* Posts by JimC

1921 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

EU lawmakers scolded for concealing identities of privacy-busting content-scanning 'experts'


Re: Stupid see, stupid do

And technically he's right. You don't get prosecuted in Australia (or anywhere else) for breaking the laws of maths or physics.

We're getting that fry-day feeling... US Army gets hold of drone-cooking microwave rig


Hurrah, at last a real death ray!

What else needs saying?

FTX crypto-villain Sam Bankman-Fried convicted on all charges


Re: Given how much most politicians know about tech,

Well maybe, but, especially in this context let's note how useful 'crypto experts' discussing the finer points of digital currency have been, or for that matter how much use the majority of financial experts were in the lead up to the banking crash.

No-one can be expert in everything, and in our political system politicians move around between utterly different roles so often that most probably they can't be expert in anything. My own argument is that the key skill a politician needs is the ability to spot bull***t and know which people to listen to. To what extent they have that ability is of course debatable. One thing's for certain though, there's no shortage of self appointed 'experts' queueing up in front of them, not to mention the dangerous phenomenon of activists who claim to be experts, but who are always going to, quite possibly unknowingly, present dogma as fact..

It is 20 years since the last commercial flight of Concorde


but without Airbus's support,

> Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson offered to snap up the retired aircraft, but without Airbus's support, it is difficult to see how long Concorde could have continued operating.

Au contraire. Its very easy to see. Without manufacturer support it wouldn't be allowed to fly *at all*. Full stop. Branson was just publicity hunting.

AIUI BA were still making a profit on Concorde, and didn't want to stop flying it. Air France were not, so it doesn't take much of a conspiracy theorist to suggest that Gallic pride would provide a motive for Airbus to remove support. I imagine, too, now I think of it, that if BA would have been required to pick up Air France's half of the support costs then the economics of continuing to fly the aircraft would have been severely compromised at the very least.

Buyer's remorse haunts 3 in 5 business software purchases


Compulsory Purchase?

One wonders how many of the regretted software purchases were voluntary and how many were forced because the current installation had become unsupported.

I do have one memory though. I was (unusually) put on the group to visit a reference site for some piece of software, I forget what. When the vendor rep was out of the room for a minute I popped what I thought was the obvious and vital question: "OK, with the full benefit of hindsight, would you buy this product again?" My colleagues were horrified, and told me I shouldn't put them on the spot like that. "Why not?", I said, "its what we're here to find out isn't it?". Apparently not, and I was very rarely asked to go on such visits again!

Excel Hell II: If the sickness can't be fixed, it must be contained


A bad workman blames his tools.

And a good workman has and uses the right tools for each job.

One door opens, another one closes, and this one kills a mainframe


Re: Tech support call

I once saw water 6 inches deep in a machine room false floor after an air conditioning fault (ie major water leak). Everything was running normally with all the power connectors and many data connecters under water. So we pumped all the water out, and got a big hot air blower to dry the space out, which really put some stress on the newly repaired aircon. It was, IIRC, winter thank goodness so we could have all the doors open.

Hell no, we won’t pay, says Microsoft as Uncle Sam sends $29B bill for back taxes


Re: Relying on KPMG - really?

A fine example. It looks as if KPMG's auditors reported exactly what the Carillion execs and directors wanted them to report, which is of course how you get your contract renewed. A trial starts soon to investigate the behaviour of said execs and directors, after which presumably one may be more forthright about their honesty - or otherwise - during the affair.

AI girlfriend encouraged man to attempt crossbow assassination of Queen


Re: You are responsible for stupid/bad shit you do

Mmm, but there are people who are, through mental illness or capacity, judged not to be legally responsible.

Oracle at Europe's largest council didn't foresee bankruptcy


Re: Standard Functionality.

Pareto - standard functionality does 80% of the job for 20% of the cost.

But the problem is that the other 20% still has to be done. And as I often said, "its the detail where you fail". Every strategy plan looks just fine - and probably is until you hit the exceptions and the problematic cases.


Re: But there aren't enough brightest and best to go round

And no matter how much money you offer that will still be the case.So the result of 3/4 of the industry offering top quartile salaries is that half the industry is paying top quartile salaries for non-top quartile people, and executive salaries ratchet endlessly upwards.

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure


> Sailing boats cheerfully move at 90 degrees to the force on the sails

Well, sort of.

They can only do that because there is another lot of forces on the underwater foils/hull/whatever. That's why sailboats will move just as well in current and no wind as they do in wind and no current.

PEBCAK problem transformed young techie into grizzled cynical sysadmin


If its easy to get confused between different banking apps

I'm not sure that the user is the only problem here.

IBM shows off its sense of humor in not-so-funny letter leak


Re: Internal jokes is like helium. Eventually they will escape

Indeed. I once deliberately started a rumour about a daft policy change for amusement, and six weeks later management implemented it...


Re: Really?

'Packing it in for the day' is legit though.

Bad software destroyed my doctor's memory


All these comments are interesting in the light of

The often heard mantra that business processes should be adapted to fit off the shelf packages rather than vice versa.

Digital revolution at HMRC left 99,000 UK taxpayers on hold over five-day fiasco


Wish I could do it on line, but I don't have any of the official forms of I'd so it won't let me sign up.

Microsoft whips up unrest after revealing Azure AD name change


Re: what font...

Actually I submit that makes a lot more sense than much marketing b******s. The appearance of documents is a big part of the presentation, and a rag bag of different styles doesn't look great. And besides (to repeat a cliche I think overused) it does mean departments are prohibited from using comic sans. Incidentally I've seen incidences of a company mandating a single font on all its public facing documents as early as the 1920s!

Crook who stole $23m+ in YouTube song royalties gets five years behind bars


It doesn't mean that royalties are going "straight into the pockets of the streaming services".

So where do you think money that would otherwise be paid as royalties is going?

Europe's largest city council runs parallel systems to cover Oracle rollout mess


Re: The right question

Not only that, but the out of the box functionality tends to be simplistic and lowest common denominator. It all sounds so logical to alter the processes to fit the package, and our old friend Pareto suggests we can get 80% working just fine for moderate effort.

But then comes the fly in the ointment. The system has to deliver 100% of the business. Especially with local government where pretty much everything is mandated and has to be delivered. In the private sector if something is expensive and unprofitable you can sell it off cheap or in extreme cases just stop doing it. For the LA that just isn't an option. So much as the management consultants who trousered a huge consultancy fee for telling you to use Oracle/SAP/whatever out of the box might say its unnecessary, out in the real world there's no choice.

The other issue is that the existing system is full of issues where it handles things badly. Those issues are known about, understood, and there are ad hoc procedures to work around those problems. When it's ripped out and replaced you get a whole new set of issues, and all those have to be identified, understood, and new ad hoc procedures worked out.

Damned if I know what the solution is though!

Open source licenses need to leave the 1980s and evolve to deal with AI


Re: Let us hope that we can ignore licensing

Yep, it seems to me the only code that can legitimately be used for this game is actual public domain. But there's probably not enough of that to make it viable, so like many before they just steal.

Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson


Re: Unique keys

Names are a bloody nightmare. In the wilder shores of say social services you have clients who have multiple names for fraud, multiple names because they are trying to hide from abusers and other bad guys, multiple names because they are abusers and bad guys, multiple names for living multiple lives, multiple names as a symptom of metal health issues, multiple names because they just fancy it... When you've been there and see it in action its easy to understand why bureaucrats are so damn keen on ID cards and the like: its not so much some conspiracy to control the people, its much more that having a genuine validated unique key would make things so much easier. I suspect that they tend to underestimate how well the bad actors would be able to compromise an ID system, but I guess they figure that even a partial improvement would be worthwhile.

Time running out for crew of missing Titanic tourist submarine


> the submersible has bobbed to the surface undetected and miles from anywhere

But in that case the inevitable result of opening the hatch is that waves break over the submersible and it fills with water and sinks within minutes at best. A craft capable of surviving the open ocean is way more complex, larger and expensive. More of a submarine really. Or you could design a separate ventilation system that can survive the surface, in which case you have further compromises to your pressure vessel and increased risk of explosion.


Re: Most carbon fibre I've seen has had a weave,

Woven cloth is a convenience with a slight strength penalty. Its utterly normal for high end construction to have individual fibres oriented for the design loads.

Cunningly camouflaged cable routed around WAN-sized hole in project budget


The IT risks of gardeners...

Been there. Somehow failed to put "the Gardeners" on my list of potential service risks...

BOFH: Get me a new data file or your manager finds out exactly what you think of him


Re: What you're missing is that they're _right_.

Well of course they're right. But knowing that doesn't help.

In order to improve things I need to know what are the many crap things about their IT working environment, and then work out which are low hanging fruit that we can readily improve at a cost management will pay for. OK, maybe in an ideal world I would sit in the same office as these folks for a fortnight, do their IT training, do the same work as them, and inform myself of what improvements can be made. In practice though I don't have the training or ability to do their job, and there may be security/confidentiality issues that mean its undesirable for an IT geek to be parachuted in for a fortnight. So I'm dependant on the users to tell me what's wrong and to do so in a manner I can understand. And if they just wish the f*****g computers would go away and let them get on with sorting out people's lives then they're probably not going to be able to tell me what I need to know. All too often, even if you do get something its either bleedin' obvious but difficult ('I'd like the computers to log in twice as fast in the morning" "So would I, and believe me we've worked at it") or pointless ("If only we had Office 2021 instead of Office 2019 I'd be able to do, well, exactly the same stuff pretty much exactly the same way").


Re: would resist any change to get it removed,

Yep. Because these are people who are doing their jobs, have not the slightest interest in the tech or probably even the process, and from their point of view all you are doing is making their lives more difficult for no good reason. Its especially an issue with staff in people facing jobs, because what they care about is the people and the interactions, not the software and the administration overheads. It is immensely frustrating, especially when you go around asking what you can do to make their IT more efficient and more helpful, and they don't give a damn about any of that, and have no interest at all in spending time thinking about whether there might be better ways of doing things.

Virgin Galactic flies final test before opening for business


Re: Astronaut?

because if they don't use the word astronaut even fewer people will shell out all that cash for their 5 minutes of floating...

Windows XP activation algorithm cracked, keygen now works on Linux


Telephone activation does indeed still work. Used it this year when I reinstalled the XP VM that I use to drive my scanner. (Damned if I'm going to chuck a perfectly good scanner just because there are no current drivers.).

Nearly 1 in 5 academics admit close encounters of the anomalous kind


Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

Dunno, I think there's sense in UAP as a phrase. Flying implies a physical thing, so for that matter does object, Aerial phenomenom covers mirages, optical illusions, and doesn't make the presumption there's actually something there.

Electric two-wheelers are set to scoot past EVs in road race


Re: What do these give you that an electric bicycle does not?

Better brakes.

EU legislates disclosure of copyright data used to train AI


it's simply who has the better lawyers,

Which is why rights societies like ASCAP and the RIAA are so essential for the ordinary folk like us, and why the likes of Google have been so keen to fund the useful idiots who seek to undermine them.

South Korea prosecutes Terraform Labs co-founder Daniel Shin


The difference is...

There's a difference between something that might have worked but didn't, which is risk, and something that never could have worked, and the organiser knew it, which is fraud.

Admittedly the line between is awfully blurred, to say the least, with crypto currency, where it appears many of the proponents so naive and so full of self deceiving belief in their own bull**** that its hard to see where stupidity stops and fraud starts.

Ex-CIO must pay £81k over Total Shambles Bank migration


Re: Do you know what "nemesis" means?

Hubris rather than nemesis don't you think?

CAN do attitude: How thieves steal cars using network bus


Cui Bono?

I was thinking that the complacency/incompetence of the motor industry in regards to electronic theft was staggering, what with all the fundamental security rules being broken, but then I got to thinking, well, if theft is below a level where buyers will avoid the brand, what motivation is there for the car industry to make security a priority. Never ascribe to malice what may be ascribed to incompetence is a useful rule of thumb, and I doubt the manufacturers are deliberately making their vehicles easy to steal, but a moderate level of theft and thus extra sales doesn't actually seem to to have much of a downside for them.

Defunct comms link connected to nothing at a fire station – for 15 years


Re: Raise a change request to turn box off,

Yes indeedy. While I often hated the bureaucratic delays caused by a clumsy change management system, it was just perfect for covering the posterior in situations like that.

Nostalgic for VB? BASIC is anything but dead


Re: Basic isn't the problem

The thing is the 3rd party OLE2 controls were the problem. If you needed to get into that sort of level of complexity you shouldn't have been using VB. VB was a damn handy tool for doing all sorts of straightforward stuff that enhanced productivity without costing a fortune. But the complexity escalated until suddenly it wasn't a simple handy tool. VB4 was probably optimal, and after vb6 I more or less abandoned it and started doing my productivity enhancement apps in a web browser using php.

Publishers land killer punch on Internet Archive in book copyright court battle


Re: license to lend out a book commercially

Yes indeed, and as an author I get a royalty from public library lending. Its not big bucks, but I haven't written a mass market book. The total over the last 5 years Its approaching 20% of the royalties I've received from print sales (which amazes and pleases me!) so its by no means insignificant. OTOH I bet I would get stuff all from the Internet archive if they were 'lending' my book out. There can be no objection to them offering the service for out of copyright works, but leeching on copyright works is out of order.

Errors logged as 'nut loose on the keyboard' were – ahem – not a hardware problem


Re: Aaaaargh!

Well maybe, but speeders kill a lot more people than burglars...


Re: Please see the British education system"

OTOH a system where you can get regraded from outstanding to inadequate on a single metric that no-one except Whitehall gives a damn about even when the ratings on everything else are stellar is, well, shall we say inadequate?

A tip for content filter evaluators: erase the list of sites you tested, don't share them on 100 PCs


Re: Not on my watch...

Yes, I worked for a local authority, and across every different role in the organisation there wasn't much that someone didn't have a legitimate reason to access.


Re: Other ways to justify access

And a very smart tactic it was too, providing a reasonably legitimate excuse to be found in possession of the publication.


> 100 machines with the same licence key

As I recall this was perfectly legitimate if you had the right license - although it may have been no license key at all. Its been a long time, but ISTR there was a different installation for very big commercial licences.

Wikimedia Foundation confirms, and bemoans, Pakistan ban


Just another

multinational internet company that thinks it should be immune from the law of the land. As the west moves to the new puritanism this is going to be increasingly hard to sustain.

Another RAC staffer nabbed for storing, sharing car crash data


Re:happened to be somebody who knew somebody

Submit it's more likely that it was the only report they've received recently that actually pinned it down to an individual as opposed to "we think it was one of these 50 people. Probably."

But it doesn't matter how inept the ICO is, if they're presented with an open goal, as it appears the RAC did for them, then they're going to go for it because its a nice press release that makes them look good.


Re: Bingo time

Hard to see how you get 100% protection against people who are required to have access to the data as part of their job.

The very fact that they were able to pin it down to an individual firmly enough for the ICO to get a search warrant suggests pretty tight controls.

I'm more interested in to what extent the claims companies are targeted by the law.

FOSS could be an unintended victim of EU crusade to make software more secure


Re: But first...

I recall with some amusement the pen testers who called out my DNS servers.

"Here's a list of vulnerabilities for your DNS servers "

'Are you sure that's valid'

"Definitely, that's the vulnerability list for BIND 4.9"

'Why do you think they're running BIND 4.9'

"That's what they reported to our software"

'You surely didn't believe them did you?'

FTX audit finds $415m in crypto mysteriously vanished


> How is he even permitted to use a computer and the internet

And of course none of us think that the FBI are keeping a very close watch on what he's doing with secret spying tools none of us believe they have.

Brit civil service claims there's enough money for mammoth ERP refresh project


Its a Red Queen's Race

As soon as you go for buying packages instead of in house development you're forced into this Red Queen's race of upgrades no-one wants to provide extra functionality no-one needs at eye watering cost using money you'd much rather spend on something more productive. But what's the alternative? I doubt any government department has the capability any more to run a pure in house application development team, even if doing so was actually affordable, and outsourcing development of a from scratch custom system to the likes of Capita or Fujitsu or whoever sounds remarkably like the worst of both worlds.

Virgin Orbit doesn't


Re: Here we go, Gromit!

Presumably there are advantages in what is effectively a combined mobile launch site and reusable first stage. I'll make an uninformed guess that there are potential cost savings if the launch site is moved to suit the desired final orbit.