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Downtime: digging deep as Revenue gets down to brass tax

Digging deep as Revenue gets down to brass tax

Downtime’s story about one of the team’s £1.60 tax bill – for which HM Revenue & Customs demanded immediate payment, let’s not forget – has sparked a flurry of e-mails from readers pointing out that for the taxman this represents big money.

“Is that as good as you can do?” scoffs Ben Mottram. “I got one for 88p last year.”

Sorry, Ben, you are still in the big league tax-wise. Ian Snowdon ended up paying penalties of 2p for late payment on his tax bill of, er, 2p.

Meanwhile, the taxman is keeping quiet about the £1,400 that Paul Traynor’s girlfriend found she was owed. Funny that.

Perhaps the taxman just has a problem with big numbers. Time for a new computer system?

Computer gaming punters find it’s all a big cover-up

There is a new reality sweeping the computer gaming world, if this year’s E3 conference in Los Angeles is anything to go by.

The organisers have decided to enforce a long-standing rule that says exhibitors must abide by the norms of common, adult decency.

What this means in practice is no more scantily-clad booth babes – with stiff fines awaiting exhibitors who do not fall into line.

Booth babes have been a fixture at these conferences for years. They are employed to loiter near exhibitors’ stands and lure young men into a photo opportunity and, ultimately, a hasty purchase.

Not surprisingly, the decision has not gone down well with everybody. “I wouldn’t be able to do this conference without pretty females,” wailed one would-be conference-goer.

But others seem to think it is about time. Booth babe Lana Call told the Toronto Star that keeping to the rule was long overdue.

“It is a little more conservative, a lot less T&A,” she said.

Downtime is relieved to hear it.

 If only the junkmail was imaginary as well…

Downtime was amused to hear from Iain Balsdon-White that his attempt to deflect junkmail by inventing a fictitious staff member on his exit paperwork from a training course has led to his imaginary friend receiving more communiques than most living and breathing members of the office.

The sea of implausible correspondence has included invitations to high-level seminars, upgrades to his existing software purchases, pre-authorised credit card applications and even phone calls from all sorts of interesting firms looking to follow up on their meeting with the man himself.

Guy’s the limit as TV news overdoses on ‘experts’

Only if you spent the past week
in a monastery would you have missed the press coverage of
BBC News 24’s “wrong Guy” gaffe, but Downtime can’t help feeling the whole episode has undermined the credibility of the so-called experts being wheeled into
TV-land on cue the world over.

For the hermits among you, the BBC channel was meant to get in Guy Kewney, a journalist and blogger, to talk about the
Apple v Apple trademark battle. But a mix-up sent Guy Goma, a Congolese job applicant for a data cleansing position at the Beeb, into the studio in his place.

Goma did his best under the circumstances, agreeing wholeheartedly with each question put to him by the presenter before embarking on a more lengthy exposition, which was mostly unintelligible since he had little clue about the subject matter and had only recently learned English.

It all made for compelling TV, and his lack of “expertise” caused barely a ripple to the flow of non-stop “news” coverage that is already more than most of us can cope with.

Downtime wonders how many viewers really felt shortchanged at missing the thoughts of the real Guy Kewney on the Apple dispute. After all, it’s a safe bet that more conventional coverage was soon on the way, and Kewney got his chance on Radio 4 shortly afterwards.


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