* Posts by Buzzword

919 posts • joined 30 Jun 2010

No laptop ban on Euro flights to US... yet

Buzzword

Weight limit

How about a simple weight limit?

If you're using a skinny iPad, you're safe. But if you're packing a 2003-era desktop replacement "portable", it goes into the hold. The exact figure for the weight limit should be determined based on how much weight of explosive would be required to cause real damage.

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UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

Buzzword

Re: IT support is outsourced.

Pity it's after pub o'clock in India.

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US Coast Guard: We're rather chuffed with our new Boeing spy drone

Buzzword

£10m a year for a drone?

"ScanEagle was originally adopted by the British as a £30 million, three-year deal"

Ok, so it's not exactly a Parrot; but that does seem pricey. Is there no chance of using for consumer / prosumer gear in the MOD?

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VMware-Dell integration kicks off with on-prem VDI-and-PC-as-a-service

Buzzword

Thin Client Add-On

I can understand adding on a Wyse thin client; but why is there an option to add on a full Dell OptiPlex i3 or i5 desktop PC? That basically eliminates all the benefits of VDI.

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Booze stats confirm boring Britain is drying

Buzzword

Non-drug distractions

Games, porn, Facebook (but I repeat myself). Now that kids have so many other demands on their time, there just aren't enough hours in the day to sit in the park nursing a two-litre plastic bottle of White Lightning.

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Gig economy tech giants are 'free riding' on the welfare state, say MPs

Buzzword

Re: "it is up to government to close the loopholes"

Companies which don't exploit loopholes get out-competed by those which do.

The broader point is that you can waste your breath shouting at people to change their behaviour; or you can legislate for it. Legislation is far more effective.

For example, consider car seat belt usage. Across the United States, 89% of drivers use their seat belt. But in New Hampshire the figure is just 70%. Why? Because the state doesn't have laws on seat belts for adults. You can huff and puff all you like at the remaining 30%; but you'll get a much quicker result by simply legislating for seat belt use.

Worse still, by wasting your breath shouting at Uber, you're letting thousands of smaller, lesser-known companies get away with exploiting loopholes. If you campaign to get the law changed, you fix the problem for both big well-known companies and thousands of smaller ones too.

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Buzzword

"it is up to government to close the loopholes"

At last a report which doesn't blame the companies themselves, but places the blame squarely at the foot of the government for not closing the loopholes in the first place.

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Just how screwed is IT at the Home Office?

Buzzword

IR35

> although a proportion have gone back on new deals that put them outside the regulation

I'd be interested to know how they managed that. If loopholes exist for these contractors, presumably they also exist for thousands of others, including outside IT. (The new IR35 rules have also hit locums in the NHS - I'm sure they'd be interested to hear of ways around.)

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Flatpak and Snaps aren't destined for graveyard of failed Linux tech yet

Buzzword

Obligatory XKCD reference

Situation: There are 14 competing packaging systems.

14?! Ridiculous! We need to develop one universal packaging system that covers everyone's use cases. Yeah!

Situation: There are 15 competing packaging systems.

https://xkcd.com/927/

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Uber cloaked its spying and all it got from Apple was a slap on the wrist

Buzzword

Symbiotic relationship

Uber needs Apple users, obviously; but Apple also needs Uber. If you're a regular Uber user and you suddenly find out you can no longer use the app because of some legal squabble, you'll rush out and buy the first Android phone you see.

Once a user has converted to Android, they're unlikely to spend $969 on a new iPhone in two years' time. That's a big loss for Apple.

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Stanford Uni's intro to CompSci course adopts JavaScript, bins Java

Buzzword

No, COBOL is dead

A quick search through my usual job ads website reveals exactly three jobs which want COBOL skills; two of which only require the ability to read it, not to write it. The same site turns up approx. 1,200 jobs each for Java, C#, and Javascript.

Besides, for a new starter today, the correct question is "Will my COBOL skills still be in demand when I'm 60?"; to which the answer is emphatically no.

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Not auf wiedersehen – yet! The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech

Buzzword

People start and finish work a little later than in London

When I moved to London, the first thing I noticed was that people seem to start & finish about an hour later than elsewhere in the country. I put this down to commuting time.

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Not the droids you're looking for – worst handsets to resell

Buzzword

Re: Give it to your kids when you upgrade

Alternatively, there's the "Give it to your parents when you upgrade" model!

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Buzzword

Re: Why Does This Matter?

> Who sells their phone after only one month?

I bought an iPhone SE which was less than a month old. The seller had bought it, but then decided he really wanted the larger 6S instead. I paid about 30% below the price new.

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Google's cloudy image recognition is easily blinded, say boffins

Buzzword

Re: Autonomous cars

It's no coincidence that all the companies working on self-driving cars are in dry & sunny California...

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Confidence in £70m customs system has 'collapsed', warns Treasury Committee

Buzzword

Re: Anything new?

Well it's the 12th of April today, no response from Tony Meggs, chief exec of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. That doesn't bode well.

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Buzzword

Re: Anything new?

Per the article, the only thing that's new is that the Treasury Select Committee finally got round to making a statement about it. They've asked for a reply by the 12th of April, so with any luck we'll hear more then.

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Lenovo's 2017 X1 Carbon is a mixed bag

Buzzword

8GB?

Doesn't that feel a bit cheap these days? Granted a road warrior laptop is only supposed to be used for light MS Office use; but anyone who does a bit more might feel short-changed.

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

Buzzword

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

> 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

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

SMS logs?!

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

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