* Posts by Steve Davies

28 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

iPhones secretly track 'scary amount' of your movements

Steve Davies

Not the sharpest tool in the box

"I've had a look at my phone using the tool that was published on the blog (link from the article) "and all I can see is a nice grid showing me the cell towers in the vicinity that my phone was in. I don't see any specific locations, my house isn't even on there, just a bunch of pins showing masts in the area."

Err, that package has been neutered so there will be less detail..

"The researchers have released open-source software that makes the entire process a snap. It also plots the information to a map that shows the movements of the user. While the locations are stored down to the second, the researchers said, their software intentionally reduces the time to weekly increments to make the data less useful to snoops."

Has anyone here given it a full analysis that stands up.

NYT casts Assange as 'arrogant' (with a little 'Peter Pan')

Steve Davies

newspaper integrity ?

sheesh - giime a break,

no such thing

Intel's biggest ever buy is going ahead

Steve Davies

less layers are a good thing then eh ?

be interesting to see what they put on the chip that can achieve much.

or will it be too much ? ? ?

US cyberwar firing range to demo by July

Steve Davies

yet another effing 'war' cry

They gonna emulate/simulate every combination/configuration of hardware/software out there on't ''net ?

Nope. So nice new market to sell to goverments - unique 'solutions' that the other side(s) can't have in their cyber war simulation.

Software arms race. Kerching !

What would Dr Falken say ? ?

Councils look for 'good enough' IT solutions

Steve Davies

Stop being rational - look at the nature of the beast.

A large percentage of organisations when looked at in terms of 'personal behaviour' would be categorised as psychotic - can't recall the number but I bet someone can..

with local (and central) government its 100 percent.

cos they are only 'pretending'.

who was it that said 'verything the State says is a lie" ?

as for budget cuts - try getting hold of the net cash income figures for your council instead of looking just at 'budgets'.

Remember the scorpion and the fox

The cost of not deduping

Steve Davies

incremental backups.

at the record level. if its not just the actual deltas it will wtill be too big ......

ICO slaps NHSBT for wrong organ donor data

Steve Davies

A data screwup at the DVLA. You jest.

Can't happen There is legislation that says the DVLA data is 'correct'.

And of course, its the DVLA who (according to the DVLA) 'don't make mistakes'.

Backup: It really should be easy

Steve Davies

Put all your eggs in someone else's basket(s) - no risk there then.

Just like any outsource agreement that covers yourdata and its availability. Negotiate access to all their DR testing records and notification of the schedule of ALL their future tests and the right to attend and observe an the day - unannounced.

Make the contract contingent on this and on their recovery working.

And then do it.

Better yet do it before you sign :)

Smaller companies may not have the clout (or the knowledge) to do this but the bigger ones can and should.

Keep 'em honest. Its your business not theirs.

And FFS wok out the TCO ! (should that be the TCC nowadays).

Prosecutors opt for 'malfeasance' over DPA to charge officials

Steve Davies

things we should be tort

Malfeasance is just a tort isn't it ?

Misconduct in Public Office is an offence and has more serious consequences.

Councils seems to specialise on nonfeasance - in areas wer they have 'discretion' - and walk away scott free.

Its only hwne there is something like the DPA that removes that discretion (to make a decsion) that malfeasance seems to bite.

Shame that.

Poor IT contributes to DWP errors

Steve Davies

comfy chairs....

"Benefit processing systems are not designed in a way that allows simple changes to the screen display, the watchdog was told. To add a new data field would require significant work to ensure the processing code understands the messages being keyed in."

So hard coded hard wired crap designed to be hard (i.e. expensive) to amend.

Table driven.

Abstraction layers.

Data independence.

All myths in the world of HMG IT ?

Utter despair of the pond life that 'lets' this happen.

Anyone who has read an ITT for a replacement for an in-place 'solution' will have seen the poison in the ITT.

Trebles all round !!

Windows 0day allows malicious code execution

Steve Davies

better name than 0day ?

how about 'built in feck up from the start done by a fucktard that should never have been allowed anywhere near operating system code and done in an 'software enginering culture' that wasn't up to the job ?'

0day much less typing...

Sex abuse fax leak costs council £100k

Steve Davies

usual council response. - i.e. cr@p

"We are sorry that these mistakes happened and have put processes in place to try to prevent any recurrence"

Errm, processes ? Plural. ?

How many were missing.

Surely an amended procedure is all that should be required.

Missing mulitple processes is an admission of absence of 'due care'.

So more toes blown off there by the 'spokesman' (i.e. b/s'er )

I am told that just about the only tort they can get done for is misfeasance and that would be a hard row to how in this case as intent and (pre)knowledge would be impossible to prove.

Howver council employess are are not immune in any way to criminal charges.

Now the ICO has made this finding witll the CPS be bothered.

Fat chance.

ICO was right to hit them. he is not a judicial person so all the usual args re comity etc that the courts use to not punish or interfere with or overturn council unlawfullness don't apply to him.

Sackings called for - its the only way. Will it happen ? No chance. or if it does it will be a scraificial low life or someone who already has an exit plan in place and a safe landing place ready to use.

Public servants - my ar$e.

Question authority - its your constant duty.

My lost Cobol years: Integrating legacy management

Steve Davies
Black Helicopters

could it be more fundamental

err, 'proper' design of the language and proper use goes a long way.

Choose the platform and the language up front with ALL the requirements in mind (Functional, non-functional AND life-time costs).

Being trendy costs, fashions come and go.

IS backward compatibility (in the future) not a concern for you ?.

Oh and every new generation of IT manager ('generation' = a mere handful of years it seems) fails to build on the knowledge of the past. e.g. How many shops still sign software contracts that end up tying them over a barrel FFS ?

Nice to see comments about structured programing in the posts. Ask a recent Computer Science grad about it and see the looks you get. or just ask them to explain what the impact to a business is of ignoring backward compatibilty.

And as for vendor hype - lord save us all.

A vendor classes a product/service as 'strategic' when they have marketing strategy for making lots of money from it.

Next time a vendor tells you they want to be 'a partner' with you just accept it glady and than them then tell them the names of your top two or three competitors and declare your aim to take them out of the marketplace and say "As our partner what are you going to do to help us take them out ?'

I have done this and believe me the reaction is pricesless. Plus it does rather clear the atmosphere and puts the relationship with the vendor back into its real perspective.

and yes C was written as joke - what a joke its has turned out to be.

Woods, Trees etc

Closing the gap between development and operations

Steve Davies

plus ca change - just chuck it over the fence

So (it appears) there was no consideration of the non-functional requirements at all during design and code ? Who signed off the design ? Smack them. Any Production Acceptance Criteria ? If so are they used to make judgements/decisions or just treated as 'bumph' ? As for configuration management spanning the groups of course it does IF it is planned and you have defined level 1, 2 and 3 activities and control of your baselines. Instead of just incenting the dev folks on meeting dates incent them on reported problems at every stage after UAT (that includes performance testing) and things WILL change. And keep the operations implentations diary filled out as far into the future as necessary and visible to all. For example at a weekly delivery meetings that involves delivery and development - it is develpment that resolve the application problems after all isn't it ? Its not rocket science to do it properly nor is it difficult. FFS these stories are enough to make one weep at the organisational ineptitude. A favourite phrase of mine to ponder on "Development is vital for the business - but Production pays the bills".

Secret printer ID codes may breach EU privacy laws

Steve Davies

just "join" the dots

if you know wher the matrix pattern is printed on your documents (easy to find) and know exactly the colour used (maybe not so easy) seems the best denial would be to fill in the rest of the dots to give a nice regular rectangular pattern with no gaps at all.

Any bets that the printers 'look' for this and deny it . . .

How believable are government claims on ID cards?

Steve Davies

How does knowing peoples IDs fix this c*ck up...


the Ahmad thing seems even more of a scandal than is making the mainstream press.

Following text taken from the on-line current "Private Eye"

"Babar Ahmad was first arrested in 2003 over activities on his Islamist website Azzam.com but was released without charge. He was then arrested on a US warrant in 2004, shortly after protesting about injuries he received during his first arrest, and he has been in prison pending extradition ever since, while legal arguments rumble on.

But as Eye 1125 reported, Ahmad’s supposed ‘accomplices’ in America, named on the affidavit, have already been released without charge. One of them, Muslim businessman Syed Maswood, was even invited to attend a Republican party fundraiser with George Bush – although he told the US press he wouldn’t be travelling to Washington because he was still struggling to get his name off the no-fly lists."

Steve Davies

check out ID effectiveness at the next labour conference

ID cards prevent terrorism - how do they expect to get away with this claptrap. Knowing someones identity gives you zero knowledge of their intent. Don't ask Gordon Bruin - ask his protection officer.

At party conferences (like say the Labour ones) everyone allowed in carries their carefully prepared and issued special ID cards so there must be no need to physically screen anyone of them is there ? and yet they do. Maybe that should be questioned - hard !

It beggars belief that they can spout this nonsense and then show such explicit proof that it is completely ineffective and get away with it. But the public seems to swallow any old claptrap nowadays.

"Every nation gets the government it deserves" another piece of claptrap.

Brown quizzed on gov IT failures

Steve Davies

"rules not being followed" - complete B/S

The low level functionary (Mr S Capegoat) had 'root access' to the database.

i.e. DBA/Admin rights. FFS !!!

Theonly rule he broke was the cardinal HMG rule "Thou shall not embarass your Masters"

90mph police chief cops 42-day ban

Steve Davies

Fines et al. minimal hit for him.

Check out page 75 of the Magistrates Sentencing Guidlines.

He should have got a 56 day ban - but that includes losing your license and having to resit your tests.

He should also have been fined at 'Level B' which is 100 percent of weekly take home pay. 300 quid then ! I think not. (the fine was 300 the other 50 were added minimal costs)

Meanwhile he gets NO points on his license (handy with his speeding habits) and can use his police driver for a few weeks.

This is the nearest thing to getting scot free as you could get.

Climate change: looking for a haystack, not a needle

Steve Davies

Title More hot air in the discussion than in the reality

the whole MMGW CO2 hypothesis has been busted many times - and it only takes one to disprove a hypothesis.

E.g read Gerhard Gerlich's paper linked here:-


MMGW is a HUGE religous and political bandwagon and there are billions being spent on it. That is the real threat.

Still, keeps the population's mind off the real issues eh

IBM launches MySpace for mainframes

Steve Davies

IBMMAIN already there

This will fracture the community rather than bringing it together.

There are only so many sites folks have time to hang out on - of course z World would be moderated by IBM rather than being open to all as IBMMAIN is....

UK ID card costs climb £600m in six months

Steve Davies

Another example of "say the opposite to what is true"

ID cards make a stolen identity more valuable. They increase risk and will do zero for the "war on terror" - but hey thats a a falsehood also.

What gets me is that it has come to pass that the most obvious B-S is trotted out day after day and this country takes it.

Just wait for them to link up ID cards with a spy-in-car road charging device....

EU funding to save Galileo?

Steve Davies

Not a U.S military thing...

Greg, check out 'Boeing' 'RSN' and 'DARPA'.

Also Lockheed Martin has been shoving new gps stuff up there for the last several years and has more waiting the hanger for deployment (according to publically abvailable documents I hasten to add). I don't think the Galileo issue is about the US military machine - it is about commercial exploitation. In the US the industrial military complex is a big issue - for us it is the EU (and our own governments) and the 'technology based cash machine' complex IMV.

Steve Davies

Hence the headlong rush for road pricing...Hammer misses nail..

...which is an EU led thing.

All those billions (and bilioins and billions) have to be got from somewhere so the law abiding validly registered drivers (aka fish in a barrel who have to drive to work) will cough up....

The GPS from Galileo was always a cover IMV. Wanted in case the US 'turned off' their existing GPS.... Isn't that one, the one out satnavs use their civilian service ? IIRC their military has a much snazzier one.

The EU web has lots of docs that illustrate the depth of exploitation expected/needed.

Is this the world's biggest example of the wrong technical solution for a problem that is mis-stated, mis-sold and easily solved by other and much cheaper means ?

Latest AACS crack 'beyond revocation'

Steve Davies

Pigopolists still the same mistake as with DECSS

Encrytion does not imbue copy protection - and it never has. It supplies privacy. Hence the wonders of Vista (driver checking 30 times a second etc) and the attempts to seal the complete end to end path by hardware and software means.

Such complete control of configuration management in the world wide PC component, software and white goods product market places. Yeah that is going to happen without leaks and breakages. And from the same coders that have brought us IE, hazard Tuesday et al...

The motion picture industry was founded by pirates - California wasn't just chosen for the weather and the good light, it was chosen because it was on the opposite side of the country from the copyright holders on the east coast - but that lesson seems forgotten in the rush for cash. same story with the music industry who saw radio as a huge threat to their sheet music cash machine. Knee jerk protectionism of an old (outdated by technology) business model.

But of course they are playing a percentage game - as long as piracy doesn't get too big it is still 'loads of dosh'.

Wait until a Chinese conglomerate buys a movie studio or two, that could get interesting.

Registrars victims of latest UK.gov IT fiasco

Steve Davies

an abysmal failure

How much of the 6 mill went on testing ? about as much as went into the design - maybe a tenner...

Mainframe now obsolete for data warehousing

Steve Davies

It goes deeper than that

The non functional capabilities count for a bit too !!!

If the warehouse is actually critical to your business that is. Or if it becomes crtitical down the line....how many times is that little aspect 'forgotten'...

Platform selection somes several steps down in the design. We all know this.

Initial costs not too relevant in my view but if they are a hot button for the company how about a benefits analysis ?

e.g. Just the cost differential between it being subsumed by existing DR on the mainframe compared with setting it up, testing it and making it actually work on the Intel path would be how much exactly ? ?

Lots of other e.g's possible... FTE supporrt costs, availability.. all the usual stuff.

Then again how many companies actually have a repeatable process for making these decisions that can be improved

as time goes by ? Not many at all - despite ITIL. or maybe because of it... but that is a whole other story