* Posts by Steve B

144 posts • joined 11 Apr 2007


The internet becomes trademarkable, sort of, with near-unanimous Supreme Court ruling on Booking.com

Steve B

Is this an open check for the registrars?

The domains are rented for a fee for a defined period.

What is to stop the registrar for that tld upping specific fees so that on renewal it is a couple of hundred or more K per year for Booking.

If it is not renewed it is not a major issue with the registrar but stuffs the company!

Also the company in question do not own the internet or even part of it, so how can they legally trademark something they do not own.

Steve B

I would qualify that as US law, but thinking about it , our lot are now just as bad.

However it is the law makers at fault.

Amazon is saying nothing about the DDoS attack that took down AWS, but others are

Steve B

What has happened to the monitors?

I used to help with a lot of network development and testing, helping quite a few companies to shape their switches and monitors, including some RMON devices.

They used to send me their latest hardware and software to install and beta test.

I moved on from that role to become an international corporate's IT Manager, but installed "non corporate" firewalls and monitors so that I knew what was happening on the network.

Many of the companies I "worked" with have been hoovered up by the bigger players or fallen by the wayside, but there is no excuse really.

If you are responsible for the well being of a major network which has impact upon business viability then you have to install proper monitoring mechanisms to let you know very quickly if a problem develops.

Even then I got fed up with attacks so used reverse DNS and who is to go after the US based ISP.

After the initial "nowt to do wi' us", the support chap realised that he was actually being attacked as well, but it had taken over one of his servers. A quick flurry of activity and problem solved. I later got an email to say that they had many servers susceptible which were in line for take over and they had now decided that instead of sitting back on server patches they were going to instigate a better maintenance schedule to minimise the chances of it happening again.

I did not really appreciate the effect of my monitoring on our companies, until the corporate Finance Controller left to freelance elsewhere. On a keep in touch visit, I was told that they had not realised that big companies still had major IT issues as there had not been any in 4 years with us, but were a constant occurrence in the other companies they had been into.

Parliament IT bods' fail sees server's naked OS exposed to world+dog

Steve B

Re: it's probably

I used to love developing for QDOS.

Police ICT Company kills £500m procurement, no longer wants one box shifter to rule them all

Steve B

Good Idea but never works.

We did that in Local Government. It ended up that if we wanted to buy something specialised we had to do the evaluation and negotiation ourselves, then the vendor would try to get on the supply list so we could actually procure it!

All well and good until other more generalised vendors got into price wars to get the preferred supplier option. This was obliviously at cost to something and if you weren't careful you had to buy the poor offering they were selling.

Meanwhile whilst with the Police, we noticed that every force had their own way of doing things complete with their own supplier and there was no way they were going to change.

Using the central supplier may help shortcut the procurement process, but what is really needed is a "Police team" consisting of the best workers, civilians, admin, audit, and even a few force managers, from multiple forces who have the capability to take the best available processes from each of the forces, tweaking them to suit every force and then amalgamate them into one system, easily paramatised to allow some local customisation, but in general just coming up with one system to put into each force. As it would be the same system, the data would be easily shared and manipulated with little effort as requirements grow.

The development team should be made up from proven in house programmers from the various forces and coopted specialists as required, making sure the expertise stays spread and in house.

It worked for us on a single force scale and we sold software on, but it would never happen now though! Crime Commissioners have to protect their empires.

Skype goes blurry, Office gets a kick in the privacy, and Microsoft takes us back to 1990

Steve B

Microsoft - Quality Assurance Department - Giraffe.

I thought it was a joke, but remembered that when I returned to modern "Quality Assurance" for a US company, I did get a bit of a shock - and the sack!

When we started QA for an UK international computer manufacturer, we improved software quality by unheard of amounts simply by acting as real users.

When I went back into QA I ran the US company induction script as a real QA exercise on their about to be released product which had already passed its own QA with flying colours, I found around 25 deviations, one of which was major.

I was called in by personnel and informed that my job as a QA Test lead did NOT involve finding bugs. My job was to run the scripts and the scripts would log whether there were any bugs or not.

I thought they were taking the P, but I was then informed I was not the sort of person they wanted working there. And they would not even let me back in to get my coat and coffee cup, which were brought out to me.

The daft thing about it was that their new US director had visited the day before to recount to the company that he had spent a few weeks going round the major customers to find out their perception of the product. His findings matched mine exactly and I hadn't left the desk.

Until the companies realise that Quality Assurance is not there to sign off whatever you already have, but should actually work towards improving the quality of the product, things are not going to get better.

If at first, second, third... fourth time you don't succeed, you're Apple: Another appeal lost in $440m net patent war

Steve B

Get rid of Software Patents completely.

Software is just another language like English. It would be a bit Naff if now we are going to be struggling outside the EU, we decided to up our income by taking every other country to court for infringing our language!

Basically the same thing as books and films. What some one says can also be independently authored by someone else to get the same overall story just as in software some ideas are natural follow ons from normal programming practice. That appears to ave been cover nicely by copyright laws so they could be applied as well to software.

IBM/Microsoft between them put the world of computing back 20 or 30 years, the US Patent System will probably kill all software innovation with their pathetic attempts to pander to the US legal system lobby..

Facebook to appeal against ICO fine – says it's a matter of principle not to pay 18 mins' profit

Steve B

Does seem a bit ludicrous.

One supposes that every country on the internet is also lining up fines as their data could have been leaked as well.

Interesting law principle though, being found guilty of just the possibility of a crime relating to bad programming errors.

Microsoft should be quaking along with many network vendors that allow sneaky access to users' data through their less than diligent program testing.

Did Apple get fined in the UK for the fappening etc?

Microsoft yanks the document-destroying Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Steve B

Re: "The guy who wrote the update"

Have to agree. I inspired ICL's Software QA team, but we were so successful, we were disbanded and product reliability took a nose dive again..

A couple of years ago I got a QA lead job in the UK with a leading US backup and restore company, but only lasted a couple of weeks because their flagship product had flawlessly passed its official QA but by running my company induction script as a proper QA exercise against the new product I found several bugs, one potentially serious, I was too new to know if it was or not so raised it with the development team for them to check out.

Cue a trip from HQ personnel and an unbelievable conversation:

"As a QA Lead it was not your job to find and report bugs, the QA Test Lead role is to run the supplied scripts and if there are any bugs, the script will flag them."

"... but I found 20 new bugs"

to which the response was

"You are not the sort of person we want working for *****"

I wasn't even allowed back to my desk to get my coffee cup, someone else had to get it for me.

Back in the 70s, our groundbreaking QA philosophy was that we were "users". As such, it was fairly important that the products worked as documented, but more important was that when we did things wrong they catered for the fact and dealt with it in the correct and safe manner. Even thought we knew more about the product than half the developers, we only used knowledge and traits available to users so if the documentation was wrong - tough - we followed it and the product failed until it was correct. If the user was told not to do something they could easily do because it caused an issue, we would incorporate it to ensure it didn't, because you could guarantee a user would do it at the most inconvenient time.

Back in those days, you had to apply OS patches and software package updates via punched cards and they refused to do a rebuild before submission to QA, so I insisted the exercise included the punching of the cards from when we started not before. Turned the exercise into a bit of a fiasco but as a direct result a new delivery system was devised and a new department formed to ensure the task of applying patches was a smooth infallible operation for the actual users. Job Done!

Product and operating system reliability shot up hundreds of percent.

We put it together in less than 6 months, but after they disbanded us and it all went downhill, the company spent the next decade rediscovering "quality" for the first time!?! And I am not sure they ever reached our level of success.

MS were just starting off then, bit it sounds like they still haven't caught up even 40 years later.

MIMEsweeper maker loses UK High Court patent fight over 15-year-old bulletin board post

Steve B

All Software patents should automatically be invalid.

Software is just a set of instructions to the computer.

Anyone who can code can come up with the same or different instructions to perform the same task.

Therefore as one develops a program, they are all obvious and non patentable.

As with literature and books, there is some merit in look/feel but imagine if someone in the 1920s had got a patent for all stories where the hero is a government agent, fighting to right the wrongs of enemies of the state, which is basically what is being allowed with software patents.

RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics

Steve B

Re: Well at least

Maybe the batteries last but why clog the spectrum? I used to have arguments like that with Novell, Microsoft and Cisco designers many years ago. Although it looks like there is plenty of "network space" available, there isn't if you clog it with rubbish. Every little bit counts.

Ex-Facebook manager sues biz after getting 'Zucked out of overtime'

Steve B

All depends on how useful you are.

When I worked for a UK County Council, we were "salaried" and therefore expected to work all hours for nothing extra. As we could only do computer maintenance outside normal hours they expected us to work the normal day and then come back to do the maintenance.

On the second occasion I said no, not without pay.

I offered to do the maintenance during normal working hours, but it was their desire that I did it out of hours so I demanded payment.

Cue a meeting with the County Treasurer, Computer Manager and all the long time support team employees at which it was pointed out that it was "our duty" to do whatever was required when required etc., and never in the history of mankind had anything so dastardly been proposed.

One by one they asked the long term employees if they were willing to back down and do the work as requested, to which they all reluctantly agreed.

When it got to me at the end, I just pointed out that they had plenty of volunteers willing to do the task so my answer was still No.

About an hour later the management realised that no one else could actually do it without severe retraining.

We ALL got paid overtime for out of hours work after that!

And I never got a thank you.

Take that, gender pay gap! Atos to offshore hundreds of BBC roles

Steve B

Isn't this illegal?

I thought tendering was supposed to be blind. from the dialogue it is as though this Atos lot KNOW they have to bid lower to beat the others, which implies they know the figures.

As to the solution, can't say I really know any BBC faces, so the fees should be lowered and if the faces don't like it there are now several hundred alternative places for them to seek employment.

The major problem with the equalisation of sexes was that it was done wrong - same as minority equality. People should get a job because they are the best for the role, not because they are the right shape or colour. The reward for the role should be the same whoever gets it. Simple! You now have the best staff for the company, but then the type and shape numbers would not necessarily add up.

As for ourtsourcing to India, one only has to look at BT and their support. I had a simple issue to deal with, but it took something like 12 phone calls to their support line to find someone who understood Queens English AND knew the BT product AND knew what to do. It was a simple request about their Alarm Call service *55*, but one conversation - after 15 minutes went "Have BT installed a special Alarm extension in your house?" My shocked response on the lines of enquiring if she was taking the Michael resulted in the line being dropped and back to square one. btw they were never able to resolve the issue because the problem lay with different BT departments/companies and there was no interaction.

I know the last series of Doctor Who was complete crap but maybe this outsourcing lark included script typing via the IT. that would explain why it never made sense and was non-sequiter from previous series.

Steve B

Re: If there's no TV in the property...

That doesn't seem to apply in Weymouth. Looking through the "In the Courts" section each week shows at the bottom end of the scale for fines, unfortunate folk such as drug dealers, car thieves, Muggers, Burglars, Shoplifters, people with no car licence or insurance. Every week the top of the table is reserved for the heinous people with NO TV LICENCE, with their individual fines higher than the total of the unfortunates below them in the pecking order. And it is not just one or two, tis often columns of them! As far as one can read into it there appears to be no burden of proof required as hardly any of them even know they are in court and so do not attend!

Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff

Steve B

Probably more to do with attitude

I remember many years ago, Novell were asked if they were going to change the way their network worked to make it more cooperative with other systems. Their response was " we have the lion's share of the market and therefore are doing it right, so no we will not be changing." That attitude did not serve them so well in the long term. Similarly I had issues with Firefox and got into discussions with the developer community regarding the USPs they were dropping with no good replacement. Their attitude was " we are the best programmers and therefore we know best. Nothing you old people know is relevant to us anymore." From the comments it looks like they have continued on with their cavalier attitude. Firefox hasn't been on my radar for nearly 10 years now and I haven't missed it at all.

One-third of Brit IT projects on track to fail

Steve B

Coincidental with Prince.

I used to use proper project management techniques and all of my projects were delivered on time. Not necessarily when the management were expecting them on their plans but always as I promised from day one on mine. Then along came Prince and Agile to formulate the techniques and to make life easier for useless people to get qualifications. So basically the people who could not create a proper project management plan suddenly became qualified to prove that they could! Failure guaranteed!

Facebook in the dock: Web giant faces trial for allegedly ripping off data center blueprints

Steve B


We did both OS and Micros and they were much better, but unfortunately the US "stole" another British artifact -Charlie Chaplin, which IBM then used in an advert to convince the easily led that Charlie Chaplin endorsed the IBM PC and MSDOS to make their business great. Brilliant campaign as it worked and plunged the IT world into darkness.

FYI – There's a legal storm brewing in Cali that threatens to destroy online free speech

Steve B

Summed up the real problem with "thousands of dollars"

If the process was cheap and affordable or free for the masses then these judgements would be fought, but while it requires "thousands of dollars" it is limited to the rich, who can therefore get away with anything and also rewrite history. After all they must be right because they are rich.

Obviously there is scope for an internet judge judy or whatever whereby an independent panel of internet users review supposed libel actions and decide whether the "review" goes to far. That would open processes up to the masses who cannot afford litigation in any country,

Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

Steve B

I loved Firefox when it came out but then they got meglomaniac

There were some fantastic innovations in Firefox which made my research time so much easier and more productive, but then they did the simple thing of removing the singular "active tab" X which up till then had always been i one place allowing you to open loads of tabs from a search engine query and then without moving the mouse to easily discard those which were irrelevant. All thoughts were on content, but suddenly there was the interruption to thought process as you now located the new "relevant" X position and clicked it, then you could get back to whatever? Many discussions on the developers bug forums evolved into them finally stating that they knew everything and as a long time IT professional ALL my knowledge was now totally irrelevant as it had been superseded and they were geniuses! No surprise they have dug themselves into a hole. I switched to OPERA and am still one of the few.

UK's 'homebrew firmware' Chinooks set to be usable a mere 16 years late

Steve B

Supposedly couldnt fly by instruments.

Was it one of those that crashed in foggy Scotland and despite all IT advice and knowledge the MOD blamed pilot error for the first decade or so!

Netflix investor sues vid giant for 'covering up' subscriber stats stumble

Steve B

Amazing part of US business practice. Destroy the company you invest in at every op.

Worked for a couple of US companies where the US shareholders destroyed the companies by suing for extra dividends rather than allowing the companies to invest in R & D. Net result: The now non competitive companies had to sell to get capital to survive. Which bits sell - yes, the profitable bits leaving the companies with the bits that no one wants or aren't profitable. Pretty soon nothing left of either company. But happy investors!

81's 99 in 17: Still a lotta love for the TI‑99/4A – TI's forgotten classic

Steve B

Great architecture but lousy design.

We had a development system for the 9900 and just using 2K of program and 16K of RAM, I built a comms controller linking 8 screen based terminals and 4 printers to the ICL mainframes allowing us to use cheap dumb terminals saving tens of thousands per set up. We took the 99/4 onboard as a cheap device for our remote offices, but when we closely examined the architecture, we found that the memory was accessed through the video controller and not directly which made it a no no for serious development, ie replacing the operating system with my own! Instead we built our own rs232 interfaces and wrote basic programs which allowed the remote offices to input and edit their payroll data, sending it automatically to the mainframe and receiving and printing the processed response. The limitation was the use of cassette tape. I Still remember my first demo, suitably impressing the ladies in the remote office. Taking everything back to scratch and saying "right, your turn" showed the uphill task when the boss lady tried to force the cassette into the player whilst still in its case as they had not come across these new fangled cassette tapes before!

College fires IT admin, loses access to Google email, successfully sues IT admin for $250,000

Steve B

It is not so much the companies as the idiot management.

Our owner closed the offices and transferred everything back to his old company. I did many proper handovers with everything well scheduled, but at the end they decided they knew better and came to visit me for a recap. As I said goodbye, see you next week, the chap, very embarrassed, stated that he was there to lock me out of the building as the managemnt had decided I was being terminated early. Fair enough, but a couple of weeks later when they had parcelled everything up and moved it, they could not figure out how it went together and which PC was which for development, production databases etc. I was offered minimum wage and petrol money to commute 100 miles each way for a week to sort it out for them. I told them the password - which they already knew- and left it at that.

Google Pixel pwned in 60 seconds

Steve B

Caused major problems with one UK manufacturer by testing the software!

Moved into testing with no real experience and was told these are the working commands write tests to prove they are OK. I got it wrong and crashed the system so I decided that as a user should not be able to crash the system, I would include it in the testing and then failed the product for release.

Next time round the entire company changed their stance on testing and it was no longer a pain that had to be endured but a useful exercise they all bought into. Quality of product shot up and stayed there for years.

The basic problem with todays programmers is that they are lazy assuming this or that environment or compiler is handling all the exceptions magically so they don't need to. That is if they even know what an exception is!

Quest celebrates first day of independence from Dell with layoffs

Steve B

They've not changed then.

Worked for them in QA for a very short while but I made the mistake of running my induction exercise as a proper Quality Assurance exercise against their new update. I was then laid off BECAUSE I found bugs in the "about to be released" product, where their official testing found none. Quote from personnel: "You are not employed to find bugs, you have to follow the script and it will log if there is a bug." My reply that I found over 20 product deviations was immediately countered with "We have decided you are not the sort of person we want working here" and I was not even allowed back into the office to get my coffee cup off my desk. Karma is a bitch sometimes.

Two Sundays wrecked by boss who couldn't use a calendar

Steve B

twice that occured

Two companies tried the old "this is part of your salaried job so you work all out of hours for free" My response was if it part of my job I will do it normal hours.Big meeting called and all the original staff stated that they could see the employers point of view and that they would willingly do it. It got to me and I just said " OK you have enough volunteers now, you don't need me." and walked out. That was when they realised they did. We all got paid right through.

Cali bloke accused of illegally trousering $68k using mom's Apple AuthenTec gobble tip-off

Steve B

What is the issue?

A chap's brother has a long meeting with Apple, doesn't take much to assume something is happening.

So what if he bought some shares in the hope a deal goes through, not exactly earth shattering sums, and he has probably run out of successful brothers now so little chance of a repeat. It is the rip off merchants who went Sell, sell, sell on news of brexit, just to force the market prices down so they could buy them back cheaply and make a much bigger (virtual) profit that these officials should be chasing and sorting out, not a chap who backed his brother.

PayPal freezes 400-job expansion in North Carolina over bonkers religious freedom law

Steve B

Non Issue

I went to Belgium in the 60s on a school trip with my Mum. Her school was a girl's school so my little brother and I were the only males.

One night we went to a "cafe" and had to use the toilet, which was hilarious as it was a mixed sex with urinals on the way in. Very embarassing for my brother and I but great fun for the older girls, nightmare for my Mum who was trying to keep them under control.

But if they have been sharing toilets in Europe for 50 odd years with no problems, is there really an issue?

ISPs: UK.gov should pay full costs of Snooper's Charter hardware

Steve B

I remember the government's y2k fearmongering fiasco.

At an interview I was asked to spec a y2k test for a piece of network equipment. I stated that I could not actually understand the requirement in terms of that type of device. When it was further explained, I replied with "someone is pulling your leg on this. If that was a valid scenario, the equipment wouldn't work at all let alone in 2000 so you can save half your planned testing." Turned out the chap was the external consultant in charge of the project and I had just halved his potential earnings as well as pointed out his lack of knowledge. I didn't get the job... But no doubt he and his ilk are now advising the government on IT matters such as this, working from the strength of their ignorance

It's nearly 2016, and Windows DNS servers can be pwned remotely

Steve B

Always said MS and IBM put computing back decades. Still seems to be a problem.

In the 70s our English OS would not let code be changed on the fly as quite honestly there is no justification.

The data could be changed but it was loaded into different program segments so there was no interaction on corrupt data. Various levels of kernel were afforded protection and user code running at higher levels could not interfere with the lower levels - the program just bombed out.

Unfortunately the US had better marketing skills and flooded the world with substandard IT.

Don't panic. Stupid smart meters are still 50 years away

Steve B

We had the North American Market covered.

However our devices, which attached to existing meters (gas,water and electric) and transmitted the data over low power RF to either fixed network receivers or meter readers passing by on foot or in a vehicle, were excluded from the Smartmeter project by the Labour government as only integral solutions were considered. Our owner decided that if he had no UK business prospects he didn't need UK staff so shut us down.

What a pity: Rollout of hated UK smart meters delayed again

Steve B

The concept was good until the Government got into it!

Automatic Meter Reading is big in the US, but our Add Ons, which utilised existing meters, were disqualified by the UK government of the time as a complete integrated Meter was their only acceptable option. In the US there are large towns with one meter reader nipping round once a month to read every meter, at speeds of up to 50 mph.

There was a fixed network option and more in development, but with no UK business prospect the owner shut down the UK office.

What the UK government has done to the utilities makes the implementation very costly until they improve aspects. There was talk about different suppliers having different smart meters, requiring a new meter change with every supplier switch.. Absolutely ridiculous. The protocol should be the same so that one electricity meter will do for all companies, one gas meter should do for all companies and one water meter should do for all companies. In fact there is no reason why it should not do for all three; ours used to.

If they can't get that right they should stop the Smart Meter project now. If they need help I am available as I have been since being made redundant back in 2007! when this raised it's head seven long years ago.

Apart from that, the main benefit of the meter is for the supplier, not the customer, and therefore the cost should be borne at source possibly by a government tax levied on suppliers so they can't shirk their responsibility.

Apple blacklists tech journo following explicit BENDY iPhone vid

Steve B

Isn't this the new Flex iPhone

I've been out of it for a while, but I felt sure the new one was called the Flexiphone.

Stone the crows, Bouncer! BT defends TV recorder upgrade DELETION snafu

Steve B

So these lock ups are an enhancement then?

Watching BT Vision, we used to use the 30 second jump or -10 second jump button all the time. Now for much of the time it just displays the +30sec logo and does nothing, then, all of a sudden will shoot forward many jumps. Going backward is worse; by the time the -10 seconds kick in it has gone 30 seconds forward already!

The standard turn off at the wall sorts it out for a few hours so it is software orientated.

Steve B

Re: Typical

Used phone and internet to record a program remotely on my Sky- it automatically set it up for the HD channels, which I don't subscribe to but I did get an hour to read the message giving me information on the upgrade required.

Speaking of SKY does anyone know why fast speed play is unwatchable, is it as I suspect just down to bad programming or is it inherent in the digital switch.

Before HD I used to watch programs at 6* speed, sometimes faster if a race had turned into a procession. Now any multiple speed just causes jumps - no smooth progression, even though I still watch the SD channels.

94% of Brit tech bosses just can't get the staff these days, claims bank

Steve B

Skills shortage is at the hiring end.

I was made redundant when the UK part of the company closed but I am "too old" for IT employment forcing me to drive a taxi to get some income.

I did, for a while, hold a QA role but made the mistake of running the job induction script as a proper QA exercise against the product which was in official QA. Results - official QA clear; my exercise over 20 minor product deviations and one possibly major bug.

I was called in by personnel and told that my job was not to look for bugs. to quote "The test scripts should be run and they would log a message if there was a bug".

We parted company as I would not compromise.

Other jobs I have been for I have been told I was too good and would be bored and leave in a couple of months - try sitting in a taxi all day for real excitement!

I fulfilled every IT role in the companies I worked for from designing and implementing the company IS and global networks, past day to day IT telephone support of all employees, designed and coded the company websites and applications and even coded the company product firmware.

I am told in interviews that no one can do all that - maybe not at the same time, but it is all so simple I can't understand why everyone doesn't!

The only way is Office: UK Parliament to migrate to Microsoft cloud

Steve B

Money Saving?

If they still have to maintain in house servers with access for the secure stuff, where are there any savings?

It is a hell of a lot cheaper to put on extra disc space in house than it is to also pay extra licences for cloud access products. With the speed of internet connections nowadays it is also trivial to house remotely accessed systems inhouse and well protected.

The only drawback is that someone needs to know what they are doing.

Microsoft investors advised: Sack the guy searching for Ballmer replacement

Steve B

I thought John Thomson was a comedian!

Haven't seen him for ages so it looks like he's moved on.

Apple updates maps to remove Australia’s ghost-city in the desert

Steve B

I'm Confused

When Microsoft took over the world with Windows there was a lot of governmental legal action going on to force them to allow other system software on board such as browsers etc,.

Apple now appear to rule the world but there is no legal outcry from the governments forcing them to relinquish system access to non apple apps that appear to have been arbitrarily banned.

Is this still to come or do all the politicians have iDevices?

Midnight theft left Vodafone users bereft

Steve B

GPRS was off as well.

Our dispatch system uses GPRS to communicate bothways. It disappeared at about 7 am for about 7 hours. unfortunately the only back up is mobile phones! That's about 40 self employed people who can't earn.

Whoever the Vodafone DR person is, they must be feeling somewhat insecure at this point. and justifiably so.

however I am available should they decide to revisit the plans..

Volcanic Eyjafjallajökull dirt-splurt space snap

Steve B

I would have thought Sportacus

should have fixed this by now!

Zeus botnets suffer mighty blow after ISP taken offline

Steve B
Thumb Up

I'm all for it.

When I had responsibility for my corporate network, I used to report all attacks to the ISPs and if, after persistent attacks and reports they took no action, I would send them an email stating that I was holding the ISP commercially responsible for any damage and all cleaning up costs relating to attacks from their networks. That used to kick some into life.

Many used to resolve the problem on their own, but I used to laugh when I got responses from Russia. "You will have no more problems, we have terminated the user." used to conjure up interesting speculation.

Publisher asks Google, AT&T to unmask network intruder

Steve B

Not much hope unless the perp is u/s

I spotted an intrusion attempt from a US ISP. Being bored I phoned them and complained. They found the address belonged to an infected MS server on their users public www rack, which in turn was being attacked/controlled by a different infected MS server in Europe, which in turn was being controlled by something in the East. It stopped before they could get further..

the one good thing that came out of it was the ISP instigated a new policy directive which ensured their users kept their web servers patches and protection updated under penalty of cessation.

NZ gal's Bulgarian airbags halt traffic

Steve B

Are they different down there?

Surely the overriding rule of driving (on the LHS of the road) is that if anything is in front of you STOP!

German ISPs team up with gov agency to clean up malware

Steve B

Interesting concept but doomed...

I monitored my last network and reported attacks from infected networks to the ISPs concerned. My reasoning was that my network was on the hit list of their infected networks and as such I would be targeted as soon as a new fault hit the net possibly before an anti virus fix was available to me.

If they did not take action, I then notified them that I would hold the ISP itself legally responsible for all and any clean up costs involved should my network be infected by one of their addresses.

The US ISPs were all fairly good about it and contacted users etc, eventually some of the UK ISPs jumped on the bandwagen and sorted their users, who happened to be large companies glad that they had been informed of the problems!

The biggest problem I had was a US ISP who instead of contacting the end user, told the network owner who cut the end user off and issued the letter as described above, ie "you will need to have your computer certified by a computer professional before we allow you to reconnect".

Problem one was it was our US ISP followed by problem 2, which was that the numpty in the (our) Serviced Office network providing company was unable to differentiate between source IP address and Destination IP address and cut our office off instead and then refused to speak to us hiding behind the ISP's order to him. Somehow via a transatlantic call I managed to get to the main carrier network support team who do not even have a phone as they only do online support! Must have been the Brit accent. They then realised what had happened and came down very heavily on the "network manager" resolving our problem in minutes.

Without me or the likes of me geeing up the ISPs this has probably died a death again, but nice to see someone is taking it seriously again.

All very well berating people for having infected machines, but with poor performance expected of todays PCs, the last person to know they are infected is usually the victim, and don't forget this silly rootkit idea came from UNIX, before MS probably patented it!

Gov confirms plans for Sky box in charge of your house

Steve B

old hat I'm afraid.

Remote meter reading is very big in the States and has been for years.

One of the plans afoot was to use Zigbee networks for devices.

In the USA one major idea was to turn off Air Conditioning in empty houses/apartments at the hottest times of the day thus saving a lot of wasted energy.

With a full zigbee enabled household, using your remote control you could connect back to your house via the zigbee network and turn things off and on, naturally the power companies would have master access!

NuLab gets most of its ideas from the States but doesn't really understand them and therefore botches everything they touch.

My old company designed and built meter monitoring equipment, some of which could also turn off services, most useful in the water market where proper monitoring could shut down a pipe to a leak saving often scarce supplies. Naturally not taken up in the UK!

Unfortunately add ons to existing meters were ruled out for the UK market by this government ensuring that it is a very limited choice of supply as it has to be the complete Smart meter and all the old meters are obsolete.

The other major problem is the governments breakdown of our utility supply companies, Why should company A invest in better meters when the customer can immediately switch to company B, who are cheaper as they haven't invested in new meters, with no penalty etc.? Thus no incentive has put us back several years so it may be new to the UK market but it is already in place elsewhere.

Taking your meter reader as an example, in the UK it has to visit every house, climb in a cupboard, transcribe the reading into the handheld, whereas in the US, a meter reader gets in a car, fires up the laptop with a Sat Nav route plan, which is followed driving at up to 50 mph, reading every modified utility meter on the route. Problem meters or those showing signs of tamper are highlighted and can get personal attention. At the end of the route a quick file transfer and the meter readings are all in the Utilities database!

This is not in real time, hence the move towards zigbee networking etc.

With regards to Gas, I assume the idea is similar to our old water monitoring plan where usage was to be monitored and when it stepped outside certain parameters it raised alarms. Human beings would then investigate and if necessary disable the supply whilst further investigations were undertaken.

Unfortunately as with all these good ideas, it is a lot cheaper to miss out the human interaction aspect.... and the investigation.... so we all now how they will be implemented, however rest assured there will be need for management committees to review and administer the results so all will not be lost.

Cloud hopeful rejects Microsoft's interop patent

Steve B

Where's the patent?

This is all software. The interoperability will be down to interface specification, something that has been done for decades. By now one would have assumed that any useful specification would immediately be be "Open Sourced", ie freely available to all, or not adopted.

Under no circumstances is there any justification for a patent. Calling subroutines and passing parameters is NOT NEW.

If MS got a patent and everyone else ignored their spec, choosing a freely available one, then problem solved, lesson learned and it is about time the US patent office was sorted for good.

Windows 7's dirty secrets revealed

Steve B
IT Angle

Wrong approach

If the OS detects that a program keeps failing it should simpy delete it, thus serving 2 purposes.

1-Automatically Removing crap software

2-Educating the programmer who will very soon get hacked off with having to rewrite and may start to get it correct first time or even give up.

Unless, of course, they are MS programs that keep failing!

Meanwhile with all this kernel and user stuff interacting incorrectly, they should have invented some sort of access control level (ACL) and combined that with an access control register (ACR) to see if the code currently has the correct privileges to execute.

Even simpler have a flag that states code or data and make all data unexecutable.

I'm pretty sure the patent is about to run out on good operating system design, so MS should be able to reinvent it soon.

Appeal Court: Mod chips infringe game copyright after all

Steve B

Is this the legal loop?

By using a weird and illogical argument, the ruling stands the chance of challenge meaning yet more money for the legal profession.

God knows what all the guff is about copying, it is totally irrelevant. The respective firmware loads the OS which loads the program and executes in normal computer fashion. A mod chip normally only overrides a particular piece of firmware code, thus not actually using a copy.

If any of the copy stuff was valid, then the games would not run!

The defence argument should have concentrated on proving and using the deemed right to make a working backup and then coupled it with the ability of the mod to be the only available method to allow said backup to actually function as a backup. eg a black and white photocopy of a colour photo may be a copy but it is not a usable backup should the original get damaged.

I have had to go and sort out several companies where, too late, their backup tapes/discs were found not to be usable as backups to recover the company data in the desired manner, proving that unless a backup is actually recoverable it is not a backup.

The mod chip seller could have been seen as the saviour to the masses.

Spain cuts off 3m pre-pay mobiles

Steve B

Catching up with Orange

Orange did that to me years ago and I still can't get my £15 credit back, worth a lot back at the turn of the century..



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