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Showing posts from May, 2022

More shenigans - true tales from an ex-IT support man Episode 4

Carrying on with my career, another client at the bureau was a magazine for the Arts, whose customers included several high-profile names: actors/actresses; politicians; CEOs; members of the Royal family.  Our job was to take the data supplied to us by the publisher client, sort them and then print them out on pages of sticky labels on that damned ICL 1933 printer (I HATED that machine - noisy, dirty and, as I stated in the "Tales from an old computer bod - how I got to be a cynic" blog, definitely  vindictive).  We received the data on a series of multi-platter hard disks called EDS30.  These stored a massive (!) 30mb of data.  No, that wasn't a misprint - the graphic on the left here was a single EDS30 (more or less) that held 30 Mb  of data - they weighed a ton and were very susceptible to damage, especially if dropped! We liked this client coming in to deliver the disks, as the driver invariably brought with him a case of 24 cans of Carlsberg Special Brew which he h

Don’t be an ostrich – You need to be ready for MTD for VAT AND Self-assessment

Don’t be an ostrich – You need to be ready for MTD for VAT AND Self-assessment Below is a modified extract from an article on HMRC’s website – it is intended to give the whys and wherefores of the need for MTD readiness for businesses and for those sole traders and individuals whose taxable earnings from self-employment exceeds £10,000 per year. This would include landlords as well. The content is, I regret, very long and somewhat dry, but it is very important it is understood by the relevant organisations and individuals that there is an imperative requirement to comply – just ignoring the facts will inevitably result in problems with tax issues down the line. There are new penalty procedures being introduced by HMRC that could prove very expensive should these be necessary to be levied by HMRC on those organisations and individuals who do NOT comply.   Since 2019, the vast majority of VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000) have bee

"Has Barry been murdered?" - true tales from an ex-IT support man Episode 3

My first job in IT, as I mentioned in a previous episode of the blog, was with a bureau.  Bureaux are fast-paced, brutally mercenary environments, where the adage "time  is money" most definitely applies, the clients being charged by the quarter-hour.   Clients included motoring recovery companies (one of the "biggies"), where we would be printing out the membership cards on that infamous ICL 1933 printer.  This was when membership cards were still on folded cardboard, before the advent of the plastic credit card style we use today.  And there were thousands of them in a run.  Thousands.  And, if the run failed in the middle of printing, we had to re-run the printout from the start.  What to do with the cards already printed?  A roaring trade of hooky cards being flogged off in the local pub to pay for beer, that's what.  I imagine that the recovery company wondered why people with addresses in Yorkshire were breaking down so often in the South of England... One

Cloud accounting - ok until you cock up...

 A few weeks ago, I wrote about backups and said " People outside of the IT industry never appreciate that backing up of data is not just an investment in software or time and effort taken to run the backup – it’s protection of the time and effort already taken in creating the data the backup will be securing.    Software and applications can be replaced reasonably quickly if a device breaks.    Data takes an awful lot longer to recover if, indeed, it’s possible to do so without the data backup." It truly baffles me how purveyors of the various cloud-based accounting software out there haven't yet cottoned on to the big disadvantage that not having a backup facility as part of their offerings for which they could, no doubt, offer to store the backups for a small(!) fee, but even THAT has its failings unless the backups are stored OFF the internet.   I'm not referring to the security of data - that, as a cloud facility, is accepted.  What I'm suggesting is that co

Somebody call for an ambulance - true tales from an ex-IT support man Episode 2

Now, I'm not saying that sometimes, in the wild world of IT computer operations, things get out of hand but, in a (then) male-dominated industry that was the computer services bureau, it often did. The first place I worked at separated the different computer suites onto different floors, and competition between the teams was, to understate it, intense.  We were the ICL team in the basement, with the IBM team on the first floor.   Overnight,  both teams usually had a job to run that lasted several hours with little or no hands-on operation.  During those periods, inevitably the gauntlet was thrown down by one or other of the teams and battle ensued.  Not real battle, of course, but more of an impromptu and cobbled-together sports event.  The most fast-paced and hectic of these was paper-football: about half of a box of printout paper was commandeered, scrunched into a ball and then strapped up with at least a whole roll of Sellotape.   We usually went upstairs to the IBM suite for t