* Posts by ThePhantom

57 posts • joined 24 Jul 2009


What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you


Re: I'll give it a go...

Hmmm. Micro$loth to me. Too lazy to actually freaking fix their holier than anything code.

Forever mothballed: In memoriam Apple Butterfly Keyboard (2015-2020)


Nope. I have an Early 2015 MPB with 8GB and an upgraded 500GB SSD which has travelled with me to every continent except Antartica. It's the machine I use on my dining room table for my morning and evening writing and emails before I move to my Mac Pro for graphics work.

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


Unfortunately I have to agree that Microsoft seems to keep reinventing the wheel rather than making incremental improvements based on customer feedback. They also have a very bad habit of requiring extensive IT support for much of their kit along with forcing you into the larger MS ecosystem.

With Zoom, you just install the zoom software and are done with it. While holier than a sieve, it at least gets the job done.

Pair charged with murder, manslaughter after IBM Aspera boffin killed in New Year's Eve laptop theft struggle


Welcome to California, where theft under $950 is "victimless" and the San Francisco bay area, where illegals and criminals have more rights than citizens, and indeed, San Francisco, across the bay from where this murder took place, where a person who was raised by Weather Underground members is the new district attorney (prosecutor).

What a topsy-turvy world we live in, eh?

Beware the Y2K task done too well, it might leave you lost in Milan


In the mid-1980's I was the onsite vendor support for a very early ATM implementation not using a water-cooled IBM mainframe. To keep things on the QT, the bank's Tandem fault-tolerant computer wasn't in the bank's data center, but was hidden offsite. Whenever I was on shift, I was escorted there from the main data center whilst blindfolded. I found out much later that the mainframe was hidden in the retrofitted basement of nearby carpark.

As for Y2K, yeah, I was on call for 48 hours but felt like the Maytag man.

Gas-guzzling Americans continue to shun electric vehicles as sales fail to bother US car market


With the recent California blackouts, those with 100% electric cars were left, er, carless. In my case, I have a plug-in Prius along with solar and Tesla batteries, so no problem. But that combination is only for the wealthy.

As for the "300 vehicle models from 40 car brands," most of the 300 are just badge and accessory changes. For example, Most GM cars are really the same vehicles built on the same chassis. Only the labels, dealerships and parts prices differ -- for the exact same piece of hardware. And that is historical owing to the "My dad and his dad bought this brand, so why should I be any different?"

Another issue in the USA is that I cannot order the car that I want, even if I am willing to wait for it to be built. Manufacturers offer a very limited choice of pre-configured "trim packages" so if I want the sunroof, I also have to take the leather seats and the chrome wheels. Or if I want a specific color, it may only be bundled with specific accessories.

Blood, snot and fear: Why the travelling lone tech reporter should always knock twice


Many years ago my double-locked door at a Marriott hotel opened to the limit of the chain at 3AM. Long story short, someone claiming to be me went to the front desk said they couldn't get into their (my) room and they gave him or her (not sure which) a replacement key. Because the door was double-locked, it didn't work, so they sent security up with the God key to open the door.

When I heard the door open, I kicked it shut and called the front desk to ask for security to be sent to my room pronto. That's when I was told security WAS at my room -- and I guess I got in, didn't I?

Next AM I went to the front desk to complain about them not verifying the person's ID before giving them a key to my room, and I was told that they DID provide acceptable ID. I had to call Marriott corporate before anyone took this incident seriously, but I did get a security blog entry out of the experience.

Cloud atlas: Oh dear. Now Adobe has mapped out a slowdown


Re: Probably losing a lot of out-sourced graphic design shops

I agree that Affinity photo does all that I need and I am waiting for their InDesign replacement.

A billion-dollar question: What was really behind Qualcomm's surprise ten-digit gift to Apple?


During the 1990s Rambus, Inc. famously withdrew from a standard-setting organization (SSO) for memory chips and began suing the other members for infringing its standard-essential patents after the SSO adopted a standard using Rambus’ patents.

Home users due for a battering with Microsoft 365 subscription stick


Re: Yes, what MS really needs now is more marketing...

Luckily for those of us on a Mac, we can ignore the ribbon since we still have menus. Even when I was on Windows I bought a third party package that reinstated the menus. Who wants to search on the ribbon?

Stairway to edam: Swiss bloke blasts roquefort his cheese, thinks Led Zep might make it tastier


Crank up the subwoofers and get ready to rock and roll: Metallica has its own whiskey, and it was created in part by the band’s music. A blend of straight American whiskeys selected and blended by master distiller Dave Pickerell, Blackened was put through a proprietary “sonic enhancement” process that used Metallica songs to create sound waves that impact chemical reactions taking place in the aging whiskey.

No, this is not a joke.

A boss pinching pennies may have cost his firm many, many pounds


Dual PSUs - and one power strip

Ah yes. The number of IT managers who think that the dual PSUs are there in case one of them goes out is legendary. I was amazed at the number of dual PSU cords all plugged into the same power strip, or where the "left PSU" and "right PSU" power strips were plugged in to the top and bottom of the same outlet, or different outlets on the same breaker or power panel. It boggles the mind.

Microsoft still longs to be a 'lifestyle' brand, but the cupboard looks bare


"Adobe too has made subscription access so cheap that pirating seems petty."

Wait, what!? Adobe is a total ripoff to hobbyists who want to use their Creative Suite a couple times a year for tweaking a photo, updating a website, or editing a newsletter. An individual subscription is $600/year.

Trainee techie ran away and hid after screwing up a job, literally


Many years ago I was an ex-pat ops manager in Shanghai. We were shutting down the office there, so a complete IT inventory was started, using college interns. The intern started in the storage room, bringing various items to me so that I could show him where the part and serial numbers were located.

After an hour of this, I noticed that the status board was starting to go red little by little. It turned out that he was pulling drives from the production servers and bringing them to my desk for help. For the first time in my three years of being onsite, I lost it and started yelling at him. He started crying and when I looked around, I saw 2 floors of engineers had come into the NOC to see what all the fuss was about.

It took me a bit to calm him down, send the engineers back to their desks, and explain why you don't pull components out of running servers.

Microsoft tries cutting the Ribbon in Office UI upgrade


To this day, I still use keyboard shortcuts and the Office toolbar on my Mac because I am too lazy to search through the many tabs on the ribbon for what I need to do.

Guilty: NSA bloke who took home exploits at the heart of Kaspersky antivirus slurp row


So why is this fellow being charged when Hillary was not?

Big Tech slams Trump on plan to deport kids


Re: Not quite.

Nope. "they happened to be born there..." is categorically not true. By law, anyone born within the borders of the United States is a citizen. The issue is around illegals who were smuggled in as children by their illegal parents. Technically, the kids are criminals, but depending on their age, they had no choice. However, they and their parents are still illegals.


I don't believe there is "xenophobia and attitude towards immigrants and foreigners." There is, however, a negative attitude towards illegal immigrants who come here and end up sucking on the welfare teat. Nearly $50 million in the California state budget will go to expanded legal services for illegals -- and that is what many of us object to.


"immigrant children born in the United States"

Um, no. The phrase should be "illegal immigrant children smuggled into the United States by their illegal immigrant parents."

Twice-crashed HPE SANs at Oz Tax Office built for speed, not strength, and turned off error reporting


A long time ago...

Many years ago, a major bank was trying to move off of IBM to Tandem NonStop (now HPE NonStop). The disks kept failing in the middle of the night, so yours truly was dispatched to work the night shift to figure out what was going on.

In a nutshell, I caught the IBM night operator opening the backs of the washing machine sized 30MB drive cabinets and loosening the cables. When the nightly close fired up at 2AM, the shaking of the drives caused the connections to become intermittent, crashing the systems.

Screws tightened, operator fired, problem solved.

Smart guns are a neat idea on paper. They'll never survive reality


ROFL - I have to enter my PIN a dozen times a day when my iPhone 6s doesn't recognize any of my stored prints -- and I have to re-enter them from scratch around every 30-45 days when they stop working entirely.

User rats out IT team for playing games at work, gets them all fired


Back in the 80's

Same thing happened at a Silicon Valley company that I was working for. We moved from Mac to PC and had to build up a PC support team since no one knew how to use them and they were always BSoD'ing. Fast forward 6 months and while Rome burned, the PC techs were locked in their castle playing whatever it was that they played back then.

As in this story, the entire lot were shown the door.

Installing disks is basically LEGO, right? This admin failed LEGO


A Chinese tale...

Many years ago, I was the Ops manager at an offshore software house in Shanghai. We hired a just-out-of-college intern to inventory the systems. He started in the storage room cataloging drives in custom enclosures, bringing a few of them to me so that I could point out where the serial numbers were.

After he was done, he started inventorying the server room - and I started seeing RAID volumes losing disks. After the OS volume on one server went offline crashing it, I ran into the room and saw him with a drive in his hand. He has been pulling drives to read the serial numbers.

I started yelling at him. In the 3 years that I was in Shanghai, the engineers had never heard me lose my temper and they came running from all 3 floors. The intern started crying, so I had to hug him to calm him down. I hope no one took pictures...

LogMeIn collapses its 'Cubby' Dropbox clone into LogMeIn Pro


LogMeIn ripoff

First it was free for personal use. Then $99 with features I use, and now it's $149 because it's adding features that I don't use. All I want to do is remote to my mum's Mac so that I can fix things up when her cats walk on the keyboard and muck things up.

EU ends anonymity and rules open Wi-Fi hotspots need passwords


When we were just in India, we found that there are no open hotspots and to get the password you need to supply your (local) registered mobile number. Sounds like this will become the standard in EU.

Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?


Re: Unhappy memories

Hmmm... they must have been Thai, because Chinese, Japanese, Singaporean, and Korean all drink their tea "black."


ROFL - On my first trip to India, I asked for and got a cup of tea - but it had milk in it. I asked again for a cup of tea without milk, and the tea boy (yes, they have tea boys in India and tea girls in Japan -- go figure) was totally confused.

It turns out that at least where I was in India, they tea is brewed with milk and not with water. ewwwwww.....

Ditch your Macs, Dell tells EMC staff


Compaq did the same thing to Tandem Computers when they bought us, and it was field staff first followed by internal. We were located down Stevens Creek Blvd from Apple and besides the green screens for our mainframe systems, we were mostly an Apple shop so it was pretty wrenching for all of us.

King Tut's iron dagger of extraterrestrial origin


Or maybe... just maybe... the dagger was a gift from extraterrestrials. Hey, ya never know...

Woz says 'Jobs started Apple for money' – then says it must pay 50% tax like he does


Steve gave away his schematics at the homebrew computer club. Woz, Lee Felsenstein, and a few others could care less about money from us - in contrast with Bill Gates who wrote us a cease and desist letter for sharing a paper tape of his BASIC compiler. It is documented that Jobs took advantage of Woz over and over. Woz would work for fun, and Jobs would profit from it. I remember when Woz used to pull Apples out of inventory for his friends. Jobs didn't like that at all.

Obama: What will solve America's gun problem? What could it be? *snaps fingers* Technology!


Re: Huh?

"The point is, safeties could be made safer."

Actually, the point is that "safeties are mechanical devices which can fail," and this is the correct answer on the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting course. There is no such thing as a safety that is 100% reliable. And even if there was one, criminals would disable it anyway.

Microsoft's magic hurts: Nadella signals 'tough choices' on the way


Re: Come Back Nokia?

I had a handful of very cool Nokia phones over the years. Who could ever forget the ultra-cool metal-shell 8800 series?

RSA boss packs his fishing rod and heads for the hills


Security Dynamics bought RSA and took their name

The two-factor authentication token that we all know and love was developed by Security Dynamics in the 1980's. SD bought RSA and took their name to get traction in the marketplace for their device.

The finest weird people in the world live here, and we're proud of it


Re: From a Native

Quite true about parties at the Folsom street fair - try to get invited to one at "The Amory" (Kink.com).


From a Native

I am an almost-San Francisco native. Born in SF but brought up a stone's throw south in Daly City. My dad owned a business in the City and I learned to drive in a column-shift panel van on the hills.

English fellows are in high demand by the City's ladies. Something about the accent drives them nuts.

Richard forgot to mention the dress code in our City versus the UK's City. Business formal means that you wear socks with your Birkies. Business Casual means no socks, and casual Friday could very well mean barefoot.

My former and current employers have multiple offices in London and the remainder of the UK, and every time I travel there I need to dust off my single suit (sans vest) locate my handful of long-sleeve shirts (with French cuffs no less!) and find my one pair of dress shoes at the bottom of the closet. Luckily I collect bow ties that I wear at conferences so that people can recognize me (it's a marketing thing), so no problem there.

And although he touched on the Folsom Street Fair, there was no mention of the sex parties that Google and other companies throw on weekends.

Jony Ive: Apple iWatch will SCREW UP Switzerland's economy


Re: Bang on

"Was moving a clock off the wall into the pocket, then onto the wrist, really considered cool back in the day?"

>> Absolutely! Pocket watches were required by railroad men so that they knew whether their trains were running on time or not and by town "watchmen" to keep track of their shifts. But before that came pendant clock-watches - which were not worn to tell the time. The accuracy of their verge and foliot movements was so poor, with errors of perhaps several hours per day, that they were practically useless. They were made as jewelry and novelties for the nobility, valued for their fine ornamentation, unusual shape, or intriguing mechanism, and accurate timekeeping was of very minor importance.

Back in the day, wrist watches were almost exclusively worn by women, while men used pocket-watches. Since early watches were notoriously prone to fouling from exposure to the elements, they could only reliably be kept safe from harm if carried securely in the pocket.

But as watches became more hardened, it was clear that using pocket watches while in the heat of battle or while mounted on a horse was impractical, so officers began to strap the watches to their wrist. In fact, watches produced during the first WW were specially designed for the rigors of trench warfare, with luminous dials and unbreakable glass - and the rest is history...

Exclusive SPB t-shirt flies into Kickstarter


Seriously - white? You really need other colors that don't show belly button sweat.

So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL


All I really want from my iPhone is what I had on my Treo - a way to calibrate the keyboard so that the very consistent mistyping of backspace for M, O for P, and S for A get fixed.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists


No one ever heard of risk analysis?

When I was named disaster recovery coordinator for a company over 30 years ago, the first thing I did was create and publish a policy for how many employees could be on the same transport vehicle, and which officers could NOT travel together. Some stories state that the 100 best and brightest AIDs researchers were on this one plane. That scares the heck out of me to think of what other conference have this risk associated with them.

Microsoft exec: I don't know HOW our market share sunk


Choice versus forced...

It was pretty obvious that Microsoft software was designed from the ground up to be complicated enough that it kept IT staff and helpdesk agents employed. Therefore, their software was mandated by many IT departments. If you've tried to add a printer on Windows versus a Mac or iPad, you know exactly what I am saying.

Now that the end users have a choice, they have voted on this strategy by buying products that are intuitive to use and don't need an army of sysadmins to configure and use.

REVEALED: The gizmo leaker Snowden used to smuggle out NSA files


The solution is so clear...

SPYRUS has been making secure USB flash drives for years, and they are always exhibiting at government shows. Not only is the drive encrypted, but it can be locked down to a specific computer or set of computers - and remotely wiped if if manages to sneak out the door. WTF is any government agency or organization thinking when they let unencrypted, uncontrolled USB flash drives on the premises?

Malwarebytes declares Windows 'malicious', nukes 1,000s of PCs


Malwarebytes' flagged core Windows system files as malicious

Yes, yes it is... malicious, that is. One more reason to switch operating systems to something that's not malicious.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car review


I bought one of the first ones delivered to California and my only complaint revolves around the new audio/nav system. Rather than the 12 hard keys in the previous model, this one has far fewer and everything is on a very sloggy menu system with multiple levels before you can get to the function that you want. I have to take my eyes off the road much more often to get the same work done than I did with the previous generation.

PayPal is bleeding market share and it's all eBay's fault


Frankly, I only use PayPal because ebay doesn't give you a choice in the matter. PayPal sucks on so many levels, especially as a seller. They double dip and have zero customer support if you need help, like a customer claiming that their package never arrived even though you have proof of delivery. Three cheers for the competition.

Indian navy computers stormed by malware-ridden USBs


SPYRUS makes drives that can help prevent this

On the Hydra Privacy Card, every file is encrypted under its own key. Even if you unlock the drive to get to your files, the files are still encrypted until you explicitly decrypt them. Since you can set a policy on the drive that will only allow encrypted data to be stored, it it impossible for malware to run - since it cannot be put there in the first place.

LinkedIn inked out: Twitter cuts off jabberhose to suits


Thank the maker

I am really sick of all of the cross-posting that I see, especially Twitter feeds on FaceBook and LinkedIn. For gosh sakes, I really don't need to see tweets in 3 locations - and AFAIK there is no way to tell FB or LI that I really don't want to see them. There also is no way to tell FB that while I want to see my friends' typed updates, I could care less that they planted another frikkin' carrot on FarmVille.

Will Windows 8 sticker shock leave Microsoft unstuck?


I can't believe MS customers put up with this...

There are how many client versions of Windows 7 out there? Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate? And how many versions of MS Office? Office Home and Student, Office Home and Business, and Office Professional. Apple has it right; one client OS and one productivity suite for the desktop, and one client OS and one productivity suite for phones / tablets.

What Ballmer and Hurd should announce this afternoon


The Citrix Play?

If HP and Microsoft announce a major virtualization alliance, that could mean the death of Citrix's XenServer division as we know it.

Google to mobile industry: ‘F*ck you very much!’

Gates Horns

Google - The bastard child of Microsoft

Google has a hard act to follow - Microsoft did the same when it knifed its partners in the PlaysForSure alliance. Zune didn't support the PlaysForSure DRM and the Zune DRM wasn't open to the PlaysForSure alliance.

In case you don't know, Microsoft's Zune works only with its own content service called Zune Marketplace, not PlaysForSure. Microsoft announced that as of August 31, 2008, PlaysForSure content from their retired MSN Music store would need to be licensed to play before this date or burned permanently to CD, although this decision was later reversed due to the screaming of both alliance members and fucked-over customers.

Too bad...

How can the storage industry prevent cloud bursts?


Cloud computing, who's watching your back?

Cloud computing is all the rage this year, with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3), Agathon Group, ElasticHosts, and dozens of other providers available to you. Amazon S3 was down for nearly 8 hours on July 20, 2008, Gmail has suffered multiple outages of up to 2 1/2 hours affecting more than 113 million users, Ma.gnolia bookmarking service suffered a database failure, and Carbonite lost data belonging to 7,500 customers. Would an outage of any length affect your company? Do you have a business continuity plan should your hosted applications or data go offline, become corrupted, or destroyed?

Before you can develop a plan to respond to cloud computing issues, you need to understand what those issues are (risk analysis) and how they affect you (business impact analysis). Do you need to think about geographic dispersal of your application? Have you investigated trans-border data issues (Especially important if you serve customers in Europe)? So what questions should you be asking your cloud provider before you migrate your applications to their infrastructure? Here is my start on a checklist:

- What is the hosting provider’s overall uptime guarantee for a specific software instance (not the overall environment uptime)?

- Do you have a choice of data center(s) where your application will run?

- Will your application run on high availability (HA) systems?

- What is their disaster recovery plan, including response to a pandemic?

- How is the environment monitored for OS / DB / application failures and how are you notified?

- Who is responsible for bringing a crashed environment / application back online?


- Does the provider back up your data or is that left to the customer?

- How many generations of backup are maintained in case you need to recover from a data corruption issue?

- What is your RPO (recovery point objective) guarantee?

- Are backups protected from theft and damage?

- Are backups encrypted?

- How are the encryption keys rotated and managed?

- Are backups stored off-site?

- How is backup data secured from loss or theft?

- How does the service provider know who at your company is authorized to contact them by snail mail, email, or telephone and how do they authenticate the contact before making changes or releasing information?




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