, etc., time
I've never figured out just what the BCS are supposd to do or be about.
I first came across them in the 1970's & couldn't figure out what they were doing for me then, a lowly programmer.
Things haven't changed since - I've never come across any evidence that they have any relevance to workers or managers in IT.
I just don't see the point of them.
It's hard to see how HMRC are going to get rid of microfiches at all - they've been recording up to 20M employees pay, tax & NI details per year onto microfiche for decades.(Although under electronic submission of employee data it's probably stopped now). Whilst it would no doubt be useful to transfer the lot to an electronic format, the chances of money under any foreseeable gov't being made available to do that must be pretty close to zero. The costs would be enormous & in lots of cases, human intervention would be needed to interpret images, giving rise to further occasions of error. So they'd still need to retain the originals, as actual copies of the source documents.
The problem that the NI office face is that they need to keep data going back to 1948 (start of NI [aka "Social Security] in the UK), so the data mountain just keeps growing.
The quicker Flash dies the better IMHO.
Buggy, slow & used by learner programmers to impress ignorant management. Looks great on the in-house Intranet, runs like a soporific tortoise on the Internet.
In 99% of cases it detracts from the user experience. And anything that Adobe has had it's hands on seems to be associated with crashes & weird PC behaviour.
As usual with gov't dept's, things are organised for their benefit, not the customers.
My late stepmother died & I was warned that I could either a) tax her vehicle, or b) SORN it. Both required her signature - a bit tricky.
No third option - they clearly hadn't even thought of such an event happening, although it must be a relatively common thing to occur. Brainless, just brainless.
EDS: customer satisfaction
NIRS ring any bells ?