* Posts by Matthew

172 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Mar 2007


Which qualifications are worthwhile?


Re: Tricky...

DaLo is spot on here. As a manger in a corporate environment, I expect anyone looking for a career in IT to spend a fair amount of time playing with tech at home. It shows that you are interested in the subject, however, a corporate environment is no place for someone to be playing.

Environments are protected by change control and desktop images are standardised for a reason. I would not hire someone who could not see their way past downloading and installing a piece of freeware to solve a users problem. (You've invalidated the standardisation, now no-one else can support this user. Chances are this application is not backed up nor encrypted. You've added a new application to the Service Catalogue that the rest of the team will have to support, and chances are you've pissed off the Security Director who is going to get his bum kicked by the auditors.)

I know lots of really good desktop support guys with Network or Server qualifications, all trying to get their big break and make it into SysAdmin teams. They are really good but it's tough to get the Desktop Support label removed.

Certifications are only useful to prove that you are not bluffing when you are trying to get your foot in the door, so despite lots of other respondents saying they do fine without them, remember they already have an IT job.

I'd go for the real value-adding jobs - network admin, SQL DBA, web developer, programmer. Support is unfortunately just seen as a commodity.

Use your medical experience. Follow the charity route. Maybe even a medical charity. Good luck, in the right role, IT can be a really rewarding and fulfilling job.

What kind of LOSER sits in front of a PC...


It's not mine anymore!

I don't have a dedicated eBook reader as I don't need another piece of kit. I love the (almost) immediate gratification of being able to buy a book and start reading it a few minutes later.

In terms of functionality, my iPad meets all my needs with one exception. As the Peppa Pig episodes for my two year old are stored on my iPad, I'm increasingly finding that it's not my iPad, it's my son's and he'll let me use it only when he's asleep!

UK government says no to turbo e-bike


I don't give a continental

But I am curious if e-bikes bought overseas will be able to drive on the *correct* side of the road back here in Blighty?

You're crap and paid too much for the little work you actually do


Corrollary to CVP?

I'd like to propose the Corollary to Continuous Visible Productivity - despite a long continuous history of invisible productivity enhancements, an IT Bod is regularly caught surfing El Reg during office hours. What would the reputational impact to the IT Bod be?


It's quite funny really

Everyone is slamming the PHBs for not understanding what I do </plaintive rant>, but I read the point of these articles as an attempt to change our perceptions of the world by seeing it from the other guys view.

If you can't articulate the benefits of why improving the back-up speed by 20%is good to your boss then how would he know whether it is important. The manager has an opportunity cost - if you are working on X then you cannot work on Y.

Too be perfectly honest, if someone has shaved 30 mins off a perfectly good overnight back-up job when there are incidents affecting a revenue generating system, I'd consider the back-up job enhancement a complete waste of time.


Re: Dominic responds...

Tony S - I think you misunderstand Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. I suspect that you are mistakenly assuming that money is a hygiene factor in Herzberg's Two Factor Motivation Theory.

Money is not mentioned, but all of Maslow's needs can be met by an individual with money, and most importantly as we progress 'up' the pyramid money makes these needs easier to meet. Allow me a couple of examples (in ascending order):

Physiological - A limited amount of money is required for food and shelter. A little more money will not meet more of this need once the basics are provided for.

Safety - Additional resources provide the perception that you are protecting yourself/family from ill-health, unemployment, etc.

Love / belonging - While money can't provide (proper) friends and family, it can, for example, allow travel to see distant family. And the first person to suggest that money doesn't improve the opportunities for sexual encounters is living a dream (see Bernie Ecclestone).

Esteem - Money provides the means for enhancing self-esteem & confidence (bigger car/house/Bulgarian Airbags) over the Joneses, as well as providing a very simple means of keeping score.

Self-Actualisation - Money provides the opportunity to seek self-actualisation. Those on the breadline don't really get the option of exploring "what they really want to be". They are too busy attempting to meet the lower needs first.

Remember that these are defined by the individual for themselves. You may not agree that these examples meet your needs, but whoare you to tell others whether this applies.

SMS compo firms fined £200k for typosquatting, misleading punters

Paris Hilton


I'd love it if every single online registration didn't make phone number a required field.

I'd also love it if the "tick here not to receive any spam" box actually worked too.

Paris icon for pipe-dreams.

Eurozone crisis: We're all dooomed! Here's why


Me thinks that you are confusing yourself. You don't like bankers 'gambling' with others money, but you want them to lend money "to help start ups"?

Could you please explain the difference between the two and why lending money to start-ups is not gambling?

Spotify 'sold soul' to boy king Zuckerberg



Napster in the post-Sean Parker world is surprisingly good. Sure I pay £5 a month for unlimited streamed music, but I consider all the music I can eat for the price of 3 CD's a year a bargain.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro Qwerty Android smartphone

Thumb Down


Having been let down by SE refusing to upgrade the version of Android* running on the X10 Mini Pro, you need your head read, if you expect SE to support newer versions of the OS.

2.3 is the minimum required to support EAS policies for corporate mail servers.

Sonos Play:3 network music player

Thumb Up

Sonos Rocks

Having been sceptical initially, I took the splash and now have 3 zones at home. The Play:3 is a great addition for rooms where I don't want a Sonos S5 or ZonePlayer 120.

Freeview HD will deliver new IPTV channels this month

Paris Hilton


Does this extend to FreeSat?

Film studios thrash BT in Newzbin site-block test case



But now that a legal precedent has been set, all the IP owners need to do is notify the ISPs of a list of sites serving material they don't like and the onus is on the ISP to prove in court the exceptions. I think that sounds expensive for the ISPs and therefore not in their interests.

A whole lotta stuff is about to get banned.

UAE looks to block BlackBerry mail, again


Unfortunately, hosting BES out-of-country doesn't work

Our BES server is hosted in the UK with a handful of local users on local SIMs in the UAE. We've received notification from Etisalat that we will need to move our UAE users to Etisalat's BIS service.

Evil grain-speculating OVERLORDS will starve us ALL


It's all very well cornering the market...

and owning 80/90% of the stock, but if you are going to realise that profit, you actually need to sell some of it and thus drive the price back down again.

Police DNA test plan to put off prostitutes' punters



Conveniently, the punter will already have supplied the DNA sample in a handy latex 'balloon'.

PARIS concocts commemorative cocktail


The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.


Anonymous hackers' Wikileaks 'infowar' LATEST ROUNDUP



ColdBlood was on BBC Radio 4 this morning, announced as a "spokesman" for Anonymous. He certainly claimed to represent the group, unfortunately, I couldn't work out what his underlying message was.

And may I be the first to declare that I, for one, welcome our botnet-wielding, spotty, crusty-tube-socked, 19 geek overlords!

Ad man offers fine drugs and finer print to Macbook thief



The thief doesn't even pause to look through the windows - he opens the correct door, picks up the MacBook from a darkened car and scarpers. He would've peeked through the window first to see what was in the car. Smells like a hoax to me.

NASA's new 'Bullet' airship to fly from Moffett Field


Maybe I don't understand the tech...

But surely with the aerodynamics of a large balloon, these things will only ever fly downwind particularly at the altitudes we are talking about?

Where is your data?

Thumb Up

Scarce Resources - there's an expert out there. Chances are he works for the vendor.

It's worth bearing in mind that the increasing complexity of vulnerabilities and exploits means that simply staying on top of your patch schedule is no longer a guarantee of security. There is a limited availability of technical resources with a deep knowledge of each and every application and appliance running on your network. In some cases it could be more secure to have Microsoft/Google host your mail and Salesforce.com your CRM data. Just like you have to trust your storage provider to manage your externally-hosted SAN. Not everybody can manually re-code a corrupted file structure in hex.

The increasing abstraction in systems means greater exposure for the SysAdmin to a variety of systems, but also a growing reliance on technical experts with deep knowledge of a particular solution to go beyond the GUI. The IT Manager's role is changing from being a technical expert to become a risk and vendor manager. We end up enforcing best practice in process rather than best practice in configuration.

One other thing to note is that in the traditional client/server model data always travels over a protected network link - LAN/WAN for office users and an encrypted VPN tunnel for road warriors/home workers. One thing to bear in mind is that data accessed over the internet via the browser needs end-to-end encryption whether this is by SSL or anther preferred method.

** In the 700 user firm I work for we are seeing a huge trend to move internally hosted systems to cheaper yet reputable service providers. Even our servers in an outsourced data centre are being decommissioned and replaced with new SaaS offerings.


Blogger stokes iPhone 4 shatter fears



The official cases sent out in response to the grip of death issue don't cover the back of the phone. The bumper just covers the sides.

A bit of a non-story then.

Stockholm schoolgirls fined for bugging staff room


In Nordic Sweden

Schoolgirls bug you!

Nothing succeeds like XSS


There are some problems with your post (Your words not mine)

I think we can all agree on the value of a script-blocker like NoScript in a home computing environment, but the context of your series of articles is a corporate or enterprise environment ("A SysAdmin Blog") and as such doesn't make a convincing argument. Particularly not for an entire article anyway.

If, as you suggest that NoScript is useful for Power Users and not installed for regular Joe's, then you only receive partial protection based on a non-IT member of staff deciding not to enable a script based on its self-description/domain.

Secondly, where is the value in selecting a group of users determining that they are power users and applying restrictions/hassles to their browsing experience when if they were a regular user they wouldn't have this restriction. Are we punishing Power Users?

When the auditors come to visit can you put your hand on your heart and swear that you have acted with all due diligence in protecting the organisation? Are you confident that the cost/benefit analysis justifies this? I struggle to believe that the effort/cost of installing the add-on, the effort of the Power Users to evaluate every script on every site they visit, and the sense of false-security generated justifies itself. Remember, as your regular users do not have the add-on, you will have to have a full-range of multi-tiered defences anyway.


Cross-charging is pretty common

I'm glad this is something you've been doing a fair bit of thinking on - interdepartmental cross-charging is fairly common. IT departments charge the different business units or P&L's for the services they consume (new hires, number of machines, project work, etc.). Under such a model, it's possible for IT to show a paper profit, but they haven't brought in any revenue to the company.

If IT runs a profit at the expense of the rest of the organisation, IT will quickly find itself outsourced or under serious price pressure.


Fine for home users

NoScript (and AdBlock) are brilliant add-ons. I use both at home very happily, but what this article fails to acknowledge is that the SysAdmin is a technical person who has been hired to make the difficult decisions for the non-technical user in a corporate enviroment.

Our objective as IT Managers is to create a safe environment where our users can 'do business' and generate revenue. In most organisations, IT is a cost-centre, not a profit-centre. We trade-off security for convenience and useability based on our organisation's risk appetite and sensitivity to security, and we need to do this with the buy-in of the people who make the money to pay for us.

Relying on users to run NoScript will have the following results:

1. Users WILL get pissed and WILL make your life more difficult. Any subsequent changes you attempt to apply will get vetoed because IT is happily creating the perception that they are pains in the arse and overly-cautious.

2. The majority of users will quickly enable all scripts on the pages that they regularly visit, rendering your efforts worthless and worse creating a false sense of security.

A simple solution like a browser plug-in will only work in a limited number of environments were your users are sufficiently technical. In the real-world, the only appropriate solution is a multi-tiered approach (web proxy at the WAN's edge, AV on the LAN servers and clients, regular patching, etc.)

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World


"If you want to win her heart, it's time to break out the 'L-word'"


"The other 'L-word'".



ISS spacewalkers tackle failed cooling pump



What the hell's that?


UK arms industry 'same as striking coal miners' - Army head



I think you may be over-optimistic of Britain's armoured brigade taking on a Russian or Chinese armoured division! I likewise think you may be over-optimistic about our chances of taking on either Russia or China in any kind of conventional warfare.

I'm aware of only one kind of deterrent that could cause either of these impending super-powers to reconsider the bloody nose (and nothing more) that we might give them.

DoH puts brakes on Summary Care Record


Opt out, schmopt out

I got my "Important Information on SCR" mailing from the NHS on Friday. A letter describing how wonderful the SCR is and some other fluff, but the form to opt-out is not included. For this, you have to write to the NHS to request one or you can download it.

Considering the number of people who won't follow-up and will then find themselves opted-in, this is a cynical way of increasing take-up.

US Army's robot kill-chopper chopped


Fear not, fleshies

There's a chock behind the rear right hand wheel in the photo. Despite it's potential for self-awareness and fleshy domination, it can't go up hills!

µTorrent 2.0 beta drops anchor

Thumb Up


So uTP provides QoS? Cool!

Taxpayer coughs for AOL Connie's flat


Oh, it's only me....

I always thought she was rather fit in a school-marm/librarian sort of way.

You know you would.

Missed flight woman goes absolutely mental

IT Angle

It's really funny but...

the real indictment here is on Cathay Pacific staff who think it's acceptable to stand behind the counter and film a very distressed customer's reactions on their mobiles.

Middle-aged lady, I wonder if this was her first flight?

419ers take Canadian for $150,000


@ Gene Pool

If he was the *median* person then 50% of people are more stupid that him.

Brit loonies adventurers headed to Timbuctoo by 'flying car'

Thumb Up

It looks so cool...

I'd get one of those even if it couldn't fly!

Forget Google rationing: Only lighting farts can save the planet

Thumb Up

Please oh please

can we have a new Reg measurement for "the average person's daily rectal-methane greenhouse burden"!

Oh, and a new keyboard too, natch.

Boris cans congestion extension

Thumb Up

If it was about the environment...

then Red Ken would've implemented it in the most poluted part of London, i.e. the East End, but it wasn't. It was purely a tax on the wealthier parts of London.

Boris Johnson: Does what is says on the election promises tin.

'Ruggedised, weaponised' raygun modules now on sale



What sort of damage are we talking about? Is there any scale for what level of damage 15Kw and 100Kw weapons would be capable of(first person to suggest 1d20 needs to get our more)?

Amazon UK pulls Scientology exposé for 'legal reasons'


@Ze Stuart

"...and by publishing a book, how could Amazon be liable to libel?"

IANAL, but UK libel laws allow for action against anyone involved in the chain of spreading the libel. This means that newspapers can't hide behind "close friends said it, we're just reporting what they said".

It also means that the corner shop can be sued for selling a newspaper that contains libel. As they don't tend to have deep pockets they don't tend to get sued that much.

The DNA database and you



ContactPoint will not hold the details of all children in the country, children of politicians and celebrities will be excluded. (WTF!!!)

Bombproof TV rolling-news eco bins target the City



These guys have managed to cloak putting their own TV advertising platform across the most heavily populated (during the day) part of the UK and cloaked it in a green/anti-terrorism-wash BS.

I wish I'd thought of that.

The True Confessions of an Election Official

Thumb Up

Reminds me of 1994

What a great article. Your passion for democracy shines through!

Your stories reminded me very much of being a student in South Africa. On 14 April 1994, we had our first multi-racial democratic elections open to all citizens. The queues stretched for kilometers, people came out of their houses to serve drinks to the people waiting.

Real-politik and reality come crashing in after election day, but those moments shine clear with hope and possibility.

Raytheon demos new submarine-launched UAV


I don't get it?

How does the data get from the UAV back to the submarine without the submarine raising it's antenae?

Gov approval given for Saudi Eurofighter sale


Waiting for Anti-Lewis Commentards...

75% complete.

Thrust SSC team to build 1000 mph 'Bloodhound' car


@Evil Graham

I thought theBeagle expedition was named after HMS Beagle, Darwin's ship on his trip to the Galapagos, not your dog.

Civil servants' pro-Labour memo reignites child data controversy


Do what we say, not what we (and our film star buddies) do!

Don't forget politicians' and celebs' children will not be listed. (No risk of abuse there then).

The only way to protect your own children will be to get famous. Better start practising the ukelele then.

TfL considers life without Oyster


Anonymous Cowards

I bet they regret allowing people to buy Oyster cards without providing photo ID - 'cos terrorists can now travel around undetected.....

Bastard surveilance state!

Prison boss demands right to jam inmates' cellphones...


Wider use

Could we put jamming technology in cinemas and theatre's?

I miss the days of being pissed off by the cretins rustling their sweet packets as they try to starve off starvation during a 90 performance. Nowdays, it's a case of "Yeah, I'm at the movies, innit!"

Alien crustaceans clash claws in UK waterways


I for one...

welcome our Sino-American Arachno-Crustacean overlords!