* Posts by SimonC

63 posts • joined 18 Jan 2010


Equifax how-it-was-mega-hacked damning dossier lands, in all of its infuriating glory


Can someone explain how an expired certificate causes problems? In our systems if a certificate expires the website goes down / APIs stop working / everything grinds to a halt.

I see it like a combination lock that rusts up. Nobody is getting in, even the people that know the passcode.

Doom at 25: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins


idspispopd master race

Intel hits target: 27% of staffers are female? Apparently that's 'full representation'

Paris Hilton

Excellent, I wonder how their ginger hair quotas are doing, we need 25/25/25/25 representation by hair colour (black, brown, blonde, ginger) and also height quotas, 50/50 for those born below 5'6" 1/2.

I'm sure people won't look at the extra 6% as Quota Women who were hired to fill the gap and are less qualified than the best candidates for the job, no sir. Were I a woman I'm sure I'd get lots of respect joining a company that has a goal of hiring women over hiring those who are best qualified.

Paris because she reminds me of a woman I heard saying the other day that she *loves* all this diversity stuff, because she's highly capable and motivated and it lets her fly under the radar and scoop up all the opportunities, while pretending to be innocent and clueless.

Contractors slam UK taxman's 'aggressive' IR35 tax reforms


People keep saying about leaving the UK but where will you go? Contractor software dev here, genuinely interested.

Also regarding the comment about suddenly getting taxed as an employee but without the benefits, the case noted in the article means that isn't actually the case - HMRC said to the contractor (who was doing work for HMRC) that they're an employee and to pay tax as one, but didn't bother to give them the holiday pay. They took them to court and won.

I'd laugh if they got pregnant and took a few months off on maternity leave. But I'm surprised the ordeal doesn't result in them signing off with 'stress' for a few months, all while HMRC has to continue to pay them since hey - they're an employee, right?

Can you imagine hiring a plumber and then having the guy show up and sign off with stress for 2 months, during which you have to continue to pay him...

Early bird access to .NET Framework 4.8? Microsoft, you spoil us


.NET Core is hard to deploy

I wouldn't recommend using .NET Core for anything other than enterprise level. It's very hard to deploy it correctly, because they release a new version every other day, and if your assemblies don't match on client and server... kaboom, errors galore.

I made the mistake of doing an interview tech test in .NET Core and they failed me stating they couldn't get it working. I deployed it to my own server afterwards to investigate, server had a 0.1 difference in the version and that was enough to bugger it up. Updated my local machine, rebuilt, it worked.

I will stick to .NET, I think... never really saw the advantage of Core anyway. If one more person at work tells me that it's cross-platform then I'm going to lock them in the tape storage room. Our 6 year old .NET application suite isn't going to get ported over to linux, so stop touting it as an advantage.

New Google bias lawsuit claims company fired chap who opposed discrimination


> Chevalier later commented on the now-infamous James Damore post that argued women are biologically ill-suited to working in technology.

Good to see the register is unbiased, the actual quote was;

> "I'm simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership."

Somewhat of a difference, saying women are biologically ill-suited when what was stated is that they're less inclined to enter the industry - not that they're inferior when they get there.

Cops find ATM spewing cash, car with dodgy plates, stack of $20 bills and hacking kit inside


Re: I believe...

I'm sure they'd get a nice 20 second shot of a bloke dressed in all black wearing a balaclava

Cox blocked! ISP may avoid $25m legal bill for letting punters pirate music online


Re: A broken judicial system...

Aye that's where we're going wrong, for illegal cannabis we should be going after the DVLA for letting them transport it around

Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI


With Ajit involved can someone tell me how to subscribe to the priority notice plan? I'd like to receive my emergency notice first, and not have to wait 2 minutes for non-subsribers low priority message traffic

1 in 5 STEM bros whinge they can't catch a break in tech world they run


Wow the author of this piece is really hammering home the numbers of males and females as if that is a good argument against the genuine complaints.

Truth is for every female CV we get 30 male CVs. One or two of the 30 males will be a superstar developer, but they're complaining that because the 31st CV is female that trumps their skills. It doesn't matter how many men are in tech, that's still someone getting the shaft.

And the problem is getting worse. Implying women have had the short end of the stick for years is nonsense, most good developers learned like I did: reading the instruction manual of their family computer at age 6, scrounging bits out of programming books at the school library, begging parents to buy a magazine that had a compiler on the coverdisk, and slowly building tons of programs and poring through the help files of QBASIC to make tons of silly games, buying a copy of visual basic 1 from a charity shop for 50p, making more stuff, writing tons of home projects etc. all of this ANYBODY could have done, and if a child under the age of ten with no money or income can get ahead then anyone can.

That was fast... unlike old iPhones: Apple sued for slowing down mobes

Paris Hilton

Pull the other one

So these phones go full speed as soon as you plug them in right, because it's about protecting the consumer not about planned obsolescence.

Paris to represent those that believe it's about the UX

Has Git ever driven you so mad you wanted to bomb it? Well, now you can with this tiny repo


How much cheddar do you get for reporting that?

Walkers' Crisps pulls backfiring Tweet campaign that paired Gary Lineker and a bunch of nasties


Surprised it nobody linked to that clip from the Brass Eye episode about paeophilia he was in.

It's time for a long, hard mass debate over sex robots, experts conclude


Re: Plastic Pal

The mindless jerks are only in version 1, the patch for version 2 smooths out the motion

Majority of contractors distrust HMRC's IR35 calculator, survey finds


Re: Beatings will continue

Who will simply increase their rates to cover it, screwing over the public sector.


Re: Yes, blame the tool

I wouldn't rate your chances, Labour have announced their tax plans for permies but have made no mention of dividend tax etc. yet

Very likely that Labour's Robin Hood crusade will mean contractors and their perceived tax-dodging offshore haven cheeky disguised employee antics will be fall under the banner of crushing the rich and grinding them down to feed the poor.

I await their manifesto with trepidation.

Crooks can nick Brits' identities just by picking up the phone and lying


Personally I always set my security question to "Kitty cat meow meow meow meow meow meow" and put my first cat's name.

I enjoy having them read out my question over the phone.

CERN ready to test an even bigger gun


Re: Upgrading a component in 2017

You'll be wanting the Enthusiast OC X-TREME Ti Version

Personally I think this whole thing is gonna end up like the intro to the classic game Another World.

Unpaid tech contractor: 'I have to support my family. I have no money for medicines'


Problem is your point kinda defeats itself.

You acknowledge that "you are going to be lucky to get through a career without grief of some kind".

So what do you say to the person that ignores this, spends every penny they earn and lives beyond their means so they can't make rent or pay for basic necessities as soon as the tiniest problem arises?

It's a well documented and discussed problem even a political point by the labour party that small businesses (a contractor is a small business) have issues with invoice payment terms, invoices being paid late, and even invoices not being paid at all knowing they can do nothing about it.

You have to take these things into account. I can't understand why people are treating these businesses like they deserve handouts and it isn't *their* fault they didn't keep any cash reserves but instead withdrew all the profits as dividends for their directors.

I'll have sympathy if someone is benched for 12 months and runs out of cash reserves but not if they can't even survive for the same duration as the payment terms of their invoice. If you want to run a business you need to accept and mitigate risk. I'm amazed it is even deserving of a discussion.


Like what? Losing my job? Happens every 3-6 months. Being ill? Happens, war chest covers it. Critical illness? Covered through insurance. Tax investigation? Covered through insurance. Jury duty? Covered. Not being paid? Covered. Can't find a job for a year due to a terrible marketplace? Covered through the war chest.

It's like people have no idea how to be a contractor, they enjoy all the good parts but when the bad come along they cry out that it's not fair.

The clever squirrel puts away some acorns for the winter.


Nonsense. Contractors are supposed to be people with years of experience and skill, who can come into a job and hit the ground running with merely a 'here's your desk'. Any contractor with that level of skill can take a permanent position without any issues.

Some people are incompetent and/or greedy, they want to make contractor money by faking knowing what they're doing or live the so-called 'high life' while money is coming in then panicking when they're benched for months.

A contractor is supposed to be a professional. They're running a business, free of employee protections and hand-holding, and they need to act like it.


Borrowing money as a contractor now amazed me. Santander's online mortgage tool completely understands contractors, so you start filling it in dreading stuff like "What is your annual salary?" and instead are greeted with "What were your net dividends for year end april 2017?". They know exactly what they're doing which is remarkable. I had to wait until I had 2 years of accounts though, and they apparently use the lower of the two if you only have 2 years, which was a bugger, but still pre-approved for a hefty mortgage which was nice.


YANCOTBAC as they say.

Part of being a contractor is assuming risk. This means holding a war chest of reserve money for times of strife (these contractors could just as easily be laid off with 0 notice) and relevant insurances. I have insurances for when an agency doesn't pay me, or when I'm called for jury duty as is standard.

I can't have a great deal of sympathy for people in this situation because if I did it would jeopardise the contracting industry itself, leading to stricter IR35 regulation and all kinds of similar stuff we don't want.

If you're living paycheck to paycheck, contracting is not what you should be doing. It's like saying I'm doing fine because every time I go to the casino to gamble for next month's rent, I always win.

You always win, until you don't.

UK.gov job ads entice IT bods with promise they will be OUTSIDE IR35


Perfect, already underfunded public sector institutions can pay even more money into HMRC's treasury on contractor's behalf. That'll learn us.

Software dev cuffed for 'nicking proprietary financial trading code'


That picture on the homepage for this article did bizarre things to my eyes

Google fumes after US Dept of Labor accuses ad giant of lowballing pay for women


> Or by governmental mandate we make every single woman earn 10% more than a man, thus ending the mythical pay gap forever.

That would actually be a genius move. If you think more men are hired than woman *now* because of the patriarchy, imagine what it would be after that!

'Sorry, I've forgotten my decryption password' is contempt of court, pal – US appeal judges


If you throw someone in prison until they give up some information they may or may not have, isn't that torture? As in, geneva convention banned plain as day torture?

I'm trying to see how confining a terrorist to their cell until they confess knowledge they may or may not have is any different.

UK.gov gears up for IR35 private sector crackdown – say industry folk


No unexpected tax bills for me thanks to IR35 insurance.

As HMRC is unable to give me a definitive answer on whether I am inside or outside IR35 I deemed insurance a must.

I literally pay £350/year because HMRC can't give me a strict criteria for abiding by *their* rules.

UK.gov tells freelance techies to slap 20 per cent on fees as IR35 tax hike looms


Fear not, we have a plan

It's no big deal, when all the contractors walk out and take time off / go private, we fortunately have this great resource available to plug the gaps in employment while new permies are hired for much less - we'll just go and get some temporary workers to do those jobs. Oh wait.

Contractors are the last resort when you have staffing issues, kinda like crippling the fire brigade while they're half way through stopping your house burning down, and just walk out. Dial 999 ... oh wait, they *were* 999.

Tesla's big news today:
sudo killall -9 Autopilot


I haven't decided yet if I would prefer to drive myself and blame any avoidable accents on myself, or if I would like to drive much more safely via autopilot but know that if there is a crash it's because of something completely random like the camera detecting a muddy puddle as a fence post and driving me off a cliff.

Y'know that ridiculously expensive Oculus Rift? Yeah, it just got worse


Running out of nails for the coffin that is the Oculus Rift...

EyePhones packing Iris-scanning authentication to go mainstream


Obtain a selfie of the person, zoom in, hold your phone to their phone, don't even need a printer.

Even better, unlock their phone, take a photo of their lockscreen which has a selfie of them on it, then flip your phone around and show it right back.

Even better, unlock their phone and hold a mirror above it. Facial recognition.

Ad flog Plus: Adblock Plus now an advertising network, takes cash to broker web banners



If a website puts "Hey, we see you're using an adblocker - we will display tiny unobtrusive ads because they fund our site" 99% of the time I'll hit adblock > disable on this site.

Especially if I'm getting good content, and I believe that it's the sole funding for their venture.

Honestly, I think some of the burden lies in actually asking me nicely, which websites don't seem to do. Some of them disable the content or ramp it up to try and bypass my blocker, but if they had nice ads and asked politely, they'd get me to make that one click.

99% of the time we don't even realise a site has ads. I browsed around on a friend's pc at all my regular sites and was surprised to see how bad some of them were and that some regular ones had banners.

Until then, I'll install adblock plus adblock (or equiv).

'Nigerian scammer' busted after he infected himself with malware


> They were able to monitor the ringleader of this particular operation for “several months”.

> Bettke explained that “we saw who he contacted, his instant messages, the tools he was using, his victims, the amounts of money transferred – how the whole thing worked.”

How is that not illegal? Even if it were the police they'd not have permission to access someone's computer and get their personal information anymore than they can walk into someone's house without a warrant and rummage around just because the door was unlocked.

HMRC's IR35 tweaks have 90% of UK's IT contractors up in arms


Re: Allow permie IT staff some of the perks?

> maybe even it up a bit and allow permie IT staff some of the perks like being able to offset stuff against taxes like travel, cars, equipment, training, lunch. No, thought not.

You mean the free training, travel costs to go off-site, pension, sick pay, redundancy pay, maternity leave, subsidised canteen etc. your company provides aren't enough?

If you'd rather pay for those and offset them so you end up paying 80% of their cost, that's absolutely fine by me. Just be sure to do the training in your own time.


The difference with amazon, google, etc. is that me, a lowly contractor, paid more tax than some of them last year (or was it the year before). That year when they paid 0. Remember that?

The clusterf**k that are these messages shows that many people don't understand how contracting works and get jealous and think they're ripping the country off or something.

Most peeps have a nice job and a family and 2 kids and a permie job and they get a bit annoyed thinking about how joe contractor is ripping everyone off. I say, give him a bit of extra money, then fire him on the spot with no redundancy pension etc. and ask him to find another job whilst continuing to pay his mortgage and feeding his family. Things won't seem so unfair.

Then say just kidding we're taking the extra money back... oh but you don't get your job back, and your redundancy, and your sick pay, etc. We're keeping those. Enjoy your new life as a contractor earning the same as before but jobless and peniless.

Cos that's what they're trying to do with this legislation.

Fun fact of the day: Network routers are illegal in Japan


Japan is wonderful for this. So many things there are technically illegal yet done by the entire population. If they ever want to arrest and detain someone, which they can do for up to around 25 days, without access to a lawyer (or food and water, according to some amnesty international reports, explaining their 99% conviction rate and history of forced confession), they can just decide to invoke a law like this.

Technically it's illegal to cycle on the pavement there, yet everybody does.

Just wait until some activist says something inappropriate. And you thought CCTV here in blighty was bad.

Glory to Arstotzka.

Tesla autopilot driver 'was speeding' moments before death – prelim report

Paris Hilton

A small £5 camera pointing at the driver that records the last 10 minutes in rotation and saves it upon a crash would probably save Tesla -millions- of pounds in lost consumer confidence and investigations.

Paris, cos she knows about filming herself.

Guess who gets hit hard by IR35 tax clampdown? Yep, IT contractors


Re: What is the correct level of tax and NI

"ultimately get the same access to medicare and a pension at the end of the day."

We don't get paid for sick days, when we take a day off to go to the doctor, if we break a leg or get the flu or long term illness we don't get paid, if we're made redundant we don't get paid, if we're fired or let go for any reason whatsoever at the complete whim of the hiring manager, we don't get paid or any notice, if we want a holiday we don't get paid, if we're having a child we don't get maternity pay, if we screw up we're liable and have to pay a lot of money for insurance policies to mitigate this, if we get called for jury duty we don't get paid, if work has a powercut or they close the building for whatever reason and people are sent home we don't get paid, we don't get matched pension contributions or work bonuses. If a contract ends we can be out of work for months during which time we don't get paid.

We shoulder a huge amount of risk. Ask some bitter person like yourself who has a family of 2 kids if they'd risk losing their job at a moments notice or being unable to feed their family if they get sick while burning through savings and suddenly they'll have very little to say about how 'fair' it all is.

Google slammed over its 'free' school service


Obfuscating their terms of service to profit from you? Someone better update wikipedia's Don't be evil page ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_be_evil

Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, said he "wanted something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out", adding that the slogan was "also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent."

Exploiting users. Huh. Fancy that.

AMD promises code fix for power-hungry Radeon RX 480 GPU


I'll stick with my voodoo 3

I just wish it did 32bit

In obesity fight, UK’s heavy-handed soda tax beats US' watered-down warning


I think it's a great idea. In general we should remove unhealthy food from circulation as much as possible because we're a nation of fatties. I'm educated, I know how to eat sensibly, about intake/bmi/TDEE etc. but when I walk into tesco and see a shelf of family sized discounted crunchy M&Ms by the door you can bet your ass it's a struggle not to buy them and scoff the lot. Many poor people don't have an understanding of calorie intake and proper nutrition so they have it even worse.

Like it or not we're designed to crave the bad stuff and it really shouldn't exist in such abundance at such low prices. Liquid sugar is unnatural as it exploits a mechanism to seek out calorific foods and overloads it. It shouldn't be sold at all.

Take a page from Asian countries that have crazy low obesity rates. They don't promote confectionary and sweet stuff. If you grow up eating/drinking healthy you will not have a taste for the sugary junk when you're older. So we should force it out until as a nation we get accustomed to eating properly.

tldr; no pudding until you've eaten your broccoli

Microsoft splashes Virtual Reality-slinging 'Scorpio' Xbox


Great in theory but it's either going to be upscaled jank with '4k' meaning games with the graphics fidelity of wolf3d running in 4k or instead it will cost £1000+ and no-one will buy it.

When it comes to VR you should really buy a PC, in the whole console/pc debate the argument has always been I don't want to spend a ton of money on a massive beast of a PC to play games. Well if you want VR, you're going to have to.

Cork data centre will offer super-speedy US to Europe data times


Interested to know how much latency will be improved by, might make gaming with east coast americans more viable.

The case for ethical ad-blocking


Re: When is ad-blocking ethical?

Never say never. I'll turn it off for sites that I deem worthy of trading, usually indie sites that ask politely such as comic artists and people that have written useful tools to download that have a small, useful little banner.

It's when you can tell before you press 'unblock' that 900 swfs are gonna load and animated gifs are gonna strobe up and down the page that I close the site and never return.

Let’s re-invent small phones! Small screens! And rubber buttons!


Excellent writing, had many a chuckle in the office reading this!

Whatever happened to ... Nest?

Thumb Down

Killed off

Like everything google buys, it is abandoned and left to die, or shut-down prematurely. As soon as I saw the acquisition I steered well clear of it. My home automation is much more manually set up but at least I get full control over everything and can update as I see fit.

Bill Gates denies iPhone crack demand would set precedent



His ribbon analogy is flawed...

Imagine the banks tied a ribbon around *every* disk drive, and the FBI want them to hand over a pair of scissors that will cut *every* ribbon. They promise only to use it on this one specific ribbon though... Honest guv...

Girls! Girls! Girls! Intel brags about diversity push, Silicon Valley tells itself it's doing great


Boys! Boys! Boys! Intel brags about pushing men out

On Wednesday, the chip giant announced it had surpassed its goal of 40 per cent of new hires not being male, rejecting double the number of qualified men in their previous year.

Seriously though, enforced gender quotas are demeaning, undermine people who are qualified, produce people that cannot be respected or trusted, and so much more.

The fact that professional victim and misandrist Anita Sarkeesian is connected to their diversity push should be all the alarm bells you need. If intel wants to get more women in tech it needs to encourage more qualified women to apply and study tech, but it MUST STILL HOLD THEM TO THE SAME STANDARD AS MEN.

Otherwise it's this great thing we call sexism, where we hire people based on the size of their chest and what goods they have between their legs.

Which oddly, women don't tend to like very much.

How a power blip briefly broke GitHub's boxes and tripped it offline


Re: A bumpy landing

Highly debatable when applied to IT... when you get sued for failing to meet SLAs!

An example being when I worked with AML, if the verification API went down, loads of companies using it would not be permitted to let people sign up to their sites to spend money. If they just saw a £200,000 TV commercial telling them to play slut-roulette and jumped on their tablets to sign up and couldn't, they're probably going to forget and lose enthusiasm to do it later, and the client is going to be furious and demanding £££ compensation.


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