* Posts by Nick 6

123 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Jun 2009


All the AIs NVMe, says IBM: Claims POWER9s + InfiniBand brainier than COTS

Nick 6

Too much, too late

Meanwhile, the world has been using x86 and NVIDIA for machine learning for a few years, and long ago dumped proprietary UNIX. The appetite for switching horses will be low for much of the community, even when they give away a few of these to major research groups. And IBM's long advertised cognitive power house has not really delivered in the fields which they have gone after.

UK's map maker Ordnance Survey plays with robo roof detector

Nick 6

Re: Duh

Yes, yes you can through data augmentation techniques. Its quite a common requirement to be able to train for detection at different distances, resolution, pose angles, skew etc.

IBM asks remaining staff to take career advice from HR-bot

Nick 6

Keep on astroturfing, Shirley.

IBM can fun to work at despite the managers' inability other than sending 'encouraging' emails.

To skilled workers in customer facing roles: really, leave now, its the best thing for your career. You will be amazed at how good you are, you are just used to being told you are 'doing fine' but 'only the best' get a 'paultry 1.5% raise'**.

** ok the third was my own, but after 4 or 5 years of 1 and 2+ ratings, fairly sick of being told 'lucky boy' for this kind of insult.

Sysadmin jeered in staff cafeteria as he climbed ladder to fix PC

Nick 6

Re: So ...

I read that as "unauthorized potatoes", and it didn't surprise me any more than the correct answer.

Nationwide’s online banking goes down again

Nick 6

Yeah but they didn't, they advertised the downtime for days beforehand.

IBM boss pledges to hire 25,000 Americans in next four years

Nick 6


She's a failure - look at the quarterly results. 18 quarters of falling revenue.

Who should listen?

And the message is "here are some shitty jobs for the USA" pitch ?

GTFO ! I did, 2 years ago of my own volition, and have not regretted it given how she and the leeches are treating the workforce.

Hey kids, who wants to pwn a million BIOSes?

Nick 6

And the burnt-in spyware ?

Let's not forget the spyware - ahem sorry I mean security management facilities - burnt into most BIOSes. Yes the ones which can install their software into the guest OS, so that it can report back to the mothership and/or be remote wiped. I'm talking of course about Computrace. But there are others who have tried to join the market.

I can see the point of these - a bit like iLO and DRAC - but they are internet facing clients which in every other circumstances would be judged as infected bots.

IBM buys 'deep learning' upstart Alchemy API, inhales 40,000 devs

Nick 6

Steamroller our culture over yours

Heh, yeah, you know that free wheelin', free thinkin' start-up type culture we said we liked so much ? Well its going to get corporately f---ed. After about a year spraying you with our big blue treacle*, you'll kick yourself for thinking you were going to be the special different one who could avoid being borged. Welcome to our anti-culture.

* apols for unfortunately imagery, but see also: XIV, Fiberlink, Ascential....

High Court: IBM staff refused pay increases can claim damages

Nick 6

Re: Well, let's think about it a bit more

Yeah yeah, we had this kind of divide-and-conquer agit-prop at the time: "you M-plan members are being stiffed by these old timers who are daring to demand what was promised. As a result you are some-how worse off."

No - the company is f---ing over any employee they can, in any way they can, and their gain is not our loss. Not enough money in the pension pot ? That will be more to do with corporate raiding of the piggybank, and subsequent underfunding and la-la-land investment assumptions.

There are only two classes - Armonk top level executives and everybody else. Follow the money. It only goes in one direction.

IBM drops patent bomb on Priceline.com

Nick 6

Depends on the date

IF the patents were applied for when these aspects of the web were genuinely new, and they really did invent them, then I see these in a slightly better light than the 'pure play' patent trolls. Just because it now seems blindingly obvious and quintessential to everyone's web sites, doesn't mean it wasn't invented.

Gah, sounds like i'm defending software patents, I need a lie down.

Tough at the top: IBM CEO Ginni Rometty troughs $10 MEELLION+

Nick 6

A bigger, better version of last year

Last year (when I was still doing time on the inside of IBM), there was a ballyhoo of "nobody is getting a PBC bonus". But that was a sham: use-less Ginni and her cronies picked up massive bonuses through other routes, whilst the brains and the workers grafted on, thankless.

And this year - worse than ever, and greedier than ever. Glad to be gone.

Feast your eyes: 10 'fortysomething' smart TVs

Nick 6

Poor software support

I have a Panasonic smart TV which is only 3 years old or so, but they gave up on the software updates a long long time ago. The advertised "lovefilm" never turned up, and there is no chance of them making NetFlix available on it. So my advice is buy the TV if you like it right now with the features and look/feel it ships with today, but don't pin any hopes on the 'future support via a software update' lies, or think that the new features are coming for your 12 month old player or TV...they aren't, they have had the money and you aren't getting anything more for it.

And don't get me started on patchy and flaky DLNA support - that's a bag of spanners too. The Viera interface, gurrr yuk. BTW don't buy a TPLink router to act as a media server either - it stops after the first 1000 items it finds (files, folders) on your hard drive. Now I'm using Plex which I can tune the transcoding to the Panasonics foibles, it works reasonably well, but TVs are not out-of-the-box ready for the consumer. Makes me wonder why they were all fighting over each other to get one in 'Shite Friday' last week.

//bitter ? moi? perhaps its just a Panasonic thing

Universal Credit CRISIS: Howard Shiplee SHIPS OUT of top job

Nick 6

Of course its all on track

Iain Duncan Smith told me so, and he *never* lies.

It must be faulty data which tells me that by now there were supposed to be well in excess of a million claimants in the system.

In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE

Nick 6

Re: and that other German brand who's name escapes me

Replace the brushes myself ? Meh, the Samsung washer I bought recently has a 10 year parts and labour warranty on the motor.

BlackBerry knocks Google's KNOX LOCK PICK for Android

Nick 6

Re: Serious biz users don't want Samdung Fandroid or iDrone Crapps

Serious biz users get serious representation in the serious requirements phases of serious mobile device management projects. IT advise on the solution integrity and through-life cost of the options to meet the requirements. Business chooses and pays.

Unfortunately few businesses work like this....

Oracle rewrites 'the brain' of its database to take on SAP

Nick 6


Nice if you want a toy to play with. Otherwise DB2 on zOS, backed by solid state storage*

*ok if you don't want DSxxxx, other vendors are available...

Boffins claim machines now beat humans at face-matching

Nick 6

And this is why...

I editted my [redacted] photo before submitting the application to [redacted]. The photo is definitely "me" to a human looking at it, but the algorithm measuring distances between facial features will not be able to match, depending on tolerances.

They rejected the first one, with Piers Morgan halloween mask on.

Lloyds Group probes server crash behind ATM, cash card outage

Nick 6

Re: Credit cards ?

Ironically, Nationwide is one of the few with a core banking platform designed and built this decade. Almost all the rest are derived from the last century. This doesn't make them immune from failure of course, nor from the challenges of managing all the interconnected systems, but at least they don't have to treat the whole lot as the IT banking equivalent of Buckaroo.

Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support

Nick 6

Life is easier with XP

The last thing certain government want is the mass movement away from an insecure operating system for which they have many zero day exploits.

"Please keep supporting it, some of our favourite espionage and control targets still depend upon Windows XP."

Inside IBM's vomit-inducing, noise-free future chip lab

Nick 6

TEM wins?

Isn't having a TEM in there instead of some "scanning probe" variant somewhat ironic given the facility is named after Binnig and Rohrer ?

I'm sure if my lab had been as well equipped as this, I would have got some better results. Would have kept wots-her-name from bursting in and turning the lights on/off whilst I was in the middle of an experiment.

EMC demotes VMAX into 'capacity tier'

Nick 6

Vendor panic

They are all at it, trying to position the old flagship stuff as still relevant in the face of new entrant flash arrays where you can get good performance without a specialist machine to tune and spin it over loads of spindles. Yes there's the capacity thing, but then you still don't need the expensive flagship beast, just a bit bucket.

The solution (to storage vendor revenue cliffs) apparently is flogging software licences for virtualising access to all this.

Wow, storage is dull.

Universal Credit? Universal DISCREDIT, more like, say insiders

Nick 6

Yes and No

The contract has not been managed by any of those suppliers...it was managed (or otherwise) by the DWP. If this is a failure, it is a management failure (as almost all IT project failures are)

All led by Iain Useless-Smith, who was too thin skinned to take advice, and too stupid and stubborn to back off the promised go-live date of the end of April. If he had sucked up the embarrassment of a delay to October, UC might have gone live with some coherent functionality and not be the cancelled £500 million failure which it will eventually become.

Prankster 'Superhero' takes on robot traffic warden AND WINS

Nick 6

Appeals process a sham, sherlock

As any fule kno, the parking operators' appeals process is a tactic to get to to engage, admit who you are, that you drove the car, you parked there, and that they have valid contact details for you.

Typical advice from Pepipoo, Money Saving Expert etc is to ignore them completely. This was successful for me a couple of years ago when I got a ticket despite having parked properly. Sequence of threatening and finally desperate letters, followed by them giving up. Not sure if introduction of POOPLA has made any difference to this, IANAL etc.

I'm not in favour of people parking where they like, but private parking co's have killed the golden goose by pursuing the money rather than acting reasonably or fairly.

Raise a beer: Titans of tech fill out 'Worst CEOs' list

Nick 6

Silly valuations don't come from them

Its the vampire squid and other banktards who, in a coke-fuelled haze, over rate these companies and pump up the valuations. All fees, all the time.

Of course the bubble bursts when they move to another target. Its not that the CEO has destroyed the real value/utility of their company - it was never there to start with.

'UK DNA database by stealth' proposed in £100m NHS project

Nick 6


Sounds like appraisal time around here....

Universal Credit dole 'liable to be paralysed by IT cockups'

Nick 6

Re: How simple does it need to be?

Assume you want the 'Joke' icon. For nothing if not the 'if you are working you are in the tax system' line, that was a killer...

British IT consultant talks of his three years as an Iraqi hostage

Nick 6
Black Helicopters

Keep an eye on him

He might have been turned and be attempting to get elected as vice president of the BCS...

Don't panic, but UK faces BLACKOUTS BY 2015

Nick 6

Waste of energy

Burning gas to make electricity is an appalling waste, squandering a clean primary source which can be used much more effectively for direct heating of house and factories.

But then the private energy companies couldn't ream, sorry, reap the rewards of offering emergency power at extortionate spot prices. Much more lucrative and lower risk than building plant which takes 10 years to start turning a profit.

Boffins receive quantum key from moving plane

Nick 6
Black Helicopters


The Lincolnshire Poacher never had these problems....

UK govt to KILL OFF Directgov within weeks

Nick 6

Queue up here to dance

on the grave of the Government Gateway.

Cambridge boffins: Chip and PIN cards CAN be cloned – here's how

Nick 6

No its all secure actually.

No they are all wrong, my bank's website tells me:-

"Chip and PIN increases card payment security to help prevent fraud. Card fraud at the point of sale is reduced significantly by ensuring the card is genuine and that the user is the authorised owner of the card"

so the card must be genuine and used by the authorised owner. It ensures it !

Qantas' website goes all-but-titsup for an hour

Nick 6

Nice try though

At least they made some attempt at graceful degradation of their service, rather than throwing the hands up in the air if it can't reach 20 different "nice to have" systems, and reporting some cutesy or hipster "ooops come back later" message.

Now for a bit of testing and rework to get the fallback barebones service working properly...

Nationwide DOUBLES card payments in fresh banking gaffe

Nick 6

Mistakes happen

Anyone who thinks mistakes don't happen probably doesn't work in IT, and anyone who can't empathize with those involved has probably never worked on the sharp end.

The key elements are communication and speed/effectiveness of recovery. Comms have been fairly good so far and it sounds like recovery is well on the way.

Cabinet Office: We've cut taxpayers' SAP and Microsoft bills

Nick 6

Re: Linux

The multitude of VBA and other abominations which teams and departments rely upon means quite a bit of lock-in.

'Inexperienced' RBS tech operative's blunder led to banking meltdown

Nick 6

Re: no backup of the schedule?

More likely they did take some routine backup which included the database but had never exercised a full recovery back to service of the application given this failure mode, followed by successful completion of the batch schedule.

Nick 6

Investment in the backbone?

Backbone? Guess they don't mean "having the guts to admit to making mistakes and having not properly understood the risks involved with outsourcing".

This situation really does sound like someone pretty high up in the executive chain responsible for operations needs to be fired. And I mean "fired" rather than helped into a taxi holding a massive payoff cheque.

Huawei Ascend G300 budget Android

Nick 6

low volume...

a lot of low volume probs were sorted by an OTA update about 4-6 weeks ago - worth going through the menus to find and apply it.

i have one and its great as my first smartphone, glad i didn't spend 3-4 times more,

Natwest, RBS: When will bank glitch be fixed? Probably not today

Nick 6

Single logical system

Typically there is redundant hardware, sometime OS and other system software too. But above that there is a single logical version of the application and data. You can have as much tin as you, but as many copies of the data as you liked are all the same. You screw up one, you screw up them all. Payment comes in from BACS or FP into the payments engine and is replicated at disk or app level.

Redundant systems developed and deployed in isolation to a common set of requirements is an extremely expensive option only available to mission critical systems - which excludes our retail banks apparently.

Nick 6

Re: Hardware failure?

I've worked at one retail bank in this country who does maintenance during a weekday afternoon-evening slot.

Nick 6

Re: Eh?

Well they launched some new payments facility on mobile, and those payments go might go share some infrastructure as the batch or other payments, they could have a knock-on effect.

For example perhaps there is a much higher volume than predicted. Or those mobile payments result in a much higher CPU cost or transaction time through the shared payments processing engine. Or connections to external interfaces e.g. for faster payments.

Don't have an inside information though, these are just guesses.

Tech fault at RBS and Natwest freezes millions of UK bank balances

Nick 6

My money on

My guess.....Batch screw up, big back log of transactions to post, have some data remediation to get them to post correctly (don't know if they run a batch or real time banking system). Processing capacity requirement to do this is competing with online processing hence flaky online bank (plus peak load due to people checking if they are OK). Faster payments single immediate payments probably ok as not batch interfaces unlike BACS and internal transfers...

Anyone care to comment ? Via an anon posting from those in the know would be interesting, once you get out of the office of course....

Sheer weight of Brits' interest knackers new tax tool

Nick 6

Re: Sooo.....

Meh, mere statutes and acts of parliament, they can be safely ignored by the free.

Report: SAP exec charged with $1,000 LEGO bar-code caper

Nick 6

Sounds like my experience with SAP.....

Buying a box with a promising picture on the side, but opening it to find it just a kit of parts and some vague instructions.

Still at least with Lego you have fun building something which actually works in the end.

Facebook IPO: The date is set, Zuckerberg casts the dice at last

Nick 6

Dear Fund Manager

Please don't plough my precious pension fund into this crud. You screwed up last time with that internet bubble in 1999-2002 - remember ? Stick it all in tobacco and guns instead...



[this open letter does not constitute general investment advice]

Australia OKs iOS for classified comms

Nick 6

Re: Protected ?

Ah true enough I wasn't thinking about civilian public data which needs to be protected. Mind you, I would worry about the impact of aggregation if you start storing a lot of data on the phone, in the UK this can mean the protective marking gets bumped up a level.

Another concern is the ability to access and modify the data in a secure manner, that is to say the context in which you use a smartphone is often public or semi-public. Casual shoulder surfing of mobile devices seems to be fairly common.

Nick 6

Protected ?

Woop dee doo, "Protected" just means keep your voice down a bit whilst talking about it at the pub.

SAP flashes cash to pump up HANA biz

Nick 6

Performance tip before you do this.

Possibly cheaper to emove the cruft and tune the code and queries before you rip out your infrastructure and buy new tin.

Still, its impressive to say they are funding consultants to do this work for free - that sounds like an awful lot of cash assuming they do the whole job. I wonder how they recoup that.....every year....

I don't see the 18 month warranty being that popular though - offering a move from a mature Oracle or DB2 database, to HANA, and then off to Sybase or whatever SAP have got on a shelf in the back room. Where are my organisation's skills in that 3rd backend database going to come from.

Mistakes over GCHQ codebreaker's death crippled inquiry

Nick 6

Make him look like a perv

Smear his reputation to provide plausible background to a bizarre death. Use his network connections to visit some dodgy sites online in the period before his death, and then stage his demise in the same manner.

Public interest/concern weakened, easier to sweep away the death of someone serving his country without too many questions being asked.