* Posts by Buzzword

901 posts • joined 30 Jun 2010

IT contractors behind IR35 calculator to leave HMRC... because of IR35

Buzzword
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Travel expenses

It's not just about National Insurance - the new rules also mean that contractors can no longer claim travel expenses. There'll be no more stories about people commuting e.g. York to London (annual season ticket price: £14,000). I've worked in London alongside contractors from all over the country who commute either daily or weekly. If they can't claim travel expenses, they'll look for alternative work closer to home.

Given that most government departments are in central London, this will undoubtedly hit government recruitment hardest.

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How to leak data from an air-gapped PC – using, er, a humble scanner

Buzzword
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re: slip a 4g dongle

One of the first steps in network security is to disable all USB ports. D+; must try harder.

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Miss Misery on hacking Mr Robot and the Missing Sense of Fun

Buzzword
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Re: I'd heard of this

Great, now you've just spoiled Westworld for me!

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Firefox Quantum: BIG browser project, huh? I share your concern

Buzzword
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Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

You can disable it in the settings of all the major browsers.

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Gov may need to splash £245m per year on IT contractors – NAO

Buzzword
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Re: Why not put the NAO in charge of everything from the beginning?

Because it's easy to point out mistakes in retrospect; much harder to prevent them from being made in the first place.

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Blinking cursor devours CPU cycles in Visual Studio Code editor

Buzzword
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I think I see the problem

> VSC is based on Electron, a cross-platform framework for writing desktop apps using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

There's your problem right there. Who in their right mind tries to write desktop applications using web stuff?

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

Buzzword
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Re: Europe is looking better..

In my office we have contractors from Australia, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland, and Portugal. Even if the British contractors don't emigrate, the foreigners have fewer ties to this country and are far more likely to try their luck elsewhere. They're already moaning enough about the exchange rate.

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National Insurance tax U-turn: Philip Hammond nixes NIC uptick

Buzzword
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There is another way to harmonise NI rates for employed / self-employed

They could LOWER the employees' NI rate to be the same as the self-employed rate. That's what one might normally expect from a Conservative government. But no, no matter who is in power, the trajectory of taxes is ever-upward.

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Thousands of NHS staff details nicked amid IT contractor server hack

Buzzword
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NI number? Why?

Why the blazing heck does a dosimetry company need to know people's NI numbers?

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UK Home Office warns tech staff not to tweet negative Donald Trump posts

Buzzword
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> it applies to all staff including contractors and temporary staff

Don't worry: according to other articles, the contractors will all be gone by 6th April.

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Police Scotland and Accenture were at odds over ill-fated IT project i6

Buzzword
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It's how the public sector works. You want to do ABCDEF, but there's no way you can get the budget for it. So you do ABC, and hope to tack on DEF as change requests later. A couple of years later, once the project has actually started, you are shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that you also need DEF. The budget simply must be produced.

In the old days when government was flush with cash, that usually worked out ok. These days it doesn't.

If Police Scotland had been honest up-front about their IT requirements, the entire project would never have been signed off, and they'd be doing things on paper. That may be no bad thing.

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Self-employed bear the brunt of Spring Budget with additional National Insurance contributions

Buzzword
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Re: Here's a thought

wolfetone,

Loopholes and dodgy tax schemes are being closed all the time. There were footballers with EBTs, there was the Jimmy Carr dodge, there was the Ingenious Film investment trick. All those were closed down. Even PSC avoidance is being closed off: first with public-sector contractors prevented from avoiding IR35 (you can be certain they'll get private-sector contractors next); and the new dividend tax clobbers the rest.

Expenses are expenses: they aren't earnings. If I drive a taxi all day and claim £300 a month in petrol as expenses, that's what I've paid in petrol. It's gone, vanished; I can't spend it again on booze & hookers.

On your example calculations you've ignored National Insurance (an income tax in all but name). With an income of £100,000, you'll hand over £34,533 to the exchequer; whereas on £30,000 you'll hand over just £6,433. There's an excellent calculator at https://listentotaxman.com/

AC,

"The top 1% income is over £250k; they take home 70% of that"

Nope: they take home 57% of that. See above for calculator link. Again, you can argue that they should be taxed more; but please ensure you know what the current level is before diving into that notion.

Overall I reject the notion that we are surrounded by overpaid wastrels with too much money (except in the Premier League). Tax has a real impact on how much work people are prepared to do. If I'm an NHS surgeon earning £99,999, I'm not going to bother doing any overtime because I know every extra hour will be taxed at 62%, and at that rate I'd rather spend the time at home with the family.

John Brown,

Yes, I've selectively quoted the figures. Everyone does. I agree that the poor pay VAT, fuel duty, sin taxes, and of course the biggest of them all, the horribly regressive Council Tax. But at least they're paying a good chunk less income tax than they used to. That's progress.

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Buzzword
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Re: Here's a thought

Big earners don't get tax breaks - quite the opposite! There's the 60% tax bracket for anyone earning £100,000-120,000; there's the 45% tax bracket for anyone earning over £150,000; there's the 12% stamp duty band for houses worth more than £1.5m; from next month there's even a tax on new cars which cost more than £40,000.

In income tax alone, the top 1% account for more than a quarter of the total receipts; at the other end of the scale, 43.8% of working-age adults didn't pay a single penny in income tax last year because the starting threshold has been raised to £10,600.

You're perfectly welcome to argue that high-earners should pay even more tax; but don't pretend that they aren't paying a lot already.

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Fancy that – the sharing economy lobby doesn't speak for the sharers

Buzzword
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The court said Uber drivers are Workers, not Employees

They are not the same thing. Employees have more rights than Workers: unfair dismissal rights, statutory maternity pay, statutory sick pay, etc.

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Salford and Liverpool City Councils plan IT trading venture

Buzzword
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Who is buying?

Presumably they'll only be selling technology & services to other local authorities? This seems eminently sensible.

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Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions at one London court targeted women

Buzzword
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Daily Mail

> living in a £400,000 house

Yep, that's the kind of thing the Daily Mail would report.

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Dyson backs Britain plc with $2.5bn AI and robotics investment

Buzzword
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Re: The best bit...

"Still, Dyson said the U.K. lacks enough skilled workers."

Well he's certainly not going to find them if he's fishing in the tiny pool of talent that is Malmesbury. Yes, it's near Bristol and Swindon; but rush-hour traffic in those parts is horrendous, and the town doesn't even have a dual carriageway or a nearby railway station. Adding another 5,000 staff to those roads is just impossible. Even a theoretically perfect single-carriageway can only carry 1,900 cars per hour; and the A429 is far from perfect.

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Tech contractors begin mass UK.gov exodus in wake of HMRC's IR35 income tax clampdown

Buzzword
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Re: Online Tool

The README file is empty; and none of the code contains any comments. This doesn't bode well.

Scrolling through the code itself, I can see that the IR35 tests themselves are the usual grab-bag of questions:

- Do you provide your own equipment & materials?

- Are you paid a daily rate or a piece rate?

- Do you still get paid if you deliver substandard work?

- Is there an obligation to fix substandard work in your own time?

- Is there a right of substitution? Has it actually been exercised?

No doubt someone could reverse-engineer the code and turn it into a simple flowchart.

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FCC lops off red tape around small US ISPs, y'know, things like having to own up about connection speeds

Buzzword
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Re: Tis a wee-ISP

KCom (the main telecoms provider in Hull) has fewer than 200,000 customers, yet all their fees are clearly listed on their website. Ok, not that clearly - you have to dig out a PDF from the support pages - but still, they're all there. How hard can it be to put up a three-page document listing your fees?

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NASA extends trial of steerable robo-stunt kite parachute

Buzzword
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Slow fuse movement

How long before this innocent civilian technology is laden with explosives and co-opted for military use? "Look Fahiq, there's a beautiful balloon in the sky. Uh-oh, it's coming right for us!"

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US visitors must hand over Twitter, Facebook handles by law – newbie Rep starts ball rolling

Buzzword
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Re: Huh?

Be careful, don't just write down "I don't have one". There are plenty of live accounts like:

https://twitter.com/no

https://twitter.com/notapplicable

https://twitter.com/idonthaveone

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Nokia's 3310 revival – what's NEXT? Vote now

Buzzword
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Yes for the Sony Walkman

It's ripe for a hipster comeback. Remember how clunky they were, and you could clip them to your belt? Nothing says "I'm a trend-setting hipster" more than having an impractical ugly box weighing down your trousers.

Seriously though, I do miss the screeching sound of fast-forward and rewind.

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GoDaddy CEO says US is 'tech illiterate' (so, yeah, don't shut off that cheap H-1B supply)

Buzzword
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It's not just about wages

Silicon Valley wants workers who are willing to put in long hours and neglect their families, while paying to live in the most expensive part of the country. No wonder they're having trouble recruiting in the USA.

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Crims in £160m broadband scam facing 44 years of porridge

Buzzword
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sewers for internet cables

Didn't Google already do that as an April Fool's joke? Ah yes, here we are: https://archive.google.com/tisp/install.html

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Explained: Apple iCloud kept 'deleted' browser histories for over a year

Buzzword
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Why use iCloud backup in the first place?

You only get 5GB of storage. The base iPhone has 16GB of storage; of which at least 10GB is available for content. Sure, you could pay extra, a lot extra, for more space; but is it really so hard to back up to your PC/Mac with iTunes once a month or so?

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Amazon's cloudy desktops now tiptoe across hot sand

Buzzword
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Re: Still don't get it

The idea is to take away all the hardware management problems, and many of the software management problems. But their pricing doesn't seem attractive: $300+/year for a secretary-spec PC, bearing in mind you still need to provide keyboard/video/mouse and a fast low-latency internet connection.

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Axe net neutrality? Keep the set-top box lock-in? Easy as Pai: New FCC boss backs Big Cable

Buzzword
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Re: Is there an option to NOT have cable?

Ok, but can you get just phone + internet from Cox/Verizon/Charter? There's the option of satellite TV too (again I have no idea how good that is in the states; but it's very popular in the UK).

I've had Netflix for a couple of years now, and the amount of broadcast TV that I now watch is perhaps two hours a month. With fewer people watching broadcast TV in general, the whole argument about who owns the set top box seems like two balding men fighting over a comb.

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Buzzword
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Is there an option to NOT have cable?

I'm not familiar with the intricacies of the U.S. cable TV market, but can't Americans just do like Brits, and (a) not have cable, and only watch local broadcast TV; and (b) stream other stuff over the internet, like Netflix or Hulu?

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Free smart fridges! App stores in fountains! Plus more from Canonical man

Buzzword
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"The day that fridge breaks down you get £100 a day"

Cue a lot of fridges "accidentally" breaking down when the leaseholder needs a bit of cash.

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Apple eats itself as iPhone fatigue spreads

Buzzword
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Headphone socket

The 6s had a headphone socket. The 7 doesn't. That's the main reason.

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President Trump tweets from insecure Android, security boffins roll eyes

Buzzword
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Shadow IT

That's a classic case of the CEO ignoring what the IT department tells him/her to do.

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Google: I know we promised not to mix our data silos buuuut...

Buzzword
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SMS logs?!

Does Google's Android scan your text messages and feed the information back to its advertising arm?!

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Oh, the things Vim could teach Silicon Valley's code slingers

Buzzword
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Default != popular

Isn't vim only popular because it's installed by default? That's like saying Notepad is the most popular text editor on Windows (which it probably is, even if everyone hates it).

As far as I can tell, the current version of Notepad.exe dates back to Windows Vista (2006), when they fixed a Unicode bug.

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Mozilla wants infosec activism to be the next green movement

Buzzword
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Joke

Facebook is not on the internet

> millions of Facebook users do not realise the social network is on the internet

Well of course it isn't. Facebook is in the Facebook app, whereas the Internet is in the Google app. Every smartphone user knows that!

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Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

Buzzword
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Self-contradiction

Dr North, on the one hand you say we can just absorb the acquis; yet on the other hand, the UCC can't possibly form part of this acquis, for reasons you don't explain. Why is it so easy to absorb a large part of EU law, but not one particular 1300-page part which relates to freight transport?

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Auto emissions 'cheatware' scandal sparks war of words between Italy, Germany

Buzzword
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separate to the state

Fiat directly and indirectly provides hundreds of thousands of jobs for Italians. Unsurprisingly, the state therefore has a vested interest in protecting the company from menacing foreign governments.

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AWS, you crack us up. Rebrands Westminster 'Webminster'

Buzzword
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Google Street

renamed from Goodge Street, obviously enough.

Batter-Seagate Power Station, when it eventually opens.

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Smartphones crashed, Samsung burned: Mobile in 2016

Buzzword
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The other wearable

Well done for forecasting the demise of the smartwatch. But whatever happened to Google Glass and its ilk? I rather liked the idea. Like the smartwatch, the glasses can't do anything that your smartphone doesn't already do; but they're more hands-free than the watch. There's scope for integration with AI (e.g. Google Now) - for example you could look at a bus stop and have the bus arrival times appear automatically. The glasses would have to be cheap - below £150 - but if they are just dumb screens connected to the smartphone's brain, the glasses shouldn't be particularly expensive.

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Itchy-fingered OnePlus presses refresh, out pops value champ 3T

Buzzword
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software OIS??

There's no such thing. Optical Image Stabilization is a physical thing; any adjustments done in software are usually called Digital Image Stabilization.

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Elon Musk wants to get into the boring business, literally

Buzzword
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Bridges are cheaper

Much cheaper. But nearby residents don't like them.

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'Public Wi-Fi' gang fail in cunning plan to hide £10m cigarette tax fraud

Buzzword
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Re: Detail....

Re-reading the article, it actually says "large freight consignments". They weren't even using vans, just shipping containers. Only about one in twenty containers is inspected, and if they see a bunch of mattresses (containing hidden tobacco) matching the manifest, they might not bother to investigate any further.

The crims didn't net £10.2m: that's the amount of duty they didn't pay. If you import a pack of fags for £2 and resell it for £4, you've made a profit of just £2 but evaded duty of £5. You can't just sell each pack at RRP (unless you operate a vast network of newsagents). You need to re-sell all the fags outside of the normal distribution networks, i.e. to black-market dealers, each of whom takes a significant cut.

Don't get me wrong, making a profit of £4m or so would still be nice - but these are just imagined numbers, I have no idea what the actual costs and profits are.

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Buzzword
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Re: Detail....

They're just importing cigarettes without paying duty on them. Tobacco duty is about £5/pack of 20, so a £10m fraud means 200,000 airport-size cartons of 200. A luton van can carry maybe 18,000 cartons, so you're talking about a dozen round trips to some country where tobacco is cheap (Bulgaria is popular). Not exactly major-league crime.

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Buzzword
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Re: I wonder if there's an opportunity

Even if your business is completely legal, there would be a trail of money going from the bad guys' accounts to your company account. So when they arrest one of your customers (which is inevitable), the police will batter down your door demanding the names of all your other customers. Suddenly you have an angry Mob on your hands.

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Could a robot vacuum cleaner monitor your data centre?

Buzzword
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The clue is in the name

It's called HomeView, not OfficeView, and certainly not DataCenterView. Just don't do it.

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If only our British 4G were as good as, um, Albania's... UK.gov's telco tech report

Buzzword
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Not just rural areas

I can't get a connection at Clapham Junction. The phone displays four or five bars, but when you actually try to do anything the connection doesn't go anywhere. Much like trying to use the station itself.

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Neo-Nazi man jailed for anti-Semitic Twitter campaign against MP

Buzzword
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Two years?

He'd have received a shorter sentence if he had actually beaten up the guy, rather than just writing mean tweets. (For example: http://www.cps.gov.uk/northeast/cps_northumbria_news/four_sentenced_for_racial_assault/ )

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Bloke sold cash register code to restaurants that deliberately hid sales from taxmen

Buzzword
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The moral of the story...

... is to only keep paper records, presumably? Much safer to toss a couple of paper receipts into the fire than to risk being caught operating software with a great big red button marked "CLICK HERE TO AVOID TAX".

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Samsung share plummets – but it’s not because of the Burning Note

Buzzword
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Losing the halo effect

This strikes me as a bad move. Samsung's lesser phones benefitted from a "halo effect" from their top-of-the-range phones, meaning they could charge slightly more than any of the Shenzen popup brands.

The halo works both ways: a reputation for building good workhorses for the masses means an enhanced reputation for building high-end phones, just as Lexus benefits from Toyota's excellent reliability ratings.

Longer-term it can also cause staffing problems. Without a pipeline of juniors who know how to make cheap phones, you've lost a valuable talent pool for your high-end devices.

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The future often starts as a toy, so don't shun toy VR this Christmas

Buzzword
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Alexa and AIs

I disagree about Alexa and other so-called AIs (Siri, Cortana, whatever the Google one is called this week). They're about as smart as a 1980s text-adventure game:

"Alexa, where did I leave my glasses?"

"Bilbo heads north and is eaten by a troll."

Maybe in a few years they'll be better. But today I can't just say "Alexa, when is the next train to Barnsley?"; instead I have to say "Alexa, Launch National Rail app, go to Live Departures, go to my home station, query next departure to Barnsley"; and then it has the cheek to ask "Did you mean Barnstaple?". I exaggerate, but not by much.

These things are worse than mere toys. At least toys are fun for five minutes before getting bored of them. AIs are frustrating for several hours, before you go back to turning the lights off with a flick of the switch.

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Microsoft’s ‘Home Hub’ probably isn’t even hardware at all

Buzzword
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Given the success of Amazon’s Echo speaker?

I fell for the hype and bought one. In the absence of any other "smart" devices in the house, the Echo is is just a voice-controlled jukebox. I'm not sure that qualifies as a huge success.

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