* Posts by vogon00

251 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Nov 2011


How not to test a new system: push a button and wait to see what happens


Re: Alternative Lesson: "Never turn anything off if..."

@Admiral Grace Hopper

Seeing as you currently have 42 upvotes, and I is 'vogon-ish', I have to reply to this.

Size of boot applied to arse of senior manager by Very Senior Manager? <-------------------- This Big -------------------->

Would that it would be so....in my experience the shit flows from VSM->SM->M->me, even if it should have stopped at SM or M level:-)

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


@ChoHag.Interesting handle you have there.

Anything to do with this*?

Had I not read Douglas Adams first, I'd be going by the name Belgarath rather than a vogon.

(* Highly recommended escapist** reading. It also teaches you about people. You should also look at the other side of the coin by reading this, if for no other reason than 'equal opportunities'.)

(** Actually entrapment - back in the day, I nearly got fired for not being being able to stop reading the entire series from start to finish.).



'it will actually get better and better and learn'

Yes it will, but only for as long as humans are the ones doing the learning and expressing their knowledge and experience in the code. Even then, unless there is continuous transfer of knowledge and experience from the outgoing 'old guard' maintainers to the incoming 'new guys' us humans will forget *why* that bit of code does what it does in the wider system.

Given the propensity for people to just have a go despite not understanding what they are about to do, IMO there has to be an assurance that the overall system and code-base are continuously, and thoroughly, understood despite the inevitable staff/dev turnover.

AI is NOT the answer. AI is not, and never will be, capable of dealing with the 'edge cases' as they arise - you've only got to watch a few Mentour videos (Other providers are available, including CAA/FAA/NTSB 'wash ups') to realise that issues generally get solved by humans, not machines.

If something has gone wrong, that's where I want a properly qualified pilot with some experience in charge. Also, two real pilots instead of one mean there are two heads involved, and there is the chance to talk something through with a peer, or at least someone different, first. The only thing AI has to converse with before taking action is...itself..or more correctly the programmer who created it, or the crap data it was trained on.

If the stories about 'Olympic Airways 411' are true, the only thing that stopped a disaster was a bloke with experience - something that AI, and it's coders, cannot have (Especially as the human through the rules book out of the window..which AI would never consider doing!)

When it comes to flying lots of people about, the best things to oversee that activity are other humans... assisted by automation, yes...replaced by it, no.

OK, I guess supply/demand/costs will win and either single-or-zero pilot air travel will happen. When it does, I hope the CEOs of the airline and/or of the company doing the flight control software are forced to be on the certification flights and 'eat their own dog food'.

Massive energy storage system goes online in UK


Re: it can only take the output of about 15 Dogger Bank turbines

"Looks like you'll need about another 200+"

If I read this correctly, you're saying we need to build 200 more of these here to store the output of 'Dogger Bank' as a whole.

We appear to be talking about 196MW of storage per multi-unit site...so say 200MW, for a few percent of the peak load period Each 200MW site appears to be able to store and supply (later!) circa 92-94-% of one fifth of the older '1GWe' 'power stations' or one fifteenth of a modern (i.e. nuclear fission) UK electricity generation facility at about 3GWe.

One can't store something unless it is generated in the first place. The last thing we need at the moment is a large increase in load (1000s of electric vehicles @ e.g 15KW/h) combined with more bias towards electricity as natural gas becomes rarer/more expensive*) at the same time we're loosing generation capacity.

So call me back when there is something to replace the short, medium and long term loss in generation capacity we face due to eliminating fossil fuels and decommissioning the 'nuclear fleet', combined with the increasing loads involved with everyone plugging in their EVs etc...

* I have two elderly relatives who are already switching to electric fan-assisted convection heaters or plain old 'fan heaters' used in one room only to avoid heating the rest of the house. I know of at least one family-of-four who use a 10KW electric shower in an attempt to keep the gas bill down (Without doing anything about the overall energy bill - talk about 'Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul'!).

Mine's the one with the extra-heavy-duty thermal insulation.

tsoHost pulls plug on Gridhost service with just 45 days' notice


tsoHost ain't what it used to be.

It used to be pretty good back in the day but has steadily deteriorated over the course of several years.

Yes, we had issues and outages but they were never that serious (Apart from them upgrading PHP and not letting us know, and the great 'Domains beginning with B' débâcle which hit us). Also we were on a shared hosting machine (Probably their cheapest, knowing our bean-counters), and I had to keep saying to the MD 'You get what you pay for'.

Like a lot of people, we got caught out by this Gridhost turnoff, and spent about two days with no web presence at all, then another 2 or 3 days with a holding 'Sorry, we've got problems' page before the brand new shiny website we had waiting in the wings came into service....much to the relief of our worldwide customers, some of whom thought we'd ceased trading or something.

We were lucky with the new site. All we had to do with this was advance our plans by a couple of weeks. I know of various colleagues and contacts that have anywhere from 40-odd to 162 sites affected. All of them swear they did not get a single warning email in their working and monitored mailboxes that were registered with tsoHost.

The MD and I have spent the last couple of days updating content and sorting out all the redirected domains and email etc. It's been a bit of a panic, but no too bad as these things go.

People are right about the poor support at tsoHost. The chat que lengths were horrid. We always started out as #160-odd in the que, and it took hours to get to the top. Then you get a canned stock answer, and back you go to the bottom of the que. Actual support tickets were a bit better, but not much. Once we had persuaded them to re-instate FTP access for backing up (Which they managed to get working on the 3rd attempt), we said 'F This' and committed to moving away from them as fast as possible...it was sheer luck we had a replacement site nearly ready to go, with another provider. Professional companies who see support as an obligation rather than a cost centre generally put extra resources in place just in case - especially on and after the 'due date' - something this bunch of tossers didn't.

Had they actually warned us, or any of our colleages/contacts, we would have known in advance and could have dealt with the turnoff more efficiently instead of this un-planned 'sprint'.,.

tsoHost were on our our naughty step anyway (Hence the new site being on another provider), but we've added GoDaddy (And any subsidiaries) to the non-preferred/avoid vendor list now because we don't want the risk any more. Considering GoDaddy are US based where customer service is king, they've really dropped a bollock, service-wise. Not impressed.

tsoHost ain't the only one. We buy hosted exchange from giacom via a reseller, and for the last week or have had out outlook clients frequently asking for the password to {random mailbox}. We bitch at the reseller, they say it's a giacomp issue and are continually chasing them. I'm too far away from this to be sure, but it looks like giacom's authentication synch/replication across their server suite has issues.... Still ongoing with no sign of a 'cure' yet.

Overall, it's been a pretty shitty few days. Still, Vino Rosso helps..

Twitter engineer calls out Elon Musk for technical BS in unusual career move


Re: Not engineering but...

My sister-in-law is a GP, and she once told me about the use of 'PRATFO' for those with hypochondriac tendencies. It stands for 'Patient Reassured And Told To Fuck Off'.

Just follow the instructions … no wait, not that instruction to lock everyone out of everything


"The younger generation is smarter, more skilful, and less prone to making mistakes"

No they're not. They are no smarter than anyone else (In fact quite the reverse sometimes), highly skilled at one or two particular things rather than a cohesive skills portfolio*, and make just as many mistakes as the rest of us.

In addition, I think the latest generation is generally incapable of admitting a mistake - it is always someone or something else's fault. I have dropped several bollocks in my career, and each time I 'fessed up immediately. Most were my fault, the others turned out not to be. Mistakes are human and to be expected, so not admitting to them already marks you as less than honest, or a total narcissist who doesn't give a toss about anyone else. God help you if I find you trying to cover it up or pass the buck.

Most of my managers have been professional enough to say 'You what!' first, closely followed by 'Thanks for the heads-up...now how do we fix it?'. As for the other type of manager, well, you find them everywhere.

Their biggest failing IMO? Not being able to ask for help or say 'I dunno how to do that'. They just seem to plough on digging themselves ever deeper and hoping that it'll work out in the end.

* Got one at the moment...knows everything about a couple of subjects, but little or nothing about the stuff above or below that they are required to interface with (Full stack developer, my arse!) They just can't seem to 'join the dots', even after going to uni/college. On paper, they are brilliant...in practise, less so.

UK comms regulator rings death knell for fax machines


Re: Cue the downvotes for me being a luddite

BT should never have been allowed to build system X

Now, as an ex-employee of the firm that DID make System X....it's time for a little defence. There's nothing wrong with preferring the preceding Analogue network, it's just that I'm proud of what 'X' did - and still does - for us.

There is a basic but accurate time-line for 'digitsation' here, and the moderately detailed wiki page is also factually correct.

Also, don't forget there was/is also a different architecture - System 'Y' (The Ericsson AXE10) - used as well, so it's not just 'X's fault.:-)

'X' and 'Y' were the enablers for turning the entire network 'digital', meaning better clarity and consistency of the audio, much faster call set-up, the availability of Subscriber Trunk Dialling (The only type of STD I wanna be involved with!) among many other benefits. Yes, using TDM (Time division multiplex) brought a few issues, but on the whole, and IMHO, 'digital' was just better overall.

It did indeed use PCM - the 64Kbit/S G.711 A-Law (8Khz samples) flavour. which is pretty much lossless as far as the human speech band (Up to about ~3.4Khz) goes..I don't know what bandwidth your "radio telescope signals" used, but it worked over the dial-up Analogue PSTN, it would have worked over the Digital flavour of PSTN also. If it didn't work as expected...then you weren't using the 'PSTN' but something else, probably one of the GPO/BT's higher-bandwidth leased lines.

The next step was to move from synchronous, circuit-switched TDM (With it's nice short delays) to packeted VoIP (With it's bloody awful delays, transport reliability and need for echo-cancellers everywhere). This was popular, as the *huge* footprint taken by the 'X' equipment (GTLE or DMSU!) could be reduced to a few 19" racks, consuming a lot less power etc. into the bargain. The analogue TXE and Strowger stuff took up even more space than the 'X' equipment, which was another reason for the adoption of 'X'.

In case you hadn't noticed, I could witter on about this subject for days!


Ahh, the joys of VoIP and Fax interworking!

That gave us VoIP Switch people a headache for quite a while. Basically the choice for detecting a FAX call was listen for FAX's CNG/ANS tone and, once detected, either freeze the incoming RTP stream's jitter buffers, turn off the local echo cancellation and switch back to the 'lossless' G.711 codec, switch to T.38 FAX relay, or some unholy proprietary crap - depending on which media gateway had implemented which standards and/or proprietary crap.

Generally the JB freeze and switch back to G.711 was preferred, as ISTR that it was mandatory for any VoIP endpoint to have support for G.711a/u.

The really hard part was convincing some people that they needed to start the RTP stream before the terminating end answered so any echo cancellation etc. could be handled in any media gateways along the route. Either that, or come up with a horribly complicated and time-sensitive OOB signalling solution.This was particularly fun with SIP and H.248/Megaco and, odly enough, easier with MGCP.

And don't get me started on other in-band modems.....especially the bloody card payment terminals that omitted some of the training/handshaking tones due to their need for a 'fast' connection....harrumph!

I like reminiscing usually, but that shit gave me, and people smarter than me, a really hard time!

New measurement alert: Liz Truss inspires new Register standard


Re: But where's the "Merkel"

'The current update with Liz Truss is just like installing Windows 11 and finding issues that will be "fixed next week" for the next few years.'

Speaking of fixes :-

'The current issue with any British politician is just like installing Windows 11 and finding issues that will be "fixed next week" for the next few years.' - FTFY.

Also, the fuckers seem to have forgotten that they are supposed to work for the benefit of the country as a whole, not slag each other off. Stop you internal back-biting and concentrate on getting Blighty out of the shit. We must be a laughing stock in the international community.

Dear international community, please tell us how shit you think we are.

NASA OKs spacewalks, upgrades helmets after fishbowl mishap


Re: No thanks.

The more I read about it, the more I want to go! If I had the budget, I would be paying them!

UK government in talks with datacenter operators over blackouts


Short-term win=long term loss

least a 99.982 percent availability

Interesting... 99.982% is awfully specific...anyone got any idea where this very precise value came from? That puts in in the 'three-or-four nines' uptime category, depending on your rounding preference. I would have thought DCs would be offering 'four to five nines' these days, given their increasing importance.

As for the current risks to energy supply, things have been heading that way for a while, so I'm expecting rolling 'load shedding' blackouts this winter. IMHO, the race to green energy, whilst laudable and necessary*, has been a distraction from the business of keeping the lights on (a.k.a security of supply). The sooner fusion becomes a reality the better, but I'm not holding my breath for that. I wonder how many people are beginning to think of 'traditional fission generation' as the answer to uninterrupted supply?

Does anyone else here wonder just how the decreasing generating capacity and existing grid/transmission infrastructure can handle the upcoming load of all the EVs we're supposed to be adopting? Never mind the increasing reliance on electrical/electronic 'tech'. It's almost at the point were you can't go for a crap without an Internet connection, which has to be powered.

* Global warming is here now (They say) and, inevitably, the fossil fuels will run out sometime....best be prepared if we want the same quality of life as we enjoy (?) now!

Water pipes hold flood of untapped electricity potential


Re: The elephant in the water pipe?

and indeed they feel warm.

Someone once mentioned that 'When you "turn the heating up"', you are actually reducing your personal apparent rate of cooling to something more comfortable, meaning the local environment conditions allow your body to self-regulate it's temperature using it's normal functions.

Once we get outside the part of the curve where thermal management is simple (e.g. pull blood away from our surface area to avoid excessible heat loss), that's where we start needing to do something a bit more complex like generating additional heat energy by shivering, or increase the rate of heat loss using the evaporation of sweat.

I love using the phrase 'I'm just going to turn the cooling down', as it feels more correct to me!

How Wi-Fi spy drones snooped on financial firm


"You bounce a user off the real network and try to get them to connect to your fake network,"

Sounds like no-one has enabled 802.11w...it's not like it hasn't been around for a while. That said, most AP manufacturers seem to leave the 'default' setting at 'optional', so it's a conscious action to turn it on.

As for VPN, I'd like to mention Wireguard - again. Ideal for securing stuff over iffy wi-fi.

No, working in IT does not mean you can fix anything with a soldering iron


Re: solder wick

@bigtreeman : Frank also had the answer - assuming one had the balls to tell them to do this!


@AC re "back as 'beyond economical repair'!"

A long time ago, in an employment far away, I was repairing the electronic 'Line Cards' for the telephone exchanges we made*, which is where the two wires of your analogue connected to. There were two overvoltage devices, one connected behind the other, which was usually enough to see off any spike induced somehow.

These 'Line Cards' were dotted around the world, including on the Windward island of Saint Vincent in the Caribbean - where the lightening is frequent a potent. The local telephone exchanges used to store up their failed cards, and every so often ship them back to us (on the Geest 'Banana boat', IIRC!). These circuit cards were a bit larger then a sheet of A4 and full of all sorts of electronic goodies.

We opened up one shipment, and in amongst the perfectly normal failures, someone had shipped back several units with a fault report of 'Exchange struck by lightening, please repair' - one of which now looked like a printed circuit board/fibreglass 'Frame' around a slice of really carbonised toast, with whatever components were left rattling around due to a lack of solder on their 'little leg-gies'.

It was our considered opinion that they were taking the piss so we replied in kind, returning the unit as is with a diagnosis/repair report of 'No fault found, please re-test in service'.

[* Buzzwords : ED0618, 1HAK1150 and 1HAK30027, which took up the early part of my career, as did repairing the SEP2 PUS at component level. Good times (Despite the SLIC and SLAC debacle on the '27s). If you worked there - Hi!

Rookie programmer's code goes up in flames ... kind of


Re: Bernie

"recycled stories with changed terminology for the Americas"

Happening everywhere, it seems....had BBC Radio 4 on for the commute home, and found myself listening to a totally American interview - both voices involved were American, as were the opinions which had sod all to do with the UK.

FFS Auntie, are you so short of Brit. content (Or lazy) that you have to re-package someone else's sound-bites? It's supposed to be 'B'BC Radio, not 'A'BC Radio!

I've got nothing against American content (In any form), as long as it's relevant to me/us on this side of the pond. I'm beginning to get fed up with having to listen to or see reams of guff about his Trumpness, or what US politician has been accused of what and by whom, of which state has enacted/repealed which law etc. If I want to find out what's happening in North America, I'll go to NA sources....

It's worth pointing out that the BBC receives most of it's funding from UK citizens via the legal obligation to obtain an annual 'TV Licence' to consume BBC visual content or any real-time-broadcast at all on the gogglebox or online. It remains mercifully ad-free (Apart from information regarding it's own services, which is fair enough I suppose).

I find lately that the visual content pushed by the Beeb, and especially the news, has IMO become biased as opposed to properly objective, now has too many opinions dressed up as facts, lots of speculation instead of facts and is increasingly less relevant to UK life.. Still, that's just my opinion - your mileage may vary. I'm still a supporter of the concept of a publicaly-funded state broadcaster, but I'm getting ever closer to doing the modern thing - if you don't like the service, don't buy it!

That last personal rant aside, the BBC still does a good job in an environment that must be very difficult to operate in.

Internet Society recommends development of Solar-System-scale routing framework


I'll save you the trip to the galactic planning office and state here and now that there are no plans to do that. Yet.


Re IPv6 anyone?

My first thought too initially...but I suspect IPv6 would suffer from the same fundamental issue that the more traditional solar system and galactic space comms techniques haven't solved yet, despite years of effort from SETI - neighbour discovery doesn't appear to work.

SiFive RISC-V CPU cores to power NASA's next spaceflight computer


longevity over speed?

What is it with this world and 'Speed and Power'? Internet access is sold by it, server and desktop CPUs are sold by it.....because that's what matters in those terrestrial use-cases.

Out in space, or places with a piss-poor magnetosphere etc., I would argue that reliability and/or longevity is more important than huge processing speed...so IMO these should be built using a process size way larger then the current 10, 7, 5 and now 3 nm processes for survivability. As others have pointed out, there is only so much sheilding can do - sooner or later, something very energetic will cause direct or indirect gate damage.

Same goes for the storage. If it's flash, go for SLC with plenty of error correction and redundancy.

That said, NASA/JPL must have thought of the risks involved in such a processing grunt step change...including the power supply and consumption.

You can never have too many backups. Also, you can never have too many backups


Hmmmm, will have to look into Greasemonkey, although I hate JS.

I use Keepass with some convoluted 'autotype' definitions. Best I've come across for me so far, as (a) I'm paranoid and clear cookies/data on browser exit, (b) don't want to put stuff like that in the cloud as my internet connection is a bit ropey, and (c) if you use Keepass portable, you can take it on hols using a thumb drive.

The last trick is beloved of my less-technical friends.

NASA scrubs Artemis SLS Moon rocket launch


Re: 200% trust in NASA

Oh, the fun I had testing 'phone instruments and exchanges/COs for pulses-per-second and mark/space ratio compliance...among lots of other things. At one stage, I was a 'Walking, Talking SIN350'.

I miss all that analogue stuff....anyone feeling really nostalgic about British exchanges could do worse than visit Light Straw. Most of it is before my time, but still nice to see what the forefathers got up to!

T-Mobile US and SpaceX hope to deliver phone service from space



"no dead zones anywhere in the world for your cell phone"

...for an undisclosed but probably horrible price! Was gonna complain about user terminal battery life as well, but that's been covered:-)

Just Muskish blue-sky thinking and hype as usual? Time will tell.

$50m+ contract for crime-fighting IT system won by Fujitsu after no one else bid


Here's hoping...

...that they do a better and more honourable/responsible job than they did with the PO Horizon system.

I'm still pissed off that no-one serious has swung for that nasty debacle.

In a time before calculators, going the extra mile at work sometimes didn't add up


Re: Bank Accounts

I'm sure I've posted this before, but here goes...I was well aware of the costs of 'long distance' calls as I worked for the mob that made BT's exchanges and other infrastructure.

My solution:find an 0800 number that worked in the evenings, had an ACD prompt of "If you know the extension number you need, you may dial it now", and had been poorly configured so that you could dial '9' for an outgoing trunk....free international BBS time!

For some reason, these usually got 'fixed' after a month or so:-)

Engineers on the brink of extinction threaten entire tech ecosystems


my job title is IT *Engineer*.

I occasionally worked with a company that has lots to do with what most people my age would call 'Yellow-striped Parking Vultures' i.e. the person who gives you a ticket for parting illegally.

Their job title is not 'Traffic Warden', but - officially and deliberately - 'Civilian Enforcement Officer' - CEO for effs sake!

Is this you in this explicit snap? No, it's just Discord phishing


Take social media seriously?

MalwareBytes recommends not taking any social media messages too seriously.

+1 to MalwareBytes for the sane advise.

+10 to me for not reading any of that shite in the first place.

Microsoft unboxes Exchange Online certification in bid to push customers off-prem


Skills Shortage?

All I heard was "Oh Shit, we've forgotten how it works ....let's Crowdsource the skills needed to keep the poxy thing alive!.

Know the difference between a bin and /bin unless you want a new doorstop


Re: Clean desk policy

I had a friend in the Civil Service, who's department head insisted on a 'Clean Desk' before leaving on Fridays.

EO's solution : Late on a Friday, post everything outstanding to yourself in the internal mail, for delivery back on Monday....


Technical Question #3 at interview : "Briefly explain the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS)."

If they can't answer that, or demonstrate the ability to say "I'm sorry, I don't know", then they are not 'Admin' material and should ONLY be dumped in group 'Users' until CPD takes effect and they can be trusted.

Same sort deal goes for prospective Windows admins...if they can't explain %APPDATA%...

UK's Post Office shells out for SAP software it thought it had


Re: Nice business you've got there squire...

Upvoted for the Due Diligence observation. When I read the "We have been facing operational issues since the last two years as SAP stood down our Customer Success Manager as that service is not available for indirect contract, something SAP failed to disclose" I burst out laughing and thought 'What did the idiots expect? They should have asked better questions when negotiating'. "Failed to disclose" is bizSpeak for 'We did not see this unintended consequence coming and now need to whine about it to avoid owning any blame'. That, and there is *always* someone smarter than you in the game, somewhere.

Not being a SAP user, I don't know how byzantine their licensing is, but I'd bet that it's a royal pain in the arse to understand, let alone achieve compliance with... which gets the RMG/PO off the hook just a little bit in my book.

Business relationships have got very convoluted and way less transparent than they were or should be - everyone is trying to create leverage, get an 'edge' and grab a bigger slice of the pie at the expense of others anbd noe to themselves....especially now with so many threats to revenue and stability.

Q:When is a opportunity not an opportunity A:When you just jump in without looking all the way to the bottom...

Capital One: Convicted techie got in via 'misconfigured' AWS buckets


Re: Misconfigured or..

Misconfigured or configured for public access.

How can one tell the difference? You can't because there is no difference, especially given given the nature of the owning entity (A Bank) and the type of data.

IMHO 'Configured Correctly' in this case means 'Configured for authenticated partner access', meaning only people on the list, from the correct institutions/entity etc. have access. If that's too hard, inconvenient or costly to implement....tough titty, it's your job to secure shit like that. Public access is the easy option chosen by wankers idiots.

Please, someone hammer Capital One with a meaningful fine - say 1 or 2% of last FY's net profits?

US Copyright Office sued for denying AI model authorship of digital image


Re: AI rights

to hundreds of wrongful convictions for fraud and theft.

Don't forget the odd death or two due to suicide following conviction..

Even those running the system weren't aware just how flawed it was.

Probably not during the 'WTF' and investigative stages, but they certainly were aware of the defects eventually - and continued with prosecutions even after finding that out and understanding the scope&scale of the problem. <OUTRAGE>Unforgivable, even by modern corporate standards!</OUTRAGE>

No, OpenAI's image-making DALL·E 2 doesn't understand some secret language


Re: A dog

"AI is like a dog on a leash. If you let it bite someone, you are responsible.

I wish it would be like that. AFAIK, and under English law, it's easy to identify the person who libels you as they are the ones that publish the libel. If it's a corporate body like the tabloid press publishing stuff, then it's up to them to defend their statements - assuming one afford (Or find 'pro-bono') someone willing to represent you.

Only rich people can sue for liable. (Not mentioning the recently concluded 'JD vs AH Round 1' b.s. to avoid legitimising the storm-in-a-teacup created by the media).

In these days of syndication etc., who is liable? The entity in control of the AI who created the erroneous shite that they published in the first place, the entity that re-tweeted it, the website that published the re-tweet or the programmer who created the AI? Good luck with that, as the website publisher/re-tweeter etc. will pass the buck upstream (Assuming they disclose their source!).

We're all familiar with 'Sorry, the computer says no'....but such decisions are (currently) usually algorithmic and can be evaluated/reverse engineered if necessary to correct error. If you can find someone able to 'back trace' the operations/factors leading to an AI decision...I'll show you a bullshitter!

My personal opinion is that AI is good for rules-bound repetitive simple tasks (Like image processing leading to a go/nogo decision or something basically statistical etc.) but as soon as you let it do something that involves actual perception or judgement you're gonna be in a world of hurt, either because the original programmer was crap, the dataset it was trained on was crap, the interpretation of it's output was crap, and the shit output will be accepted as gospel by those desperate to join the AI buzz.

Sorry for any typo...I can confirm that the sharper the kitchen knife, the less it hurts....especially after two or three glasses of vino rosso.

Beware the fury of a database developer torn from tables and SQL


Re: In the spirit of the story...

"fun is in reading YouTube's machine generated subtitles".

And there was me thinking I was the only one who noticed.

Part of my aversion to 'AI' or 'ML' is caused by the output of whatever generates these subtitles. You sort of expect errors in translation, and the 'Audio to text' task is hard in the first place, but the audio--> text error rate is far too high for my liking. It's only the odd word missing or mis-translated but this is usually more than enough to skew the text into something a long way from the audio. I guess the 'English Audio to {Other language}' task is harder and more prone to error, especially as us flesh-sacks can't do that properly either!

It's one thing to argue about translation with a human.....but how do you argue with a machine about it's translation? Personally, I can't wait for someone in the legal community to submit/try to use some machine-translated text and expect it to remain unchallenged.


Re: Just a quick question.

Back in the day, I was more-or-less bi-lingual in English and French*, including the argot, and so got to deal with the support calls from French customers. During a 'to board level fault diagnosis' call, and knowing the person on the other end of the phone well, I was able to substitute the word 'défectueux' with 'foutu' successfully....far more so than a non-French speaking, eavesdropping, colleague who thought they could get away with it in a later call...to someone more senior.

Bonus points if, when in a crowded English restaurant, you can get someone with a strong Parisian accent to shout the name of the dog in 'The Magic Roundabout' as it was in the original French.

[*] No longer it's seems...I'm sadly out of practice.


Re: Know your audience.

Upvote for you, but please pass on the upvotes to the idiot, if for no other reason than their creativity and total commitment to geek-ery.

I'm not overly concerned with the appalling idea of commenting in Klingon, given he was playing with inline ASM anyway:-)

A long while ago, in a workplace far away, and shortly after we found a Klingon TTF, us engineers geeks enjoyed passing docs around with English text set to 'Klingon', and with the font embedded in the doc, We loved it...managers hated it as they generally didn't know enough to change the font back..

Keeping your head as an entire database goes pear-shaped


Re: Drop and go

Its almost as if management and sensible security are somehow at odds with each other.

That's because they are. It's rare to find a gaffer that sees 'security' as an asset instead of an expense, especially in budget-strapped SME-land.


Mind your manners with the physical IDs..

I deal with all sorts of disks that need re-purposing for test builds, image deployment etc. As a result, I use Microsoft's diskpart.exe to 'Un-initialise' disks quite often...using it's 'clean' operation.

I automate a lot of operations, but sometimes manually is the only way to do something. My code and comments are full of dire warnings about using 'clean', and the pre-execution checks are very robust, erring on the paranoid side of things:-)

There is an entry in our local 'wiki-ish thing' about re-initialising physical media and it's full of warnings like '[BE EXTRA SPECIAL BLOODY CAREFUL!]' and '[SERIOUSLY, BE REALLY CAREFUL - THERE IS NO WAY BACK FROM THIS]'.

So far we've been lucky and the warnings have worked...which is a shame from my POV as I'm in favour of some of the 'as fast as possible, ask no questions' types learning a really hard lesson sometimes - my rules are 'You fuck it up, you fix it' (Right up to the point where people fess up to not knowing how, at which point we do actually help - and educate - them. Two lessons for the price of one!).

Doing a 'detail disk' and reading the output is now more or less muscle memory for me:-) I'm just as cautious with re-initialising media on Linux...blkid is your friend..

France levels up local video game slang with list of French terms to replace foreign words


Re: "French guy here"

"rifles through their pockets"

OK, so where did we steal 'le dogging' from :-)

Microsoft sounds the alarm on – wait for it – a Linux botnet


Re: knock, knock.

"But they would be NUTS to open port 22"

When did that stop people desperate to save a few seconds, or the 'OK, that works, it's fit for Production' crowd?

I allow SSH/SCP/SFTP 'key authentication only' access to certain partners. however they have to be using a VPN connection I give them and can only connect to what I let them. The VPN service is only accessible from public source addresses approved by me. And yes, the port forward for the VPN service is NOT the 'well known' one for the 'stealthy by design' Wireguard-based* service....

I totally agree about the current and legacy 'Internet of Shite' devices out there....anyone remember the Mirai botnet that used the well-known 'default password' method as it's initial IV?

[*] All hail Jason Donenfeld. That said (As he does in the small print, somewhere) you still need a firewall involved. WG has good points and bad points from an ops. POV, but the good ones vastly outweigh the bad ones...for me, anyway.

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’


Re: The big dish

IMHO, this is an example of older is better :-)

The Voyager probes were constructed so long ago that the available tech was, by it's very nature, more radiation-tolerant, thermal-cycle-tolerant and generally more electrically and mechanically 'stable' than the much, much 'smaller' fabrication techniques used today.

Anyone want to bet how long a 7nm process part will last in a high radiation environment without ridiculous amounts of shielding, at least from a very weight-sensitive spacecraft's POV.

Also, and I've said this before - muchos kudos to the current Voyager operations team for keeping the things going process-wise, but don't forget the people who went before them, and the folks running the DSN.both now and in the past.

If you feel the need to research something to find some history that can be applied to today's operations, look into the DSN.

An international incident or just some finger trouble at the console?


Re: Typing is not a good idea.

'Paste into Notepad'. Seconded.

Works for other operations too, like grabbing XML Schemas from a shite PDF document presented by a shite PDF reader.

I actually stopped here to say +1 for the Notepad thing, but that, for Windows use, I find Notepad++ easier, as you don't have to worry about loosing something if you close one of the plethora of open notepad docs (Now, what was that I just closed....damn..).

Biden deal with ISPs: Low to no cost internet for 40% of US


'to 100Mbps, the minimum speed which the ACP classifies as high-speed internet.'

Downstream speeds ain't everything. Upstream is just as important, especially for TCP sessions from a multi-user-household. I for one have always hated the UK practise of advertising things as 'up to 'N@Mb', but also that they don't declare the projected Upstream speed side of the connection. Sure, you can have 100MBit Down...provided you don't mind sharing the available 128KBit Up between you?

Here in the UK, I used to have a rural-ish DSL with 12MBit down and ~1MBit up on average...and that was with a sensible noise margin of about 6db. If it rained or the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, the upstream speed suffered first. Never having been a cable customer/DOCSIS user, I can't comment on likely upstream performance with that.

IMO, delivering sensible/usable up/down speeds is gonna be a hard task, especially without full fibre/FTTP, and especially in the US with it's generally lower population density and larger distances to cover.

Pyramid Analytics receives $120m in VC funding for 'decision intelligence'


'decision intelligence' - Really?

I dare say they know what they are doing - I can't judge them - but I have a nasty suspicion that 'decision intelligence' will end up being 'decision stupidity' unless there is plenty of oversight. Applying AI to Analytics (Or the other way round, it's commutative, I guess) is only going to lower the quality of decisions, not enhance it.

There's enough 'Computer says no' about already without dumbing ourselves down any more...also, if it's a dodgey decision, who's liable? The first-party user of the decision, the second-party generator of the decision, or ultimately programmer/modeller to write/trained things in the first place (Good luck proving the latter!)?

Engineer gets Windows 11 working on a Surface Duo


Re: Meanwhile...

Judging by the state of W11, it's current market share, and the flaming going on, I'd say they've been paying attention to the non-lipstick end.

That said, if they are choosing to put lipstick on the 'wrong' end of the pig, I'm not going to kinkshame them:-)

Don't hate on cryptomining, hate the power stations, say Bitcoin super-fans


Re: Bitcoin miners have no emissions whatsoever

I'm a bit late to this bun-fight and was having trouble deciding which comment to reply to with my two penneth/cents worth. Ian Johnston wins an upvote.

OK, Crypto-mining has been around for a while now, and the issue of the power consumed by this computationally intensive operation has been discussed to death already. I'm not a miner myself, but I do look after the networking for a couple of friends/family who are. I have to say that whilst they appear to earn good coin for themselves but predominantly others, I find the power consumption of the distributed mining operation (Helium, if anyone's interested) mildly offensive....but not as bad as the frankly ridiculous about of bandwidth being consumed. In one case, a single device has racked up about 10.5GB over 3 days, and the traffic stats on the site's main (SOHO) router are......alarming, with about 80% of the last 30 day's traffic being miner traffic.

All this traffic has be be generated (By the miner), transported (Local Infrastructure, Internet etc), and further processed/visualised in the 'cloud' somewhere...all of which takes considerable wattage when combined. Someone, somewhere has to pay for the elec-trickery and get rid of the heat.. It's a really, really inefficient way to use power. At least using POE has the benefit of reducing wall-wart power supplies and cabling/complexity.

It's strange that no-one's pointed out the inequality in power generation costs apportioned by the generation industry. I dislike my bills increasing to fund the increasing infrastructure required to service the power requirements/whims of a comparatively small portion of the wider community - but I guess things are always like that.

The other strange thing is that ISPs/Carriers haven't been bitching about their infrastructure costs caused by the mad, and increasing, amount of miner traffic they are having to carry. There was a spat between the video streaming and the ISP/carrier industries a while back - I wonder if anyone will re-open that can of worms re cryptominer traffic.

Whilst writing this, I've come to the conclusion that crypto currency and the 'mining' thereof is an interesting innovation/revenue stream, but we've all got better things to do with what little 'spare' electricity we have available - which isn't much! The more I think about it and do some modelling, the less I like it. On balance, it would be better if power-hungry cryptobollocks hadn't been invented,....but it has and we're stuck with it.

And yes, I'm aware that I'm being hypocritical.. I do afterall support/run a few home/SOHO networks that that have miners in them...and not for profit either, just for fun, so I don't even get anything in return!.

Oracle already wins 'crypto bug of the year' with Java digital signature bypass


Re: So what other sanity checks did they leave out on the rewrite?

"if you are going to test anything at all, it should be 0."

Upvoted for that..

Speaking as a former testing professional, I'd have to say I'm not surprised.

'Testing' stuff used to mean actually testing it, with the software equivalent of hammers and a proper test plan, rather than just waving a damp dishrag at it to see what happens.

They say zero must be discovered. I'd say the team/individual that ported this from CPP to Java have just made a different discovery - how shite they are!

Back in the day, any test exercised the low and high limits of any parameter/setting, and especially out-of-range values. Not being an Oracle user, I'm a bit meah about them, however I hope they get a hammering somehow for their crass stupidity.

Zero x Zero is acceptable....really?

An early crack at network management with an unfortunate logfile


Re: Quality Issue Management System

Not IT related, but I found myself in a rural pub for Easter Sunday lunch with my mother, owned by someone with an ...unusual... approach to decor in the back room, e.g. one framed picture is Queen Victoria, next door to a similarly dressed David Bowie.

One largeish picture just had the words 'See you next tuesday' on it....and my rather elderly mum was very eager to find out what that meant.. That was a fun and cautious explanation!

Good food, good beer, interesting decor throughout including the restrooms. It's the Queen's Head in Foulsham, Norfolk if you're passing.

Debugging source is even harder when you can't stop laughing at it


Re: Trust but verify...

Definitely! That's the 'whack-a-mole' game I was on about:-) Every so often, I find one of the little darlings has tried to be smart and use, for example, 'C0ckwomble'....but they have forgotten that to be old and wise one must first have been young and stupid...meaning I look for things like that. I only check for obvious single word 'nasties', recognising that filtering for everything offensive is impossible. Their latest attempt at obfuscation is to put URL-encoded links to foass.com in the comments:-)