* Posts by Mike Pellatt

534 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Apr 2007


Switch to hit the fan as BT begins prep ahead of analog phone sunset

Mike Pellatt

Re: I want to know the equipment...

Or run a SIP client on your mobile

Mike Pellatt

It's the "only" bit that's the problem. The pump to put local water tower apparently tripped out regularly, and most of the village lost their water once the water towe drained.

And then got dirty water for a few hours once it returned.

"Apparently" because I only know this from the village FB group, being on a nice reliable well-filtered and chemical-free (once the leached nitrates are removed) private water supply.....

Mike Pellatt

Re: Are these powered from the DC supply at the switch in the same way as POTS?

It looks very much as if there's no serious power supply resilience at the local mast installed for... the Emergency Services Network.

That's so going to turn out well.

Mike Pellatt

Some of us were in the Dartford/Bexleyheath area when some scrotes set fire to the 132KV line on a cable bridge across the Darent. It was never determined whether it was a suicidal cable theft attempt or just vandalism.

Took best part of 3 days to repair, the DNO were shipping gennies from all across the UK to install in the substations.

The best part was the number of underground cables that popped over the following year or so because they'd got cold and the moisture wasn't being evaporated over that period....

And in a classic horse/stable door event, Proper Security and CCTV were subsequently installed on the cable bridge.

Mike Pellatt

Re: power cuts

Yep, that Lancaster report is a case study in what does and does not work when it comes to resilience. And how a few people thinking ahead and acting creatively can make a lot of difference.

Mike Pellatt

Re: what about my fax machine?

Depends if your line's DACS'ed.

How TCP's congestion control saved the internet

Mike Pellatt

Re: Ah, ATM

And yet ATM survives in all our xDSL connections :-)

Mike Pellatt

Re: The biggest reason for it's success

True except for the competition with ISO. Which did look like it would win through at the time.

We wrote our our own TP4, initially for the Mac, because the commercials for the only other one available just didn't work.

Cisco dumps its Hyperflex hyperconverged infrastructure

Mike Pellatt

Re: Not surprised

And Hyperflex is actually "multivendor", like so much Cisco stuff (I'm looking at you too, Firepower) with a central and critical component coming from M&A activity - in this case, Springpath.

I'm screwed by it's use of NFSv3 which leads to VMs stalling if a snapshot is removed from a different host from the running one. Somewhat screwing Druva backups. Apparently fixed by NFSv4, but the Springpath VMs don't do that.

Won't mourn it's passing

USENET, the OG social network, rises again like a text-only phoenix

Mike Pellatt

Nope, you weren't. 1984, negotiated a feed from IST (Imperial Software Technology). ukc was the main Janet hub. v22 modem, contemplated "midnight line" - a BT thing where you paid a massive line rental but calls were not charged from midnight to 6am, but given it was a local call it didn't make sense. The feed we got fitted on a 60MB drive on the 3b2.

I learnt so much from comp.arch.

Mike Pellatt

Any ISP considering running a news service would, hopefully, visit demon.service where again, hopefully, the history of news.demon.co.uk can still be found

Probably the most "amusing" bit of it's disastrous early years was when the entire news spool got trashed thanks to a firmware bug on every drive in the RAID array, rendering it not at all R.

Microsoft admits slim staff and broken automation contributed to Azure outage

Mike Pellatt







to check it is actually, you know, resilient.

UK air traffic woes caused by 'invalid flight plan data'

Mike Pellatt

Re: Expertise

That was the proximate cause of the last NATS major TITSUP

Malware loader lowdown: The big 3 responsible for 80% of attacks so far this year

Mike Pellatt

Re: Point out that this is all semantics

Yeah. And the use of "loader" confused me.

On reading the headline, I thought this was about bootloader malware, but, nope.

Amazon Linux 2023 virtual machine images still MIA

Mike Pellatt

Ah yes, the amusement we had back in the day when all our local had was Courage keg beers, like "Best"

"Pint of Directors please"

"We don't stock that, there's no demand"

rinse & repeat every time we went there.

One of the reasons we only went there on a Sunday evening.

Mike Pellatt

If they had any long-term strategic thinking, they'd realise that enabling hybrid-cloud was exactly what was in their best business interests.

Microsoft makes some certification exams open book

Mike Pellatt

It's the Right Thing

Exams, in general, test the ability to pass exams above an understanding of the subject in question.

In my academic career, up to first degree, in the 60's and early 70's, I sat one open-book exam - one of my final year modules, Electronic Circuit Design.

It was the one and only exam I ever sat that I felt tested my understanding of the subject over my ability to regurgitate facts. I've been boring on about this for the subsequent 50 years, predating the Internet by a little bit.

Of course, to set an exam that does this, the exam setter needs to be highly skilled, but you'd hope that was the case. OK, in this case, it was (then) Dr. (now Prof) Bob Spence, so that definitely applies.

As for vendor quals, don't get me started on them......

Oh, and multiple choice questions. You can game multi-choice far too easily with just a little knowledge - again, unless they're set with a high degree of skill.

Microsoft OneDrive a willing and eager 'ransomware double agent'

Mike Pellatt

This is why relying on OneDrive for your ransomware protection is madness.

Keep the backups well, well away from the Microsoft ecosystem.

CLI-beautifying ANSI escape sequences can also make your log files a security threat

Mike Pellatt

Re: Makes sense to me.

<fx> trots off to see what systemd does.

Mike Pellatt

Re: Old-timer here!

I could, but why should I?

ls should have consistent display across versions. If you want colour, have a flag to turn that on, then expectations don't have to change.

Yep, I know that ship's well and truly sailed.

PS I've been using.*nix so long that grep having grown a -R flag was a comparatively recent discovery.

We will find you and we will sue you, Twitter tells 4 mystery alleged data-scrapers

Mike Pellatt

Re: Profits?

Ah, he's been tutored by Darl McBride.

Whoda' thunk it.

Microsoft puts out Outlook fire, says everything's fine with Teams malware flaw

Mike Pellatt

Re: Windows giant aware of Teams social engineering phishing attack

It wasn't quite such a dumb idea when every password in The Known Universe wasn't out there.

Using the same device for 2FA as the one you're trying to log-in via, though...

Mike Pellatt

Re: Windows giant aware of Teams social engineering phishing attack

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Microsoft, push authentication via Microsoft Authenticator has been enhanced to...... improve its defence to.... social engineering attacks.

Whilst this bit of MS blames users for being vulnerable to them.

What's bunch of d**ks

The number’s up for 999. And 911. And 000. And 111

Mike Pellatt

Re: band-aid fix:

But my back's broken.

Moving 10 feet? Not the brightest idea in the world.

See, every suggestion that someone comes up with to "fix" W3W is worse than the obvious solution of not using it, but using a proper, pre-existing, geolocation system with a public location code generation algorithm

Mike Pellatt

They haven't gone all "NIH" over W3W.

The major issue (OK, one of the major issues) is that the word allocation algorithm is a trade secret.

For a publicly-used geolocation system, that is madness.

Listing those is left as an exercise for the reader.

Mike Pellatt

Re: I still have analog landlines.

Whilst BT switching off POTS won't affect those supplying unbundled copper connections, the exchange closure programme sure will. Still, that's scheduled for completion by 2040. A date no-one expects to be achieved...

Microsoft’s Azure mishap betrays an industry blind to a big problem

Mike Pellatt

I guess you missed point b) in my post.

Mike Pellatt

Yeah, but at least with Cloudflare you get a detailed, published RCA that will:

a) put hands up to what went wrong

b) Tell The World the steps that have/will be taken to reduce the probability of a recurrence.

Anyone seen that from Microsoft or AWS?

Brit data watchdog fines sleazy sales ops £250K for 'bombarding' folk with calls

Mike Pellatt

Re: Pathetic

It seems to take forever for an individual to be barred from being a company director, and even longer to actually prosecute when they inevitably ignore the ban.

It can also handily be worked around by having a family member as the director instead.

Keir Starmer's techno-fix for the NHS: Déjà vu disaster or brave new blunder?

Mike Pellatt

Re: Tech is not the solution.

Surely GPs just need to be like Doc Martin.

Then they'd have a handy ultrasound in their surgery.

And doubtless an MRI as soon as we get room temp superconductivity...

Excess profits on Motorola's Airwave estimated to be £1.3B

Mike Pellatt

Re: Motorola should call their bluff

I'm old enough (and in this case that's not a sarcastic phrase) to remember GCHQ demonstrating an analogue multi-channel HF Comms system they'd developed called "Piccolo". This was at the annual RSGB show In the late 1960s. Damn clever it was, and pretty much entirely analogue.

To improve security, consider how the aviation world stopped blaming pilots

Mike Pellatt

Re: Pilot Error

I also recommend reading RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch) reports.

In this case, though, you will see a recurring theme of "we've already discovered what the industry should do, but they STILL haven't done it" (e.g. zero hours contracts for staff working for contractors so they inevitably have multiple jobs and are fatigued when working on safety-critical tasks) or, even worse, the lessons learnt after the Clapham disaster being forgotten so another one is on the cards.

Mike Pellatt

But.having scaled to meet the mass wet film market, it became unable to meet the needs of the niche market.

To think, I nearly took a job with them in Harrow doing process control.....

Criminal records office yanks web portal offline amid 'cyber security incident'

Mike Pellatt

"We take data security very seriously ..."

It's the same sort of terminological inexactitude as

"Your call is important to us"

when you've been told that 50 times after being on hold for 25 minutes.

It clearly isn't the least bit important to you, otherwise you'd have, you know, actually answered the call by now.

BT taps Kyndryl to migrate mainframe apps to the cloud

Mike Pellatt

Re: Odd tactic

This is your regular pointer to the strategy Peter Cochrane advocated when BT's CTO, which would have seen FTTP to every premise decades ago.

But instead, because Public bad, Private and Competition good, we had the cable companies, lots of little local franchises until the inevitable consolidation into one national operator came about.

Labyrinth of 371 legacy systems hindered hospital's IT meltdown recovery

Mike Pellatt

Re: IT is a cost to be minimised


Especially in the places where Excel is banned.

What did Unix fans learn from the end of Unix workstations?

Mike Pellatt

Re: PanelSim, SimH, Hercules Studio, etc.

Oh yes, the blinkenlights were a joy to behold. Getting the DEC engineer to replace all the faulty ones was always a challenge.

But.... when we had to take the slave off maintenance 'coz of budget cuts (late 70's UK IMF rescue days....) I got to recognise the logic state when we got SSP (Stop Second Processor) crashes. Apparently random series stabilisers (per row of TTL logic) tripping out on overcurrent. Finally (after 4 pints of Directors one lunchtime) tracked it down to an O/C end winding on the PSU transformer, so the unregulated DC feed was a volt or so down. Dropped it down a tap each side of the halfwave, all was good, and DEC none the wiser when it went back on contract.

We used TOPS-10's brilliant ability to do both timesharing and realtime for the data capture from an HPD flying spot digitiser for bubble chamber film. Although timesharing did stop for a couple of seconds while a frame scan took place.

I remember the joy when our systems programmers finally got SMP going, that was the time the second processor started earning its keep.

Mike Pellatt

Re: PanelSim, SimH, Hercules Studio, etc.

Interesting you mention IBM peripherals on DEC 10 there. We had the Systems Concept SC10 on our dual-proc KI10 in Imperial's HENP (as then was) group. Only had tape on it, but it got us 6250bpi well before DEC managed to deliver, which was the main goal. That, and reliable tape drives.

Confused the hell out of the IBM FS guys when they asked to run OnLine Tests...

Norway has a month left until sun sets on its copper phone lines

Mike Pellatt

Re: Universal service obligation

Or - as I've recently discovered - the POTS copper is direct-in-ground buried, not even in ducting. There are whole estates like this, with chambers and a little bit of ducting to fool you.

No use at all for getting fibre to the home.

Mike Pellatt

Pretty much the situation in Ukraine at the moment, AIUI.

Mike Pellatt

Re: The big problem

First rule of any backup system - be it for your power or your data - have a routine testing schedule. Otherwise you deserve what you get. Which, let alone anything else, is that the money you spent on the backup system was wasted.

Mike Pellatt

Re: Arwen

The PSTN has generators as well as batteries. Certainly in the larger "exchange" buildings in urban and sub-urban areas, tho I'm not so sure about the small rural ones.

Mobile base stations and Fibre exchanges housing OLTs and associated IP kit generally don't.... And lack of aircon on power failure can mean extended battery operation isn't viable anyway.

The solution for most operators is driving a mobile genny to site. Not scaleable to a wide-area extended outage.

Cloudflare hikes prices by a quarter, blames the accountants

Mike Pellatt

Re: The Great Mismatch

At least it's better than BT, (successfully) asking the taxpayer to do that for them. As well as the customer, subsequently (differential Openreach pricing in copper-only areas).

Windows Subsystem for Linux now packaged as a Microsoft Store app

Mike Pellatt

Re: Simple workaround

Virtualisation is so last-year.

Try out this new-fangled containerisation. Or, as the marketdroids have renamed it, "serverless"

Alert: 15-year-old Python tarfile flaw lurks in 'over 350,000' code projects

Mike Pellatt

Exactly. What sort of techniques do you think APTs use to achieve P?

Inverse Finance stung for $1.2 million via flash loan attack

Mike Pellatt

Re: Programming for smart contract execution... What could go wrong?

Not if:

i) You've got the functional specification right

ii) Each machine has a separately coded implementation

This is, after all, how safety-critical fly-by-wire systems were supposed to be implemented.

I have no idea:

a) If that is still the case

b) If cryptobros have heard of this

First Light says it's hit nuclear fusion breakthrough with no fancy lasers, magnets

Mike Pellatt

Re: Timing is the problem

Yabut that's not synchronising anythings with a large rest mass.

The time you solved that months-long problem in 3 seconds

Mike Pellatt

Re: I replaced a network cable.

Write out 100 times:

"Free as in speech, not Free as in beer"