* Posts by usbac

305 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Oct 2010


Aviation overhaul bill passes US House... for the third time


Re: An obvious solution

No, your memory is not bad. As I mentioned, DUATS could print out NOTAMs just for your flight plan. The OP above was suggesting publishing all NOTAMs in something like a daily newspaper.

That is a bad idea for many reasons: the sheer volume, needing up to the minute data, etc.


Re: An obvious solution

Way back when I learned to fly, before the internet was widely available to the public (before Al Gore invented it, I mean), we didn't have easy access to electronic versions of the Notices To Airmen (NOTAMs). They were given to you when you called in for your weather briefing. You had to write down any pertinent information on your notepad along with the weather information. Granted, I'm sure they were electronic on the FAA's side, we just got them over the phone.

At one point, there was an FAA contracted system (DUATS) that you could call with a modem and a terminal emulator. From there you could print the NOTAMs. But, as people have mentioned, there would often be a long list of NOTAMs, most of which may not affect your flight, and they would all print together leading to a big stack of paper. So it was better to just take notes anyway.

The NOTAMS are specific to your route of flight, yet they can be many pages long even for one short flight. Printing all of the NOATMs for the entire US would be like printing an 800 page phone book everyday.

As wafer demand dries up, foundry revenues head for a cliff, we all celebrate


Re: Is it Good News for the UK ?

It's funny, I needed some chips recently, and the only vendor that had them in stock was in the UK. So, I'm still waiting to get them. None of the US suppliers had them in stock.

Strange times...

FCC calls for mega $300 million fine for massive US robocall campaign


These guys need to be in Jail, in addition to the fines.

Being one of the 1% sucks if you're a Rackspace user


Re: I just wonder ..

While I agree that Exchange is a total nightmare, if you have the right backup software, it can be done without too much effort.

Back when we had an on-premise Exchange server, we had Exchange specific add-ons for our backup system. I had the ability to restore anything from the complete information store, to an individual email. And, yes I tested it regularly.

I often had to restore email folders that people accidentally deleted (most users were set to clear deleted items on Outlook close - storage issues). I restored full mailboxes a couple of times where people had left the company years ago, and suddenly some exec needed to see the mail in the box.

I did a test restore of the full information store to a new Exchange instance a few times, just to make sure it was possible.


Re: I just wonder ..

You're assuming a backup was actually done. Without a backup, how do you do Step 2?


Re: I just wonder ..

At my previous job, one of my last projects to finish before I left was to complete the migration away from Rackspace. I closed out the last business we had with them about a month before I left. They were really great at one point, but started rolling downhill fast.

We noticed it when all of the really good support people were leaving one by one. We had senior support people that we worked with regularly, and every few weeks, we would call in, just to find out that the person we were asking for was gone. Then, they completely off-shored all of their support. That is when we really started moving services fast.

Server broke because it was invisibly designed to break


Re: Audi electrics, oof

I had a '77 VW Scirocco with the same great fuse box design. The one where the PCB traces would burn out before the fuses. It required replacing most of the wiring harness under the dash to change it. Some genius decided that instead of having a few connectors on the back of the box, the wiring would all be soldered to the back side of the PCB.

They were horrible to replace. As a teenager with no money, I had to do it myself. I sold the car shortly after that. Unfortunately, my "upgrade" was was a '78 Triumph Spitfire!!


Re: It is a fine idea

Yeah, I woke up on the other side of the room a minute or two later!


Re: It is a fine idea

When I was about 13, I learned why they make special high voltage test leads when I tried to measure the cathode voltage on my vacuum tube o-scope with normal test leads!

Corporate execs: Get back, get back, to the office where you once belonged


Re: I don't think it is uniformly true

Same here. Our "office" is merely an address for billing purposes. It is about 1600 miles away from me.

Our entire staff is scattered across the country. I have the freedom to move anywhere in the country I wish (even out of the country is possible). I would never even consider a job that requires ANY time in the office at this point.

I really don't miss the noise, the gossip, the office politics, etc. At my previous job, I had an hour long commute each way. I left that job because, after a year of working from home due to COVID, they called everyone back to the office full time (for no good reason). I had been there for 17 years, and built all of the IT infrastructure, including writing a bunch of business critical software. I'm never going back to that world.

Equinix to cut costs by cranking up the heat in its datacenters


Re: We make a rod for our own backs...

Take it apart and look at the polarity of the large filter caps on the input. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out which pins are + vs -.

Longstanding bug in Linux kernel floppy handling fixed


Re: 1.9MB floppies

I last used floppy disk (5 1/4) to boot my original Apple ][ about two years ago. I was selling it off on ebay, and wanted to make sure it worked okay. I had a couple of original Apple DOS disks dated 1979 on the label. They still booted just fine (I cleaned the drive very well before trying it). The old Apple powered up and worked totally fine. I even had an old Commodore color CRT monitor for it that originally came with a Commodore 64.

Someone paid what I would consider a ridicules price for the thing on ebay. They were happy to get it, and I was happy to have the space back in the garage (and the cash too).

Rackspace rocked by ‘security incident’ that has taken out hosted Exchange services


Re: Business Continuity

I can confirm the three to five year time frame. I think about five years ago is most accurate.

My former employer was a heavy Rackspace customer. Rackspace's support used to be outstanding. I've been in the IT filed for over 35 years now, and Rackspace used to have the best support I had ever seen. That all ended about five years ago, however.

It started to become obvious when you called support, and found out that very good support people you have worked with for years, are suddenly not there anymore. People change jobs, so the occasional person moving on is not that surprising. However, when you see most of the really good techs are gone, you know you have a problem.

Then, after dealing with entirely US based support (and being told by the sales-weasels that all support is US based), they move most of their support offshore. At that point, we started moving all of our systems to other providers. When I left, there were only a few minor services running at Rackspace. Exchange had already been moved well before I left.

Aviation regulators push for more automation so flights can be run by a single pilot


Re: Bank of mum and dad

Back many years ago, I was on track to become an airline pilot. I was paying for all of my own training. While I still lived at home, my parents could not afford to fund my training. So, since I had low living expenses, I worked a full time job, and spent most of my income on flight training.

This was before the (moronic, in my opinion) 1500 hour rule change. This was a bunch of politicians needing to look like they would "do something", and they destroyed the future of the airline industry in the process.

You need 250 hours to get a commercial license, which is what allows you to get paid to fly. In the old days, you could eventually get a right-seat job at some of the regionals with 300+ hours. You needed an ATP (which requires 1500 hours) to work for the major airlines (all airlines now).

Now, there isn't nearly enough work to be found to fill in the gap between 250 and 1500 hours. Paying your way out of pocket for the full 1500 hours will cost you at least $275,000 at current aircraft rental rates. Flight instructing on the weekends will never get you there. Also, keep in mind that the regionals are notoriously low paying. Who is going to invest $275,000 to get an $22,000 per year job?

I ran out of money just trying to get from the 155 hours I have, to the 250 mark. And, that was when I could have found a job at 250 hours (it's nearly impossible now).

This is how I came to work in IT now.

Koch-funded group sues US state agency for installing 'spyware' on 1m Android devices


That's the real problem here. I don't see any real consequences for the people that approved this. If you or I installed malware on millions of people's phones without their permission, we would be going to jail for it. I want to see state officials going to jail!

I know that will never happen, but this kind of thing will continue until someone does go to jail.

Apple sued for collecting user data despite opt-outs


Where did the "Corrections" link go?

Shouldn't this "The defendant and his legal team" read "The plaintiff and his legal team"? Don't they teach anything in school these days!

No, I will not pay the bill. Why? Because we pay you to fix things, not break them


Way back in the late 80's I set up my grandfather's first computer system for his office. We bought him an original IBM PC XT. I installed a Shugart 5MB hard drive in it (full height 5 1/4"). I was a teenager, and that was the first hard drive I ever installed. I remember you had to have a custom EPROM programmed for the specific drive you were using to put on the controller card!

Shortly after, I recommended one of these fancy new things called a "Laser Printer" to replace the noisy and temperamental daisy-wheel printer he originally bought with the PC. We got him a brand new HP LaserJet II.

Fast forward to a couple of years later, and building that his office was in burnt almost to the ground. It was a historic 100 year old (at the time) Victorian mansion along the river that had been converted to offices. There was an electrical fault in the old phone system's power supply. He was more upset about the beautiful old building burning than losing his office.

After the fire investigators got finished with their work, we were allowed into the building to salvage what we could. We got to where the PC and printer had been. The wood desk was mostly gone. The printer and PC looked mostly intact.

I took all of the equipment home, and set it up outside (the burnt smell was absolutely horrible). I looked at the printer, and all of the paper in the tray was mostly just ash. I dumped out the ashes, and wiped the tray clean. I put some new paper in the tray, wiped the control panel enough to be able to read the display, and powered up the printer. I went into the menu and selected to print a self test page, and it actually printed the two pages. The first one was covered in a lot of soot, but the second one looked totally fine. Literally, a whole 3-story building burnt down around it, and thing still printed just fine. I wished later on that I had taken some pictures of it where it was in the rubble of the building. People told me I could have sent the pictures to HP. HP was a much different company back in those days.

The insurance company ended up replacing the printer, along with the PC and other equipment anyway. There was no way to get the horrible small out of any of it.

Also, the data on the old Shugart hard drive survived!! That turned out to be a huge bit of luck, since almost all of his paper files were lost.

US orders safety recall of Tesla Cyberquad-for-kids ATV


Re: Seriously?

Is it too early to start selling my replacement motor controller on Amazon?

Payment terminal malware steals $3.3m worth of credit card numbers – so far


Re: Bad programming for the POS

I work in IT security, and I have been there with trying to secure payment transaction systems.

As mentioned above, there is NO EXCUSE for POS (an appropriate acronym if I've ever seen one) terminals / PCs to be allowed open access to the internet. NONE! If these terminals need to be able to browse, that needs to happen through a very locked-down proxy or a firewall acting as a proxy.

As for the server side, trying to secure the connection can become a nightmare. I've been in a situation where the payment processor is using several AWS data centers for their infrastructure. They can have thousands of IP addresses that handle payment transactions. One vendor couldn't even give us a list of addresses. They told us that even they weren't sure what all of the addresses are (DNS and load balancer fun)!! How is that for scary?


"As with all security loopholes, there are things businesses can do to thwart POS malware infections. Implementing a strict password policy tops the list, followed by installing software updates promptly — no major surprises there. They also suggest companies use network defense products, firewalls, and whitelisting to keep intruders out."

I have an idea, how about securing your f***ing VNC and RDP? Neither of which should be exposed to the open Internet!!

Papa John's sued for 'wiretap' spying on website mouse clicks, keystrokes


Re: These Italian Suits Are Fitting

In the US, there are 11 states that require consent by both parties to record a call (California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington). These states are known as "two party states". There are fairly strong penalties for violating them.

This is why you frequently hear a message like "this call may be recorded for training purposes..." when calling a business these days.

Delivery drone crashes into power lines, causes outage


"While 2,000 locals lost power for around 45 minutes, an additional 300 were left in the dark for three hours so Energex workers could be sure there was no damage to the lines, Donald said. "

So, are those 2,000 people going to be compensated by Google for their outage? Especially the 300 people without power for three hours!

How about the utility company that had to respond to the incident?

It's about time these companies be held responsible for this moronic idea of using drones to deliver packages.

Meta told to pay $175m to walkie-talkie techies for infringing IP


Re: Dubious at first blush, but...

The regular POTS telephone lines do full duplex over a single copper pair. I don't remember ever seeing a system that required four wires (two pairs) for full duplex. Granted, I only know telephone technology back to the early 70's.


"The idea was that, in a manner reminiscent of a walkie-talkie, the recipient could begin listening seconds after an audio or video message begins, while the sender continued to talk (rather than only being heard after it is recorded and sent)."

If only we had some means to talk to each in real time other over long distances before this innovative new patent was issued. We could have called it something like a tele-phone...

Morgan Stanley fined $35m after hard drives sold with customer info still on them


Re: Unwiped Surplus PCs

Last year I bought a fairly new Dell PC on Ebay. It apparently came from a large law firm, because it had a DVD in the drive that contained 3+GB of their client case files. I just shredded the DVD.

They removed the hard drive to prevent the disclosure of data, but no one checked the DVD drive!

Twitter whistleblower Zatko disses bird site as dysfunctional data dump


You know you have really screwed up, when politicians from both parties actually agree on taking action against you.

I think the comment about how nearly any twitter employee could take over the account of all of these Senators really got their attention focused.

NASA reshuffles dates for Artemis I launch attempt


The last time I did some rough calculations, I came to the conclusion that NASA could have paid all of the workers (their own, and the contractors workforce) a decent wage to stay home and do nothing, and still would have saved a lot of money. I think the using up of expensive materials and supplies, is what makes the number work.

Just think of what could have been accomplished with things like open source projects, if all of the engineers and software developers could have spent their time doing useful stuff while getting paid by NASA to "not build spacecraft".

Chemical plant taken offline by the best one of all: C8H10N4O2


Back a long time ago when I worked for a managed services company, I had a client that was an analytical chemistry laboratory. Their in-house network admin became a good friend of mine.

One day I was over working on some switching hardware, and he asked me for some advice getting spilled coffee out of an expensive keyboard. I asked him "you guys probably have a water de-ionization system, don't you?". He answered "yes, we have a fancy new system that takes up a whole room". I told him "go and get us a few gallons of DI water"

He brings back a few jugs of DI water, I grab a big flat plastic tub, and we set up the tub full of DI water on his workbench. He looks at this with a great deal of suspicion when I tell him that he can wash keyboards in this water. So, at this point I grab the keyboard from his powered on workbench PC, and I'm about to drop it in the water...

He yells "Noooooooo..." as I drop the keyboard into the water. The look on his face when I reach into the water and start typing on the keyboard was priceless. When he saw that the keyboard was working totally fine, under water, he couldn't believe it. Their DI system could produce water in the tens of gigaohms range, so there was really no risk at all.


The famous "Mouse Balls" memo:


Goodbye, humans: Call centers 'could save $80b' switching to AI


Re: Okay, AI chatbots - so how would this work out ?

Someone I knew years ago had a somewhat similar situation. They were doing some fairly major landscaping work, and despite having all of the utilities marked as legally required, managed to take a chunk out of an unmarked gas line.

They called the local gas company to report the problem, and after spending about 45 minutes getting bounced around, finally got a repair person on the phone (with gas shooting up in the air the whole time). The repair person told them it would be Tuesday before they could get out there (this was on Saturday morning). You could hear the the gas jet several blocks away.

They told the repair person "I'm going to toss a lit match out the front door, I can guarantee you will be here within minutes after that!".

When I got there, I told them to just hang up and call the fire department. That is what we ended up doing. The fire department showed up with full lights and sirens, and closed the whole street. They weren't very amused when we told them that the gas company wasn't going to come out until Tuesday. They managed to get the repair people out very quickly.

Former Microsoft UX boss doesn't like the Windows 11 Start menu either


Re: Use the windows key not start button

It would be great if we had some kind of interface where you just need to type the name of the program you want to run. We could call it something like, oh I don't know, a command line, or something like that?

When I complain about never being able to find the app I want to launch on one of Microsoft's crappy new start menus, I frequently get told "just type the name of the app". I usually answer "didn't we do that back in the DOS days?", usually followed by a blank stare. Leave it to Microsoft to spend 30 years inventing the command line interface.

Software developer cracks Hyundai car security with Google search


Re: Uninsured in the UK ?

Don't discount floor mats as a safety problem:


There have been some accidents due to accelerator pedals getting stuck under the edge of floor mats.

Lloyd's to exclude certain nation-state attacks from cyber insurance policies


Re: "cyber attack coverage"

"I live in an area where a flood is damn near impossible, so I don't bother with flood coverage."

Be careful with this. If you have a water pipe break just outside of your house, and it causes some damage to your house, your insurance will try to deny it. Water coming from outside the home, whether from a pipe or not, is covered under flood insurance, and not by regular homeowners insurance.

We had a pipe break right where it came through the concrete wall of the basement. It flooded part of the basement. The insurance company tried to say that the water "came from outside" and was not covered, since like you, we don't have flood insurance. We won in the end, but it is something to be aware of.

Modeling software spins up plans for floating wind turbines


"they have finally coded the software needed to optimize a design for an offshore turbine the lab applied to patent in 2020"

How is it that this research is funded by taxpayer dollars, and they are applying for patents on it? Is every American taxpayer allowed a patent license for this? We all paid for it.

Don't even get me started on how taxpayer funded research papers a always behind expensive paywalls.

Also, from the quote above, since they are just recently modeling it to see if it works, how can they have patent on it from 2020? I thought patents were reviewed to determine their usefulness?

Epson says ink pad saturation behind 'end of service life' warning on inkjet printers


Re: Brother

The same here. I live in a dry desert climate, and inkjet cartridges dry out in a month or two. At one point I went to buy two cartridges (black and color), and they wanted about $70 for the two.

At that point I bought a new Dell color laser printer (back when Dell made/rebranded printers). I paid $210 for the printer including shipping. That was about 7 years ago, and 3 of the 4 toners are the originals. I can buy replacement toners for $11 now. Photo quality isn't too bad.

If I want high quality, I send the pictures to Costco (they use an optical/photographic process). They will print them for about 1/10 the cost of the paper and ink to print them at home, and the quality is better. One local place has a very high-end inkjet photo printer, but I think the prints are terrible.

Our software is perfect. If something has gone wrong, it must be YOUR fault


Re: UX Designer?

In almost every programming language I've ever used, its one line of code! Even in the most dysfunctional organization, how would this be a full day of work?

Security needs to learn from the aviation biz to avoid crashing


What about all of the $8 an hour "developers" that wrote the 737-MAX MCAS software? Were they working to aviation standards? They ended up killing over 400 people.


Re: Who's is going to pay an investigation?

I remember, many years ago, some states were talking about licensing IT people like they do with Professional Engineers. Nothing ever came out of it.

I could think of a lot of pros to it, but as with anything the government has their hands in, I can think of a few cons too. When little johnny goes over to grandmas house to help her with her PC, is he "practicing IT without a license"?


Re: Not aviation

As someone that works in IT Security, and is also a licensed pilot, I would somewhat disagree that the NTSB/Aviation Industry doesn't assign blame to individuals. I have read many NTSB crash reports over the years. There is a tendency to blame "pilot error" when another reason cannot be found. It is sort-of the default conclusion, unless something else can be discovered. Granted, pilot error is a common cause of accidents and incidents even as the industry tries automate the pilot out of the equation. We are now hitting the other side of the curve where automation is causing the accidents (737-MAX).


Re: Preaching to the chior

I used to do a lot of IT work for lawyers. I had a great conversation with one of my lawyer clients about the IT industry one day. We were fighting with a software vendor who's product was totally broken, and they had no intention to fix it, and did not want to issue a refund. His comment to me was "How does an industry continue to function when outright fraud is a normal everyday business practice?" I asked him "What if I took all of your computers and tossed them into the dumpster out back, and replaced them with mechanical typewriters? How productive would your office be?"

Google gets the green light to flood US Gmail inboxes with political spam


Re: You get what you pay for

I have a personal rule. I will not vote for any candidate that robocalls or SPAMs me. It has worked out great. I don't have to waste time standing in line to vote anymore!

FCC decides against giving Starlink $1b in rural broadband subsidies


What about all of the billions of taxpayer's dollars that were given to AT&T, Comcast, and Charter, who then stopped building out their rural infrastructure? Are we, the taxpayers going to be getting that money back?

Oh, that's right, the big ISPs spend a big chunk of that money bribing our lawmakers, and apparently Starlink doesn't. They better start "investing" in the right things if they are going to compete.

I thought Rosenworcel was going to be a refreshing change to the FCC. I guess she is just as dim-witted as Pai was corrupt. Expecting anything useful and beneficial to the public to come out of DC is just unrealistic.

Anti-piracy messaging may just encourage more piracy


The "poor" victims of piracy

From the article:

The authors say research has established that "an identifiable victim elicits higher emotional reactions and willingness to act and help than numerous victims suffering from the same difficulties."

So, according to the authors, they should have adverts with various pop artists sitting on the balcony of their $20 million Beverly Hills mansion, telling us we shouldn't copy their music because we are taking food out of their mouths? Or even better, the record company exec sitting on his $150 million yacht, complaining about how his income was down by 10% last year due to piracy? That will work!

We won't even start talking about how every copied song is "a lost sale" BS.

I paid for it, that makes it mine. Doesn’t it? No – and it never did


Re: Waste of money

Exactly the same here, except that we canceled our satellite subscription a few years ago. It was actually my wife's idea to cancel it. We don't miss it at all.

Someone on another forum said that Hollywood has finally implemented the ultimate DRM. For the last ten years, all of their movies and TV shows are so awful, that no one wants to pirate them anymore.

We also have a Prime subscription for the free shipping, not because of the movies. And, like you, I'm a big fan of The Grand Tour, which has sadly ended.

I buy a lot of used DVDs. I rip them to my media server, and put the discs away in boxes. Same thing with music CDs. If I can't break the DRM on a piece of media, I will not buy it.

Same thing with software. We are slowly transitioning to entirely open source software and operating systems at my house. My wife's new laptop got loaded with Mint without ever booting up the pre-installed Windows 11.

I will not buy anything that requires a cloud connection to operate. My security camera system runs locally, on a server that I control. The system will operate just fine with no internet connection. The only thing I would lose if the internet connection went down, is the ability to remote monitor it (obviously).

After 40 years in tech, I see every innovation contains its dark opposite


This was not a brief fad. Go look on Zillow. About one out of every five listings has a 3-D virtual tour.

We are looking at homes all the way across the country. This is actually kind-of useful. It's better than taking a six-hour plane trip in the middle of a pandemic to see a house.

Between the virtual tours, street view, and Google Earth, we have been able to eliminate many homes without ever setting foot there. If it weren't for the pandemic, we would probably make a few trips to look at a number of houses, but we are not wanting to travel right now.

Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made


Re: Scheme

At my former employer, my boss dragged everyone kicking a screaming back to the office last year. There were some workers that could not work from home, and management thought "it would be unfair to the people that have to come in to work". So, they demanded that everyone come back to the office.

I was able to work from home with only the occasional trip in if I had to work on something physically. I was willing to come in any time there was something I needed to do in person. But, no, you must come back full time to the office.

That is why they are my former employer. I guess I was part of the Great Resignation.

Back-to-office mandates won't work, says Salesforce's Benioff


Re: Office

The US government has been on the same plan of crushing small business for a while now too.

It's what you get when both of our governments are bought and paid for by big business. They only exist to server their corporate masters now...

NASA to commission independent UFO study


Re: Intelligent Life exists

I think the awarding of so many Cost Plus contracts might put a few holes in your theory.


Agreed, he does seem like an interesting bloke. You notice he included "necessarily" in his comment...

I read somewhere that the Airforce has a set of doors labeled "Stargate Command", complete with the logo and all, in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. They lead to a storage area (allegedly).