* Posts by Electric Panda

178 publicly visible posts • joined 26 May 2010


Google CEO Pichai: We need to up productivity by a fifth

Electric Panda

Re: Depressing

I know someone who went through a discipline case for a £350 corporate charge card bill he didn't pay on time because of a cockup on the expenses claim. They eventually took the money out of payroll and the bill was settled.

Six weeks later they started the discipline process, with misconduct hearing. His MD demanded from HR (he was a senior MD and had clout) how much money had been spent on investigating something that had already been sorted - they came up with a figure of nearly 10x what the original now-paid bill was.

He gave them some blue air and warned them against that sort of nonsense in the future.

GitHub Copilot may be perfect for cheating CompSci programming exercises

Electric Panda

Re: how many times has your boss asked you

It's a common joke I've seen in the comments of YouTube videos about 'coding interviews be like' and so on.

Interview: use an online whiteboard to show us how to balance a Red-Black Splay Tree in O(n/3) amortized time. Then, assuming we have a circular buffer queue of n elements and you want to find how many times the letter "A" appears on the heap, how many apples were sold in Grantham last year?

Actual day job: Updating the test cases for org.FeckarseIndustries.Java.JavaClasses.JavaPackages.EnterpriseStuff.IEnterpriseFactory.IEnterpriseFactoryFactory.JankyRubbish.OldStuff - this was of course written in Java 5 back in 2010, long after Java 5 was EOSL.

Electric Panda


Back in my day, people were caught using jad to decompile the lecturer's supplied Java Class files (used to test our solutions) and expose the grading criteria. They weren't failed or marked down but departmental policy changed after that.

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram deplatform themselves: Services down globally

Electric Panda

Re: Seems to be more than just FB and associated crap. The Reg is a bit treacly too.

Same here. Lots of timeouts and appalling slowness on stuff that normally works fine.

Electric Panda

Other issues?

Anecdotally, I can also say that my BT Mobile 4G and home broadband have been very flaky this afternoon and evening. Extremely slow at times.

Wondering if there was a wider issue out there on the internet somewhere.

IBM ordered to pay £22k to whistleblower and told by judges: Teach your managers what discrimination means

Electric Panda

What will happen to the apparently rogue managers in this story? My guess is "Sweet Felicity Arkwright".

I don't expect them to be punished internally by IBM for losing this tribunal and embarrassing the business, but then again, IBM has been mired in so much negative publicity at one time or another that I guess they don't care.

Electric Panda

Re: targeted by four managers within IBM

IBM have now been so badly embarrassed by this that surely these managers will now suffer (if there)?

You'd hope so.

'Azure appears to be full': UK punters complain of capacity issues on Microsoft's cloud

Electric Panda

Office365 is also wobbling today. I have been having intermittent Outlook and Teams connectivity issues since about 10am, as have my colleagues on different ISPs in their own homes.

HMRC's HTTPS howler: Childcare payments site cert expired at 1am on Sunday, down for hours

Electric Panda

Re: Feature Request

Don't get me started on Change Management.

At my company they seem hellbent on ousting HR from their "it's actually us who run the company and not the Board" perch.

'We've done it, we've wasted further time!' Judge raps HP over Mike Lynch court scrutiny

Electric Panda

This case feels like a ridiculous, long winded fishing expedition.

It looks like HP know fine well they have nothing, hence the 'strategy' adopted by Rabinowitz is to take the scenic route in trying to concoct a character assassination on Mike Lynch and see about tripping him up, not proving any actual wrongdoing. This is the clear impression I am getting based on the reporting here.

The judge is fed up and that is not where you want to be when trying to win a case.

IVE HAD ENOUGH! iQuit. Jobs done. Jony cashes out at Apple to run his own design biz

Electric Panda

Little will really change

Apple will just continue to commission Ive's company, he will continue to design Apple products under a different name.

The only difference is he can charge what he likes and has them over a barrel. They will continue to use him, because who else is there? Complete freedom and Apple will feel themselves more or less constrained to take it or leave it.

He is now also available to design for others and can thus sell his services elsewhere.

Unionised BT workers reject plans to revamp pay, grading structures

Electric Panda

Re: Time Warp?

Correct. The current BT Centre building was only opened in time for privatisation in 1984 and is very obviously not the original building.

The "telephones" have been headquartered on that plot of land since time immemorial, but the modern BT HQ building is only 35 years old.

Capita: We are seeking staff to join our board. Just two please

Electric Panda

If they are being "invited", then I wonder what criteria is being used beyond the 24 months of service. I suspect stellar performance ratings and people who are already senior in prole terms.

Does anyone else detect a faint aroma of bovine faeces? Of course they're going to pick handwavey non-technical types and you bet one of them will be female.

Sacked NCC Group grad trainee emailed 300 coworkers about Kali Linux VM 'playing up'

Electric Panda

The VM issues sound like misconfiguration and technical incompetence, something which she could easily have sorted out by asking around and taking the advice she was given. The other laptop issues might well have been related to iffy hardware; again, something NCC should - and apparently did - make some effort to resolve.

It just sounds to me like she was considered a combination of "trouble" and "lost cause". She wasn't playing ball with the graduate scheme and its expectations, she wasn't meeting the required standards, she was perhaps being insubordinate and less than professional. None of this bodes well for a potential "security consultant" whom, like all other consultants, need to be able to work well with people and perform to a high standard and produce high quality deliverables for their clients. And all of this can easily lead to exasperation on the part of other staff who would then, for want of a better expression, just give up on her.

UK chip and PIN readers fall ill: Don't switch off that terminal!

Electric Panda

Not sure if this is linked, but the card machines at my office canteen and on-site shops were all painfully slow today.

It was causing such big queues that some of the tills went cash only just to hurry people along.

Stress, bad workplace cultures are still driving security folk to drink

Electric Panda

Re: Curiously American

Exactly the same at my $BIGBLIGHTYPLC.

People claim "I'm on annual leave, no access to e-mail, contact Tom Dick and Harry". In reality, they're just working from home on reduced and strange hours. CC them into an e-mail and if it's important enough they'll reply as quickly as if they were actually at work.

IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

Electric Panda

Treating CEOs like royalty and tiptoeing around them is something that never sat well with me. Even the politicians prostrate themselves in deference to these people, so who really runs the show?

They are just human beings doing a job, with a job description to meet and duties to discharge. They are no more or less a company employee than Jim in building maintenance or Sophie in HR.

I can also relate to earlier comments about the CEO being disconnected and shielded from the realities of what is really happening on the ground, perhaps being fed nonsense by their inner circle. If this is the case, then surely the CEO is not effectively managing the company. I guess it really can be "lonely at the top" if basically all of your peers are yes people, or various people of similar rank and status. How can you possibly empathise or understand what's happening on the ground?

They also said this about North Korea under the now-deceased Kim Jong Il. Senior officials just lied about stuff (and the lies percolated upwards) because they didn't want a bollocking for things being bad, despite it being bad purely because of Kim Jong Il. And he believed it because he knew no different.

Deck the halls with HALs: AI steals the show at Infosec Europe

Electric Panda

Security is another passing IT bandwagon and people will soon get bored of it. It is already becoming boring on account of it seeping into everything, everyone being an instant expert, everyone talking about it... it's like politics in that you just cannot escape anywhere you turn.

The job market will stabilise, salaries will drop to the usual dismal levels, the recruiters and academics will move on. Most security jobs are already extremely boring or require a wizard-level of technical competence - and that doesn't get you promoted.

We've already had: software engineering (which was the default for all graduates circa 2009); "Big Data"; "Cloud"; "DevOps"; and now "Security". Security is rolling past and into the distance, so stick your thumb out and flag down the next bandwagon.

The big question is what the next bandwagon will be. Machine Learning and AI both sound like safe bets.

The hits keep coming for Facebook: Web giant made 14m people's private posts public

Electric Panda

I cannot believe people still use Facebook after all of this. Not only is Facebook itself toxic, the way people use it is toxic.

Social media has just fuelled narcissism, bullying, depression, you name it. Yet people never stop.

Kill the blockchain! It'll make you fitter in the long run, honest

Electric Panda

Blockchain is yet another daft IT bandwagon hype trains and I'm getting mighty sick of those.

I am now exploring alternative careers to escape the iT industry entirely. It'll mean a pay cut and a lot of hard work, but I'm absolutely well up for it.

Visa Europe fscks up Friday night with other GDPR: 'God Dammit, Payment Refused'

Electric Panda


Bet you it was something to do with a SAN that lead to a database issue. That is usually covered in the postmortem for banking systems.

UK 'meltdown' bank TSB's owner: Our IT migration was a 'success'

Electric Panda

Re: Ever read a lessons learned document?

Rumour I've heard is a successful migration but the subsequent upgrade has gone wrong.

A sort-of RBS situation.

Electric Panda

It'll be like the household name megacorp I used to provide my services to.

Under normal circumstances, you could barely move for suffocating red tape and doing the simplest of things was like staging a military operation to be viewed by the Queen.

Ridiculous acronyms (often used in wildly different contexts - no, not that "IFA" used by the backup team, the other "IFA" used by the firewall guys etc.), impenetrable processes with "beware of the leopard" approach to documentation and how this process actually worked, hand-offs between five different teams when it could and should be done by just one etc. This was the norm until something was considered "high priority" and would be exposed to millions of paying customers, or seniors set an arbitrary deadline.

At that point things became suspiciously efficient. No lead times, the red tape was swept aside, no silly interpretive dancing through utterly byzantine and farcical processes - and everything was relentlessly escalated. Any jobsworth who stood their ground was absolutely trundled over.

To be honest it was very refreshing and in retrospect I do wish it had happened more often.

Electric Panda

Re: 19:00, day 4, still broke

You know, it's totally terrifying.

RBS nearly packed up in 2012 because of their computer issues. Apparently, all that saved them was the fact that the botched upgrade had only been applied to Natwest and Ulster Bank leaving the main RBS retail arm untouched.

Had that also gone wrong, that could have sunk the entire RBS Group as they would have no transaction history. You don't recover from something like that.

Electric Panda

Re: 402 customers?

Clearly some kind of race condition and bad session management. Should have been picked up at UAT and probably pentest.

Electric Panda

Does anyone want to place a bet on what the root cause of this actually is? What part of the migration seems to have gone wrong given people are seeing the wrong data entirely?

Some people on another site say they are seeing mortgage arrears worth millions of dollars. Yes, dollars, and millions thereof.

Millions of dollars of mortgage arrears shouldn't even be on the Lloyds or TSB accounts database - so where the hell did that data come from? An overflow perhaps?

Prof Stephen Hawking's ashes will be interred alongside Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin

Electric Panda

There's likely another reason for this...

There is another reason why his family might want his ashes interred in Westminster Abbey and it's very simple: Hawking had a large following of very strange people and a public grave in a Cambridge cemetery (there's one off Huntingdon Road that contains the remains of other high-IQ individuals), containing his intact body, would attract these people and it would turn into a ghoulish shrine. Think selfies, inappropriate behaviour, perhaps some crackpot with a spade. At the end of the day, Stephen Hawking was a brother, husband and (grand)father who deserves peace and dignity in death.

Westminster Abbey is much easier to secure and in some ways a bit more discreet. There can be plenty of public tributes and memorials to Hawking, but his final resting place is nobody's business. The fact that he's interred alongside other scientists is a fitting tribute in itself.

And contrary to popular belief, Hawking wasn't an arch-atheist at all. I doubt he would have complained too much at the prospect of being interred in a religious building.

IBM swings axe through staff, humming contently about cloud and AI

Electric Panda

Re: Loyalty?

Interesting you should mention being underpaid. One of my personal friends accepted a job outside of IBM and handed his notice in - instant retention offer with respectable pay rise beyond that of his new job. No other discussions were had, it was almost robotic. He's still at IBM to this day, although he's thinking again of leaving.

This is in the UK by the way.

WhatsApp is to hand your phone number to Facebook

Electric Panda

I am 30 years old and have absolutely no time or tolerance for social media. Does this make me weird?

Non-police orgs merrily accessed PNC without authority, says HMIC

Electric Panda

Re: List

I suppose the Gangmasters Licensing people might be looking for criminal records and doing their own DIY background checks rather than doing it properly. The others, I don't have a clue.

Electric Panda

Re: SO. That's interesting, then.

Apparently not. That truly beggars belief.

It's 2016 and now your internet-connected bathroom scales can be hacked

Electric Panda

More pointless IoT cloudy bollocks, what a world we live in where just about everything is "smart" (an oxymoron if ever I saw it) and connected to the net for the hell of it. Pure gimmickry with a security model worthy of the year 2000.

Call me old fashioned, but I still use a notepad and pen to keep track of things like my weight.

UK web host 123-Reg goes TITSUP, customer servers evaporate

Electric Panda

So, a bug in their script reported some customers as having no VMs running when they actually did? And the "cleanup" job was to simply nuke the apparently spun-down VMs that weren't actually spun-down but were live?

Shoddy stuff. VERY dangerous thing to automate IMO, they should have just used the script to generate a report and take it from there.

Disney World-area University admits massive data breach

Electric Panda

Re: What was the name of the Operating System?

Probably some snarky thing about it *possibly* being a Windows estate. This would never happen on Linux ferlubalubalub.

LinkedIn sinkin': $10bn gone in one day as shares plummet 40%

Electric Panda

The big problem is that most recruiters on LinkedIn claim to have read your profile, but actually haven't.

My profile might contain my experience as a train driver (that's not what I do, but take it as an example). I say "No more train driver roles, please. I'm bored of being a train driver and I want to branch out into train maintenance".

10 messages a day offering me train driver jobs identical to the one I'm currently doing. They have a "great client" lined up and this is "a great opportunity for someone with my skillset". This message has been sent to maybe 50 other train drivers hoping someone will bite. A colleague of mine received an identical message from the same person an hour after I did.

Pope Francis' first act in America: Halt iPhone 6S, 6S Plus deliveries

Electric Panda

Perhaps His Holiness favours Android?

Facebook frees Messenger from its gilded cage

Electric Panda

Déjà vu

A messaging service available on mobile that only requires a phone number?

What a jolly good idea!

A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

Electric Panda

Re: Anyone care to place a bet?


I wasn't the only one who was shocked and horrified to see Apple attempting to launch a system without a floppy drive. How could that ever possibly work? Are they mad? Well, now look.

No optical drive? I also thought that was a truly stupid idea... until my employer recently gave me an upgraded Lenovo ThinkPad. Sans optical drive. I don't miss it because we build workstations through PXE, although for that reason you'll have to pull my Ethernet port and conventional NIC from my cold, dead, hands.

Apple do have a proven track record of coming up with outlandish ideas and successfully steering the market in their direction. I, too, wondered what they'd been smoking when the iPhone first landed with no Flash support. What utter stupidity, how could that possibly work? Again, look at how things eventually turned out.

Electric Panda


Apple are fragmenting their product lines far too much, going a full 180 on what Lord Jobs spake many a time.

The watch is useless. Overpriced garbage, a problem looking for a solution. And because of that it will sell millions.

It's the FALKLANDS SYNDROME! Fukushima MELTDOWN to cause '10,000 Chernobyls' in South Atlantic

Electric Panda

Some say...

That from the hole shall come a 1991 grey Porsche, registration mark H982 FKL.

FREAK show: Apple and Android SSL WIDE OPEN to snoopers

Electric Panda

iOS 8.1.3

I can confirm iOS 8.1.3 is also vulnerable. No doubt a fix will magically appear in fairly short order.

Apple Watch 'didn't work on HAIRY FANBOIS, was stripped of sensor tech'

Electric Panda


The health features and likely integration with the iPhone Health app was my only reason to even consider buying one of these.

FAIL, because...

Who'd be Target's infosec chief? Tesco CIO joins hack-battered firm

Electric Panda

Scan-as-you-shop was heralded as the future and some kind of amazing revolution when it came to Tesco. Interesingly, it appeared I'm the only person who remembers using Sainsbury's near-identical Self Scan offering back in... wait for it... 1999. Oh well, every little helps and all that. The fact that Target's previous bod took retirement after just one year probably speaks volumes for the mess Target's systems are in.

Back on topic: I haven't tried for myself, but am reliably informed that Tesco are a plain text offender.

Lizard Squad threatens Malaysia Airlines with data dump: We DID TOO hack your site

Electric Panda

Re: User data remains secured

That "joke" was unintentionally clever. 9M-MRO (the MH370 aircraft) was... wait for it... the 404th Boeing 777 ever built. Seriously, look it up.

Back to more serious matters: yes, it's entirely possible there was something more nefarious going on underneath what was ostensibly a mere defacement. Although serious hackers don't like to draw attention to what they're doing by pulling obvious stunts like this, it's entirely possible that these guys were doing something much more serious and the 404 was to either a) take the piss or b) detract attention.

Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro

Electric Panda

Re: Still too expensive

I remember the good old days of Mac vs PC trolling. No matter what Apple produced, you would always find it was far too expensive for what it was, and somebody invariably had an equivalent no-brand Windows PC which was 17x more powerful and cost but thruppence.

Get ready for LAYOFFS: Nadella's coma-inducing memo, with subtitles

Electric Panda

Re: "We help people get stuff done."

True dat.

Word 2003 was a dream. Did everything perfectly.

Word 2007 had my blood boiling. Simple tasks took 5x longer because it tried to help you TOO much and just got in the way, formatting was a nightmare, things just jumped around all over the place, it pretty much drove me into a rage. The ribbon was a disaster zone where the most commonly used and basic of features were pretty much buried underground and impossible to find. Rolled back to Office 2003 because Excel wasn't too endearing either.

Word (and Excel) 2010. Big improvements, but still not as good as the old days. MOST of what irritated me about 2007 had been improved, fixed, or removed entirely. The ribbon gave up most of its secrets, essential and simple features took centre stage once again.

Office 2013? I don't like seeing ALL MY MENUS IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE IT LOOKS AMATEURISH. I don't like my professional office suite looking Fisher Price with lots of big, chunky, coloured buttons. I don't like basic functionality being hidden away... yet again.

Even GTA V had a joke on one of the radio stations about a large software company making every version of their word processor more expensive and harder to use than the previous one. Microsoft, take note.

Travel website Hotel Hippo yanked offline after data leaks spotted

Electric Panda

This is outrageous. Reminds me far too much of those DELIBERATELY broken web apps that are used as penetration testing assault courses... in fact, quite a few of those I've seen don't have such obvious and trivial flaws in them.

The name "Hotel Hippo" even sounds like a joke.

Vodafone to spend £100m on 150 new Brit phone shops

Electric Panda

I'm cursed in that our corporate plan uses Vodafone. It's rather amusing to be standing in front of a poster advertising Vodafone's new 4G service in a given area, watching as my phone fights for dear life to get 3G and four bar signal. Meanwhile a friend sat opposite me with an identical handset on EE or O2 is getting full bars and LTE.

Priorities much? Vodafone are hands down the worst network I've used in the UK and I at least now know not to move my personal contract to Voda when it expires in October.

Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

Electric Panda

The whole thing is silliness

I've never understood why there's this sudden fetish to turn EVERYONE into coders, or where it even came from? Not everyone wants to bang out code all day every day - I work in a technical IT for a FTSE100 and I honestly hate writing code.

UK CompSci degrees have been pumping out armies of mediocre code monkeys for years and years now. I'd say 80-85% of ALL CS grads I know, regardless of their academic pedigree, now do software engineering or development of some kind - if often follows that those who don't, make a point of telling everyone they don't and in some cases even moan about it feeling like their job is somehow lacking as a result. Why do we suddenly need more and why are we starting them earlier?

The market is already saturated and salaries are falling. Stop this silliness and start producing computer scientists and general computer enthusiasts rather than yet more sodding code monkeys.

This whole thing is like teaching children how to fry, boil and poach eggs rather than how to cook more generally. They desperately need a broader and more versatile skillset.

North Korea to switch on the interwebs

Electric Panda

North Korea was apparently advertising BGP routes at one point. There is full Internet connectivity which may still be going through China, but possibly not, and within North Korea itself (i.e. not Kaesong) only a very select few high ranking officials have access - even then it's monitored heavily. It seems only the Kim family and their close inner circle have totally unrestricted and unmonitored access.

Did anyone see that BBC Panorama about the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) recently? It already offers completely unfettered access to the Internet... however, it's monitored not by technology but a woman sat in a chair. You have to say in advance which websites you want to visit and pretty much everything is forbidden, especially foreign news and social networks.

You'd think they would have hooky Blue Coat or some other kind of filtering/proxy, but apparently not. I reckon it's deliberately designed to promote Chinese-style self-censorship out of fear.