* Posts by biolo

10 posts • joined 24 Nov 2015

Openreach hacks full-fibre broadband prices for developers... Property developers, that is


The discount applies to UP TO 30 new build houses. More than 30 houses was already free, although I think the developers in both instances have to install the ducts, supplied by Openreach, from the site boundary to the properties, but they need to do that for copper too. I've got a site for 2 new houses, that I was quoted ~£20K for about 6 months back, which I dismissed as too expensive as I don't believe in the area the plots are that the cost would be recovered by an increase in the sale price. If that's now ~£5K then it becomes something I can consider. Not sure it'll actually increase sale price over and above the cost, but it'll certainly give them a differentiating factor that we can promote in the sales info and perhaps attract some buyers who might not have considered the properties before, as neighbouring properties only get ~20Mbps.

UK taxman told: IR35 still isn't working in the public sector, and you want to take it private?


I think you're confusing large corporates running tax avoidance schemes with contractors. Contractors get the same basic rate allowance tax free that everyone gets, but get hit for 20% corporation tax before they can touch a penny more than that, and apart from a small amount of capital gains allowance (which has been slashed over the last few years), pay tax on all the rest. I presume you also feel they don't need compensated for all the other costs (insurance, accountants), risks (laid off with little notice, for no reason or redundancy) or lost benefits (sick pay, maternity/paternity, pension, etc).

The glorious uncertainty: Backup world is having a GDPR moment


Re: Not my field of expertise

In some cases it is possible, say you've identified a row in a RDBMS that was covered by the RTBF request, if that row has a unique reference number (say customer or order ID), then you could add that unique reference number to your "future_forget" list. If the only way of identifying the row is by using the persons personal information, adding that to your "future_forget" list would have its own obvious GDPR problem, although you might be able to argue that that information was necessary in order to comply with GDPR and therefore lawful as long as you weren't using it to influence decisions. If the law requires you to retain info, then a GDPR request cannot compel you to delete it. Of course in this instance the data only exists because of the GDPR request, but surely you need to track RTBF requests, to show you have complied with them, and to do that you have to store the requesters personal info in your RTBF tracker. I think it's fair to say that this whole area is somewhat unclear.

Sysadmin crashed computer recording data from active space probe


Back in the day when I worked in an engineering department attached to the factory floor of a large Unix hardware manufacturer, we kept a rubber chicken in the server room. It was kept on prominent display on one of the server cabinets, and was there to be ritually sacrificed to the SCSI gods when we couldn't get one of the servers to see its storage. Management was well aware of its purpose of the chicken, and that it was used quite regularly, as it was cited in the weekly team meetings on several occasions as the method by which a system was fixed.

Oracle to shutter most Euro hardware support teams


Re: Offshore support

Sun Micro have had business with Vodafone for a long time, I remember them shipping large numbers of systems to them back in the noughties. Whether they still have any business with them is another question.

Cray profits literally go up in smoke after electrical incident


Still, I quite like the launch industry description of "Rapid unscheduled disassembly", aka the rocket exploded.

HMRC research finds 'resistance' to proposals to shift contractor tax compliance burden



Corporation tax is payable on profits, if we were paying ourselves the entire income of the company, minus expenses, there would be no profit to be hit with corp tax.

What would end up happening of course is that taking a contract with a public entity end-client would become not worth it, and contractors would at-best use such a contract as a stop-gap measure until something in the private sector came up. The public sector would therefore have to offer massively higher day rates to compensate for the higher tax bill, or suffer headcount shortfalls and massively increased churn rates. In the former case it'll just increase the public sector costs, in the latter it'll cause project delays, more errors and outages which of course will result in more cost. There is no upside here for HMGovt, but HMRC can claim it "did something".

Sysadmin paid a month's salary for one day of nothing


I was working for an SME, and was paid £500 to come in on 02/01/2000 and check out all the systems were working correctly before the company re-opened for business on the 4th. Just before we broke up for Christmas 1999 they asked me if would be on-call for the rollover itself. I asked if they were going to pay me for that too, they said no. I said I'd only agree to be on call if they agreed I didn't need to be sober. Strangely they were happy with that, and even arranged to have one of the company vans and a driver on hand to pick me up from the party I was planning to be at should it be necessary. Don't think I'd have been capable of helping them by the time the bells sounded that evening, but wasn't called.

Came in on the 2nd, checked everything worked as expected, checked it all again to be sure, and was walking out the door again 1 hour later. My best hourly rate to date.

Back-to-the-future Nexsan resurrects its SATABeast


Re: Nobody thinks of torque and vibration?

Way back in 2006 Sun Micro launched the Sun Fire X4500 (Thumper) with 48 top-loading SATA drives. This was followed by an upgrade to X4540 2 years later, which continued in production until 2010. Sun weren't exactly known for under-engineered systems on the whole, so I think it's difficult to argue that the top loading approach is fundamentally flawed.

Who's right on crypto: An American prosecutor or a Lebanese coder?


To me this all comes down to the "magical thinking" issue. No one has yet come up with a proposal that provides the necessary security without a whole host of fundamental problems. Western governments employ thousands of encryption experts, security experts and mathematicians in the various intelligence services and academia, many of them amongst the best in the world. If this were really a solvable problem then why not task the experts already under government payroll to come up with a workable proposition. Take that to the tech industry. If it really works, then it becomes difficult for the tech industry to say no to. The reason they don't do this of course is that those who might want to go down this route know it's not possible, and don't want to be on the hook for wasted funds on the effort. We're thus left with the tech-illiterate, or liars, spouting nonsensical whines for political ends .

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