* Posts by andy 103

519 posts • joined 18 Aug 2009


Google: We had to shut down a datacenter to save it during London’s heatwave

andy 103

Move it up north

Move it to Manchester. Or somewhere outside London.

Yeah it's easier said than done.


1. Land / property is cheaper than London

2. Big northern cities have the right infrastructure

3. It's generally a few degrees cooler (although not an exact science)

People really need to learn a lesson that London is shit and just because you have expensive property / infrastructure there it can still suffer failure. Of course that doesn't mean everything in the north just works - but at least you'll have a few extra quid to spend on some fans!

The report doesn't explain why the cooling systems failed. It's because they didn't have redundant cooling systems. That's really all it can be. In a fucking datacentre, in London, owned by one of the richest companies in the world.

Hundreds of millions up for grabs as UK taxman set to stick with SAP ECC6.0

andy 103

Can't wait for this trainwreck to unfold

Feel free to refer back to this post in 12/24/36... months time or whenever there's an update about how much of a clusterfuck this ends up!

Russia fines Google $374 million for letting the truth about Ukraine be told

andy 103

The court also claimed some material promoted extremism and/or terrorism

If you replace the word promoted with showed it's probably not far off.

In which case Russia should be suing themselves for their own deplorable acts against totally innocent people.

Tech companies ready public stances on Roe v. Wade

andy 103

we will always have your back

Re - Salesforce will move employees

How about this instead. Salesforce could create a policy banning the use of its own product in the USA until somebody reverses this terrible prehistoric decision.

But they won't do that, because that would severely hurt their income.

Instead they make gestures such as - we'll move you elsewhere if this is a problem for you - almost like this is some kind of great solution. Relocating people (away from their families, friends.... lives) isn't without downsides!

I can't really take these "we will always have your back" posts seriously because if they genuinely did have their employees back, they'd be doing something a lot bigger than that. But not if it would hurt them financially, it seems.

Russia waged war on Ukraine and companies have pulled products/services from there. So why is it when Uncle Sam wages a war on women nobody does anything equivalent in the US?

Halfords suffers a puncture in the customer details department

andy 103

Re: Not only their problem - ?

"All your data are belong to us."

That may be so. But in this case it's exposing personally identifiable information tied to details of the car. Admittedly knowing when someone's MOT is due and being able to match that to an individual's email address is hardly the breach of the century but it's bad practice nonetheless.

You can of course look up things like all of the data I mentioned even off the DVLA's official website only from giving a reg number. But it doesn't tell you *who* the vehicle belongs to!

andy 103
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Not their only problem

Having placed an order with Halfords for an oil change I clicked on the link to track my order.

I'm not sure if this is the exact same thing as the story but I saw my browser made a request to a URL where it passed my email address. I won't post the URL as I'll report it responsibly. It returned a JSON object with details of my car. The first 3 characters of the reg plate were asterisked out. But it contained details of the MOT date, make, model and colour of the car.

There's nothing too sensitive in it but it does make me wonder if I could pass any other email address and get a response. Haven't tried it and don't want to! I'll report it anyway.

Rows, columns, and the search for a database that can do everything

andy 103

Most people don't understand how to benefit from existing databases anyway

Instead of developing NewShinyThings (TM) how about we consider this:

Most people - even seasoned software engineers - don't even understand how to get the most out of "old" platforms like MySQL.

20 years ago I was developing small websites which used MySQL as their database. After a year or so I thought "I know a lot about MySQL now". Wrong - I did not.

Even after using it for nearly 2 decades I'm still finding ways to improve the way I work with it. The limitations of the DBMS have never been above the limitations of my knowledge.

It seems that the older platforms focused on doing a relatively small number of things extremely well.

These new technologies have a very 2022 feel, i.e. marketing and bullshit over actually being decent capable technologies that are fit for purpose.

If you think the bottleneck is with existing DB platforms, it's not, it's your knowledge (or lack thereof) in how to use them to their best. Do some reading instead of wasting time on this kind of stuff.

Capital One: Convicted techie got in via 'misconfigured' AWS buckets

andy 103

Re: Throw away the key (no pun intended)

@VoiceOfTruth It's interesting because all of those suggested practices are ones that have come from you. I didn't mention burning anyone at the stake.

The only part of what you've said that's anywhere near the truth is that some crimes - murder etc - aren't always punished sufficiently. The same is certainly true of cyber crime. I think there is a happy medium between a slap on the wrist/fine and burning people at the stake, but I'm not sure you'd be able to figure out where the line is.

andy 103

Re: Throw away the key (no pun intended)

@VoiceOfTruth exactly, the crimes you've mentioned aren't punished anywhere near strongly enough. The same goes for electronic/cyber crimes. It's seen as victimless when in this case it has the potential to impact hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. So not it's not over the top at all and that's very much the problem.

andy 103

Throw away the key (no pun intended)

Anyone who's suggesting the companies should be liable might want to re-read this sentence:

"she planted cryptocurrency mining software on new servers with the income from the mining going to her online wallet."

That's where it goes from - you should be grateful that somebody has found this security hole (and yes, at that point the company should be 100% liable) - to zero tolerance or respect for the person who "found" said hole.

There's a clear difference between people who find security breaches, report them and move on... to this.

They should lock the bastard up and ensure she's never allowed to use a computer again. Send a clear message.

Elasticsearch server with no password or encryption leaks a million records

andy 103

Re: Clue's in the name

@Tom 38 To give you some numbers on how relatively few people use GitHub here are some stats...

GitHub: 32 million visitors / month

PornHub: 2.4 billion visitors / month

Yep, turns out porn is more popular than code.

andy 103

Clue's in the name

You just can't have a camel cased 2-word company name that ends "Hub" and be taken seriously.

It's associated with one thing with a notable orange and black logo.

In terms of this particular story though... crikey.

HP pilots paper delivery service for Instant Ink subscribers

andy 103

Now that I work from home and can't print for free at the office any more, you're right.

I suspect you're not alone in this. In the past I used to print things like flight tickets, vouchers etc... because it was "free" to do it at work.

Now that I'm paying for the ink on my low yield HP Deskjet I'm much more inclined to not bother and use apps/websites that let me scan a QR code for the ticket, or view whatever it was I might have printed in the past like insurance documents.

Ironically this is actually the desired effect because the world frankly could do with printing a lot less. I'm almost in support of what HP are doing if it drives away customers to the point where nobody has any need for a printer in their home. In an office environment I doubt printers will go for decades... but for home users it's a different matter.

andy 103

Re: Manager Logic ...

Naturally ignoring the fact that the average home user probably buys less than 1000 sheets of A4 per year.

If we say a 500 sheet 80 gsm pack weighs 2.5 Kg... it's not really that much of a ballache to move it from a supermarket trolley into a car, then into the house.... twice per year.

andy 103

Paper isn't required due to the cost of ink

See title.

No, really. I bought a new HP Deskjet only a year ago. One official HP cartridge for it yields less than 200 pages of A4.

I have a pack of 500 sheets of A4 paper that I bought from Tesco for about 3 quid. I don't think I'll be running out *paper* any time soon since I can't really afford to print stuff due to the cost of the ink...

In fact I'd go as far to say that the paper I have bought will outlast the printer.

We sat through Apple's product launch disguised as a dev event so you don't have to

andy 103

This won't run on any pre-2017 Mac

This won't run on any pre-2017 Mac, an indication of Apple's ongoing push to move away from x86 computers.

More like - if you haven't upgraded your Apple hardware in the last 2 or 3 (at a push) years Apple don't consider you to be a customer. They are, after all, a hardware company.

Safari is crippling the mobile market, and we never even noticed

andy 103

Re: Screen size will always be the limiting factor

"Is the difficulty in handling it a failure of HTML..."

No, and that's very much the point of my original post. To look at it from that perspective is to say the issue could be dealt with by *software*, when it is in fact a *hardware* issue.

The limiting factor is the physical screen size.

You could do anything in software to try and get more/less on to the screen, present things in a different order... or whatever. But there comes a point very quickly where the available screen size just isn't enough to display things nicely. Generally the more complex a task you're doing the worse this problem is. In my view even doing something like booking a holiday is a laptop/desktop (or maybe a tablet) job - absolutely no way I'd be trying to do that on mobile.

andy 103

Screen size will always be the limiting factor

So why aren't mobile phones more like wee Chromebooks?

Erm...The degree icon here is sarcastic. This article - and so many others like it - are pointless and overlook the most obvious problem with mobile web use: the screen size.

At this point people tout "responsive" sites as the answer to this, and indeed some people have done a better job than others when it comes to making their website render well on small / medium / large viewports. But... there's only so much you can do. The resolution of the screen isn't even the issue. There are Samsung and Apple phones with insane resolution, but none of that overcomes the problem of, well, it's a tiny screen (in the grand scheme of things).

No browser can overcome this problem so there is very little incentive for the average mobile user to compare browsers. Interestingly this is why I think a lot of iPhone users just use Safari, when the exact same people have installed a non-Safari browser (i.e. Chrome) on their Macbook / iMacs.

The purpose of websites is to either consume information, or to make some interaction (filling in a form, contacting somebody, buying something, make a booking...). It's not rocket science that doing any of those things is a nicer experience on a big screen where you can see information clearly layed out.

As an example: why do you think nobody designs or builds mobile apps using a mobile? Why do people still use Desktops to build software? It's certainly not to do with processing power, memory or much else. It's the f-ing screen size, and nobody with any amount of money is ever going to be able to overcome that.

September 16, 1992, was not a good day to be overly enthusiastic about your job

andy 103

"Everyone had to leave" knee-jerk reaction

"Everyone had to leave," he recalled. Although he was offered an extra £1,500 ($1,800) a year to return

Never understood how or why this happens.

If a business can be affected by something like this in the short term then frankly it hasn't planned for jack shit. The fact that he was offered more money to return - when money was apparently the problem in the first place - highlights this as the absolute piss take that it is.

"Let's lay everyone off so we can ... save some money to save the business"

* Can't operate business. Can't generate revenue. *

* Business collapses *

Email out, Slack and Teams in for business communications

andy 103

Messaging > Email

The one thing I prefer about messaging over email is that you generally get some indication of whether or not it's been seen.

"Seen" doesn't mean read, or understood, and sure doesn't mean acted upon.

But with email you didn't know *anything* after sending it. The result of this was that a lot of people (notably management in larger companies) simply forwarded email and then considered their job done because somebody else was dealing with it. Apparently. Or if you sent an email to a restaurant to book a table, the only way you'd know if it had been read is if somebody confirmed your reservation... which didn't always happen. I remember going on holidays years ago and finding websites for restaurants with email contact forms that had about a <30% success rate of some response.

Of course messaging isn't a full solution to that problem but the very fact that you have some indication of *if* a message was opened, and can talk in real-time, is a genuine improvement over: send...... wait...... ???

My analogy with email is it's like putting money into a bank account but one where you can't view the balance. You have to hope it's gone in. At least with messaging you can get some confirmation of what's occurred.

andy 103

Re: Except I don't use SLACK

If you can't talk to me on the 'phone and you can't send me information via e-mail, then I guess you & I just don't have anything to discuss.

The problem with this attitude is that eventually you won't have anything to discuss with anybody.

Unfortunately you can't demand that world + dog does business according to what you deem as "acceptable" or communicates in the specific ways that you feel are best. I'm afraid if you take this sort of stance on things then all that happens is ultimately you'll be the one who isn't on the right side of opportunities, growth and progress.

Even in the early 2000s some businesses wouldn't invest in IT/email and refused to communicate that way. Some of those businesses didn't survive. Stuff changes. Adapt with the times.

Asahi Linux project shows progress in graphics drivers on Apple's M1

andy 103

Worth the effort?

3D graphics ... in Linux .... on Apple's M1 ????

I don't want to poo-poo anybody's hard work but it really does seem a lot of effort for a relatively small user base with an even smaller use-case.

"Supporting sophisticated workloads like AAA games requires significantly more time and effort."

Again, games... on Linux.... on M1?? For what, all 3 people who'll actually bother.

"It's impressive considering the lack of official support from Apple."

Or more realistically... it's a waste of time. If there was a large user base demanding this, Apple would be finding a way to make it work. There isn't, and that's the real message here.

Mozilla browser Firefox hits the big 100

andy 103

Re: Firefox is dead

@lglethal the point you're missing is that you're talking about the very early days of the web, when there were so many inconsistencies in the way browsers worked. Everyone was crying out for a browser that worked well overall for the majority of people, and that would become the defacto browser. That's happened and it's called Chrome. It's not like anyone cares about this subject anymore when there *is* a browser that does what's required well, and the majority of people are now using it.

andy 103

Re: Firefox is dead

Linux on the desktop is dead too. And all Linux desktop apps are dead. Everybody here should just accept Windows.

Well, by comparison the majority of people are doing exactly that, so...

andy 103

Firefox is dead

But before you reply or downvote, let's look at some facts.

When it comes to usage Chrome is in the high 60% region. It dominates and has done for some time.

Firefox? About 8%

Safari mainly gets used - once - to download Chrome and it's usage (around 9%) is still higher than Firefox.

Twats still using IE? There are still some out there, and some people have no choice (*cough* NHS and those using similar intranets designed for IE).

It's over. Chrome won.

Facts mind, facts.

Travel tech sheds legacy baggage, heads to the cloud with Google

andy 103

Re: Not in the interest of customers

@Ian Johnston you've missed the point. At no point did I say it was surprising or otherwise. It is, however, not in anybody's interest except the people who are trying to make money from it.

You're correct in saying can decide not to buy.... but conversely you can also decide what to buy WITHOUT having any form of track/analyse/target ads shoved in your face. You know, how people planned and booked trips for 40 - 50 years before all this shit.

andy 103

Not in the interest of customers

"It was hard to do things like understanding a traveler ... to understand what those traveler's are interested in, what their preferences are, what kind of packages of products they usually buy together."

Yet for decades people could travel and make bookings without problems.

Let's have a think, shall we? Even if we go back 20 years, many people were still making bookings for travel without the use of the Internet. It was (and still is) perfectly possible to make a booking without anybody "suggesting" what THEY think YOU need.

This is no different in the way loads of resource is being put into showing "relevant" targeted ads to people. The only people who actually care about this are companies who feel they can make money from it. It isn't in the interest of customers to be followed, analysed and targeted in this way.

It's solving a problem that only exists for greedy companies wanting to nickel and dime consumers.

What I find more impressive is the fact that systems designed so long ago still operate. But they operate because they were built in a way which genuinely benefitted everybody, or at least were made in that spirit. That spirit is dead and buried, and this is a prime example.

"They were designed at a point in time when there wasn't a lot of thought given to what you could do with data."

Or, to put it another way, designed with helping people in mind, as opposed to trying to sell them shit they don't want or need.

Emma Sleep Company admits checkout cyber attack

andy 103

Re: Well, if you will include third party JS at random

@Mike 137 The problem with server side processing is that it's not suitable for everything. Not all interaction with a webpage has a full request/response cycle (do something -> POST/GET Request -> page reload/redirect Response). This is where JS typically gets used in place.

The real problem though is that people developing websites blindly inject (and therefore blindly trust) JS that's hosted on other domains. This is the source of these types of exploits. It relies on being able to execute code via your website through a third party, which as I alluded is pretty much as bad as somebody being able to access the server and modify the server side scripts as well.

In 90% of cases where I've seen scripts being injected like this, it's usually marketing / sales teams who seem to have a demand to collect every single conceivable piece of data about user interaction. Even when they're told by developers who know better they just trust whatever third party platform is being used without a second thought. And so it continues...

andy 103

Well, if you will include third party JS at random

The article lacks the relevant details but from memory the way it worked in the case of British Airways (https://www.theregister.com/2018/09/06/british_airways_hacked/) is that they included a shitton of third party JavaScript - hosted outside of their domain. If you don't understand why this is a bad idea, please don't become a web developer.

That JavaScript was modified so it requested other .js files (which the attackers had written themselves) from a domain which on the face of things looked legit to an average user, not that they'd see the requests their browser was making in the background anyway.

The malicious script then targets form inputs (e.g. credit card name / number inputs) and makes an ajax POST request with the form data to a third party server for storage and thereafter "shenanigans".

So, if I'm understanding correctly, years later nobody has learnt the extremely simple premise of not including random JS from third parties on your site. Yes I know there are some exceptions where you can't do this, but I'd be willing to bet it was Bob's Shitty Analytics dot BIZ or something where they wanted it for "marketing purposes".

Some smart arse will say yes but what if they modify the JS on your site directly. If they can do that my dear then you have much bigger problems. Frankly though, including third party JS pretty much amounts to exactly this! You're giving somebody else control over what can be executed on your site.

Nvidia releases $1,999, 8K-capable GeForce RTX 3090 Ti GPU

andy 103

The 24GB of GDDR6X memory is a big deal

The 24GB of GDDR6X memory is a big deal.... because....

I don't think any explanation was needed!

Apple's Mac Studio exposed: A spare storage slot and built-in RAM

andy 103

Re: Bloody hell...

I don't know whether un-upgradeable RAM is really an issue for this machine though.

There are only 2 variants you can buy: one has 32 Gb of memory (upgradeable to 64). The other has 64 Gb and is upgradeable to 128 Gb. Of course you choose this "upgrade" at the time of purchase and then it comes with whatever you picked. It's not really "upgradeable" per se.

The different CPUs between the machines are orders of magnitude different: a 10-core M1 with a 24-core GPU, whilst the next model up has a 20-core M1 with a 48-core GPU.

The prices are £2000 and £4000 respectively. That's at the base spec, before applying any "upgrade" to either model. If you go for the top-end (without buying software like Logic Pro) it comes out at £8000. Nobody spending this kind of money buys a machine and goes "I'll probably need to upgrade the RAM in 12 months though...".

Basically I'm not sure how often somebody buying these types of machines would want to upgrade *just* the RAM at some point after purchase. I'd imagine it's more likely they'd just buy the machine in the configuration they wanted (and could afford) at the time. Their next upgrade would likely be a completely different machine.

On lower spec machines, upgrades to RAM would be fair enough, but I don't think many people would have a need to upgrade a machine with 32 Gb of RAM a year or two into using it. It's either good enough for the lifetime you're thinking of using it for, or it's not. Certainly at this end of the market.

andy 103

A contradiction of ports

From looking on the Apple website the Studio has these ports:

-- 4 x Thunderbolt 4

-- 2 x USB‑A ports

-- HDMI port

-- Ethernet

-- 3.5mm headphone jack

I'm saying this as somebody who is partial to Apple kit... sorry, but when I bought my iPhone 12 or 2020 Macbook Pro, I was reassured that things such as a 3.5mm headphone socket (in the case of the iPhone), or a HDMI port (in the case of the Macbook) were old fashioned and nobody had a use for these things anymore. If I wanted such connectivity I could either buy an adaptor, or make expensive upgrades, e.g. change my perfectly good Samsung HDMI monitor to a USB-C/Thunderbolt one.

If somebody has £2,000+ to spend on a desktop, surely - SURELY - these *are* the people with the newer, more expensive kit to connect it to?

It's almost like an admission that things such as 3.5mm jacks, ethernet and HDMI ports are still incredibly useful... Which is it, Apple?

SAP wins competition to replace own ageing system at UK council

andy 103
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A one horse race

If they were already using SAP then it's pretty much a one horse race in terms of who gets to "migrate" them on to something different.

Given how difficult it seems to get data in and out of SAP I doubt anyone else would want to touch this.

I don't know how old the senior management are within that council but I'd be willing to bet they'll be retiring just as this fucks up... Naturally having been paid handsomely (or back-hander-ly) for agreeing it with SAP or some third party consultants who have brought them into the cloudy future.

Call me skeptical but you know it's probably not far from the truth.

UK government starts public consultation on telco security

andy 103

A box ticking exercise

This is a quote from one of the pages on the GOV.uk site linked to in this article.

The draft regulations and guidance measures relating to network architecture are intended to ensure networks are securely designed, constructed, or (where relevant) redesigned, developed, and maintained.

Wow, that's incredibly fucking vague isn't it? This has supposedly been written by people who know what they're discussing.

It reminds me of large corporations where they will have thousands of pages of policy about "maintaining secure systems" or some other such wording. All it comes down to at the end of the day is enough people ticking boxes to say the criteria have been met, and then it's deemed to be acceptable.

Another quote from the same page is

For example, the technical characteristics of software-based 5G services will increase the surface area of networks and services open to attack

What really matters is enough people having sufficient understanding of exactly how the attacks work and how to mitigate against them. You'd also want those people to be decision makers. Instead, we have a country (and world) full of box tickers...

Essentially these policies are so loosely worded and so far from the core detail of what specifically the "attacks" might be, never mind how to actually prevent them. Meanwhile the aforementioned box tickers will be paid handsomley to "prevent" (LOL) such types of problem occuring.

All in all, an expensive, ill thought out, waste of time that will have no real effect other than pissing money away.

IBM looked to reinvigorate its 'dated maternal workforce'

andy 103

Re: Millenials

I don't see this in boomers at all. It's all about clinging on as long as you can and stopping competition until it is absolutely unavoidable.

I'm not sure if that's an entirley fair comment as all people are different. I owe much of my career to somebody who is a boomer, an excellent I.T. teacher I had at school who was a boomer and was passionate about getting people into solid I.T. careers.

BUT there is a vibe in some of these stories about enterprise organisations like IBM that they are full of people who try to use "years of experience" as a justification for high salaries, fat pensions and other perks. These are the sort of people who have not moved on with the times but thrive in places where the people they answer to know even less when it comes to the details of what they're doing. In my view I.T. in 2022 isn't something that people like this understand. The world has changed and moved on yet these people are still just about in employment and haven't quite got to retirement. I don't know what the future holds for younger generations but that particular way of working will hopefully die out because essentially they are no winners other than you could argue the stereotype you mentioned may benefit financially from what is frankly piss poor work.

andy 103

Re: IBM - Inexperienced with Bad Management

"IMHO experience is not to be underrated in IT. "

Yes and no. Experience is desirable to some extent, but not when people use it as an excuse for not moving on with the times or learning new ways of working.

As a case in point my former father in law was in a very high paid position and in a lot of his work he basically moved data around the company using spreadsheets. He did this because he had experience of knowing what data people wanted to see, and using spreadsheets to do it. What he didn't have was experience and exposure to modern API's that allowed said data to be more easily moved around. So he did his work in an extremely inefficient way but was able to convince people it was efficient because anyone he was answering to had even less experience of the modern way to do this kind of thing.

andy 103

Is it a really shit place to work if you're under 40?

This is a totally real, no-sarcasm-intended post.

I'm in my late 30's. When I was growing up, an IBM PC was seen as a "high end" piece of kit. The company making them was seen as a professional organisation and somewhere my (private) school told me was a good place for a career.

Nobody from my school AFAIK went to work there. Several people from there have done extremely well, at relatively tiny organisations. Or big ones that just weren't IBM (Google in particular, although I'm told this is somewhere you have to "like" working to get on well, and it's not for everyone).

Every story I've read - especially on the Reg - and associated comments is that IBM is, for want of a better phrase, a shithole of a place to work. Full of people waiting to retire who simply don't get how I.T. works in 2022.

I'm not thinking of working there myself, but does anybody actually think it's a good move especially for somebody who is say in their 30's?

Use Zoom on a Mac? You might want to check your microphone usage

andy 103

Re: "it looks like it's safest to only run Zoom while on active calls"

I'm not sure whether this was sarcasm but most people leave everything "on" permanently.

See also: people who blindly accept T+C's for services and the moan when they find their data has been passed to a third party, even though they agreed to it.

Google Cloud takes a gap year. It may come back with very different ideas

andy 103

We're beyond needing to upgrade anything

"sometimes even letting you pick the [CPU] you want"

Here's the thing. Most people deploying and running software they develop don't really know or care what underlying hardware it's running on. The old days of dedicated web servers were a great example of this. What's the difference for my use case between CPU "A" and CPU "B"? Unless you're doing something really specific and know the underlying differences of how that could affect your code, it's just not something that's high on anyone's list of priorities.

In the same way as using a mobile phone from 3 - 4 years ago is probably still good enough for most peoples' needs, the cloud market has got to a point where upgrading all the hardware all of the time is simply counterproductive.

One of the things I've learnt over the years is that when it comes to infrastructure there is a rule: Boring = Good. In other words things running predictably isn't a bad thing at all, and frankly if it works...it works. Personally I'd prefer to use a cloud provider that stays clear of pointless upgrades.

Google Cloud started running its servers for an extra year, still loses billions

andy 103

I suspect this does not apply to Alphabet.

I suspect the rules that apply to you or I do not apply to them.

Happy birthday, Windows Vista: Troubled teen hits 15

andy 103

Re: Vista Stumbled so 7 could Run

"terrible file access performance "

Ah yes, I'd almost forgotten about this. Copying/pasting a 10 Mb file and being told it was running at 0.5 Kb/sec and would complete some time after Christmas.

andy 103

Awful memories

At the time it came out I was starting up a business and a long story short was that I simply needed a computer, any computer with a browser. In my haste I went to the nearest available place - a PC World opposite my premises. Yes, I know I should have known better. But as I said I was in a hurry.

What I got was an Advent(?) branded desktop with the world's shittest resolution widescreen monitor. Running Vista. I can't remember the spec but I know it struggled to render the UI, which it then tried to display on said monitor. A horrendous experience, made physically tactile via the £8 plastic keyboard and mouse that came in the box.

It did the job I needed it to do for almost 2 and a half years and then thankfully broke beyond repair. It was without question the worst computer and experience of using a computer I ever had. Yes the hardware was shit but the OS made the experience that much worse.

Starting a business is hard and that Vista desktop was somehow poetically appropriate to that period of my life. Everything was a struggle, but then everything moved on...things got a lot better.

(The machine has since been replaced by a Mac with a 5k Retina display).

Earth to Voyager 2: Standby for connection – after we tip this water out of the dish

andy 103

Mind boggling

The numbers with either Voyager craft have always seemed mind boggling to me.

It's hard to visualise how far 19 billion km is or even how much has occurred on Earth since the crafts were launched. Or a speed of 15 km/sec meaning I could get to my office in under 3 seconds. Hard to imagine.

The fact a comms link is even possible is astonishing. Yet it also beggars belief we can't connect certain people on Earth given this is actually possible so far away from it.

Microsoft's do-it-all IDE Visual Studio 2022 came out late last year. How good is it really?

andy 103

Re: Most microsoft advice ever

Both are extremely clumsy and slow.

I don't know what your use-case is but for web development Eclipse is in the order of 4 - 5 times slower than using VS Code for any like-for-like operation, whether that's starting up or trying to configure some workflow. Slow and clunky are words I associate with Eclipse but my experience of VS Code has been the complete opposite.

andy 103

Re: Most microsoft advice ever

Wipe, and re-install the OS after testing some software?

Well to be fair when I was "testing" Windows as my OS I often found myself doing exactly that.

andy 103
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There aren't many better web dev environments

Coming at this from a web dev perspective. Mostly using PHP, sass, ES6 JavaScript in Docker containers and CI processes on GitHub.

Previously we used Eclipse PDT and/or NetBeans with a fuckton of "workarounds" to try and make our workflow happen.

The nice thing about VS Code is the number of decent extensions you can get for it to support almost any workflow. The built in terminal seems to be something other IDE's lacked and you really do question why, in hindsight, these other tools didn't have that.

It's an environment I can work in pretty much all day without needing to switch between applications. Finally.

For us we can now do pretty much all our work in VS Code. We run our tests locally and then push to GitHub before using a CI process on there which can be configured so code can only be merged once it passes all the required checks.

The lack of a Linux build hasn't stopped us although it is odd given the number of people who develop directly under a Linux environment. Can't comment on the Windows build but on a Mac it works flawlessly.

Oh, and as a final nail in the NetBeans / Eclipse coffin - it starts up in under 3 seconds and doesn't use all my RAM! Why this was such an issue - in IDEs that did *so much less* - is beyond me.

£42k for a top-class software engineer? It's no wonder uni research teams can't recruit

andy 103

Re: It is almost as if the company does not test things properly before unleashing them on the world

@John Brown - My comment that "Nobody else cares about your view." was in the spirit of: Let's say you're somebody who hates Rightmove. You don't have to use it yourself to buy or sell property. But - given that most people buy/sell property off the back of buying/selling other property (i.e. the property market) - it is undeniably used and necessary irrespective of whether you yourself "like" it. In that regard nobody who is using that service cares about your view of it, but without those people, the market itself wouldn't operate anywhere near to the level it does currently.

In the same way - Linkedin and jobs / business opportunities. Even if you don't like Linkedin, many opportunities are created through it which result in other work... including for people who don't use Linkedin. None of the people using these platforms care about whether anybody else likes it or not, but you can't deny that it is absolutely pivotal in what goes on in the world in 2021.

andy 103

Re: It is almost as if the company does not test things properly before unleashing them on the world

Re Linkedin - you're only shooting yourself in the foot. Nobody else cares about your view.

In the same way as you can despise Rightmove, Zoopla, Purple Bricks etc. The problem being it's about more than just what you think and good luck if you're trying to buy (or indeed sell) a property and think none of that comes into it. It's where _loads of other people_ come to buy/sell property.

In a similar manner, in 2021 Linkedin is where people find work, network with others (who might not even be in the same geographical region). It's where opportunities are. It doesn't matter if you think it's an "old boys network". The reality is, that's where a lot of opportunities exist and new ones get created. If you don't want to be part of that, it's only you who will lose out.

andy 103

Re: IT person

@Paul Johnston agreed, but it's still better than the "default" pension arrangement at a lot of private companies which is for them to provide the absolute bare minimum.

I also think - generally speaking - the work/life balance in private companies can be worse. But there are exceptions to the rule and it's not as black and white as my comment my sound.

andy 103

IT person

"A full-stack, commercial-grade software developer is a different set of skills to the person who fixes your printer when it's broken."

This. 100% this.

As you've alluded to in the article, universities simply see these people as "IT staff". How do you think they know the value of a software engineer if they don't even understand what that person does? How do they then define "top-class"?

I've worked a software engineer for over 20 years and from what I can see at the moment there's a clear reason that you can find 6 figure positions. A lot of developers and software engineers - frankly - aren't particularly good, or as good as they claim. A lot of work has been created off the back of substandard work being done by incompetent developers. Those developers are typically the ones who blame "management", especially when it often comes down to their own narcissism and/or inability to work with other people.

Most university positions are graded. But - they sometimes offer benefits such as more generous pension schemes and a better work-life balance - than the private sector. Sometimes - not always. As such, the private sector is always where the highest paid positions will be. It's unlikely this will ever change in academia unless or until Universities are better educated (irony alert) about what these people actually do in 2021.

But the Universities are not the only ones to point the finger at. The average salary in 2021 in the UK is still under £30k. Many software engineers simply rely on their "years of experience" yet haven't learnt or progressed their skills during those years. They see private sector salaries and feel they're worth more money simply on the basis of their experience, when it's the results and - ability to work with other people effectively - that actually matters. A £40k salary for these people - who are in abundant supply - seems quite reasonable.



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