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Comment Re:My God! (Score 4, Interesting) 178

it is a result of quite a few years of lobbying by organisations such as Open Forum Europe and internal pressure from certain folk within the civil service. The government is reasonably receptive to well made arguments. They have a big love-hate thing going on with Microsoft. They know they are being screwed over by an American company that doesn't pay it's full share of UK taxes, so they like to kick back a bit now and then.

Comment stop doing stupid shit with VAT then (Score 4, Interesting) 57

At the start of this year VAT changed so that for digital online sales the place of supply is where the consumer belongs. This means if you sell an app/ebook/knitting pattern/recipe/tune then you have to collect two bits of non-conflicting evidence of the place of belonging of the consumer, then figure out which of the 70 or so rates of VAT across 27 countries applies for the specific product (several have special ebook rates) then you add VAT to the price and remit it to HMRC through the mini one stop shop (VATMOSS). There is no threshold for this and you can get penalties each quarter from 27 different countries if you get it wrong. Or, you can geoblock and say "screw you, I can't cope with this shit." to potential customers outside the UK.
Geoblocking is about the only sane response to VATMOSS.

Comment training!=teaching (Score 1) 213

this "preparing for the workplace" mantra is the thing that ripped computing out of primary and secondary schools and replaced it with Microsoft Office training. The assorted coding in schools initiatives (Codeclub, the Barclays code playground, Rewired State Codecademy and so on) are the rest of the industry trying to put teaching back into schools. Even Microsoft know they went too far pushing training and want to get teaching of coding back into schools.
I have a suspicion that Finland will make this work (they have a good track record of making stuff work) but I think it is important to distinguish between training and teaching.

Comment it solves the bit that isn't a problem (Score 1) 91

so you have to make the pasta, make the filling, then load the machine with dough and filling, then wait two minutes per ravioli, then apply pressure to each one to check it is sealed and waterproof then drop them in the water to cook them. Or, seeing as you have made the dough already, roll it out, pop it over a ravioli tray put a spoonfull of filling in each bit and roll over another sheet of pasta, job done 12 at a time.
I can see 3d printing as being interesting for high end intricate and decorative chocolate/sugar creations. Most pasta is formed by extrusion anyway, and you probably could do something interesting with 3d printing pasta, but not ravioli.

Comment if done by sane people this could work (Score 1) 690

The initial plan of austerity meant huge unemployment and poverty, paying off debt as fast as possible whilst the economy tanked, making it harder and harder to pay off the debt. This isn't a great plan for anyone involved including the creditors.
A revised plan which involves jobs and productivity and increasing their ability to pay would be a plausible way out. If they want a restructuring of the debt on the basis of giving free electricity to poor people I can't see what is in it for the creditors. Raising the minimum wage is a fairly neutral thing to do, it cuts some rubbish jobs and increases the value of some more reasonable jobs, in itself it isn't a huge deal either way in terms of repaying the debt (or making the debt more affordable, nobody actually wants the debt repaid, they just want it to be reliably serviced)

Comment coding should be taught as coding (Score 3, Insightful) 212

I want people to understand loops. Loops that happen a number of times, loops that run at least once and end on a condition, loops that are entered on a condition and may never run. I want people to get an understanding of how fast computers are at calculating things. I want people to understand functions, datatypes and recursion. These are all completely academic topics, nothing harder than long division. There is no reason not to teach this stuff. You can do it all with block based languages (scratch/blockly) or with various text languages. That doesn't matter. It is the fundamental concepts that everyone needs to be introduced to, just like everyone gets to do a bit of algebra and a bit of chemistry and a bit of geography.

Comment I read the report and was perplexed (Score 1) 118

being an Ubuntu user I don't have a wheel group, but this seems to be related to the fact that local users don't need root to install packages from the repositories. If there is a bad package in a trusted repository, then an untrusted local user could install it and the bad package could give that user root access. This is expected behaviour, I don't think you can install local packages through this rule (if you can then there is a vulnerability, create your own deb package with an install script that gives you root, then install it) but the point of trusted repositories is that you trust them, so you can install updates and new packages without admin access. The report seemed more concerned about talking about wheels and grinches than actually explaining the vulnerability.

Comment Re:it can be air filled (Score 2) 200

fair point, I don't think putting humans in the Venus atmosphere is a massively good idea until it is a viable place for full time colonisation, which it could be. If we are going to colonise another planet it is better than Mars in terms of energy and resources. I think in the shorter term airship probes would be good, as well as solar powered fixed wing flyers.

Comment it can be air filled (Score 4, Interesting) 200

earth atmosphere air is a lifting gas on Venus, the airship could be full of normal air, and the people live inside it, not slung under it in a gondola. The pressure inside would only be a little different to the pressure outside, so a small hole in the skin of the airship wouldn't be an explosively big problem, air would just mix with the corrosive and fairly nasty outside atmosphere. It would need fixing, but it is nothing like a hole with a vacuum outside. Venus is a fairly nice place overall, lots of solar, interesting chemicals in the atmosphere. The only problem is that the ground is too far down.

Comment it is fine, but not a great idea (Score 1) 74

The privacy thing is utterly overblown, it is a tool for users to pick out interesting bits of the tweet streams they have access to, on criteria in this instance relating to depression. It could equally look for other sentiments and trends, analysing data available to you isn't a violation of anything in particular. It also isn't a particularly good idea. I know right now who would trigger it off for me. It would keep bleeping at several people I follow who are chronically depressed and possibly suicidal, who also live thousands of miles away and don't know me well enough for me to be in any way involved in any kind of productive intervention or words. We are not friends, we are not really acquaintances, I just follow them because they sometimes tweet interesting technical stuff and they seem like interesting people. This might kinda work for people who follow geographically close friends, maybe a school or university where you follow lots of people you actually know by sight, and have a decent chance of seeing. I am just not convinced that many people use twitter like that, and are going to be able to usefully support a friend with a problem that they wouldn't notice some other way.

Comment advice from people who are wrong might be wrong (Score 1) 111

a zero day vulnerability does not become less zero dayish because you need to click to execute it. This is some executive who has misunderstood what his underlings actually do, and what they mean when they say they are dealing with a zero day issue.
He ends up being right, for all the wrong reasons, and he is just saying words he doesn't fully comprehend.

"Once they go up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department." -- Werner von Braun