* Posts by JimC

1788 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

UK utility Thames Water splashes cash as host of IT consultancies appointed to handle £100m worth of deals

JimC

But look on the bright side

Most leaks go straight back into the water table anyway. They're probably all that's keeping your houses from subsiding...

I got 99 problems, and all of them are your fault

JimC

Re: Hi IT?

I recall when management thought it would be a good idea to have a single helpdesk for everything. So the hapless souls from the property department were stuffed in a corner of the helpdesk area and the theory was that lightbulb and blocked toilet calls would go to them, and the users would have a single point of contact. Of course there was no call routing at all, so the poor sods would pick up the phone with IT calls, be quite unable to do anything with them, and at busy times be unable to find anyone to pass it on to. I forget all the various things that went wrong, but it didn't last too long...

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?

JimC

Re: ISDN bills

Back in the day the story was told of an expensive satellite link and an early snmp implementation. The unwise network admin thought it would be a good idea to confiure all his routers to send an snmp trap if their links changed state. You can tell what's coming, can't you. Yes, he forgot to exclude the satellite link. And better yet, he didn't have a minimum call duration, so as the story goes the line dropped, snmp sent a trap, the line went up to transmit it and dropped again. And better yet, it continues, he hadn't allowed for the minimum period, so, like your ISDN bill, the satellite bill was for many times what having the link up 24 hours would have cost. And in those days satellite bills weren't cheap like ISDN...

Cornwall councillor suggests authority paid £2m for Oracle licences that no one used on contract originally worth £4m

JimC

A number of posters here...

...have clearly had zero experience of large organisation software licensing and the byzantine complication thereof. But ultimately all that counts is the bottom line. Hopefully you get the license cost, however ridiculous or frustrating or just plain unfair its basis (at least two, quite possibly all three) beforehand and build it into your business case. After that its just another number in the project. And you think, yeah, if we'd spent six months arguing about the licensing and understanding ir properly maybe we could have saved umpteen thousand quid, but the delay to the project, the time spent arguing, not to mention all the staff effort spent and all the rest would have cost us a damn sight more, so WTF would be the point?

A bad day in New Zealand: Rocket Lab's 13th mission ends in failure

JimC

If the footage were just a passing thing that would be one thing, but a spectacular failure is going to be on a hundred internet videos for the next 40 years or something, and its easy to understand why people arem't keen to have the world repeatedly reminded of their failures.

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

JimC

Turned up brightness...

Green screen days. User complained of nearly blank screen with random letters scattered about.

Turned up brightness so all the characters appeared, not just the highlighted ones

Windows fails to reach the Finnish line as Helsinki signage pleads for help

JimC

Re: Sledgehammer, meet nut.

Because if you have limited skill sets and resources in your organisation its a lot easier and cheaper to go with a platform you already have staff trained in and understand than it is to introduce a new one. In this sort of context the cost of the processor and OS is a trivial part of the TCO.

ICANN finally halts $1.1bn sale of .org registry, says it's 'the right thing to do' after months of controversy

JimC

Re: vast resources that would cover their running costs for a very long time.

And boy, they are going to need them right now...

JimC

Re: Now charities are doomed to never turn a profit.

Plus of course a lot of those billions quoted include property values. What, for example, is the value of the site St Pauls is on?

There's Norway you're going to believe this: Government investment fund conned out of $10m in cyber-attack

JimC

Re: "an advanced data breach"

Its the job of technology to make it very difficult for users to stuff up. In IT we are abject failures at doing so.

After 20-year battle, Channel island Sark finally earns the right to exist on the internet with its own top-level domain

JimC

Re: No, despite what the Islanders say.

The title doesn't reflect ownership in the current english aristocracy: its just a text string! The Duke of Windsor, for example, had zero authority over Windsor!

RIP FTP? File Transfer Protocol switched off by default in Chrome 80

JimC

Re: anon@penet.fi

Ah yes, the system that first brought the realisation to me that anonymity on the internet was going to be 1% legitimate and 99% abuse. And that the people running such things would have their heads so far up their metaphorical posteriors that they wouldn't give a flying **** about the abuse. And so it has turned out...

Artful prankster creates Google Maps traffic jams by walking a cartful of old phones around Berlin

JimC

What I don't understand is

What's the difference between our hero at walking pace with his 99 smartphones, and 99 pedestrians with their smartphones walking along the street. Presumably Google must have a means of distinguishing pedestrians from wheeled traffic.

In deepest darkest Surrey, an on-prem SAP system running 17-year-old software is about to die....

JimC

Re: If it's a hardware issue, then why not replace the hardware ?

I don't really recall a time in the too many years I worked there that BAU at SCC wasn't on max cost savings. Going away to conferences and things and finding out how much better funded one's oppos up north were was always kinda depressing. Even more depressing, though, was the way funds could always be found for exciting big projects that would look good on an execs CV, but never for little low profile stuff that might say reduce the number of helpdesk calls and give a better service to the users and thus taxpayers.

JimC

Re: Pedant mode

Surrey's data centres are indeed in Surrey.

The headquarters building in Kingston is a few hundred yards over the boundary, so they're going to spend hundreds of thousand per yard moving headquarters.

One-time Brexit Secretary David Davis demands Mike Lynch's extradition to US be halted

JimC

Re: Saccolas

Trouble is, unpalatable as it might be, no extradition of people who were covered by diplomatic immunity is probably the correct option. Otherwise you have a precedent for our staff in Dodgigovernmentistan being extradited for their part in a traffic accident they don't recall happening at all.

Whether it would have been better if the US goverment had waived diplomatic immunity is another and separate question.

JimC

Re: Saccolas

I have a feeling it was a single track road with no centreline from images I've seen, and if the UK driver swerves left, as is automatic, and the US driver swerves right, as is automatic for them then a collision is all too probable.

Good folk of Forfar: Alan Hattel would like you all to know he's not dead despite what it says on his tombstone

JimC

Its the grave of their marriage....

NM...

Alan Turing’s OBE medal, PhD cert, other missing items found in super-fan’s Colorado home by agents, says US govt

JimC

Re: The Way We Live Now

No, he's right, Customs and Excise did have a unique attitude...

Hospital hacker spared prison after plod find almost 9,000 cardiac images at his home

JimC

Re: login credentials

By the sound of it they didn't change the password on an admin account. It could of course have been an anonymous sounding admin account that he set up, not the main one. It could be quite onerous to change the passwords on every admin account and every account with admin rights every time someone leaves. Necessary though if someone leaves under a cloud.

However privacy concerns and all that: who communicates that someone has left under a cloud? Isn't there an argument it should be confidential?

The time that Sales braved the white hot heat of the data centre to save the day

JimC

Re: why not just call someone on the access list

That pre supposes that the guy could see the access list. Assuming its pre company mobile phone days then because it contained home addresses, phone numbers and so on many companies (and rightly so IMHO) kept the distribution very limited.

Alphabet's 'love rat' legal chief David Drummond ejects after 18 years at web goliath, no golden parachute attached

JimC

Re: Or Brooks, "It's good to be the king."

We're moving into the era of the new puritanism though. What's considered immoral may be (mostly anyway) utterly different to the 17th century, but the principles are the same...

What was Boeing through their heads? Emails show staff wouldn't put their families on a 737 Max over safety fears

JimC

Re: "designed by clowns managed by monkeys" type comment sounds damning

Although context is everything. If its about the people designing the airframe that's one thing, if its about the people designing the storage for the food trays in the kitchen maybe another...

From Soviet to science fiction icon, the weird life of Isaac Asimov 100 years on

JimC

Re: Other writing

Those views about population, resources, catholicism/large families and so on were utterly conventional in the late 1960s. There was nothing especially radical about them.

Don't Xiaomi pics of other people's places! Chinese kitmaker fingers dodgy Boxing Day cache update after Google banishes it from Home

JimC

Re: motion detection neither means nor requires an internet connection to t'cloud

True of course, but if the reason you've bought motion detecting cameras is to try and trap lowlives thieving from your premises then you do want the image storage off site so that the images don't get stolen with everything else.

British bloke accused of extorting victims for 'Dark Overlord' hacker crew finally gets his free trip* to America

JimC

Re: Where is Anne Sacoolas?

Interesting to note that she's apparently objecting to returning to Britain because our sentences are so harsh...

JimC

and also

They make our jobs much more difficult and less fun, because we have to put enormous amounts of effort into scum mitigation rather than actually doing something useful for our users.

Those of us who are old enough recall when we built and/or used the internet on a basis of trust, foolish as that might have been in hindsight, and the actions of these [redacteds] feels like a betrayal.

Deadly 737 Max jets no longer a Boeing concern – for now: Production suspended after biz runs out of parking space

JimC

Re: "... anti-stall – sorry, plane pedants hate it when we call it that..."

Its more complicated than that. MCAS was put in because without it the planes had some extremely nasty handling characteristics that are absolutely prohibited, and rightly so, as Electronics R us says above. That wasn't unreasonable, I very much doubt that its the only plane that has similar fixes in software, and as far as anyone can tell that part of it was OK. It wasn't anti stall, it was to prohibit getting in a situation where it would be difficult to avoid stalling. If my understanding is correct it was perfectly reasonable.

But, and this seems to be where it has gone wrong, once they had that system in place they then extended it into another part of the flight envelope to deal with another more minor handling issue, and the scope in which it would come into play was greatly extended, and that's where everything went wrong.

BOFH: I'd like introduce you to a groovy little web log I call 'That's Boss'

JimC

Re: Twitter

No, they're a member of the twitterati...

UK parcel firm Yodel plugs tracking app's random yaps about where on map to snap up strangers' tat

JimC

Re:The lines are more blurred when it's a faceless chain store.

They're not really you know. Its just that if its a faceless chain store you can kid yourself they are. But faceless chain stores are still employing your neighbours and bringing employment into your local area...

Blood, snot and fear: Why the travelling lone tech reporter should always knock twice

JimC

Can't fall asleep/motorcycle

I've done it.

JimC

Re: Wait, Wut?

If I read the reference I just found aright, then the water carrying capacity of air decreases with increased pressure. So as the aircraft descends below whatever the cabin air pressure level is pressure increases and there's a potential for condensation. would have thought the air would need to be pretty hu,mid already for any noticeable effects though, but I haven't done sums.

BBC tells Conservative Party to remove edited Facebook ad featuring its reporters

JimC

So the company responsible for Panorama,

Notorious users of selectively edited footage that they are, are complaining about someone else selectively editing film. [FX: snigger]

Internet Society CEO: Most people don't care about the .org sell-off – and nothing short of a court order will stop it

JimC

Re: probe ISOC directors' assets

My dear chap, why would they need to be bribed when they can award themselves huge bonuses for facilitating the sale?

Under the new form of capitalism, where the real owners are almost powerless, and all the power is in the hands of executives who endlessly inflate each other's salaries there's little need for that sort of bribery. The executives get just as rich:

Thou shalt not steal/an empty feat/when its so lucrative to cheat

Uni of London loses attempt to block mobe mast surveyors from Paddington rooftop

JimC

At a guess

The Uni thinks that the hassle from students claiming that a mast is melting their snowflake brains way exceeds anything the mast might generate in rental.

UK tax collectors warn contractors about being ripped-off – and not by HMRC for a change

JimC

And what's more

When I've had extra tax to pay on non PAYE income the process has been remarkably painless.

Labour: Free British broadband for country if we win general election

JimC

Re: Marx would be proud

But the thing is, supposing you can raise 20 billion. WTF would you want to spend it on free broadband for people who can mostly afford to pay for it when there are so many more important things you could do with the money?

When the IT department speaks, users listen. Or face the consequences

JimC

Re: they have repeatedly refused to follow simple instructions?

Perhaps the simple instructions aren't quite as simple as they might be? Users don't want to **** up. Part of our job is to do our best to make it more difficult for the users to get it wrong than get it right.

JimC

Re: Beautiful

Even back then though, while you couldn't remap my documents, you could change the default save location for MS documents to be on a network drive.

Heads up from Internet of S*!# land: Best Buy's Insignia 'smart' home gear will become very dumb this Wednesday

JimC

> cannot be designed to operate locally.

Technically, no reason at all. However I think the support overhead would be horrendous. Ask anyone who has been involved in end user support for things like business VPN on end users' own devices and routers. I can easily see why having a single centralised control system would look very appealing to the vendors. To me it has about as much appeal as malaria, but my enthusiasm for uber-geekiness is subsiding, and I'm not sure I can be bothered to set up a control system myself either...

Don't look too closely at what is seeping out of the big Dutch pipe

JimC

Re: After telling management I couldn't do it

Oh, I just emailed him to say I knew what was going on and to cut it out.

JimC

After telling management I couldn't do it

(well I wouldn't have wanted to stand up in court and guarantee I was correct) I investigated the identities of the two people having a vicious flame war on the anonymous internal forum - and discovered they were both the same person. That was my first introduction to quite how very weird the weird net user can be.

Criminalise British drone fliers, snarl MPs amid crackdown demands

JimC

Re: BANNING - Britain's Solution For Everything

I wonder how many of those are urban myths. A fair few I think, and a lot of the rest are actually reasonable.

For example I don't suppose many of us would think it wrong to insist that farm animals are kept in an adequately fenced enclosure.

JimC

Re: Make it like owning a vehicle

Its an interesting thing, the red flag law is often quoted as an example of ridiculous legislation, but by 30 years after its abolition motor vehicles were killing getting on for 5,000 people a year, and increasing.

BOFH: The company survived the disaster recovery test. Just. The Director's car, however...

JimC

Re: asked to take "special backups" to be prepared for an upcoming DR Test,

I don't have a problem with that, just so long as the special backups are properly identified and don't compromise the BAU in action. I don't really see it as being different to taking extra backups before a destructive migration. If you actually need to use your special backups to recover from a DR test then you've identified a major problem with BAU DR without hopefully having too badly compromised the service. But if you had the same problem and you didn't have the special backups then the problem has become a crisis.

Lies, damn lies, and KPIs: Let's not fix the formula until we have someone else to blame

JimC

Re: Yacht Racing Rules

In fact the situation is worse than that. In many cases, especially at the higher levels the rating rules are required to both ensure the best crew wins and to encourage design innovation. The logical flaw is ensured because there will be a lobby for both aims, and like any good management team the rule administrators wish to satisfy both lobbies, leaving the backroom techies to sort it out.

The other issue is that its much easier to design a boat that's slow, but not as slow as the rule thinks it is, than it is to design a boat that's fast, and even faster than the rule thinks it is.

All the resulting situations and recriminations are familiar territory to anyone in business.

There have also been some monumental throwing of toys out of prams when some very well heeled executive (because such commission racing yachts) commissions a very expensive "innovation" intended to be extremely slow in the eyes of the rules, and the rule writers take a different interpretation. This results in said executive having spent a lot of money making his boat go slower, only to find that the rule makers have adjusted his handicap fairly, so all the money has bought him no competitive advantage at all!

US charges Singapore coin miner with conning cloud firms out of compute time

JimC

When you consider bitcoin

and its hideous, obscene energy consumption, its facilitation of fraud, and all the other darknesses scattered in its wake, could it be that the invention of bitcoin ranks as one of the most evil acts in IT history that wasn't actually illegal?

Plusnet is doing us proud again with early Christmas present for customers: Price hikes

JimC

> They did promise to also pay me back some cash for the service

> I had been unable to use. that didn't happen either.

Sounds as if they inadvertently might not have been billing you for it either!

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