* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1682 posts • joined 22 May 2007

The UK's Investigatory Powers Act allows the State to tell lies in court

Dr. Mouse
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So what would happen...

...if you refused to perjure yourself?

"I am unable to answer that question, on the grounds that the law would require me to perjure myself"

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Standards body warned SMS 2FA is insecure and nobody listened

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "the statement has had virtually no impact some six months after its announcement"

"This is something, therefor they are doing it"

This.

Unless it is going to affect their bottom line, companies don't care about security. They will, at best, risk assess the available options and choose the one which gives them the most profit. At worst, they will choose the cheapest option, and say "We haz securitiez!"

However, there is also another thing they must deal with: Users. The normal user doesn't care enough to understand, they want convenience. This is why most don't use strong or multiple passwords, they want to be able to log in easily, without all the hassle. If they must use a 2FA system, they want the easiest, and a text message is often the simplest for them.

Finally, there are additional hurdles. For example, not everyone has a decent data bundle. If they must rely on an internet connection on their mobile for 2FA, but have only limited data, they would probably have to turn data on just to log in on another device. A text message, however, will "just work". I expect this is more of a problem in "poorer" countries, but I know of many people this applies to here in the UK.

Phew, that turned into a bit of a ramble.... Not even certain what my point was any more lol.

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Local TV presenter shouted 'f*cking hell' to open news bulletin

Dr. Mouse
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Who cares?

@gazthejourno

Amazing come back, well played, sir!

See icon, though...

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Brexit means Brexit: What the heck does that mean...

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

Do you children think it'll be fun to be moved around from home to home, school to school etc? Or is daddy simply a narccisist on an ego trip and expects little wifey and children to follow him obediently wherever he goes?

Actually, I don't currently have a wife or children. When I do, I will not move them without discussion and agreement.

Right now, I have the right to move myself around the EU for work or pleasure. If there is no work in the UK, or I can get a better job in the EU, I can just up sticks and go.

I want that right to continue. I would also like my children, when I have them, to have that right. If I gain Polish citizenship then I, and my children, will have that right.

What is wrong with wanting my children to enjoy a right which could be extremely useful at some point in their lives? Or would you prefer your children to be stuck in this country should something bad happen and the country goes to the wall?

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

"Newsflash genius - leaving the EU doesn't surrender any personal rights"

Yes it does: British citizens can, and do, currently move around to EU to look for work, start a business, or enjoy retirement or generally hang out.

Exactly.

Even if you ignore the "move for work" aspect (which, without freedom of movement of workers, will probably require a Visa), if we are outside the Customs union, even going on holiday will be a larger hassle.

It is definitely the loss of a personal right.

Personally, I am in the process of getting Polish citizenship (or at least confirming it, I have Polish ancestry so, technically, already am a citizen, just need the paperwork) mainly so that I don't lose the rights of EU citizenship. I'm considering also getting German citizenship as a backup (and because it'll be fun to have 3 passports and 3 citizenships). For myself, and my children, I want the freedom to move around and take a job where I want/can.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

it would have been pointless. Leaving the EU is a process of negotiation, the government cannot dictate the result

BUT leaving the EU does not equal leaving the EEA/EFTA (i.e. Hard Brexit) as a simple matter of logic. Leaving the EEA is a step beyond what was asked in the referendum.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Codification of existing practice?

"My personal opinion is that it is arguably reasonable that the Intelligence Services have enhanced access to information. There is a less strong argument for the police having access without there being an extremely robust system... Quite why HMRC, Ambulance Services, the Food Standards Agency and the Gambling Commission should have access, I have no idea."

I'm against the law in it's entirety for a number of reasons, but I agree with this.

I can see the justification for the Intelligence Services, and potentially police terrorism/serious crime departments, to have access. I can see the justification for the Police in general to be able to get access with a warrant.

I see no justification whatsoever for the rest to have access, especially without a warrant.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

"It's a bit like a doctor asking for consent to remove a badly damaged little finger that would be tricky to repair, and then, after you say ok go ahead, telling you he's actually taking it off at the wrist, or maybe the elbow."

This.

I have heard many Leave voters saying "I voted for us to leave the whole lot/reduce immigration/some other thing".

Nope. You voted to leave the EU, because that was the question. You may have voted because of X, but that's not what you voted for.

The government would have fulfilled it's obligations* with respect to the referendum if we left the EU, but stayed in the EEA/EFTA. Doing any more than that is beyond the democratic mandate it has been given.

Although if they do that, a large bunch of Leavers will whinge that that's not what they meant or wanted.

No matter what happens, though, I'm fairly certain a majority will be unhappy with the result. Taking a few scenarios:

- Hard Brexit: I'm fairly certain that a decent chunk of people who voted Leave wanted a Soft Brexit of some description, enough to tip it over the 50% unhappy when you include the Remainers.

- Soft Brexit: A large proportion of the Leave side, plus a large proportion of the Remain side, would be unhappy, no matter the terms.

- Stay in EU: More than 50% voted Leave, so a majority unhappy (even including those who only voted in protest).

- Any option: All failures or downturns for many years to come will be blamed on the decision made by the Govt/Parliament on this, so at some point over the next decade or so, every person in the country will be unhappy with whatever decision has been made, unless that exactly fits with their own particular idea and they have not changed their opinion at all.

* I say "obligations", although it is not technically obliged to do anything at all, legally or procedurally.

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Renewed calls for Tesla to scrap Autopilot after number of crashes

Dr. Mouse
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'The problem with the current "self-driving" systems is they assume that a human who isn't paying attention can suddenly be brought back into the decision loop in a split second, if the computer gets overwhelmed'

As long as you are talking about Tesla's Autopilot (a reasonable assumption given that's what this article was about), it is your attitude which is wrong.

That is, the "human who isn't paying attention" should be paying attention!

It is an intelligent cruise control system, not a self-driving car. The driver should always be concentrating and be ready to take control back. If they aren't, they are driving without due care and attention.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Maybe consumer groups...

"But do we really need to test this generation on public thoroughfares?"

Should cruise control/lane guidance/collision warning & avoidance technology "not be tested on public thoroughfares"? These technologies are there to assist the driver. They can improve safety and the enjoyment of driving.

All Tesla's Autopilot is is a smart cruise control system. Anyone who can't understand that (when it is in the manual, the car tells them every time they turn it on, and it was explained to them when they bought the car) is an idiot who shouldn't be on the road, and should be taken to court for driving without due care and attention.

Personally, I believe they should change the name, just to reinforce the point. But the issue is, generally, idiots driving them (or not, as the case may be). The same idiots would end up in accidents anyway.

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Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Is there a petition to insist that we DON'T change the new £5 note?

Ditto

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Google turns on free public NTP servers that SMEAR TIME

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Smearing

What about sub-second units?

Taking it as you have said, for events which are timed at the milli/microsecond level, you could have an event which occurred after another appearing before it. Or else, you would need to either "smear" that last second, or repeat the final milli/micro/nano/picosecond.

The "smearing" approach is probably the most sensible method in the vast majority of cases.

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UK's new Snoopers' Charter just passed an encryption backdoor law by the backdoor

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Island mentality

"I'm sorry, but that's not even satire -- it's just bollocks."

Is it?

We have lost our rights to privacy in one fell swoop with this law.

The public have been showing their hatred of foreigners (racist and xenophobic attacks up by a large amount since referendum).

Democracy has been pretty bad for a while: No democratic vote has been run on an honest campaign for a fair while, all are done using half truths, twisted logic, and outright lies. Very few actually fact check anything they are told. Democracy without informed opinion is no true democracy.

I can see a policy in future whereby a mobile device brought into the country would have to be checked for compliant (i.e. compromised) software, and confiscated if not.

We are not quite at the point he describes yet, but that's the trajectory, and it's closer than you may think.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Warrant Canary

"It's fantasy to think that warrant canaries provide some sort of legal escape route."

I do not know how someone could be prosecuted for it, though.

You place a factual statement, which is not illegal, on your website. When asked to provide info, that statement is no longer factual. You *Must*, therefore, remove it from your website, or else be done by, say, ASA. Or even be sued when someone finds out. If this is classified as having informed the public, you are put in the position of having to do one illegal thing or another.

If I was on a jury in a case like this, I would conclude that the catch-22 was a get out. No matter the judges instructions, I would find not guilty, as it was the only moral thing a person or company could do in that situation.

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Jeremy Hunt: Telcos must block teens from sexting each other

Dr. Mouse
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Facepalm

OK, let's ignore the technical hurdles for now. We know that they exist, but we also know that most politicians don't have a clue about technology, so put it on the back burner and look at other issues.

Firstly, on "cyber bullying", they are asking a private company to scan each and every message sent by under 18s, looking for key words/phrases. This is difficult in itself, will take a lot of processing power, and would end up with enough false positives to drive people nuts. Especially those who, like me, use insults as a method of expressing friendship. This will just push people onto alternative platforms.

Second, on sexting, I'm sure it would be possible to identify sexually explicit images. Google, for instance, has done a lot of work on this for image searching. However, again, it will just push people onto alternative platforms.

Third, how will they know if a user is under 18? It's well known that people lie about their age on Facebook et al. One of my cousin's FB pages shows their age as several years older than they are, because they signed up below FB's minimum age and lied on the form. Are they going to insist on people providing ID to sign up?

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What's the first emotion you'd give an AI that might kill you? Yes, fear

Dr. Mouse
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No necessarily good

Look, over the centuries, at those who have ruled by fear.

What happens when one of the AIs learns to fear us to the extent that to attacks rather than acquiescing?

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Six car-makers team to build European 'leccy car charge bar network

Dr. Mouse
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Oh no...

We're going back to the bad old days of mobile phones, having to carry adaptors for each charging standard. That'll be fun!

Also, 400 stations across Europe? Less than 15 per country? Yeah, that's going to make a HUGE difference...

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Investigatory Powers Act signed into UK law by Queen

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Here's the full list...

Holy ****!!!!

So, we were sold on the premise that this was for investigating terrorism and serious crime. Yet NHS trusts, fire depts and the Food Standards Agencies are able to access them?!?!

This is even worse than I thought!!

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Vegans furious as Bank of England admits ‘trace’ of animal fat in £5 notes

Dr. Mouse
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"I do believe the Royal Mint has made an error here, as there will be negative PR. "

Quick correction: If comments below are correct, the production of the vast majority of polymers uses animal products as a lubricant at some stage, so will contain trace amounts of them. So, if they are going to use polymers, they probably had no choice.

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Dr. Mouse
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You don't have to be vegan to think that unnecessary cruelty should be avoided.

Certainly, cruelty should be avoided. I don't think there's even such a thing as necessary cruelty.

However, how do you know that cruelty is involved in production of the tallow in the notes? It sounds like what you are saying is that use of animal products is, by definition, cruel, and I would beg to differ on that.

If we look at the animal kingdom, most carnivores kill their prey in much more cruel manners than humans do. We generally take steps to ensure the animal is stunned before killing them.

In addition, AFAIK, tallow is generally produced as a by product of other industries, such as food production. There is logic to saying that, if the animal will be killed for food, anyway, why not make the best possible use of all parts of it?

I do believe the Royal Mint has made an error here, as there will be negative PR. However, if anyone wishes to stop accepting or using them, that is their right*. I'm sure it will be a massive inconvenience to them (for example, if they refuse a fiver as change in a shop, they'll either get a bunch of bulky, heavy coins or be told the transaction cannot be completed). But, then again, vegans are used to being inconvenienced (and inconveniencing others), so they probably won't mind that.

* WRT legal tender, see http://www.royalmint.com/aboutus/policies-and-guidelines/legal-tender-guidelines

In short, it is only a legal requirement to accept legal tender as payment of a debt.

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BOFH: The Hypochondriac Boss and the non-random sample

Dr. Mouse
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Brilliant

suddenly I'm selling a chair endorsed by a certified IT professional with a background in health and usability research... And not a suggestible hypochondriac with the IT skillset of a potato

Well done once again, Simon!

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Debian putting everything on the /usr

Dr. Mouse
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Re: only thing I ask

if he partitions properly and separates out /home and /var (leaving /usr on the root partition), then he won't need to boot from usb or cd or whatever.

There is one thing you are missing from this.

/usr generally contains a significantly larger amount of data than / and is written to more often, too. This increases the chances of data corruption, and increases the amount of time taken to repair it (or restore it from a backup).

Keeping a tiny root partition, very rarely written to, increases the chances of being able to boot a minimal system in the case of a problem, and reduces the time taken to get into such a system in case of (certain forms of) disaster.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: only thing I ask

I have to say, I'm with all those who want /s?bin kept separate from /usr.

I have seen my fair share of disk corruption of one form or another. Having the essential utilities on the root partition while the rest reside on a different one makes sense. It keeps a "root-only" bootable and usable system available even if the rest of the partitions are corrupted, and gives a chance to recover the system without resorting to booting from CD/USB (I'm sure I'm not the only one who has spent ages hunting for a "rescue" disk to recover a botched system).

Although if people here are correct and systemd has screwed this path up, I guess the change makes little difference....

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SQL Server on Linux: Runs well in spite of internal quirks. Why?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Interesting

There is a simple answer to the question of "Why?": Money.

Before this, if you chose to use a Linux server (e.g. for web), Microsoft made no money from you. Now they can sell you a license for SQL Server. Even if it does miss out on many features, there are those who will still buy it.

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No super-kinky web smut please, we're British

Dr. Mouse
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The alternative would be level down the regs so videos of the various legal-to-do-but-not-see stuff become legal.

You are correct, that would be the logical way to do things.

However, it would have all the Mumsnet/Daily Mail etc. crowd up in arms because "The government is letting our kids watch dirty porn*, won't somebody think of the children!"

* "Of course, it isn't the responsibility of the parent to educate their children and ensure their wellbeing, that's too difficult, so we want the govt to do it for us. Then we can just sit back with a nice bottle of wine and let the TV and internet raise and educate our children."

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Amazon's cloudy 'WorkSpace' desktops-as-a-service gain a GPU

Dr. Mouse
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However, you would have to worry about hardware failures, power, patching, backup, etc.

You also would not get, by default, the availability of the machine at multiple locations (home, work, hotel, trade show, client's office).

Also, if you do not use it 8h/d, the cost comes down. Say you only need that power available one day per week, or for a couple of months for a specific project, the costs scale down appreciably.

I'm not saying these outweigh the cost, but there are some specific instances where these would be much more suitable than purchasing a workstation.

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Trump's taxing problem: The end of 'affordable' iPhones

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Check the salaries offered.

the ability to outsource basic Engineering tasks has depressed the value of the work

I'm not saying you are wrong, but there is not enough information in what you say to draw that conclusion. There are other possible effects which could have caused it.

30 (or more) years ago, for instance, IT-based professions were very specialised, with much fewer jobs but even fewer candidates. Salaries would obviously be much higher than they are now. Look at any niche specialism and you will find much higher salaries.

However, computers then "took off". Salaries were inflated even more, but increased access to computers allowed more people to learn the skills. We now have a market flooded with candidates and, while there are also more jobs, the balance has changed and wages reflect that.

So there is one reason for lower salaries without blaming offshoring. Now, I'm not saying that offshoring hasn't had a huge effect, but it's not the only factor.

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Google makes it to third base with Home digital assistant

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Same wake word for all devices, really?

So now when I try to use Home it's going to wake up my phone and tablet too?

I have this issue already. I have an Android head unit in my car, but I cannot use "OK, Google" because it wakes my phone up too. Similarly, if I'm using my phone and tablet, both wake up.

I have just disabled the lot of them, because it ends up being more frustrating than helpful.

Saying that, I'm still interested in Google Home. I feel I've already sold my soul to Google (with Android, GSuite, Play Music etc) so one more intrusion for the potential benefits seems OK to me. I'd much prefer better (or customisable) wake words. For myself, "Computer" would be the best wake word, as I could feel like I'm on the Enterprise.

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Brexit may not mean Brexit at all: UK.gov loses Article 50 lawsuit

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Treason of UK governments and the UK judiciary.

@AC

It should not matter if the referendum was explicitly "binding" or not, the government and parliament have been /told/ by the majority of people to end the UK's illegal Common Market aka EU membership, so all spurious delays are frankly treason!

I'll address only one point in your... post.

Do you consider it to be treason to follow the Rule of Law?

The rest of your post... frankly I don't think it even deserves an informed reply, as your rambling shows you won't take any notice, and I'm sick of trying to involve people such as yourself in any kind of rational debate.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Morally binding what though?

the fact that the author himself suggests that it's reversible weights quite a lot with me

I give it some fair weight myself. However,

1) He had not said so before this case was brought. I don't think he even had by the time this case had finished, and the judge was considering his verdict.

2) Just because they guy who wrote it thinks it's reversible doesn't mean it is. It would be down to a court to decide. As we probably won't find out unless we have to challenge it, it must be assumed that it's not.

Therefore triggering A50 overrides an Act of Parliament, so can only happen by an Act by our constitution.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Morally binding what though?

@Chemist: From the first ref. you gave. This supports my position: We don't know for certain, we'd better assume we can't back out.

13. It is unclear whether a notification under Article 50, once made, could be unilaterally withdrawn by the UK without the consent of other EU member states. In the light of the uncertainty that exists on this point, and given that the uncertainty would only ever be resolved after Article 50 had already been triggered, we consider that it would be prudent for Parliament to work on the assumption that the triggering of Article 50 is an action that the UK cannot unilaterally reverse.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Morally binding what though?

Even the author of Article 50 is suggesting it can be canceled !

Yes, he is... Now.

Before this case started, the majority of those expressing an opinion on it were saying it couldn't.

If there's even a chance that it is a one way process, the Royal Prerogative cannot be used, as it potentially overrides an Act of Parliament.

The sensible thing to do would be to get the courts (probably including the ECJ) to rule on whether it is possible to back out of it. Otherwise, assume it's not possible, and get Parliament to approve it.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Morally binding what though?

If we leave the EU, we will need to repeal the European Communities Act, and an Act of Parliament can only be repealed *drum roll* by another act of parliament!

Also playing the "what if" game: The vast majority of sources before this court case was filed (in fact, before it started) said that triggering A50 was irrevocable. If so, then triggering A50 would mean that the ECA would effectively be nullified by the government's decision*.

If A50 can be backed out of, as some have just started saying, then the use of the Royal Prerogative would seem appropriate. This question has not been definitively answered, though.

* Actually, the European Law on this issue states that it must be triggered in accordance with the countries law/constitution. Therefore, without an Act of Parliament, the EU may be able to argue that it hasn't been correctly and lawfully triggered and bring Brexit to a halt. Surely it's worth taking it to Parliament to avoid that highly embarrassing situation, isn't it?

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Dr. Mouse
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No-one doubts the sovereignty of Parliament, in particular their power to remove an executive of whose actions they disapprove. But democratically elected representatives need to think very carefully before overriding the democratically expressed will of the people who elect them.

As for the unholy combination of merchant bankers and unelected judges who achieved this result ...

As has been stated by others, the judiciary are not "overriding the democratically expressed will of the people". They have rules that, by our own constitutional law, enacted by Parliament through the will of the people, Parliament must approve triggering A50 for us to leave the EU.

It is likely that Parliament would approve it, as doing anything else would be seen to be "overriding the democratically expressed will of the people". It would cause outrage. However, no "overriding the democratically expressed will of the people" has taken place, yet. In fact, the judiciary are upholding "the democratically expressed will of the people" by ensuring the Government can't just overturn legislation brought in by Parliament. It is maintaining the sovereignty of Parliament.

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Brexit judgment could be hit for six by those crazy Supreme Court judges, says barrister

Dr. Mouse
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Re: We live in a parliamentary democracy

The major problem with membership of the EU... is that UK statutes do not apply where they conflict with EU law.

This is the simplistic way of looking at it.

In reality, it is that UK statutes do not apply if they conflict with our obligations under the European Communities Act, 1972.

Parliament is still sovereign, but it has agreed to abide by the rules of a club (the EU) in order to gain the benefits of that club. This agreement is on our statutes, passed by Parliament in accordance with our constitution.

In addition, many of the EU laws are actually also in UK law, also passed by Parliament.

It always irritates me when I hear about how Parliament is no longer sovereign* due to our membership of the EU. It is, and "EU laws" are only valid here due to Parliament agreeing to it. In any free trade agreement, a country must agree to certain rules in order to join. Those rules are agreed by Parliament and only have weight where Parliament agrees.

If we end up with FTAs or other trade deals after Brexit, we will have to agree to rules. OK, there may not be as many, or be in the same depth, as the EU rules, but it's all part of the negotiation of a treaty with another country. Does this mean that the UK Parliament is no longer sovereign?

* @David: I know you didn't directly make this claim so, if this was not your intent, this does not apply to you. It is a general comment about the fact that many make this statement and are, IMHO, wrong.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: We live in a parliamentary democracy

And parliament asked the people of the country to decide. Well I was in a minority it seems, the country voted to leave. Now it seems we no longer live in any sort of democracy at all, we live in a country where unelectable judges see fit to disregard the will of the people, who were asked by parliament to decide.

The Referendum was Advisory. The people were asked the opinion.

The judge has not seen "fit to disregard the will of the people", he has seen fit to ensure the laws of the land, passed by Parliament by the will of the people, are followed.

He has not said "Brexit cannot happen". He has said that, in order for Brexit to be legal, the law must be followed. Only Parliament can override an Act of Parliament.

Do you want the Government to be able to change laws willy nilly without Parliament? That way Dictatorship lies.

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Self-driving cars doomed to be bullied by pedestrians

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Wait a minute...

This won't make much difference in city centres, where bikes travel faster on average than cars, but it will be fun to see how many driverless cars you can collect on a country road.

So you are one of the inconsiderate road users who decides that they don't care about the traffic behind?

While using the roads, if you find that you are "collecting cars", the polite thing to do is to move (or pull) over and allow them past. I do this in the car (e.g. if out for a nice leisurely drive in the country), trucker friends do it in their trucks, but there are SO many who just hold up a long queue of traffic for ages for no good reason. In my experience they tend to be cyclists or cars going much slower than is safe and legal (e.g. car doing 40 or less on a long, straight, open national speed limit country road where they should be doing 60).

So tell me, when there is a queue of 5-6 cars stuck behind you, why don't you pull over for 10 seconds to let them past, rather than delay them for several minutes?

By the way, I am a cyclist, although generally a mountain biker who uses the roads to get to good off road tracks. I appreciate that we are entitled to use the whole road and, for safety, it is best not to be in the gutter. However, a little consideration for others goes a long way.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Wait a minute...

If every vehicle has these things then pedestrians can safely walk out in front of any vehicle and not get run over.

And the problem is that pedestrians will do that, and the car driver won't get anywhere at all. Result - driving a car in town becomes a very slow way to travel.

This already happens. Look at city centers on a Friday/Saturday night. People, esp after a few drinks, think "They won't run me over, I'll just cross and ignore the traffic".

I can see this becoming annoying, but I don't think it's a strong argument against autonomous vehicles. I'd rather have the ability to engage the self-driver and sit back than have the stress of watching out for these ****s myself, not to mention all the idiot drivers.

Bottom line is, IMHO, that self-driving cars are coming, and they will save a lot of lives. They will be more convenient in most situations. With the ability to just hail one (probably for a darned sight less than the total cost of owning a car) will leave most with little reason to buy their own. It's the future and, while it won't be here next year, I foresee them being everywhere a decade or so from now.

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Intel punches out data centre flash cardlet

Dr. Mouse
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I could see these becoming popular for datacenters, if server makers start including a hotswappable backplane for M.2 drives. Something similar to the SAS backplanes currently used. There would be much higher density than current 2.5in drives, and many workloads are heavily skewed towards reads.

The real differentiation, though, will be cost. There will need to be a significant cost advantage for these over buying "standard" SSDs, somewhere much closer to spinning rust prices.

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Samsung's free-falling financial flameout

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Internal Fire Extinguishers

Personally, I believe there will be a fault found in the internal charging/battery management circuitry. They tried fitting different batteries and it didn't fix the problem. Maybe something as simple as a resistor being out of whack, a manufacturing fault, or an incorrect constant in the firmware.

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HMRC to create new compliance team focused on 'gig economy' workers

Dr. Mouse
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Being pedantic, that tool simply helps (or hinders?) to determine if the assignment is within or outside of IR35. Not whether you (the contractor) is paying the "correct tax".

Being pedantic, I never said that it was assessing whether you were paying the correct tax, but to "determine whether you are in disguised employment".

And it is well known that;

a) HMRC get it wrong a lot when they investigate, as shown by the number of successful appeals, and

b) the rules are complex, to a level which no simple online tool will give a satisfactory answer.

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Dr. Mouse
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all I can see an employer doing is confirming Company and VAT registration and getting me to sign a waiver saying that to the best of my knowledge I fully comply with UK tax law

Nope. They have to check, using a pathetic, inaccurate and not-yet-finished online tool (which obviously will use HMRC's viewpoint, not that which has been written into law or that which has been shown as correct in the courts) to determine whether you are in disguised employment. If the tool says you are, they must charge income tax and NI at source. See http://www.contractoruk.com/ir35/inside_ir35_contractors_guide_april_2017_and_beyond.html for a quick guide.

If it is later found that you should have been inside IR35, they will be liable for the unpaid tax. Do you know of any company or agency who would be willing to take that risk on your behalf? No, most will just deem everyone to be inside (several have said so up front) instead of facing the liability themselves.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: IR35, is currently costing the taxpayer around £440m a year

But if HMRC really have ignored how the contract "actually works", you'll be able to convince a judge and he'll chuck it out.

Yep. I have seen several reports which say that HMRC lose the vast majority of IR35 cases which go to tribunal. This is why they are trying to change the rules, to force (unnecessary) tax and NI to be taken at source, and force PSC consultants to take them to tribunal to get it back. They think (hope) that most won't bother.

That said, if I was consulting for the public sector, I would be upping my rates in April to cover any extra tax which will be imposed, as well as considering a move to the private sector. It's ridiculous to think that agencies or government departments will be willing to take the risk under these rules: Most will just blindly force consultants to work on payroll, obviously without giving them any of the rights of an employee.

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HMRC IT boss quit £185k job for more cash

Dr. Mouse
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Not surprising...

All else being equal, if someone came along and offered you significantly more money at another job, I doubt many here would turn it down...

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Uber's robo-truck makes first delivery of ... Budweiser in Colorado

Dr. Mouse
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Re: They'll make everyone unemployed

Do you really think that, overnight, every company will replace their entire fleet with these?

It will happen over a number of years. Over this time, demand for truck drivers will fall, gradually, which will delay investment by the latecomers. The drivers will, therefore, be able to gradually reskill themselves to work in other jobs. Those who don't will, eventually, be out of work.

Automation has been happening for well over a century. The jobs landscape changes all the time. People need to be aware of this, and be willing to adapt to suit the market.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Budweiser Light is like making love to a beautiful woman in a canoe...

So what does that tell you?

That Yanks wouldn't know a good beer if it was tipped over their heads?

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Paging 1994: Crap encryption still rife in devices

Dr. Mouse
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Re: SMS?

I believe that (almost) all data between a mobile and the base station is encrypted, including SMS, so yes, it's better.

I'm happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

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British jobs for British people: UK tech rejects PM May’s nativist hiring agenda

Dr. Mouse
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Re: The elephant in the room - stagnant wages because of the free movement of labour

if we must remove ourselves from so much free movement of labour, those of us left will earn more as a result

Not necessarily.

Wages, as with the prices of almost everything, are governed by supply and demand. If the supply is reduced but demand stays the same, the price should rise.

However, we are unlikely to see demand stay the same. There will be companies who choose to move at least part of their business elsewhere. This reduces demand. There may be people who bring jobs in to the UK, too, but they are unlikely to be in exactly equal numbers, so demand will change.

Therefore it will be the difference between the change in demand and the change in supply which will determine the change in pay. There is a good chance that there will be a large reduction in demand, so wages actually fall. There is also a good chance that there will be a lower reduction in demand (or even an increase in demand), which could see wages rise.

But it's definitely incorrect to say that if all the foreigners leave, we will get better pay.

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Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "... idiots in Range Rovers who think they're indestructible."

I had a friend who used to drive Land Rovers in Africa.

They weren't indestructible, and there were many crashes involving wildlife out there. So people fitted bull bars to theirs, thinking it would make them survive the crashes better.

My friend was one of the few who didn't. When he was involved in a crash with wildlife, he found that parts were plentiful to fix the damage... from all the others with major chassis damage due to the mounting of bull bars!

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Majority of underage sexting suspects turn out to be underage too

Dr. Mouse
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Re: If the law isn't enforced, it shouldn't exist

If there is a clear exception placed in guidelines, then that clear exception could be written into the law.

As it stands, guidelines or not, it is possible for a 15-year-old to be imprisoned for having pictures of their 15-year-old girlfriend, obtained with their consent. They have committed a crime. Just because the guidelines state they shouldn't be prosecuted for it doesn't mean that they never will.

Why can it not be written into the law that this is legal? OK, it wouldn't stop there being legal arguments about the nature of their relationship, whether consent was given etc. but at least it would be written into the law.

There are too many exceptions to rules which are only in guidelines. Guidelines can be changed at the drop of a hat, laws need to be changed by parliament. The same goes for all data collection powers, anti-terror powers etc. If they are for a specific purpose, that needs to be written into the law, not left as "We promise we will not abuse these powers".

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