* Posts by dvd

136 posts • joined 31 Mar 2011


Verified: UK.gov launching plans for yet another digital identity scheme



Need to dig out my t-shirt.

BT to phase out 3G in UK by 2023 for EE, Plusnet, BT Mobile subscribers


Re: Shame, but inevitable

Or your laptop's built in modem only does 3g...

Updating in production, like a boss


Re: re: My-Handle

Never had this conversation?

Boss: Know anything about <technology>?

You: No.

Boss: You're the expert now. There's no money for a course, online training or even a textbook. Read up online. You're giving a presentation on Monday.

Gov.UK taskforce publishes post-Brexit wish-list: 'TIGRR' pounces on GDPR, metric measures


Universal Credit

In defence of IDS (and it really pains me to have to do it), IDS had gone on record to say that the Universal Credit system, as implemented, bore no relation to the system that he proposed, and that it was ruined by ideological political interference.

FTC approves $61.7m settlement with Amazon for pocketing driver tips


Re: Tip fuckery

I must admit I thought it was common knowledge that if you put a tip on a card then the employee is unlikely to see it. I always tip cash and never tip a penny electronically.

The policy of truth: As ransomware claims rise, what's a cyber insurer to do?


Nothing male about any of those statements these days...

It took 'over 80 different developers' to review and fix 'mess' made by students who sneaked bad code into Linux


Re: People who whine about systemd..

The problem with systemd is that it was a fundamentally sensible idea implemented in a heavy handed way with a massive amount of over-reach by the most arrogant arsehole on the planet.

The future is now, old man: Let the young guns show how to properly cock things up


Re: Regomised

My immediate thought was 'Ted' then it would have been Two Ton Ted from Teddington and Ernie The Fastest Milkman in the West.

Terminal trickery, or how to improve a novel immeasurably


Re: Novel interference

I remember a period when I was on pain medication for my bad back. It wasn't anything really strong; just stronger than over-the-counter stuff.

I was a programming god. I could bash out elegant code that worked flawlessly. It seemed to release the imagination and damp down the self doubt.

The dosage was critical, though. To little and I was just my normal level of day to day idiot. Too much and I would turn out a really special class of gibberish.

Something went wrong but we won't tell you what it is. Now, would you like to take out a premium subscription?


Re: Cool dude

I remember seeing the error message "Wank" pop up on a customer site.

The post mortem revealed that we were using a customisation tool that insisted on an error message for all conditions, even those that could not throw errors.

At some point someone threw together some test customisation for a purely internal error test, was sick of this requirement and put rude words into all the unused error fields.

Someone else picked up the customisation, tweaked it, didn't notice the rude words, and deployed it on site.

George Clooney of IT: Dribbling disaster and damp disk warnings scare the life out of innocent user



The first time that I saw the BSOD screensaver was on the Microsoft NT 4 roadshow. The two Microsoft guys were doing a demo of the new NT 4 using a massive projector screen (it was in a cinema IIRC) when it BSOD'd on a screen 20ft high.

Everyone laughed then the Microsoft guys grinned and moved the mouse and NT sprang back into life. They got a round of applause.

Linux Mint emits fix for memory-gobbling Cinnamon – and future version may insist on some updates



Weirdly I could never get XFCE to work with my NAS, but Cinnamon was fine. And I could never figure out why.

Linux Mint users in hot water for being slow with security updates, running old versions


I'm on Mint 19.2...

...and that won't change for a while.


Because it took over a fucking week to get the printer working and I'm still not sure what it was that fixed things. I'll not be going through that again for shits and giggles. That's assuming that it's even possible in 20.x

Decade-old bug in Linux world's sudo can be abused by any logged-in user to gain root privileges


My Mint install just got a patch.

No cards, thanks, we're contactless-less: UK supermarket giants hit by card payment TITSUP*


My wife went to the co-op today and they said that it was sorted. She paid with card with no problems.

Linux Mint sticks by Snap decision – meaning store is still disabled by default in 20.1


Re: Hmm

I've not found a compelling reason to upgrade since 19.2 - and why would I when it's so stable?

Brit registrar 123-Reg begins 2021 in much the same way it ended 2020 – with DNS issues


Re: Wow. What an impressive record.

They still have customers because they buy over other companies such as Domain Monster.

My domains have been in forced migration for a year now.

I built a shed once. How hard can a data centre be?


We were installing computer kit in a bank in sub Saharan Africa and training staff. A data centre had already been built and the servers installed by the banks own staff.

One of the banks head honchos decided that the plastering in the server room wasn't up to scratch and the walls weren't quite the right shade of beige. So the bank facilities proceeded to sand the walls of the server room flat, replaster them and repaint them with the servers running.

We told them a few times that it wasn't a good idea, but the bank had screwed us about so badly that we were past caring so we didn't push it. As long as the kit lasted until our bit of the install and training was done we didn't care. I don't think that the servers lasted much longer.

This product is terrible. Can you deliver it in 20 years’ time when it becomes popular?


So where is this brilliant burglar who can make a key from a photo with a snot printer, when Timpson can't reliably make one with £10000 of kit and the ACTUAL KEY in their hands?

I'll go to him in future.

Right-to-repair warriors seek broader DMCA exemptions to bypass digital locks on the stuff we own


Re: Yes, but ...

No, if that's a viable business model then it just means that your customer is overpaying for the item without the firmware crippling in it (I used to work for a company thread did this shit too.)

LibreOffice 7.1 beta boasts impressive range of features let down by a lack of polish and poor mobile efforts


Re: Lack of polish?

My wife sent me to the supermarket for some Brasso the other day.

One of the aisles had a massive sign above it saying "POLISH".

Brilliant, I thought. That was easy, and a whole aisle's worth to choose from.

Er, nope....

For every disastrous rebrand, there is an IT person trying to steer away from the precipice


Re: It's not just our business

After the release of the "Ford Escort" and "Ford Fiesta" I was looking forward to the release of the "Ford Reader's Wives" but Ford sadly abandoned their policy of naming their cars after British Wank mags.

Panic in the mailroom: The perils of an operating system too smart for its own good


Re: That reminds me..

As someone who has written both firmware and software for cheque processing machines, I can advise that the magnetic properties of the ink were for reading reliability rather than for fraud prevention.

And the back room staff that did data entry and correction were paid by throughput rather than fraud detection so they'd just enter the data manually if it were to fail to read; there was no incentive for data entry staff to spot fraud.

A lot of places wouldn't even check signatures; there was little incentive to even do that until a customer complained whereupon the returns process would unravel the payments until it hit the initial acceptor of the cheque, who was then supposed to track down the writer of the cheque and get their money back. Good luck with that.

To commit cheque fraud the cheques only needed to be good enough to fool the retailer; hence not very good.

So the person out of pocket would be the account holder unless they noticed the fraud, then the retailer. There was little incentive for any bank to spot fraud. The only limited protection for the retailer was if a cheque guarantee card was also presented (remember them)?

IT Marie Kondo asks: Does this noisy PC spark joy? Alas, no. So under the desk it goes


Re: Location location location

I worked in Michigan for a while, in a tornado hot spot. The hardened area of the factory was also the toilet. When a tornado warning went off the entire factory staff had to crowd into the bogs.

We couldn't deliver prisoner rehab plans because Sopra Steria ballsed up our IT, Interserve tells High Court


This sort of thing is inevitable.

Companies have to bid on more contacts than they are capable of fulfilling under the assumption that not all the bids will be successful. Companies can't afford to have staff sitting idle on the off chance that they will win a contract.

But sometimes they win more contacts than expected. They can't back out so the staff just have to cope.

IBM manager had to make one person redundant from choice of two, still bungled it and got firm done for unfair dismissal


Re: These point scoring things....

I missed a review and ended up doing it a year late retrospectively to keep the paperwork in order.

Naturally I put my targets as things that I had actually done in the past year.

My manager still marked my score down for not achieving some of my targets.

He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended


Re: The need for speed

"it had some double throttle flap thing in the carb"

vacuum secondary ;)

Canadian shipping company Canpar gets an unwanted delivery – ransomware


I wonder if they'll ever fix the bug that means that I occasionally receive mail intended for someone in the South of England with a similar name to me.

Sloppy string sanitization sabotages system security of millions of Java-powered 3G IoT kit: Patch me if you can


Thales? Don't worry - I'm sure that it doesn't reflect on the quality and security of their other kit - like Watchkeeper drones.

Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced techie is indistinguishable from magic


Fuel starvation.

Left hand corner causes fuel to slosh away from fuel tank fuel outlet.

Common in racing cars which usually have baffles in the tank to fix the problem.

Virgin Galactic pals up with Rolls-Royce to work on Mach 3 Concorde-style private jet that can carry up to 19 people


Re: Afterburners

I was at the Reading Rock Festival in '81 when Concorde flew over.

Couldn't hear it...

Once again, racial biases show up in AI image databases, this time turning Barack Obama white


Re: Skin tones

Well exactly. The narrative is that he's black but the truth is that he's pretty light. AOC is basically as white as me; the features that make her look Hispanic are pretty slight and are gone in the pixellated photos.

The real story here is that some people just want to make everything about race.


Re: Skin tones

In fact, is go so far as to say that the enhancements to the blurred photos of Obama and AOC are pretty good if you don't bring the baggage to the test that Obama's supposed to be black and AOC's supposed to be Hispanic.


Skin tones

I'm sorry, but I'm just not seeing that much difference between the skin tones of the subjects and the skin tones of the images that the computer picked.

Maybe this is more about the race hyper awareness of the complainants than bias in the AI.

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


Re: Training data?

I suspect that it's spotting criminals from the row of numbers underneath the mug shot.

By emptying offices, coronavirus has hastened the paperless office


Re: For the last 45ish years ...

Well yes, that's completely true. These monocultures are basically tree ghettos. But it's also true that reducing paper usage isn't dancing the world's trees.



My wife and all her colleagues are working from home on company PCs. They are forbidden to copy or mail work to their home PCs for security reasons. Fair enough. However the industry requires hard copies of briefing sheets and the like which have to be signed on site. Pretty much the only way to get the prints is to use their own home printers. Cute wholesale violations of security rules. While it could be argued that the site procedures should be changed and dragged into the 21st century, there are legal implications, and short term the only way to get around this will be to issue all employees with a printer and a few reams of paper.


Re: For the last 45ish years ...

Trees are grown for paper as a cash crop. They are planted for paper production, harvested and replaced. If not needed then they won't be replaced. So if you cut down on paper use then there will be less trees in the world.

Watch an oblivious Tesla Model 3 smash into an overturned truck on a highway 'while under Autopilot'


I read a very good analysis of the tesla accident where the car ploughed into the side of the truck.

The explanation, as far as I remember, was that when a human encounters a novel situation they will take care, slow down, be suspicious, whatever. Whereas an ai only has it's training data. So it will always just pick the best fit from that data.

I'm willing to bet that the training data has no images of trucks on their sides. So the ai's best fit was an overpass or something that it had seen before. Bang.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year


Re: I Remember...

When I was at Newcastle in first year they taught us in Algol W. In second year they decided that Pascal was now the tits and we all had to use that instead. Everybody just kept writing their programs in Algol and fixed the syntax errors.

That was possible in the second year as we had data entry terminals, unlike in the first year when we had fucking awful punch card data entry :-|

Das reboot: That's the only thing to do when the screenshot, er, freezes



If you're a touch typist and a hot desker you can 'reserve' your favourite desk by swapping the key tops on the keyboard at that desk.

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word


Extended Space

Word fucks about with dashes to make em dashes and en dashes - why can't it change dot space space at the end of a sentence to a dot extended space?

Elevating cost-cutting to a whole new level with million-dollar bar bills


Re: Never saw a car crash into a computer

There's an expression that I've not heard in 40 years since I moved away from Newcastle. In Scotland it's generally Tesco's car park that's reserved for the arse displays.

So how do the coronavirus smartphone tracking apps actually work and should you download one to help?


Re: Good for data-less phone plans

Yep. My mum doesn't have a smartphone and neither do a lot of her pals.

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much


Re: Paris...

> Afterwards people were saying, "Paris, how lucky you are!" Business travel ain't glamorous.

One place where I worked we engineers had to travel a lot - it was absolutely hellish. Long hours, travelling cattle class, getting berated by customers, plus the inevitable extension to the trip length by at least a week. Totally shit. But nobody back home would believe it. Including the top management and the admin staff. They assumed that it was a paid holiday with a little light work on the side.

Expenses worked by getting an advance in travellers cheques and cash and interminable form filling on return. There was a big problem with engineers not having time / inclination to do the admin on return, so there was always a backlog of expenses to fill in.

The management / admin came up with a brilliant plan to clear the backlog of expenses. They announced that no trip would be approved for an engineer if that engineer had not done all their previous expenses.

The inevitable happened. Not one engineer in the company filled in an expenses form. Not one. Business trips for engineers came to a dead halt. Not a single customer visit happened for a couple of months. Management and admin were baffled; they could not understand why their cunning plan failed.

Internet Archive opens National Emergency Library with unlimited lending of 1.4m books for stuck-at-home netizens amid virus pandemic


Re: Current copyright terms ignored... the world keeps turning

In my opinion there should be a use it or lose it clause. If I can't buy a copy then the copyright is lost.

Borklays soz for the ailing ATMs but won't say if fix involved a Microsoft invoice


Re: Dunfermline

They were starting to make inroads into Scotland but recently they have been closing their branches and have been maintaining a faux presence by keeping a lonely atm open in a few scottish towns.

Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42


Yeah they were - they were like nuclear bunkers. We couldn't understand it either, but there you go. Eight floors up in our rooms and the signal for radio 4 sucked balls. But practically underground surrounded by (presumably metal framed) buildings it was great.


I was at school when the first series was broadcast. The trailers caused a buzz at school and people listened to it that had never previously even heard of radio 4.

I was at Newcastle university when series 2 was broadcast. The only place in the halls of residence that we could get a good signal to listen to it was in one corner of the library of Havelock hall, so every week we had to smuggle a ghetto blaster in and surreptitiously record it. As it was in the library we couldn't listen to it real time so we had to take the tapes back to our rooms to listen to it after it was finished. I'd forgotten all about that till just now....

All that Samsung users found on UK website after weird Find my Mobile push notification was... other people's details


Re: Package Disabler Pro

All the crapware is basically why I abandoned Samsung. It was just intolerable.



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