* Posts by Duncan Robertson 1

19 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Oct 2009

BT to slap overalls on 1,000 new bods in fibre broadband boost

Duncan Robertson 1
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Re: Engineer

Well said sir! As a Software Engineer and member of IEEE, I wholly concur.

The bloke that fits a bit to the broken washing machine is a fitter or technician. Great Britain has a proud tradition of great engineers: Watt, Brunel, Cockerell - to name a few. These men triumphed where others failed, perspired when others gave up and built the empire we once had and nation we have now. None of these men lay about watching Jeremy Kyle and claiming the dole. Britain, rise up, seek and inspire. We need a new generation of engineering greats!

CIOs on the scrapheap - The Register wants your input for vox pop article

Duncan Robertson 1

CIO - Essential role

We've finally got rid of the shackles of being an extension to the Finance Dept. where "the guy who was pretty good with spreadsheets" landed a job as the I.T. Dept. Let's not let stupid decisions be made, even with the advent of cloud (which is really nothing more than a distributed data centre!), by another bean counter who sees the pound/dollar as the most important factor.

A CIO is someone that needs technical as well as financial vision and this is where many fail. I have worked my way up through the ranks of I.T. from humble field service engineer to consultant wearing many hats and I always go by the rule, "A man's gotta know his limitations" - I believe someone once said that.

We need CIO's that have an understanding not both hands on the purse strings.

Unpatched kernel-level vuln affects all Windows versions

Duncan Robertson 1
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SO refreshing!

To hear the informed opinion of your self and the posters to which you replied!

I'm a Software Engineer as well and can appreciate the nightmare it CAN be to ensure all POTENTIAL vulnerabilities are captured and dealt with accordingly.

Refreshing as well because usually these sorts of stories start with some Linux zealot banging on about how it could never happen on their platform of choice or a Fanboi giving it the same. Well, news for you chaps. It can and does!

Private browsing modes in four biggest browsers often fail

Duncan Robertson 1
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Virtual machine anyone?

Would it not be just as easy to start a virtual machine under something like Sun VirtualBox, do your "essential" surfing then destroy the machine in its entirety afterwards? By "in its entirety", I mean blat it from the config, any virtual disks, etc.

Just floating that one out there as it's what I do and have thought it to be pretty secure. Although, currently downloading "Sandboxie" to give that a try. Nice one "Anonymous Coward - Don't forget "flash cookies"! #"

Dell warns on spyware infected server motherboards

Duncan Robertson 1

Ok, I'll counter...

Firstly, I never stated anything with regard to "sidestepping the BIOS". I think you may find that was another poster...

Each OS has it's merits and faults by virtue that you wouldn't try and play Crysis on a iSeries now would you? Nor would you use Linux for video editing. Would you attempt to run a secure web server using Windows?

Are these merits or a faults. Now, we can get all philosophical about this if you like? However, the plain fact of the matter is that one OS is better suited to the above examples than another. iSeries is not for playing games. Linux is terrible when it comes to video editing. A secure Windows web server? Mmmmm, good luck administering that one!

Linux is a broad brush mate. There are some many different flavours/distros that you need to pick a task for which Linux is suited, then find the best distro to perform that task. Which pretty much means that you have to treat each distro as a separate OS. Again, you wouldn't use full blown Red Hat for a proxy/firewall box, would you? You would use a hardened secure distro such as SmoothWall. Hope that clears up that confusion for you...

Now, the experience question. I have been playing with PC's since I was a nipper. Our first computer was an IBM PC XT - with a Turbo card that clocked it to 7MHz from 4.77MHz. An extra 128Kb of RAM to take it to the magical 640Kb almost bankrupted my dad. He worked for a software house, hence the PC over a Speccy or Beeb B. Back then, all there really was in terms of PC games were text based adventurers such Zork or Hitchhiker's Guide, along with a few Atari ports and other keyboard breakers (as dad called them). Being a little concerned that his sons would indeed break the (probably expensive) keyboard, we weren't really allowed to do much gaming. Long story short, I borrowed "Learning IBM Basic by David Lien" from one of the programmers (there weren't developers back then) and read it cover to cover. Taught myself how to program and ended up doing Software Engineering at Uni. I have worked as a Field Service Engineer for a Third Party Maintenance Company, System Admin on a 200 user Windows network, System Admin on AS/400, Database Admin on AS/400, Developer and Systems Integrator on AS/400, System Admin on AiX boxes, System Admin on Sun boxes, System Admin on LAMP stacks of various sorts, Web Developer, Project Manager and now am a Systems Architect for a Super Major Oil Operator - that's one of the Big 5. I've been around the block mate, is what I'm trying to say. All of the above has been in a professional capacity, I have an avid interest in computing in general, so have a few little projects of my own on at the moment.

Anyway, background over. What all of this experience has taught me is that using the right tool for the job is paramount. All this buttering up and fanfare behind Linux is getting almost as bad as the Fanboi's from the land of milk and no reception. People need to have an informed opinion: not just an opinion. They're like arseholes, everybody's got one...

Oh, and if you are going to have a pop at someone, at least make sure you can spell and your grammar is correct...

That is all.

Duncan Robertson 1

Herby, you're a twat!

Whilst not being a Windows evangelist, it is comments like your that put people off going the way of the penguin.

If you haven't got anything useful to say; keep it closed!

As has been said, it's a Dell problem.

I mean come on, Herby, if your Kung Fu was even half way good, you'd have specified the distro or said something with far more kudos such as i/OS.

Grow up, then we'll allow you to play with a proper computer. Or does your mum not let you out of your bedroom for fear of your hurting yourself?

Sorry for the rant everyone else. I'm just sick and tired of these dickheads banging on about Linux and how good it is. Each OS has its merits and faults dependent on the application for which it is used.

And Herby, yes I have used a fair few of them for the past 25 years from MS-DOS 2.11 on through various flavours of Unix, Windows, OS/400 and MAC/OS - so I think I know what I'm talking about.

BOFH: Little ups and downs

Duncan Robertson 1
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Friday has been brightened again!

The Reg guide to Linux, part 3

Duncan Robertson 1

Here here!

I wholeheartedly agree mate!

The article concentrates on Ubuntu, which is a mistake. An article needs to be written showing why people choose Linux over Windows and why having a plethora of distros to choose from is good. Why is it good? Well, each distro has its strengths and weaknesses. Use RedHat/Centos for Server, Vector/antiX for small footprint, etc.

After this has been done, an article on how to do the basic things that one might want to use RedHat/Centos for e.g. mail server, web server, game server, etc. Then one on what you might want to use a small foot print for e.g. my personal project is turning an old PIII600 into a music jukebox.

After all this is done (and you could go through a raft of distros/applications), you show that Linux is a good thing. A fully configurable, does what it says on the tin OS without the difficult to get rid of general purpose apps and services comprising Windows.

Maybe then, the "black t-shirt wearing pizza munchers" as one poster put it would be gob smacked rather than waving their willy's around and scoring points off each other like some kind of D&D role play...

To make it clear, I love COMPUTING. I use a range of OSes both for personal and work life. I do not subscribe to a single OS because each OS has its uses and strengths - even Windows!!

BOFH: On the couch

Duncan Robertson 1

A Friday treat twice in two weeks!

Superb Simon! And yes two on the "trot" - lovely!

Guy Kewney dies at 63

Duncan Robertson 1

Adding my tuppence

RIP Guy. Sadly missed. Enjoyed the articles whilst he was here.

Guy Kewney, pioneer, guru, friend - RIP

Duncan Robertson 1


Just read the story and am totally shocked. I have been reading IT mags such as PCW since 1985 and always enjoyed Guy's articles. I'm sure I will not be alone in saying that he will be sadly missed by all. Best wishes and condolences to his family at this awful time. I'll be raising a glass to Guy tonight.

Attack code for Firefox zero-day goes wild, says researcher

Duncan Robertson 1

One of the reasons I read the comments on El Reg

is to laugh at the fucktards that post! You have to piss yourself laughing at people claiming to be programmers and vilifying languages, platforms, etc. going on about things like overflows when they can't even spell simple words like "failure".

I mean, come on people! These flaws and vulnerabilities are often caused by circumventing the design process. Proper testing, validation and verification should mitigate most problems with software. However, there will never be the perfect piece of software. Apple fanboi's and Linux guru's - stay down!

I'm not Bill's love child, nevertheless, I do use Windows for certain things like most do. I also use Linux for a lot of things too. In the past I've used AiX and OS/400 where appropriate. This is the entire point. Platforms and languages suited to the task at hand. Testing and verification also suited to the task at hand. I mean there's no point in running Tetris on a super secure OpenBSD box is there?!?!

Arab conned into marrying bearded lady

Duncan Robertson 1

Redeeming features

Must have had beautiful eyes...

WinAmp update fades out critical media player flaws

Duncan Robertson 1


WinAmp is still the best media player around! Always has been and probably always will be. Coupled with DFX as an output plugin, there's no better audio reproduction on a PC for all sorts of formats.

Just my tuppence!

Cameroon leapfrogs Hong Kong in malware hosting blocklist

Duncan Robertson 1
Black Helicopters

Is it just me or...

is there anyone else reading this as Cameron as in David?

Because they'll be after me now... Ha ha, suckers!

Villagers revolt over BT chairman's broadband

Duncan Robertson 1

Leased Line? Don't make me laugh!

Do you realise the cost of a Leased Line mate? Most rural villages (I live in one in Aberdeenshire) are several miles away from an ISP's POP, hence you can count the cost in the serious thousands. Contrary to popular belief, not all village dwellers in the rurals are minted - only moving there for the few acres the horses can graze in. When I first moved up here there was no ADSL so I looked into a 2-way satellite connection. Great connection - if you can afford the latency! VPN is pretty much a no-no.

Took me over 6 months of lobbying BT to get ADSL - long story! However, I now enjoy a 7.1Mbit/s connection - which is nice! Roll on 21CN and ADSL2+!!

Spanish region teaches kids how to crack one off

Duncan Robertson 1
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More education...

I used to own a Mitsubishi Pajero - which is called a Shogun in Europe. The reason it has a different name over here compared to over there is that "pajero" is wanker in Spanish.

Giant megaships to suck 'stranded' Aussie gas fields

Duncan Robertson 1

@AC Friday 9th October 2009 19:04


If you'd read my comment with the attention a few here think it deserved and took off your tree-hugger produced pure cotton fair trade jumper, then you'd have read the last paragraph:

"These ground-breaking ships will allow us the time to research and develop alternative energy sources such that when the time comes, we will have the energy mix we need and not some knee jerk reaction to a perceived problem."

I was not saying that "Oil isn't running out, so let's continue the pollution party". I was saying that, as a few others said, you cannot switch a global economy or transportation system from one fuel source to another practically overnight. These things take time and major investment. The fact that the oil isn't running out buys us this time and investment capacity.

On the Super Majors comment you made... Have you ever been to any of these places? I would doubt it! Guys like Mugabe and Adua were corrupt before Big Oil came along. The whole mechanism by which they assumed power was enabled by back-sheesh. I have been to these sorts of places, in fact I grew up in the Middle East before Dubai became a playground for Beckham. Let me tell you that yes it isn't pretty, however, this is the world we live in. There's 6 Billion of us in it now and not everyone can have a rosy life. That IS life!

As for the mix and green angle, I pretty much agree with Matt89 up there. However, all of you that have taken the time and trouble to comment here should read


Written by a guy in the know who is aligned to the Green movement, however with his sensible head on.

Another thing, both he, I and the majority of others here have posted and used names not like some I could mention. Be proud of what you believe in people and stand up for it!

Duncan Robertson 1

Alternatives. Like?

We are not running out of fossil fuels. Far from it in fact! It's just that it is getting more expensive to extract them. There are plenty of fields out there which require newer technology such as HPHT (High Pressure - High Temperature) extraction methods which are more economical for the specialists such as Cairn or Venture. An operator like BP will have developed the field and then left the remaining 30% to sell on to one of the aforementioned as it is more expensive for them to junk all the kit on the rig and get the required out there.

Before anyone goes off on a rant, I do work in the Oil and Gas industry and let me assure you that there is plenty of the black stuff. A BP joint venture has just discovered a find off the west coast of Africa estimated to be 2 or 3 times the size of the ENTIRE NORTH SEA. That's a fair bit in itself. Also in Saudi they are only producing from 10 (yes 10!) of their KNOWN fields. If the Saudi's alone opened the taps and produced from all 80 (yes 80!) of their known fields, they could supply the entire planet for the next 80 or so years. Imagine if the Saudi's bothered their arses to go out and find more?!?! Also take into account Iraq which has some 30 billion barrels of oil as yet unexploited along with more large finds off the Western Isles and there is a fair amount still out there.

To counter the point about renewables. The Super Majors (that's BP, Shell, Exxon, Conoco Phillips, Chevron and Total) are the biggest investors in alternative energy. They have been for years as well!

We should look to our own government when we talk of carbon capture and renewable development. They seem to have a single focus on wind and I'm not talking about what's coming out of their mouths! Westminster failed to give planning permission for a carbon capture facility at St. Fergus. Short-sighted? I think so! Add to this the now touted £200 Billion investment required to ensure our lights stay on and don't you think that the UK government should have done something about it before now. I certainly do!

These ground-breaking ships will allow us the time to research and develop alternative energy sources such that when the time comes, we will have the energy mix we need and not some knee jerk reaction to a perceived problem.