* Posts by Matto in AUS

18 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Oct 2009

SpaceX HOVER-SHIP landing scuppered by MASSIVE ocean waves

Matto in AUS

I love the Drone Ship's name. After all, it's an autonomous ship, it deserves a Culture ship name.


Matto in AUS


They are indeed tricky, it would seem.

Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER

Matto in AUS

Not taking anything away from your "OneDrive isn't very manageable" comments (because you're dead true), but in my mind the concept of the dept/branch file server is being replaced by Sharepoint Online libraries. They DO give you the very granular permissions of which you seek, maintain governance and retention policies, and generally do a lot more than a basic file server offers. We've migrated a few dept shares into SP/SPO, and it's actually working really well - better than you'd expect.

Now, it's not a fully-baked solution. Not by a long shot. You've still got the sync issues, etc. And let's face it - the Onedrive For Business sync client is a pile of rubbish. Ask how someone with a 256Gb Surface Pro tablet likes their current 1Tb storage allocation (let alone unlimited), when the only sync option is "Sync Everything!!!". Imagine what that would do when there's an office desk re-org and 30 people come in on a Monday morning and all log into a different PC for the first time...

I'm a big fan of all this stuff - I really am. But I just wish that instead of chasing sensationalist headlines ("UNLIMITED STORAGE!!!!!"), someone would take on the un-sexy job of fixing the sync client. Then we'd all be able to use the storage we've got, and the solution would be pretty awesome.

Face up to a double life with hybrid Office 365

Matto in AUS

Re: Time to call "Time ladies and gentlemen" on the cloud...

+1 to your "passing the buck" comments Dan.

You could pretty much argue that hosting your servers in a rack in a DC is also "passing the buck", because what happens when the DC provider (or your link to them) goes down? So now you're building your own DC-grade facility at your site? How's that working out for you? Nice and cheap to do properly?

The further you move up the sophistication chain, you're trading off nuts-and-bolts access to the server for something even better - SLAs. Make sure your SLAs with your providers are solid and business-appropriate. That way, when things DO hit the fan someone else has to fix the problem for you. When faced with the choice between staying up all night sorting a borked Exchange IS or making a phone call and having my provider do it for me, I'm going to choose the latter.

(Valid point to be made here about how sophisticated you need to be. If you consult to small businesses, they may be happy to use a less reliable system based on consumer gear if it keeps the cost down. I'd still argue however that there's benefits to be had by cloud-ifying some of their stuff, even if you start with something like Dropbox for Business that's less integrated but more affordable than an enterprise solution. Horses for courses.)

And I can't comment for other countries, but I've got to admit - our data links (be they private IP VPN links or basic internet carriage) are stupid-reliable these days. I honestly couldn't tell you the last time we had a link outage. And that's going right back to frame-relay days. Even the one 3G link that we're using is reliable (albeit as slow as a wet week, but it's better than a $2m fibre build out "investment").

Look - Office365 still has some hairs on it. We've been working on hybrid Exchange Online for the past year, and have just decided to pull back from it because there's one specific piece of functionality that we need (business-wise, not tech-wise) that we simply cannot do. So for now, we need the extra power and flexibility that you get on-prem. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the moment MSFT announce a solution for us, I'll start migrating mailboxes.

OneDrive FB is a dogs breakfast (all they had to do was copy DropBox, and they buggered it up...), and I'll agree with the article on Sharepoint Hybrid - you can do it, but man, you've GOT to be committed (or you will be, after you spend a bit of time with it). That said, we're utilising SPO for a variety of sites that integrate seamlessly with our on-prem SP without having a proper hybrid setup. The biggest UX hurdle is seamless authentication, and you can solve that pretty easily via IDp-initiated-signon and smartlinks. The rest is just look-and-feel.

Lync Online has been a real success story for us - click button, get enterprise UC/IM/video system. We'll be moving it back on-prem soon, but not because of any problems with it. We want to do Enterprise Voice, and there's been only the vaguest murmurs from MSFT about when that might be available. Moving on-prem, we can do it ourselves in 6 months. As above though, you better believe that as soon as Lync Online has robust EV capability I'll be migrating back and divesting myself of having to run what is a delicate and expensive backend.

The article has the right of it, and I'll also back up the other commentards here. There are some things that the cloud is excellent for (reference the comment made about hosting your website internally - that's gold), and some things that you need on-prem systems for.

The masterstroke of the MSFT approach is when you pull Azure into the picture - then you get the ability to run on-prem installs of systems inside a cloud DC that's an extension of your internal network. You get all the beauty of cloud management (easy resource assignment, scale up/down, op-ex payment structure, etc) with all the customisation potential of an on-prem deployment. And as someone who has spent the last 6 months facing extremely constrained datacentre resource capacity with no easy solution other than large cap-ex, that's a very attractive option.

My $0.02 - I'll caution you that it's probably worth markedly less than what you paid for it.


Matto :)

Helpdesk/Service Desk Recommendations

Matto in AUS

Re: Service Desk Plus

Another vote for Service Desk Plus. It's what we use here for a firm of ~650 staff, IT team of ~25, geographically dispersed across the country with a couple of international branches.

It works well, it seems to be functional, and the Support team maintain it themselves. Upgrades are really easy, and it all Just Works.

In fact, it's so good that a couple of the other internal depts (Corp Services, who take care of leases, desks, calling a guy to fix the dishwasher, etc, and both HR and Finance) want us to configure queues in the system for them, to handle their client care.

We looked at Kayako, and while I still think it's a good system, SDP was cheaper and meets all our our requirements admirably.

Good luck.


Matto :)

Telstra 'snot boxes' challenge Turnbull's FTTN plan

Matto in AUS

It's not an uncommon story

Glad you could get it fixed though.

My personal story:

Had ADSL1 - $50/month for a 5Mbps service. Upload was pathetic - about 100kbps. I couldn't work from home reliably, and skype/Lync/facetime video calls were simply not a usable option. Every time it rains (which happens a fair bit in FNQ) the phone would go all static-y, and the internet would drop out. You'd log a job, Telstra tech would come out and leave a "I've checked the network and there's no problem, it must be inside your house, call me to arrange an at-your-cost appointment to check your house wiring" card. Service would magically be fixed though.

Recently I upgraded to ADSL2. The good news is that my upload has gone to 300k, which makes video work a usable, if choppy, option. The downside though is that my download speed has reduced to about 3.5-4Mbps, and the modem now loses line sync every 15 minutes or so.

My attenuation is showing up on the modem as just on 60db, so I guess I should be happy that I get a service at all. But at the end of the day I'm still paying (now) $80/month for a service that is slower than what I had and terribly unreliable. Neither my ISP (it's simply a Telstra wholesale port, no-one has any DSLAMS up here) nor Telstra have any interest in fixing the underlying network. Sure, we're in a regional town but it's still a large centre and we'd be lucky to be 7kms from the dead centre of town. The estate was built in the mid-70's.

To add insult to injury, I'm just outside the Telstra 4G coverage maps as well - it would probably work with a big external antenna, but I'm not sure I can stomach the cost of both the install, and the ongoing.

As an IT Pro working for a nation-wide, Bris-based company I'm the #1 advocate for being able to use tech tools to work remotely. From our branch office up here in the far north, I'm able to operate remotely, join video meetings with the rest of the team around the country or world, and generally function as a worthwhile addition to the team. When you talk about attracting and retaining key talent, work-life balance and moving away from the previous city-centric approach to assembling teams, this stuff all becomes very valuable. If only I had a reliable internet connection at home...



Google: YouTube fights off HUGE ASCII PHALLUS MENACE

Matto in AUS

Very disappointing people

Story about ASCII porn in comments threads.

24 responses in this comment thread for said story.

Not one ASCII penis.

Sorry - I must be on the wrong IT news website...

Telstra's Thodey is NBN kingmaker after Oz election

Matto in AUS

As a long-time proponent of the initial FTTH plan, I find myself less and less interested as this whole thing drags on.

Every time it rains (which it tends to do quite a bit here in FNQ), my ADSL drops out. On a good day, I need to only restart my router 3 times. Through 6 years of experimentation we've worked out that there's only one decent copper path for our street - when you complain they re-patch you to the "good" path, then your service slowly degrades over the coming months as your neighbours complain and you get shuffled down the quality ladder. All this, for a base ADSL1 service that generally manages to run anywhere up to 5mpbs, and costs $50/month + line rental, etc.

To wit - I no longer care whether I get FTTN, FTTH or FTTSE (fibre-to-the-something-else) - I just want it to work, to provide decent bandwidth, and to cost less than it currently does. My technical opinion is that the additional cost for FTTH is justified in future-proofing, and that patching up the existing copper is a false economy. But as I'm facing the prospect of at least another 2-3 years before I can qualify for NBN-provided services under the existing plan, I'm willing to cut the LNP's plan a break and give them enough rope.

I'm just glad I'm not the one doing the negotiating. As the article mentions, THAT is going to make the initial NBN contract negotiations seem like a walk in the park.



Microsoft melds SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint

Matto in AUS

Love the idea...

...hate the execution.

Dropbox: I save a file to my local dropbox folder, and it saves instantly to disk. Dropbox then works on asynchronously syncing it up to the dropbox cloud. My application saves/closes instantly, if I don't have network it just updates next time. Version conflicts are handled by the cloud, by simply renaming documents when there's a collision. If I'm running late I can save the file instantly, close the laptop and then be on my way.

SkyDrive / SDP: I save a file to my local SD folder, and the skydrive client kicks in and tries to connect to the sharepoint instance behind it.

If it can connect, then it uploads the document directly into the sharepoint library - this is not an async operation, it takes a long time for a big document over a bad WAN link and completely locks up the application while I'm waiting. I need to sit there and wait for it to finish, which makes me even later (because I'm always running late).

If I'm not connected to a network, it takes a while to figure that out while the "connecting to sharepoint site..." dialog scrolls around and around. Eventually it realises it can't connect. It either chucks a wobbly at this point and breaks, or saves the file locally (FINALLY! HUZZAH!). However it then hits sync errors when it tries to do the background sync later. I have 3 folders now in my (normal) SkyDrive folder that are marked with Xs and simply cannot be made to sync. It tells me to open the document in Word to review the sync errors and remediate. I do that, and same thing happens. I just want it to sync the files, but it refuses to. I don't want to have to go back into Word to remediate version control issues.

SkyDrive Pro would solve MANY operational problems for us in the firm. I'm a big believer in what it could do, if it could be made to work consistently. But if I still can't figure it out and this is what I do for a living, what hope do the 600-other non-IT staff have? Maybe (as will no doubt be pointed out ) I'm just bad at my job, but when the alternatives Just Work(tm), is wanting the same for this potentially excellent product too much?


Matto :)

FTTN cabinet survives Kiwi car crash

Matto in AUS

Re: I know it's petty...

No need for beers - if you're ever in FNQ I'll buy.

Understand your reasoning, obviously a hair-trigger reaction on my part. Local media here is very anti-4WD and anti-motorcycle, I guess I'm just sensitive to it.

Nuke, because now I feel bad about going atomic about something that really doesn't matter. I guess that's just another reason why I won't be the next Jobs.



Matto in AUS

I know it's petty...

... but it irks me: "Probably a 4WD" - why include that? Because some random non-credentialed commenter in that original thread states that they think it might have been a 4WD? If said commenter had instead claimed that a dog riding a segway had caused the carnage, would you blindly repeat that? Because in that case I would hope that you would - that would be hilarious.

Come on ElReg - you're better than that - I come here for the cold, hard facts (and to keep up to date on Paris). There's plenty of other websites that are happy to blur in internet scuttlebutt, TheReg has always stood aloof.

Hey - I did start by saying it was pretty petty...



Fukushima switchboard defeated by rat

Matto in AUS

Nuclear mutant rats wreaking havoc?

Has anyone called the Turtles?

Seriously, has anyone????

Microsoft dragging its feet on Linux Secure Boot fix

Matto in AUS

"Technically the keys don't have to come from Microsoft: you are supposed to be able to install your own keys if you want to (at least on x86).

However, thanks to OEM deals the only keys that come pre-installed when the hardware is shipped are Microsoft's keys. If you want to run Linux "out of the box" without the user meddling with the BIOS settings (sorry, UEFI settings) then the only solution is to use a Microsoft (sub-)key."

Quoted for truth.

So what's to stop the various linux "manufacturers" (for want of a better word) negotiating with the OEMs to includes their keys in the UEFI firmware out of the box? IE, Why does RedHat not engage with the OEMs and provide it's key so that Red Hat variants are supported out-of-the-box on certain equipment? Seems a nice way to differentiate your product from the sea of alternatives for your customers.

To me, it looks like this:

* UEFI Secure Boot is an industry option, not a MS technology

* Microsoft want to increase security by leveraging it to prevent rootkits (which all non-MS-fanbois cry about Windows being susceptible to)

* Microsoft spend time and money engaging with the OEM partners to get their keys loaded in by the OEM, and to have Secure Boot enabled by default. This probably takes years and a lot of experimentation

* Linux people cry about this, and expect Microsoft to come up with a solution for them, for free

* ???

Am I missing something?

Microsoft Surface: Designed to win, priced to fail

Matto in AUS

My $0.02 - worth considerably less

"The new OS with its not-Metro interface really only makes sense for touch users" - Oh how I am getting sick of people bleating this out every time they discuss Win8. As someone who's been using the RTM version of Win8 for quite some time, I find this to be complete and utter bollocks. I don't have a touch screen device, I don't have a touchpad, I have a normal laptop (HP 5330m, thanks for asking) and a normal mouse. Win8 works perfectly fine. After 2 days of use the Start Screen makes sense, and you spend all your day just working on the desktop as normal. I wish people who were going to continue to make noise like this would actually use the product for a while and make up their own minds before just mindlessly repeating what "the internet" has decided.

</rant about win8>

<rant about Surface>

Here in Aus, the Surface + cover (come on - no one's going to buy it without) is $700. A 16Gb iPad is $540 ($430 if you can make do with an iPad2). I'm ignoring Android tablets because, well, they all pretty much suck. Let's look at this from the three main customer perspectives:

1) A personal consumer who wants a tablet. They're going to buy the iPad. They don't care about storage - 16Gb will do them fine. They see the price differential, and buy the one that has the apps they want. Maybe their should buy a cheap Android tablet, but they have an iphone, their friends have iPads, so that's where they go.

2) The tech-savvy person. Maybe they're an IT Pro, maybe not. They know the specs. They know the iPad has a better display. They can get a 3G one that will work everywhere. They know that their apps are on the appstore. They can work around the lack of ports/expandability. They're going to buy the iPad - it's the proven product that can do what they want.

3) The corp IT Dept. They've been hounded by un-manageable iPads for years. They're happy to pay the extra for Surface because it will integrate with SCCM, etc. Except WindowsRT can't be domain-joined, or have agents installed on it. And it's wifi only, which rules it out for most of the mobile workforce. And it's missing other things, like Remote Desktop. So they're forced with either buying their staff the still-non-existent SurfacePro, or an ultrabook, or a laptop+iPad. And their staff want something NOW, not "early 2013".

</rant about surface>

tl;dr - Win8 is flawed in other ways (try to re-assign the CD drive's drive letter in WS2012, or show the wifi signal strength in win8, and tell me if either is easy or intuitive), but it works fine on a non-touch device. It's a decent OS that builds on Win7. Surface, however, strikes me as very much a Ver1.0 product, and will need some kinks irons out before it sees widespread adoption. I really hope MS commits to it, because I really want one (Surface Pro, assuming I can trick the company into paying for it).


Matto, the cranky old man.

LOHAN's fantastical flying truss takes to the air

Matto in AUS

Re: No beer necessary

Does the rod need to go through the wing? Can the plane just sit on the rods, sandwiched between the bottom of the truss and the rods? If the rods are close enough to the fuselage, that should be enough to hold the plane straight and square as the motor fires.

Interesting either way!


Matto :)

STUNNING NEW APPLE DEVICES that will follow the iPad 3 HD!

Matto in AUS

I think I need one of them.

My piece-of-crap Windows laptop is obviously showing the wrong date. That's how bad MS are - can't even get that right. I'll dodgy it up in the meantime by setting my clock forward to April 1.

Damn it, where’s our NBN scandal?

Matto in AUS

"any journalist giving it a serious play will be inviting the finger of scorn and a face-full of egg."

Whenever I hear a phrase like that, I think ZDNet. Good to see they haven't let me down. It's a SHOWDOWN! Just like the Wild, Wild West.



Matto :)

iSnack 2.0 morphs into Cheesybite

Matto in AUS
Thumb Up

The 7PM Project...

... a nightly "news" program over here in Oz-land (http://7pmproject.com.au), has been running their own poll for the new name. The winner was revealed earlier this week. With over 50% of the vote, the viewers chose YerMumMite to be the new name.

Of course, these are the same people that, when Kraft confirmed the new name, floated the idea of starting a petition to change it back to iSnack. They figured if the company's PR people are so week-willed as to change their chosen name because of some vocal whingers, they may as well see how far they can push them.

No IT angle at all - just enjoy it for what it's worth. Not much happens over here - this is big news.

-Matto :)