* Posts by OzBob

495 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Mar 2008


Cloud vendor lock-in is shocking, but there's a get out of jail card


Re: Why not have cloud.gov.uk ?

So insist Amazon and M$ split off the Cloud Software Provider from the Cloud Service Provider, and you can have UK Gov Cloud, and a grillion other competing entities for Hosting. Simples.

Bank's datacenter died after travelling back in time to 1970


Re: Priorities

Yes, I was working for a big multi-national car manufacturer and had been trying to solve a production outage for 20 mins, only to spend 15 mins of that explaining to 3 different users who had my number, why I was not progressing the resolution of said issue. In the end the 4th call came through and I picked up the phone and said "if you are not my boss or the servicedesk, you are not important enough to talk to me right now". Once I heard the voice and determined it was not either of those two, I hung up the phone and left it off the hook.

My boss later called me aside to talk about my "ubiqituous telephone manner" to a very senior user but I stood my ground and said that when I am resolving an issue, his job is to get everyone off my back so I can get on with the work.

Turning a computer off, then on again, never goes wrong. Right?


Re: 6 weeks

Re: Hard-coding. I was at polytech in NZ in the late 80s and some of my part-time classmates were coming in looking in rag order. I asked what the problem was and they said that GST (NZ version of VAT) was changing from 10% to 12.5% and everyone had hard-coded the original value into their programs, rashly assuming politicians would not change their minds. So they were working all hours to find each value and convert it to a variable (in the days of mainframes and really crap IDEs).

RIP Fred Brooks


RIP Fred Brooks

Author of the Mythical Man Month? Register Forums are hard to find these days, are they discouraged?

My website has raised its anchor and set sail into the internet oceans without me


Yep, I even come across W Richard Stevens website occassionally

purely to look for errata and amendments to his manuals


and he's been dead for 21 years. must have been a very log (g)hosting contract.

Not sunshine, moonlight or good times – blame it on the buggy


"I shall fwee Woderwick!"

(Seriously, no-one has gone full "Brian" with that picture?)

I worked on a passenger booking systems for an in-house airline, and the guy in charge liked to travel on it and reset the passenger lists to seat himself next to young blondes. All well and good until a senior manager had his kid bumped for one of the blondes and the guy in charge said "must be a bug in the program". I heard about this and laid into him verbally, pointing out that a glib statement like that might be his "get out of jail free" card but it was my professional reputation he was trashing. Needless to say, when the system was migrated to another platform a few years later, neither i or the guy in charge were chosen to migrate with it.

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT


Re: I remember things differently ...

you do know why the Brits don't make computers anymore? because they couldn't figure out how to make them leak oil.

NASA dons red and blue cardboard 3D glasses to drive Curiosity rover because its GPUs are stuck in the office


Cost? Not likely,

my alienware 3d monitor cost me 400 quid, and the nvidia glasses another 150, and 150 for the card. PC was less than the monitor.

The kit to run 3d itself is pretty cheap (and mine is 10 years old). If it's a renderer that is needed, that may chew some CPU. But kit like this is such a specialised item that no-one probably thought "hey what would happen if we had to do this from home" and designed it accordingly (plus as Gary McKinnon discovered, allowing remote access also means you have to change default settings).

Rewriting the checklists: 50 years since Apollo 13 reported it 'had a problem' – and boffins saved the day


From a time when small furry creatures from alpha centauri

were REAL small furry creatures from alpha centauri!

Apollo 13 is a great metaphor to throw at short-sighted managers who want cut-and-dried solutions to basic problems and employ script-droids as admins.

16 years and counting: How ESA squeezed oodles of bonus science out of plucky Mars Express probe


So, when is Ron Howard shooting the movie of this upprade?

Seriously, if they can explain out the GFC in "The Big Short" then this upgrade and correct would make a great movie plot.

Lost in translation and adrift in cloud storage


And there coimes a point in IT

where you must learn to distrust the automated function and perform it manually and in a phased approach. This was one of those times.

Tech won't save you from lockdown disaster: How to manage family and free time while working from home


No advice on "solo happy time"?

How can I squeeze out one of those with other people in the house now who are also WFH?

What's inside a tech freelancer's backpack? That's right, EVERYTHING


Dabbs, you are missing an opportunity here

sell the requisite kit to them at 5x retail, (paypal or cash) and simply restock on the way back home.

Escape From Tarkov: Hardest of the hardcore looter-shooter is spellbinding despite the punishing learning curve


Meh, will stick with "Onward"

which doesn't have the looting but with VR you can be shot by someone who is a "pale black dot" on the distance.

'That's here. That's home. That's us': It's 30 years since Voyager 1 looked back and squinted at a 'Pale Blue Dot'


I remember Dr Porco from the BBC Series "The Planets"

which was released over 20 years ago now, Very good documentary, mixing classical music from "the planet suite" and interviewing various astronomers. Also very noteworthy for talking to Soviet Scientists about their efforts, first time I had seen that too.

Maker of Linux patch batch grsecurity can't duck $260,000 legal bills, says Cali appeals court in anti-SLAPP case


Whats all this law shit?

I just came here to write code.

Like other tech giants, Netflix gets govt takedown demands – and impressively, none of them involve Adam Sandler


The Bridge documentary is an awesome piece of film

I still have my DVD copy (and have ripped it for backup just in case). Given that local celebrity Mike King goes up and down the country talking to schoolkids about suicide and why not to do it, it seems incongruous that they would block the viewing of it. But then again, NZ is full of Mary Whitehouse like busybodies who think us proles are not equipped to manage our own thoughts and emotions and they know best (Peter Ellis, anyone?)

Need 32-bit Linux to run past 2038? When version 5.6 of the kernel pops, you're in for a treat


Huh alright for some

I mentioned last year that I did not make y21K compliance code and the down-voters went ape-sh!t. Was it the lack of a smiley face that did it for me?

Top Euro court advised: Cops, spies yelling 'national security' isn’t enough to force ISPs to hand over massive piles of people's private data


"hovering up of data"

Carol Voderman, can I have another vowel please?

We live so fast I can't even finish this sent...


Re: Bonzo

"obviously some time before he killed himself"

So, for a second there I though you were dis-interring celebrities and inviting them around for dinner? Perhaps your father owns a back-hoe company, and your mothers maiden name is Gein?

OK, so no-one told the amateur pornstars that dvds can be ripped


OK, so no-one told the amateur pornstars that dvds can be ripped


Apparently women were told that the dvds they were performing for would never be released online, yet for some reason had never had a friend who showed them a "ripped"movie. And have never heard of the "Streisand Effect" either.

Senior health tech pros warn NHS England: Be transparent with mass database trawl or face public backlash


OK here's an analytical observation that could be considered "low-hanging fruit"

if you are fat or drunk, you will cost the NHS more than if you are not. So tax those pricks that are and save the rest of us some money.

Wham, bam, thank you scram button: Now we have to go all MacGyver on the server room


Yep, had a very dodgy HP tape array in the noughties

that was only about 8 u high (and was double-stacked). The door release mech never worked properly when pressing the LCD display, so we just used to stick a half-unfolded paper clip into the appropriate hole and release the damn thing manually. Actually taped it to the front on a piece of string so we did not need to recreate it if we lost the old one.

GlaxoSmithKline ditches IR35 contractors: Go PAYE or go home


I am an IT contractor to a government department

and the reason I am there is several-fold,

1. The department has a really bad rep (even compared to other government departments) for HR, career development and managerial competence (or lack thereof).

2. They can't recruit a permie with a similar skillset to replace me because they pay cr4p

3. The permie they did hire to replace me was such a loose cannon they had to "manage him out" (which is seriously impressive given the loons that stll work there).

4. They announced a reorg 3 years ago and have yet to complete it, so have been on a hiring freeze.

5. I have advanced certifications and skillsets in Linux that the perm staff do not have

'Sophisticated' cyber attack on UK Labour Party platforms was probably just a DDoS, says official


Developing story?

"Leaders of organisations are incredibly thick when it comes to IT; political leaders, doubly so." What else could possibly develop on that story?

When the IT department speaks, users listen. Or face the consequences


Er, happened to me last month

when my fellow techs reformatted my "thick client" and assured me "my documents" was backed up to the network share. Sure it was, but they must have selected the "resync from scratch" option on the build because it wiped everything I had. And we did not have backups. Now I have a separate Drive Mapping I use for storing documents (plus a wiki I have created for all my documentation). This would never happen on my linux systems.

Remember the 1980s? Oversized shoulder pads, Metal Mickey and... sticky keyboards?


Re: My scripts are not Y2.1K compliant

I see from the quality of comments that we have a lot of pretentious and humourless knobs populating the forums. So, stop chewing the crayons and pay attention for a sec,...

All computer programs operate on assumptions or constraints, otherwise they would be over-engineered to the n-th degree and never be fully completed. One of my assumptions in this case is that there will be replacement for my scripts in the next 81 years, give the short lifetime of platforms and solutions. Now if I only made my function work for ten or twenty years (grep "^20[12]" ) then it would be reasonable to lambast my quality of work, but 80 years what I consider a reasonable assumption to make. And if I was publishing a function to be re-used in a wider forum then I would engineer it to handle these sort of things.

Do you write your date checks to handle leap years? of course. Do you write them to handle century leaps? Maybe, maybe not. Do you write the 400 year check? No, don't be silly.

Lastly, grow some humour, you all sound terribly teutonic.


My scripts are not Y2.1K compliant

I write a lot of bash scripts to automate my job and one of the common commands is to validate 4 digit years in files. I generally do a "grep '^20' [file]" , partly because I am too lazy to put the [01] in the second character and partly because it is kind of reassuring to know that in 81 years from I won't give a sh!t who this affects.

IT protip: Never try to be too helpful lest someone puts your contact details next to unruly boxen


I left a job in 2001 as a permie in the local civil service

and came back in 2015 as a contractor. The first thing that greeted me in my mailbox was a forums update for the HP Support Website, for kit that the Govt Department had decommissioned long before I got back. So they had been spamming my (non-existent) email box for 14 years and either hadn't upgraded or had dragged everyone along to any new systems.

A History of (Computer) Violence: Wait. Before you whack it again, try caressing the mouse


Re: "Luca [was] dispatched to resolve the situation."

Ah yes, that Susanne Vega song about performing "percussive maintenance" on a child (double points for includng both topics in your response). Bring back those days when it was legal here, I was beaten regularly as a nipper, never did me any harm (except for the desire to belt children when they misbehave, of course).

Houston, we've had a legend: Boffin behind NASA Mission Control signs off for final time


And if you watched "Armstrong"

then you will know he nixxed Buzz Aldrin being first man on the moon.

Searching for Skylab: Even the most casual astro-nerd will revel in this respectful elegy to unsung space history


Waiting for netflix gets my votes

I purchased the "Mission Control" Movie (made about 10 years too late) and saw it on Netflix within 6 months. Not making that mistake again.

Techies take turns at shut-down top trumps


I was stuck in a german manufactured truck in the Army, that I was not signed off on

(it was stationary). Unfortunately the previous user had not put the hand brake on and it started to roll back. I was puling anything with a T shape or an angled lever, all the while putting my full weight on the conventional brake pedals (no manifold pressure). Someone else had to climb in the passenger side and pull the actual hand-brake. It was a SQUARE! wire handle painted YELLOW! I'm ex airforce, so square wire handles is a cut-away shape for parachutes, and yellow is a danger colour for something that can't be undone when pulled (I thought it would cut away the box body from the chassis or something). I have a lot to say about Kraut engineering these days, not a lot of it complimentary!

Dead LAN's hand: IT staff 'locked out' of data center's core switch after the only bloke who could log into it dies


Was his name Terry Childs Jr?

I have seen in several companies, the "wilfull employee" and how much they sabotage attempts to discipline them. And how bad management are at dealing with them. The various futile attempts to enforce documentation and redundancy rules, the meetings to convince them to change their ways and the powerlessness of the hierarchy to enforce the rules.

I had one subordinate who refused to show me anything she was doing, and would lock her terminal every time I approached. If I asked her to do something she didn't want to do, she would claim she was working on something far more important and then refuse to elaborate (what she was doing was stuffing around with linux settings she was unqualified and unauthorised to change, resulting in several outages). But as a team leader, I had no authority to discipline her and our manager's nickname was Homer (fat, bald and really "yellow"), so no resolution there. When I would email her with work (or put it on her desk), she would simply ignore it or place it back on mine (one charming instance, I gave her a print out of a Priority 1 issue to resolve, went to the computer room for an hour and came back to find the printout back on my desk and the issue still outstanding)

I would love to hear anyone who has actually gotten a rogue employee either fired or buttoned down.

You know the drill: SAP has asked Joe Public to name Munich arena so go forth and be very silly


"Albert Speer Platz"?

(See above)

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?


Probably said before but still funny

I was powering on an HP EVA Array after maintenance, and as I flipped the main breakers on the main PDUs, my co-worker snuck up behind me and clapped really loudly. Laughs all around from him, until I start clutching my chest and reaching for my medication (I had a severe heart attack a few years before), at which point his expression changed to "uh oh, bags not doing CPR". Fortunately the chest pains subsided after a few mins and we had a good laugh about it later.

Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late


Had a real "owner operator" project manager

who did things on the cheap. We ordered some temporary licenses to get going on a project requiring HP Virtualisation, with a PO number quoted and the paper work would follow on. 6 weeks later the vendor queried me on the purchase order to issue the permanent keys, and when I checked with accounts, the PM had cancelled the purchase order the day after we received the temporary keys. I went to the Data Centre Manager and did my scone at him ("you may be happy being cheating fraudulent scumbags with vendors but not on my watch" - or words to that effect). Didn't change anything in the short term, but the PM got fired 6 months later for being useless (apparently he had "forgotten" to budget for OS Licenses, and Database Licenses, and hardware costs, and a whole lot of other things) and the loan kit and temp licenses got given back to HP.

Hard Brexit, soft Brexit, deal or no deal: Doesn't matter – all integrator CGI sees is dollar signs


I'll give CGI credit for one thing

at the last Annual Conference I went to, they show the amount of tax they paid in the European division and it's roughly a third of their income. The voice conferenced in headshed even said "we pay our taxes". Can't see Apple doing that.

Worried about Brexit food shortages? North Korean haute couture has just the thing


Apparently Alexei Sayle likes North Korean Sherry

perhaps he can recommend an import agent that can branch out into clothing? (I would ask him myself, but we haven't' talked since I killed his brother)

Heard the one where the boss calls in an Oracle consultant who couldn't fix the database?


Someone else fixed my fix

I wrote a C program (which I am really pants at) to update the personnel table in a helldesk systems by using the OS-level API. It kept crashing intermittently where I forgot to close something off inside the code but damned if I could find where it was. My replacement had a brilliant idea, split each input file into a whole bunch of singe line files, and run the program once per line. Simplicity itself, but damned if I could see that when I was looking at it.

Evelyn Berezin Obit?


Evelyn Berezin Obit?

Noticed it on the beeb, any chance of an analysis of her life by the Reg?


Tech support discovers users who buy the 'sh*ttest PCs known to Man' struggle with basics


Speaking of shitty equipment

my boss was leader of tech IT for a large government department, and in the late 90s he was sick of constant complaints about various models of printers not working on our intranet with the various applications. Fortunately he played golf with the head of finance of said department, so one monday he came in and said "all printers to be connected to our network must be HP Laserjet III". Six months later, printer support calls for connection issues were a rarity. Just goes to show what standards can do (and the political horsepower to ram them through).

Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab


Re: Batteries

Please tell me you a least gave it a sniff, just for research purposes of course.

Congrats to Debbie Crosbie: New CEO at IT meltdown bank TSB has unenviable task ahead


Don't worry, DevOps will sort it out

being the panacea-de-jour and all.

DBA drifts into legend after inventive server convo leaves colleagues fearing for their lives


Re: My boss was demonstrating the instrusion sensors on our building

Yeah, dropped the ball on that one. A good friend who was full-time doctor and part-time english tutor used to pull me up on that all the time so I gave up and used "purchased" instead.


My boss was demonstrating the instrusion sensors on our building

he was telling how both light beams need to be tripped to trigger the alarm, and promptly leant over the parapet and blocked both light beams. Alarm goes off, team suitably impressed, then Ops Supervisor comes out and says "nice one [boss's name], I hope you know the reset code because we certainly don't".

Four hours later, we manage to track down the company which brought the company which installed the alarm system and get them to come onsite and turn the damn alarm off.

RIP Paul Allen: Microsoft cofounder billionaire dies at 65 after facing third bout with cancer


If there is any afterlife

I hope he is forced to maintain their systems using Registry Edits.

Have a copy of his bio, (from an Op Shop), the tech part is a nice read, he was at the forefront of IT for a while.

And I thought Gates was the salesman and Allen the techie (Writing a boot loader for the Altair while on the plane to deliver BASIC to the vendor? Cant imagine his Bill-ness doing that!).

Rookie almost wipes customer's entire inventory – unbeknownst to sysadmin


One I heard from an "old sweat" at my govt employer

they got a copy of DOS something (2.0 I think) from the vendor (not allowed to build it yourself in those days) and typed the"format" command after putting a floppy in the drive. However with no drive specified, "format" wiped C:. So, send PC back to vendor for re-installation.

Fortnite 'fesses up: New female character's jiggly bits 'unintended' and 'embarrassing'


Want to legimitise the boobies?

Add a baby to it.

That scary old system with 'do not touch' on it? Your boss very much wants you to touch it. Now what do you do?


Cost of replacement vs hassle of IT personnel

Having worked in govt IT, if the cost of running legacy hardware is only the time of a permanent (and therefore zero additional cost to the business) employee, with occasional 24 hour work-a-thons to recover after a crash, then the business will definitely not replace, re-org etc.

What I try and design into my systems is the migration path for the eventual end-of-life cutover. So sticking to flat files or low levels comms for interfaces, splitting app stacks into distinct components that can be hived off individually, etc. I am never around to get the thanks for this from the users (and I never tell the management in case they try to "help" and f**k it up) but I like to think someone notices and appreciates it.