* Posts by JimC

1824 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

India's IT minister angry that Twitter broke local law by following US law

JimC

Re: This is interesting

Well, they need to find another way to operate. Governments tend to look down on companies who think obeying the law is too hard. The tide is turning against multinationals making their own rules.

Euro court rules YouTube not automatically liable for users illegally uploading copyright-protected material

JimC

Then an awful lot of authors and composers would be worse off. The current system is pretty poor, but its better than any alternatives anyone has dreamed up.

It took 'over 80 different developers' to review and fix 'mess' made by students who sneaked bad code into Linux

JimC

I dunno, while locking the stable door after the horse has bolted is not actually a bad thing, this feels like locking the stable door the horse exited *while leaving all the other stable doors as they were*. There are a lot more and a lot worse bad hats in the world than these dumb students. Its hard to believe that no-one else has done the same thing,

The future is now, old man: Let the young guns show how to properly cock things up

JimC

Re: Backup always

Three backups. One to go wrong, one to realise its gone wrong because of a problem, not random chance, and one to rescue you...

Salesforce fell over so hard today, it took out its own server status page

JimC

Re: It was the engineer in the DC with the keyboard

DNS that doesn't roll out globally across the org makes for extremely bizarre faults! I remember having some issues in the early days of Microsoft DNS.

Apple faces another suit over its allegedly misleading water resistance claims

JimC

The other interesting problem

Is when you drop a hot IP68 mobile into cold water. Don't ask me how I know...

Does the boss want those 2 hours of your free time back? A study says fighting through crowds to office each day hurts productivity

JimC

No company ever forced its staff to do 90 minute commutes...

I've never taken a job that was more than about 15/20 minutes from home. When moving house one of the first considerations has always been one ride public transport and reasonable distance to work. You don't have to go that far back in time for the majority of the workforce to live within walking distance of their workplace. The big commute is something we've done to ourselves. For excellent and well founded reasons no doubt, but still fundamentally self inflicted.

When you consider the waste of energy, time and everything else that long distance commuting represents, maybe its something that has to change?

University duo thought it would be cool to sneak bad code into Linux as an experiment. Of course, it absolutely backfired

JimC

Re: potentially damaged the prospects of all the other students at the Uni

I submit that any employer dumb enough to do that would be one that was best avoided anyway.

JimC

Bad Actor/Good actor.

Seems to me that if a malign covert agency wished to insert something into the Linux code base then an obvious thing to do is devote a lot of time to developing entirely beneficial updates, and insert their desired malware as just one item within a large number of entirely benign updates. What is more, in such a situation it might even be possible to blame an unknown 3rd party for the malicious code, and retain credibility. This would require the agent to have commitment to play a very long game indeed, but such agents are not entirely unknown.

How to ensure your tech predictions catch on in a flash? Do the mash

JimC

Re: a layer of plastic from our time and little else.

Plastics will have long degraded, although I'm not quite sure what they'll degrade into. Some sort of vaguely oily stain in the ground polluted with all sorts of odd elements perhaps? Maybe more than 1,000 years for the process to complete. Concrete structures perhaps? Rebar will presumably corrode out and shatter reinforced concrete structures, but roman concrete survives.

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine

JimC

Re: Any "boss" who says that to me

As a teenager I had a summer job in a nursing home as kitchen hand. Management changed and new manager was 3 weeks behind paying wages. Any complaints were greeted with "If you don't like it you can leave". I waited until the afternoon just about everyone was out for one reason or another and itwas him and me and a huge pile of washing up, and tackled him. Usual response. Oh, how I enjoyed shutting the door behind me and leaving him in deep whatever...

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99

JimC

Re: No TV

I wonder to what extent the set of people complaining that the BBC have cancelled their favourite programmes overlaps with the set that complains about the license fee because they never watch BBC.

How do we stamp out the ransomware business model? Ban insurance payouts for one, says ex-GCHQ director

JimC

Its impractical of course.

But I would like to see all financial transactions reversable under court order. And if bank can't find where the money went, then it comes out of the bank's bonus pool.

As for bitcoin, it needs to be banned simply for its contribution to global warming.

Don't be a fool, cover your tool: How IBM's mighty XT keyboard was felled by toxic atmosphere of the '80s

JimC

keyboard condoms

And ye gods they were a pain to install. But rather important when IT started to be useful in say vehicle workshops.

Rookie's code couldn't have been so terrible that it made a supermarket spontaneously combust... right?

JimC

Haven't had the site burn down but...

I have phoned up a customer to find out why their server is down to be told they had a break in overnight and the server was stolen.

And all the backup tapes.

"Oh, is that why you told us we had to take a backup tape home? It seemed like too much bother so we stopped doing it"

Dangerous flying car drone zoomed into UK's Gatwick Airport airspace after killswitch failed

JimC

Re: UAPs

https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/gatwick-drone-incident-how-things-19473462

No doubt your reaction to that will depend on your preconceptions...

JimC

Re: strict limitations to the permitted flight (

> strict limitations to the permitted flight (eg 20 m max height)

Just about none of which appear to have been followed... I guess they were just too busy being disruptive.

UK Supreme Court declares Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed: Ride biz's legal battle ends in a crash

JimC

Re: Well....

Thing is private hire damn well ought to be expensive. You are paying for a trained and insured professional to give you an individual service in a provided vehicle which as often as not (at least out here in the sticks) will be doing double your trip mileage in order to provide the service. And then we get onto the environmental impact etc...

JimC

Re: @jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid "paying their fair share of tax anyway"

Oh no, can't agree with you. Uber's business is definitely more than organised tax evasion. It's organised employment law evasion as well.

Citibank accidentally wired $500m back to lenders in user-interface super-gaffe – and judge says it can't be undone

JimC

I suppose the big thing about this one

Is that the recipients were entitled to the money, if not actual right then and there. But when there's serious money you get serious fights. A ballsup at a place I worked saw the entire month's payroll - and it was a very big payroll - paid to a single account. The mistake was spotted as it happened, and the recipient never saw the money appear in their account. But the building society that received the funds refused to reverse the transfer until all is were dotted and Ts crossed. In the meantime my employer had to borrow the money to duplicate the entire payroll and pay it to the correct people, and it was a decidedly non trivial sum in interest.

Amazon sues NY Attorney General in preemptive strike: Web giant faces claim it did not fully protect workers in COVID-19 pandemic

JimC

Re: Use collective bargaining to improve it.

When technology has been used to deskill every job so that they can all be undertaken by interchangeable peons who can be replaced at the drop of a hat with minimal loss of productivity then the power of collective bargaining is minimal. When sacking half the workforce would mean a catastrophic drop in production and a near impossibility to find sufficient skilled workers to replace them then collective bargaining had real teeth. If on the other hand you can sack half the workforce and replace them with third world workers who just have to follow the pictures and be up to speed in a week then...

Bitcoin surges, exchanges flooded after Tesla says it bought $1.5bn in BTC, hopes to accept it as payment soon

JimC

I thought he was into the green thing?

So why is he getting involved with the indirect environmental nightmare that is bitcoin?

Negative Trustpilot review of law firm Summerfield Browne cost aggrieved Briton £28k

JimC

Re: New Business

You can replace 'like most solicitors' with 'like most banks/insurance companies/utility companies/ISPs/mobile phone companies/etc etc'

The 21st C seems to specialise in god awful customer service. I suppose its because so much business is driven by search/comparison etc, but it's depressing.

Hollywood drone pilot admits he crashed gizmo into cop chopper, triggering emergency landing

JimC

Re: Helicopter danger

Railways are dangerous places. A bunch of coppers blundering round on foot is *exactly* the wrong thing to happen.

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

JimC

Re: What login prompt?

As I recall with 3.x, which used dos to do the initial boot, you needed to write an autoexec.bat if you wanted the server to come up without stopping at a dos prompt: the install didn't create one for you. I recall writing a little assembler utility that slowly wrote a row of dots on the screen which was press any key to abort processing autoexec so servers would come up unattended, but it was easy to abort.

Amazon turns Victorian industrialist with $2bn building project to house workers near new headquarters

JimC

You've just had a demonstration in Washington

Of where current levels of inequality are heading. You surely don't think all that anger is just about the election? Dramatic increase of inequality as a result of the greed of the executive class is approaching levels that have resulted in revolutions. Better wise up or there'll be silicone Valley execs hanging from lampposts.

British voyeur escapes US extradition over 770 cases of webcam malware

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Boeing 737 Max will return to flight after software updates, says EU's aviation regulator

JimC

A bit too much spin for my taste.

Yes, with MCAS eliminated a typical crew would be able to fly the plane perfectly safely in typical circumstances. But the control weight requirement, which is universal, not just US, eliminates a very nasty handling vice. What happens is that if the aircraft is pitched up higher than it should be, whether by pilot or bizarre circumstance (wind effects for instance) the control goes light, and the whatever newtons of force you were applying to the controls now push the elevators to the stop. So a solution was definitely needed, or sooner or later some poor crew, most likely aided by meteorology, would have stalled the aircraft, and possibly too low to recover.

Crooks social-engineer GoDaddy staff into handing over control of crypto-biz domain names

JimC

The fact that it was multiple employees

Suggests that the attackers found a flaw in Godaddy's procedures they were able to exploit rather than an actual problem with gullible staff. And since the poor peons who work in such places are aggressively required to follow the procedures to the letter rather than apply any knowledge or thinking to the task, once the bad guys had found a procedure to abuse they would be able to run through with hobnail boots on.

EU says Boeing 737 Max won't fly over the Continent just yet: The US can make its own choices over pilot training

JimC

Re:Fatigue in composite structures. Plastic parts last almost forever,

Neither of those is true. Composite structures most definitely have a limited life, and plastic doesn't last for ever. As a general rule the nastiest additives in plastics are the ones put in there to try and stop it disintegrating at the first sign of UV light...

Adiós Arecibo Observatory: America's largest radio telescope faces explosive end after over 50 years of service

JimC

Re: Jodrell bank

not to mention some secondhand bits of steam engine.

What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases

JimC

Familiar kind of scenario.

Development time to import data files direct to final system using very flexible and reliable but hugely hassle ridden generic import - two weeks

Development time using excel as an intermediary due to far more user friendly import routines - twenty minutes

Techie studied ancient ways of iSeries machine, saved day when user unleashed eldritch powers, got £50 gift voucher

JimC

Old Code...

Digging out an old but useful utility and modding it slightly for a new task my PFY commented "when you wrote that I was in primary school"

Marketing: Wow, that LD8 data centre outage was crazy bad. Still, can't get worse, can it? Finance: HOLD MY BEER

JimC

Re: The Cloud

Actually its always your problem.

ANPR maker Neology sues Newcastle City Council after failing to win 'air quality' snoopcam project bid

JimC

Re: Procurement nightmares

Or worse still when there's only one company you trust to do the job, but they fail to win the tender, and the winning company goes on to comprehensively **** up the project just as you knew they would. I recall at least one case where we started unofficially working on how to fix what we were sure was going to be a nightmarish delivery before it was even delivered to us...

SAP blogger reveals top tips for keeping clients happy: Don’t swear, remember to write a pithy subject line, and TURN OFF CAPS LOCK

JimC

Well I dunno

We seem to live in an age when customer care is a pretty low priority for a lot of companies I deal with. Forcing your staff to keep to the precise letter of a script, banning all initiative and refusing to delegate any responsibility or decision making capability to anyone in customer facing roles seem to be regarded as far more important.

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.

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