* Posts by Pascal Monett

10912 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Remember those Salesforce layoffs after that bumper Q2? Yeah, forget that, SaaS player set to hire 12,000 staff

Pascal Monett Silver badge

"CEO Marc Benioff declared that he was in hiring mode"

Does that mean that he'll be hiring back the 1000 people he fired ?

If not, how will he justify firing 1000 people and then hiring 12 times that ?

I know all about creative accounting, but Jesus, this is creative employee management. There are supposed to be laws about that.

Before you buy that managed Netgear switch, be aware you may need to create a cloud account to use its full UI

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"hand over information about themselves to the Netgear Cloud"

Fuck that.

If I paid for a product with a given list of functionality and find out, after the fact, that using said functionality depends on me recording my private data on some effing cloud, I guarantee that there will be some people regretting getting my calls.

So that's NetGear on my blacklist. Good to know.

Not that I'd buy that kind of equipment for myself, but if they can do that on the high-end, then they'll definitely do that on the low-end.

Another reminder that bias, testing, diversity is needed in machine learning: Twitter's image-crop AI may favor white men, women's chests

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"focus on women's chests"

So it's a teenage AI then ?

Have no idea WTF is going on with the Oracle-Walmart TikTok deal? Don’t sweat it, here’s our latest rundown

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"The result has been a circus"

Oh, so just like the last four years then.

We're not getting back with Galileo, UK govt tells The Reg, as question marks sprout above its BS*

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"Assuming, of course, one is thinking rationally about such things"

If the UK government were thinking rationally, it would never have pushed to leave the EU.

So rational thought is not part of this process.

MP promises to grill UK.gov over revelations that Uber handed '2,000 pieces' of user data to London cops a year

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"Police units supporting Uber's appeal"

Well duh. The Police these days are just an extension of the NSA - they want all the data they can get whether it is pertinent to the case or not.

And it's very nice to know that Uber sends thousands of user data to the police - how much of that sharing actually brought a condemnation ?

How much of it was actually useful in court ?

That's the other problem I have with all this data sharing going on. Law enforcement all over the world now steadfastly declares that it is very useful to them, but never declares how many cases they won because of it.

Imagine working for GitHub and writing a command-line interface for the platform, then GitHub makes an 'official' one

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"start fresh without the constraints of 10 years of design decisions"

Great idea. Now you can make all the same mistakes than before, along with some brand new ones, but in an entirely new way.

Anglian Water fishes for on-trend laundry list – including low-code work – in £24m trawl

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Forgot blockchain

There's almost everything and the kitchen sink in that list.

Explainable AI ? Good one.

Citizen app development ? Oh, so they're going to get the users to do part of the job. Smart move.

Low-code dev platforms and augmented analytics tooling & capability. Can't wait to see you demonstrate how to do augmented analytics with low-code tools.

One thing seems clear to me : the guy who wrote all that bull will certainly not be around when the fertilizer hits the rotating dispenser blades.

Let's go space truckin': 1970s probe Voyager 1 is now 14 billion miles from home

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Ah, 1980

I was 15 years old and eagerly scouting National Geographics for news on Voyager. It was a wonderful publication at the time. I remember seeing the first ever "close-ups" of Jupiter and Saturn and the pictures just blew my mind.

In one monthly edition there was a poster of our galaxy, our position in it, and it's position in the local cluster. I had that poster on my wall for years and years. Sadly, I lost it when I moved at some point.

I think I should credit National Geographics and Voyager for getting me interested in space.

As we stand on the precipice of science fiction into science fact, people say: Hell yeah, I want to augment my eyesight!

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Upvote for Yes Minister reference alone ! A true masterpiece of British humor, and a testament to skeptics everywhere.

I found the extract, relish it here.

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"testing the limits of what's possible"

I'm sorry, but I don't see that there is all that much that is possible for the general public right now. Apart from laser eye surgery, there is nothing high-tech that anyone can have implemented which will improve their eyesight or hearing (there are no hearing aids implanted in the ear), much less their strength.

And as for improving one's strength, how could that possibly work via implant ? What would you implant ? I know of nothing that could even begin to do that. Improving strength is via exoskeletons at this point in time and that's all we've got (and we don't have too much of it either).

There are lab experiments trying to allow control of a mouse via thought, but I haven't heard that they're ready for market yet.

Anyone know of some implantable thingy that actually enhances a human being ? Beyond an RFID chip that allows you to open a door, I mean.

Alibaba wants to get you off the PC upgrade treadmill and into its cloud

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Re: Little question

Given that the data is created under the user's profile, privacy protection should be a blanket case.

But I'm sure there will be lawyers to find otherwise.

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Oh it certainly could be viable - QuakeOnline has been rocking it for years now and it's not your browser doing the graphics.

It boggles the mind to think that we are indeed headed straight back to the 90s. Apparently the future of IT is everyone on a dumb terminal connected to a CPU datacenter. You upgrade by paying a bit more on your monthly plan. I'm guessing they'll want to bill you for amount of CPU activity and electricity you consume, because otherwise how can it be economically viable ?

Well I will leave the younguns the pleasure of finding out how that works. My data and my activity stays local, thank you very much.

Apple 'proud to support Indian customers and their communities' – but maybe not so much for COVID-slammed retailers

Pascal Monett Silver badge

"has lobbied the Indian government to change that requirement"

I hope the Indian government will hold fast to its requirement.

Apple is the company with the most money in the bank, it can take the hit.

Bit by bit, multinational behemoths will participate in the local economy. They will dragged in kicking and screaming, but it will happen.

iOS 14 suffers app preference amnesia: Rebooting an iThing resets browser, email client defaults back to Safari, Mail

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Another summer intern problem

Apple really has to learn to not give important jobs to the summer intern. Last time it was with the time zone issue, where Apple became the only company in the world to forget that there is such a thing as a time zone. Now, Apple has forgotten to respect people's settings after a measly reboot.

Not even a system wipe and reinstall, which would be perfectly acceptable and nobody could complain, but just a reboot.

So Apple kit is no longer meant to be turned off. How green.

Well, Apple may not offer any explanation, but I'm betting there will be a patch coming real soon.

You have to be very on-trend as a cybercrook – hence why coronavirus-themed phishing is this year's must-have look

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Both of your observations are perfectly correct, of course, but even if a person doesn't know what email headers are, they can still tweak to the fact that the email they're reading is supposed to be from Microsoft and was sent from a Gmail account.

You don't need to be a high priest to know that Microsoft has no Gmail account, and anyone in Microsoft sending "official" corporate mail from Gmail would likely see their career ended pretty quickly.

A tiny bit of logic and observation is all that is required to avoid a vast majority of nasties, especially those that are not specifically tailored for you (as in phishing attacks - I would guess those are better conceived). Unfortunately, logic and observation are rare commodities these days.

Not content with distorting actual reality, Facebook now wants to build a digital layer for the world

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It likely is, but personally I consider that, when I'm in a public area, what I'm doing is public as well. If someone takes a picture and I'm on it, then so be it.

However, anyone specifically taking a picture of me is going to have to answer some questions - if I notice, that is.

Need to track IT kit? Business continuity? Legal? ServiceNow has a package of satellite apps for you... now

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The no-code approach

I cannot imagine building a database of any complexity without coding. If you have a no-code design environment, then you will have to have modules and you will be constrained by what the modules allow. The modules will only allow for what has been coded in them by actual developers and the no-code approach means you can't modify them in any way.

So the only "applications" you can make are the ones that correspond to the modules' abilities. If what you need lies outside that scope, you can't build it.

There may well be some types of application that benefit from this approach, but I can't see people building everything they need simply with a drag-and-drop environment.

Where China leads, Iran follows: US warns of 'contract' hackers exploiting Citrix, Pulse Secure and F5 VPNs

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"malicious persons from Iran"

Well isn't there a simple solution ? Block all Iran IP addresses on the router, problem solved.

I can understand that media sectors and, eventually, financial sectors could welcome IP traffic from Iran, but please explain how exactly an Iranian citizen in Iran is going to sign up for US healthcare, insurance or use US government facilities ? Don't they all require US residency ?

Maybe there are dual-citizenship US/Iranian people who regularly go to Iran, but they can understand that they need to be in the US to conduct their US business. And a VPN is not all that expensive.

Why is it that key government websites accept traffic from any country other than their own anyway ? I fail to see what benefit a Chinese citizen in China can find in browsing impots.gouv.fr, especially as that site is exclusively in French, and they don't have a login anyway.

Sounds like Spotify and Epic have been chatting: Music streamer blasts Apple One service as 'anti-competitive'

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"threaten our collective freedoms to listen, learn, create, and connect"

Um, sorry, but I have trouble accepting that statement.

It is not because your competition has a strong platform that it is stifling freedom, creation and learning. As for connecting, take your grievances to FaceBook.

I'm not defending Apple in any way shape or form, but my liberty to learn, create and share does not depend on Apple's good will and benevolence. There are other means and platforms to use, and Spotify will not be able to transform this in a meeting at OK Corral. If Spotify dies, Apple will not take over the world.

I understand that lawyers have to build a case, but saying that Apple is the guardian of freedom and creation is going a bit too far.

And, as far as learning is concerned, there's Curiosity Stream, Brilliant, TED talks, SciShow, Geographics and hundreds more.

Sorry, Spotify, you're on shifting sands if you go down that route.

Astroboffins reckon evidence of Martian life has probably been destroyed where liquid acid flowed on the Red Planet

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So there's no problem then ?

Okay, where acid flowed biosignatures are destroyed in the clay, understood.

But Perseverance is not landing in a acid-washed clay basin, so everything is good then ? If there are signs of life to be found, Perseverance might find them.

Do I need to use this as another reason to panic ? Because I have enough of those at this point in time.

Family wrongly accused of uploading pedo material to Facebook – after US-EU date confusion in IP address log

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I find that difficult to believe. If a programming language does not have a proper date object, then I seriously doubt that dates are stored as anything but a string.

Because if dates were somehow magically stored as objects, then writing to a csv file would not have so many different formats.

Pascal Monett Silver badge


So, now that I am reassured that I'm far from the only one having had to deal with this specific bunch of vipers, could someone please explain to me why is it that we are in the 3rd millennium, using object-oriented 4G or even 5G languages, and we are still writing dates as strings ?

Why is it that there is no language today (caveat : that I know of) that treats a date as an object with three parameters and the format it is shown in depends on the OS ?

Is it really that hard ?

(Yes, of course it is, because legacy - but dammit, couldn't we at least get a choice ?)

Pascal Monett Silver badge

I have to admit

As a programmer working with international companies, I have had no end of grief getting data to integrate only to find that, not only there are dates in the US format, but not all dates are in the same format because the file has contributions from a group of people.

That is a can of worms I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

Surprise! Apple launches iOS 14 today, and developers were given just 24 hours' notice

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"Cupertino's rigorous software and human-driven testing"

Oh, you're just being cute now, aren't you ?

Brit MPs to Apple CEO: Please stop ignoring our questions about repairability and the environment

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"how Apple was tackling past and future carbon emissions"

With glue.

Lots of glue.

Russian hacker selling how-to vid on exploiting unsupported Magento installations to skim credit card details for $5,000

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If you have to do all that work, you might as well migrate from Magento 1 to someone else who actually gives a frack about business continuity.

Take your pick: 'Hack-proof' blockchain-powered padlock defeated by Bluetooth replay attack or 1kg lump hammer

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Re: Chainsaw, anyone?

Well they score points for leaving a very clear message in any case.

Is Little Timmy still enthralled by his Leapfrog tablet? Maybe check he hasn't sideloaded an unrestricted OS onto it

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Wasn't aware of that, thanks for the heads-up.

Another company on my Do Not Buy list.

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Well, yes, Little Timmy should definitely not have unfettered access to an open platform, not until he has the smarts to deal with the openness.

Children need to be guided. Throwing a child into a pool is generally not considered the best way for learning how to swim.

Pascal Monett Silver badge

And what is it you have against this device ?

Genuinely curious to know.

The small children I see these days are always hogging their parent's mobile phone. I'd rather they have a simple, locked down environment to play in instead of a computing platform that can do almost everything.

Infosec big names rally against US voting app maker's bid to outlaw unsanctioned bug hunting via T&Cs

Pascal Monett Silver badge

"The University of Michigan student was not a participant in our bug bounty program"

And that counts for what ? Is there a legal requirement to have to sign up in the program before testing for vulnerabilities ?

No there is not. And, like it or not, your product will come under the attention of state actors that have much more experience under their belt.

You are not running a controlled ship. You have a product out there, and it will be under attack.

You are supposed to welcome investigation by people who are trying to help, because smothering them is only going to leave the door wide open to people who have no intention of telling you what you missed.

Pascal Monett Silver badge

And about damn time too.

Singapore to test compulsory COVID-tracker usage as condition of entry to some venues

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Re: This will enable us to open up safely in the coming weeks and months

It is not meant to prevent, it is meant to allow for quickly putting the infected people under quarantine and stop them from spreading it further.

Typical '80s IT: Good idea leads to additional duties, without extra training or pay, and a nuked payroll system

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Re: you could flip in a hex editor from 1 to 0

I ran across that particular tidbit as well, and I tried it. It doesn't actually work, but there's a caveat : if someone with access to the design locked the database, then updated the design without locking it again, then flipping that bit would indeed give you access to the unlocked overwrite.

But if the database was managed properly, then there is no unlocked code to read and the manipulation is useless.

You see, when you lock a Lotus Notes database, you compile the code and get rid of the source. When you work in an unlocked database, you have the source with the compiled code.

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Re: "the discovery that a backup was not all you hoped it might be"

No, the template is not a text file, it is a database. The design was locked, meaning that it was no longer readable, so it was not possible to copy it into anything.

And yes, I am still working with that customer. The IT director trusts me and there really isn't any other consultant with 25 of years experience in that particular field that they can call on.

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Re: Shadowing - What could go wrong

If the customer was so sure it should have worked, the customer could have done the himself.

There are times when you should say "no" to a contract, and when a customer is clearly cutting corners and not doing things properly is one of those times because, contract clauses be damned, it will always be your fault if something goes wrong.

And something always does.

Pascal Monett Silver badge

"the discovery that a backup was not all you hoped it might be"

Oh my, that brings back memories. I was working as a consultant in a major insurance company, on an on-call basis.

One day, I get called to go modify something in the mail template that defines what every mailbox is supposed to look like and what features it is supposed to have. So I pack my laptop and off I go. When I'm settled at my desk and after the meeting with the IT manager, with all the technical details I need in mind, I log into my local account and ask the system to start up the Designer on the mail template.

The Designer was a no show.

Not that the Designer had a problem, it was the template that was not accessible. It's design had been locked.

After a brief but intense moment of WTF! and deep soul-searching, I reassured myself that I would never have been stupid enough to lock the design of the most important template the customer had, so I went back to the IT manager and reported the problem. His matter-of-fact reply was simple : get the backup copy.

Like every responsible IT shop in any major company, backups were made incremental every day, full every week-end and end-of-month. So finding a good backup should be simple, right ?

Well, in a word, no. I basically spent a day with the systems team, going back every further in time to try and find a copy that hadn't been locked. When we had gone over the two months of backup that were stored locally, my new friend turned to me and said "Okay, this is all I've got here. Do you want me to go to the archives and fish out the storage tapes of the previous months ?". I could clearly see that that was not a prospect that he particularly relished, and I had already spent too much time on this issue, so I declined with thanks and left him relieved to be able to finally take care of his normal duties.

But I still had a problem : I had a template to rebuild. Or find a copy of, somewhere.

I will spare you the details, but let me just say that I finally did find a valid copy of the template on a server which, ironically, it never should have been put. I was able to make the requested changes, copy the unlocked template to production servers, and keep a local copy in my local profile - just in case someone else got the same stupid idea.

And that's how a 30-minute job was invoiced 10 hours and paid in full without any discussion.

Nobody ever told me who had locked the design.

IBM calls for US export bans on facial recognition tech including cameras and big iron

Pascal Monett Silver badge

IBM already bowed out of facial recog in June (see linked article) when it said so in a letter to several senators.

What IBM is doing now is simply doubling down on the act and going for the full package : no facial recog anywhere, until proper laws have been put in place ensuring the respect of privacy and proper identification of miscreants.

I think IBM is right on one point : technology has, in this case, clearly exceeded what the law can handle and the law needs to be updated.

That said, I agree that the fact that IBM is calling for a ban is simply because IBM's facial recog was never any good, so IBM is likely trying to peg the market to give it time to catch up.

Because IBM stated that it was no longer offering general facial recog solutions, it never said it wasn't working on them.

Bad apples: US customs seize OnePlus earbuds thinking they're knock-off AirPods

Pascal Monett Silver badge

So Customs is using Package Recognition AI now ?

"The interception of these counterfeit earbuds is a direct reflection of the vigilance and commitment to mission success by our CBP Officers daily. "

Nope. It's a direct reflection of how little you're paying attention to what you're actually looking at. As for mission success, it is hardly a success to block something that has nothing to do with what you're looking for. That's called a false positive, and you should correct that.

Except that, this is the Trump era, and we all know that you're just doing your bit to bother China in any way you can, even if it is wrong.

Wow, you guys have so much in common: Oracle hotly tipped to power TikTok’s operations as Microsoft deal rejected

Pascal Monett Silver badge

And I don't see that changing any time soon.

As I've already said, that Microsoft adds yet another thingy on it's already bursting patchwork of a software quilt is no surprise, but Oracle is only Oracle and only does Oracle.

I am glad to see that the author of the article is in the same frame of mind.

Oracle and TikTok go together like tank tops and suede shoes. It doesn't match.

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Yes, that was written in the article you responded to.

You might want to actually read it this time.

Microsoft's Surface Duo cops 1 repairability point for each of its screens: That's 2/10

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Or, to put it another way : how to make sure I won't buy one.

Mine's the one with the easily replaceable battery.

Infor pays UK construction retailer Travis Perkins £4.2m settlement following cancelled upgrade of 'Sellotape and elastic bands' ERP system

Pascal Monett Silver badge

"did not include functional specifications"

Sorry, but there's your problem.

No project should be started without knowing where you want to end up. I don't care if you use Agile or Waterfall, you still have to know what the required functionality is and a company that cannot state its needs deserves to fail.

This is obviously a bunch of high-level "managers" who have never been confronted with the daily grind and think that IT is a magical process that just happens.

Well no, it doesn't "just happen". It needs thought, planning and employee adoption, and you obviously got none of those.

Oracle customers caught in the cross-hairs of Larry’s 'interesting dynamic'

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Oracle must be a damn good product

. . for it's customers to continue to put op with Ellison's bullshit manipulations of policy, licenses and contracts to milk every last possible cent out of them.

Customers are "picking Oracle Cloud Infrastructure" because they bloddy well don't have the choice, it was forced upon them in the last license modification and, if they choose to defy the Great Red One, they pay even more than the eye-watering costs they already incur.

I'm not CEO of a large company in any way, but I can guarantee that, if that ever happens, I will make sure that Oracle never sets foot into my server rooms.

Don't pay the ransom, mate. Don't even fix a price, say Australia's cyber security bods

Pascal Monett Silver badge

I agree with every word

It's nice to see a cyber security bureau on the ball and giving out the right advice.

Such a shame about Australia's stance on backdoored encryption.

Maybe this cyber security bureau could have a word with the government ?

Mine's the one with proper encryption in the pocket.

Three middle-aged Dutch hackers slipped into Donald Trump's Twitter account days before 2016 US election

Pascal Monett Silver badge

Re: And if you have any doubt

Yeah, but there's one problem with that : it will report your email as having been hacked even after you've just reset the password.

So I have no idea now if my new password has been breached.

The power of Bill compels you: A server room possessed by a Microsoft-hating, Linux-loving Demon

Pascal Monett Silver badge

There's also the fact that Windows loads about 1000 drivers and services whether you need them or not, whereas Linux will only load what it needs to do the job it was configured for.

Go Huawei, Android: Chinese telco biz claims it will spread Harmony OS for smartphone to devs come December

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“Others have tried and failed"

Yes, but others were going up against a market where two multi-billion dollar behemoths were already entrenched and battle-ready. In China, there are over a billion potential customers and most of them have never heard of either Apple or Google. And the Chinese government has form in swinging the ban hammer if a local company feels it's getting in trouble.

That should help things along quite a bit. A mobile phone solution could garner half a billion customers easily before trying its toes in the international arena. If it doesn't work swimmingly, it would still have its local market to fall back on, something Symbian and Windows Mobile never had.

Desperately seeking regolith: NASA seeks proposals for collecting Moon dirt

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Re: Confused

Well, the article specifically states that "Delivery occurs on the Moon's surface".

So that means that NASA is asking private companies to go collect rocks, and NASA will go and get them.

That makes zero sense.


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