* Posts by Andy The Hat

896 posts • joined 21 Oct 2010


Brekkie TV host Lorraine Kelly wins IR35 ruling against HMRC, adds fuel to freelance techies' ire over tax reforms

Andy The Hat Silver badge

IR35 isn't the issue.

The issue is that someone who annoyingly squarks on daytime tv can rack up an IR35/PAYE *difference* of £899k in tax in four years. The tv companies keep bleating - "We can't afford to keep going", "we need more advertising", "we need more corporate mergers" - perhaps they need to look at their basic 'contractor' costs ...

Autopilot engineer drove off to Chinese rival with our top-secret blueprints in the glovebox, Tesla claims in sueball

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Fool me once...

Issue here is that SpaceX stuff stolen by Blue Origin is a one naughty engineer furthering his career but a single engineer stealing stuff from a US company and giving it to a Chinese company was state sponsored IP theft ... apparently ... The US authorities obviously have loads of solid proof of this, just like they have for the Huawei case ...

Karpeles walks, Google and Microsoft board up Windows hole, and Android AV still sucks

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Au contraire

"known and reputable security firms. Vendors like ... Kaspersky, "

I think those who support the Hair Monster will have something to say about that comment!

Oracle's long-running pension plan class action case: C'mon, judge, reject a jury trial – Big Red

Andy The Hat Silver badge

seems reasonable ...

In Britain firms are allowed to invest the pension money in anything - stocks, guilts, manager's holidays, director's bonuses - until they rack up a huge deficit and go bust. This means that lots of fat-cats make lots of money which is, I believe, supposedly the correct and capitalist ideal. Luckily the Government will bail the pension fund out with tax-payers cash and pay the pensioners a tenth of what they paid in ... so that's ok then.

'Naut trio successfully dock at ISS after Soyuz rocket goes all the way

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I'm a bit sad that in 2019 it is seen legitimate to have to note that the spacewalk will be done by 'all women'.

Why does the sex of the spacewalk team matter? Maybe it's a vain attempt to show how far we've got - 2 female astronauts in space at once!

What's next, "Blimey! Today the first one-legged, partially sighted, trans-lesbian in space with a strange haircut is going to sign a maintenance docket whilst having a period"?*

The term is "Astronaut" or the Russian/Japanese/whatever equivalent, they've all got more guts and ability than most to do what they do and nothing else really matters.

*Technically I'm not sure whether that's biologically possible but hopefully you get my drift.

Public spending watchdog snipes at UK.gov's £1.3bn infosec plan – but broadly nods it through

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"Taken down"

I wonder what 'taken down 140,000 scam websites" means?

Reported them to Google so they don't come up in a Goggle search until tomorrow under another name when they report them again ... ? Report a dodgy item to eBay? Report a fraudulent advert to Facebook? Or perhaps they've actively killed the hosting site and monitored the site content/owners in collaboration with international police organisations so they don't reappear whilst subjecting the perpetrators to the full force of the law?

I think I know which is probably true ... but I'd like the official line.

Crew Dragon returns to dry land as NASA promises new space station for the Moon

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I think you'll find the sentence was accurate.

1) The Dragon had feathers before re-entry so on landing had obviously been plucked ... you can see the scorch marks left by burning off the fluffy bits.

2) Commercial space is actually a privately owned financial vaccuum which sucks tax payer's money away from it's original target into private bank accounts, nothing to do with rockets.

Dear Britain's mast-fearing Nimbys: Do you want your phone to work or not?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: 100% 999 coverage?

... about two feet to the right of chairs in the staff room, 10 feet to the right of that, outside the building standing up very straight ... oh sorry, they are the only places where I can GET a 2g signal on O2 despite it having the 'best' coverage of the area ... 4g, what's that?

Biker sues Google Fiber: I broke my leg, borked my ankle in trench dug to lay ad giant's pipe

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Is that the bottom of a barrel I see before me?

"Builder left a trench uncovered, or someone nicked the trench cover, or someone "accidentally" moved the trench cover and someone fell into the trench and is claiming for injury caused!" ... err ... "Horror!"

Standard claim.

Will tomorrow be "BT sued!! Someone slipped on something a dog left behind and cracked his head on the pavement ... and it was on the very same road as a BT cable box which was not lit up!"

Why is this story even here?

While this CEO may be stiff, his customers are rather stuffed: Quadriga wallets finally cracked open – nothing inside

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Come on guys, this is INNOVATION

"Fractional reserve banking"

Thank you for your deposit. Here's one eighth in interest for you, three quarters for me, one quarter for the system. "Look punters - that one eighth is interest you could earn ..." Thank you Sir, one eighth for you, three quarters for me one eighth for the system ... ad infinitum

Which is all well and good until Mr Punter O'Mafia asks for all his money which is secured in "special, not on the books, non-liquid assets" - the Mercs, the BMWs, the three villas, two yachts, the contents of Mrs O'Scammer's jewellery box, a long list of excess cocktail bar bills in Monaco, an ex-Maharajah's palace in India called "Orphanage" ...

How to make people sit up and use 2-factor auth: Show 'em a vid reusing a toothbrush to scrub a toilet – then compare it to password reuse

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Yes Facebook, here's my mobile phone number for 2FA, take it as it will increase my security.

What? You've used the number as part of my personal profile data for your own commercial ends?

Ok, so I'll give you my face, my fingerprint, my DNA sample ... Is there anything else you need to enhance my security? I have faith that you are not going to use them in some clandestine way too ...

MFA in itself may rely on trust which, as we (allegedly) see with Facebook, simply isn't there.

Boffins put the FUN into fungus by rigging yeast to squirt out the active ingredients in cannabis

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Cause and cure?

If you steam cooked bread fully at 130 in an industrial autoclave you wouldn't suffer from a soggy bottom ... however you'd probably need the services of a dentist to eat it ...

Mary Berry's new "Crunchy Seeds and THC Bread" recipe ... somehow I think she'd appreciate that :-)

USB4: Based on Thunderbolt 3. Two times the data rate, at 40Gbps. One fewer space. Zero confusing versions

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Use Case?

Quicker? Using what data store to keep up with it? It's not likely that most astro photographers would consider putting a high bandwidth raid stack next to their imaging laptop to dump their images onto, with dew potentially running down the front of the case ... If you have a warm room, the "USB3.4.5.6 type 3 - HyperX" transmission distance will probably be too short so you then start to think about remote dumping across a 10Gb network but you'll have to use bandwidth aggregation on multiple channels to match the sooper-whatsit-USB throughput ... And, even if you could do that for less than stupid-cost, damn win10 would still insist on updating in the middle of the session ...

SpaceX Crew Dragon: Launched and docked. Now, about that splashdown...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Ripley and a cuddly earth

If re-entry fails it will be the only time Ripley has died - ok, I accept she was only a few cells at one point. She's almost immortal, perhaps the name was hopefully a good luck charm whereas a dead cuddly thing is bad publicity? That assumes Ripley doesn't have a stowaway ...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Make them an offer?

Yes. Cargo launches are inherently cheaper than manned flights so lots of simpler cargo launches then you build a space tug for the fuel and supplies and use the emptying vessels as stores for waste. The whole assembly can also be used as a radiation shield for the solar wind ... everyone's a winner. If you were really sneaky you could build the tanks with shields/chutes creating landers to make outside toilets on Mars or wherever - kill 3 birds with one stone. I know it works, I saw Matt Damon in a documentary about it on the tv ...

When the bits hit the FAN: US military accused of knackering Russian trolls, news org's IT gear amid midterm elections

Andy The Hat Silver badge


"The US Defense Department declined to comment. "We do not discuss classified cyberspace operations" "

Can't that also be read as "The DoD declined to comment. "It was a classified DoD operation so we can't take all the credit for it.""?

UK's beloved RNGesus machine ERNIE goes quantum in 5th iteration

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Is CECIL actually a long lost nephew of ERNIE?

Is CECIL even random? How does it work? Is it magic?

I heard Rachel Riley just works out a calculation beforehand, discretely types the number in on a keypad which CECIL displays using its super-technical 3-digit 7-seg display, then Rachel substitutes the contestant's selected cards for those she used before and pretends she got the answer by scribbling her workings from earlier? It's all fake!

Now, to prove it all we need is a decent shot of her keypad ...

Hey mate, are you dense? Why, yes. Yes, I am, says the NAND in Micron's new client SATA SSD

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Yep, should be mW but I had to check as I hadn't realised how frugal the power requirement had become! I remember when hard drives were hard drives and you needed proper power supplies to spin them up ...

Don't mean to alarm you, but Boeing has built an unmanned fighter jet called 'Loyal Wingman'

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Interfacing R Us

"We need to get the nuke on board the Loyal Wingman asap boys."

"Is this machine able to take it Sir?"

"'Snap-in payloads' son, 'snap-in payloads' ..."

"But Sir, doesn't that rely on USB3? I may have an interface converter cable but here haven't been any official driver updates for Nukem-1 warheads since they were converted from IEEE 488 to USB-1 using those Chinese converter boxes and rubber bands."

"That's an order son ..."

"... It started to auto-update over the internet Sir but paused with a lilac alert. It wants to install some open-source AI drivers for North Korea's "Big-Nukey-Trump" Internet-of-Weapons device. There's a bit of text which presumably lists interesting things to see in the USofA like the White House, Trump Tower and Air Force One and a confirmation dialog - "Set Target for Hair - yes/no?""

"Simple translation error son, it obviously wants to know whether we want to "target from here". Press that button ..."

Crowdfunded lawyer suing Uber told he can't swerve taxi app giant's £1m legal bill

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Who is ultimately responsible for collecting/paying the VAT

Not sure there can be a 'follow-up' for significantly more than his losses plus reasonable compensation. HMRC would be the responsible party to claim back the VAT in whatever way they see fit and, to be honest, if there is such a large amount of unpaid VAT easily available I would have expected HMRC to be on the case already. On the other hand, Amazon and Google's massive tax bills show how good and willing HMRC are to push this awkward tax collecting jobbie...

Jeez, what a Huawei to go: Now US senators want Chinese kit ripped out of national leccy grid

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Alterior motive?

Solar producers have got to remove massively expensive inverter systems and replace them with more expensive inverter systems.

Electricity generated by these systems suddenly becomes very expensive, albeit due to an unforseen, mandatory expense on the balance sheet.

Questions are asked about government investment in 'very expensive power' producers.

Oil and gas producers do more fracking, drilling and cigar smoking ...

Opportunity's mission is over, but InSight almost ready for a driller thriller below Martian surface

Andy The Hat Silver badge

this will be interesting

I'd like to know how they're doing it, as I understand the process there's no rotary drilling or other abrasive action. I assume they already know what depth bedrock is expected under the martian regolith so are not on a hiding to nothing before they start.

In my back garden, I can hit a post with a sledgehammer for an hour and if I've hit a hard, chunky stone just under the surface the damn thing won't budge - they've got to go 5m with virtually no impact power!

Granddaddy of the DIY repair generation John Haynes has loosened his last nut

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: When changing bearings

Not Spitfire (Merlin) ones though ... I really wouldn't want to hit one of those with a hammer

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Wheeler dealers version of reality

Ed uses damn WD40 like he's sponsored by it ... he has no need of real penetrating oil as WD40 is magic. You notice how the bolt threads are never dirty when he tries to undo them for the first time? A light squirt of WD40 has washed years of rust and grime away!

I admit to having manuals for my vehicles and yes, they are greasy. It's interesting how closely the content of the early Range Rover one matches the genuine workshop manual - whether the manufacturers had input into Haynes or Haynes had a hand in producing manufacturer's manuals I'm not sure.

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: GPS is not this day and age

2900 bit slice ... that's something I haven't heard for a long time! Tell kids today that you only need a 1 bit processor and they'd not believe you :-) And they'd keep your hands warm too :-)

Accused hacker Lauri Love to sue National Crime Agency to retrieve confiscated computing kit

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I'm saying that someone who is so "severely depressed that they're potentially suicidal" so not subject to Court process is perfectly able to take on the immense stress of representing themselves at court. I find that odd. Certainly in my experience it would not something that I would fancy doing. As it's old kit the likelihood is the stored data is what he considers valuable.

"The truth" is either that (a) he hasn't got any sensitive stuff on that machine it's just encrypted geek garbage with some old passwords and pictures of his holiday in Morcambe and he wants it back because it's his stuff or (b) there is encrypted data, the coppers believe it would incriminate him but can't access the data so he can't be charged or (c) there is potentially sensitive data on that machine trawled from illegal hacking sessions that the 'owner' may wish to use in some way or (d) there are illegal hacking tools on that machine which the coppers do not wish to return to the claimant for potential reuse (a bit like giving a phone back to a drug dealer with all his contact numbers on it, the phone is legal and the numbers themselves are legal but that data *may* be subject to misuse.)

The key to his defence to extradition was not that he didn't do it but that he was unfit to stand trial in the US, that infers that any or all of (b) (c) and (d) *could* be valid. Any way you look at it there's a truth and we don't know what it is.

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Clever girl: SpaceX's Mars-bound Raptor engine looks like it works just fine

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Blue Origin first?

I thought Blue Origin had "hops" in 2006, Grasshopper wasn't given launch permits for that until 2011 ...?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Urine Transport System

As this is presumably the input section of the Urine Processor Assembly, would the UTS be commonly referred on Earth as a "pipe"?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Green

I believe what he's saying is that the green sensors are more sensitive to the infra red leaking onto the sensor than the red ones ... Seems odd but what is suggested works - try it.

Hey, UK.gov: If you truly spunked £45k on 1,300 Brexit deal print-outs, you're absolute mugs

Andy The Hat Silver badge


For a reasonable comparative statistic, it cost more to print those few documents than the entire copier budget for classroom materials/exams/tests/etc in our school department for over FOUR YEARS ... Now let's reconsider how expensive schools are to run ...

Global server motel, with a supermarket in the parking lot, banks $10bn profit from $233bn sales (Yes, it's Amazon)

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"Amazon's international biz continues to be a drag on finances, the unit shifted $20.1bn in sales, up 12 per cent, but turned a $642m loss"

... so we don't have to pay any tax Mr HMRC as we didn't make any profit ...

How an established company can increase it's turnover, have figures of $20bn and still claim a loss is astounding ... At the most fundamental level that would infer a terrible business model. Or it could possibly mean they're 'moving funds' to pay other parts of it's own organisation as 'overheads' which effectively reduces their tax burden ... but that would be immoral.

Irish data watchdog to Facebook: Hang about, what's all this about a WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger merger now?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I wonder what the estimated total financial benefit of integration would be to the Facebook group?

Would it outweigh the relatively small fines (a few tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, not actually small but anything is small relative to the Zuck wallet) that the EU are currently dolling out for non compliance with GDPR? The court case and the appeals could wind on for years and Zuck would be happily raking the cash in until he was eventually slapped on the wrist and told to hand over his pocket money. If he made $2bn extra income in real terms and was fined $250m he'd be quids in ... A bit of a cynical view but I'd bet he'd make much more than 'they' would dare fine him and that Nick Clegg would be more than happy helping grease the wheels of the system ....

Sad relics of UK launch capability returned to Blighty while NASA fiddles with Boeing crew

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Black Arrow

Our reusable launch vehicle has been returned - nothing a bit of spit and polish and stiff upper lip can't get back into space!

As a nerdy aside, the UK stages of the satellite launch vehicles were all 100% successful. Only the final orbital insertion stages built by pesky Europeans caused problems.

Fine, we'll do it the Huawei, says Uncle Sam: CFO charged with fraud, faces extradition to US over Iran trade claims

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I don't quite understand.

If there was some breach of confidentiality going on why isn't this prosecuted by the company impacted not the FBI? Or are things different in the USA? It doesn't say anything about breaches of export licenses in relation to that robot so it has to come down to minor theft 'of some parts'.

And what is a 'phone testing robot' anyway? I've got images of a (probably chinese made) one-armed bot with a finger that presses the screen relentlessly until it fails ... not exactly rocket science, which would be more the realm of the FBI ...

As for working with the Iranians - why would risk using a US branch of the company? Surely you would use a home grown company that doesn't give a monkey's about US sanctions and is not under the jurisdiction of the US authorities?

I have a nasty feeling involving smoke, mirrors, a bit more smoke and some distinctly orange muddied waters ...

Senior UK.gov ministers asked: So, are we going to ban Huawei or what?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

As I'm sure has already been mentioned, Cisco never has security bugs, Microsoft would never release code with security holes, Oracle is as secure as a secure thing, Google and Facebook are your friends. These are companies where security is not voluntarily audited by a third party security organisation who find 'issues' but relies on users finding those issues and reporting rather than exploiting them ... Scary that it's a Chinese company who have submitted to the inspection regime who are 'in the dock' not the others.

You heard the latest Chinese CRISPRs? They are real: Renegade bio-boffin did genetically modify baby twins

Andy The Hat Silver badge

If you supply F1 hybrid seed, you can plant collected seed and it may even germinate but will not breed true so you can end up with a mess or even nothing. By 'kindly' supplying starving nations with tons of F1 seed Monsanto et al, after only one year, have those traditionally poor, sow, grow, hold back some seed and resow cultures over a purchasing barrel. It looks very much like the cheap 'tasters' of the drugs trade...

NHS England digital boss in hot water over 'puff piece' written about her future employer

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: 'Largest and most trusted'

"In a independent survey, conducted just outside the Livi head office, 43% of respondents looked over their shoulders and said they would trust Livi, 7% used expletives or computer jargon, 49% said they run private gp practices and the remaining respondent obscured her face with an NHS umbrella and asked us to not mention the G4S security man with her sack of money ...

When we contacted Livi for comment we were told we had a fungal nail infection and should go to a gp for advice.

UK.gov plans £2,500 fines for kids flying toy drones within 3 MILES of airports

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Knee jerk reaction

No no. You misunderstand. For the last fifty years it appears that the best way to prevent ne'er-do-wells conducting activities illegal under current law is to make more activities which were perfectly legal, illegal. New books of tax law means that nobody fiddles their taxes any more. The statistics clearly show drugs are a thing of the past. The gun law extensions have completely stopped gun crime with absolutely no illegal guns, drive-by shootings or gangland murders in the UK in living memory. Knife laws have prevented any crime involving knives with no reports of people carrying illegal knives, stabbings or murders involving knives from anywhere.

Hang on ... I'm just getting a report that the graphs were being held upside down ... oh dear, that doesn't look so hot.

Curiously, at this time, one real success has been mandatory wearing of seat belts, even despite it only applying on a sliding scale of crown ownership ...

French data watchdog dishes out largest GDPR fine yet: Google ordered to hand over €50m

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Well that took long enough.

"Google "only" made about $12.6 billion in profit in 2017, on that turnover of $111"

Aha! I see you have an Amazon accountant's calculator ... :-)

The Iceman cometh, his smartwatch told the cops: Hitman jailed after gizmo links him to Brit gangland slayings

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: "grassing" in British English or "snitching"

No, a super grass is the person who made the phone call to the coppers ...

"Good afternoon officer. One is speaking to one. A gentleman called Phileeep, who I do not know at all, has just taken one's Range Rover for a jolly jaunt on one's highway and the silly oaf has failed to put one's seat belt on. One is making this report anonymously on the telephonic apparatus such that one's crown will not cause one to be recognised by a member of one's Police Force as one does not wish to be known for the rest of one's life as a grass. Charles - of whom I have no knowledge - would never let it lie, unless of course one abdicated.'

Western Digital deploys heatsink on remodelled M.2 to tempt gamers

Andy The Hat Silver badge


I think this link refutes the 'heat is good' for long term storage at least http://www.ni.com/white-paper/54864/en/

The lighter side of HMRC: We want your money, but we also want to make you laugh

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: so what borderline things will you be claiming for this year?

So much hassle, so much time, so much financial outlay! Why take the risk? Apply for the Brexit contract and, if you get it, charge the setting up of the company into the contract, you could probably even claim it against tax as a business expense ... Seems just as legit as a no shipping shipping company or a no government Government.

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Today we're growing tatties and neaps to demonstrate the uptake of Helium-3 by plants on the marginally-more-hostile-than-Aberdeen environment of the moon. Today's temperature is a touch fresh at -120C so frost may be a wee problem and germination may be slow but luckily there's no chance of windchill to undermine my sporran. ...

China's really cotton'd on to this whole Moon exploration thing: First seed sprouts in lunar lander biosphere

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I would like to see the aims of the experiment.

I don't quite see where the experiment takes knowledge beyond current understanding.

Germination and growth in a sealed, temperature controlled environment has been shown many times, including increased 'gravity' using slow centrifuges and on the ISS in micro gravity. Issues would be expected to arise when the gravity gets small and the plants get big, and not with the sealed growth environment itself. However gravity is still significant so I would not expect it to be a particular issue on the moon - at least in the early development phases - and, in any event, I don't believe the impact of a lower gravity on long term plant growth can be tested with the Chinese experiment.

What I would suggest is a long term study with the system exposed to properly harsh conditions to simulate dehydration, water logging, freeze/thaw cycles, excess temperature and other harsh extremes - just deliver it to my mum, she'll kill it ...

Huawei's horror show 2019 continues as Taiwanese research institute joins banhammer club

Andy The Hat Silver badge


I have to say at the moment that there's lots of spurious allegations and precious little hard evidence for wrong-doing.

I'd like to seen some facts ...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"China's government has come to Huawei's aid."

We can assure you that the private company is completely legit as we, the Great Government of China, know nothing about whatever we have done and have nothing to do with the company at all ... If it was true we'd have seen it on our trojan's phone-home logs ...

Huawei sales director nicked in Poland on suspicion of 'spying'

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"The allegations were that Huawei was using its kit to spy on other governments"

And in the process broke Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego's own spying equipment ...

Would anyone care to spell that phonetically for us hard-of-Polish types please :-)

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Bye bye.....

I was told in before transfer in 2015/6 that the specific email host address 'belonged to me' and to mitigate the blow of termination of their service they would provide discounted host migration to Namesco - which they did. However I note from Whois that the demon.co.uk domain is still registered to Vodafone (not namesco) and is due for renewal in May ... anyone's guess what happens then.


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