* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Render crashing PCs back to their component silicon: They deserve it

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Windows getting its own back on you?

"Don't tell me there are Word-compatible applications on Linux - I've head it all before, they are not fully compatible. They send the formatting crazy, reflow the text, tear tables apart and balk at docx files."

IOW you were running Word. Perfectly possible with Wine.

Bimodal IT: Let the backlash begin

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

The fact is that giving abstract ideas names enables people who couldn't actually do any of it to save their lives to have conversations make money out of about them, to refine them

Microsoft adds new 'Enterprise Products' section to privacy policy

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"we have a signed BAA, which prevents them from messing about with our data"

Hope springs eternal.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "If you give up your mates' details"

"I presume currently it has it's own privacy policy which would take precedence."

Having seen LinkedIn's invitation spam send an invitation to a mailing list I suspect their privacy policies already conform to MS's requirements.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Secure Architectures. Microsoft options and alternatives.

"More details on this topic are at: https://www.linkedin.com/..."

The irony!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: 'Among the interesting changes...'

"Am I (more) safe from Microsoft snooping?"

No. You may receive mails from or send them to MS users.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: What is there left to be said...

" For example the app-store, there is 0 technical invention (that pre-existed on Linux)"

Apple OS is based on BSD Unix. BSD Unix pre-dates Linux.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'Now why the hell would I want my "experience" personalized?'

The E word is always a "must avoid" indicator.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: "If you give up your mates' details"

"The ability to link such data into the LinkedIn repository must be very tempting..."

Looking at from the other direction, why do you think they bought LinkedIn?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Well Said Sir!

"Nobody any sense or a half-way competent legal department would sign up to those conditions."

Those without sense won't run it past their legal departments anyway. Legal departments need to be pro-active in this. Sadly, being in a legal department doesn't guarantee sense; I wonder how many legal depts. and law firms are actually using these products already.

Ofgem sets up database so energy companies can spam Brits

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: market paremeters are wrong

"Why are we automatically switched to the providers expensive standard tariff at the end of a term?"

Because marketing departments bonuses depend on the success of their bait and switch schemes.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Could elReg please go back to ofGem, get the name and email address of a specific contact to whom we can address our concerns and publish it as an updaye. If they haven't appointed one yet their CEO would be a fine substitute until such time as they do. If they refuse, publish their exact grounds for refusal.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"One way to minimise energy bills and make sure everyone is treated faily would be to have a nationalised energy system."

Yup. "Faily" would be about right.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: This cannot end badly

"Great news for the Royal Mail I suppose."

It depends on who pays for return to sender.

Londoner jailed after refusing to unlock his mobile phones

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: How long for theft?

"obstruction of justice (why is this not the charge for failing to disclose the passcode anyway?)."

IANAL but maybe possible self-incrimination could be grounds for challenging obstruction, hence the need to create a separate offence. At some point this seems likely to go to the ECHR. An accompanying charge of possession of two firearms isn't the best case to take to the ECHR, however.

Cray profits literally go up in smoke after electrical incident

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: That didn't hurt, did it...

Re you saying there's no smoke without fire?

Australia hires former head of controversial UK care.data plan

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: how in the world

"How does someone who has already proven himself to be completely inadequate for the job get the position anyway?"

I think it tells you a lot about the attitudes of those making the appointments.

Simply not credible: The extraordinary verdict against the body that hopes to run the internet

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Surely by now they've had enough opportunities to clean up their act. It's time to open up to tender; ICANN or any organisation with ex-ICANNers in its management need not apply.

Forget security training, it's never going to solve Layer 8 (aka people)

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Making legit look phishy

"But what's to stop a phisher from duplicating EVERY SINGLE THING the legit e-mail can throw"

As Mike said, have the legit e-mailers send harmless mail. Then the phishers can duplicate this to their hearts' content - they'll be sending harmless mail.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

@Mike 16:Re: Making legit look phishy

TL;DR

Get rid of marketing departments.

Microsoft takes five months to replace broken patch

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: This is why Windows is no longer viable.

"The most evil trick you can pull in that respect is to have such a breach be questioned in the House of Commons"

This is probably harder than preventing a Windows 10 infection.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: This is why Windows is no longer viable.

"Consumer Contracts Regulations "

By definition that applies only to consumers, not business or professional users. And, given that the purchaser of a computer with Windows pre-installed doesn't have a direct contract with Microsoft, their come-back would be against the store who sold it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: This is why Windows is no longer viable.

" you have to wait for MS to acknowledge their cock up, accept that it's their fault, agree to write a fix for it, put the resources needed towards writing it, test it, release it, & eventually push it out to you"

To be fair it appears that with the original patch MS must have accelerated this procedure. Omit "test it".

$67M in bitcoin stolen as hacking typhoon lashes Hong Kong's Bitfinex

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Confused ... a little.

"There's too many holes for a committee to have come up with it."

I admire your faith in committees.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"They don't hold significant gold or reserves to back them up. Not since the end of the gold standard decades ago anyway....The differences between virtual and traditional currency is less than many people think though!"

Gold as a means of backing up currency worked because it was a substance in limited supply which everyone agreed to treat as valuable. Fiat currencies came about because the essential agreement failed. Bitcoins were devised to be limited in supply. The essential difference between them and gold is that they're virtual, not substantial. As "traditional" currencies are now fiat currencies the virtual currencies are more similar to the now obsolete gold-standard currencies.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"a virtual currency is likely to have more hardcore and better designed security on its transactional infrastructure and will have more ability to react than the slow moving IT departments of traditional banks."

Did you read the article?

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

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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."

How about an alternative? Tax everyone the same on income but treat permanent jobs as a benefit in kind to be taxed appropriately. The extra tax from the b-i-k part can be used to reduce existing PAYE/NI rates. That's fair, isn't it?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: You can work inside IR35 and pay perfectly ok taxes

"But every stupid contractor I talk to won't take the time or trouble to figure this out."

What's probably happening is that the contractors who understand it perfectly well, know you're wrong but can't be bothered to argue with stupid.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"intelligent professional consultants with expertise charge a lot of money and can out-do them technically, which is the reason we are sourced in the first place to help expedite projects!"

At the top end, maybe. Another factor is the manager who finds that he needs somebody RIGHT NOW. Possibly because he's just get a new urgent requirement dumped on him, a deadline brought forward, someone has left/fallen ill/gone on holiday or maybe just downright bad planning. Even if it's not a hugely immediate requirement there may still be a need to match fluctuating workload with a static allowed permanent head-count.

That floating population of workers allows the permies to have their more or less secure jobs, benefits, pension schemes etc because the alternative would be to make all jobs casual. The means by which the contract market can fill jobs on an ad hoc basis is by having a proportion of the on the bench at any one time. It's part of the T&Cs that the market offers, it costs money to provide which thus goes into the charging structure and is the reason why freelancers should be treated as bona fide businesses.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: It's not just about indvidual contractors

"And that'll have to be done for every contract where there might be disguised employment in HMRC's eyes - not just the hiring of specific individuals for specific roles, but also the more generic stuff like typing, gardening, plumbing etc. where it could be done by an employee (but isn't)."

That should improve things no end. If there's a clear distinction between contracts for services and contracts of service we'll probably see appropriate contracts offered for a change and none of this non-matching clauses between the client/agent and agent/freelancer contracts nonsense.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'Shouldn't that be:

"to make self-employed workers pay the same taxes as if they were employees" ?'

No. It should be "to treat small outsourcing businesses as employees whilst Capita etc still get treated as businesses".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Why only IT?

" 'Because IT' seems to be a magic 'Pay More' reason."

Indeed. In the printing industry they seem not to bat an eyelid about engaging sole-traders because that's how freelance graphic designers work.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I agree with AC.

"if the risk is there but the rest is the same then you raise your prices to compensate."

If you're raising rates to compensate but then treating the entire sum as personal income and being taxed accordingly by overcharging your client on rates you're allowing HMRC, via yourself, to fleece them. Most freelancers would find it impossible to get away with that.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"btw my contractor contract gives me holiday and sick rights. Perhaps you lot need to negotiate better?"

In other words you're exactly the sort of disguised employee that IR35 was designed to tax. You are not the typical freelancer - although when you fall out of contract you'll realise that things are a bit more complicated than you think. Are you a first-timer?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Contractors should earn inflated wages, out of which they should pay corporation tax as well as tax on salaries for any employees (usually just the one)."

Taken overall your comment is right but your use of "wages" here is the sort of thing which causes confusion to non-contractors - especially HMRC. There are two entities in play here. One is the company, the other is the worker.

The company outsources work from the client. This is exactly the same arrangement as Capita or any other outsourcer has. For this the company is paid a fee under the contract just as any other outsourcer does (and also collects VAT on behalf of HMRC, a service for which it is entitled to charge HMRC exactly nothing!). From this fee it pay any costs of doing business, including salary but also purchases, accountancy fees, etc. Note that that term "salary" actually covers employers NI payments and is also paid when there are no incoming payments from clients, either between engagements or as holiday or sick pay. The company also handles employee's PAYE tax and NI contributions, as does any other company, again at no cost to the beneficiary, HMRC). What's left is taxable as corporation tax. Some of it can be paid out as dividends but if the company is being run sensibly some of the fees will be retained in the company's bank account against payments for potentially long periods but it still gets taxed as profits until such time as it has to be paid out. This buffering is key to the whole system. An agent's opening gambit on the phone is usually "Are you available?". "Available" means out of contract. In order for a client, direct or via an agent, to have resource instantly available means that at any one time a proportion of the freelance population is on the bench. Staffing a client department with sufficient employees to provide such availability against the risk of a sudden requirement in-house would be an unacceptable expense. It's this transfer of risk from client to freelancer that makes the freelancer a business and thus entitled to be treated in the same way as any other business.

The worker gets paid a salary from which income tax and NI contributions are paid. This is what's commonly referred to as "wages". Calling the gross fees wages is misleading and is what enables HMRC to con those who don't know better that they're being "fair".

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"P.S. Yes, I have been a self-employed IT worker in the past too - I paid everything I needed to pay and factored it in as a cost of doing business. That's what you DO."

You describe yourself as a former self-employed IT worker. That implies that you were a sole-trader. If so you were in a different category from freelancers employed by their own limited companies and the taxation regulations on the two are not the same. The reason that so many freelancers have to use limited companies is that tax regulations make clients very reluctant to engage them as sole-traders. Given that the use of limited companies is something that has been engendered by HMRC and, before them, the IR, it is to say the least, hypocritical that they do not them recognise the companies as real businesses.

If they don't want to accept the situation they created themselves they should go back to the drawing board and create some other form of taxable entity which they are prepared to accept exists, which gives clients security and also recognises the reality that freelancers are working as businesses, taking the employment risks that would otherwise fall on the clients and, therefore being entitled to make provision for covering those risks and being entitled to reward for taking them.

Iceland beats England again

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: I think you meant to say:

"Is there some sort of rule about not making things clear?"

Why should the editors bother with details like that? This is stuck in the Newsbytes section. It's already at third so it'll disappear as soon as they stick something else on top.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I don't think data centre hosting is Nigeria's main source of income from computing.

Mobile banking for the poor has flopped in India

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I'm reminded of Feynman's strictures on cargo cult science; going through the outward forms of something that worked elsewhere without understanding why it worked and applying that understanding.

Windows 10: Happy with Anniversary Update?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Unarguably

"Not just the best Windows OS ever, the best OS ever."

Well, the first part of that must be true because according to http://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/78169/ it permanently disabled itself.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Then the "experienced" W10 user showed me the path to power-down

"Pressing the Power button?"

Ever since the introduction of the ATX power supply computers seem to have been able to ignore the power button if they want to.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: That'll be a NOPE

"Additionally, the mandatory ToastPro(TM) etc"

Also it becomes picky about the brands of bread it will toast.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: They can't win.

"not the utopia of creating stuff in your spare time for others to use without payment."

Who does that? If this is supposed to be a swipe at Linux then you're seriously misinformed. Most of it comes from system vendors such as Red Hat. A lot more comes from big user corporations such as Facebook. And you know what? These distinctly capitalist businesses find that it's worth their while to do that.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: And over here we can see the Linux user community jumping into comment sections of Windows etc

"I'm a photographer and Adobe don't do unix so I'm *never* going to be using a linux machine"

Some confusion here. 1. You're allowed to write Unix. 2. I thought Adobe S/W runs on Apple which is Unix so you could run it on a Unix machine. 3. Linux was a Unix-like OS. (It's getting to be rather less so these days.)

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

'And then I got onto your point about "processors wearing out" like they're made from leather and wood and another part of me died inside.'

Whooosh.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"And lets be honest Linux is a PITA as well unless you like trawling through Man files or spending hours searching the net which is a problem when it's the wifi driver that is the issue."

This is a potential problem for any OS.

For some users claims like this make no apparent sense if they've never hit the problem that they have H/W for which their OS provides no drivers.

Nevertheless it's a problem which may well strike if you've got very new H/W for which an older OS has no drivers or, conversely, if you have old H/W and a new OS (specialised kit still depending on XP for instance).

It's exacerbated by the fact that it's often the H/W manufacturer who provides the drivers and they may well have gone out of business old H/W or simply can't be bothered to support more than one version of a single OS in which case you should put the blame where it belongs: on the H/W manufacturer. And exacerbated further if the OS demands that its vendor signs all drivers.

There is, however, one situation in which Linux has an advantage. Just because the manufacturer doesn't support it there's no inhibition on Linux developers who want a particular piece of H/W developing their own drivers so although the vendor's site might not list support for Linux the drivers might be in the kernel or an an additional library anyway.

But it's a problem from which no OS is immune and isn't going to go away.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: times have changed?

"Windows fanboys also come to 'Linux forums to 'have a go' too."

elReg is a Windows forum? Where does it say that?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Where's the innovation..."

You're asking the wrong question. The correct question is "a service to whom?" and the answer, of course, is Microsoft. Windows 10 is a service allowing Microsoft access to the users' computers and so to the users themselves.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update: This design needs a dictator

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Au

"Your typo might be closer to the truth."

It wasn't a typo. The Bard's original is "glisters". It's "glistens" that's the misquote.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

One of the things about GUIs was that they liberated us from white (or green or orange) text on black backgrounds. We could finally have easy-on-the-eye black on white. Now designers seem intent on forcing white (or grey) on black on us. The link http://www.citrinitas.com/history_of_viscom/modernists.html in the article was an outstanding example. Cramped, minuscule, spindly off-white text on black, ironically trying to explain the history of visual communication. I'd like to think this is just a passing fad & they'll give it up soon. Being a pessimist I fear they'll only do that when they can come up with something worse.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019