* Posts by jtaylor

208 posts • joined 12 May 2010

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'It's really hard to find maintainers...' Linus Torvalds ponders the future of Linux

jtaylor

Re: re: where to begin

"The question has to be whether Torvalds has created a self sustaining and managing bureaucratic framework to hold the whole thing together."

Indeed. This is called "succession planning." Many fine organizations have fallen at this hurdle. Linux will need someone with excellent organizational and interpersonal skills to make it through; this is not a problem that can be solved with code.

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good

jtaylor

Re: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

"There's not the same joy in taking pictures with a computer."

Indeed. For me it's a mental thing. With my FTb, ASA 200 film, and a prime lens, a photo happens in my mind and my body before I press the shutter. With my D200 and super-zoom, I can just take a forgettable photo and delete it later.

But you know, DSLR and a basic lens, see what I get in 24 shots, no chimping, and the magic is back.

jtaylor

Re: The smartphone is not the problem...

"This scares people away from using them; many kids today have never actually owned or even handled a real camera and wouldn't consider buying one."

I don't blame them. "Real" SLR and prosumer cameras are covered with buttons, dials, and levers. My first experience was like trying to use a Rubik's cube: a little clueless fiddling could get you lost for days. Hold down this button, spin that dial, and exposure compensation is -3.0. Try to fix it and now flash is set to front-curtain sync. But hey, at least you didn't make the lens fall off like last time.

I struggle to explain how to use an SLR. "Here's the Auto mode setting. Keep it there until you want to learn theory." Aperture Priority if they want to get creative. And then if they ask, I talk about catching light in a bucket.

jtaylor

Re: Exposing nostalgia

I love my Olympus XA. It's a rangefinder with Aperture Priority, made to carry in a pocket.

There are so many wonderful little details: the shutter is a magnetic reed switch, so there's no "kick" from the shutter button. The timer is set with a little lever that, not at all by coincidence, swings out to stabilize the camera if you place it on a flat surface. The lens is quite nice even at f/2.8.

You can tell it was made for Real Photographers to carry everywhere and Make Images.

I just don't shoot much film any more.

Maybe there is hope for 2020: AI that 'predicts criminality' from faces with '80% accuracy, no bias' gets in the sea

jtaylor

Re: Criminality

Indeed!

Crime is not an innate physical characteristic of a person* so it's flawed to use that as a predictor. Of course, crime is experienced and managed in a social context, and those contexts are often biased.

There is also a huge variety of crimes, of varying severity and with varying consequences. And as you noted, there's no universal list of crimes.

Although it's unfit for profiling future crims, I'd love to see this study used to understand our social biases.

*Some characteristics are criminalized, like race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, but that's deeply unpleasant and I hope it wasn't the point of this paper.

Must not be the season of the switch: Someone flipped the you-know-what in global ethernet switch and router supply chain

jtaylor

"You know all those employees working remotely now? They're all connecting to this old VPN server which can't handle the load. A lot of our staff can't do their jobs until we buy a new one. Here's a vendor quote.

And now that we're routing all calls through the external VoIP gateway, our Internet link is literally line-of-business. We need a bigger pipe and a new router with advanced QoS features.

With so many people connecting from home, our perimeter is really not going to keep out security threats. Here's a proposal for a network-wide IDS and endpoint security system."

With crisis comes opportunity, and not just for salespeople.

Ooo, a mystery bit of script! Seems legit. Let's see what happens when we run it

jtaylor

A sysadmin friend and I were swapping war stories about managing mail relays.

Friend got a CPU alert for their Sun E250 Postfix servers (this was a few years ago). They logged in and found that a certain dev had sent some hundred thousand messages to their own pager. My friend didn't see anything that required intervention, and logged off.

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen

jtaylor

Re: ...there is an Alexa in the kitchen...

"When I used to visit people's houses"

Don't leave us in suspense like that. Why don't they let you visit any more?

Repair store faces hefty legal bill after losing David and Goliath fight with Apple over replacement iPhone screens

jtaylor

Re: Technically you don't "own" a device

I think we agree, though I would choose different words.

When I purchase an item, I have certain consumer rights, like a warranty. I also have certain property rights: for example, the manufacturer cannot take ownership without compensation, and I can re-sell the item. Apple can cancel my license to use their software, but they cannot send a bailiff to take my Mac.

It's exactly those rights which are under attack by some manufacturers. I believe that they attempt to muddy the waters, and we must maintain that distinction between ownership and license-to-use.

I hope that John Deere ends up on the wrong side of the law so unpleasantly that VolksWagen celebrates how lucky they were.

Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

jtaylor

When I lived there, the locals pronounced it Wooster with the "oo" as bigmacbear says, from "book."

That was back when the Paris Cinema was a disreputable smutty theatre downtown. City Hall spent years wrestling with the Paris to shut them down. The Paris added lime Jello and jumped right in.

Publishers sue to shut down books-for-all Internet Archive for 'willful digital piracy on an industrial scale'

jtaylor

"They certainly may have breached your copyright privileges. I'm not sure how you can claim that they have stolen from you. What do they now possess that you do not?"

Control over their intellectual property. Future revenue. Possibly future research or publishing contracts.

It's hard enough to make money as an author. Heck, if you look at the hourly income, it can be hard to justify even doing the work. Authors get whatever is left after retailers, distributors, and publishers take their money.

Of all the things to attack about the publishing industry, I wouldn't start with the authors.

jtaylor

Re: But what about...

What about finding it in a library?

This is not a new problem. Books have been rare, specialist, or out-of-print since forever. That's why Inter-Library Loans exist. It's why libraries have rooms to study materials that are too precious to leave the building.

I know how much nuisance this can be. In extreme cases, you might have to travel and negotiate for access to the book (if it's in a government or university library and not available on loan). Yes, it might "not be worth it" but that's not a reason to break copyright.

Software bug in Bombardier airliner made planes turn the wrong way

jtaylor

Re: FAA vs logic

"Refusing to permit a software fix for a software bug. And the vendors are presumably ready and willing to do the recertification."

According to the Directive, the manufacturers suggest that pilots just avoid doing things that trigger the bug. The FAA says that's not good enough, and the function should be not be used until the bug is fixed. Further,

WR Ryan stated that this matter is not serious enough to warrant an AD. The commenter also stated that this issue is being exaggerated, as Collins will eventually fix the problem. The FAA infers the commenter wants the FAA to withdraw the NPRM. The FAA does not agree.

cmd.exe is dead, long live PowerShell: Microsoft leads aged command-line interpreter out into 'maintenance mode'

jtaylor

Son of DCL?

I still miss the Digital Command Language from VMS. The inline help system was good. Commands had many features, so if you knew how to do what you almost wanted, you might find that same command had another option that made you happy. It had a very rich logical and lexical system. Command lines tended to be verbose, but that also meant they were easy to read. And the error handling! You could see not just that your command failed, but where and why.

It's quite different from UNIX. I could make the same unflattering comparisons that we're making with PowerShell now, and appreciate both sides.

Anyway, I'm curious: is PowerShell much like DCL? On the surface, it has some common elements, but I haven't used it enough to really understand.

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

jtaylor

"I think both Airbus and Boeing should have pilot overridable anti-stall systems. (And in Boeing's case, non-automatic massive trim adjustment.)"

They do. Pilots can choose lower levels of automation. The Ethiopian pilots disabled (cutout) the automatic trim when they suspected a fault in the automation.*

"The novelty of actually flying an aircraft not relying on faulty AOT sensors and other sh*t..."

Novel to whom? Anyone with IFR, including all commercial pilots, are trained to fly "partial [intrument] panel". If it really goes to hell, they can just set Pitch (degree of nose-up) and Power (engine setting) and the aircraft will go pretty much straight ahead. This will hopefully give time to troubleshoot why the Angle of Attack sensor, speed sensor, windshield, etc, are unpleasant.

Take an exploration flight at your local flying school. You'll find there's an awful lot of common sense and an awful lot of Plan A/B/C and an awful lot of "that seems like a good idea, but here's what really happens and why." The details can be overwhelming, but I think you'll be much reassured that airplanes are pretty well designed and that pilots are well prepared to fly them.

*p15 of the Interim Report http://www.aib.gov.et/wp-content/uploads/2020/documents/accident/ET-302%20%20Interim%20Investigation%20%20Report%20March%209%202020.pdf

jtaylor

Re: The software is just a fig leaf

"Readers here will be familary with the idea of a software workaround to cure a system design issue."

You mean like TCP retransmits to handle lost packets? Or automatic choke in a car? Sure.

"The fundamental problem that the MAX had, the 'out of control trim' situation where the plane found itself unflyable with the cockpit crew unable to correct it, is something that's been lurking since the earliest models of the 737."

The 737MAX "out of control trim" problem is MCAS. That feature is new with the MAX. The earliest 737s in 1967 did not have anything like MCAS. Previous generations of the 737 have had problems, like the rudder, but I don't know of a persistent runaway trim problem. Perhaps you will enlighten us.

jtaylor

Re: What will insurance premiums be ?

"it should have been redesigned, but that would have taken it out of spec as far as 737 pilots certification....They were afraid that the training need would have reduces sales"

You're not far wrong. Redesigning the landing gear and related parts (like wing storage) would have changed too much from the 737 Type Certificate, so the plane would have required all new FAA certification. The product, not the users. Training was also a concern, but independent of the TC. Airlines didn't want to pay for training, and Boeing offered to save that cost.

"so they pushed the engines forwards which made the plane unstable, so they came up with a software bodge to correct the instability. Unstable: engines in front of the center of gravity, so more thrust pushes the airplane nose up."

They did move the engines forwards, but that wasn't the problem. "Center of Thrust" is often not at the "Center of Lift." The problem was that 1) Boeing kept the same "pilot feel" to avoid retraining, 2) To maintain that same pilot experience, they added a feature (MCAS) to alter control behavior...and didn't tell pilots, 3) They used insufficient hardware for MCAS, 4) They botched the MCAS software, and 5) They made safety-critical alerts an optional feature for extra cost.

Pilots could be trained to fly the 737MAX without MCAS...just as they could be trained to fly the A320NEO.

If the 737MAX were a pizza, Boeing changed some ingredients. But then added Chrome Yellow so that customers wouldn't be put off by the color. And conned the regulator into letting them not mention it on the label.

Stop tracking me, Google: Austrian citizen files GDPR legal complaint over Android Advertising ID

jtaylor

Re: Google are so full of it

'"in the case of non-account holders, Google does not have the means to verify the identity of data subjects from an Advertising ID" - so they do have the means for 99.9999999% of Android users.'

I agree that Google probably can identify people, but that's not what they said.

Legal statements are risky. No matter what you say, someone will try to use it against you; the less you say, the better. Google gave a very narrow answer, no doubt choosing their least-unfavorable case and hoping to limit the conversation. If their answer were less narrow, maybe they would have to admit something, but it wasn't.

Infosys fires employee who Facebooked 'let's hold hands and share coronavirus'

jtaylor

Re: Valid policy

"If all healthy people were to be infected,we could be back to normal within 2 weeks."

I heard an interview with a doctor, who was asked whether this idea has merit. He replied that it certainly does.

He explained that if COVID-19 were to hit the entire population at once, it would quickly lead to herd immunity because it spreads quickly and survivors of coronaviruses develop immunity.

He noted that the reason we aren't doing this is because, as a society, we're not prepared to accept the high number of people who would die as a result.

Incidentally, the disease outcome isn't a binary "dead" or "back to normal in weeks." Research has found patients with reduced lung function after recovering from COVID-19; it's not yet known whether full recovery will happen. I know an otherwise healthy person who got sick and several weeks later, hasn't recovered sufficient lung function to do more intense exercise than an occasional walk.

Astroboffin gets magnets stuck up his schnozz trying and failing to invent anti-face-touching coronavirus gizmo

jtaylor

Re: There's a reason why astronomer study things....

LDS, same here! When I started university, I hung out with some of the astrophys majors and got scared that I might become one of them.

Wonderful people, but their sense of reality was more negotiable than mine.

Fancy that: Hacking airliner systems doesn't make them magically fall out of the sky

jtaylor

Re: I would be interested to find out

"a combination of over-speed alarm combined with a stall warning."

Confusing indeed! That's beyond my training, but I believe you normally level the wings and revert to flying "pitch and power." Whatever it's currently doing, an aerodynamically stable craft (like a passenger plane) will settle into level flight if you give it moderate engine power and trim it to fly slightly nose-up. Pilots are drilled to know the precise settings for their aircraft.

jtaylor

Physical feedback is not something that pilots rely on. Not in an Airbus or Boeing or Embraer or Cessna.

Even in a small aircraft, I learned right away to not confuse control input with results. If you're flying with the idea that "I'll just push and pull and my job is done" then you're dead.

The same principle works in a car, by the way. Do you maintain speed by monitoring the position of the control pedal? Do you stay in your lane by watching the steering wheel? If someone told you they crashed the car because their accelerator pedal lacked proper feedback about road conditions, would you blame the car manufacturer?

So how do pilots know when they are in control of the aircraft?

They communicate. "I have control."

They are aware of the other pilot: are they responding properly to communication? "You have control."

They stay aware of the situation: attitude, altitude, speed, direction, engine power, nearby solid objects.

They use the controls and stay aware of how their inputs affect reality. I just pushed down a little: did the pitch change? Why not? Scan instruments again and outside. Push the priority takeover button and try again. Consider possible trim problems or even partial control failure.

After 1.5 million days of computer time, SETI@home heads home to probe potential signs of alien civilizations

jtaylor

Re: Pure fiction

"1.5 million days of computer time and nothing found."

Did you read the article? They've stopped processing data and are starting to analyze what they have. Most scientists wait until after analyzing data to announce their conclusions.

How many times do we have to tell you? A Tesla isn't a self-driving car, say investigators after Apple man's fatal crash

jtaylor

Re: Because in California there are no victims

"shifting responsibility to a game or the car is the reason everything sucks now."

I share your sentiment, but I think we must find a way to improve the situation. The driver was clearly at fault. He won't make that mistake again. And our roads aren't measurably safer for it.

Where I live, most people treat driving as a right, not a privilege. The bar to entry is low and renewal requirements are almost purely financial. If you qualify in a small family car, your license entitles you to drive a 24' moving truck. Crashes are relatively common and being "at fault" means your insurance rises, not that you are disqualified from driving.

Aviation has a deep cultural emphasis on safety. Owners are directly responsible and liable for condition of their vehicles. Pilots are directly responsible and liable for safe operation of vehicles. If a pilot is involved in a mishap, the burden is on them to show that they acted reasonably and safely. Accidents are not random events: we can understand the causes, we can observe patterns, and we can often predict future problems. And therefore, we can act to prevent them.

I don't think drivers would accept being held to aviation standards, but heck. It's not a technical problem, it's a social one.

jtaylor

Re: Take a lesson from railways

"one criticism of many modern cars is that there are no separate controls for in-car systems any more, just a touchscreen."

Indeed. When I was recently shopping for a car, I told salespeople that I cannot safely operate a touchscreen while driving*. If a feature requires me to use a touchscreen, it will be inaccessible to me. That certainly limited my options, but in the end I got a good, reliable car with safe controls. (The same car in higher trim puts stereo and climate controls behind a touchscreen.)

*I don't know anyone who can, but that's not something to argue with a salesperson.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save data from a computer that should have died aeons ago

jtaylor

Re: you're at risk of forgetting about it

Do you mean this story? It was a classic.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/04/12/missing_novell_server_discovered_after/

Xiaomi what's inside: Wow, teardown nerds find debut smartwatch isn't actually a solder-and-resin nightmare

jtaylor

Re: I found out how to get the screen off a Xiaomi Amazfit...

"an accident with a wallpaper steamer in a confined space."

Oh, my. That buggers the imagination. What happened? You can post anonymously.

Oh ****... Sudo has a 'make anyone root' bug that needs to be patched – if you're unlucky enough to enable pwfeedback

jtaylor

Re: SUDO and +s is a design weakness

"Why, for instance, couldn't a specific non-root user have rights over installing S/W in /usr/local?"

Just make a group that contains the users you want to be able to write to /usr/local, and chown the directory to that group. I don't think Linux can handle nested groups, which is a nuisance.

Of course, that basically gives the person root access because they can replace parts of the OS with Folger's Crystals that will then be used by everyone else, including the root user.

I prefer that the Specific Non-Root User install software in a subdirectory of their home directory. If they want to let others use the software, they can set permissions to give those others read+execute rights. Best of all, none of this requires special permission from the server admin. If compiling from source code, just build it in the location you choose. RPM packages use an environment variable to make it very easy to do exactly this. I assume that Debian packages have similar.

Artful prankster creates Google Maps traffic jams by walking a cartful of old phones around Berlin

jtaylor

"Lets say you wondered about the pros and cons of a certain vaccine (actual reports of harm/reactions vs the risks from the illness it maybe prevents). A straight search engine would give you results that are directly related to what you want, perhaps weighted by page popularity."

The current situation is not so different from your "straight search engine," but the result is slightly dystopian. Search engines, and online profiling, try to give you more of what they predict you want. If you're searching for "vaccination risks" then you'll tend to see results that were preferred by people who have fears about vaccination. Those results might skew more towards the infowars end of things rather than NIH or WHO or NEJM sources.

Search engines take our confirmation bias as input and attempt to satisfy it.

Brits may still be struck by Lightning, but EU lawmakers vote for bloc-wide common charging rules

jtaylor

Re: Why state “charger”?

"forcing an arbitrary standard for anything other than safety rarely delivers user benefits..."

In my car, I need Lightning (personal phone), USB-C (work phone), micro-USB (dashcam) and mini-USB (satnav). I don't ever power more than 2 devices at once, but I still have to carry a different cable for each one. Annoyingly, I can't even install that many cords under the trim.

Little grouse on the prairie: IBM's AI facial-recognition training dataset gets it in trouble... in Illinois

jtaylor

Re: "using photos of millions of people in Illinois without informing them"

"It seems to me BIPA and CC are in conflict here."

It does seem that way. Fortunately, private contracts cannot override statute law. It doesn't matter what IBM agreed to with Person X, that still doesn't exempt them from the requirement to get permission from Persons Y and Z before using their biometric data.

This all falls on IBM: either they didn't ask permission, or they asked people (CC or the photographers or someone standing in line at the deli) who were obviously unable to give that permission.

Beer necessities: US chap registers bevvy as emotional support animal so he can booze on public transport

jtaylor

Re: The service animal scam is about to come to a very abrupt end

"if having a dog means you don't need to take anti-depressant medication, is that enough to qualify the dog as a "real" support animal"

I never considered that before. I always saw ESAs as just pets with extra training. Thanks for giving me something to think about!

"most of the regulations against (say) dogs are based on unsound motives...because they don't get to charge ludicrous fees to transport them... and use their staff's tired "a dog bit me once" line as a justification (penalize the owners of dogs who bite, not everyone)."

I actually have some sympathy for places that restrict animals. I've travelled with service dogs, and yes it is often difficult and occasionally unpleasant to just get basic access, but it's also scary to see other dogs as potential threats. That yapping Yorkie in a handbag shows me that animals weren't properly screened before entry. That Doberman with service dog vest might be helping a disabled combat vet, but might also just be a poorly trained pet (most pets are poorly trained to work calmly and confidently in crowds and public transport) and could lash out if we get too close.

After a service animal is attacked, it can be traumatized and unable to work (see above comment about calm and confident). This isn't just oh poor mutt needed stitches, this could make it impossible for their human to live independently.

It's not that people who lie about service animals intend to cause harm. Their dogs probably didn't bite anyone yet. They just don't understand that their actions have serious consequences for others, and transfer all the risk to people with real working dogs. So yes, "someone I know was once attacked by a fake service dog" is something to take seriously.

You're not Boeing to believe this: Yet another show-stopping software bug found in ill-fated 737 Max airplanes

jtaylor

Re: Isn't THIS why we've got to teach 2nd-graders how to "code", rather than how to think?

"If the aircraft aerodynamics are still legal without MCAS, that’s ok but why bother with MCAS in the first place?"

Cost. Airlines put a high value on not having to train for the new model. MCAS reduced training costs to just a short differences course that is quick and doesn't require either sim time or check ride.

Remove MCAS and you have to do more training. Of course, if you have to train to deal with MCAS failures, maybe that bridge has already been crossed.

Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly? It's about to be screwed for... reasons

jtaylor

Sonos grasped the wrong end of the stick

...when they decided that after they make a sale, that person ceases to be their customer.

We all know companies that treat a sale as the start of a relationship with that customer. They liked the ravioli? Tell them how proud you are of the gnocchi and bring a sample that they'll remember next time they decide to dine out. That iPhone is nice, isn't it? Imagine if you had an iPad at home, and could switch to a bigger screen when your grandkids Facetime you.

I bought a car, and the dealership is my new best friend so they can "help" me with maintenance and questions.

Sonos, though, sees their revenue comes from replacing broken products rather than enhancing them. Their customer relationship includes reaching out and breaking what those customers bought in the past.

It's a no to ZFS in the Linux kernel from me, says Torvalds, points finger of blame at Oracle licensing

jtaylor

Re: The problem is not Oracle (for once)

"Under the BSD license you can take my code, roll it into your proprietary product, hide the source or implement secondary restrictive licenses and sue ME for copyright/licensing breaches on code I helped write."

Huh? Which BSD license did you read? Here's an example from FreeBSD: https://www.freebsd.org/copyright/license.html

Copyright 1979, 1980, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement:

This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors.

Blackout Bug: Boeing 737 cockpit screens go blank if pilots land on specific runways

jtaylor

Re: Seriously going with the shrapnel story?

"the crash leads me to believe that the pilot probably just set take-off power, and left it at that power level for a bit too long and caused the turbine to overheat and eventually fail."

Keep reading. It's not that simple.

Takeoff at 06:12, crashed at 06:18. Source: various news reports agree

Engines: CFM56-7

Source: http://www.b737.org.uk/limitations.htm#Power_Plant

The take-off thrust, with the associated limits, shall not be used continuously more than 5 minutes. The duration may be extended to 10 minutes in case of engine failure in multi-engine aircraft. If the duration exceeds 5 minutes, this shall be recorded in the engine log book.

Source: Type Certificate Data Sheet on file with EASA, page 20 https://www.easa.europa.eu/documents/type-certificates/engine-cs-e/easae004

Even if the pilots ran the engines at TOGA power all the way into the ground, it wouldn't exceed the engine certification.

You should also learn about failure modes when engines go overtemp. They can certainly be damaged (this is why the event is logged, because the engine should be inspected), but that's more likely to result in excess fuel burn, oil consumption, and higher risk of future problems like an In Flight Shut Down (IFSD, each of which are recorded and tracked). The engine doesn't suddenly explode and set the aircraft on fire because you drove it hard for an extra minute.

jtaylor

Re: QA?

"I'd like to see the contents of every deleted message between the QA engineers and their managmenet..."

That's ambitious. I couldn't even show you the deleted emails between myself and my own manager.

Stack Overflow makes peace with ousted moderator, wants to start New Year with 2020 vision on codes of conduct

jtaylor

razorfishsl said "Why should i be forced to pander to a potentially mentally ill individual and reinforce their delusion?"

1) I don't know why you think you're being forced to pander to anyone.

2) "Potentially mentally ill" is a very curious phrase. Many people experience mental illness, just like many of us experience physical illness. Sometimes it's acute (death of a loved one), sometimes chronic (depression, PTSD, long-term unemployed). I have learned to not assume about the health of others.

You worry about whether someone else is potentially ill? Do you find yourself avoiding situations that might expose you to someone who's ill, to the point where it affects your well-being or removes you from activities that you usually enjoy?

Cheque out my mad metal frisbee skillz... oops. Lights out!

jtaylor

Re: The kind of boss I like to work with

Years ago, I was a field tech in the financial industry.

One particular Major Financial Company was known for both strict adherence to detailed procedures and for following any major problem by firing someone pour encourager les autres. Their technical staff were excellent until upper management walked in. Then they'd scatter, devil take the hindmost.

A few minutes into any troubleshooting call, we'd be interrupted by some VP at $Major who demanded to know what broke, why it wasn't fixed yet, and who broke it. I learned to thank them for coming to help, explain the problem at a high level, and give my name and company. Then I'd say that my job was to get them back up ASAP, and for that we needed a separate conversation that was purely technical. Fire me tomorrow, but tonight we have work to do. It worked.

To this day, I don't know if my manager stopped all those lightning bolts or if the shouty VPs saw me as a useful idiot and realized that nobody wanted to take my place.

Log us out: Private equity snaffles Lastpass owner LogMeIn

jtaylor

Re: Are you worried?

tl;dr Citations needed

"It seems 90% of the people in this thread...[do not] know anything about how AES-256 bit encryption works...do not understand the basic principles of encryption and cryptography."

Many cryptographic weaknesses in software are in flawed implementation, not poor choice of encryption algorithm. We don't know exactly how LastPass implements encryption, nor how their future updates will implement it. I think that caution and skepticism are healthy in this situation, Why do you think they indicate gross ignorance of the subject?

"Saying that open source is better is just ridiculous. Most people compile opensource in compilers that have in-built backdoors"

Well, open source lets us see exactly how the product implements encryption. Skilled people can identify weaknesses in the code or spot dubious dependencies. Plebs like me can read what the clever folks have found. We can also notice if the vendor suddenly replaces parts of their encryption with Folger's Crystals, so we know to run for the hills.

Which compilers do you know are back-doored?

Deadly 737 Max jets no longer a Boeing concern – for now: Production suspended after biz runs out of parking space

jtaylor

"Why not just have 4 smaller engines instead of 2 big ones?"

That's a fair question. It's because efficiency scales with engine size. The purpose of the 737 MAX was to be more efficient.

Also, cost scales roughly with number of engines. Unless the half-size engine is made with half the number of parts, manufacturing isn't radically cheaper. Cost of maintenance doesn't change much with size, either. And with more engines, you have more engine-hours per flight-hour, and thus a higher rate of engine problems per flight-hour.

If Boeing had built a "747 MAX" instead, maybe we wouldn't have these problems. Airlines wanted a cheap twin-jet, though, so that's what Boeing made. They just cut costs in some really stupid ways.

jtaylor

Re: good idea to design a passenger plane needing active computer assistance to stay airborne ?

It sounds like you want to avoid Full Authority Digital Engine Control.

On the 737 MAX*, computers control the engine operation. The pilots can start the engine, command thrust, or shutdown. They can see temperatures and shaft speeds, but have no direct control over individual parts. Imagine your car if they took away the manual choke and added electronic ignition.

MCAS isn't required to keep the aircraft in the air. If the pilots are trained on the 737 MAX**, they can fly without it. Hell, it's probably safer with MCAS disabled.

Active yaw damping is another situation where computers "actuate controls without input from the pilot." If that malfunctions, you just get seasick. You don't die. So we'll leave that.

Engines, though. It's hard to stay airborne without engines.

*possibly most other modern airplanes too

**extra training is exactly what airlines did not want

It's 2019 so, of course, this Wells Fargo employee accused of stealing customer cash posed with wads of dosh on Instagram, Facebook

jtaylor

If the car is repossessed, doesn't it get sold, the lender is paid off, and any remaining money is returned to the erstwhile owner?

Buzz kill: Crook, 73, conned investors into shoveling millions into geek-friendly caffeine-loaded chocs that didn't exist. Now he's in jail

jtaylor

Re: Mercedes

"Any thing with your name on it is advertising which you will pay me for."

I completely agree. However, when I inquired at a dealership, the salesman replied that the car was for sale in its current condition. Could he help me find another vehicle? If I really wanted modifications to that car, I should inquire with the service department.

I bought from a dealership that advertises only on the licence plate frame. Problem solved.

Canada's .ca supremo in hot water after cyber-smut stash allegedly found on his work Mac ‒ and three IT bods fired

jtaylor

Re: Question for the community

Fair points. In my experience, it comes down to company policy and is a civil matter. "Illegal" is more a test of whether the activities are criminal.

IT often has broad authority to access, and to a certain extent audit, computer use within the normal performance of work duties. For example, if someone's hard drive is getting full, I'll look for what is using disk space and ask whether it should be moved or deleted. If someone has network problems, I'll check if the security software or the web firewall has blocked access. If I replace someone's PC, I'll copy their files to the new computer and will try to place them where the person will find them. If I'm working on an email problem, I sometimes have to look in email messages..

You can see how we sometimes view personal data without intending to spy.

There are also times when I've been asked to act on specific employees: audit their web activity, give another employee access to their mailbox or home directory, that sort of thing.

The corporate policies that permit IT to access company computers also require IT staff to follow reasonable orders (and be ready to leave if you think they are unreasonable.) Don't abuse computers or people. Report violations as appropriate.

I can't fault the IT staff in this situation. They gave the CEO a chance to walk away and, when pushed, acted to protect themselves from being complicit.

ERP disaster zone: The mostly costly failures of the past decade

jtaylor

Re: Nobody will be honest about costs, that's why

It's not all on "those consultants;" people choose who they ask for advice.

I've had clients ask for something and I honestly tell them "Don't do it. It doesn't work that way and you won't like the results." Sometimes we talk about their other options. Sometimes they hold on to their dream, and shop for someone else who will sell it to them.

This is not unique to IT, of course. I've had managers do the same internally. And we probably all know someone who shops for doctors who will agree with their (diagnosis/feelings/need for addictive meds).

Tricky VPN-busting bug lurks in iOS, Android, Linux distros, macOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, say university eggheads

jtaylor

Re: config changes

I am so sick and tired of software that changes my configurations without telling me - I do things in there for a reason.

There's no simple solution. Configurations are "correct" only in the context where that decision was made. When that context changes, often the "correct" configuration must change too. There are already ways to insert yourself into that decision loop. If you aren't doing that, then you're also not ready to make the decisions.

On a practical node, If I install software or enable (or disable) a feature, it's not reasonable for me to manually find and troubleshoot every fiddly OS setting to make it work. And then maybe discover that my configuration has weird problems because it was never expected or tested by the software developers.

"Okay," you might say, "software can play with the default settings, but leave the ones I explicitly changed!" What about the settings that you explicitly left at the default? What about interactions between settings?

Since the FCC won't act, Congress finally moves on robocalls by passing half-decent TRACED Act

jtaylor

Re: The SOLUTION to Spam/Scam Calls

Lovely way to deal with spam callers.

I disagree with your priorities, though. When we're driving, Job One is to be safe and responsible. You're compromising that in order to talk with a nuisance. I hope nobody is injured as a result.

(Hands-free has no effect on how we pay attention. The hands-free driving laws are just a way to Be Seen To Do Something without inconveniencing customers.) https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/tools-resources/infographics/hands-free-is-not-risk-free

Totally Sardonic Bank: Well, it must be, to have a TITSUP* the same week as THAT report

jtaylor

Re: Over-used statements

Worse, #1 is often, as in this case, "We apologize for ANY inconvenience caused." It grates my nerves when an apology starts by refusing to acknowledge that a problem really does exit.

#4 "higher than normal call volumes" is a pet peeve. It usually is exactly as you describe. I won't beat up the person trying to help me over the phone, but I raise it if they brush off my concern. "Your hold message announces that you have a sudden surge of customers calling for help. If you cannot help me and are unaware of any incidents, please give me a warm hand-off to your supervisor."

Bad news: 'Unblockable' web trackers emerge. Good news: Firefox with uBlock Origin can stop it. Chrome, not so much

jtaylor

Re: Who to block?

just fire off an email to report each detection direct to ICO

The Internet has a limitless supply of fools and self-entitled people who would lower the signal/noise ratio beyond anything useful.

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