* Posts by matthewdjb

51 posts • joined 29 Oct 2014

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ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

matthewdjb

Re: Algol 68 is not ALGOL 60

I remember attempting a C compiler using that book. Did enough to pass the course but never finished it. It was hard!

matthewdjb

Re: No love for CORAL 66?

In memory processing. We loaded our entire billing system into an alpha with a whole 2GB of memory. The billing run on the vax would take two hours. On the alpha, two minutes. (and then it still took five hours to print out the bills).

If you don't LARP, you'll cry: Armed fun police swoop to disarm knight-errant spotted patrolling Welsh parkland

matthewdjb

Re: Bird mask may have had some effect

Also transmitted by person to person contact, if pneumonic plague developed.

(Doomsday, Connie Willis)

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Spacecraft with graphene sails powered by starlight and lasers

matthewdjb

Re: Calling Isaac Newton...

No need to build a laser.

Fit a bunch of superconducting squares in orbit around the sun, and use that to make the sun lase.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

matthewdjb

Re: And what about the people ...

I think we must have the same dad.

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

matthewdjb

It's a bleedin' whitewash.

Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42

matthewdjb

Re: That Robot ...

I can own up to that.

UK contractors planning 'mass exodus' ahead of IR35 tax clampdown – survey

matthewdjb

Run away.

I did that twenty years ago. But it's interesting that the same story was around when ir35 was mooted back in 1999/2000.

The difference this time is that the clients have the liability which makes it harder to fight.

The changes to contractors are that those on Ltd companies will need to pay more NI. Including employers out of their fee, as dividends, already under attack, are no longer possible.

So far that puts them on an equal footing with existing umbrella company users.

Where the bite is, is that many contractors work long distances from home for relatively short periods of time.

They will no longer be able to pay the expenses out of pre-tax income, and it is that which will hit clients, as they'll find it much harder to find contractors. This will in turn impact permies, as the clients turn to cheaper options, like folk from India, thus further hastening the demise of British IT experts.

B-but it doesn't get viruses! Not so, Apple fanbois: Mac malware is growing faster than nasties going for Windows

matthewdjb

Re: It's an obvious target, no?

Do keep an eye on whether you're getting regular updates to your OS. Apple are notorious for letting their products fall out of security updates without telling anyone..

Gee, S/4HANA. Just what I always wanted: Customers are wary of what's in SAP's sack

matthewdjb

Re: Is it just me, or is the idea of forcing people to the cloud adding to the issues?

There's no forcing to the cloud. You can on premise s4hana where you have complete control.

Customers in 'standoff' with SAP over 2025 end of support for Business Suite: Who'll blink first?

matthewdjb

It's not an upgrade to s/4hana. It's a migration. So some customers I'm aware of are considering migrating away from SAP completely, since they've got a migration project on their hands anyway.

Boffins hand in their homework on Voyager 2's first readings from beyond Solar System

matthewdjb

Re: Gravity...

"Look at a photon, it is divisible, it can be split between slits in a slit experiment. So its made of multiple parts"

It isn't, it can't and it isn't.

IT contractor has £240k bill torn up after IR35 win against UK taxman

matthewdjb

HMRC aren't wanting contractors to pay the same tax as employees in the same position. They're wanting contractors to pay more - in the form of employer's NI contributions.

Chemists bitten by Python scripts: How different OSes produced different results during test number-crunching

matthewdjb

Order!

Unless the type of the returning parameter explicitly specifies the sort order, the sort order of the returned data is undefined.

A very important basic fact.

I am astonished at the number of people who think that an SQL SELECT will return records in the primary key order. In a relational database, the sort order is undefined.

I don’t know, apathetic bloody chemists, I’ve no sympathy at all.

IR35 blame game: Barclays to halt off-payroll contractors, goes directly to PAYE

matthewdjb

Re: Last year I've been working for Infosys/Proximus in Brussels

Switzerland have set aside nearly 4000 work permits a year for British workers, if/when Brexit happens.

Anyway, being from a third country doesn't seem to restricted the influx of folk from India.

You know SAP's doing a great job when a third of German users say they 'have no confidence in it'

matthewdjb

I've made a lot of money out of SAP being a bit crap. I see no need for it to change.

Btw, the clue is in the name of the programming language. ABAP means in German "Allgemeiner Berichts-Aufbereitungs-Prozessor". While this is generally rendered in English as "Advanced Business Application Programming", an alternative would be "Common Report Application Programming". Or CRAP.

What do you do for a living?

I'm a CRAP programmer.

Yes, I think you probably are.

Are you who you say you are, sir? You are? That's all fine then

matthewdjb

I think you'll find the systems are implemented by people earning not very much either. Hence the quality.

Can you download it to me – in an envelope with a stamp?

matthewdjb

Re: Deliberately obnoxious

That reminds me of the Big Train sketch (Do you speak English?).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxUm-2x-2dM

matthewdjb

Re: Deliberately obnoxious

I watch LOTR in a Swiss cinema. French and German subtitles generally, but when Elvish was spoken, up popped English subtitles.

The time a Commodore CDTV disc proved its worth as something other than a coaster

matthewdjb

Re: One wonders

It wasn't a record. It's was a CD.

Contractor association blasts UK.gov guidance on hated IR35 tax law's arrival in private sector

matthewdjb

Re: How old is IR35 now

2000 the onus for deciding in or out, and liabilities for getting it wrong, were with the contractor. A year or so ago, the government shifted the decision to the client for the public sector. Now they want to roll it out to the private sector.

matthewdjb

Re: How old is IR35 now

It came in in 2000, but the onus for deciding in or out, and liability for getting it wrong, was on the contractor. Since it became too easy to construct contract and working practices that were outside, it quickly became an irrelevance to savvy contractors with cooperative clients and agencies. Other contractors went into the arms of umbrella companies to avoid the issue altogether, considering the extra tax to be worth the lack of risk. Yet others went into dodgy schemes - that's coming home to roost with the Loan Charge.

A year or so ago, for the public sector the liability was changed to be with the client. Now the government wants to role it out to the private sector.

matthewdjb

I usually went for "Dim Prawn".

matthewdjb

'it's not difficult at all. If they're inside the scope of ir35, then they pay. If not they don't'

To paraphrase one Dawn Primarolo circa 1999.

What else can we add to UK.gov's tech project bonfire? Oh yeah, 5G

matthewdjb

Re: "finding a vendor who is able to supply hardware that meets the requirements of a trial"

Yes, it is a lot of hot air. Over in abroadland, I'm taking part in a 5G trial. I have at home a 5G router. It is no faster than my fixed line (as fast), is very noisy and runs very hot - hence blowing a lot of hot air.

It's kept switched off.

Industry reps told the UK taxman everything wrong with extending IR35. What happened next will astound you

matthewdjb

When IR35 was first mooted back in 1999, we didn't know whether the client would have the liability or the contractor. However, there was a widespread fear that either way, it would lead to the end of contracting.

Didn't happen.

I now contract in abroadland. No tax relief on dividend income, so no dodging the NI equivalent. It's still worth contracting for the freedom and the uplifted income which over the years has reduced to around 50% more than a permie position.

Greatest threat facing IT? Not the latest tech giant cockwomblery – it's just tired engineers

matthewdjb

Re: Some weird comments on here...

I happily work 3-4 hours a day. When things get tough, maybe 6.

AI has automated everything including this headline curly bracket semicolon

matthewdjb

Re: TOO REAL - YouTube Link broken Mr Dabbs

But not available where I live.

matthewdjb

Re: "don't start a sentence with a conjunction"

That's ending a sentence with a preposition

matthewdjb

A later edition of the Eye, says that twitter is 90% journalists and other media types taking to other media types. It does not reflect society's views abs newspapers should stop presenting it as such

If the thing you were doing earlier is 'drop table' commands, ctrl-c, ctrl-v is not your friend

matthewdjb

One weekend we were doing a system upgrade. I was told I'd be called Saturday to do my task; dropping an index of the general ledger, running some task, reinstating the index.

I didn't get the call.

Sunday at about 8pm, and after a couple of bottles of wine, the call came. I explained the deal was that the call me Saturday. Today is Sunday and I'm pissed.

I think the guy at the other end of phone was maybe a yank, as he persuaded me, eventually, to do my part.

I came within a "confirm y/n" of dropping the table rather than the index..

A day in the life of London seen through spam and weak Wi-Fi

matthewdjb

" I've experienced stronger throughput on 1200 baud dial-up."

You're as old as me then.

matthewdjb

It seems appropriate since your job is to regularly vent it.

Personality quiz for all you IT bods: Are you a chameleon or an outlaw? A diplomat or a high flier? Vote right here

matthewdjb

"It also confirms our suspicion that millennials are not interested in earthly possessions:"

That's because they don't have any. The losers.

Out-of-office email ping-pong fills server after server over festive break

matthewdjb

And from the subcontinent

The comments on this blog https://blogs.sap.com/2014/02/21/why-faking-your-cv-would-hunt-you-for-life/ indicate that many of our off-shore colleagues consider lying, faking and cheating to be perfectly moral and justified.

We've read the Mueller report. Here's what you need to know: ██ ██ ███ ███████ █████ ███ ██ █████ ████████ █████

matthewdjb
Mushroom

Re: The Mueller report was one big nothingburger

Thanks for your comments, Ivan.

User secures floppies to a filing cabinet with a magnet, but at least they backed up daily... right?

matthewdjb

Re: Then there is the "send me a copy"

"Especially when they take a screenshot of terminal output, embed the image in a Word doc and email"

You missed a step. "Especially when they take a screenshot of terminal output, embed the image in a Word doc, save it as a pdf, and email"

Chap joins elite support team, solves what no one else can. Is he invited back? Is he f**k

matthewdjb

Re: not neccessarily very good at brown-nosing...

"" I resent him the original email informing him"

And in turn, he began to resent you.

Netflix wants to choose its own adventure where Bandersnatch trademark case magically vanishes

matthewdjb

"It added that every ending in Bandersnatch "turns out horribly" for the main character"

Hey. I've not seen it yet. How about a spoiler warning?

(Actually, I might watch it now)

Blighty's most trusted brand? Yeah, you wish, judge tells Post Office in Horizon IT system ruling

matthewdjb

Re: Credit where it's due

Presumably "94" is a call-out to the Eye.

How many Reg columnists does it take to turn off a lightbulb?

matthewdjb

Re: Long way around the barn!

My smartwatch (a Pebble) has a backlight with just enough brightness to safely navigate the most trap laden bedroom. And 4 days battery life.

Secret mic in Nest gear wasn't supposed to be a secret, says Google, we just forgot to tell anyone

matthewdjb

Re: Don't be........

But are you paranoid enough?

Solder and Lego required: The Register builds glorious Project Alias gizmo to deafen Alexa

matthewdjb

Duh. You go to the effort because its there.

Take your pick: Linux on Windows 10 hardware, or Windows 10 on Linux hardware

matthewdjb

Re: Neither, please

Because it's there.

Use an 8-char Windows NTLM password? Don't. Every single one can be cracked in under 2.5hrs

matthewdjb

Re: Up to a point

No.

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s

matthewdjb

Re: Not sure...

In the early 90s we switch over from IBM 3270 Terminals to herds of Vaxen and VT100 keyboards. The network guys had a washing line strung over their area with keyboards hanging from it, drying out from user spillage.

Apparently, diet coke was fine, but anything with sugar in - like full fat coke - made the keyboards unrecoverable.

How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?

matthewdjb
Happy

Two fond memories from pre 1993.

Working for a company based in Bath, one of the field engineers calls up, and in a delightful Zummerzet accent (which I won't try to emulate in text), begins this conversation:

Him: I've got this new laptop, and I've switched it on, and I don't know what to do next.

Me: So, can you tell me what you can see on the screen?

Him:Er.. . "Welcome to <company name's> computer network. Press key 'A' to continue".

Me: Can you press the A key on the keyboard please?

Him; <click> Oh, yes, that's done it. Thank-you very much.

And then near Newcastle, we had a chap with two different accounts (on a Amdahl mainframe, running VM), who kept forgetting the passwords. Password change was 3rd level support (2nd level was user support, 1st level the helpdesk). The call came through - Mr so-and-so has forgotten his passwords again, can you reset it? The rather grumpy team lead grins and adopts his most pleasant manner:

'yep, no problem, doing it now. Ok, the first account, the password is "head". Second account... that'll be "dick". Be sure to tell him in the right order.'

TalkTalk attackers stole 'incomplete' customer bank data, ISP confirms

matthewdjb

Re: Yes, exactly that

Through a support call where the id was verified by the last four digits of his credit card number.

Manhattan-sized iceberg splits from glacier – and spotted FROM SPACE

matthewdjb

Armageddon out of here.

The end is neigh, as the horsemen of the apocalypse ride out.

Crowdfunded ZX Spectrum revival just days from shipment

matthewdjb

Re: As a BBC owner...

By switching between FAST mode and SLOW modes in different combinations you could generate tones through the TV speaker, as noted here: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/2/2011/03/04/sinclair_zx81_anniversary/#c_1003189

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