Re: Just a matter of timing
You missed the important minus sign there... A(minus)99 is big... very big
228 posts • joined 9 Jul 2009
You missed the important minus sign there... A(minus)99 is big... very big
Why (should they be paying the 'same' tax)?
Seriously, it's a question worth asking. We've already established that a company is ok to pay two different individuals different amounts of money to do the same job. We've established that the contractor is likely to be paying more tax (as an absolute amount) than the permanent employee. We've established that the workers have different employment contracts, and different obligations towards risk and career development.
So, other than the fact that they're sitting in similar coloured chairs, why should they pay the same proportion of tax? The contractor is almost certainly paying more tax whilst doing the same job, so why should they pay more still? Contractors aren't holding anyone to ransom here, they clearly fulfil a function (and a useful one at that judging by the rates companies are willing to pay for them). So why should they actually have to pay something that you, as a permie, are not paying?
Why is it you get away with paying less (absolute) tax than the contractor sitting next to you? How is that fair? How is it you don't have to re-apply for the same job every few months, with a full interview and references? How is it you can take a day off sick when you feel like it and still get paid? Who's taking the p*** here?
I'm not sure that justifies the (admittedly fairly rare) 'verbal diarrhoea' articles that have to be picked apart in the comments. I do come here for the stories, but that's because I expect the authors to provide some insight into the subjects - or at least some industry standard cynicism :D
Before you crow too much, El. Reg should remember that the quality of its own reporting has been known to go down as well as up. Some of your articles over the last few months have been notable for the lazy journalism, poorly thought out reasoning and apparent lack of editing.
Medium is indeed very Silicon Valley, but I'm not sure 'quality journalism' is out of the woods yet.
Terrorists also use mobile phones. Let's ban advertising for mobile phones!!
If a channel is hateful or offensive, then fair enough, let's make sure it's taken down under Google's guidelines. Banging on about what is advertised on that channel is the sort of hysterical nonsense that the Daily Mail would normally be proud of.
...that's why we teach science in school.
Not a bad intro, but could have done with a little editing and a couple of illustrations. El. Reg should be able to do a little better than this - the information and understanding is clearly there, but the presentation is a bit behind.
For the last hundred years or more, there has been more than a few people who're desperate to believe that magical mind control can be moved from myth and fiction onto some sort of scientific basis. See the book The Men Who Stare At Goats to see how deep the belief goes.
It's true that you can understand the people in ever greater detail with big data, but you only have to see the political upset on both sides when Brexit/Trump won to realise that there's no uber conspiracy here, just the normal fallible humans finding new and interesting ways to screw things up. Not that the changes being ushered in are necessarily bad for our deeply embedded political systems, but no-one could really claim that there is any evidence of a mastermind at work...
""Junior" he he. Nice."
For sure it was a cheap shot, but if you will insist on posting "I solved world peace the other day, but then thought.. nah...", that's the sort of response you'll get :)
I can fully understand the issues with 'magical', and have railed against it enough in my time, but if there's a tipping point, it's when frameworks like this can make pragmatic decisions and pretty much be sure of being right. There's no AI involved, just a bunch of tools that are mature enough that when you want a collection of objects back from a database. the 'solution' is as uncontentious as a Taylor Swift album.
My feeling on robo-sytems is that we've not yet cracked the problem of specifying what we want (as anyone who's delivered a project will know), so there's no start point for robo-programmers to get purchase. What we will see is more of the Spring-like 'component declaration DSLs' that get munged into working code by 'magic' frameworks.
All those big data services must be running on some sort of magic sauce then. And those web servers. Oh and I guess that's why Android battery life is so much shorter than iOS.
"and part designed, an automatic programming system years ago, but then thought, "nah, might need a job" and quietly shelved it."
I don't know any junior programmer who hasn't gone through that phase. It's funny that no-one has actually managed to write such a thing (that worked) so far.
On the other hand, for the (many) posters here who clearly don't keep up with Java frameworks, it's worth pointing out that implementing a CRUD repository for an arbitrary Java object involves no more than declaring an interface (yes, literally one line of code) in Spring Boot. With two lines of code (annotations), the same Java object is your data definition, generating an SQL schema, indexes, constraints and sequences as appropriate. One more annotation turns any method into a REST interface, with form decoding, object transformation, output encoding, validation and error capture all happening automatically. Metrics don't take any more effort.
Of course if your only exposure to Java is through using Stack Overflow to find answers, you'll probably be thinking that PHP makes things far easier.
It's Friday and I'm standing in a school playground.
"My language is better than your language!"
Anyone who thinks the success of Java is down to the language should not be allowed to make tech choices for any company. Similarly for anyone who thinks that feature-X in a language is a reason to choose that language for a project.
"I was coding Z when you were still in nappies!"
Having a beard doesn't make you wise, old man. I pre-ordered the first public Java distribution (sent on CD from America no less), used Turbo pascal before it was Delphi, coded Z-80 and 6502 by hand and once fought a bear bare handed.. or something. That doesn't mean I can't learn new things, and discover new tools and techniques. As the article points out, what was true for Java five years ago isn't necessarily true now, which is why it stays relevant. When that is no longer the case, a competent developer is more than able to pick another toolset.
"Java is slow/bloaty/crippled"
Yet it's still here. What could it be that you are missing?
Personally, I'm not trying to come up with a "better argument". I'm saying that it's only worth the hassle and risk of contracting if you're paid appropriately. If HMRC want to increase the hassle and risk whilst decreasing the pay, then many more will do what I've done and get out.
I'm not trying to convince anyone that complex tax arrangements are a good idea. I'm not even trying to convince anyone that "i'm worth it". I am saying that a flexible, mobile workforce is a good thing, and this is running absolutely contrary to this. If you try to level the field between permanent and contract staff, then who in their right mind would want to take on the added burden of being a contractor? On a personal level, it doesn't matter to me - I have and always will follow the rules. However, I'm quite happy to have withdrawn my labour from companies that otherwise would quite like it (judging by the regular recruitment calls).
As an aside, the same applies to travel subsides and housing costs. If you make it difficult to travel to work, and expensive to move house, then you have a less mobile workforce which causes poor population distribution and strangles companies needing workers. It's easier to bring in overseas workers than help someone relocate in this country - and let's not even talk about the pleasures of commuting.
..those that haven't got the drive or skillset to get up and leave keep working on projects that desperately need people with drive and skills.
IR35 isn't fixed by creating some hideous online tool to manage its complexities. It's fixed by ending this obfuscation and witch-hunt mentality.
Someone in Government needs to remember that the job of Government is to support the people, not tax the people. In this case, we desperately need a mobile, highly skilled workforce - both in public and private sector. Enabling people to switch jobs and apply their skills where they generate the most value is a key to building a healthy, competitive economy. Things like IR-35 are the complete antithesis of that, though I'll bet that all those large corporate advisors will be whispering the complete opposite in the ear of any MP that'll listen.
As with so much crystal ball gazing, this article falls into the trap of extrapolating 'disruption' from today's norms. Before cars, if you'd asked anyone what the future held, it would have been 'faster horses'.
The sheer material and energy wasted in having a fleet of cars deliver a chain of goods to your house is immense. The logistics of the 'last three yards' are not magically solved by solving the problem of a car capable of autonomous driving to your doorstep (and that itself is far from a solved problem - whatever the AI pundits may claim). It seems to me the likely solution is further consolidation towards human driven vans doing the rounds.
Besides, the disruption mantra is a nonsense. Techies and investors fall time and time into the trap of believing that because you can digitally disrupt services like hotel booking and book selection, you can digitally disrupt the physical world. For some reason people believe Tesla can disrupt the car industry 'because digital' - when they're surrounded by companies with vastly more experience and infrastructure for delivering physical machines that customers want. Why does an electric motor make the slightest bit of difference? Consider how the car industry evolved 'consumer' diesel in very short order in the 90's and you'll realise that motive power is not an issue for the incumbents.
But hey, investor hype, wild optimism about AI and in inability to distinguish between physical and virtual problems are a great source of articles.
A small, easy to type on device with endless battery power and a decent telnet client - any day.
It booted quickly, could interact reasonably with standard documents and kept a basic calendar, spreadsheet and editor.
Doesn't need to be colour, or run windows or Linux (or Android for that matter). Doesn't need to play games, call my mum or take photos.
Does need WiFi (possibly bluetooth), a top notch keyboard and these days USB/memory card slots. A bonus if it could run a half decent browser, GIT and basic Java stack (but only when you wanted to kill the battery life to save a client's bacon).
EPOC had got far too convoluted to maintain and improve, but was key to battery life and the foundations of the excellent document handling. Not sure what could replace it.
It says a lot that I've not found a combination of Android device/keyboard/app(s) that can match the Psion for 'just working'.
If you were relying on a document in a court of law and it had been signed with SHA1, then my assumption is that if two parties produced two documents with the same hash, there would be some examination of the documents. The guess is that the original would be 'clean' and the doctored one would have the doctored text (the subtle addition of the word 'not' where appropriate) PLUS some additional garbage to bring the signatures back into line. As it's astronomically unlikely to produce the same signature when only making a meaningful semantic change to the text, it should be possible for a forensic examination of the documents to identify which is 'clean'.
However, if SHA1 is only being used in an automated system (Git etc.), then the issue is much more pressing - the assumption being that the system will not be coded to identify a collision, which would be processed and actioned unnoticed.
...a sack full of spanners. Sure, it can do some amazing work, but it requires a lot of self assembly, and you need to have the right sort of problem that the tools will actually fit.
If your data is big enough, and you have the means to act on the results, you can indeed deliver real value. I was lucky enough to work on a project that returned significant revenue (I offered to work on a percentage basis, but they seemed to think that was unreasonable... sigh).
On the other hand, if you've got the infrastructure there, and guys smart enough to bolt it all together (which seems to more or less be a prerequisite at the moment), you can roll your own stuff out of the wider 'big data' ecosystem that's likely to be a far better fit than trying to put in a screw with the Spark hammer. We replaced clunky Hadoop batch processing with Kafka + microservices + Cassandra and delivered the same results but in near real time and with much less reliance on 'magic coordination'. Despite the hype, Spark was not a good enough fit to justify mangling the problem just to be able to use it.
The thing about reporting is that you end up with reports that tell you the same thing each time so you can compare like for like to spot trends and patterns. Having AI interpret what you need to know doesn't fill me with confidence.
And then there's the spectre of misunderstanding:
"Deploy the production release, Hal"
"Deleting the production database, Dave"
"No, no, no! Stop!"
"Phoning your mother, Dave"
Not sure about that.
1. (Seeing as we're doing numbered lists). The executive orders are temporary. That's brilliant - it gives him 90 (120) days for people to 'get used to' the idea, then he can put something in place that's not as severe and everyone thinks they've won concessions.
2. The 'Government isn't business' line concerns me. This is the Hillary Clinton approach - "this job is too small for your small ape brains, let me do it". Both America and the UK have built up a huge government machine that is dedicated to oiling its own machinery. Laws only get more complex, lawyers only get richer and the civil service has so many offshoots and branches that genuine change is almost impossible. The end result is that successive governments are increasingly only able to tinker around the edges because "this is how it's always been done". That's not to advocate Twitter diplomacy, but to recognise that government has become incredibly self serving lately - one of the reasons we got Brexit and Trump.
"If you have a choice between disabling it in a harmless way by taking control of it yourself, or even by simply preventing it from being controlled at all while still a good distance from any target, why on Earth would you not choose to do that and instead start wildly firing live ammunition into the air?"
You're assuming that sending radio signals to a modified drone will do what you expect. Most drones can fly predefined paths, so don't need continuous control. Any attempt at signalling to them could have completely unexpected results - a weapon could be tied to any given behaviour so 'safely' stopping it involves double guessing that behaviour. Will it drop a grenade if you ask it to slow down, speed up, lower altitude, gain altitude, fly north?
I won't go into the ways a consumer drone can be modified, nor the challenges of gaining access to it "while still a good distance from any target". The operational issues with telling a flying bomb to be harmless are immense.
So a drone comes over that's been modified in an unknown way, and the first thing you want to do is mess with it's radio signal? Isn't that rather like the bomb squad myth that someone goes in and cuts the green wire?
Back in the real world, I would have thought a serious threat would more likely be shot out of the sky.
"It's ok chief, we've got you covered. Not a single threat can get in"
"What sort of thing are we talking about?"
"Oh, you know, drones!"
"Drones? Those military bastards!"
"Uh, no.. like, kids drones. They can carry a mean GoPro"
"Oh.. I see. What about grenade launchers? Guns? Trucks running through crowds?"
"What?! That's a hardware problem! We're here to ensure no-one can take an evil selfie!"
The point is that at the time it was launched, it wasn't a me too product. It was very innovative.
They took so long to get it to market that the rest of the industry caught up with all of the practical bits, leaving only the impossible features for them to implement. So it took even longer to get to market whilst they figured out that the reason no-one else was doing that stuff was because it was very, very hard.
So they ended up with a me too product, late to market. But that's not where they started.
The issue here is that innovation is hard, and the competition is fierce. That's not at all the same as the dot com boom, which majored on things with imaginary profits. We know drones are profitable - they turned DJI into a billion dollar company in very short time. The challenge is replicating that fierce pace of innovation.
..nothing much being said there. Drone that uses memory sticks will use memory sticks.
And out of the woodwork come the "oh no, drones!" crowd who seem to forget that everything from Country File through to the latest Tom Cruise film uses drones. The BBC has its own department developing in house technology, and police, fire and ambulance services use them for scene of accident, search and rescue and safety monitoring. Ignoring those, the wildlife photographers, travel writers, and people who just want a cool selfie have every right to take the benefit of new technology.
It's remarkable that a technology site famous for ridiculing the "think of the children" line still has readers who take the approach that any new technology that might be used by 'bad people' should be regulated, banned then regulated some more. I guess because they personally don't have one means they can't imagine why anyone else should? Good job we all have mobile phones, laptops and fnarking duct tape already, or we'd have to ban them too.
"If we get bad results due to removing the safeguards, it's the fault of the things the safeguards protected us from?"
Um, no. This legislation should never had reached the safeguards in the first place. We shouldn't rely on some magic third party to save us, because (whatever your political beliefs) sometimes it won't.
I'm not blaming the safeguards, just observing that the opposition has been raised by a cross-party group that is very much in the minority when it comes to mainstream UK political attitudes to these things. I'm also observing that those who are keen to make a link to brexit are missing the point (just as you are) that this is first and foremost a screw up of our own making.
If you want to link this to Brexit, then perhaps you should be asking the more constructive question of what this country is going to do to ensure safeguards are in place when we can no-longer hope the EU will save us? It's the same question as why there weren't sufficient safeguards in our current political line up to leave opposition to two 'maverick' MPs.
... much more to do with the lack of political will to fight this. Both Labour and Conservative have majority factions who believe that more information equals safer citizens. Both parties put significant store by the large corporate groups who lobby to encourage such beliefs. Those innocent and largely technically naive MPs who get elected get told by these groups that "trust us, it's for the best". So rather than prattling on about the EU, we should be asking why there is not serious opposition to this from within the UK?
I have a small collection of letters from MPs who, when questioned about these matters tell me that they have 'expert advice' that strangely contradicts my decades of direct experience in IT. I'm not the one who delivers projects 200% over budget and years behind schedule, with a long list of unintended consequences.
As it is, I suspect that the only reason the EU has put a helpful spanner in the works is that it is too fractured to have agreed its own charter on such matters. Remember, it took 18 years for them to get to grips with mobile phones. It's great that internal negotiations delay some legislation, but it's also the case that once such legislation is agreed upon, it is very much set in stone. No amount of local opposition will change things then.
I've just realised that urban deliveries are probably not the target for this. The Amazon van man can drive past a dozen customers in half a mile of city driving, cheap as chips delivery. In rural areas, he's got a twenty minute drive to get to a single customer, then possibly the same again to get to the next. Pack in a few drones with a decent radius of operation and suddenly the single slow and expensive delivery man can be replaced and deliveries run in parallel.
Of course it helps that around here where Amazon are testing, the landscape couldn't get much flatter.
I don't know, have you tried selling anything 'digital' in Europe lately? No minimum threshold for handling cross-border VAT and reporting makes for lots of fun.
It's almost like they only want us to buy through Amazon.
Remarkably, it was probably easier to sell stuff to people in the 70s than it is now. Ok, so all the consumer has to do is press a few buttons and try not to forget their password. But as a would-be entrepreneur, the moment you go near the internet, you have a world of pain - the list of people you have to get permission from, report to and pay a cut to gets longer and longer and longer.
My next product will be only available to people who send postal orders to my home address, which won't be listed on the internet.
I was woken up at 3am by a call that turned out to be an American lawyer who was concerned that I had used one of their product names in the name of a tool I had written for their product (it made sense at the time). It had not actually occurred to them that I might not live in the US (despite ringing an international dialling code), nor that they could have simply asked instead of going in with full legal threats. It's the latter that brings a chill to the feelings towards heavy handed companies.. almost like winter is coming.
"Me being one of them, just having ditched my iPhone 7."
..that even when they switch phones, iphone owners remain snarky and self-important? ;)
(joking of course, some of my best friends have iPhones)
It's great there's another specification out there, but if it's not currently supported on IE, and doesn't even have Android and iOS implementations on the distant horizon, are you really surprised that a company with a lot of engineering talent should choose a different approach?
It's no good "It'll be great in a few years time when everyone adopts it" if it's needed now.
The MacBook Pro finally converted me to Apple (if only for the dev stuff - still avoiding the consumer lock in). But after a little over one generation, I'm out again..
I've just discovered the Razr line of laptops, that seem to be taking up the design chops of Apple without the idiotic corporate lock in. As a developer, having bash is vital, so the recent moves by Microsoft may make me return to the fold.
Unfortunately no current major political party is independent minded enough to think differently from those terribly kind corporate 'experts' who tell them that small, experienced, highly mobile businesses are just not suited to government work. No, it's far better to give the work to the big boys who deliver so reliably and never over charge.
OK Google, tell Alexa that I'm not talking to her.
iOS has 10% market share? That'll be the 10% that actually spends money then.
Indeed, it's true if you have a public website that uses public endpoints that have to handle JSON, you have to guard against invalid inputs. The same would apply to any data format. Note that the Java libraries all passed the testing outlined here without causing crashes, or incorrectly parsing valid inputs.
The point being that none of this is a reason to jump to some heavyweight and overblown interchange format 'because proper'.
As a coder who long ago stopped being 'young' (though I am still hot thank you very much), I'm wary of those developers who bang on about Doing the Job Properly, when it translates to picking up an overblown spec and spending three months implementing it to the letter just to store trivial data. They're the same guys who foisted XML on us and who drive us to use obscure libraries because the 'proper' solution is only used by a handful of people. Some would consider this to be an offshoot of MDD.
As it is, I note that of the Java JSON libraries, which are mature and well supported, the worst crime is a failure to parse, caused by deliberately badly formed documents. On the whole I would not plan to use JSON to read any document that I hadn't created myself, and try to avoid exposing end users to such things.
JSON was a reaction to the heavyweight formats that flourished in the 90's and useful in exactly the situations that they were not. Perhaps the older coders can remember that too?
"Let me put you straight on something: I do not have to defend why I want privacy, you have to explain why you want to breach the privacy of me and my family. Trust me, "I have a drone so I'm entitled to" doesn't cut it."
I'm not asking you to defend your privacy, I'm suggesting you should be more realistic about how private an open window is, and a little less hysterical about the particular technology that is pushing those boundaries.
In this case, the law should address invasion of privacy - regardless of the technology used - rather than banning a particular technology just because it might be misused. If we applied your logic to cars or hammers we could conclude that both should be banned because they happen to be rather good at killing people. "I have a car so I'm entitled to" seems an odd way to justify the thousands of deaths on the road each year doesn't it?
"Drones were being used to scope out people's houses and flats and the footage might have been recorded. If that's not a change in the limit of privacy, what is?"
So if the thieves had stood a little further back and used a zoom lens from the ground it's somehow different? The point is there are laws about breaking and entering, and scoping out properties for the same. The fact that you've used a drone doesn't change things.
.. the law is behind the march of technology... and makes some very dubious decisions attempting to catch up.
"Drones are the new tool of the voyeur, PI and blackmailer. It does not discrimianate."
Have you heard how loud a drone is?
If your business is private, do it behind closed doors. This unthinking paranoia that 'my privacy is being invaded' is ridiculous. No it isn't, and on the whole anything you choose to do that could be seen by a passing pedestrian shouldn't jealously be guarded as some private act. Drones don't dramatically change the limits of your privacy - except in the rare cases where you've built 40 foot high fences and live in a mansion miles from anywhere. In which case there are normal privacy rules about where cameras can legally be taken.
It's the Bond Villain Fallacy - the idea that 'baddies' spend ages thinking through some complex way to achieve their evil aims. In practice, the number of truly psychopathic smart people is incredibly small, and even they recognise that simple works best. The vast majority of criminal action is opportunistic and simple. You want that guys' phone? You hit him over the head and take it, rather than creating an incredibly realistic duplicate out of dried sausage meat and switching it with his real phone whilst he's distracted by a passing Miss World carnival float.
As it is, getting one drone to do what you want isn't always easy, and by the time you've spent enough money to have a few of them, you'll realise there are better hobbies and easier ways to become an evil super villain.
The standard 'off the shelf' consumer drones usually rely on higher frequency transmitters with limited range - due to a need to send video back to the operator. Whilst you can buy custom R/C gear that travels further, if you're flying a drone bought off the shelf, your limit is usually around 2-4,000 feet (up to about a mile). Battery limitations kick in if you're trying to ascend or travel long distances. You *can* buy aerials to improve range, but you have to be pretty committed to get it all working reliably.
If you want to annoy aircraft, you can buy the kit to do so, but you're better off making a balloon with a payload (hello, Register).
Funnily enough, before there were drones, aircraft pilots commonly reported UFOs. In at least a few cases, I suspect they see what they expect to see.
I can understand the 'lets ban them before someone gets hurt' argument - but have to point out that
a) The people flying irresponsibly with custom kit will still do so
b) It's actually pretty hard to hit something up there
c) Planes are tested for major air strikes
d) We don't seem to apply the same logic to autonomous cars and other technologies, or even the idea of Amazon carrying 1 kilo parcels a few hundred feet above public property and people.
e) Drones are being used responsibly in a whole range of new areas, and the technology is changing incredibly quickly. Heavy handed regulation at this point will stifle many emerging uses.
Just as America is loosening drone regulation to allow genuine innovation to happen in this space, Europe is planning to tighten the rules to squeeze out all but the biggest commercial interests (*cough* Amazon *cough*).
The idiot incidents will not be affected by more paperwork (to get to 9000ft, you don't read the 'don't fly above 400ft' instructions for a start). However, the small commercial interest and genuine hobbyist user will be magically washed away.
I know one of the guys who was responsible for building the Bangkok underground - where modern subterranean construction takes place, it's normal to allow for movement to occur, even if it means that after a while you have steps down from an underground station exit.
..tapped out it's morse code message...
TLDR: You're leaving the UK because it's not left wing enough?
Oh, and you're still blaming us for our great great grandparent's colonialism.
And not to be confused with Apache Spark either..
systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0
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