* Posts by Paul 87

184 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jun 2009


Games Workshop once again battles scariest monster of all: ERP gone wrong

Paul 87

It'll be the same problems that afflicts many organisations implementing ERP, each department will have it's own requirements that either contradict other departments or pulls the implementation team in too many directions.

It's almost certain that most of the time has been wasted focusing on integrating legacy technology, so that the new technology can come online for one department, without the other departments shifting because they're not "ready" yet.

University students recruit AI to write essays for them. Now what?

Paul 87

Saw a good use for ChatGPT via Twitter

Someone ran a landscape gardening business, but was dylsexic, and often losing out to others based purely on how their written work was percieved.

The person behind the Twitter account, helped them setup a routine whereby they could send an email, ChatGPT read it and re-wrote it out, and then sent a reply back to deliver a more professional sounding email.

That's the kind of good that this kind of AI can be used for, not for original thought, but by helping present those thoughts more coherently.

As liquid cooling takes off in the datacenter, fortune favors the brave

Paul 87

There must also come a point whereby it makes sense to fit a power generation or building heating system into the cooling loop, particularly if you don't just balance the waste heat over the datacentre, but combine it with the entire building (with emergancy area isolation!)

After all, we can use heat energy in a variety of ways, and convert it back to electricity, especially if there's a fluid medium involved.

Inadequate IT partly to blame for NHS doctors losing 13.5 million working hours

Paul 87

It's not hard

Standardise the structure of health records, and fund a migration plan involving a few thousand staff to update records into the new format

Doctors call for greater scrutiny of bidders for platform that pools UK's health info

Paul 87

As usual the NHS is approaching this arse about face

They shouldn't be focusing on a single vendor, they should be creating a single standard, akin to an IETF RFC, for data records and let individual companies then produce software that's compatible with the default record standard.

That standard should include an access control approach to allow data sharing to be controlled by the data subject, and a mandatory API/Reporting approach that lets the data be shared subject to the control restrictions.

With a single gold standard for the data, the systems can grow and evolve over time, but also be incredibly clear about what can and cannot be ascertained from the data.

General Motors charges mandatory $1,500 fee for three years of optional car features

Paul 87

The worrying part will be that once this is accepted, the next part will be that you're unable to sell the care on to anyone, without paying the dealer "administration fees" to transfer the software licence, or even be unable to transfer it at all.

Apple may have to cough up $1bn to Brits in latest iPhone Batterygate claim

Paul 87

This is why engineers shouldn't decide new features....

... the engineers undoubtedly decided on this feature being necesscary, to solve a percieved problem and went about solving it in a practical, common sense way.

Unfortunately no one took the time to ask a 5 year old how people would feel about this, who would have told them to put in an on/off switch for the feature, and deployed it turned off with lots of hype about how the battery saver feature has been added to iOS to help owners of older phones get more lifespan out of their battery.

Windows 11 usage stats within touching distance of... XP

Paul 87

The people upgrading to Windows 11 amongst our customer base (SME B2B item sellers) are typically the less technically savvy who just click yes to every update prompt.

It's a real pain in the arse for us because so many things have moved around or are a lot more difficult to find.

Microsoft slides ads into Windows Insiders' File Explorer

Paul 87

Killing off their own golden goose

They're actively sabotaging their own core revenue with this.

Enterprise and business customers won't stand for "features" which hamper employee productivity or open security risks and if they get discouraged enough Google is waiting right there to snap them up, and you bet Amazon will be considering ways to run Desktops in the Cloud for business with the appropriate "dumb terminal" approach

UK pins hopes on 'latest technology' to whittle down massive National Health Service waiting lists

Paul 87

Re: Paying and using student nurses

Yup exactly this

At one point people were *paid* to train to be nurses, to encourage people who might not have the money and opportunity to study to learn a lifetime profession.

Yes, a lot left to go into private care but that's not hard to stop simply enforce a contract that if you fail to complete the training, or if you don't work for X years for an NHS Trust after completion then you owe the money back like any other student.

On top of that, strip out a layer of management

Get some software designed based on what frontline staff *need* to record, and not what the government *wants* them to record

Put back the missing layer of admin staff so nurses can focus on patient care

APNIC: Big Tech's use of carrier-grade NAT is holding back internet innovation

Paul 87

By far the biggest headache with IPv6 is that they stop being easy for human's to read and comprehend

An experienced network engineer can look at the issued IPv4 ranges on a PC and work out why they may be having issues accessing the internet / network resources / VPN etc.

To do the same on IPv6 takes a lot more knowledge and understanding, if it's even possible at all

Therefore, pain in the arse to switch over.

A fifth of England's NHS trusts are mostly paper-based as they grapple with COVID backlog, warn MPs

Paul 87

It'd be brilliant if this time around, someone started by asking the staff what they *need*, things that they need to save time on. Don't even start with asking them to think about what's possible for "technology" to do, find out what takes the time and then analyse what can actually be streamlined with off the shelf solutions, and what may need custom solutions.

There's lots of *ideas* on what may help, but until you talk to the people doing the work, and test whether your solution actually saves time, then you don't know what'd work.

Microsoft extends 'outage mode' for Azure Active Directory to bake more resilience into cloudy services

Paul 87

No idea why there isn't more effort put into a hybrid model or decentralized model, heck it could even be an actual, valid real world use for blockchain.

Sharing medical records with researchers: Assumed consent works in theory – just not yet in practice

Paul 87

The practice of assumed consent could work if the data was truely anonymous, as in providing grouped results only and no individual lines of data.

However, that means medical researchers have to know what questions that they want to ask, and someone will have to constantly process those requests. Even then, that also means that in the very act of gathering and centralising that data, there's the likelyhood that someone will leak it or hack into the system.

Thus, I am unconvinced that any approach to gather data into a single place is a good idea, and would personally be far happier if my medical record was something I, personally, kept with me and took to appointments.

Microsoft says Azure fended off what might just be the world's biggest-ever DDoS attack

Paul 87

Well our North European based instances haven't been able to be accessed until around 12pm today, so as for "fending off" I'm not entirely convinced that it's been working as planned....

Ex-health secretary said 'vast majority' were 'onside' with GP data grab. Consumer champion Which? reckons 20 million don't even know what it is

Paul 87

It's really not hard

If the government thinks people are as aware as they should be, then switch it around to an "Opt In" approach

Tell people the positives of the scheme, let them *chose* to take action.

Oh, what's that? You don't think many people will bother

Well what on earth does that tell you about your stupid scheme huh??

The UK is running on empty when it comes to electric vehicle charging points

Paul 87

Car Park Owners are missing out

I'm surprised NCP and the other large carpark owners haven't planned ahead.

They could literally get paid twice for people to park, once for the car park charges, and once for the EV top-up.

Even if they only fitted all the spaces on the edge of the carpark, where it'd be easier to run the cables, they could very easily move to dominate the charging market.

Cyberlaw experts: Take back control. No, we're not talking about Brexit. It's Automated Lane Keeping Systems

Paul 87

Re: "restricted to motorways and to speeds of 37mph"

Yes, it's exactly this kind of scenario that automated driving technologies will be most useful.

However to fully function, all the vehicles need it, and ideally you need some form of central control to monitor and make decisions based on all the vehicles.

Mounties messed up by using Clearview AI, says Canadian Privacy Commissioner

Paul 87

"In response, Clearview AI told The Register that it does not have contracts with, nor provide access to, customers in the European Union."

This is not the defence you think it is Clearview AI

GDPR says do not process the data, not "don't then sell it back to European customers"

Crap like this is why I do not have any pictures of me online, tagged with my identity. Saw it coming 25+ years ago and haven't changed my practices since.

Nvidia cripples Ethereum mining on GeForce RTX 3060 to deter crypto bods from nabbing all the kit at launch

Paul 87

Makes you think though

If they can do this, what other things can they have done with framerates or "tests" on specific games / test suites to manipulate the output?

Judge denies Parler an injunction to force AWS to host the antisocial network for internet outcasts

Paul 87

Re: Censorship by Private Companies

It's an interesting point to consider

Should governments be reliant on corporations to make decisions about what does, and does not constitute an acceptable use of their platforms?

Current thinking trends towards lax regulation in the name of free enterprise, and as such the same rules which allow corporations to trade without government interference, support that they are also free to choose to take down content that they deem damaging to their brand.

There's also an arguement that stock exchange listed corporations are legally required to protect their brand, as they must work to maximise shareholder value and return, so again the free market mandates that socially popular actions are taken.

Finally it highlights that Freedom of Action is never the same as Freedom from Consequence, Parler deliberately chose to embrace people active in the far-right and deliberately made policies designed to support and encourage hate speech against other groups. By chosing not to have an effective, scalable moderation policy and by not clamping down on known problem speakers in their early days, they sowed the seeds of their own destruction.

Who knew that hosing a table with copious amounts of cubic metres would trip adult filters?

Paul 87

Have two like this!

The first features a lovely young lady from another country, now English wasn't her first langauge but she usually managed pretty well with most words. One day she takes a call into the support line where there were some S.M.A.R.T. error messages appearing on a client's computer, so she dutifully logs the call and passed it down to the relevant team to handle.

Within minutes the Hardware Manager is on the phone to her and asks her to open the ticket and re-read what she'd put

"Client has a hard d*ck failure" she'd typed in error

As she does so, the Hardware manager quips "well love you'd be better off handling that one than me" (he was a dirty old bastard too!)


The second one is tamer, having to talk a developer out of their chosen abbreviation for Cumulative Totals was well, a rather more lengthy discussion than I'd anticipated. He swore up and down that no one would read it that way and my arguement was that as part of the customer facing team, who had to train the user on the feature there was no way I was reading out Cum budget and Cum totals on an open call!

Eventually they relented!

HP CEO talks up HP-ink-only print hardware and higher upfront costs for machines that use other cartridges

Paul 87

Well looks like it's time to stop selling HP printers

This will be a huge hassle for businesses and is a stupid idea to boot because it says that HP can't actually manufacture at a sensible price, and thus charge over the odds compared to smaller businesses.

North Korean hackers pwned cryptocurrency sysadmin with GDPR-themed LinkedIn lure, says F-Secure

Paul 87

2020 and people are *still* getting hurt by Word Macro viruses....

Anyone else think that Word should have the feature removed entirely? No need for a doc to be anything other than formatted text

If you think Mozilla pushed a broken Firefox Android build, good news: It didn't. Bad news: It's working as intended

Paul 87

Spot the Mozilla paid shill! :)

Paul 87

Had the "pleasure" of this update this morning about an hour before the El Reg article went up that'd have warned me not to update Firefox

Dear god it is absolutely dire, you can't even get into the basic "about:config" page to customise any of the out of the box settings that are on by default that you don't want.

However, their FAQ page is lying through it's teeth, you can totally roll back to a previous version if you're prepared to lose your settings / bookmarks and are willing to take a risk on a non-Google play source. Willing to bet we'll see a tonne of virus filled APK's on the internet within the next few days unless Mozilla relent or fix their "open Beta" version.....

Google isn't even trying to not be creepy: 'Continuous Match Mode' in Assistant will listen to everything until it's disabled

Paul 87


No they wouldn't because they are not a company and thus not bound by GDPR

Someone's office however, then there may well be issues with data having been captured and processes by a third partty without notification.

Consent doesn't really come into it thoigh, because the legal basis will likely be legitimate interest, Google are gathering data to supply a contracted service. If GDPR was interepted to apply on an individual by indvidual basis then it'd be legally impossible to have any kind of voice activated device functioning

Stop tracking me, Google: Austrian citizen files GDPR legal complaint over Android Advertising ID

Paul 87

In all honesty, governments need to decide if targeted advertising is legal or not

All of this grey area crap is just vacilliating around the real question. Should you be able to gather data for people for the purposes of monetising them.

If the answer is yes, then accept that it means companies hold data on all individuals if they use devices or services offered by those companies, if not, then we've got to be prepared to pay monthly for phones, email, websites etc.

UK COVID-19 contact-tracing app data may be kept for 'research' after crisis ends, MPs told

Paul 87

Wish software developers would stop misusing the word anonymous.

If you have a unique identifier on a record then that data is not anonymous, and indeed the app couldn't function if it was anonymous. The system has to know where every user is to be able to notify anyone in a pool of uploaded data.

Hard luck, Claranet. You managed to go 29 whole days without an incident

Paul 87

Two failures, at two different data centres and both times it's a) Power related and b) Disrupts the entire opperation.

Do you think they've failed to understand why data centres have at least two of everything?? Me thinks they have fwo power supplies, both feeding into one computer and it needing both to stay awake

WeWork filed its IPO homework. So we had a look at its small print and... yowser. What has El Reg got itself into?

Paul 87

So basically, their business plan is to build up 10 years of losses, then offset those against an actually profitable business plan and in the mean time make sure that their CEO gets paid twice, and if possible, a third time by selling stocks in a loss making company.

The US desperately needs a business regulator that has actual teeth. This should have never got past the submission stage

Hack a small airplane? Yes, we CAN (bus) – once we physically break into one, get at its wiring, plug in evil kit...

Paul 87

Boeing PR team spot an opportunity...

...we'll shortly hear that the 737-MAX crashes were due to hackers, and thus totally not their fault

Timely Trump tariffs tax tech totally: 25 per cent levy on modems, fiber optics, networking gear, semiconductors…

Paul 87

Stupid part is, regional tarriffs can be avoided by big companies. Make the goods in China, ship them to a nearby third country to a distributor who gets at best a penny on the dollar, who tightens the final screw, or puts on the outer case and voila, product of the Phillapines ready for sale to the US

We reveal what's inside Microsoft's Azure Govt Secret regions... wait, is that a black helico–

Paul 87

So, basically they've setup a "secret" zone, then go and have a press release with the name and the fact it exists.

Kinda opposite of a secret really.

Not to mention why on earth would you want information deemed to be critical for National Security on the internet. If it were me, I'd setup an entirely seperate network using a non-standard communication method.

Brit Watchkeeper drone fell in the sea because blocked sensor made algorithms flip out

Paul 87

Finally! A task for machine learning that isn't creepy.

They should program an a.i. to analyse flight data over tens of thousands of aircraft to build a model of what "normal" looks like, and use that to help handle scenarios when the instruments are malfunctioning.

For example, some combinations of say airspeed and climb rate simply wouldn't hold up, so if one said you were slowing down, and the other said you were diving, then you can kick in a default of "fly level" or "check other instruments"

Facebook ad platform discriminates all on its own, say boffins

Paul 87

Targeted ads *gasp* target people?

Well no shit Sherlock

I'd love to kill the idea of targeted ads dead as a doornail but then we'd have to pay for all the internet sites we wished to use, and it'd likely kill off a lot of self published content too

US prosecutors whack another three charges on list against ex-Autonomy boss Mike Lynch over $11bn HP biz gobble

Paul 87

Unfortunately, accounting practices can be incredibly vague and hard to follow to the untrained.

For example, an annual contract, you can book the cash in immediately, but book the cost out monthly as it's occurred. You *should* record that you have a potential liabilty in the mean time but if you want to boost the profitability, you'll skip that part.

Nothing illegal per se, but do it often enough and your business position at any one time will look significantly better than you'd expect because the costs are hidden.

That's not including out and out fraud whereby invoices are manufactured, as appears to have happened to Patisse Valarie

Click here to see the New Zealand livestream mass-murder vid! This is the internet Facebook, YouTube, Twitter built!

Paul 87

The more censorship that's needed, the more we try and stamp out hateful ideas by blocking them away, the more the terrorists win in their goals.

The far right lunatics *want* a police state, they *want* people to be oppressed and restricted in what they can and can't say.

It's a horrendous event, but lets drag the ideas expressed out into the light and ridicule them, make a joke out of them and expose them for the pathetic rantings that they are. If it were legal to do so, I'd suggest putting the idiot naked into a perspex cage, with one way sound, and let people point and laugh at what a pathetic example of humanity he is.

Small Brit firms beg for 'light touch' as only half are ready for digital tax reforms due next month

Paul 87

I work for a software company that had to deploy MTD into our product.

It's been an absolute ballache, start to finish. HMRC are *still* changing the specification and requirements, including remembering to implement some actual security beyond a token.

What's more, this is just the start, there's every likelyhood that we'll see requests for more and more data each year, likely to the point of taking complete invoices and VAT numbers to spot fraud.

Texas lawyer suing Apple over FaceTime bug claims it was used to snoop on a meeting

Paul 87

Up until the damages section, this is all potentially provable and a consequence of the issue (assuming there is supporting evidence such as a call history)

However, proving damages beyond "Have to buy a new phone because of loss of trust in Apple"... well it's a lot tougher

Mobile network Three UK's customer details exposed in homepage blunder

Paul 87

Re: A small number of customers...

Re-read their statement

They said only four people *complained*

That isn't to say that's the same number of people who accessed the data, nor is it the number of customer accounts displayed incorrectly.

It's just the number of people who could be bothered to contact Three about the issue.

GDPR: Four letters that put fear into firms' hearts in 2018

Paul 87

Interesting thought exercise, if, by means of automatically inferred location data, a company targets you for special offers via adverts, could you argue that the decision making process harms another person by virtue of them not meeting the criteria, and therefore the decision made automatically and with no oversight, isn't permitted under GDPR?

Could kill off the entire targeted ads business once and for all

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

Paul 87

Despite having an entirely blank location history in my downloaded data, no app installed for the past 5 years, and repeatedly detagging, removing any check ins etc. Facebook is still able to serve up "Amber Alerts" in an approximate location.

All because it has kept and retained over 10 years worth of IP address history, which apparently can't be deleted.

So yeah, they're lying assholes

Doom: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins

Paul 87

Doom was what started me on learning IT skills. From hacking a monochrome screen 386 work laptop to run the shareware version, to getting my parents to buy a top of the line PC where I eventually cut my teeth learning to install and configure Windows after installing OS/2 by accident.

The level creator, especially for Doom 2, was a big influence in trying to understand just how computers worked, as much as it was having to auto-compress files to save HDD space via batch scripts or reconfigure config.sys and autoexec.bat after games like System Shock and Dark Forces with their more demanding profiles

'My entire company is without comms': Gamma's Horizon cloud PBX goes DOWN

Paul 87

Think this has highlighted a serious design flaw in their infrastructure

Not that the failure happens, I meant we all know that IT can and will fail at the worst moments, but it comes as no surprise that service was finally restored after 5pm. Strongly suspect that the system coming back up took a lot longer than expected because everyone kept trying and trying to use the network, but come 5pm, the volume of calls drops, the number of phone restart attempts stops, and the system gets breathing room to come back up.

Paul 87

Plus side, our partner company has been pretty helpful in ensuring updates on progress (or the lack thereof) are going out.

Microsoft lobs Windows 10, Server Oct 2018 update at world (minus file-nuking 'feature') after actually doing some testing

Paul 87

It's exactly this kind of reason as to why I was so resistant to the Windows 10 concept in the first place. Had no choice but to end up using it due to work, and Linux isn't really an option due to a lack of desire to fight with every Windows game I want to install

However it does concern me that there's little to know repecussion for Microsoft, they can't even lose sales because they're basically giving it away....

Big Tech turns saboteur to cripple new California privacy law in private

Paul 87

Maybe they should put less effort into fighting this and more effort into giving their platform sufficient value that we'd actually hand over money for their product?

Also, much like GDPR achieved very little other than some even more intrusive pop ups and slower site loading times, the net effect of this bill will be negligable. Very few people care about their privacy

ZX Spectrum reboot scandal biz gets £35k legal costs delayed

Paul 87

The comments in court do seem to indicate that some of the people present shouldn't have agreed to be a Director for the company as they had no idea of their legal and personal responsibilities that comes with the role!

Hi-de-Hack! Redcoats red-faced as Butlin's holiday camp admits data breach hit 34,000

Paul 87

It's easy to call people numptys and other names for clicking on malware links but it's all too easily done.

IT security should be built on the assumption that humans are dumb, and will click things without thinking.

What matters now is whether or not Bourne Leisure responds properly to this, whether they can justify the data they're holding and if they take steps to prevent the same issue occuring.