* Posts by J P

143 posts • joined 19 Aug 2010

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Replacement IT at 'high risk'. Squeaky bum time for UK tax folk

J P

First define success

Or at least, set up your legislation and leave it alone for a bit while the IT estate catches up. Unless of course you're looking at a situation where you may have <2 years from a given future date to completely rewrite the basis of one of your most important taxes (£119bn pa at last count) and there's a policy incentive to do away with the existing return regime in favour of real time reporting.

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Insure against a cyberwhat now? How the heck do we crunch those numbers?

J P
Mushroom

Re: Many commentards don't understand insurance

Doctor Syntax is right that there are deliberate attacks against physical property, just like virtual assets - but I think the risk with cyber insurance is that (for the time being) we can't tell if someone's about to invent the equivalent of skeleton keys for every physical lock in the country, or a pocket sized laser type device powerful enough to cause ignition of any combustible building material up to and including steel RSJs at a range of up to 3km but which retails for £5.99. Until the underwriters are happy that it's not a risk they need to worry about, setting premiums will remain rather more risky than they're comfortable with.

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Euro Patent Office prez's brake line cut – aka how to tell you're not popular

J P

I now have a lovely mental image of him trying to cycle up hill with 4 bodyguards hanging off the corner mounted footplates of his bicycle (a la Presidential Lincoln)

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Gov to pull plug on online ID verification portal Gateway in 2018

J P
Boffin

Re: Back to Pencil and Paper Then for Self Assessment?

AC above is not quite right - there are occasions when you *must* file on paper; you can find the list here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/516189/2016-exc-indi.pdf

If you can get yourself into one of these, then you can, nay must, file on paper. Admittedly, they're not all necessarily practicable, or indeed necessarily attractive options - MPs are among the groups who file on paper (although interestingly it's nothing to do with shortcomings in HMRC's calculation software, but due to "security reasons". Not sure why they're mandating online for the rest of us when it's too dangerous for them to even attempt it).

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UK's Universal Credit IT may go downhill soon, warns think tank report

J P

My thought was more "how?" As I understand it, a significant proportion of claimants are still being processed manually because the IT can't do the job yet at all. Not sure quite how it could get worse...

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'Planet nine' theory boosted by Kuiper Belt Object with odd orbit

J P
Childcatcher

Typical

I just get the luminous solar system set up on my daughter's bedroom ceiling ("Pack contains 8 planets and a Pluto" before you ask), all orbits proportionately scaled (sort of; the planets themselves are too similar in size - and an orbit accurately scaled to the size of the Earth model would have required a 5 mile wide bedroom) and now this.

I suppose we'll just have to blutack a bouncy ball to the bathroom ceiling or something.

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HMRC bets the farm on digital. What could possibly go wrong?

J P

Re: This entire argument is arse about face

You only need one type of tax if you are prepared to be awkward enough about it

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/vclothingmanual/VCLOTHING3100.htm

And although the consumer may not notice VAT, businesses do. There is probably not a pet shop in the land which correctly accounts for the VAT on every item they sell, since feed etc for working animals is zero rated while for pets, goods are standard rated.

As for yanks dribbling at the simplicity of PAYE *for the employee* - well, yes. If it's done properly. (Google NPS and Dave Hartnett, or ESC A19 for examples of when they didn't). But it is still a right royal PITA for businesses. (Google RTI Accountingweb )

And we have tax elections driven by the phase of the moon, not to mention the joy of devolution. And we're the only country in the world to run their tax year non-coterminous with a calendar month. The idea of accounting for VAT (monthly/quarterly annual), CIS (ditto), PAYE (Ditto plus every time you run payroll... which is daily for pension providers) CT (annual) NICs (weekly) and SMP/SSP offset (take your pick) in one place.... Yep, this is all arse about face.

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HMRC aims for fully digital tax system by 2020. Yeah, whatever

J P

Re: Digital Tax Returns by 2020?

1) The "research" they rely on is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-the-impact-of-reporting-cycles The subjects interviewed were too few, and the wrong balance - but more fundamental was the aim of the research; they were asking "what should HMRC say if it wants to sell this stuff to the SME population?", not "will this stuff work for SME/micro population?"

2) Cash is naughty - see the Autumn Statement consultation https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cash-tax-evasion-and-the-hidden-economy-call-for-evidence Which is why they're trying to outlaw it, and why build systems for a dying concept?

3) Tax, like the world, has always run on an annual cycle. Either they need to change us to a non-annual basis [a suggestion which would have Sir Humphrey reaching for a large pitcher of sherry and opening the thesaurus at "foolhardy"] or acknowledge that the first 3 (or 4) returns will always be estimates and there'll be an additional reckoning up at the year end. Which is not actually a simplification or reduction.

Bottom line? All they want to do is accelerate tax so it's paid closer to transactions; it's about cashflow acceleration, and they're going to do it to us under any guise they can. But the sentence that chills me to the heart is the one from the 4th pillar, "Tax in one place" from the Digital Roadmap, "To deliver these changes, HMRC needs to reconfigure its internal systems significantly" I hope that I don't need here to list out the reasons why that's terrifying...

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J P

HMRC have just got the wrong end of the stick

They've misinterpreted "digital", and have come up with a proposal which embodies sticking two fingers up at the taxpaying population.

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One-armed bandit steals four hours of engineer's busy day

J P
Coat

Re: hit pump to get it working again

I know it's not quite what they mean, but I do like the way half the SU pumps are described as "pointless" in the Holden catalogue...

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IT contractors raise alarm over HMRC mulling 'one-month' nudge onto payrolls

J P

Re: I Don't Understand The Logic ....

Velv is spot on. Irrecoverable VAT is the biggest tax that FS businesses suffer - way more than CT, NI etc. And it's thanks to the UK's contractor population that we have such an enormous FS sector - London is not just the biggest capital market in Europe, it's actually bigger than the whole of the rest of Europe put together.

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UK.gov launches roadmap for Quantum of Something or other

J P

Re: oh good

Interestingly, there's an article on the FT discussing much the same point about tech prediction (behind the paywall at http://on.ft.com/1MQx9U4 ) - other commentards here may remember one of the sources they discuss, "Future Stuff" by Malcolm Abrams, in which a non-technical author successfully predicted a range of outcomes (if not the underlying research) which "experts" regularly missed in favour of eg telling us the Segway would change the world.

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Lotus F1: 38°C? Sand in your Vblocks? Must be building a data center in Bahrain again

J P

What man creates, man can re-create!

Yes, but I think that was originally aimed at the body panels... John Wyer, team manager at Aston Martin in the 50s and 60s, subsequently confirmed that management regarded the body work as "consumables" - although they'd never actually shared that particular element of management strategy with the drivers. And indeed they're still disposable today... http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/Huge-drama-dominates-Castle-Combe-Circuit-s/story-27940805-detail/story.html

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J P
Go

Re: Repetition, hesitation, deviation.

@Steve Davies 3 - all of the above, plus you can actually wander into the paddock and talk to the crews and drivers, even sit in the cars at some events. The vintage guys do it for love, not money, and will (mostly) happily talk to an interested spectator; not something you'll be able to do at an F1 race.

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J P

Brabham BT46B.

The main problem they had to start with was that none of their springs were stiff enough. The drivers sat in the pits, blipping the throttle, and the car flexed up and down as the fan kicked in. On the track, they just drove round the other cars in the corners.

In practical terms it was a bit of a dead-end, since there's no off-track application for it, and taken to its extremes on track you'd have ended up with cars pulling more Gs in the corners & braking than the drivers could have coped with. But a marvellously inventive way to get round the fact that everyone else was running a V-configured engine & could do "passive" ground effect with venturis; simply not something we get to see under modern regs. (along with 6 wheelers and the like...)

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J P

Re: The cars can't run without the computer systems??

Not sure if they can't run at all - but given the cost of repair if it went catastrophically wrong, would they want to?

In a similar vein, I know that there's a whole generation of Group C Le Mans racers that are unlikely ever to turn a wheel again as they run the earliest iterations of engine management software. When the teams broke up/were sold off, the cars went in a different direction to the computer kit and no-one had the tools to get them running/remapped. A far cry from the rebuild of the BRM V16; someone went & copied the numbers off the wall of the shed where they'd been scribbled during development work before the shed got knocked down...

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Microsoft now awfully pushy with Windows 10 on Win 7, 8 PCs – Reg readers hit back

J P
FAIL

I know what I'm doing this weekend then

Having dabbled in Linux of various flavours over the years, but stuck with Win XP then 7 as default out of comfort/inertia/ease of integration with work (which is not in the IT field, I'm just an interested amateur), I've now had it with MS after weeks of trying to keep this "upgrade" at bay.

There's a couple of old programmes I use and like which may not run well in Linux, so I'll need to figure out running Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs in a VM, but otherwise I know MS offers me nothing I need that I can't get for free in LinuxLand.

In the long run I'd rather spend hours of my free time learning useful skills on an OS I know I'll be hanging on to than spend hours trying to keep an OS I don't want away from my PCs. They're not to my mind particularly old machines, and do everything I want them to, but they won't benefit at all from any of the features Win10 offers on the hardware front, and if I have to have the hassle of learning new ways to do stuff on the software front I'd rather do it with a setup that will make my PC run faster rather than slower.

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US Navy grabs old-fashioned sextants amid hacker attack fears

J P
Linux

"...peering out through the 1x1cm quartz window."

Don't they use pigeons for that?

(Sorry about the icon; closest I could get)

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Science Museum celebrates Ada Lovelace

J P
Thumb Up

Excellent

That's one day of the children's half term taken care of.

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Boeing builds British Airways 787 Dreamliner in 4 minutes

J P
Pint

Re: Jet engines...

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...

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CHEAT! Volkswagen chief 'deeply sorry' over diesel emission test dodge

J P
Mushroom

Re: So Thatcher was right?

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?

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Spaniard trousers €60,000 bank error, proceeds directly to jail

J P
Boffin

Re: Windfalls

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...

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No, I won't SNORKEL in your server room at STUPID-O'CLOCK

J P

Canary Wharf aircon

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.

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Contractors who used Employee Beneficiary Trusts are in HMRC's sights

J P
WTF?

UK VAT law is as bad as ever

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)

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J P

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...

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Sysadmins: Your great power brings the chance to RUIN security

J P

Re: RE: Infosec isn't about "cool"

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.)

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Chair legs it from UK govt smart meter installation programme

J P
Facepalm

Chair legs IT

I misread this as being some new form of IT derived from furniture components. Which would probably be about right actually...

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It’s Adobe’s Creative Cloud TITSUP birthday. Ease the pain with its RGB-wrangling rivals

J P

Re: Non-photo work

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.

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Caterham 270S: The automotive equivalent of crack

J P
Go

A scarily appropriate comparison

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.

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Data centre doesn't like your face? That's a good thing

J P

Re: Critical Business

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)

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Are you sure there are servers in this cold, dark basement?

J P

Re: first job

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.

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Inside GOV.UK: 'CHAOS' and 'NIGHTMARE' as trendy Cabinet Office wrecked govt websites

J P

Re: Yep - it's terrible

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

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SO. Which IS more important to humanity: Facebook, or Portugal?

J P

Re: A bit unfair

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...

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Our system handles £130bn and it's BUST. Want the job of fixing it? Apply to UK.gov

J P
Coat

Re: no need for it to have been a *successful* integration then?

They've already confirmed it's integration in a public sector environment; the (lack of) success thing is kind of a given.

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Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring

J P

" a kit car weighing 800g..."

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)

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BOFH: SOOO... You want to sell us some antivirus software?

J P
Stop

Stop it; this is wrong - Friday is BOFH day...

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Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how

J P

Re: LED lighting

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?

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J P

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..?

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Intel says NO MORE BLOOD PENTIUMS by 2016

J P

Re: robots

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/

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Bright lights, affordable motor: Ford puts LED headlights onto Mondeo

J P

Re: Vertical vs. horizontal

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)

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If Google remembers whom it has forgotten, has it complied with the ECJ judgment?

J P

Re: this probably sounds stupid.

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.

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REVEALED: GCHQ's BEYOND TOP SECRET Middle Eastern INTERNET SPY BASE

J P
Black Helicopters

So long El Reg, it's been nice knowing you. (I'd have posted AC, but what would be the point..?)

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Fat-fingered admin downs entire Joyent data center

J P

Re: Jheez, poor bastard. :\

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.

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BEAM ME UP SCOTTY: Boffins to turn PURE LIGHT into MATTER

J P
Coat

Re: Cart before the horse?

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.)

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Quick Q: How many FLOPPIES do I need for 16 MILLION image files?

J P

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).

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eBay slammed for daft post-hack password swap advice

J P

Re: ebay's password policy ...

Not to worry; as long as you've bookmarked this page you can always come back here to copy & paste it.

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Achtung! Use maths to smash the German tank problem – and your rival

J P

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.)

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Please work for nothing, Mr Dabbs. What can you lose?

J P
Mushroom

Re: Absolutely and Schools

Couldn't you just file them all under C for Chemicals? Or save time, & stick them all in one jar labelled (briefly) "compound"?

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Behold! World's smallest 3D-printer pen Lix artists into shape – literally

J P
Coat

Re: Bah! Old news

*under* the sun? I think perhaps I could suggest one new concept you might like to consider...

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Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?

J P

Re: Does it have to be every 365 days?

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".

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