* Posts by Unicornpiss

1435 posts • joined 7 Oct 2011

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Before IBM started axing staff, it told them Q3 2020 would be super-busy with post-lockdown catch-up jobs

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Most companies are scummy..

Although IBM excels at it. The company I work for did something similar--we all had to take part of our vacation, plus a work reduction of 1 day/week, plus a pay cut. The temporary pay cut hurts, but I wasn't that upset with it, as between vacation and the work reduction, it's the most stress-free I've been in a decade.

Of course, 2 months later and still dealing with Coronavirus, there were sudden unexpected layoffs, actually terminations, where people were made redundant. Which really sucks, but I do have my eyes open and have noticed that the economy is not great, and many companies are doing this. One thing I had respected up to that point was that my employer seemed to be doing everything in their power to not reduce staff to cope. Oh, did I mention that these layoffs were permanent? No chance of people getting their jobs back after the dust settles? And a few very senior people, who are going to be hard to replace.

But what really galls me about the situation though is the global conference call the next day talking about how financially healthy we are and how everything is going great. Our department, chronically understaffed and overworked, like so many IT departments, lost 2 employees to natural attrition, not layoffs. But the positions are not being backfilled--we all just get more work. Yay. And our budget for new equipment is cut to the bone. Of course I'm just grateful to have a job at this point when so many do not.

'I wrote Task Manager': Ex-Microsoft programmer Dave Plummer spills the beans

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Kudos to a skilled programmer..

..but I still will always feel that Process Explorer is the app that should be included with Windows, not Task Manager.

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Linux

Re: mythical Year Of Linux On the Desktop comes

Personally I would love to see it, having been a devout Linux user by night for many years, and supporting Windows by day.

Unfortunately it's not about the quality of the code, innovation, elegance, or even price. The year of Linux on the desktop will only come when Microsoft's marketing department has a bad day. The company I work for is so deep in bed with MS (SharePoint, AD, Teams, Azure, etc.) and its partner Dell, that it's hard to imagine it could ever reach escape velocity. We do run Linux for certain things, but everything else would need to be reinvented, and our IT dept. is spread so thin you could say it is already at the 7nm level, even if our processors aren't.

Amazon flicks switch on AI-powered enterprise search service Kendra – but where are all the connectors?

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

I hope the AI is better than Alexa..

..who appears to have had the electronic equivalent of being dropped on her head at birth.

Source code for seminal adventure game Zork circa-1977 exhumed from MIT tapes, plonked on GitHub

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

@curses

"I think an GUI screen emulator might be more use to most people. Could probably do one with curses!"

Every time I try to program something, it is with plenty of curses..

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: Played this when I was a kid..

It's been so long I can't remember. Maybe the printout says if I can ever find it. But I think it said it was translated from FORTRAN and not to FORTRAN.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Played this when I was a kid..

..on a local university's PDP 11/40... or maybe it was an 11/70. I recall the notes said it was translated from FORTRAN. Somewhere I still have the green bar printout from a Decwriter I played it on. One of the moments from my childhood that got me (or kept me) interested in computing.

Pew-pew woo-hoo! Hong Kong reopens video arcades shut by coronavirus lockdown

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Happy

My takaway from this..

..is that there's a country that still has video arcades? Wow.

Kudos to them for taking precautions as they have, but it still seems a bit early to be reopening on this scale. Are they going to sanitize the games between players? Some of the arcade machines could be pretty disgusting as I recall, back in the day..

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Thumb Down

Shitty inkjet printers

I hope he wins and at least gets enough money to toss both his HP inkjets and get a couple of color laser printers, preferably from Canon, Brother, anyone but HP. Not that HP's lasers aren't decent, but their practices left a sour aftertaste a long time back for me. Additionally he should sue for the bloated, useless multimedia suite that came with his printers sucking his machine's resources and giving no value in return.

The last HP inkjet I had before buying a laser printer I threw in the trash so hard it bounced.

We're in a timeline where Dettol maker has to beg folks not to inject cleaning fluid into their veins. Thanks, Trump

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Injecting sanitizer, and other tales..

The problem with this is that Trump has said so many far fetched things that it's hard to tell if he's being serious. And it's especially hard for certain members of the populace that have not been blessed with critical thinking, eg. the people that voted for him. Also, since Trump's sense of humor could best be described as vestigial IMO, you have a good recipe for confusion.

IBM age discrimination lawsuit suddenly ends, suggests Big Blue was willing to pay to avoid discovery process

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

@cschneid

Have an upvote and a virtual beer on me for hitting the nail on the head or at least pointing to a well-spoken piece on the value of experience. And this applies to ANY industry, not just software engineering.

If (experienced) managers are reading this, I hope they've learned the value of keeping people happy and not letting their employees' jobs be viewed as just stepping stones. There is nothing wrong with advancement and learning new things, but there should be no stigma against people that like what they're doing and are good at it. We'd all be better off if the mindset of "He's had that job for 20 years... Why isn't he a manager by now?" would just go away. And that also means recognizing people for their experience and rewarding them. How many bugs have been caught and catastrophes averted in all walks of life because someone with experience noticed a pattern that they'd seen before and had the solution at hand? A LOT, and the people that saved the day are never noticed and probably just consider it another day's work.

I guess the short of it is that when you reach a certain level of experience and competency, you make things look easy, and if someone that has no clue sees you solve something too easily, it couldn't have been a hard problem that someone younger and fresher wouldn't have solved in half the time, right?

A note for Millenials that find themselves on a fast track to management or think they're God's gift: Someday you will be viewed as irrelevant and edged out if these trends continue. And ironically it will be when you have that experience under your belt that could really help someone.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
FAIL

Age discrimination

Perhaps IT managers and CIOs should take a page from Big Blue's book. After all, IBM apparently thinks getting rid of the old is a good business practice. So I suggest that since IBM is such an old company, that it is no longer relevant and has little to offer businesses. So people making IT decisions should only go with younger, more hip, less experienced, cheaper companies. If there's validity to IBM's research on how to improve productivity and cut costs, it only makes sense to get rid of IBM. IBM's decision to force out their older, more experienced workers is the first signs of the company's own senescence and that its business acuity can no longer be trusted, so move aside peacefully IBM, you're too old to be relevant any more.

NASA dons red and blue cardboard 3D glasses to drive Curiosity rover because its GPUs are stuck in the office

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alien

Couldn't they just..

..buy a few Alienware or similar gaming laptops or mobile workstations for key personnel to take home? Or perhaps a Vive rig? All are pretty inexpensive considering their budget and what is at stake.

Quantum computing heats up down under as researchers reckon they know how to cut costs and improve stability

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Give it a couple more decades

When useful digital computers came into being, they of course filled rooms and cost millions, and used the electricity of a small village to do what now are considered trivial tasks. Now your smart watch has more processing power. Soon enough we'll have quantum desktops, then smartphones. Sorry if I'm being Captain Obvious here..

Ransomware scumbags leak Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX documents after contractor refuses to pay

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alert

Re: So when...

That seems a bit drastic for a situation where no one was physically harmed, though I wouldn't shed too many tears if this became the policy. Might want to see if there are innocent family members present, and probably not a great idea if your (presumably properly investigated, tried, and convicted) suspect lives in an an apartment block..

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Black Helicopters

International crime

Well, now that military data has been stolen and distributed, whoever is running the scam can add espionage and possibly treason to the charges they will face, possibly even terrorism, which may be enough to allow international cooperation that didn't exist before, and extradition. Congrats guys, you've graduated to the big leagues. I'm sure there's a cell at Guantanamo with your name on it and a plausible explanation as to why you just disappeared..

You in for a curl up and dye? Yeah, looks like the same for this screen in a hairdressers

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

World

" Or is it a hint that the world is out of joint and could do with reinstallation?"

Actually, I think the world should be restored from the off-site backup made back in December.. Clearly the anti-virus software wasn't doing its job..

Antarctic science put on ice by coronavirus – next summer's expeditions restricted to essentials and robots

Unicornpiss Silver badge
IT Angle

Re: Korea had infection same day as USA

While I'm not disagreeing with most of what you said, is this really the right forum for a political rant?

16 years and counting: How ESA squeezed oodles of bonus science out of plucky Mars Express probe

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Kudos to the ESA

Space is hard. Glad to see that NASA aren't the only ones that know thair s*it. Maybe together we will all manage to reach another star someday, or at least properly explore the rest of our little solar system habitat.

Internet use up 40 per cent in San Francisco Bay Area – but you know what’s even higher? Yep, alcohol, weed use

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Re: Makes sense

"Even if I drink that bottle of 14 YO Balvenie matured in Caribbean rum cask in my drinks cabinet in one go I will still have more alcohol on the outside of me :-("

Yes, but you won't really care at that point. At least not until the next morning..

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Joke

Re: Makes sense

You can sanitize from the inside out.

Microsoft corrects '775 per cent cloud usage surge' claim: Big number only applied to Teams and only in Italy

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Teams

Once you ignore how irritating Teams is, and the presumptive way it installs itself to launch at startup by default, all over your screen like a rash, I will say that Microsoft has apparently done a nice job with the load balancing and core on this. Audio has been good quality, the app has been reliable and mostly stable, and it only picks the wrong audio device about half as much as Skype for Business does.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: People still use cheques in the 21st century?

I write maybe 2 chec(que)(k)s a year. One to pay my backwards city's annual tax and one for whatever random thing pops up that must be paid by mail, such as to an institution that either doesn't accept credit cards or charges a large fee, such as the BMV or if I buy something at an estate sale.

About a year ago I was actually running low on blanks so I ordered more from an online company. No issues with their product, but now they spam me every few days with their discount offers wanting me to order more. The amount I purchased should last me until about 2030 at the rate I use them.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

Re: 125 million Indians speak English

When someone on our India-based helpdesk says "Do the needful", my brain begins playing a version of the old disco song "Do the Hustle!" with 'needful' subbed in.

Want to see through walls? Electroboffins build tiny chip in the lab that vibrates at just the right frequency to do it

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alien

Tricorder

Cool, in a few years we can start making tricorders..

Lockdown ain't easy. And that's without snoring, burping, hair-shedding seals outside your house

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Geez..

Aren't they isolated enough just by being in the Antarctic without being forced to stay indoors? I know they have a policy of not interacting with the wildlife, even if it means letting an animal die that could be saved. Is this maybe why they have to put up with the seals?

World's smallest violin to be played for opportunistic sellers banned from eBay and Amazon for price gouging

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

Two moderate breasts

Two moderate breasts = $ 58008

The shelves may be empty, but the disk is full: Not even Linux can resist the bork at times

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: LILO ?

The problem isn't likely a lack of competent tech support, but a lack of ENOUGH tech support. I'm sure Wally-world is as cheap as they come when it comes to IT, like so many companies, and their IT staff is likely overworked. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Or it could be they've had enough turnover in IT that no one even remembers or notices this 10+ year old box.

AMD, boffins clash over chip data-leak claims: New side-channel holes in decades of cores, CPU maker disagrees

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: Realistically though

True, IMO exploiting a vulnerability like this instead of all the other possible exploits to compromise an organization's security is like painstakingly picking a lock and ignoring the unlatched window next to the door.

'Unfixable' boot ROM security flaw in millions of Intel chips could spell 'utter chaos' for DRM, file encryption, etc

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: Missing the point....

Re. AMD, they very well may have the same vulnerability in their chipsets. Or they may have corrected any hole years ago. Since I have not seen an article analyzing AMD yet, I'm going to cautiously give them the benefit of the doubt thus far, partially in good faith since their CPUs aren't nearly as vulnerable as Intel's offerings from the same era, at least to as many exploits.

Uncle Sam's nuke-stockpile-simulating souped-super El Capitan set to hit TWO exa-FLOPS, take crown as world's fastest machine in 2023

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Mushroom

Security

AMD keeps that piece of the chip they recovered from the wrecked terminator under lock and key.

I heard somebody say: Burn baby, burn – server inferno!

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: Overheat

Well, I didn't think it was likely even 160. But it was so hot I had some difficulty breathing and was instantly drenched with sweat.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

Overheat

A couple of decades ago I inherited a small house in a terrible part of town that was my grandfather's. I did not want to live there and it was more of a tax liability than a boon. (I ended up selling it for a few thousand, eventually) Anyway, while trying to decide what to ultimately do with it, I kept the utilities on, and the heat in the winter at a minimal level so the pipes wouldn't freeze.

One winter day, I decided to check on the house, as I hadn't been there in 3 days. I drove over, and used my key to come in the back door. Two things I immediately noticed: I could hear the burner from the ancient 'gravity' furnace running, and while it was well below freezing outside, the unheated back room was well over 80 degrees F. With some dawning horror I opened the door to the main house and was shocked and startled to find it over 130F. (actually I had no way of knowing how hot it really was, as one thermometer was pegged at 130 and the other, in the thermostat, had exploded and sent glass and its red contents everywhere} The thermostat was inoperative. I hurriedly dashed to the basement and shut off the furnace there. Coming back upstairs, I opened all doors and windows. The wall where the chimney was located was too hot to lay a hand on. All the other walls were uncomfortably hot, and anything metal in the house was almost too hot to touch. A legal pad that I'd left lying on the floor a foot from the heat register had curled itself into a spiral. A can of shaving cream I kept there hadn't burst, but was bulging ominously, and I kept well away from it.

The house and the furnace suffered no apparent ill effects from what I figured was at least a 2-day heat soak. It rather frazzled my nerves, and I had to wonder what the neighbors thought with the front door wide open for a couple of hours in freezing weather. You could see the heat waves billowing from the door if you looked at it right. If I'd waited another day to check on the place, I'm sure it would not have been standing.

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: But of course

We used to do that trick in high school, in one room that never was warm enough. A bit of snow from the windowsill and the heat would keep running.

Windows 7: Still looking after business (except when it isn't)

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

@StargateSG7

"But will it run Crysis?"

BTW, like the name. Still one of my favorite SF franchises.

Shipping is so insecure we could have driven off in an oil rig, says Pen Test Partners

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

A few comments

If you want to implement security in situations like these, you have to make it easy, reliable, and seamless. Any crew, whether it's on an oil rig or a production line in a factory, simply isn't going to stand for anything that makes their dreary, complex, demanding, sometimes dangerous jobs more difficult. Many will actively rebel against what they view as 'outsiders' telling them what to do. And the mentality of "Well, if he doesn't comply, he's fired!" is only going to lose you skilled workers and make everyone unhappy in the long run. Maybe if your workers are completely beaten down, this would fly, but when you treat people like this, then you end up with theft, sabotage, shoddy work, and a general "I don't give a fuck" attitude.

Possibly these are the scenarios that Smart cards are best for--all the worker needs is to remember their card and possibly a short PIN for added security. While not as easy as a blank password, certainly it's easier than typing "Password1234" 20x a day. Or, if you find someone just leaving their card by the workstation, possibly a fingerprint reader would be good---most people won't leave a finger by their console.

The moral of the story is if you complicate anyone's day and don't give them something positive in return, they will always find a way to work around your best intentions. We human apes are pretty clever, especially when it comes to working hard to find new ways to be lazy.

Dual screens, fast updates, no registry cruft and security in mind: Microsoft gives devs the lowdown on Windows 10X

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alert

Sounds like..

..a dreadful user experience is in the making.

In a high-security preview, we got our claws on Samsung's Galaxy S20 and S20+... which are annoyingly good

Unicornpiss Silver badge

This might be..

..the phone that makes me finally give up my S5.

Crazy idea but hear us out... With robots taking people's jobs, can we rethink this whole working to survive thing?

Unicornpiss Silver badge

A nation of takeout deliverers..

For some reason this story reminded me of one of Neal Stephenson's early novels, "Snow Crash"

Bada Bing, bada bork: Windows 10 is not happy, and Microsoft's search engine has something to do with it

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

New slogan..

Here's a new slogan for Microsoft, taken from the article:

"Where do you want to go today?" "Windows 10. Yes, it's that stupid!"

The BlackBerry in your junk drawer is now a collectors' item: TCL says no more new keyboard-clad phones

Unicornpiss Silver badge

TCL quality

I can't speak for the Blackberry devices, but I've been buying TCL TVs for the company I work for, for the past 5 years or so. I started buying them due to the low cost and variety of inputs--HDMI, VGA, SVIDEO, and composite, all on one device. We use them for wall and productivity displays, and not a single one has failed, unlike pricier units from other manufacturers.

So you locked your backups away for years, huh? Allow me to introduce my colleagues, Brute, Force and Ignorance

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: 2 rules of percussive maintenance

Maybe not sex..

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Happy

Surface tension

Some years ago during the original tablet fad we had one of our VPs bring us a MS Surface (Pro 2 or 3 maybe?) that would power up for a second, then shut off. The user's data was of course not backed up and was urgently needed as he was "flying out to a customer in four hours". I tried a little of everything to revive the @#$%! tablet and had no luck. (was never fond of these) Not looking forward to peeling the self-obsoleting glued-together device like a banana to try and extract the hard drive, I discussed the situation with a colleague. We agreed that we'd like to just take a hammer to it, which gave me the idea that with nothing else to lose, as I'd likely have to destroy it anyway, I'd beat the thing on my desk a few times and see what happened.

After detaching the pizza box keyboard, I gave the formica top of my desk a stout whack with the tablet, then another. Nothing. Feeling my frustration seething, I did it a few more times, with increasing force. By this time someone hesitantly asked if I was alright, coworkers were nervously looking towards my desk, things were beginning to fall off my shelves, and the person I'd discussed the problem with was laughing maniacally. Success! The device came on by itself during the last assault and stayed running. I quickly copied the data off it over the LAN. I prepared another tablet for the user with time to spare. Everyone lived happily ever after, and my colleagues had a new respect for me, possibly born of fear.

Remember when Europe’s entire Galileo satellite system fell over last summer? No you don’t. The official stats reveal it never happened

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

Re: WTF?

77% is a "C+" average in USA schools, or basically a "You're doing alright, but there's much room for improvement." But don't expect to be an astronaut. Or doctor or engineer (at least not a good one) However, you still may have a future on a L1 Helpdesk, in the burger n' fries industry, or as a reality TV star and/or self-serving, megalomaniac, cuntish world leader. Your success is only limited by how mercenary you are, how little scruples you have, and how willing you are to get ahead by treading on other people's backs.

BSOD Burgerwatch latest: Do you want fries with that plaintext password?

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alert

Surprised they don't use *NIX

About 17 years ago I did POS support for a restaurant chain that had about 140 franchised units. (not McD's) The company was too cheap to upgrade anything on their POS systems (in both senses of POS), but they did run Linux and SCO Unix at the time. Despite the age of the equipment, which was mostly NCR, with a sprinkling of IBM, it was pretty rock solid reliable and one unit had a system uptime of about 3 years before that was ended by an extended power failure.

I shudder to think how much more busy I would have been (as it was me and one other guy supporting these), if everything had run on Windows.

Voyager suffers a power wobble as boffins start the final countdown for Spitzer

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: Just wow

"I honestly don't believe it would be possible for us to produce such an amazing piece of technology now.

Well, the Mars probes were and continue to be pretty robust. But I share your viewpoint. IMHO mostly because there is apparently a 2nd Moore's law that relates to bureaucracy and red tape, and we haven't yet topped out on how funding, people failing upwards, lack of communication, and other staples of management can destroy a project so fast that all that remains is the Cherenkov radiation from its abrupt cancellation.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

W10

"That's coz it's not running W10"

Microsoft, which probably consisted of just Bill Gates and a couple of buddies at the time, if it even existed as a company at all in 1976 when the probes were being built, hadn't even yet considered ripping off the GUI from Apple, where Woz was still breathing solder fumes in a garage. And it would be some years yet before the Steves thought to steal it from Xerox, who had only just come up with it about 2-3 years prior. Ol' Bill was probably still working on Commodore BASIC for the first gen PET when the probes were being built..

I still envision an alternate history where X86 was only a bit player and we're all using Commodore-compatible instead of IBM-compatible machines.

Hapless AWS engineer spilled passwords, keys, confidential internal training info, customer messages on public GitHub

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

"no customer data or company systems were exposed."

Translation: "We're too lazy to change all our passwords and notify everyone relevant, globally"

*David Attenborough voice* And here we have, in the wild, a rare glimpse... of what may be... a positive IBM quarter

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

How many employees..

..are they going to lay off to celebrate their good fortune?

Hey kids! Ditch that LCD and get ready for the retro CRT world of Windows Terminal

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Does it include..

..the Lynx browser?

Beer, because it's Friday.

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