* Posts by big_D

6567 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Nov 2009

Publisher breaks news by using bots to write inaccurate stories

big_D Silver badge
Joke

Re: The Reg - please don't...

It is the AI that has been pumping the wit into the Register articles all these years. El Reg is our (old) AI overlord!

Microsoft locks door to default guest authentication in Windows Pro

big_D Silver badge

Re: Chaos for Windows Sysadmins

It just means that we don't have to worry about disabling it on new machines, when we configure them - although checking to make sure they are disabled is probably still wise.

All automated processes use documented users with documented rights.

German cartel watchdog objects to the way Google processes user data

big_D Silver badge

Re: In Before...

We have a saying in German:

Der Erfinder von Autokorrekt ist ein Erdloch und sollte sich in Knie fügen!

Loosely translated: The inventor of Autocorrect is an earth-hole and should go grout his knee! (or more British, he should go and grout himself in the arse!)

big_D Silver badge

Re: In Before...

No, it is more along the lines of:

Number 6: I will not make any deals with you. I've resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Good for Germany

The "our website uses cookies" has not been legal since 2019, if the site does more than basic 1st party cookies for keeping the session active and noting where the visitor currently is.

If the site does more than that, it has to offer the ability to reject all (non-essential*) cookies, accept all cookies, or to select which cookies they want. Also, rejecting all cookies cannot be harder than accepting all cookies (i.e. if accept is 1 click, reject must also be 1 click).

* essential cookies include a cookie to say the user has rejected cookies, so you don't have to ask them every time they visit, as are cookies like breadcrumb cookies to allow the user to backtrack their movements.

PC sales slump to pre-pandemic level in Q4. 'Boom' is over, says IDC

big_D Silver badge

Re: It always amazes me how disconnected these "analyists" seem to be from reality.

Also take into account that a lot of big technology companies, especially in the USA, are shedding staff left-right-and-centre. That means that in many companies, the IT departments are being buried under piles of nearly-new laptops.

Sourcehut to shun Google's Go Module Mirror over greed

big_D Silver badge

Re: "2,500 times per hour"

Wouldn't a more sensible method to be to put a push notification into the individual repositories, so that they inform the mirrors that what has changed? They would know immediately what had changed, and when, and they would only need to pull the changed files.

big_D Silver badge

Google DoS

I've been on the receiving end of a Google DoS and there is literally nothing you can do about it.

Our internet connection at work suddenly stopped responding. The modem showed activity, but requests going out timed out. I pulled up the firewall and monitored it, a single IP address was bombarding our internet connection with traffic. We had a 10 mbps connection at the time and it was saturated. I recorded the IP address and did a look-up (over mobile data), it was registered as an address in one of Google's California datacentres.

I tried calling them, no way to get through to a human and just constantly telling me to use the relevant part of the Google website... Only, there was nothing on the Google website about what to do, if Google is DoSing you! So I tried their mail addresses for abuse and webmaster, both returned automated replies informing me that the emails had been automatically deleted without reading. Even pinging them on Twitter didn't do anything. In the end, I contacted our ISP and they weren't happy either, our 10mbps conection was being flooded, but the server was pushing well over 1gbps into their network! They put a perimeter IP block on the address. The first month was free, after that, we would have to pay.

Luckily, we were in the middle of switching providers, so we quickly moved over to the new provider and new IP address. After the month ran out, we didn't extend the IP block. The contract with the old provider ran another 3 months. I checked in, just before the contract was due to end, that Google server was still pumping the gpbs to our address (well, I assume it was still pumping 1gbps, but more than the 10mpbs that the line was capable of).

US Supremes deny Pegasus spyware maker's immunity claim

big_D Silver badge

Re: Hey, look over there

Yes, but they also had lots of support staff and tester, ensuring the code was ready, before it was pushed out the door. Today it is often push it out the door and see what problems the customers have and we'll fix them.

Just look at the Windows printer driver bugs (2021?) it took them around 8 months of patching patches to finally get it right, each patch they pushed out was proven to not be a fix, and often to have made the problem worse, within hours of its release.

big_D Silver badge

Re: "most EULAs indemnify the software producer from culpability"

Yes, expempt.

big_D Silver badge

Re: NSO is an accomplice of every crime committed by its customers

There are already international laws and sanctions against the sales of weapons to some countries and manufacturers or dealers caught selling such technology face prosecution. This is no different, they are not supposed to sell to some regimes and to those that they do sell to, they should only be doing it with valid court orders and they state that they only infect terrorists devices, which they obviously haven't been doing.

Also, AFAIK, they don't sell the product, they sell the service. The "customer" doesn't get the Pegasus "application" and can infect devices with it, they get access to a portal, where they can request a device be infected & then they have access to the data on the infected device.

That is very different to an arms manufacturer, who sells arms to a dealer, who sells to a dealer, who sells to someone, who then illegally smuggles them to a banned country... They have their hands in the deal from start to finish.

big_D Silver badge

Re: NSO is an accomplice of every crime committed by its customers

Those other things you listed have a legitimate purpose, but can be misused.

Pegasus is illegally exploiting bugs in other companies' products to infiltrate unsuspecting users' devices. They also claim that they only sell the products to governments who are using it only for tracking terrorists, yet it is abundantly clear, that they are selling it to shady people and governments and allowing it to be misused.

A car manufacturer sells the car to a dealer, the dealer sells it to a member of the public with a driving license. If the driver then causes an accident or goes on a rampage, there isn't much the car manufacturer can do. In NSO's case, they have knowingly sold access to the software to a dodgy regime and provided a portal, where they can request a device be infiltrated, without the requirement that they be provided with a valid court order from a reputable court.

They are working in a grey zone to begin with and they haven't even stuck to their own rules, by the sounds of the case and the people who have had their devices infiltrated. Last time I looked, the French President wasn't a terrorist suspect, for example!

big_D Silver badge

Re: Hey, look over there

Yes and no.

Software used to be of a much higher quality, because you had to get it as right as possible, before issuing it, because, once it was out, it was difficult to update. No software is ever perfect, but we used to spend months testing new software, before it was released and we would get relatively few bug reports as a result, not zero, but fewer big bugs than we see today.

The problem is, testing is too expensive and too time consuming, so testing teams have been minimised, or scrapped altogether, and, because updates can be pushed out the door at a moments notice, it doesn't matter if there are still big bugs affecting the users, they can be patched on the fly. This has led to a much more laissez-faire attitude in many companies. The scandals, like Pegasus and the increasing crypto malware waves have pushed more light on the slip-shod attitude to security, or quality, but most EULAs indemnify the software producer from culpability.

Two signs in the comms cabinet said 'Do not unplug'. Guess what happened

big_D Silver badge

Re: I was commenting on twitter the other day…

This was 1989, Word on the Mac was okay, but it was probably writing in the background as the cleaner pulled the plug. Whatever, the file was corrupted & I had to re-do the last hour or two's work.

big_D Silver badge

Re: I was commenting on twitter the other day…

I did save my work regularly, after every page... But if the file gets corrupted through sudden power loss, there isn't much you can do but go to the last backup and re-do what was lost.

big_D Silver badge

Re: I was commenting on twitter the other day…

We were getting an expansion to the computer room, half a dozen new microVaxes were to be placed next to the older kit.

The builders were in the computer room, to expand it and put a new hole in the wall for the extra AC piping... What do you need to drill a hole in the wall? Power... How do you get power from in a computer room? You unplug one of the critical systems, that's how!

Another time, I was working late and was indexing a 300 page word document - that involves double clicking words and selecting Index from the menu... Cleaning woman strolls into the office and just unplugs my Mac! WAAH! It corrupted the latest copy, and I was 75% of the way through indexing. I had to open the backup, re-write the last section, then start with the indexing again. I wasn't impressed, to be honest.

Blockchain needs a reason to exist, Boris Johnson tells roomful of blockchain pros

big_D Silver badge
Trollface

Well...

Even BoJo has to be right once in his life, doesn't he?

'What's the point of me being in my office, just because they want to see me in the office?'

big_D Silver badge

Re: Vacation, sick time and PTO

Yes, I am glad there is a legal framework of sick pay and ongoing compensation for long term sickness, here in Germany.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Vacation, sick time and PTO

Wow, that seems barbaric, compared to the system here.

We get 6 weeks PTO, which has to be taken within the calendar year.

On top of that, we have a maximum of 6 weeks per illness at full pay, after which, you fall onto sick pay, which is covered by the health insurance and is paid at 60% of normal salary. There is no limit to the number of illnesses and restarting of the 6 weeks, during the year and you cannot be sacked for being ill. Some years you don't take any sick days (I think I had 2 days due to a work accident this year, last year none), other years, you might be unlucky and have the 'flu, colds, a broken arm etc. all within a year.

A friend had an ileus (bowel closure) a couple of years back and the recuperation time on that can be very long, I think they were off work for a total of 8 weeks, 6 weeks at full pay and a further 2 weeks at 60%.

When I was in the UK, it was similar (although ISTR it was 4 weeks, maybe someone working the UK can give the current allowance), although due to long service at my company, I actually qualified for 3 months at full pay for illness - I contracted a virus that can knock you out for up to 6 months, so I was very glad of the 3 months pay, at the end of 2.5 months, I went back to work and was slowly worked back into doing a full days work, I was exhausted by lunch time the first few weeks, but being worked back in slowly, with a plan from HR, it meant I could take it at my own pace without penalisation and I was back up to a full work schedule without any ill effects within 3 weeks.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Contract clauses

And before you all hit that downvote button, stop and think about what time you first logged into you company systems during lockdown, compared to your actual arrival time in the office before then...

I haven't downvoted, but... I turn my computer on and log in for 8 in the morning. If I drive into the office, I am usually there about 7:50-7:55 and by the time I've powered up the computer & logged on, it is usually 8 in the morning.

It is the same in the evening, 16:30 is the end of the day, home office or in the office - plus a few minutes, if I am in the middle of something. It is very rare that I have to stay later than 16:45, although if I have to help out the colleagues in the US, it can be later, but I then come in later / start later the next day.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Contract clauses

Yes, that is how it works at my current job, in Germany, as well.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Contract clauses

Yes, if manangement are regularly asking you to do overtime, they have screwed up somewhere in their calculations - taken on too much work for the number of employees they have.

That said, the odd dose of overtime to hit a deadline or if there is a major disaster is another matter - but if it is "weeks of working late", the project manager needs to agree a new deadline that works, or get additional staff on board to cover the work that needs to be done.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Contract clauses

I've posted on Twitter a couple of times, but my first CEO (one of the largest IT consultantcies in Europe at the time) gave some advice to the company, when he gave the annual staff meeting:

"If you have to regularly work overtime, your management screwed up. Either they set unrealistic deadlines or they failed to resource the project properly."

Basically, short rushes of overtime at the end of a project, to squeeze it in under the wire is acceptable (a week or so), if overtime over a longer period would be required, the project manager has messed up and needs to extend the deadline or arrange for additional resources.

Likewise, if there is a disaster, it is fine to have all (necessary) hands on deck to get the system up and running again.

In Germany, it is usually "reasonable" overtime in the contracts.

At my current job, we can only do upgrades to our ERP system, for example, outside normal business hours and only when the shifts don't need it - that usually means late evening, when the shift takes a break, or at an agreed time over the weekend. But any accrued overtime has to be taken as time off before the end of the current month (or if it is at the end of the month, at the beginning of the new month), we aren't allowed to carry overtime across multiple months, so it has to be taken quickly. My boss is very punctilious about us recouping our overtime (at time and a half or double time (Sundays)).

Musk tells of risk of Twitter bankruptcy as tweeters trash brands

big_D Silver badge

Re: 80 hour weeks

Makes me glad I work in Europe - contracts must state weekly hours / daily hours (and core period of availability, if it is flex time), contracts can only state "reasonable" overtime, which means not every day or every week from here to eternity, and a maximum of a 48 hour average over 6 weeks (rolling window). That is for salaried staff, as well as hourly paid.

Excessive overtime can be agreed upon, but it has to be a limited time frame (a few weeks at most) and it has to be paid (first 8 hours per week can be seen as the "reasonable" part and not recompensed, but everything over that is "excessive" and will need to be paid or the employee gets time off in lieu. This has to be agreed upon by management, the employees and an employee relations ombudsman. (My daughter went through this a few years back, when her employer were having a tough time and the employees agreed to work extra shifts to ensure the survival of the company, but it was a short term agreement and was reviewed every month.)

big_D Silver badge

He announced it as a 2 stage plan, firstly as a payment processor, but also to store the processed money in the users account and let them spend it on other accounts, or, eventually, remove the money from the platform into a valid bank account.

He was also talking about paying interest and getting people to store their savings in their Twitter account. Hell no, Elno!

big_D Silver badge

My first CEO told me, that if an employee has to regularly work overtime, management screwed up, either they underestimated the amount of work or they didn't resource the project adequately.

So, he has sacked nearly half the staff, then says that everybody needs to do the hours of 2 people... I think his decision to sack people, without actually working out how much work there was was a bit of a silly decision.

big_D Silver badge

Also:

– Musk also said staff should brace for 80-hour work weeks, do without company-provided food and get used to working from the office.

Sorry, any boss who says you have to work an 80 hour week has seriously screwed up his resource management, If you are expecting employees to work 80 hours, that means you have half the staff you need to do the job... Oh, wait, he sacked 50% of the staff... So, his own decisions have brought this situation about and now he expects people to work 80 hours to bail him out? How the hell did he ever get this far?

Boffins find COVID changed the way sysadmins work – probably for the worse

big_D Silver badge

Re: I like lists!

We had team meetings about once a month. Other than that, it was 1-1 calls.

Windows 11 runs on fewer than 1 in 6 PCs

big_D Silver badge

Re: OS X?

iPadOS is separate, so I would doubt it is being included. But the 15% does sound high (speaking as someone who used macOS, Windows and Linux).

ChromeOS collapsed last quarter, with sales dropping off a 30%+ cliff. Linux is around 5%, ChromeOS is under 0.42%, as far as I can make out, according to Kinsta. Statcounter has ChromeOS at 2.38%, behind Linux at 2.6%. Take your pick.

big_D Silver badge

Re: As a Win11 user myself, don't bother if you don't have to!

At this stage, you really shouldn't be exposing Windows 7 to the general network, let alone the Internet (or planning to segregate it, if you pay for the extended support, which runs out at the beginning of next year).

We have some legacy hardware (laboratory equipment) whose controlling software only works on XP or 7, getting a software "upgrade" involves buying new lab equipment that does the same job to the same quality level as the working kit it would replace, at a six figure price. All of the PCs that are used in the labs are segregated from the corporate network and are either stand-alone or on a separate lab network that has no corporate network or internet access.

big_D Silver badge

AdDuplex...

One problem I have with AdDuplex is that they take their figures from the Windows Store downloads/active apps. The problem is, in over a decade of working at various companies, none of them have had the App Store enabled, it is always disabled by policy and all PCs have all App Store apps stripped, before they are delivered to users. That means thousands of PC that I know of aren't delivering any stats, if other companies are also so strict, that probably means 10s of millions of PCs running Windows 8+ aren't being polled.

Tablet, Chromebook shipments come crashing down

big_D Silver badge

Re: Are tablets still relevant?

It depends on how you use them.

I use my phone when I'm out and about, I use the iPad at home, because the screen is bigger and I can comfortably read long form text or see detail in videos, but I don't want to dig out my PC or laptop.

Why I love my Chromebook: Reason 1, it's a Linux desktop

big_D Silver badge
Happy

damned autocorrect! :D

big_D Silver badge

My current company laptop is over 4 years old and still has the original Windows build, it still runs just fine. My 2016 Spectre laptop is the same, works just fine.

The same goes for my Ryzen Linux box, ribbing just fine, no rebuilds necessary.

big_D Silver badge

Sorry, but no...

Chromebooks last pretty much forever. Unlike Windows machines, which have a lifespan of about three years, I still have Chromebooks running that are seven years old.

We tend to replace our Windows systems between year 5 and year 8 at work - heck, we still have a few XP machines from 2007 or so that are managing lab equipment that won't run on anything newer (isolated from the network, of course). At home, my HP Spectre X360 is from 2016 and is still running Windows without any problems. My Linux box is a bit newer, but has been relegated to the cupboard, because it is too energy hungry (Ryzen 7); I currently use a Mac mini M1 and a Raspberry Pi 400 for every day tasks.

But, with your Chromebooks that are 7 years old, how many of them get monthy critical security updates, running ChromeOS? Google generally bins support after about 3-5 years from release date (not purchase date) on older models, newer ones last a bit longer. Of course, you could be putting a full Linux distro on those older ones, to keep them safe, or running CloudReady on those older devices? It isn't clear from the article, how you are keeping them updated - yes, they will still run without updates, but Chrome has had 7 critical zero day exploits that can be remotely exploited just this year, alone.

I am an advocate of OSS software, but also use non OSS software for some tasks, but bringout such guff as the "Windows PCs only last 3 years" is just rubbish and damages an otherwise good argument. Heck, my 2010 Sony Vaio is still in a cupboard and it still works fine, I pulled it out a couple of weeks back to re-program my router, after I managed to mess up the settings on it. I upgraded it to the latest version of Mint, while I was at it.

As to Chromebooks specifically, I would use them, if they didn't use Chrome... ;-)

Amazon CEO accused of trampling labor laws with anti-union comments

big_D Silver badge

The one doesn't preclude the other...

they can go meet in a room, decide how and change it. That type of empowerment doesn't happen when you have unions," Jassy suggested.

"It's much more bureaucratic, it's much slower. I also think people are better off having direct connections with their managers.

There is nothing stopping that happening, if there is a union, workflows can be optimized and you can talk to your manager, even if you are in a union, just it is harder for the company to shaft you, if you have someone backing you up.

I've worked at companies with and without unions, and to be honest, for the day-to-day work and interaction with management, it made absolutely no difference. It only made a difference when they tried to fire people without cause or to bully them, then they went to the union rep and got support...

'Chief Twit' Musk delivers bathroom furniture to Twitter HQ ... but not Tesla results

big_D Silver badge

Chief Twit

Sorry, that position has been taken already. Leo LaPorte has been calling himself the Chief Twit for nearly 2 decades - he is the head of TWiT.

Business can't make staff submit to video surveillance, says court

big_D Silver badge

Re: Good luck getting the money

He now seems to be over at Substack, Something for the Weekend now seems to be "Autosave is for wimps".

https://autosaveisforwimps.substack.com/p/shuffling-robots-wont-stop-the-human

Datacenter migration plan missed one vital detail: The leaky roof

big_D Silver badge

Bringing the house down

One company I worked at used a converted bus depot as a data centre. One nicht, the director was called out of bed, during a heavy rain storm, the whole roof had collapsed, falling on the data centre and, naturally, rain as well.

Meta, Google learn the art of the quiet layoff

big_D Silver badge

Re: An old trick in the US

A lot of employment law came from EU directives, like working time (max 48 hours per week over a rolling 6 week window). The government has already said they will rescind this practice and the 48 hour cap will be gone.

Automating Excel tasks to come to Windows and Mac

big_D Silver badge

Re: wtf?!

The original version of Excel came with a macro language, using XLM, you had to add a special worksheet of type "XLM" in order to write macros in it.

I wrote a timesheet management system in Excel for a factory in 1989 using XLM macros to open the individual worksheets of the employees, pull out their work times and place the results into consolidated departmental and site worksheets.

That was long before VBA came along.

It was actually a great improvement over Lotus 1-2-3 scripts, even if it wasn't a full scripting language, like VBA.

No, Apple, you may not sell iPhones without chargers

big_D Silver badge

Maybe they should talk to Germany and the EU. They claim several thousand tonnes of e-waste saved every year by not including chargers in the box for electronics goods with batteries & using standard USB-C chargers/cables.

My last 2 phones didn't have chargers (Samsung Galaxy S20+ & iPhone 13 Pro). I already had 3 or 4 kicking around (after doing a clean-out and getting rid of around a dozen chargers. Since then, I've replaced a couple of those with 3 or 4 port GAN chargers, so I can charge multiple devices from 1 socket at the same time.

Germany orders Sept 1 shutdown of digital ad displays to save gas

big_D Silver badge

Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

As the OP mistook gas (natural) for gasoline, I assumed he was in the US, so deliberately used US Gallon.

big_D Silver badge

Yes, I already swapped my power hungry Ryzen 7 PC out for an M1 Mac at the end of last year and I power down my NAS now, when I don't actively need it. We are also looking at saving in other areas as well.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

Germany did run some experiments in small communities a couple of years back, turning the lights out around 22:00 and people walking down a street after that could send an SMS to a number on the lampposts, along with lamppost ID and they would light up for a 5 minute period

big_D Silver badge

Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

Yes, our council (in north Germany) has been replacing incandescent street lights with LEDs gradually over the last 5-6 years, it would be too expensive to do it all at once, but when different streets reach a certain age, the "heads" are being switched out. It saves them a lot of money, I believe the more they swap, the faster they can swap out the rest, so the replacement age drops each year.

big_D Silver badge

Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

We usually have around 20°C, but when our daughter visits with our granddaughter, she turns up the thermostat to 22-23°C. That also seems to be fairly standard.

Given that we are already in the 19-20°C bracket and we only heat the rooms we use, I don't think we will be able to save much this winter, so I expect our gas bill will probably double due to the price increases.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Pointless laws are pointless

Given a large proportion of electricity in Germany is powered by gas, and the nuclear power stations are being shut off at the end of the year, it isn't a "someone should do something" rule, it is a critical measure to ensure as much gas as possible can be saved for heating homes or for critical industrial processes, who need it a darned sight more than electronic signage that few people will see, when the shops are closed.

big_D Silver badge

Given the amount of electrical signage - from neon lights to computer powered displays and everything inbetween - yes it should make a difference and every saved cubic meter of gas is a cubic meter of gas that can be diverted to industrial processes or heating homes, instead of idiotic things, like electronic signage in shops that nobody really sees or cares about, when the shop is closed.

big_D Silver badge

Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

Yes, shutting down the computers is part of the reason for doing this. There will be a huge shortfall in gas this winter, so measures are in place to save as much as possible. As a lot of gas is used on power stations, turning off all unnecessary electronic devices (or unplugging them if they only have a "soft off" an no physical power switch that cuts supply) is a big part of that.

In addition, public buildings will only be heated to 19°C here and the government recommends private homes (at least gas and electricity powered heating) should also be reduced to 19°C, likewise the hot water temperature should be reduced as far as possible (50°C is the hard limit due to Legionnaires Disease, we dropped ours to 52°C to have a safety margin).