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449 posts • joined 3 Apr 2008
Years ago when I was working (mostly) desktop support, facilities wouldn't allow IT to have a trolley because we might break something by bumping into it. So we had to carry everything ourselves, back in the day when desktops, printers and of course servers could be massive. LaserJet IIISi printers were a favourite at over 40kg each. Apparently IT staff were more expendable that the doors and furniture.
That would be the Labour government in 2000 acting on recommendations laid down under the Tories. It did rely on the findings of the Nolan report being implemented in order to ensure that people in public office behaved themselves. I guess that didn't work so well in the long term...
Does outsourcing ever work? Many moons ago I was a county councillor, the ruling Tories pushed through an outsourcing program based more on ideology than any real need. It was a disaster, the contractors messed almost everything up and were in breach of contract. Even so, the council ended paying a considerable wedge to the contractors for them to go away.
It was always obvious to almost all the non-Tory councillors that it would be a disaster. Back in those days the personal surchage still existed where cllrs could be personally liable for negligence. We made sure that every single vote was recorded...
Of course the Germans had telephones too, but in occupied Europe the resistance would keep cutting the lines. This forced the Germans to use radio while the lines were repaired. The Germans thought it was just an annoyance, they didn't understand that they were exposing their communications.
As the Germans were pushed back inside their own borders, then they tended to switch to telephone and teleprinters which meant that the intelligence dried up. This is one of the reasons that the Germans achieved surprise at the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944-45.
Aye, and it was those mundane reports which could often provide a crib for decrypting the cypher. Some stations sent the same message every day (e.g. "NOTHING TO REPORT HH") - if you knew the message then it's much quicker to find the rotor and plug settings. So in a way, over-use made it weaker.
Indeed, our efficient fighter control was a force multiplier. We could get our fighters to where they needed to be more often, we could prioritise high risk attacks and we knew exactly what resources were available at any one time. All the available data for the battle area effectively got pumped into one location and could be analysed and acted upon.
Like a 1940s version of Splunk..
Back in the day when most games ran in DOS mode 13h I worked at a college, I wrote a small TSR that simply intercepted the requests to change graphics mode and if it was 13h the computer threw a generic error and then rebooted. I named it something generic and stuffed it in the DOS folder. I don't believe any of the students figured out how it was done.
I also wrote a wrapper around the FORMAT command because students - either accidentally or deliberately - would do a FORMAT C: which of course would render the machine unusable. If they tried that then it would make the most ghastly alarm noise in the middle of their class and earn them a bollocking.
I know when my blood sugars are low at night because I will typically have long and very vivid dreams, rather like a fever dream. That having been said, it's hardly a scientific method and other non-invasive techniques are available. The problem with *those* is that the DVLA only recognise a fingerprick test as being accurate enough for driving, so you are stuck with those anyway and it's likely your GP will only pay for one testing method.
Test strips are expensive in the UK - *retail* can be about £25 for 50 strips although the NHS gets them cheaper. This means that many people with diabetes being treated with (for example) metformin or sitagliptin don't get test strips prescribed (or only in low quantities) which seems to lead to poorer overall control of diabetes compared to insulin-dependent diabetics who need to test several times a day. A reliable and inexpensive continuous glucose monitor would be an enormous benefit to many people.
Well, that brings the time you need to have stocked up on essential supplies forward from March 2019 to the end of the year then. You know, food, medicine, fuel maybe.
It doesn't actually matter if HMRC pull the rabbit out of the hat and make it work on time, we still haven't even started on the rest of the infrastructure needed for the new customs environment.
It didn't matter if your systems were up-to-date with NotPetya or not. It harvested administrator and local administrator credentials via a custom version of Mimikatz and used those, in *addition* to spreading through ETERNALBLUE / DOUBLEPULSAR etc.
I suspect that many of the organisations so badly hit had decent patch management regimes, but were weaker on passwords. It was not the same as WannaCry. No, not at all.
In the old days they would have been even more screwed. When domains expired they used to drop straight away and could be reregistered almost instantly. That changed a bit more than a decade ago. If you think that getting your domain out of REDEMPTIONPERIOD is a pain, trying to get it back from some anonymous domainer who wants a fortune for it is even harder..
Footfall is probably one of the best and most plausible alien invasion novels, Mote is the best first contact novel I've read. I wasn't so keen on Pournelle's solo works, but when working with Larry Niven there was a good combination of ideas - I guess Niven had the big ideas, Pournelle then made them credible.
And Chaos Manor was always a must-read in Byte. Sure, it was just some guy fiddling around with computers but you'd often learn something. And Pournelle was right about keyboards..
I seem to remember him Tweeting that various law enforcement agencies kept trying to shut down or seize the sinkhole server. It seems that a lot of agencies just didn't understand what was going on and were in their own little bubble.
Funnily enough, one of my bosses offered me a trip to Black Hat / Defcon. Didn't fancy the idea much then. Fancy it less now.
There were five Multics systems in UK Universities as I recall, Birmingham, Bath/Bristol (AUCC), Brunel, Cardiff and Loughborough. Typically these were hooked up to Lear-Siegler ADM3a or similar terminals, ours used British-built Insight VDT-1s (who were eventually bought our by Sanderson Electronics).
Of course, as with probably most 1980s computing students we tried to hack it, but unlike other boxes the security was very solid. Social engineering attacks worked the best. Yes, I got into a lot of trouble in those days..
As an aside, Paul Smee was one of the leading Multicians of the time IMO. Sadly he passed away back in 2006 - http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2006/5138.html
One day (in the early 1990s) I was called out to install something-or-other in an academic department of the college I worked in that I hadn't previously been aware of.
Having set whatever it was up, the users casually mentioned that another one of their computers didn't work in the afternoon.. well, *most* afternoons. It was OK in the morning, but after lunch it apparently stopped and the person using it couldn't do any more work. This had been going on for months. It didn't seem to particularly bother them that they spent their afternoons sitting around doing nothing.
It transpired that the problem was that the mouse stopped working, and with no mouse they couldn't possibly interact with the state-of-the-art Windows 3.1 PC. They just accepted that it didn't work in the afternoon.
The problem was a daft one.. the early optomechnical mouse had optical sensors internally which were being flooded out by the sunlight shining on the plastic. Putting in a better mouse fixed the problem. But what got me was the laid-back attitude to not doing any work. Maybe not surprising in that environment.
(The same department also had a then-massive 21" CRT monitor on another system that they insisted on running in VGA resolution despite there being no reason to do so. They went ballistic when I tweaked it to 800x600 pixels).
In one lab installation we put a box file under the monitor to raise it up a bit, because the PC was a tower system under the desk. For a laugh, I printed out an icon of a floppy disk drive and glued it onto the box file. On more that one occasion we had baffled users who didn't understand why the disk didn't go in. Hmm.
I had one of those too. But it wasn't really a German car (despite the Daimler ownership), it was a French car with all the fun and unreliability that goes with it. Electrical gremlins, leaks, ECU failures, steering rack faults, fractured aircon pipes. Not really reliable. But fun to drive when it wasn't being fixed.
That's a pretty impressive portfolio of designs - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Stephenson
On the Mini.. well, it a contentious one amongst car fans. Issigonis was trying to design something cheap, small on the outside and big on the inside all while using as much from the BMC parts pin as possible. The fact that it was cute to look at and fun to drive were rather pleasing secondary factors.
When *Rover* tried to redesign the Mini in the late 1990s, they came up with a number of things which were closer to the Issigonis idea of efficient packaging (some looked like the Daewoo Matiz), where BMW was more interested in the cuteness factor. In the end, BMW won and the Mini was a huge success.
There's an interesting and more detailed story about the development of the Mini and the prototypes that never made it here: http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/cars/mini-bmw/mini-2/the-cars-mini-development-history/
Remember the iPhone 4 and antennagate? People wondered how Apple could regain the trust of customers after messing that up, and yet they fixed the problem and moved on. There's no real reason why this should turn into significant long-term damage for Samsung
If no other models start to blow up. If their PR machine gets back on track. And their competitors don't capitalise on the problem.
People still buy cars from Ford too, despite the beancounters deciding that it was cheaper to let people die in the deathtrap they called the Ford Pinto rather than fix the underlying problems. Consumers can be surprisingly forgiving with companies that they trust.
Where your driving licence will be valid in the UK, there's a possibility that it will not be valid in Europe. Even more likely, the EU-style passport may not be valid for travel to EU countries at least, because travellers will no longer have the rights and privileges of being an EU citizen.. that will be something the EU will have to decide.
I worked with students for quite a long time. One irritation was that they would insist on playing games on the lab computers which were meant for.. well, work. Back in those days all the games were DOS games, and they almost all used Mode 13h for graphics (320 x 200 pixels x 256 colours).
I knocked together a simple TSR that intercepted the interrupt that changed the display mode.. every time you tried to change to 13h it would display an error and reboot. The TSR was pretty well hidden, I don' t think any of the users ever figured it out.
The other essential DOS tool was an application that replaced the FORMAT command with one that checked to see if the user was trying to format C: (because yes, you could actually do that). If they were it would let off an alarm, which would tend to attract attention. Yes, students actually did this either maliciously or stupidly. If they were just trying to format a floppy disk, it would pass it on to the REAL format command which had simply been renamed.
What always flabbergasted me was when students were working on their dissertations, they wouldn't ever bother to have a backup copy of the floppy disk they had to store it on. Norton Utilities certainly rescued quite a few academic careers.
When we upgraded to a Novell network the problem was that the students would never log out, and students would end up with each others dissertations. Eventually, we wrote a screensaver in VB which would log them out automatically. Unfortunately, it would tend to do it while the students were looking up references in their books and it would shut down.. being not very observant, they didn't notice the GREAT BIG RED timer which gave them five minutes grace.
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