* Posts by the spectacularly refined chap

1281 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Dec 2008

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How did a CrowdStrike file crash millions of Windows computers? We take a closer look at the code

the spectacularly refined chap

In a word... no.

Indeed if anything the situation is getting worse. Ever longer pipelines, even larger caches etc all conspire to increase the penalty of each context switch.

ESA's meteorite bricks hit Lego stores, but don't get your wallet out just yet

the spectacularly refined chap

Where's James May?

Takes a lot of effort building a full sized house with Lego bricks.

Time Lords decree: No leap second needed in 2024

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: The negative leap second

A negative leap second has the opposite effect, UTC simply jumps from 23:59:58 to 00:00:00.

Nor does a positive increment result in a duplication of time when handled correctly, time goes from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 before reaching 00:00:00.

The X Window System is still hanging on at 40

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: The only problem with Wayland is that ...

I remember X10, also the seemingly infinite series of point revisions for X11R5. Trying to remember now, that may have been immediately after MIT abandoned it.

Apple Intelligence won't be available in Europe because Tim's terrified of watchdogs

the spectacularly refined chap

I don't think anyone but the most overzealous Apple-basher would spend too much time criticising Apple's prviacy protections. On the other hand they are way too quick to use them as a veneer of respectabilty for their various schemes of profit protection.

Evidence mounts that Venus has multiple active volcanoes

the spectacularly refined chap

Sadly it is all too common. It's hard to get funding for a new space mission but even harder for a review of data already collected. That's the argument for putting everything in the public domain but even that has limitations - if you are a doctoral student you are unlikely to relish the prospect of looking through old data to test a hypothesis that was never envisaged when it was collected, and at the end of three years in all likelihood arriving at a null result.

'Little weirdo' shoulder surfer teaches UK cabinet minister a lesson in cybersecurity

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Disneyification

I'm reminded of one of the more surreal conversations I've ever been in. A colleague asks if I know how warp engines work. I reply in the affirmative and begin running through their income tax treatment.

I'd misheard that as "war pensions".

Silly me. After all this was what was then the Inland Revenue, and of course no self-respecting civil servant is going to take the time to find out about the rules they are applying.

UK competition cops say Microsoft's stake in Mistral is not a merger

the spectacularly refined chap

Mistral...

...they make Zippo style petrol lighters don't they? Darn sight more real value in that than AI nonsense.

Forget feet and inches, latest UK units of measurement are thinking bigger

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: What the hell is a meter?

The Metrons? They were in Star Trek yes? The one where Kirk invented gunpowder to defeat an enemy that resembled a man in a cheap dinosaur costume?

ML suggests all that relaxing whale song might just be human-esque gossiping

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Star Trek 4

Actually it was Stanislaw Lem and His Master's Voice that came to mind, conceptually, rather than simply "oh look that's got whales in it too".

NASA's planet hunter shakes off reaction wheel woes and gets back to work

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Weakest link

Countering the effects of induced spin on the craft is what manoeuvring thrusters are for, for a persistent effect the reaction wheels would have to remain in motion constantly. The reaction wheels are used when the craft is not rotating, rather you want to change the orientation, i.e. you are currently pointing over "here" but want to switch to pointing over "there". The wheels spin up and the craft starts to rotate in the required direction, stop the wheels and the craft's rotation in turn stops. It's conservation of angular momentum.

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Weakest link

I think you're confusing them with gyroscopes. Both relate to the attitude of the instrument but gyros are constantly running and measure changes in attitude. They're also small and comparatively easy to arrange spares for. Since in operation they are always running that's a good idea since they do wear out, essentially they are a spinning disk with the bearing wear that implies.

Reaction wheels in contrast are large, weighty components. They are rotated when the instrument needs to actively change orientation, the instrument then moves in the opposite direction: no propellant is needed for that operation. You don't have such a free hand with spares and their placement though, since the axis of rotation is always related to the particular set of wheels in question.

What do we make of Apple's plan B for a down quarter – that $110B buyback of shares?

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Reverse Ponzi

There is some truth that it is more tax efficient, but it's minor and affects a small proportion of total shares out there. For private investors gains in share price are capital gains - still taxed, but frequently at a lower rate, although not in the UK. For corporations and institutional investors where the big money is it makes no difference.

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Reverse Ponzi

It's neutral on P/E since a company buying back shares essentially doesn't hold them, instead the shares are effectively withdrawn and each remaining share represents a larger portion of the company. Thus the price of a share goes up but so does the earning per share.

And no, share buy backs are not some postmodern management wheeze, returning value to shareholders for their investment is a business fundamental, whether that is either buybacks or dividends. The Ponzi scheme is assuming a company can carry on investing ever larger amount of generated cash in itself, expecting the same returns and never giving anything back to the shareholders. Ultimately once a company reaches a given size in a particular sector further investment will not produce representative returns. Diversification is the alternative but that spreads management focus thinner.

The chip that changed my world – and yours

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: The Z80, however, was compatible with a rival, Intel 8080.

The 8085 came after the Z80, although it wasn't influenced by it - development was well underway by the latter's release. There were only two new instructions in 8085 relating to the built in "serial port" (bit banged) and interrupt masking. I suspect you are confusing the 8080 and 8008. Z80 had lots in contrasts, mostly additional addressing modes.

None of 8080, Z80 or 8085 were pin compatible with each other, although the latter two both needed only a +5V supply. Z80 separated the address and data buses but 8085 kept them multiplexed. Horses for courses, since that means extra logic elsewhere for timing and status signals as they are all constrained by a 40 pin DIP.

Strange, I still think of multiplexed address and data buses as "Intel style" despite the last such chips being the 80188 and 80186.

BOFH: Smells like Teams spirit

the spectacularly refined chap

I was getting a lot of that this morning, they were going off to my manager to complain I hadn't got back to them.

Can you just reply to XXX, it'll only take five minutes...

I KNOW. THEY ASKED FOUR MINUTES AGO!

If Britain is so bothered by China, why do these .gov.uk sites use Chinese ad brokers?

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: ".... reasonable to assume most UK citizens wouldn't ....,"

No that is actually an explicit exemption in the Theft Act and carried forward by various criminal justice bills since. If you are legally on the land in the first place you are entitled to forage for wild growing fruit, berries, nuts etc without any permission needed.

The eight-bit Z80 is dead. Long live the 16-bit Z80!

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Z180 is also no more

Won't be an issue for donkeys years yet. It was earlier this year I picked up up a dozen 8085s for perhaps £15, out of production since the millennium and produced in smaller quantities than either the Z80 or the 8080.

Wing Commander III changed how the copy hotkey works in Windows 95

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Decent game

Played it again recently, it's incredible how much things changed between Wing Commander II and III

What came in between was Strike Commander, which broke new ground (gouraud shading, texture mapping) but had a very protracted development. That accounts for the delay between WCII and III, and once complete many of the techniques were in turn used on the new WC.

Future Roku TVs may inject tailored ads into anything and everything when you pause

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: On the plus side

The only time I ever have something I am watching on pause is when I am away from my TV, no longer watching it, am taking a piss or shit, making a cup of tea, or stirring a pan on the stove. For me it will be as pointless and as ineffective as all the other ads I never get to see.

I can see problematic use cases. First what if the connected device is a PC or info display where the screen is naturally static for a period?

The other is with actual media playback. I'm thinking of Mr Skin style uses of the pause button whenever an actress's naughty bits appear on screen.

Mars helicopter sends final message, but will keep collecting data

the spectacularly refined chap

One of the reasons why recent probes now use nuclear battery for power.

The perennial "use an RTG for everything" argument. What it is actually advocating is that less science is done.

RTGs are incredibly expensive, adding at least $100m to a mission, and also in short supply as there is only so much of the suitable isotopes around. Curiosity and Perseverance use them because of the sheer size of the rovers and consequent power requirements, rather than any inherent dissatisfaction with photovoltaics.

Torvalds intentionally complicates his use of indentation in Linux Kconfig

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: accidental stray indent or outdent

If you have more than a handful of lines between the IF and ENDIF, particularly if you can't see them both on the screen at the same time, you should probably move all those lines into a nicely named function.

Similarly if you have more than 2 or 3 levels of indentation.

Personally I always cringe when I see arbitrary limits on length of code, a lot of unnecessarily contorted and fundamentally inscrutable code has resulted from it. Functions should do a comprehensible job, not half of one. Functions that operate on a data structure should take a generally valid data structure (or valid substructure) as their input, not some in progress half-updated mutant whose rules for validity only exist in the mind of the coder thinking on the hoof. Any notion that a function/block/whatever should be not more than x lines, one screen or one page can be sunk when you raise the possibility of a 1000 line switch statement. That isn't theoretical, it can and does happen inside complex state machines - OSPF is always the example that comes to mind. Yes, understanding the monster as a whole is complex, it's an inevitable consequence of a system that is itself complex. Individual terms can remain trivially easy to understand as they operate independently, it's deeply nested "wide" code that is difficult to follow, not "long" code.

Yes, "wide" code is a problem but in my experience it is too frequently a symptom of poor logic than anything stylistic. It indicates a need for a structural rethink as opposed to changing the layout. A perennial issue is lack of break and continues - I've even seen them described as bad style in themselves. I embrace them, it is a natural and concise method of saying "I am done with this task" or "I am done with this node" that avoids a lot of unnecessary control logic contributing several layers of indentation by itself.

A cheeky intern nearly turned MS-DOS into NSFW-DOS

the spectacularly refined chap

But the resident portion of 7.0 was actually larger, it still had to support every system call for compatibility and additional bloat to support long file names which was nothing but dead weight in real mode where they were not visible in any case.

On the other hand it removed many external utilities, from memory those included basic, Memmaker, and even the command line defrag tool.

the spectacularly refined chap

But why would you have wanted to? It was decidedly stripped down compared to MS-DOS 6.x or even 5.0.

Chrome Enterprise Premium promises extra security – for a fee

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: $72 per user per year...

Then wait for a breach. Someone must do something and adopting Chrome premium is something therefore it must be done. Ker-ching!

Sir Humphrey Appleby:

We must do something! This is something. Therefore, we must do this!

US insurers use drone photos to deny home insurance policies

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: As usual, it's cover for taking advantage of old people

As someone else pointed out, some buildings around here are well over 100 years old and have their original (in this part of the world, mostly) slate roofs. It's possible that over the years they've had to have the flashing re-done, chimneys re-pointed, maybe some broken slates replaced, but a well maintained slate roof should easily last a couple of hundred years.

No that was a frequent issue we had when I worked in home insurance - nail fatigue, typically after 100 years or so. It can be stripped and rebuilt with the same tiles but those nails have a finite lifespan.

After every storm we'd get claims for missing roof tiles. If the building report came back with nail fatigue we wouldn't touch it. The contractor would quote for a repair and we could pay out on that basis, but we wouldn't actually arrange the repair as we weren't willing to guarantee it.

And before people start slagging the insurers, in my view that was more than they needed to offer. After all the builder has already reported to the effect that you are in breach of the policy term to maintain the property in a good condition, and in a manner directly relevant to the claim.

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: A physical visit is a lot more reliable

I remember hearing Ayrton Senna was pulled over for speeding a couple of miles outside Silverstone. The cop approaches the driver side window and asks

"Who do you think you are, Nigel Mansell?"

Microsoft, OpenAI may be dreaming of $100B 5GW AI 'Stargate' supercomputer

the spectacularly refined chap

Obscene

This is over 1.5x what Hinckley Point C is designed to produce, a project that has been the subject of political controversy for more than a decade and is still years from completion.

Forget any notion of green credentials, this just proves the almighty dollar is paramount in the minds at MS and fuck the consequences. What else could that power be used for more productively?

It also once again shows there has really been no AI "revolution", just big companies squandering ridiculous levels of resources for benefits of questionable value, in hope of a long term payback.

Cloud server host Vultr rips user data licensing clause from ToS amid web 'confusion'

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Legal boilerplate... [Vultr Birdshit!]

Yes, it was probably drafted by their lawyers in the first place and using stock paragraphs and terminology. That isn't laziness or even necessarily a land grab, for almost any particular scenario there are stock terms and phrases that have previously been considered and interpreted by the courts whose meaning is thus well known. Drafting seemingly equivalent provisions risks fresh ambiguities and uncertainty.

I recall an almost identical issue arising perhaps 30 years ago with the CompuServe T&C's. Again it was lawyers protecting their client using stock terms that seem to achieve an overreaching result.

If you had posted something on a CompuServe forum clearly you intend it to be visible to over users (otherwise what would be the point?). Similarly if it was then reprinted in the subscriber magazine that may not be surprising. But what if they decide to convert their forum archives to a website? Or these days a phone app? It's a lot easier if you have those rights from everyone in advance. The difficulty comes from more transformative use, for example you may be less happy if a quote, joke or whatever is printed on a mug, T shirt or whatever and sold at a profit.

It's guarding against that kind of direct profiteering (among other things) the lawyers need to be mindful of, but often fail to do so.

Vodafone, Three hustle to tie knot before regulators crash wedding

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: The whole point

Surely you are not suggesting that private companies exist to make a profit? Heaven forbid, we can't possibly allow that!

Of course that's the case! The role of the regulator is to determine if the customer will be unduly harmed by such a merger. There are times when there are genuine synergies, such as unifying the network, potentially meaning savings to the consumer, provided enough competition remains to ensure those are realised in practice.

Other times it's bundling different services. It would seem odd today to have your landline phone and Internet on different operators, it used to be the norm. That eliminates the cost of one set of invoicing and payment processing, and large parts of customer service, from your combined bill, again if sufficient competition remains. The same argument goes double if you bundle your pay TV and/or mobile into the same deal.

Mozilla fixes $100,000 Firefox zero-days following two-day hackathon

the spectacularly refined chap

Sure just offer free flights and hotel for a city break to anyone who asks. No need for anything in return. It's not as if anyone would take the piss, either deliberately or script kiddies with an inflated sense of ego?

You don't think they magic up these bulbs on the spot do you? They've been working on them months and know roughly what they are worth, this is just the time to unfurl them and claim a payout.

Garlic chicken without garlic? Critics think Amazon recipe book was cooked up by AI

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: So AI is one of two things

Then to complete the trilogy I'm doing "The Cheese cookbook without cheese" though I'm not going to fully utilise AI for that just to spice thing up and add some personal favourites such as Toast and one I like to call Macaroni.

I have a friend who used to have a cheese problem. She's now decided she's lactose intolerant and can only eat vegan cheese which is "shite".

I did point out she can't possibly be lactose intolerant, because she isn't middle class, but that fell on deaf ears.

It's 2024 and North Korea's Kimsuky gang is exploiting Windows Help files

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Very "helpful"...

It's a side effect of rearranging the start menu and control panel with every new release. Help files need to include those "click here" links to apps and setup dialogs or you would never be able to find them.

The last mile's at risk in our hostile environment. Let’s go the extra mile to fix it

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: "Stop putting cabling in easy to reach, easy to breach ducting"

The same applies to water supplies – I'm responsible for the pipes after the water meter in the pavement outside my house.

No it's more subtle than that. You are not responsible for anything not on your property but within it generally depends on whether it serves only you or others at the same time. It isn't unusual for mains water (and even moreso, sewerage and surface drains) to be shared between neighbouring properties. Typically you would then only be responsible for the stretch after the point which branches off to serve only you, even if the remainder is on your property.

Used to work in home insurance claims, knowing this kind of stuff was essential to the job.

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: "Stop putting cabling in easy to reach, easy to breach ducting"

Depends on the country. In the UK, it can be common for the home/landowner to be responsible for the part of the service that's on their property. Even when that's not the case, you may still find yourself liable for repairs to the SP's side of the demarc, if your actions caused the damage. It's no different to charging contractors for backhoe fade. Again it's one of those things that should have been sorted out during the installation, although the SP may have charged for the burial.

No, it's enshrined in law. With the old two part line boxes the distinction was clear - the top half was the network's problem, the lower half your own. It's slightly more nebulous in the case of modern lineboxes but the operators will tend to view a fault anywhere in the single unit as their problem - it's not as if the actual box fails enough to be worth arguing over.

Justice Dept reportedly starts criminal probe into Boeing door bolt incident

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: "if the door plug removal was undocumented"

"With respect to documentation, if the door plug removal was undocumented there would be no documentation to share," added the aerospace giant.

Kryten: Shh. Listen, can anyone hear anything?

Cat: No

Kryten: Exactly, no one can hear anything, and do you know why we can't hear anything?

Rimmer: (annoyed) Why?

Kryten: (in a spooky voice) Because there are no sounds to hear!

HP print rental service seeks more users to become subscription addicts

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: A fool and his money

I don't see what is the issue myself - this is at least transparent and upfront: you are not buying a printer, you are not buying ink, you are buying print as a service. If the numbers work out for you then why shouldn't you have that option.

It has a lot more integrity than the model used over the last few years, namely selling you (and charging you for) a printer outright, and then claiming some divine right to dictate whose inks you can use in your own printer, in complete defiance of the first sale doctrine.

It's that most wonderful time of the year when tech cannot handle the date

the spectacularly refined chap

Yeah, it's funny how the bean counting department never gets outsourced!

I take it you've never read of any of the scandals that regularly affect E&Y, KPMG, PwC etc. Nor indeed the effective corporate death penalty that was applied to Arthur Andersen in the wake of Enron?

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: First they came for the leap seconds, then they came for the leap days...

Almost nothing anyone says or does will change the fact that the number of days in a year is not an integer; that is to say, the Earth does not rotate around its own axis a whole number of times in the time it takes to complete a full turn around the Sun.

No, that's one of the other myths about timekeeping. A day is the (average) period from one noon until the next. For the Sun to return to its highest point the Earth has to rotate slightly more than once, since it has moved around its orbit in the interim. A sidereal day (a single rotation) is about 4 minutes shorter.

Uncle Sam explores satellites that can create propellant out of thin air

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Researchers at the federal lab and GWU are currently trying to effectively neutralize...

...or perhaps they do know what they are doing. There is a reason existing designs use noble gases generally (reduces induced dipoles by orders of magnitude) and xenon in particular (high molar mass).

But once again, an anonymous El Reg commentard knows better than those spending their entire careers in sector.

Starting over: Rebooting the OS stack for fun and profit

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: In the absence of files...

How do you differentiate between the zillions of pages of deathless prose you have composed, and scratch notes that can be deleted? How can one generate a file with one program and open it with another?

Very easily as it happens, I would suggest trying one of the systems instead instead of dismissing something out of hand because it is different to what you are used to. Documents still have labels and can usually be tagged, often multiple times which the file and directory model doesn't really accommodate - e.g. does that record of the Project Alpha budget belong with the Project Alpha stuff or the financial stuff - why, it's both.

Indeed with the true OO platforms the very concept of an "app" frequently disappears, new software allows you to manipulate a new document type or enhances the capability to deal with a existing type. On the Newton is was sometimes surprising just how far the built in Notes app could be extended with custom "stationery", at the simplest level these could be simple data acquisition forms but it was frequently extended to full DB like operations, and yes, images and audio too.

Microsoft adds more AI to Photos in Windows 10 and 11

the spectacularly refined chap

I've had enough of Microsoft's pretty pictures...

... given they pushed out a photo to the lock/login screen a few weeks back that automatically turned all the prompts into Thai.

Since this was Windows you automatically assume it is some malware, but no, just another MS balls up.

Web archive user's $14k BigQuery bill shock after running queries on 'free' dataset

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: The downside is?

A world without Alphabet/Google/Youtube etc, Amazon, Meta/Facebook etc, X, Tiktok, etc etc doesn't look too bad to me.

Amazon weren't too bad when they stayed on books. I still have nightmares of reading the "Computer Books" catalogue, printed on the same paper and in a similar size font to the phone book, only the prices in the catalogue made telephone numbers look cheap.

Trident missile test a damp squib after rocket goes 'plop,' fails to ignite

the spectacularly refined chap

I don't think they launch actual "used" missiles (ones that have been carried around). Though I could be wrong about this. I believe that when a sub goes in for a major refit, they sail to Kings Bay in Georgia and get a test missile from the stock - so they can then test the whole system. It's possible that they get new/re-conditioned ones for their other tubes as well, which I guess would then be mated with warheads back in the UK.

The missiles are cycled through deployment, stockpile and servicing. When they go in for servicing they are held in a common stock between Britain and the US, one goes in and another one comes out, irrespective of which country previously had it. It's then shipped over to Blighty, rearmed as desired and loaded on one of the subs.

Missiles intended for test purposes are not identified is advance of fitting the warheads, it wouldn't be a very good "test" if everyone in production and maintenance knew which the test ones were would it?

Similarly it would severely compromise the independence of the UK deterrent if the US knew which were going to be tested and which used in anger. Contrary to the conspiracy theories the MOD do go to great lengths to ensure our capability is genuinely independent and can't be overridden by the US.

Preview edition of Microsoft OS/2 2.0 surfaces on eBay

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Worth noting the discovery that made OS/2 1 redundant

An individual segment was up to 64K and used 16 bit addressing but the segment register was also 16 bit. To compute an effective address the segment was left shifted four bits and then added to the offset address. Thus segments could begin on any 16 byte boundary meaning there were multiple segment:offset combinations that could access the same physical address.

You'd find this plenty of times in the assembler guides of the time, different sources would use seemingly different addresses to refer to the same hardware register.

As an aside although the 386 was limited to 4GB physical memory it did have a 64GB logical address space using a similar segmentation system. However the undeniable simplicity of a flat 4GB address space was such that people seem to attach some kind of mysticism to segmented models now.

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Worth noting the discovery that made OS/2 1 redundant

ISTR the 386 was actually designed before the 286 but once designed it was simply too complex for the fab facilities of the time. That would certainly fit in with the rest of the industry that were at the time beginning the transition to 32 bit, mostly skipping 16 bit as Intel had a jump on the rest of the industry there.

The 286 was essentially a stopgap until fab processes matured, and effectively ensured the mass market stayed on 16 bit all the way until Windows 95.

Forgetting the history of Unix is coding us into a corner

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Not *everything* is a file

Unfortunately, things like sockets on top of IP don't have names.

That's the way things have evolved, AT&T Research Unix introduced Streams which worked well both as a generalisation and allowing for some neat tricks. It would probably have taken off had it been five years earlier, but by then the sockets model was too engrained thanks to the BSDs and Sun in particular.

Microsoft might have just pulled support for very old PCs in Windows 11 24H2

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: Linux's moment

One thing I've noticed is that Samba's performance is utterly terrible. This is long standing across versions, platforms, Windows version and so on. If I copy a 20GB file from Windows to a Samba mount I'll get reasonable speed, e.g. 60-70MB/s over gigabit. If that same 20GB is instead 10,000 files I'll be lucky to average 5.

It was enough I was convinced there must be something wrong with my installation, until I talked to people who use Samba extensively and the response comes back "Oh, no, that doesn't happen". Until you demonstrate exactly the same issue on their systems. Windows<->Windows doesn't seem anywhere near as bad, nor does either Windows or Unix<->Unix over NFS.

I'm open to suggestions, but no I really do suspect it is that people accept shit as par for the course.

Joint European Torus experiments end on a 69 megajoules high

the spectacularly refined chap

Re: 69 megajoules

Not quite as simple as even that. The diference is that for an internal combustion engine the primary starting input is momentum, the primary output is momentum via the same channel, thus the whole cycle naturally repeats - ignore fuel pumps and spark ingnition, or argue we're talking about a two stroke diesel.

A fusion reactor requires a large electical input, among other things to power those magnets, but delivers its output as heat. That isn't the same funamentally self-sustaining property, and conversion from heat to anything else is generally inefficient even 200 years after Carnot.

When red flags are just office decoration: Edinburgh Uni's Oracle IT disaster

the spectacularly refined chap

They were running benchmarks on the soon to be released next gen systems and up to their neck with both hardware and software issues needing to be fixed before anything would run successfully. His WTF moment happend when the CEO passed him in the corridor and said 'I hear you are getting great benchmark numbers on the new systems'

Sometimes it's simply a different, legitimate perspective. I recall five or six years ago I was charged with developing a new process to be rolled out in about six months time. Had enough control to be able to manage it effectively, business processes and IT were both under me. Learning and Development were handling training but on details from me, with my sign off and me gatecrashing the first couple of training sessions.

Of course this nirvana couldn't last, two months in the timescale changed from "in four months" to "next week". Made for a very scrappy week getting ready in those conditions but we rolled out on the day. A couple of hours late admittedly for some last minute training, but the right day.

At perhaps 2:30pm the ops manager ultimately responsible for the area walks in and asks how is it going? Response from the rank and file: it's complete chaos. My response: it's going relatively smoothly. The team leaders involved thought much the same.

The concerns of rank and file were they didn't know what they were doing. I'd expected that, in most cases it was simply underlining the relevant part of their training if they hit a snag, there was only one area where I'd noted the training itself could be improved to say "In these cases (and that includes THOSE cases)..."

The other was the "Process doesn't work" pile. Obviously you'd rather not have those but it's hardly unexpected. Quoted some figures: we've processed 3000 cases today, the mystery box has about 20 cases in it. Of those about half are Welsh indicating a particular issue, I haven't had chance to fully investigate the others yet while I support the end users...

He went away absolutely delighted, sure a few teething issues but as smooth a roll out as you could hope for. Same situation, just a different perspective.

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