nav search
Data Centre Software Security DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes

* Posts by DavCrav

2625 posts • joined 19 Nov 2007

Dixons Carphone smarting from £440m loss as it writes down goodwill on mobile biz

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: End of Year Tax loss?

Indeed. A writedown of goodwill usually means 'we really screwed up that takeover'. It doesn't tell you whether the problem was in the high cost of the meal or in the digestion of it, but either way it came out the other end as shit.

DavCrav Silver badge

"I'm pretty sure we are the most fertile ground for flagship handset prices. I had a smartphone before most people had any type of portable communication device. If we don't see the benefits of the latest model any more, then nobody does."

That means we were the fertile ground, but that's back when new phones did new things. Now they are just slightly larger and with slightly better cameras and denser pixelled screens, no thanks. People who know about technology are customers of good technology, not incremental upgrades.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Times change

"Argos had one of the best customer satisfaction ratings on the high street as they didn't have any high pressure sales staff."

I think this is as good a place as any for a rant about high-pressure sales staff. My bloody staff canteen is now trying to upsell people, by asking each and every customer if they want a soup or a dessert with their main. At the till. After I've walked past the dessert and soup stations without stopping. So no, I didn't want one then, and I still don't.

Huawei exec out of jail, just as US accuses China of Marriott hack

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: So...

"Arresting a Canadian was just stupid."

Correction, make that 'arresting two Canadians'. The PRC have kidnapped* a second person.


*Walk like a duck, talks like a duck, etc. The PRC have two Canadian hostages right now. Meanwhile, it seems at least plausible that this CFO of Huawei was lying through her teeth when she claimed that Skycom and Huawei were separate, and therefore the fraud charge is real. There's a jurisdictional question, which is the very interesting question of 'if I defraud you and I am in a different country to you, can you sue me in your country?' It gets even knottier if my law says I didn't defraud you and your law says I did.

Google CEO tells US Congress Chocolate Factory will unleash Dragonfly in China

DavCrav Silver badge

"Monopoly Man"

His name is Milburn Pennybags. I can't believe I'm the first person to point this out.

Latest Google+ flaw leads Chocolate Factory to shut down site early

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: The best thing Google could do

"Make it open source, give it to someone who cares for it."

You say give it to someone who cares for it, but what if he doesn't want it?

DavCrav Silver badge

"Still, while Thacker insists there is no evidence the bug was ever exploited"

Well, no. That would require someone to be there.

DavCrav Silver badge

Tesco apparently means "T.E.Stockwell" and "Cohen". Well, that's my learning for today ticked off.

Poor people should get slower internet speeds, American ISPs tell FCC

DavCrav Silver badge

"Is this article a joke? I don't mean what WISPA is advocating for, but the premise that people don't pay more for faster Internet?"

The premise is that it's wrong to redefine 'broadband' for poor people. We wouldn't like a redefinition of a safe medicine to 'really safe if you are rich, but if you are poor, well it's safe enough'. The FCC shouldn't have a sliding scale of the definition of broadband depending on earnings.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Let them eat cake

"Let them eat cake"

Let's do this one now. This was

1) not cake but brioche, which is more a sweet bread than cake, and

2) never said by Marie Antoinette. In fact, it dates from at least 50 years before she was born.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Municipal cable companies

"The major problem/issue why no more are doing this is that it looks like a lot of work...."

I thought the major issue was corporate lobbying to get them taken down the woodshed and shot in the back of the head before they can get going?

DavCrav Silver badge

"I'm beginning to think the US ISPs have realised that when the next lot of LEO broadband satellites (StarLink, OneWeb etc) come on line, they will be unable to compete. As a result they are trying to milk as much as possible from under-developed infrastructure while they still can."

Except I would guess that the latency (as mentioned in the article) will be quite high for them.

Remember Misco? Staff win protective award at employment tribunal

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Taxpayer?

"Quite worrying that the tax payer has been left to pick up the bill. Now it has been proved in court and the precedent set, then any future business can go into liquidation, not pay the staff what they are due, and leave the tax payer to pick up the cost?"

Only if the business has no assets, like in this case. Misco didn't actually own anything, so there's nothing to sell except a few office furnishings.

DavCrav Silver badge

"£1500ish would probably come in very useful if you've just lost your job."

Useful, yes. But if the company has no assets, and is in adminstration, where is it coming from?

Brit bomb hoax teen who fantasised about being a notorious hacker cops 3 years in jail

DavCrav Silver badge

He's not a psychopath, he's just a twat.

US Homeland Security installs AI cameras at the White House, Google tries to make translation less sexist

DavCrav Silver badge

"Sexism in Google Translation is from biased training data. As the system is trained on millions of text scraped from the web, these sentences carry the historical and social biases humans have over time."

Is this a new definition of bias that I don't know, where something is biased if it's an accurate description of current reality?

Funnily enough, China fuming, senator cheering after Huawei CFO cuffed by Canadian cops at Uncle Sam's request

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Sklyarov

"What immediately springs to my mind is the Sklyarov case. Uncle Sam arrests a man for writing software that was perfectly legal in his own country, where he had done the work. Took them quite a long time to decide no crime had been committed."

I didn't know about that, so read the Wikipedia entry. Fun fact: who was the DoJ prosecutor who decided to press ahead despite there being no evidence that a crime had been committed? Step forward, Robert Mueller!

DavCrav Silver badge

""But Iran has the inherent right to defend itself, and to obtain whatever weapons it needs in order to do this."

False. Iran is a signatory to the nuclear NPT."

OK, apparently this needs explaining. Iran has a right to self-defence, yes. As a non-nuclear signatory to the NPT, it has agreed not to develop nuclear weapons. Therefore from a legal perspective it does not have the right to obtain any weapons, for example NBC weaponry would be banned. Since the original post was about Iran's legal position, I think pointing out that Iran cannot legally acquire nuclear weapons under the NPT was a reasonable statement.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Dangerous precedent

"More like - Imagine western individual being arrested in any of those countries which are presently on Chinese payroll. So much for that lovely holiday to the Maldives you know."

Just so you know, this happens. China has had people arrested in third countries who then magically turn up in China.

DavCrav Silver badge

"But Iran has the inherent right to defend itself, and to obtain whatever weapons it needs in order to do this."

False. Iran is a signatory to the nuclear NPT.

DavCrav Silver badge

"Ignoring a dictate by one country that has no authority over any other country?

Hauwei can legally do what ever kind of business it wants with whomever it wants, as long as they follow Chinese law."

That logic only applies in China, though. Surely you can see that your two sentences are not compatible. If Huawei follow Chinese law, then they have no problem in China. If Canadian and US laws decide that she is guilty of breaking US sanctions, then she is guilty, for precisely the reason you say she isn't guilty: because China's laws don't override Canada's. And look where she is.

Quite a few countries have the notion of universal jurisdiction for certain crimes.

UK taxman told to chill out 'cos loan charge is whacking tax dodgers and whoopsies alike

DavCrav Silver badge

"The report however says HMRC - in possession of all the data, did nothing until about 5 years ago and that is (in their Lordships' eyes) an abuse of the powers they called for, were granted and now apparently are not enough."

So, you at least agree that everyone engaging in EBTs since 2012 (six, not five years ago when the first tribunal said HMRC are right) is a fraudster. OK, we'll start from there, but I'm glad to know you are admitting that if you have advised anyone on an EBT since 2012 then you are abetting a criminal offence.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: @DavCrav

"On top of this, senior legal professionals advised that they were legitimate and legal, so many of those who weren't forced into them thought that they were a safe and legal way to minimise their tax burden."

HMRC have said they weren't for at least the last eight years. (That was the first link I clicked on that found legislation tackling these schemes in 2010.) They were obviously at least a bit dodgy. Nobody can seriously, with a straight face, think that paying more or less no tax on earnings was fully legit. I mean, be reasonable here.

You people who think closing the EBT loophole is terrible of HMRC need to sort yourselves out. Did some people get defrauded by their tax advisors and employers? Yes. The people you should be angry with is them, not government.

This just proves that the far-right no tax bullshitters were lying all along. "We pay no tax, we think it's legal, government should change the law if they want us to pay tax." Government changes law, at latest 2010. "Think of the children!!1! Oh, and the teachers and social workers!"

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: @DavCrav

"HMRC have been aware of these schemes for over a decade and they had been declared under the HMRC DOTAS process. HMRC chose not to do anything about them. They are now not chasing the scheme providers, but the individuals who were signed up to them, many of them unaware of the arrangements or accepting the claims of the scheme providers."

Bollocks. EBTs were the subject of loophole legislation since at least 2010. It's just that the legal rulings and multiple appeals have taken this long. So HMRC have been saying 'this is tax fraud' for at least eight years of that decade. Now there are legal judgments that say 'yes, it is tax fraud'. Pay up.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: And care workers, supply teachers, couriers...

"And care workers, supply teachers, couriers...

Yes, you heard right.

A lot of minimum-wage and zero-hours workers have been forced into these and similar arrangements so their employer can avoid/evade national insurance and similar."

You see, when I do Google searches for employee benefit trust and courier/teacher, I find no examples. I'd like to see an actual, named example of such a thing. Until then it doesn't exist as far as I'm concerned.

And at any rate, HMRC says they are going after the company at first instance, and then if the company folds it's pushed onto successors and then the employees. So sounds like supply teachers that I can't find any evidence exist are off the hook, unless the school doesn't exist any more.

DavCrav Silver badge

Who exactly on lower income is being forced to use EBTs. as insinuated in the article? The only people I've ever heard using them are footballers, those hard-working salt of the earth lads in permanent penury.

From what I can gather, this part of the Finance Bill is a long-overdue attempt to close a loophole in tax law where you can borrow money from your company and never pay it back, essentially earning tax free. Then the company is wound up, the loan is written off, and you never pay a penny in tax. Well, as of April 2019, these people get stuck with the full bill unless they repay the loan.

I, to be honest, couldn't give a monkey's about the pain such people will receive.

Tumblr resorts to AI in attempt to scrub itself clean from filth

DavCrav Silver badge

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the following interesting logic:

1) App gets banned for hosting child porn.

2) Tumblr decides to ban female-presented nipples. And not, like, child porn.

If the only way they can stop child porn is to ban pictures of adults, I think they really shouldn't be in business.

Millennials 'horrify' their neighbours with knob-shaped lights display

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Worthless without pictures

"I thought t'internet was all kittens?"

Wait until the 18th of December. Then Tumblr takes down its porn, or so it claims, and we will see just how many people want to support its business with only one type of pussy to look at.

YouTube fight gets dirty: Kids urged to pester parents over Article 13

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Isn't it bad?

"no it's not. assuming no crime is being committed"

But the offence of copyright infringement has been committed. Google managed to buy enough politicians and judges to get an exemption from the law. So while the one crime has technically not been committed by them, the crime of corruption has been committed.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Isn't it bad?

"If a law is impossible to follow then it is a bad law"

It's not impossible to follow, as it requires you to stop doing something rather than to do something, like your straw man does. Close down your business is quite easy to follow actually, just you won't like it.

It would be impossible for a tobacco company to follow a ruling that bans tobacco without closing, but that wouldn't in and of itself make it a bad law. Laws that force certain businesses to close or vastly reduce in size happen regularly. Normally it happens because we consider the effects of the business to be deleterious enough to require their cessation. For example, Viagogo might well be hacked to pieces soon because it is flouting consumer protection laws. The result of the reduction in FOBT stakes to £2 will cause betting shops to close. The opinion is that the harm that the businesses cause outweigh their good, so they are forcibly changed by law.

Social media is ripe for such regulation. At the moment social media causes massive harm to society, but gleefully runs away with its piles of cash the moment that anyone tries to press them to solve the problems they have created. Facebook is going to be forced to change its business practices at some point, probably soon.

It seems quite possible that glysophate will be banned, or its use severely curtailed, over the next few years. Putting arguments over the science to one side, and assuming it was actually found to cause cancer, should we allow Monsanto/Bayer to continue to sell Roundup, because not doing so would harm their business?

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Arrested for being drunk

"Just get a Johnny Cab droid for the driver's seat!"

Or a mannequin to do in the driver's seat though. Make sure it's white though, the black ones keep getting pulled over. (Copyright, Men in Black.)

EU tech tax talks teeter on brink – reports

DavCrav Silver badge

"If an international deal were struck by 2020, the UK's proposed tech tax wouldn't come into force – which has led some to question whether it is worth the government's time consulting on, and drawing up, national proposals when it already has a packed legislative agenda."

The purpose of unilateral action is to encourage the OECD/G20 to get their finger out. If nobody says we're going to do it anyway, the Americans can keep stalling and nothing gets done.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Erm

Oh do fuck off with your free man of the land arch-libertarian Ayn Rand bullshit. Governments are necessary, especially in Europe where they do nice things like look after you when you are ill. Yank (among others) piss-takers are jeopardizing the whole of our welfare state, and we don't want to end up like you.

£10k offer to leave firm ASAP is not blackmail, Capita told by judge

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Not Blackmail?

"I do not think that I have ever heard of someone being given a couple of hours notice and a rounded offer to quit.Then again this is Crapita we are talking about .."

I've also not even heard of blackmail where the victim is given money. Normally it's the other way round.

"We are going to fire you anyway, but here's £10k to leave quietly" is just not blackmail, unless I've been labouring under a misapprehension of what blackmail is. Bribery at a stretch, yes. But then being offered money to do things at work would then be classed as bribery. And being offered money for early retirement, and so on.

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Trying reasonableness?

"wait... didn't something like that happen in the 1770's? Only it was soldiers. Yeah. There was an actual WAR fought over that, and other things."

No. The Quartering Acts specifically excluded people's private dwellings.

The main reason the War was fought is that the Colonies wanted to be defended by England, but not have to pay anything towards that defence. They weren't happy with being taxed to pay for their own defence, so rebelled. Amusingly it's now Donald of Trump who is making that argument, but the other way round.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Unanswered questions..

"Wouldn't it be awful if the GCHQ part did coin mining at the same time. "

Awful for you, sure. I mean, unless you like prison.

NHS supplier that holds 40 million UK patient records: AWS is our new cloud-based platform

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Just a minute there

"standardized password: "password"."

That's hideously insecure and now deprecated. We know that all passwords need a number and a capital letter. The new standard is 'Password1'.

(This is not actually a joke. A friend of mine used the password 'guitars' until he was forced to abide by new rules. He chose the password 'Guitars1'. Much safer. I was unsuccessful in convincing him it was not that much safer.)

Take my advice and stop using Rubik's Cubes to prove your intelligence

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: 1970s?

"There was no such thing as a Rubik's Cube in the 1970s.

OK, there was a magic cube that you could easily scramble but was harder to unscramble. I still have a vintage example from November 1979[1]. But it wasn't until 1980 that it hit the shops and acquired the "Rubik" name.

[1] I can place it that precisely because it was my first term at Cambridge, when I regarded it as a practical exercise in Group Theory - one of the term's main courses."

Indeed. I know who you got it from as well, since he was the principal, in fact possibly only, importer of the cubes into the UK at the time.

I was once one of you, F1 star Lewis Hamilton tells delighted IT bods

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Glamour in F1 is good

"Just have both male and female grid people. Problem solved: everyone's happy"

Well, I'm not sure about the optics of that. 'Grid girls' is considered objectifying. I'm not sure 'grid children' is making things better, to be honest.

DavCrav Silver badge

"Lewis Hamilton is easily the most unlikable British sportsman/tax avoiders/evaders."

He is a twat, yes. But easily the most unlikable? I guess you have forgotten about such glorious sportsmen as John Terry, Joey Barton, and of course Ched Evans and other criminals.

I suppose you meant easily the most unlikable British sportsman except for footballers. The competition is thinned out considerably now, but I reckon I can still find someone brutally objectionable.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

" - 1008. A couple of other people in her regiment are in the 900-es, but AFAIK she is the only person to cross the 1000 combat sorties (most of them bombing) boundary."

Thanks. I found information about the Night Witches on my first look, but not her in particular. Probably because the articles don't explicitly say GOAT, a search for which I assume only shows articles of Messi.

I'm not sure that comparisons with RAF bomber records are fair. It seems to be comparing apples and oranges, because with the attrition rate of RAF bomber crews, I reckon it's mathematically more or less impossible to reach 500, never mind 1000. I was reading about 60% losses after 20 sorties. Even at 60% losses after 50 sorties, to reach 500 is a 1 in 10000 chance (easy with that many pilots), but to reach 1000 is a 1 in 100m chance.

I'm not saying she didn't do it, I'm saying that Soviet and Allied records don't seem to be comparable.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

"To put it bluntly, as long as a woman is holding the all time record for wartime bombing combat sorties (WW2 to be more exact), I do not see why a woman cannot be a F1 driver."

I'm trying to find out who this is but cannot. There were plenty of female pilots in WWII, but I couldn't find any record holder (male or female) either for combat sorties, or more specifically for bombing sorties, which were much more dangerous.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: What a knob

"That was probably his point;"

Then he wasn't making it very well, because he said it to HPE employees, not Liberty Global, or whoever it is that owns F1 nowadays.

The antisocial network: 'Facebook has a black people problem,' claims staffer in exit salvo

DavCrav Silver badge

"i bet you guys spend your evenings watching BBC cuckold content on pornhub. cry more. please."

BBC content on PornHub? They should sue.

DavCrav Silver badge

"a strategic partner manager for global influencers, where he focused on underrepresented voices."

1) What kind of brain damage did I suffer where I am imagining a world where 'strategic partner for global influencers' is actually a job?

2) What exactly are underrepresented global influencers? I'm going to guess he means black Americans. Who I guess are vastly overrepresented in the global influencers list. There are about 40m black Americans in the world. So there should be, on Facebook, roughly four times as many Bangladeshi (as in, actually living in Bangladesh) influencers as black American ones. Anything else is, surely, discriminatory. Of course, white Americans are overrepresented even more, don't get me wrong, but the best way to correct this is to reduce the number of American influencers.

Actually, the best way to correct this is to reduce the number of influencers. To zero, preferably.

Euro consumer groups: We think Android tracking is illegal

DavCrav Silver badge

"Ironically, nudging and "dark patterns" of design were once enthusiastically endorsed by governments, legitimising the techniques of manipulation."

The government imprisons people as well, but this isn't legitimizing the idea of kidnapping.

Apple heading for Supreme Court showdown over iOS App Store 'monopoly' gripe

DavCrav Silver badge

"Unless you're buying real specialised apps, most customers are hardly losing their life savings, or like, the price of a coffee"

Multiply that by the number of applications bought and the number of people and you get a big number. That's the total harm to the class.

Facebook spooked after MPs seize documents for privacy breach probe

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Sovereign Power applied.

"At this point, having set the prisoner free this immediately proves the fact that the imprisonment they were in was unlawful, at which point the person who caused the imprisonment is by default guilty of false imprisonment, which is a felony under common law."

I'm not sure that that's true. (Usual 'not a lawyer' statements apply here.) False imprisonment isn't a strict liability offence. As well as actus rea you would need to show mens rea; in this case, that the person imprisoning knew that it was false. Otherwise you would be locking up people who imprisoned those who were found guilty but whose convictions were later overturned, or those that were arrested but later released without charge.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Sergeant at Arms

"I'm fairly sure they aren't armed either, unless you count a ceremonial mace which opens Parliament."

Just mentally noting that if ever Michael Heseltine is made Serjeant-at-Arms, I should steer well clear.

DavCrav Silver badge

Re: Was wondering when you'd cover this

"That would have been fantastic if USA had the same clause in their constitution as EVERY EUROPEAN country which has one (no comment on the one that does not)."

I don't know if it's possible, under the UK constitution, to place international law above domestic law. It would be utterly incompatible with Parliamentary Sovereignty, as whichever Parliament signed such a constitutional bill would see it struck down by the next. So Parlimentary Sovereignty would have to be removed. That's the central doctrine of UK constitutional law, and so that would, more or less, be considered a revolution.

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing