* Posts by Moonunit

57 posts • joined 1 Dec 2015


Smart speaker maker Sonos takes heat for deliberately bricking older kit with 'Trade Up' plan


What great value does Sonos-phone-home add?

Just a tadge curious about what great (or small) value is added to a set of wireless speakers wot stream your audio-digital fancies from Teh Interwebs to your ears? When I stream Classic FM or Heart FM etc etc via my laptop, it seems to do it all quite well without Sonos-like servers lurking in the background. Yes, it (laptop) doesn't suggest things I might like to listen to, based on previous selections yadda yadda. But it works fairly well for my admittedly lowbrow purposes.

I mean, they're 'nice' devices ... but where's the added value?


Confused of Clodworthy Copse

Not a death spiral, I'm trapped in a closed loop of customer experience


Re: Signed documents

That printed-signed-scanned problem? A crucial forgotten document, distance (3500 miles!) and urgency pushed me into, err, creatively enhancing a bill of sale for a classic car that I moved from Canada into the US. I took pains to ensure that it looked like a pukka print of a faxed copy. It worked beautifully simply because it looked utterly genuine. Class job if I may say so myself!

Now before anyone gets tetchy, the sale/purchase was legitimate ... I was simply dodging a potential seizure and disposal of said car by US customs because a relative of mine had forgotten the original document at home. Thank goodness for GIMP and freely-available noise on Teh Interwebs.

Point? You can keep the Jobsworths happy if what they see more or less conforms to their worldview and expectations.

Children, don't ever do this to defraud anyone. Or if your skills are ropey :-D

Icon 'cos "Just smile and wave boys, just smile and wave!"

I really, really need that coffee now ...

Google code reckons it's smarter than airlines, AI funding, and lots more


Re: Human nature

I would be most grateful for a pointer to the comparison you mention (US / DE litigation rates)!


Beer hall putz: Regulator slaps northern pub over Nazi-themed ad


Re: The problem here is bigger than one pub...

Speaking as a colonial boy (with not-inconsiderable ties to Blighty) who has spent the past 8 and some-odd years in Germany, I have to agree with you for the most part (European 'project' aside - that is a separate beer discussion).

This mindnumbingly inward obsession with "ze Nazis" and "how we beat the stuffing out of the Evil Huns" is somewhere around 50-60 years due for retirement. My experience of the Germans is that they are a pretty decent lot, with occasional scattered showers of rightwing idiots. My wife is German and loves Fawlty Towers - the episode in question causes no offence (if anything, it raises a good chuckle every time). What does cause offence is the grinding obsession that some seem to have with the tired cliche of "German = Nazi".

We speak a mixture of English and German (aka "Denglisch") and regularly pillory each other on matters linguistic. Not to mention "ze bat puns" .. (say that with obligtaory faux Hun accent).

Rant rave witter ... mürmel ...

Now, consider "Dinner for One" - an absolute staple every year around Christmas. Never in German, only ever in the original English. Some Nazis ...

Happily, I also lived in Blighty for six years or so, so know well that the idiot tendencies are not typical of most Blightians :-)

(Can I say "colonial boy" without offending? Just asking .... heh heh ...)

Facebook: Who needs millennials? The cops love us more than ever!


Re: At the A/C, ""It's a mystery why it's failing.

Had that about 3 years back when looking at a contract gig. They were utterly nonplussed when I responded with "Firstly, no. Secondly, no, and finally ... no. Thanks for the interest shown but I must decline the offer. If you truly have reason to consider me a sociopath or other sort of danger to squirrels and little old ladies, at least have the backbone to say so. Yes, yes, I know this will probably harm my future prospects ... ".

No, no working with vulnerable individuals, no SC-related gumpf, no sensitive fin data ...


Re: At the A/C, ""It's a mystery why it's failing.

You read my mind, my emotions ... it's ... it's as if you know me on social media!

No, wait, wait wait wait ... you have a life! A sense of self-worth!

Here, have a bewery on me :-)

Let's go live now to Magic Leap and... Ah, still making millions from made-up tech


Re: Procedure as normal

Not all tech companies, and I would surmise probably not the majority either (although you are quite right in suspecting that waaaaaaaay too many have formed and folded on the back of vapourware of one form or another).

What I can say from personal experience and approach is that the angel and VC circuits are way tougher than they used to be. Dotcom handouts just don't happen much anymore. I/we have done things the longer, harder way (concept, invention, proof of concept, translation into commercially-viable MVP ... and THEN some networking and panhandling. Taken a while to get to this stage, but we now have investors hungry to get onboard BECAUSE we have someting tangible and provably what it says it is.

Of course VC is high risk ... if it wasn't, the more conservative institutions would be all over investing in or loaning money to startups.

And kids? Yeah ... there are PLENTY of them. But I grant them this - they're almost all bright little buggers. I am somewhat older than the median of the startup pack - hmm - maybe that has a little to do with my/our refusal to go panhandling with some vague tho sexy-sounding concept.

I think you'll find there is little stupid VC out there ... sure, there is some, but the majority has wised up considerably. At least it has in Canada (which is where my little thing has taken root). South of the border, it's a pretty serious game too. I cannot speak for the rest of the world - I've only had experience of London (the real one ... GMT etc etc), and the West Coast of Canada, and a little of the US scene.

Startup World is a seriously hard place to be ... well, certainly if you take the whole process seriously and are not trying to scam 7 or 8 figures to Get Rich-ish Quick.

Your closing sentence is pretty much what VCs do. It's betting. The clever ones bet more winners than losers. But even great tech sometimes just ... doesn't make it.

I am of course hoping like hell that mine does!

UK.gov gears up for IR35 private sector crackdown – say industry folk


Fighting the temptation to go all "Ad hominem" ...

... hard, but must be done!

I scarcely think we would expect to find an economically "poor" fella* in the IT sector. That said, it is fair to argue that a successful contract resource is likely to have a few more pennies to toss about than a middle-of-the-road permie ... in most cases.

All this notwithstanding, I detect a sniff of your basic green-eyed monster in your comments (first para.). Please be advised that we are ALL entitled to pay the very least in tax as allowed by the law. It is not yet illegal to correctly apply tax laws so as to minimise your tax burden. Yes, it is quite true that there is greater scope for the self-employed than for the formally employed ... along with the risks, no vacation pay, no sick leave - need I go on? A moment's thought would raise many of the reasons why this has been so. You are as capable as any to work some of these out ...

Many other commentators have listed the risk factor in self-employment ... it is all very real. Very good contractors DO make a (relative) fortune .. and rightly so. So-so ones make a fair amount, and the crap ones, well, they go under sooner or later (or ... eek! ... go perm to escape the long droughts between gigs).

All I'd suggest is that until you have had the courage to go it alone, pack the green guy back in his or her box, and stop comparing apples with gherkins.

Until HMRC (or whatever tax entities apply to readers in diff'rnt locations) pull their jealous heads out of their bottoms and treat individual contractors as similarly as possible to the Capitas and their ilk out there, this will remain a silly argument between permies and contractors (and wilfully ignorant legislators).


* in fairness, on a perm salary of 60K in London, I defy anyone to not see themselves as relatively poor. In saying that, the reality for many on contracts is that they are little better off financially than the poor sod on 60K if trying to hack it in the Big Smoke.

The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US


Merkins and Munchkins

Hmmm ... I come from a former "Pariah State", and have (happily) never had grief from Merkin CBP dudes when entering the US. The advice to ALWAYS remain polite and to refrain from ad hominem goads to (usually) underpaid and unertrained CBP guys is indeed very, very good advice.

The only semi run-in I ever had was on trying to exit the US at SFO in 1997 ... triggered by an airline dude who did not recognise my residence visa for the UK. Cue over-zealous junior CBP dude ... etc etc ... situation defused by senior CBP officer who slapped junior silly (well, verbally) and waved me on.

I am not a fan of The Donald's approach ... but would suggest that people also consider that not all Merkins are Donald J Trump. Or Sean Spicer or ... There are awesome Merkins, and depressingly crude and dim ones. Same as many places. May be more constructive to visit and commune with the natives than not. But that is only my surmised point of view.

Not conflating the nation, it's leader. the broad populace etc is hard to do, but generally also quite a good idea.

OK, now to hide under ma' rock again!

TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next


Just ... why?

Unless you're in need of an enabling tool to overcome a disability, WHY O WHY would you want to sound like an oversized dildo and talk to a bloody marketing droid from 'mazon or 'oogle? (or anyone else for dat matter).

Convenience is a kak excuse ... so, try me.

OK, I concede that I come from an era where we made stuff, pondered what we may need (shockingly, AHEAD of time!), and other really stupid stuff. Now you pay someone to send you a droid which then sucks what remains of your privacy, while charging you for the privilege - and pushing crappy tosh at you.

Yay progress, Enjoy kids, I am off to deal with 6 feet of snow and real stuff.

(Oh yeah, got to upvote the comments re voice recognition having worked tolerably well on purely local devices ... w/out the need to phone home!)

Spinning that Brexit wheel: Regulation lotto for tech startups


Re: What's next?

Ah yes ... beer ... while there are some passably good microbrewing setups in Canuckland, I will grant you that the base beer options are indeed woefully poorer than Ireland or Scotland! Cheers to that!

On a more serious note, Brexit per se is not the issue (we may be a little principled, but moving ops/asset/IP base simply because of Brexit itself would be a bit stupid) - the specific regulatory environment and related are just better for us in Canada. Not the US, Canada. Opportunistic? Of course.

BTW, I am guessing "counties" was a small slip ;-) ....


Re: The uncertainty is the key issue

Have to agree with you on almost all counts. Winding down my UK operation and moving lock, stock and IP to Canada where there is a touch more promise for us/it. There is no benefit for us specifically in moving to continental Europe (Germany etcetera) - and as over 50% of the body total (six at this stage) are non-EU nationals, there is no real reason to stay. There was, but that has kinda evaporated.

Such is life.

Microsoft to overhaul Windows 10 UI – with a 3D Holographic Shell


Any significance to ...

... "hono(u)r all deities..." as the closing words?

Jus' wondering ....

US Politicians tell DEF CON it'll take Congress ages to sort out how to regulate crypto


Re: Hopeless

AC, spot-on!

A pragmatic view of protection of information leads to the position that "protection needs to be good enough to ensure a reasonable semblance of privacy, while simultaneously not requiring backdoors or keys lodged with government/other 3rd parties".

Making casual (read "lazy") interrogation of protected information too expensive for use as a default cop-out strikes me as making quite a lot of sense.

As one ot two others have commented, if you truly are An Evil Genius Bent On World Domination, you will give the Feds the slip one way or another ... and if you are a lesser grade of the same, the Feds will be able to nail you in any event. Probably.

Sorry ... my bit turned in to a mini-ramble, but as said at the start AC, your comment is spot-on!

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


A little addendum

... just a note around a comment from someone on how we service provider/contract wonks should mebbe be negotiating better for sick benefits and holiday. Eh? Say again? Whaaaa...?

Dude (name* escapes me, but it's NOT Lee), seriously, if you are getting benefits of employment factored into your contract, then you are causing the policy and rule wonks at HMRC to have veritable wet dreams. Why? 'cos you are then EXACTLY what they believe all of us to be - in bloody 'disguised employment'. The only difference is that yours is a fixed-term employment engagement with mildly crappier benefits than the perm permies.

So, IMO any external service provider (KPMG, Bob the Builder, Wonks Inc, hell, anyone who is yanked in to do a job then cut loose) ... should provide a service charged at an agreed rate, with agreed mutual responsibilities, and for an agreed timeframe/and/or set of deliverables. No bloody holiday or sick pay or pension or whatever.

If we wanted the security/tedium (pick one) of a perm engagement, we'd bloodywell get perm engagements. Not contract. We take risk. We (ok, some of us) do damned good work. Some of us, of course, do crap work and take the p155. I am, of course, not one of the p155takers (seriously).

I love a good rant in the aftermorning!

*Ah ... 'twas an AC. There. My memory is not as bad as my counsellor said it is. I think. Where was I?


Ermmm ... quite.

So, Lee, I take it from your comments that you are an ex-contract service provider 'cos you did not quite understand the basic concept of higher risk and higher reward to cover ya for the less sunny stretches between gigs.

Look, we all have moments when the logic shuts down, so I'll work on the assumption that this has happened to you. Fear not, it passes.

Do you seriously feel it reasonable that a permie should see about the same take-home as a contract worker, in exchange for a considerably higher risk-burden and simply non-existent benefits?

If you were from HMRC (Wait! You're not, are you??) I would understand the reasoning glitch. Please tell me you're from HMRC ....

These rules are so bloody stupid that a colleague and I (actually three of us, but the 3rd is a sanity check direcror appointment) have pooled revenue streams and admin to form a non "personal services company". We manage to stay outside IR35 by active management of our efforts, and through collaborative provision of services etcetera. Well, *WE* stay outside IR35, but that has not stopped HMRC from taking a flyer anyway. Rebuffed, so job done for a while.

What's the result here? Well, we're sodding off to an ex-colony to Do Our Thing. Odd bit is they welcome us and go as far as to provide tax breaks to help things along. Who'd've thought?

I feel much better now. Thanks Lee.

The Microsoft-LinkedIn hookup will be the END of DAYS, I tell you


HR rejoice! Now y'all can just ask Cortana who to hire ... good luck with THAT one!

$DEITY ... LI was bad enough to start with. While I see the marketing logic in MS's purchase, I cannot see how this at all lends any shred of credibility to LI.

My sad experience of LI has been that if you're a self-aggrandizing type, it probably works for you. Some of us prefer less of LI's BS-meter-popping endorsement and general ra-ra culture.

Bajayzus wept ... I have at least managed to banish W10 to a VM on an external drive, and my LI 'profile' is barest of bare bones and closed to public view. That small bit of stealth will now go away and be Cortana'd to buggery. Time to bow out completely.

ran rant dribble ... Nurse, my meds are late, please do hurry along if you would!

Microsoft will rest its jackboot on Windows 7, 8.1's throat on new Intel CPUs in 2018 – not 2017


Re: "One solution is to boot a Linux USB stick ..."

I seldom weigh into the Penguinista/Redmondista/Cupertinista silliness, but seriously dude ... what's that comment for?

If someone is a Penguiophile, then let 'em be. Diito Redmond & Cupertino fans ...

Asus ZenBook UX305: With Windows 10, it suddenly makes perfect sense


Eejit power button location ...

Apple. The Air on which I'm scribbling at the moment has the power button smack top right above the Delete key, on the main keyboard acreage. WTF? I have lost count of the number of times I have absent-mindedly sent the Air into shutdown by brushing the power button ("key") and looking away for a smidge too long. I share your pain.

Feds tell court: Apple 'deliberately raised technological barriers' to thwart iPhone warrant


Re: Single case Today --- ?? tomorrow...

Guide me here, please. I'm trying to work out quite what your point is ... it could well just be that I have insufficient caffeine in my veins and arteries. Probably.

We’re not holding biz to ransom, says pay to play ad-blocking outfit


Re: I think I'm in the minority

Ah, Ghost ... you echo my frustrations and irritations. Also uinviting myself from the webbiness slowly!

French parliament votes to jail tech execs who refuse to decrypt data


Re: Irrelevant to Apple, even if they pass it

I'm with you, Doug. The only fly in the ointment is that lawmakers seldom hesitate to attempt to legislate their way directly through the impossible ...


Re: So much for "MUH WEST COAST LAW!!"

Intentionally misquoting and paraphrasing Mark Twain ... "Reports of the impending death of encryption are greatly exaggerated”.

Sure the environment is changing ... but it ain't about to be dead anytime soon ...

NOTHING trumps extra pizza on IT projects. Not even more people


Re: Way back in the day

Take an upvote, and an invite to reminisce a little about the Old Days. Your summary is spot-on.


Re: get their hands dirty on both code and metal...

.... just let it roll off the tongue quickly. How very onomatopoeic ...

Well, off to organise a FacOp myself ...


Re: DevOps

You, Sir! I want you on my team. Bugger that, you can be the team ... have a beer on and for me!

UK to stop children looking at online porn. How?


Sadly, very sadly ...

... you're much closer to the truth than you want to be.


You missed that footnote ...

... didn't you? The one muttering on about "Circulation to Ministry of Truth only" ...

I'll just continue easing myself out of the worst of it.

Free science journal library gains notoriety, lands injunctions


Re: Sounds like russian's don't know how copyright works...

Whoa, dude, whoa!

Never submit rants when you*re fatigued or on your ear. Always causes woes ...

When asked 'What's a .CNT file?' there's a polite way to answer


Have a case of good single Malt, my good man!

Oh yes, with you on this one. Having been around the business for nearly 30 years as a Big People, and longer if I include an early start before completing school ... etc etc ramble!

Windows 10 will now automatically download and install on PCs


Re: Time to disable Windows update on my parent's PCs

awwww .... c'mon .... who plugged the downvote there?

Just curious as I didn't go all M$ shrill or Linux-hysterical on anyone. Hell, we have Win, OS X, Linux, iOs and various 'droid flavours in Chez Moi - just the way it is.

Ah well, tea calls (again).


Re: Time to disable Windows update on my parent's PCs

I'm not especially anti-anything, with the sole exception of MS's forced uodate/upgrade crapola. For various annoying reasons (ok, just two) I have had to keep Win running ... (W7 Enterprise). Oddly, after locking it down tighter than a duck's arse, it is stable, never mysteriously updates, and I can even use mobile data without fearing a petabyte-sized slurp. I know this will not last, even with my Baldrickesque machinations to secure the Fortress, but by Harry, it's kept me lean and stable for until now.

Win will continue to exist in Chez Moi, but only on a dedicated and mostly air-gapped device. Oh, and in a VM if I can get that stable and so on.

There. After that refreshing (for me at least) diatribe, I'll have me tea. Non-upgraded.

IBM places Watson's IoT brains in Munich


Re: Complete with Munich Palm Tree

Take a large upvote on that! Ba-da-tisschhhh!

Outage outrage: Banks need clear targets for improving IT systems


Re: There's already IT expertise in the boardroom

Vague and wafty 'cos I like many of the people at the place referred to above. Just not the executive suite ...


Re: There's already IT expertise in the boardroom

Yup, yup ... best use of the 650-a-day EA dude is plugging in the projector. Or similar. But heaven forbid you'd actually act on the 250K-worth of planning said dude has done. Oh noooo ... nooo ... scream.

Facebook CSO slams RSA Conf for repping 'the worst parts of the security industry'


Re: This doesn't make sense.

Poacher / Gamekeeper ... stuff like that.

Who better to know when security is compromised than someone who's paycheque (paycheck?) depends on slurping with or without your consent?

But yeah, it is a bit confusing ... Stamos ranting about security etc.

Gov must hire 'thousands' of techies to rescue failing projects


Re: IT degree?

With minor differences, that's my story too. And yeah, when offered something in IT, run, run, run! AC, have a lifetime of beet on me (virtually, natch!).

It's 2016 and idiots still use '123456' as their password


Re: It's hopeless

Face it, we're on the shrinking team ...

The Day Netflix Blocked My VPN is the world's new most-hated show


Re: Attacking their Customers

Fair comment, though I can't be the only one with family & friends just about everywhere except the Middle and Far East ... ;-)

Improve, automate, rinse and repeat: All aboard the starship DevOps


Re: Bah humbug

On the money, Lysenko!

(Many moons back, I worked on Intelligence systems in an interesting place elsewhere on the planet ... mistakes were not a clever thing. This was before the days of ISO9000, and before this newfangled Agile stuff). Will stop before this becomes a rant ...

Ready for DevOps? Time to brush up on The Office and practise 'culture'


Re: Am I missing something?

Bugger me ... just noticed I'm 5 days late to this party! Seems NY's eve was better than expected!

If the company culture is up to maggots, and if management is clueless, well, you can toss any label/system/methodology/whatever about and still be guaranteed to spend n times as much for 1/n of the desired result ... and a solution which isn't.

/returning to my vat of CH2O now/

(subscripting lost, "2" not subscripted as it ought to be!)


Re: Am I missing something?

Polish a turd and you end up with a shiny* turd.

I think boatloads of us elder duffers have seen all sorts of nonsense come and go over the years. Same crap, different wrappers.

*Actually, you end up with an utter mess, but Management Wonks would have you believe in the shiny outcome.

Bloke sues dad who shot down his drone – and why it may decide who owns the skies


Re: "250 grams (1 pound)"

I'd go with the "WTF?" reaction to 1 Pound = 250g ... that said, if you meander across to Germany, you'll find that a Pound is accepted as 500g. Confused the heck out of me for a long time! Still nowhere near 250g, but is at least a nice, clean integer multiple gets our 250g to 500g. Is there a Hun somewhere, editing reports? (Disclaimer: I am allowed to say that as I am one these days!).

A single malt. Because Paris is indeed lovely.

If you want a USB thumb drive wiped, try asking an arts student for help


Re: Rambling free style

A salute to your ramblings, sir. Many parallels on my end. Keep it up.

FBI: Apple and Google are helping ISIS by offering strong crypto


Re: Dear ThreeLetterAgencies. Fuck You.

Second that motion. To be fair to the TLAs, they're just the reflection of society's lack of introspectiion and thought about The Stuff That Really Matters. I, too, grew up in a country where terror and some fairly enthusiastic* surveillance were the order of the day. We just got on with things too.

UK digital minister asks for input on strategy, lauds 'sharing economy' biz success


Re: Sure ting, Ed ... @moonunuit

Hi Vimes - the 'innovation' will be apparent once we have a first commercial outing of The Thing. First to market advantage and all that. Please understand (and forgive) the slight reluctance to out myself at this stage :-)


Re: Sure ting, Ed ...

In fairness, the Huns are even worse with conflicting messages ... "please start your digital business, we want innovation and entrepreneurship here!" fighting with more paperwork than you ever believed possible. And much the same "No, no, everything gets taxed. Twice is better" real incentive to bring you rmoney in.

Just 'kin beggars belief. So it's off to the New World, off to ex-colonies. And half a chance to profit from innovation and entrepreneurship.

No, Ed & Osbo, entrepreneurship is not just a smokescreen for tax evasion. It's 'kin hard work. Idiots.


Sure ting, Ed ...

/rant alert/

... while the UK government sings the entrepreneurial song, the realities are that I would be stupid to take my little startup and base it in the UK. Bizarrely, before you lot started tarting about with regulations and attempting to classify absolutely any income/profit generating activity as 'obviously a mechanism to evade tax', the startup climate in the UK was not all that bad. There were better startup environments in other countries, but the UK was still tolerable for those of us with European bases.

So here's the kicker - while my little digital startup will make not a gnat's ballhair's difference to the UK overall, it is currently being welcomed with open arms by an ex-colony. With tax breaks and a boatload of other incentives. Yep ... yep ...

Ed, I'd like to slam you for not having a clue ... but that'd be unfair. The problem is that none of you really have much of a clue (in Government, that is). The ones who do have a clue are sidelined or stored in dark rooms and fed on boiled boots. Or they leave for industry to avoid such a fate.

/rant over-ish/



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