* Posts by Mike Pellatt

469 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007


Cloudflare launches campaign to ‘end the madness’ of CAPTCHAs

Mike Pellatt

Came here to say exactly that.

"Physician, heal thyself".

No other provider I login to has such an annoying captcha system. And, like so many providers, you don't get SAML support without paying for the Enterprise product.

Broadband plumber Openreach yanks legacy copper phone lines in Suffolk town of Mildenhall en route to getting the UK on VoIP

Mike Pellatt

If you can show me the OLT and ONT equipment currently available that supports this technology. And the additional power supply and battery capacity needed in the OLT to supply 10,000+ ONT's. Then I'd say that's a useful comment.

Until then....

Mike Pellatt

SOTAP is the answer to your question

"When it is launched, you will be able to use SOTAP to provide broadband and internet protocol (IP) phone services, because it connects to your exchange infrastructure.

We’re developing SOTAP to help us withdraw Wholesale Line Rental (WLR). We’re planning to launch it UK-wide by August 2022.

It will only be for areas where there aren’t any fibre products available. And it won’t include a managed phone service, or any associated calling and network features."


Mike Pellatt

Re: Lack of mains

Indeed. Looks out of my window at the pole-mounted single-phase 11KV-230V transformer feeding half a dozen properties.

Nope, no telemetry there. Now, if I had a SMETS2 smart meter, perhaps they could use that. Oh, hang on, no network here yet. And it would be passing data to my electricity supplier, not the DNO.

Mike Pellatt

Re: The way forward then

Agreed, SIP is a technology with remote intercept capability and other inherent vulns. Especially since SIP over TLS and S/RTP are so very hard (once you've found a provider who can offer it - and I've been there)

But is it.worse than POTS? Pitch up to a street cab or DP with appropriate bits including yellow hi-viz and you'll have hours, if not days, to find the pair you want and listen in.

VM used to make it really easy, having street cabs with the doors flapping in the breeze everywhere, but I hear they've upped their game lately.

PS the existing phone sockets in the UK aren't RJ11, but a unique design chosen solely to prevent unapproved phones being connected. All in the name of preventing bell tinkle when using pulse dialling and electromagnetic bells. Back then even trivial stiff like that was important, let.alome important stuff like the phone working during a power cut. Once this is implemented, I'll have to walk 200m to get mobile coverage to report a power outage to the DNO. (Not really, I have a UPS. But I'm a techy)

Intel laid me off for being too old, engineer claims in lawsuit

Mike Pellatt

Re: Another one?

2 years at Intel cured me of the aspiration to work for an American company.

Should have realised, had had a good view of AT&T for the previous 3 years.

The Novell NetWare box keeps rebooting over and over again yet no one has touched it? We're going on a stakeout

Mike Pellatt

Re: Fluorescents...

If they had their budgeting right, they'd be _speeding up_ the replacement programme.

This is why local authorities have been replacing even comparatively new sodium street lights with LED. The payback period is mind-bogglingly short.

Even led to Kent aborting their "turn street lights of at midnight" programme, to the relief of anyone (but especially females) out after midnight.

One more reason for Apple to dump Intel processors: Another SGX, kernel data-leak flaw unearthed by experts

Mike Pellatt

Re: This is news?

Clearly, the specific vulnerability in the article wasn't caused, directly, by the instruction architecture.

But I was following up to a more generic issue over what you do with your system.

And I'd suggest that the vulns of this type (including Spectre,etc.) we're seeing today are, at least in part, thanks to the prevalence of a CISC architecture and the huge system complexity we now find ourselves with as we play whack-a-mole with each performance bottleneck that pops up.

Or whack-an-elephant back in the days of trying to sort out SMP.....

Mike Pellatt

Re: This is news?

Don't let random people mess with stuff they don't understand.

Chip designers in particular :-) , since this problem has been made much worse by speculative execution and all the other shenanigans to improve performance.

I often wonder where we'd be if VLIW had delivered on its promise of beating both CISC and RISC

Did I or did I not ask you to double-check that the socket was on? Now I've driven 15 miles, what have we found?

Mike Pellatt

Re: Poor On-Call this week

This is your ob "MK ain't the quality it used to be any more" followup.

Mike Pellatt

Re: Poor On-Call this week

Sounds like me when I first visited my ex-mother in law's family in Middlesbrough (in the days when the Dorman Long, as everyone still called them, rolling mills were still in action across the road from where they all lived. A wasteland now).

Open-source devs drown in DigitalOcean's latest tsunami of pull-request spam that is Hacktoberfest

Mike Pellatt

Re: Impressive

But FFS don't put the telephone sanitisers on the "B" Ark this time.

Esp in the current circumstances.

Brexit travel permits designed to avoid 7,000-lorry jams come January depend on software that won't be finished till April

Mike Pellatt

A Cabinet Office official told Bloomberg that beta is a standard labelling practice for a digital service that is fully operational. Experienced IT professionals may contest this definition.

What a liar. Alpha is a standard labelling practice in the world of Government service for a digital service that is fully operational. For at least six years.

For that's how long the Dartford Crossing Payments page has been labelled "alpha"

I had a spat on here with an ex-GDS geezer who said "Nothing to do wiv us guv, it's someone else". Even though, of course, it's clearly labelled as a gov service. Apparently the branding isn't the point.

Microservices guru says think serverless, not Kubernetes: You don't want to manage 'a towering edifice of stuff'

Mike Pellatt

Re: Don't separate the Devs any further!

Devs should not care about where their code gets deployed

And this is how we got code that assumes >100Mbps network speed.

And this is how we got code that assumes <5mS RTTs.

And this is how we got code that assumes >32GB of memory available.

And this is how we got code that assumes >32 CPUs available.

It's a great theory, but it doesn't work in practice.

You absolutely DO need to know, at the very least, the constraints that will apply where your code gets deployed. Or it won't work. You can't abstract out of reality (unless you call it Brexit, of course)

Woman dies after hospital is unable to treat her during crippling ransomware infection, cops launch probe

Mike Pellatt

Re: Why?

Windows XP, how modern :-)

I sorted out a CNC machine tool controlled by a W98 machine a few years back. Might even have been 95, memory fades. Managed to track down a spare mobo and disk drive that were compatible for spares before they became (even more) like hen's teeth.

It also had one of those multi-serial-port cards so beloved of green screens connected to *nix back in those days, used to talk to the various components.

'Mindset reset' contributes to £1bn extra costs and another delay – 2 years this time – for Emergency Services Network

Mike Pellatt

Re: Who was the priority?

Who were at the centre of the project?

Why, the vendor(s) of course.

Tech ambitions said to lie at heart of Britain’s bonkers crash-and-burn Brexit plan

Mike Pellatt

Re: well maybe

Make the tax system even more complicated than it already is.

Great idea.

Almost as good as needing 50,000 customs clerks.

Mike Pellatt

Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

Since Cummings' job advert for arse-lickers, sorry, fellow SPADs, in his blog back in January demonstrated his technical understanding so well, via his description of SQL as an "analytical language", I am quite sure he has the skill to pick the next big tech success.

Or maybe not.

With a million unwanted .uk domains expiring this week, Nominet again sends punters pushy emails to pay up

Mike Pellatt

Nominet used to be a shining light above the cesspit of the domain registry business.

Not any more. It's a tragedy.

CenturyLink L3 outage knocks out web giants and 3.5% of all internet traffic

Mike Pellatt

Re: Great reporting

When it _is_ Cloudflare, though, they are exemplary at:

a) putting their hands up

b) Giving a detailed explanation of what went wrong

c) Giving a fully detailed exposition of what they're doing/have done to prevent a recurrence.

No corporate ass-convering by PR droids from them. Like I said, exemplary.

Putting the d'oh! in Adobe: 'Years of photos' permanently wiped from iPhones, iPads by bad Lightroom app update

Mike Pellatt

Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

Except, of course, for users who acted on the old adage:

"There are two sorts of data. Data that has been backed up and data that has not been lost yet".

For them, the data hasn't been lost.

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

Mike Pellatt

Re: World radio

Hmm. Local community station's not on it.


Mike Pellatt

Don't be too disappointed. It could have been:

The U-turn "ensures there is no disruption for loyal listeners of world-beating FM and AM radio services such as Classic FM, Absolute Radio and TalkSport over the next decade," boasted media minister John Whittingdale

Mike Pellatt

Re: DAB Is dead in the water

Yep, I'm wondering whether it was worth purchasing the DAB antenna for my Android head unit.

You're right, I'm not actually wondering any more. It wasn't worth it.

'It's really hard to find maintainers...' Linus Torvalds ponders the future of Linux

Mike Pellatt

Re: I wonder why?

And there's a way to do it that will be a learning point so they don't f**k up and find themselves being fired again. I'd much rather that outcome for someone I have to "let go" (no, I wouldn't use that phrase).

"Too polite" is a thing, too.

Mike Pellatt

Re: I wonder why?

People do their best work when they're supported by those above them in a hierarchy

Indeed. But the problem there is the hierarchical structure. In an effective collaborative environment, one person can have a good old rant about what someone else has done, and as there's good peer relationships, the problem gets resolved and everyone moves on to the next challenge.

It's a (long) while since I even looked at the kernel dev process, but despite an initial appearance from the outside of it being a pyramid with Linus at the top, that wasn't how it worked.

Though quite how systemd got its claws in remains.a mystery to me. Unless RedHat have gone to the dark side......

Mike Pellatt

Re: Just give it to Poettering...

Obviously, or I, for one, wouldn't have upvoted it.

This isn't Twitter, where it's impossible to tell :-)

UK's Ministry of Defence: We'll harvest and anonymise private COVID-19 apps' tracing data by handing it to 'behavioural science' arm

Mike Pellatt

Re: Quelle Surprise!

Ha! I tried to use an Office 365 mailmerge into Outlook recently for a mail to a subset of my entire company.

Turns out (after 30 mins work) it doesn't work if you want an attachment on the email.

Back to Bcc: it was.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Mike Pellatt

Re: And what about the people ...

There is GPS-enabled footwear for that. Much less, errrr, intrusive.

Mike Pellatt

Re: Hanlon's razor

Nothing wrong with 2 people in the car going shopping.

We shop for 3 other households who are shielding, plus 1 or 2 others with mobility issues. Plus, of course, ourselves.

Try shopping for up to 6 households on your own.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

Mike Pellatt

Re: The past is another counttry.

Beer (OK, Watneys Red) was around 2s 6d a pint when I started drinking in pubs in 1970 (age 15, of course). 12.5p to you.

45 years ago was 1975. Inflation hit 25% in that year alone, 20% the year before.

Some google research indicates 25p a pint in pubs was about right in London in 1978 (which suggests beer price rises were below inflation back then). So, I don't think he was (particularly) being ripped off.

Of course, SU bars were much cheaper back then.

Here, thanks to pubs being closed, our local brewery is putting a barrel outside 2 or 3 times a week, self-serve for £1 a pint in an honesty box (villagers only!!!). Happy days.

Cloudflare goes retro with COBOL delivery service. Older coders: Who's laughing now? Turns out we're still vital

Mike Pellatt

My COBOL horror story is hand-tweaking the COBOL runtime overlays on RSX-11 to get every required one into memory for each overnight batch program on a banking system.

Because an overlay had to be swapped in at all, the runs wouldn't complete overnight.

That's what you call hand optimisation.

Mike Pellatt

Ah, one to beat this one (from Sys V make, not gnu make unfortunately)

$ make "Maggie resign"

Don't know how to make Maggie resign. Stop.

Mike Pellatt


Mike Pellatt

Re: "you can compile COBOL code to C and then use Emscripten to compile..."

Back in the day, when emulators first became A Thing, there was a saying.

"Emulation's like masturbation. Do it often enough, and you forget what the real thing's like"

Microsoft frees Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 from the shackles of, er, Windows?

Mike Pellatt

Re: @Snake - Microsoft shooting itself in the foot?

You've fallen into the classic misunderstanding of the word "free" in F/OSS, and consequently setup a strawman.

Repeat after me:

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

Notwithstanding this being a strawman, I will offer a counter-argument, I can show you numerous cases of a supplier's promises not having due diligence applied to them, and the time and effort (along with at least some of the purchase/licensing costs) being wasted.

I'd also posit that applying full due diligence and fit-for-purpose tests to commercial software is not that different from the costs of considering F/OSS.

Mike Pellatt

Re: Or bigger still..

Nice idea, but fixing all the edge cases from the differing filesystem semantics will be challenging. Not to say it's impossible, but...

Chips that pass in the night: How risky is RISC-V to Arm, Intel and the others? Very

Mike Pellatt

Re: Been here before

Me too.

But by then (mid-80's, time of the 80386) the new kid on the block, and a real dark horse, was the Transputer. I remember one of the UK FAEs really wondering how much of a challenge it would be.

In the end, of course, it turned out as successful as VLIW.

Don't use natwest.co.uk for online banking, Natwest bank tells baffled customer

Mike Pellatt

Still losing money in real terms, though.

Mike Pellatt

Yeah, but good luck with finding a rate that's >50% of the inflation rate (esp for instant access).

Or even >25%.

Investments - risk of losing money.

Cash savings - guarantee of losing money.

UK contractors planning 'mass exodus' ahead of IR35 tax clampdown – survey

Mike Pellatt

Except... Making Tax Digital should have levelled that off for HMRC, shirley?

You spoke, we didn't listen: Ubiquiti says UniFi routers will beam performance data back to mothership automatically

Mike Pellatt

Re: "In other words, you ain't got no choice."

The FTD/FMC combo.

Impenetrable and incomprehensible doesn't begin to cover it.

Not to mention the speed(sic) of config change deployment.

Mike Pellatt

Re: "In other words, you ain't got no choice."

Or OPNSense

Came here to say that. OPNSense doesn't seem to be so well known, am spreading the word to everyone who says they use pfSense, and the general response is "hadn't heard of that ".

The last person was well impressed with the improved GUI.

Hapless AWS engineer spilled passwords, keys, confidential internal training info, customer messages on public GitHub

Mike Pellatt

Re: Engineer ?

Because unless you have a professional engineering qualification and undertake CPD, validated by a recognised professional association, you shouldn't have the label "engineer".

Germany is (or at least, was) very, very, very hot on this.

Our lives are as much in engineers' hands as doctors', and woe betide anyone who calls themselves a doctor of medicine when they're not. Should be the same for engineers.

Presumably amongst the divergence that our wonderful UK Government wants from EU regulations, the current Eur Ing recognition will be one we have inflicted on us.

The Curse of macOS Catalina strikes again as AccountEdge stays 32-bit

Mike Pellatt

Re: How can it take MULTIPLE YEARS to go 64 bit?

Gosh, if that was an OS you were describing there, you'd be describing SCO Unix.

All its compatibility problems with modern hardware are now addressed by it being only sold to run in a VM.

A VM running in FreeBSD, if you get the whole shebang from XinuOS. Now headquartered in that hotbed of technical advancement, US Virgin Islands.

Squirrel away a little IT budget for likely Brexit uncertainty, CIOs warned

Mike Pellatt

Re: 2019?

I think he confused the EU with NATO, there.

"Empire". Whatever.

IT exec sets up fake biz, uses it to bill his bosses $6m for phantom gear, gets caught by Microsoft Word metadata

Mike Pellatt

Re: idiot

Agreed with you up to here:

It's like complaining that a file created in unix has the creators username and time attached - where is the privacy!! It even logs atime and mtime!!!

It's nothing like that. The metadata you describe is stored in the inode - the file's low-level directory entry on the filesystem. It's not stored as part of the file, so if it is copied to another system - by email, f'rinstance - that metadata is lost. Well, at least that's true for classic Unix and ext[234].

That is a world away from metadata embedded in the file, in terms of privacy. And auditability.

It's always DNS, especially when you're on holiday with nothing but a phone on GPRS

Mike Pellatt

Re: GPRS? Luxury!

God, the VT52, non-ANSI predecessor to the VT100.....

Then there was Newbury Data, who made VDUs affordable. Had a pile of them in the HENP group at Imperial, hooked up to the DecSystem 10 via a DC-10 (not the aeroplane), whose RS232 interface had been created by kludging the current loop TTY interface. Badly.

You brought back memories there.

Mike Pellatt

Re: No Service

Ah yes. That option. Was talking to the local Parish Council about my company's plans for FTTH into the village, and the possibility of our providing some public WiFi. One member commented that the lack of mobile coverage, WiFi and (even) decent wired Internet was what attracted some people to the place.

Quick as a flash, I pointed out that there was always the "off" button. Sage nods of agreement all round the room.

JavaScript survey: Devs love a bit of React, but Angular and Cordova declining. And you're not alone... a chunk of pros also feel JS is 'overly complex'

Mike Pellatt

Re: Doesn't paint JavaScript in the best light...

Rarely do we see evidence that real UI designers - people with actual understanding of UI theory, doing actual UI research - were involved.

Certainly no such evidence when it comes to the Windows UI. I still want to know what the guys who dreamt up the Ribbon for Office, whilst keeping the rest of the Windows UI as the "traditional" one were smoking.

Coz I ain't going near it.



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