* Posts by DaveB

110 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Apr 2008


Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made


Re: Deliver us from office keyboards

From my contracting days I learnt that its best to own your own keyboard and mouse attached to your work PC. That way your keyboard and mouse can be the same as home keyboard and mouse.

If you accept the "Company standard" keyboard, purchased for $25 from IBM then expect RSA to develop in your hands over time.

Dratted 'housekeeping', eh? 150k+ records deleted off UK’s Police National Computer database


We are missing the real problem

Logic would say that a system that revolves about individuals needs to be able to save, update, delete and backup each individual in a format that allows each individual's associated data to be restored at the same time.

When you delete a master record you cannot just restore that record using the same index. If you only have a infrastructure backup restoration still requires application level dump and restore.

What's worrying is that terms like Fujitsu mainframe and ADABAS take me back to work I did on disaster recovery in 1996 (business continuity). Which suggests that the technology that drives the PNC. is 25 years out of date.

Today we are delivering cutting edge large data solutions but not via AS400s of ADABAS, but via docker, elastic search, kubernetes, cloud internal and external.

Viewing the PNC today from a professional point of view is like walking into the science museum..

Good news – America's nuke arsenal to swap eight-inch floppy disks for solid-state drives


Navajo is supported by Google translate!

Sky customers moan: Our broadband hubs are bricking it


Use a local DNS and DHCP

I switch off the DHCP server on my sky router and provide it from an always on server on my network which is also a DNS server. This provides a local domain for all network devices, and forwards requests to a non sky DNS server.

This server can be provided by a raspberry pi and can also be used to do ad blocking and custom white listing.

Easy-to-hack combat systems, years-old flaws and a massive bill – yup, that's America's F-35


Top Gun

"I have a tone I am going to take a shot"

Weapons system:- "Your software licence has expired, please contact support"......."Have a nice day!"

Twilight of the sundials: Archaic timepiece dying out and millennials are to blame, reckons boffin


and a whole shedload of brains

or as we know them "the boys in the band"

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s


Gyrony mouse

Back in the 80s working for Digital Equipments CSS Graphics group based in Reading, we started work on project Garnet.

Garnet was part of the gemstone programme.

Garnet was to be a 3D workstation with a resolution of 1024 x 768 and 24 bits of colour, groundbreaking for late 80s.

Digital's marketing recond they could sell these to the oil industry and the film industry with a unit price of over $600k and a total market of about 14 units.

The problem was how to move a cursor in 3d space, enter gyrony mouse fitted with a gyro to allow you to move it in 3D space.

Needless to say this project never made it to production and was replaced with Jaguar (Just Another Garnet Under A Rename)

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP


Goodbye old friend

Demon at one stage in my life was the internet,

I can remember writing an SMTP MTA as a TSR on Window 95 system back in 97. This dialed demon ever half an hour to collect/send email.

The mail was stored on a PATHWORKS share that injected/collected mail via VAXMAIL. It worked like a dream.

Although we took some flack from RBS IT for creating it, the business would not allow it to be decommissioned.

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter


NASA - design team stories

Back in 1980 I did some work with a defence contractor in Florida. What fascinated me was that the contractors design team were all ex-Apollo designers. So I got to hear how the system that unplugged the umbilical cord that commanded the Saturn to fire had only milliseconds to unplug after the hold clamps released.

The best story was that when Apollo 13 went wrong Nasa no longer employed a design team as by this time Apollo was considered operational. In addition it no longer ran the CDC 7600s that were required to run the simulators in fact they had been leased to NORAD. In order to get the computer power required to get the simulators back online they had to shut down the West Coast defence system. This required presidential (Nixon) approval. When asked for his approval he considered it and said yes because "The Russians are going to be too busy watching us f##kup to attack us". Don't know if its true but impressed me at the time.

Latest Google+ flaw leads Chocolate Factory to shut down site early



This was a good reminder to delete my profile......thanks

Perfect timing for a two-bank TITSUP: Totally Inexcusable They've Stuffed Up Payday


Prove it

"We're aware of an issue affecting some of our customers when they are using our mobile app and Internet Banking this morning,"

This standard statement really gets me angry. It suggests its not a general problem but a problem suffered by a small group of customers.

I think that when they issue such a statement they should be required to provide hard facts as to how many users can login and how many cannot.

Barclays and RBS on naughty step: Banks told to explain service meltdown to UK politicos


Bank speek

We are having problems that are affecting some of our customers: The online system is completely down.

Our IT experts are analyzing the problem: The guy who knows this particular system is on holiday in Ibiza.

We expect to be back to normal in a few hours time: We haven't a clue whats going on so we made that bit up.

All affected customers will be compensated: As long as you fill out the form and take it to your local branch(LOL)

Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it


Black Hole

Universal Credit has never delivered bang for buck, but now there's no turning back – watchdog



I think the real problem is that the UC developers have been moonlighting down at TSB(Spain)

IBM to GTS: We want you to 'rotate' clients every two years



If I was an IBM customer then there would be some simple rules. I get to decide who works on the account team. I am not paying zillions to you for you to replace my A support team with the B team. Just write it into your contract. "Me Customer you supplier......get over it!"

Boffins: Michael Jackson's tilt was a criminally smooth trick


Prior Art

This trick was around the Music Halls/ Variety Theaters in the 60s. I also think I saw Freddy Star perform it. Never the less

A patent for the trick replete with spoilery diagrams was registered in 1992, listing Jackson (amongst others) as the inventor.

TSB boss: We know everything's working, you just can't see that


Just go to your new bank and instigate a switch. TSB are required to provide all your details to allow this.


Missing statistic

"Currently, internet banking is operating at around 50 per cent capacity and mobile banking is at over 90 per cent capacity, TSB claimed."

And our account switching service is running at 110% capacity

Blighty stuffs itself in Galileo airlock and dares Europe to pull the lever


Yeh right

Wonder if the EU know how to change the satellite reboot command codes......

TSB outage, day 5: What do you mean you can't log in? Our systems are up and running. Up and running, we say!


I didm't win the lottery

Well I didn't win the lottery, but it sounds that opening a TSB account may be the next best thing.

What a time to be alive: LG and Italian furniture-maker build smart sofa


This is where the IOT arguments start

So I can imagine the sofa talking to the vacuum cleaner:-

Sofa: "I read on the internet that your blaby and will talk to anyone"

VC: "I understand that you let anyone sit on you and your having an affair with the TV"

TV: "Leave my friend alone"

Alexa: "Stop"

USMC: We want more F-35s per year than you Limeys will get in half a decade


Crazy Idea

I was thinking as the US retire their Harriers why don't we crowdfund a UK purchase.

HP Inc's rinky-dink ink stink: Unofficial cartridges, official refills spurned by printer DRM


Inkjet printers no longer viable for low volume printing

Over the last few years I have found that the amount I/we print at home has decreased to about 10 pages a month. Some months there is no printing at all.

While due to the low volume I use HP ink, I found that getting the printer to start required many cleaning cycles, which requires ink.

Why you would use the most expensive substance known to man to clean a print head is beyond me but HP do.

The final straw was when the cleaning cycle used 70% of the ink. Printer next stop was the tip.

I replaced it with a Dell multi-function colour laser (Xerox re-badge) and some third party toner. In fact the installation toner lasted 2 years.

Printer prints when required and no cleaning clycles.

DVLA misses out on £400m in tax after scrapping paper discs


DVLA killed the golden goose

On the face of it the changes they made should generate more revenue but

"according to the DVLA’s 2015/16 accounts published last month, the department noted an increase in unlicensed traffic of 0.8 per cent to 1.4 per cent of all traffic compared with the previous year."

Well under their old system they got all their revenue up front when you taxed your car. When you sold your car that tax continued. So all the cars in second hand dealership had road tax paid while the car sat in the dealers so they could say "6 months car tax and current MOT"

As a car dealer your now have a car on your forecourt without car tax as it terminated when the dealer bought it in.

New owners also take the view buy the car drive it home tax it later, if you get caught you have a good excuse for driving an untaxed and uninsured vehicle. Stupid new DVLA tax stuff.

Suddenly the old system looks more attractive in terms of revenue than the new one.


ISS astronauts begin spacewalk to install new docking adapter


Don't drop that wrench

At an ISS briefing two years ago it was said that they had dropped two wrenches, into earth orbit, due to a design faults in the tethers.

Each wrench cost more than $million. In fact when astronauts practice in the "tank" they use plastic wrenches as the real ones don't like water.

Vodafone: Dear customers. We're sorry we killed your Demon


RIP Demon

To think when I used Demon I was running Windows 3.1 with Trumpet Winsock which had to be loaded as a DOS TSR.

It was also during this time, as my e-mail grew that using an e-mail address tied to my ISP was a bad idea. I created a domain and email service at www.tierra.net so that all my e-mail is hosted in the US in San Francisco, for $7.95 a month paid quarterly. Oh! and I get US customer service.

BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it


Re: Counter-measures; OPENVPN+OBFSPROXY

Its much easier than that just "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow"


So 1942

It does sound fun, straight from a world war II SOE story. Where the Germans used detector vans to triangulate the transmissions of enemy radio operators.

I hope the vans have a nice big loop Ariel on the top that can be rotated and the inside equipment is housed in those nice big blue hammerite racks with big dials and large bakerlite knobs.

I sort of regret having a TV license as I will miss the fun of sitting in the forest, watching Strictly on my tablet knowing at any time I could be incarcerated like the members of the French resistance before me.

Luckily the BBC are not modern enough to use drones, now that would be 21st century.


Message from the real world

I think the Telegraph have leaked a new script for W1A, based on Project Fear.

Detector Vans LOL

Privacy warriors drag GCHQ into Euro human rights court over blanket spying, hacking



So is this the same Chaos Computer Club that trashed VMS systems at Padua University and Digital equipment in 1987 before the word hacker was invented.

Big Pharma wrote EU anti-vaping diktat, claims Tory ex-MEP


Stock up

I assume that just before the law changes we will be able to buy e-liquid by the gallon

E-cigarettes help save lives, says Royal College of Physicians



I love the long discussions of safety of e-liquids, to people like me that have been smoking for 30 years. I gave up completely with e-cigs.

I now consider the fumes from vaping safer than the fumes from my VW golf that I spend two hours a day driving to work.

ISS to host space truck rally


Request fly by

ISS this is ghost rider request flyby........

Negative Maverick the pattern is full....

BT: We're killing the dabs brand. Oh and can customers re-register to buy on our site?


BT Director to Marketing

I said I wanted this announced on the 1st April.


Stock levels - let me tell you

A couple of months ago we placed an order for a run of the mill graphics card, nothing fancy just adding another monitor to an office machine.

Before order card in stock. Place order goes into "waiting stock". Web site says in-stock. Call DABS no its not in stock but new stock in a weeks time. Two weeks later, still awaiting stock. Call DABS oh yes we did have stock don't understand why your order wasn't fulfilled.

So it went on 6 weeks later the graphics card arrived and its now in our stock as we upgraded the system with one from Amazon that arrived a day after order.

Want to boost your payslip? Get DevOps on your business card


DevOps so last year

Come on guys DevOps so last year. Get Cyber Defence in your job title

Big Blue's big iron daddy Gene Amdahl dies aged 92


The Swimming pool

I remember visiting the head of Operations at General Accident in the days when we were pushing Mini computers to replace mainframes. After a good pitch as to how good these new mid range machines were the Ops Manager said, "you may be right but we will not be getting rid of the Amhdal " asking why the Ops manager looked into the distance and said "because it heats the swimming pool".

UK's super-cyber-snoop shopping list: Internet data, bulk spying, covert equipment tapping


Re: How is the data stored?

Always knew that old line printer would come in handy. Print it to paper.

Think Fortran, assembly language programming is boring and useless? Tell that to the NASA Voyager team


Re: Where do I sign?

From memory the PDP 11/10 and LSI 11 did not have floating point hardware, or multiply. The quick win was to use the Fortran runtime which emulated floating point or alternatively do all the maths with fixed point.

TalkTalk attack: Lad, 15, cuffed by UK cyber-cops



Probably last week his teacher set him homework on "SQL injection"

The Steve Jobs of supercomputers: We remember Seymour Cray


Re: CYBER 74

"Cray supercomputers early on featured a population count machine instruction, rumoured to have been specifically requested by the U.S. government National Security Agency for cryptanalysis applications."


VW’s case of NOxious emissions: a tale of SMOKE and MIRRORS?


Re: Who wrote the code?

Version 1


Version 2


if test_mode:


elif performance_mode:


Version 3

if test_mode:



elif performance_mode:


So the question is not who designed and built the defeat device but who turned it off

Hello Barbie: Hang on, this Wi-Fi doll records your child's voice?


Its a bad old world out there

Lets imagine what happens when your Barbie doll gets joined to a zombie network by some specially crafted malware.

Mummy Mummy why does Barbie keep asking to be switched on when Daddy is doing his online banking?

Barbie wants to know your account number and pin number for a game she is playing.

Its OK Mummy Barbie has ordered her own new dress from Amazon

Mummy what is a Jihad?

We'll ask GCHQ to DELETE records of 'MILLIONS' of people – Privacy International


Ok Back to basics

wound my heart with a monotonous languor

The rabbit drank an aperitif

Mademoiselle strokes her dog’s nose

UFOs in the '50s skies? CIA admits: 'IT WAS US'


Yes but

Talking to a retired U2 pilot some years ago he confirmed that they were often reported as UFOs. He also said that the pilots also saw the odd UFO but they didn't report such events.

Amazon fuses LoveFilm, subs service, calls it Prime Instant Video


60% rise for delivering stuff I don't think so

I have been using prime since it started in the UK and buy more stuff because of it.

I think its good value and would be happy to pay more, but not £80.

I am not interested in LoveFilm poor platform coverage, poor content and not worth the monthly subscription.

So have turned off my automatic renewal of the prime service, hopefully if enough people do this them Amazon will get the message that this is a stupid product bundle.

UK spooks STILL won't release Bletchley Park secrets 70 years on


Re: In the 70's

I think the pop count was missing from the original VAX 11/780 running VAX VMS V1.0, however version 2.0 of VMS came with a new set of CPU boards which included pop count.

Windows Blue preview to land at end of June


How different it could have been

I think if Windows 8 had maintained compatibility with the existing Windows 7 desktop, but also offered the "Metro" desktop as an alternative. Nobody would have hesitated to upgrade.

Also I note all this guff about Windows 8 is doing great "look at our sales of Windows 8 licences" is because the only Enterprise license you can buy today is a Windows 8 license. So if your going to deploy 2000 Windows 7 desktops, you need to buy 2000 Windows 8 licenses.

Behold ATLAS, the fastest computer of 50 years ago


Atlas Virtual memory never catch on

I joined the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC) in about 1972, which had moved on from Atlas to Control Data 6400, 6600 and 7600. Most of the people I worked with had worked on Atlas.

I understand that many of the patents from Atlas passed eventually to ICL, who let the Atlas patent laps on Virtual memory, after all with machine memory then getting as big as 32K, why would you need it.

In 1978 the VAX 11/780 with a massive 128K of memory supporting 12 interactive users re-introduced us to Virtual Paged memory, and I suspect never paid a dollar in royalties for Virtual Memory usage.

UK High Court split over Twitter airport bomb joke


There is a time and a place

This reminds me of the Oil worker flying in to Algeria. When asked by airport security if he had a criminal record, he replied "I didn't know it was a requirement".

It took him 6 more hours to gain entry to the country.