* Posts by Simon Beckett

22 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Mar 2009

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

Simon Beckett

Re: "Maybe a handful of people can work remotely"

Plus one from me. the biggest impact we've seen as a support company is that our working day has stretched, people are frequently leaving messages at 7am, and slightly less frequently but more annoyingly ringing me at 7pm to say no one is answering the helpdesk phone and they're having problems connecting to their WiFi. "I've been trying all day and it hasn't worked yet". We're lucky there's more than one of us, God knows how the one man bands are coping.

No payrise for Oracle CEO Safra Catz, but at least there's $76.4m from trading company shares to fall back on

Simon Beckett

Only 950k

Is it just me who read this and thought $950k seems a bit tame compared to the £421m salary paid to Denise Coates, founder of Bet365? I'm not judging, presumably she paid half of that to the treasury in taxes, and she is a major philanthropist who gives a lot of money away but I just thought it interesting that a £1m salary has been normalised.

Keep it Together, Microsoft: New mode for vid-chat app Teams reminds everyone why Zoom rules the roost

Simon Beckett

Teams isn't just a video conferencing tool...

It's a collaboration and integration tool, video calls seem like they were almost an afterthought which they may very well have been. Used wisely and set up properly Teams is a good product, just not necessarily easy to use in every environment. As with all things, more features adds more complexity, ease of use carries compromises on the user experience and the security of the product. Take "keyless" cars - much easier than hunting around for your keys, but also a lot easier for some herbert to drive off with it.

I agree that it's fiddly, that comes from trying to be all things to all people. Want to run a webinar? You do that this way. Want to have a one to one as a result of something in an email? You do it a different way. The reason there are multiple ways to start a video call is because that's what people asked for... in the early versions there was only one way to set up a call, which was to go into the calendar and schedule a meeting. That's stupid if you want to hold a meeting straight away, but consistent with the other tools in the Office 365 suite and that's the whole point.

Anyone complaining about having to use MFA to access a cloud based product that can be used to share corporate data? In the words of our friends from the millennial class, "Just, wow".

Full disclosure - we are a MS Partner so we have way more exposure to the MS stuff than we do anything else. So I might just be missing something.

Microsoft attempts to up its Teams game with new features while locked-down folk flock to rival Zoom... warts and all

Simon Beckett

Taking the long view...

I suspect when we all come out of lockdown Teams might end up being the eventual winner here, Zoom is an easy fix as a knee jerk reaction. As people have said, it's USP is that it's easy to sign up for free, but will eventually (if it hasn't already) attract suspicion about what they're doing with the data. Judging by how will they are to give all their data away to Google/Facebook/Twitter et al home users don't appear to be that bothered but anything close to the medium business or enterprise level (which is where Microsoft's heart really is) will (or should) be a lot more cautious.

<full disclosure - yes we are a MS Partner, but no I'm not a MS Patsy>

Beware the trainee with time on his hands and an Acorn manual on his desk

Simon Beckett

Sparc laser mouse mats

When I was at uni in the mid 90s we had a very closely guarded suite of Sun workstations... I remember something about being able to rotate the mouse mats and the cursor would travel at an additional 30 degrees to the direction of travel of the rather snazzy laser mice. Now I'm wondering if I dreamt that.

IT contractor has £240k bill torn up after IR35 win against UK taxman

Simon Beckett

Of course they intend to appeal. Unlike Mr Alcock, it's not their money at risk. It's ours.

Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away: Partner boss explains yanking of free licences

Simon Beckett

Gartner et al

"Microsoft's strategy is influenced by the supposition that customers now have a preference for more specialist resellers/ integrators, according to a slide presented that was credited to Gartner and Forrester researchers."

Gartner and Forrester eh? Those well known proponents of independent opinion and research in the race to the bottom of "average"? One has to wonder why Microsoft's strategy isn't based on the influence of things their partners are telling them, since 90% of their revenue is transacted via partners. And none of their revenue is transacted by Gartner (although a chunk of Gartner's is presumably paid for my Microsoft)

"The problem with this narrative is that it ignores the millions of small businesses who look for more generalist help, provided by the small resellers most affected by Microsoft's changes."

Any small partners who took the time to read anything coming out of Microsoft since the OCP changes in 2015 will already know deep down that Microsoft have been ignoring the opinions and needs of small partners for years. We just didn't want to admit that Microsoft were happy to throw us all under the bus. I have heard Microsoft staffers complaining that MPN members do not engage with Microsoft, but we've tried, and tried, and we've failed. At the same time they ask us to wrap new products round their tech and be innovative, then they change incentives to reflect what Microsoft want us to do, stifling any kind of invention in the process. Time to face facts fellow partners, unless you're a gold partner jumping through their hoops and letting Microsoft dictate how to run your business and what to sell to your customers, we're of no value to them anymore. Put simply Microsoft have too many partners and they just want to concentrate on the big tickets, in the assumption that the direct CSP resellers will pick up the pieces, as they already have been for the last couple of years.

Techie with outdated documentation gets his step count in searching for non-existent cabinet

Simon Beckett

Hiding switches

I was once creating some infrastructure documentation and one floor cabinet in a 5 storey building was missing... Turned out after a lot of lifting of ceiling tiles and ears against walls that the floor had at some point been refurbished and they'd built a wall in front of it, fully enclosing the cabinet...

My PC is on fire! Can you back it up really, really fast?

Simon Beckett

Iomega Jazz

We used a lot of these for a very short space of time. The name was appropriate: Never performed the same way twice, had a tendency to go off at a tangent, worthwhile for a short space of time, tolerable for a little longer, eventually makes you want to bang your head on the desk until you fall unconscious...

Barracuda snags email security biz ahead of private equity plunge

Simon Beckett

If I read it correctly that's 7.8m quarterly not annual. And for acquisitions like this it's often about more than net income, particularly for a growing company.

Russia could chop vital undersea web cables, warns Brit military chief

Simon Beckett

Troll subs...

...are easy to find, just look under the nearest bridge. If necessary lure them out with a couple of goats.

Software update turned my display and mouse upside-down, says user

Simon Beckett


Back in the early 90s at uni I was lucky enough to be exposed to the venerable SPARC workstation. The early optical mice on these required a specific mouse mat in order to work. Since the mat had an isometric pattern to determine the direction of travel much fun was to be had walking round the SPARC suite turning these mats upside-down, which made the mouse pointer, particularly of 1st year students, travel at an angle of 60 degrees from the horizontal, while maintaining the correct vertical travel. I believe they eventually glued the mouse mats down...

I cant remember anything I used the SPARC for but I do remember that.

User thanked IT department for fast new server, but it had never left its box

Simon Beckett

Re: Praise or accusations of work not done?

"You can hardly put CUNT on the appropriate line when closing a trouble ticket, now can you?"

Oh I dunno, worked with a sysadmin who would write pretty much anything on a ticket. Was great fun when we were forcibly migrated to a system where the customers could look up their support tickets. Running the search and replace and having to think of all the possible words he used must have been fun.

Jingle bells, RM tells, some staff to go away... via Skype

Simon Beckett

Firing people by Skype?

Have they never watched the George Clooney classic "Up in the Air"?

Canadian operator EasyDNS stands firm against London cops

Simon Beckett

PIPCU holding page

That holding page is highly reminiscent of the page used by browser hijacks purporting to be from the Metropolitan Police... All it needs is a "click here to proceed" button.

On a wider note they are on a slippery slope if they start closing off websites because there is an accusation against them; even if a case is in progress this still implies guilty until proven innocent, which is the new backbone of UK law enforcement. Next time Apple and MS get in a spat maybe they should have their sites closed down?

Satanic Renault takes hapless French bloke on 200km/h joyride

Simon Beckett
Paris Hilton

Re keyless start

My neighbour has a Jag with keyless start which he parks very close to his house. Last week he managed to get in, start it, and drive 30 miles, at which point he remembered his keys in his jacket in the porch at home. Unfortunately not before he'd turned the engine off.

Paris - because she rarely has trouble turning anything on.

Microsoft rolling out Windows Phone 8 update in Europe

Simon Beckett
Thumb Up

Warning, may contain positive comments

I've had my 820 for a couple of weeks and for a brand new product with a brand new operating system it seems pretty sorted. Irritations? Yes of course... My WM6.5 had the ability to reject calls with a text, and I missed it. The call quality at my end isn't great so I find myself using my Jabra a lot. The calendar takes ages to sync unless I add something to it and then it does everything. Battery life's not as good as my HTC HD2 but then I'm using it a lot more. Positives? The voice recognition is excellent out of the box with no training (more than could be said for the first incarnation of Siri), it reads me my text messages and allows me to dictate responses. The interface is easy to use and a lot more flexible, I haven't needed to buy windows mobile 8 for dummies yet. The back button is truly inspired, probably the most useful thing I've seen in ages.

It is all horses for courses, as an earlier poster said at least they are issuing fixes, and I'm sure they'll fix my gripes. And as a later poster said, all the phone OS's have their problems, some inherent in the OS, some inherent in the hardware, and some inherent in the manufacturers implementation of the OS.

TVShack O’Dwyer strikes deal to avoid US extradition

Simon Beckett

Re: will they let him in

Theoretically because he cant use ESTA (even if he had been arrested in the uk only this would still be the case, a fact that very few people know until its too late) he will need a visa to enter the US, I assume since this deal is brokered at a high level that will be issued. He'll have to visit the us embassy in london and pay for that as well of course, and the PoE officer (that's point of entry not power over Ethernet) can still refuse entry if he/she feels like it.

Capita ITS asks to-be-axed staffers to pose for marketing pic

Simon Beckett

No-one reads the title anyway...

Capita certainly have a knack for taking expert customer focussed companies and turning them in to faceless short term money making machines.

For example, I was working for them through the millenium change over and they just couldn't understand why, having replaced 80% of the kit at our fixed base of clients in12 months, we were unlikely to meet the compulsory 20% on top of the 1999 income.

Capita owes its success to the lazy nature of public sector and large customers - you'd like to think that that this kind of corporate and manglement failure would lead to a mass exodus of customers, even the public sector ones. What happened in my case was that within 12 months the 10 strong team of fantastic engineers were all but gone, but unbelievably most of the clients were still there.

Mine's the one with the Dummies Guide to Being Outsourced and a letter saying simply "ya boo sucks" in the pocket.

Seagate poised to swallow LaCie, haul fattened bod into channel

Simon Beckett

Never mind the build quality...

I choose LaCie as a manufacturer for the same reason I choose many suppliers - their technical support. Never had a bad experience, competent and flexible, although in fairness I've probably had to use their support more than I ought to, which does bring in to question the build quality. New power supply anyone?

I suspect the support will be the first thing to get flushed away, like an expensive cache.


(Mines the one with the "My other external drive is block-paved" badge)

Matrix 4 and 5 in works, threatens Keanu

Simon Beckett

@ Jon Double Nice Re: Vic Reeves

Hmm I can just see him rubbing his knees at The Oracle while she bakes cookies.

Or maybe Jim Reeves? Oh wait...

ISS crew flees flying space junk

Simon Beckett

"inverse the polarity"

I thought that was Dr Who?