That's one day of the children's half term taken care of.
125 posts • joined 19 Aug 2010
That's one day of the children's half term taken care of.
IIRC, a pint can actually steady the hand - in the fogs of memory, images of the snooker player Bill Werbenuik (hope I've spelled that correctly) come to mind; he used to down several pints a session as the alternative Beta Blockers were a banned substance under tournament rules. I may have remembered that wrong, but still, it's a good excuse...
I never quite understood the logic of deliberately burning more fuel at a specific level of dirtiness just so that a provenly inefficient and expensive piece of additional kit could then strip out the pollutants, rather than getting down to that level of pollution by just, er, burning less fuel in the first place, and making less pollution that way.
Icon because what else do you use in a discussion about explosions?
It used to be the case (under the 18something-or-other Bills of Exchange Act) that acceptance by a bank of a clearly deficient document would 'rectify' the document - by honouring something which they should have realised should not be honoured, they made themselves liable for that error.
Or in other words, a personal cheque for John Smith signed (legibly) Mickey Mouse or equivalent, if honoured, then became binding on the bank that honoured it, regardless of whether there were funds available on the original personal account - even if the cheque were otherwise clearly deficient, eg for £1m on an overdrawn current account. The principle was based on something to do with international letters of credit, but at the time was still also applicable to personal cheques.
Can't remember all the details, or whether it's still effective, as it was a long, long time ago that I did a Masters in International Commercial Law, but I do remember discussing in detail with an ex whose friend had written her a £1m cheque signed Winston Churchill...
I spent 3 months on the 10th floor of 1 Canada Square (*the* Canary Wharf tower, for those of us old enough to remember it in Long Good Friday era and immediately afterwards). The whole floor was being used as teaching/lecture space, so only had about 2 PCs on it. Unfortunately, the building and associated systems had been built on the basis that every desk would have a PC & CRT monitor pumping out heat - so there was an overabundance of cooling, and no heating at all. As a result, we were sat there in an August heatwave, clustered around 3 hastily purchased fan heaters, because every floor on the building was cooling for all it was worth and the "natural" temperature had settled at about 10 degrees celsius.
Around that time, there were constant grumbles from the management company, because all the excess heat was vented out the roof resulting in plumes of what one local resident thought was smoke. So every other morning, he rang the fire brigade & triggered a callout, which by this point were costing the owners about £20k a pop.
If selling garments trimmed with goat skin, you need to be able to distinguish your Tibetan goat from your Nepalese one. Seriously. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/vclothingmanual/VCLOTHING3100.htm (When I shared this with a bunch of tax professionals on Twitter, several thought it was a spoof. It's not)
SME Tax Gap is estimated (Guestimated?) at £6bn per year. That's almost entirely made up of small numbers, which HMRC can't ignore just because each one is small - they really do all add up. .
And not every big business is on the fiddle. One of my most used anecdotes from when I was in practice as a tax adviser was the UK inbound group who had a s343 transfer of capital allowances claim denied. We felt it was a good claim, and advised responding accordingly. Client consulted with head office, in the light of HMRC's second letter, which basically said that if they didn't give up the s343 point then HMRC would open an enquiry into the group's UK capital loss position. The s343 claim was "real cash" which the group would see quite quickly - 50% within 4 years, and 95% over 20. The capital losses were unlikely ever to crystallise into real cash, but did count on the head office financial accounts (deferred tax asset). Head office were terrified of losing >£1.5bn of deferred tax asset from the numbers, and instructed UK to abandon the capital allowances. HMRC got £145m extra tax out of 2 short letters; I have no idea how long it takes to get that much out of dodgy plumbers & scaffolders...
Captain Underpants has it about right. I work in a totally different field to IT*, and face a similar problem trying to get people interested in the stuff that I do; simply jumping up and down an shouting "this is important - you have to listen to me, however bad I am at communicating it!" doesn't seem to work very well, and you just get sidelined by more interesting alternatives, which is a bad result for everyone.
Of course not every IT bod has to be a polished communicator; the underlying technical skills are way more important. But someone, somewhere, has to work out how to do for infosec what Brian Cox has done for astrophysics and actually get ordinary people engaged with it, using language and imagery that they can understand.
*I do tax policy. Sometimes I liken tax systems to an oil refinery - everyone can have an opinion on where it should be built, and what you'd like it to do (pollute less, focus on certain outputs), but when it comes to the actual design you should defer to the guys with the qualifications who actually know which valve should go where, and why you need to use high grade steel and not just leftover bits from your kid's Lego Technics to build it with. I'm working really, really hard to try to get some of the important messages about how tax systems work, and fail, across in accessible language in a desperate attempt to raise the tone of the debate, and it sounds like Captain Underpants is trying to bring a similar level of professionalism to infosec. (Yes, I find it deliciously ironic that we're getting lectures on professional conduct from Captain Underpants - but that doesn't affect the validity of the message.)
I misread this as being some new form of IT derived from furniture components. Which would probably be about right actually...
Not quite so advanced, but I use PSP7 to create custom Romers/Roamers - little map reading tools, with scales etc printed on them. Simply set your pixels to the right number per centimetre & draw away. Used an Epson printer (now sadly defunct) to tun them off on transparency sheets - far more accurate & useable than commercially sold alternatives, and marginal cost so low that I carry half a dozen spares around with me & hand them out to novice navigators who haven't yet got one at all.
Way back when in the BC years (Before Children) I used to sprint someone else's historic racecar. Even without the capital outlay on the vehicle, I worked out that just the fuel, licence, and entry fees made it a more expensive hobby, in terms of "thrill minutes per pound" than a cocaine habit*. No idea how addictive cocaine actually is, but time on track certainly haunts you forever.
*Using figures from the Daily Mail for drug costs, before you ask.
My brother did some work auditing (in the financial accountant sense) a rather well known large financial sector outfit with its own datacentre(s) - all 3 UK sites were below the water table & in flood risk areas (London, South Coast and another; I forget where). Access to the racks was through a secure airlock (vertical glass tube affair) with scales in the floor - if you weighed more on the way out than the way in it triggered an alarm. [Yes, I know, carry a bag of sand in under your jacket etc]
Unfortunately, the colleague accompanying my brother was quite large - so large in fact that he didn't fit in the tube. "No worries" said 'Security', and they opened up the delivery shutter at the other end of the room - which was quite literally big enough to drive a truck through.
(Of course, the actual audit/stocktake was laughable - all the units' ID stickers/serial numbers were either round the back, or obscured by the locks & cages everything was secured in; they just had to take the client's word for it that this row of identical black plates with flashing LEDs on it corresponded to that set of entries on the ledger)
Fail safe systems only fail when they fail to fail safe.
There's an anecdote to the effect that the UK importer of De Tomaso cars employed a related tactic to deal with the reported overheating of the cars in UK traffic - he removed the bulbs from the dashboard warning lights, and owners stopped coming back to complain about the warning light.
Another tax user here - and one who also has to find stuff in other jurisdictions - the other day it was EU, Ghana, Singapore & Uganda. I found all the legislation I needed on the relevant sites; little bit of URL juggling required, but nothing tricky.
The next day, I needed to get a copy of an HMRC document which I knew, *KNEW*, existed as part of their budget output (I had a paper copy). Took me longer than finding a 50 year old Ugandan statute. The ordering of information is just bewildering. The search function is appalling. (Maybe that's what the "random page" generator is for? Has anyone checked to see if the traditional search link is still there?) How can they have taken something which used to work and made it so, so awful?
I've given up on putting detail into the "what's wrong with this page" dialogues and just point out that it's rubbish. Won't make any difference to GOV.UK, but helps keep my blood pressure just a little bit lower. And sadly, it's not necessarily helpful even if your affairs are relatively simple - see the list of gems here: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1796280
I tried matching company turnovers to GDPs not long back using wikipedia - while the figures aren't directly comparable, let alone reliable, it was the quickest way to get a feel for a hunch/concern I have that we now have corporate bodies (MNCs, multinationals, call them what you like) which have more economic power than some countries, aka tax jurisdictions. (Someone has also done a similar exercise mapping English counties to African countries - the most heartbreaking statistic I know is that economically we seem to put the same value on DRC (area 905k square miles, pop'n 77m) as we do Devon (area 2.5k square miles, pop'n 750k). )
Thinking about companies again, if taxes exist for the good of society, but the corporate body does not consider itself a part of that society, can we be surprised when the corporate bodies start to operate in their own, rather than the society/tax jurisdiction's interests? Especially if they are "bigger" than the tax jurisdiction...
They've already confirmed it's integration in a public sector environment; the (lack of) success thing is kind of a given.
Now that's an impressive power to weight ratio - but you must have had to sacrifice a degree of structural rigidity/material to get it quite so light..?
(Finest driving experience - Alpine A110 1600s, 160bhp, no idea what it weighed, but it flew. Literally, when the throttles got jammed while practising for a sprint event; I suspect it will hold the all time altitude record for Curborough sprint circuit. Favourite - 1932 Aston New International. Makes me smile even thinking about it; not quite so "direct" as an FN, and notoriously underpowered, but rewarding in a way that no modern car can even approach)
Stop it; this is wrong - Friday is BOFH day...
As an occasional cyclist, LED lights on cars are a pain. I can cheerfully cycle to the station just after dawn with no lights on across the golf course, through the village, seeing and being seen... right up to the outskirts of town, where there's traffic, and every other car is blinding us all with LEDs. If I didn't have a set of unpleasantly bright LED lamps on the bike I'd be effectively invisible. I'm not convinced that an illuminations arms race is the best solution?
Was the BX the one where after a few thousand units they went back to steel bonnets because of production costs - cue urban myth of proud new owners demonstrating how the plastic bonnet just bounces back when you thump it/sit on it/whack it with a hammer..?
There is a greater degree of self interest in there for the MNCs as well these days - those minerals are 'pillaged'; pillage is of course a war crime, but there's a heavy evidential burden to get as far up the supply chain as a chip maker. However, 'pillage' is now a de facto offence predicate for money laundering. Or, in English, if you've got pillaged goods in your supply chain, you're potentially guilty of money laundering, and that's a very real threat for business.
Shameless self promotion klaxon - I wrote a paper on it that you can find at http://www.accaglobal.com/gb/en/technical-activities/technical-resources-search/2014/june/pillage-a-new-threat.html or if you prefer, a rather more digestible blog post at http://blogs.accaglobal.com/2014/07/15/pillage-isnt-about-viking-longboats-anymore-you-could-be-wearing-eating-and-looking-at-it/
IIRC, there is also an issue with reflections from oil/diesel not showing up - mostly an issue for motorcyclists who I understand tend not to use polarised visors for that very reason, but as a car driver it's always worth understanding why the bike ahead of you has changed course/slowed right down (alongside eg white lines & manhole covers on a rainy day)
I don't know about DMCA type stuff, but they're certainly already looking at the tax residence of satellites - see eg the blog post at http://martinhearson.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/satellites-in-geostationary-orbit-a-new-tax-justice-issue/ I can't believe it wouldn't be long before they extended some kind of jurisdiction to satellites, even if by proxy based on where the owner/operator is incorporated.
So long El Reg, it's been nice knowing you. (I'd have posted AC, but what would be the point..?)
Perhaps someone high up at Joyent has themselves had the fat fingered moment of dread, and recognises the value of experience...
There's a similar thing with discharged bankrupts; they are statistically the least likely people to go bankrupt (yes, again). Despite which, they are also one of the groups that finds it hardest to get bank accounts. The test is of course administered by bankers who have not themselves gone bankrupt.
Surely all you need to convert the pie-in-the-sky to the pie-on-the-table is gravity? (Well, and making sure the table's outside obviously.)
My father used to write operating systems for IBM mainframes back in the late 60s/early 70s. 3 or 4 years ago, he bought a new hard drive - maybe longer, IIRC it was 80 gigabytes & cost him just north of £100. What struck home was the calculation he did on how much it would have cost him to get access to that much memory back when he was working for a living - it came out at something like £19m. To hire, for a week, cos that's how it used to work in those days. Yep, things have definitely changed. (His other pet peeve is musical Christmas cards, which have more computing power than the first system he ever used - and took up an entire room).
Not to worry; as long as you've bookmarked this page you can always come back here to copy & paste it.
1930's Aston Martins started with the month production started as a letter (A for Jan, B for Feb etc) then a single digit for the year of the decade (2 for 1932, 3 for 1933 etc) followed by the actual chassis number for the model, and a suffix letter for type. So eg C2/201/S is short chassis 201, built in March 1932. G7/722/L would be long chassis 722, laid down in July 1937. However, they don't seem to have built the chassis in order - so we have H7/717, C7/719 (5 months earlier) B40/720, (3 years later) F9/721, (back a year) A9/722, A7/730 B7/736 (finally moving forward again) and so on. Even if you spot the lack of repetition of 3 digit numbers, you'd still be caught out as there were frequent jumps to the next hundred when a new model came out/new owner bought the company. (The earlier cars up to number 74 were much easier; S for sports and T for Touring with no indication of date. Apart from MS1, a polished chassis built specially for motor show display. Subsequently though the number 273 appeared on at least 3 sets of records, but does not appear to have ever actually left the factory.)
Couldn't you just file them all under C for Chemicals? Or save time, & stick them all in one jar labelled (briefly) "compound"?
*under* the sun? I think perhaps I could suggest one new concept you might like to consider...
Presumably you mean "last statement +360", not "every 360 days", given that the underlying information relates to periods of 365/366 days? But yes, simply aligning the annual statements with whichever month they get produced in would appear to make sense *to anyone outside the post room* ; as previously noted, sending them before the statutory due date shouldn't be an issue.
But large organisation mailing processes have to be seen to be believed; one of the UK's largest has a mail room 1 mile long. They have to stagger mass mailings, as Royal Mail don't have enough trucks to load all their envelopes in one go. And one day we suggested to them sending a particular notification out by manually processed recorded delivery - they don't do many of this particular item, and it was causing significant issues for the (non)recipient if it went astray. They looked at us as though someone had suggested inserting a live stoat into every envelope before despatch, and the item was minuted "for further consideration".
Best in class: We've redefined the class to include us and people doing worse than us
Market leading: We're not going to say where to though
GCHQ's new spy tech won't go through the books as a tech deal though; it'll be badged as a new underground swimming pool for No 10.
A friend who builds rollcages for competition cars recently had to contact the MSA to check how to proceed when installing a rollover hoop to a vintage car with 19mm ply floor - standard MSA regs call for welding the cage to the floor. The MSA confirmed that all you have to do is bolt the plates in rather than weld them; the wooden floor is actually stiffer & more resilient than the pressed steel in moderns.
"At the same time they invented a new colour 'diamond white' which was associated with only the highest value diamonds."
I have heard of 'Diamond White", but not quite in that context.
One thing the PAC haven't factored into the overall cost is the fact that HMRC had to rush their RTI implementation in order to meet the DWP's (now discredited) timetable. That in turn had knock on effects for every single employer in the country, not to mention payroll bureaux. And of course because HMRC had to rush something they'd been wanting to do for ages, it isn't as good as it should have been, but we're stuck with it now. So there's another cost to taxpayer and business of the botched UC project.
So that's who bought the tech then...
Electronic POS kit seems to be one big playground for the crims at the moment - use cash & they'll hide the takings from the tax man ( see http://www.oecd.org/ctp/crime/ElectronicSalesSuppression.pdf ) Use a card and they'll just rip the cash direct from your account - and the OECD report suggests that there'll be no shortage of willing recruits in eg the restaurant trade to give themselves a 'heads we win, tails you lose' attitude towards choice of payment method as well. Monday afternoon, and already I'm depressed and cynical about the nature of the world we live in. Thanks guys...
I'm sure you're right about the hardware/data motivation for thefts - outside of Hollywood, I can't really see thefts being based on the contents of the phone; it's going to be the resale value of an unlocked handset that motivates the average junkie. So if the means of unlocking changes, the pattern/method of thefts may change.
The worry of course is how they go about unlocking the handset, and that's what got me thinking. It may be that the gummi-bear solution works, but if that's the case then (as other commenters have pointed out) the NSA is going to be the least of any fanbois' worries once the shell of the phone is covered in their prints. However things turn out, the 5s is bound to sell at a premium, and that will in turn enhance the incentives to get hold of a saleable example, by hook or by crook.
Thanks also for taking the time to check on the Mercs story; glad to know I was only vaguely divorced from reality in my memories; I hadn't realised it was as long as 8 years ago... I'm slightly less thankful for you reminding me just how old I am :-)
Bricklayers often have problems with fingerprint recognition too - so no point them queuing up for the new iShiny then.
So does this mean muggers will now have a second use for the bolt-croppers they use on bike locks - taking the finger along with the phone? (Presumably there's scope to change the print that the phone recognises, so you wouldn't have to actually sell it with the original owner's digit once you'd reset the authentication)
IIRC there were some unpleasant incidents in Hong Kong when Mercedes brought out a fingerprint authenticated car, so while I'd hope things wouldn't go that far just for a phone, it does raise fears for how lowlifes might try to get around the tech...
"impromptu motorway sculpture"
Well thank you so much; now I'm going to have to dig a spare keyboard out of the cupboard.
Hmm - this comes out on Monday morning... I think I know what they spent Friday afternoon doing after they got back from the pub.
Dammit. I had _second_ week in September in the office sweepstake on the date they admitted it wasn't going to work.
The mistakes we made were in employing humans to do the work. We shan't be doing that again.
Read Dickens on profit - "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." Bring that back in spades for the business making a loss if you tax all income/turnover at a fixed percentage, instead of acknowledging that they don't even have enough cash to pay their own employees, let alone other peoples.
Not even gonna go there on the arguments about sector specific rates based on average profit margins; VATs used in the flat rate scheme (nearest current proxy) range from 4% to 14.5% [see http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/start/schemes/flat-rate.htm#5 ] Administering that sort of thing as the sole form of business taxation in a way that doesn't drive small business to the wall (no economies of scale) and encourage all big business into high margin sectors would be just as complex as the current system, with all the joys of the transition into the bargain.
It's a good stab, and I think you've badly injured the concepts...
But seriously: - what you're proposing is a hybrid wealth/income tax. Immediate reactions:
- How do you value private/non-traded shares?
- How do you 'value' dividends (paid or declared? Before or after WHT/imputation impacts?)
- The 'presence' section looks like, and would face the same issues as, 'conventional' formulary apportionment
- Targeting shares/divis is a good way to go for non-distortionary revenue raising (google 'taxing the maximand') but denies you the behavioural regulatory function of tax, ie R&D tax breaks etc. Policy makers do seem rather wedded to that side of things, at least in common law jurisdictions.
Overall - I'm not sure it's feasible starting from where we are as a *replacement* for existing CT, but it would be an interesting complement to it, perhaps phasing in more and more as it beds in and improves in operation?
Generally a good overview - but the point about interest recipients being taxable, potentially leading to higher overall taxation is a touch disingenuous.
Interest income may be taxable but returns on equity typically aren't - and a loan note which converts to shares if not redeemed after a fixed period may well be a debt in the hands of the 'return payer', but equity in the hands of the 'return recipient'. So clever structuring can exploit the differentials in accounting treatment to reduce taxes (although scope for it is shrinking; the typical DCLNs which were so popular a few years back no longer work in the UK for example). Goodness only know how you'd handle the impact of that kind of thing on the group accounts underpinning the formulary apportionment beloved of unitary taxation advocates, but so far they haven't even explained how they'd make capital allowances work.
A useful and nicely written piece - gives me another reason to try to arrange a family holiday in Scotland