* Posts by BahnStormer77

8 posts • joined 13 Jun 2016

UK's Virgin Media celebrates the end of 2019 with a good, old fashioned TITSUP*

BahnStormer77

it wasn't just Virgin...

It was a lot more than just VirginMedia... I have a multi-WAN router with 500Mbps Virginmedia, and two backups: BT Openreach and a Vodafone 4G dongle.... all three were down... even the dongle would connec to LTE, but be unable to transfer data... then reconnect with such a low signal, I could ping IP addresses, but nothing more. Both the voice lines linked to the cabled solutions were also down, so the only comms we had was Vodafone (voice and SMS only) - I resorted to putting a SIM card in a tablet and taped it to an upstairs window - I was able to get ~200kbps on a 4G link, presumably from a fairly distant, overloaded mast... #firstworldproblems

Various neighbours on BT fibre and VM were all impacted - the only people unaffected were a retired couple around the corner on Talk-Talk!

It's worth noting that it NOT ENTIRELY FIXED YET - after 8 days, I have a working BT phone line, but still no DSL.... and then working Virginmedia broadband, but no VM phoneline... presumably they're not keen for me to talk to them....

IR35 contractor tax reforms crawl closer to UK private sector with second consultation

BahnStormer77

So when does it all fall apart?

Could somebody summarise exactly when I need to close my limited company by (and emigrate)?

Or is this all going to be like the Public IR35 and only selectively applied? I've been repeatedly contacted by Public sector recruitment agents (recruiting for MOJ and MOD) stating that their contractor clients do NOT fall in IR35... even on the rates 20-30% above private sector contract rates, it isn't not a risk I've ever been willing to take, but it seems that some people have found loopholes, even working for departments within the government.

I'd rather close the company and emigrate than risk being pursued for income tax, when I already pay double what I ever paid in PAYE+NI as an employee... if they actually refunded the VAT, corporation tax and dividends and then forced us to pay PAYE+NI, I think they'd very quickly realise that it's a zero sum game for most contractors - or certainly most that aren't completely abusing their expenses.

Microsoft: You don't want to use Edge? Are you sure? Really sure?

BahnStormer77

Chrome sometimes has issues with some funny proxy rules, so I've tried Edge a fair bit: Edge isn't TOO bad, if you can live without the useful add-ins... and also just work out how to set and KEEP Google as the default search engine (Bing seems to short-list dozens of spam sites and irrelevant/inappropriate adverts ahead of genuine results)... ironically, the only site that is really unusable with Edge is Hotmail - where the adverts just grind the whole e-mail process into a 1990's era modem-like experience - almost as bad as when MS first migrated Hotmail to Windows Servers!

Any social media accounts to declare? US wants travelers to tell

BahnStormer77

how do they define social media?!?!

Where do they draw the line? And what counts as a suspicious LACK of accounts? Everybody is deleting Facebook or at very least, censoring it to the point of it looking suspicious... what else do they want to know about?!? I've got "social media" accounts in the form of forum memberships, but that includes stuff for cars and dishwashers that I got rid of 15 years ago.... several hundred forum memberships in total.... and no Instagram/Twitter/Picasa, etc... I'm probably going to get grief for having some type of accounts and not enough of others...

Not the droids you're looking for – worst handsets to resell

BahnStormer77

use until dead: especially on AOSP

Use until dead really works if you look around elsewhere for OS support: Samsung may have abandoned my 4yr old Galaxy S4's, but I still have two of them in daily use as multimedia players, universal IR remote controls, Skype phones, etc: one of them needed a new battery 2 years ago (£5 on eBay and 10secs to swap it over), the older one is still on the original battery and gets ~48h easily, admittedly mostly due to WiFi only usage.

All I've done with them is put AOSP ROM's and they're lightning quick, faster than even the new handsets are with SlouchWiz and I get far longer battery life and all the latest security updates before even the Galaxy S8 users will.

I used one of them recently for a day out, while I was rebuilding my G5 and I must say that I was almost tempted to keep on with it: very compact, 5" screen with the same res as an iPhone7Plus, long battery life and with a 64Gb SD card, it was brilliant!

BahnStormer77

Ha ha!! This guide is my new shopping list

This guide is my new shopping list!!

Look at the SIM-only angle: I want a phone that is going to have the largest possible initial drop in value.... that way I get to pick up a nearly new handset that is a 6-month old model for a tiny fraction of the RRP and then run it on a SIM-only contract.

Mobile phone included contracts are for mugs: people are better off buying the phones on credit cards (even on 30% APR!) and just negotiating HARD on the contract - the last time I tried this, the difference between the "lowest possible" price for a high-end contract (Vodafone Red 4G, Spotify, 20Gb data) and any of the popular phones, versus the same contract and no phone was £34pcm (£48pcm vs £14pcm)... for 24 months. £34pcm x 24 months....

That means they would have milked an EXTRA £816 out of me if I'd gone for their included phone... and continued to do so once the 24months was up unless I then re-negotiate.

Solution: Scan this list for a high depreciation, nearly new, fairly decent (£500?) handset that you can pick up for <£350 and you've avoided a ~£450 mugging....

Redmond adds malware, phish warnings to Bing

BahnStormer77

but malware still heads the list of searches....

Searches for common utilities in Bing returns Malware sites ahead of the genuine applications - looks like the malware has got inside Bing's SEO!

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