* Posts by richardcox13

532 publicly visible posts • joined 19 May 2012


Microsoft calls time on Windows Insider MVP program


Re: Does it really matter..

That was more about being able to sign an NDA with MS whil4e working at Google. Shortly later a away around that was found and the MVC award continued.

> guy that answered all the .Net questions

Not all, but a lot.

Does Windows have a very weak password lurking in its crypto libraries?


Re: Correct me if I'm wrong ...


Cryptographic hashes are used for more than passwords.

HTTP/2 'Rapid Reset' zero-day exploited in biggest DDoS deluge seen yet


Re: A cancel request?

> This sounds like a feature created by an overly eager intern.

No. Because this has a completely reasonable use case. A page is loading (eg. for images below the fold) when the user navigates to another page; at this point those resouces outstanding for the first page will not be needed.

Just opening lots of HTTP/1 sockets has its own problems, and cancellations by the client (close the socket) allowed similar DDOS attacks. The difference is the HTTP/1 attacks have had a couple of decades in which defences and mitigations have been built up.

Microsoft says VBScript will be ripped from Windows in future release


Re: It's an abomination, but...

What's wrong with recursion?

(My coat? It's the one with the "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" in the pocket.)

Ex-Microsoft maverick takes us on a trip through vintage Task Manager code


Re: Why don't the numbers add up?

And if you look at Process Explorer (SysInternals) you'll see a different number again.

Short version: there are some choices made about what counts as a process's CPU time (eg. how Windows uses the currently executing thread's stack for interrupt handlers).

Also Task Manager rounds to integers, so a lot of cases where a thread uses (say) 0.1% CPU in an interval round to zero, but across 10 threads that adds up.

Scripted shortcut caused double-click disaster of sysadmin's own making


Re: Long live $WhatIf

PowerShell has inbuilt support to do this with $WhatIfPreference.

See about_Preference_Variables.

Mastodon makes a major move amid Musk's multiple messes


Re: Federating the server administration?

Or the users move to another server: which is easy to do.

As TikTok surveils staff's office hours, research indicates WFH is good for planet


Re: Good for the planet?

> TLDR - I couldn't get to the end of the article.

Read first couple of paragraphs. Lack of capitalisation and grammar was a barrier. But the tone coming over as if written by someone who has found, and wants to publicise, their latest conspiracy means it is not worth my time.

If you want to use an article to support your position then reference something that is well written in something close to proper English and makes its points calmly,

US amends hypersonic weapons strategy: If you can't zoom with 'em, boom 'em


Re: Destructive Uber Bomb Mentality

As the previous posted said: this was from the before ICBMs

Once ICBMs replaced bombers as the delivery platform for enemy nukes, these SAMs were withdrawn.

PEBCAK problem transformed young techie into grizzled cynical sysadmin


Addt6ional (that I remembered later: it has been a while since this was operationally significant).

On 32bit Windows the large address aware flag was not sufficient to get the additional user mode address space (it was sufficient on 64bit windows). 32bit Windows also required a boot.ini flag to tell the kernel to use only 1GB of address space.

This restriction on the kernel could cause problems itself (including performance) so should be thoroughly tested first.


> An individual application would only get access to 3GB of that - unless compiled with a Large Address Aware linker switch to indicate that they could cope with the full address space.

Correction: 2GB unless compiled with the large address aware flag, which got you as much as the OS would provide to a 32bit process. Which was 3GB on 32but OSs. When running on a 64bit OS an executable compiled with the large address aware flag will get 4GB.

The difference is because the top half (normally) or top 1GB of the process address space is overlaid with the kernel's address space on 32bit versions of Windows. 64bit Windows (which became generally available with Server 2003: XP 64bit being a variation of 2003 and causing confusion with service pack numbers following 2003 rather than XP 32bit).

Ie. to maximise the available address space for 32bit processes you need a 64bit OS, rather than more RAM.

IBM Software tells workers: Get back to the office three days a week


Re: Why do people assume it is only upper management that supports back to office?

For that, everybody must be in the SAME office.


(And that means any business leaders that splits teams over offices making any claims about being in the office for easy communications are at the normal level of "business leaders".)


> It's reasonable to assume that heating/cooling a home is less efficient per person than heating/cooling an office.

Visit more offices. The number with poorly fitting windows letting in drafts... or windows open because no-one can switch off the heating....

I suspect most offices are pretty poor.

Microsoft: China stole secret key that unlocked US govt email from crash debug dump


Re: I wonder about all the crash dumps that Windows sends to MS

There is a big difference between a whole system dump and a single process dump.


Re: Crash dumps in production environment?

What would you suggest instead?

If you have a crash that is 1. only in production (a re-create a production isn't necessarily a re-create in test) , 2. existing diagnostics (logs etc.) don't provide any information beyond it crashed then what else to do?

Oracle Cloud, Netsuite, and Azure go down, hard, Down Under


Re: My company too.

> We should move one monitoring systems to a different DC

No, you should be running in more than one DC, or at least more than one AZ in the DC.

A different DC will have its own set of vulnerabilities to an outage. As long as you are in a single AZ you will go down with that AZ.

Microsoft kicks Calibri to the curb for Aptos as default font


"Hu8manisr" is a Term de Jour in Typography

On a more ephemeral note (break out the incense) the software vendor also claimed the font had a more "humanist" touch as it had to "induce trust."

Missed understanding error. "Humanist" typefaces have an oblique axis to the letter forms (eg. the crossbar in an "e" is not horizontal and aligns with the weight variation in the stokes).

(I'll get my coat: it has The Elements of Typographic Style in the pocket.)

Free Wednesday gift for you lucky lot: Extra mouse button!


Re: In some cases e.g. CAD...

This is common across a lot of apps (including browsers and Visual Studio).

Other apps do something of their own (eg. VS Code does rectangle select).

As this is, for Windows, the most common function of the middle button it is off the article completely fails to mention it.

Microsoft signs 1.5 million seat contract for Office 365 and more


Re: $940 million for a million and a half users ?

> That's almost $627 per seqt.

Over just under three years.

$18 per user per month.

False negative stretched routine software installation into four days of frustration


Re: Noisy installers suck.

However all of those details should go into a log file.

So should a failure need analysis a detailed view of the point of failure can be determined, in the context of other, possibly concurrent, actions.

Errors logged as 'nut loose on the keyboard' were – ahem – not a hardware problem


Re: Lies, damn lies and metrics

By that metric I've already doomed myself for the year...

One PR: +45k LoC and -5.5MLoC!

Reduced the build time in our CI agent from >60min (and often timing out) to <2min. But for the "LoC" only metrics is never going to look good.

(I hate tooling the accumulates more and more generated code that will never be run...).

GitHub rolls out mandatory 2FA for loads of devs next week


> The question is can you actually set up a Github account without providing a phone number even though its not necessary for 2fa?

I'm pretty sure I've never given GitHub my phone number, and do have 2FA set up (TOTP).

Yes, you could use a burner phone, but you would need to configure the account to use that phone (or transfer TOTP app settings to that phone)

Microsoft begs you not to ditch Edge on Google's own Chrome download page


Re: You install Chrome?


I do have Chrome installed. Mostly for testing/validation.

My web browsing I do in Vivaldi (with lots of customisation).

Just because you need a tool for supporting others does not mean you are restricted to that tool. After all a "pro" understands the difference between optimising my workflows and helping someone else.,

Most Londoners would quit before they give up working from home


Re: Never!

Where is the option to upvote multiple times?

This 150%:.If the org is over multiple locations you're not meeting face to face anyway. So the one possible benefit of being in the office is lost,

(Since first lock down, now averaging well under 1 day per year in office and I continue to completely not miss it.)

Google's AI search bot Bard makes $120b error on day one



The Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite defines BARD as Big Annex of Reference Documents.

This seems too much of a coincidence?

(Mine's the one with a copy of RFC 2795 in the pocket.)

Warning: Microsoft Teams Free (classic) will be gone in 2 months


Re: With apologies to the late Douglas Adams

Many times!


Eager young tearaway almost ruined Christmas with printer paper


Re: Procedure update

Definition of legal tender is the some (or at least close enough).

Which involves payment of a debt, not just any payment. Eg. doesn't apply when getting a sarnie at M&S for lunch.

It would apply to settling a restaurant bill however. And it is also only applies when providing the exact payment (can't ask for change).


Re: Procedure update

(At the danger of opening the can of worms...)

(which, as many people don't realise, are also promissory notes)

This depends on the jurisdiction and issurer.

Eg. Scottish banknotes are promissory notes (which is part of why they are not legal tender[1] anywhere), whereas Bank of England banknotes are not (and are legal tender outside Scotland[2]).

[1] This has little practical meaning, "legal tender" is only meaningful in some narrow classes of debt payment.

[2] There are no bank notes that are legal tender in Scotland.

Labyrinth of 371 legacy systems hindered hospital's IT meltdown recovery


Re: Incompetent IT leaders in GSTT

> In most cases the cause of this type of outage is caused managerial incompetance.

Largely lead by political incompetence.

"Cut 33% of managers" made positive headlines, but they cut too many useful ones. Since then productivity - based on positive patient outcomes - per staff member has fallen steadily. Basically there is no ability to improve the way things are done (font line staff are too busy being frontline staff to fix things).

And then the massive drop in capital expenditure meant there is no budget for anything than "what's the cheapest" despite that being the more expensive option in the medium to long term.

Tech CEO nixes AI lawyer stunt after being threatened with jail time


Re: Elevator music ...

Just wait until they get depressed and start sulking in the basement.


but the music is repetitive and dull.

So perfect for 90% iof "music" targeting the current charts.

Microsoft shells out for 2.5GW of solar. Not that it'll make a big dent in its emissions


El Reg: units fail!

many of these facilities consume tens of millions of watts of power every hour

Energy per time per time is not a measure of power usage. (It could be a measure of power change, but that would not fit the rest of the article.)

This isn't hard!

BOFH and the case of the Zoom call that never was


Re: Article Incorrectly categorised

This was filled under BOFH - should have been on-call!

It is about time for a cross-over episode.

Software devs targeted as British tax authority makes fraud allegations


Re: Is it patentable

Given software patents are an American thing, that would always be "no" unless you're in a multinational and applying for patents in the US.

Microsoft to move some Teams features to more costly 'Premium' edition


Re: 'the misery of running multiple tools'

Be glad you not using Slack as well then.

Current memory use: Teams 255MB & Slack is 325MB.

Given Slack's more limited functionality it seems like Teams is not the worst.

IMHO: Teams is OK at everything. While Zoom maybe good for video conf it is not that much better that it is worth switching tools; Same for Slack and chat. They are all tools I use, whether I like them or not they do generally work (Teams is not really any worse overall in this regard).

What is really annoying is that professionals in IT get so attached to things that are tools simply because that is what they are used to, and are unwilling to be objective in that "I like" is not relevant. You use the tools you need to use to solve the problem in an effective way.

On the 12th day of the Rackspace email disaster, it did not give to me …


Re: Only insofar

Equally, of course, any admin who insists that it is kept inhouse, despite no data centre (small business) or offsite secondary (small business), that they'll cover whenever (24x7) should anything happen.

Not every organisation has the resources to run systems with that kind of reliability the business needs.

If Rackspace has had this service for 10 years, and this is the first outage that would be better that 99.5% availability. I suspect it goes back longer than that. Can you match that with a repurposed desktop machine under a desk in an office (or maybe there is a cupboard if you're really lucky).

Yes, many commentators here have the luxury of being part of a significant IT organisation, but that is a minority of organisations.

Programming error created billion-dollar mistake that made the coder ... a hero?


Re: Welcome Back!

> You need to put a stop condition otherwise you get stack overflow eventually!

Or tail recursion....


Re: Worst code I ever saw...

Only those who think "agile means no design" think "code is self commenting": they've never worked on a system with some "proper" business requirements where the only sensible reaction is "WTF", but you still have the implement them.

To quote Refactoring:

Don’t worry, we aren’t saying that people shouldn’t write comments. In our olfactory analogy, comments aren’t a bad smell; indeed they are a sweet smell. The reason we mention comments here is that comments are often used as a deodorant. It’s surprising how often you look at thickly commented code and notice that the comments are there because the code is bad.

And then expands on this, including that extracting the code into multiple functions, even if they need long names (naming sections of code really helps, languages with local functions are particularly useful here), significantly reduces – but does not eliminate – the need for comments.

Elon Musk issues ultimatum to Twitter staff: Go hardcore or go home


Re: Deadwood

> Trouble is that although you need very few engineers to keep the lights o

You've not seen a large IT organisation which has never paid down its technical debt. Like Twitter has not. In those organisation you need a large team to keep the fires mostly under control.

Meta met a programming language it likes better than Java


Re: Wow

Given the long history of analyses of bugs shows close to constant bugs/LoC code rates, any reduction in LoC is likely to lead to fewer bugs.

This is why the whole "C was good enough for me three decades ago" crowd are missing the point.

Senior engineer reported to management for failing to fix a stapler


Re: What happened...

I think the BOFH would turn up and say "Call that a stapler, this is a _STAPLER_" pulling out a high end industrial nail gun.

And then demonstrate its use.

USB-C iPhone, anyone? EU finalizes charging standard rule


It is seems to be almost universally missed when USB-PD discussions come up that the engineers who put together the specifications might have thought about these things.

Eg. USB-PD does not use 5V for power (beyond the lowest powers). In the latest spec it can be up to 48V.

Of course no-name cheap cables might not be built to spec, but that is not a USB specification problem, that is a problem with people who just get the cheapest and then moan about quality.

SQL Server admins warned about Fargo ransomware


Re: Changing Passwords is NOT good practice

Edit: "blokequote" seems a thing that HTML shouldn't have, so I'm glad that didn't work!


Changing Passwords is NOT good practice

and change them periodically to protect the database server from brute force attacks and dictionary attacks, which any IT pro worth their name will have been doing already

This goes against best practice, and only helps if your password later appears in password lists: which is won't if it was good enough in the first place (20+ chards from random password generator) and not reuse.

Just repeating this bad advice makes me question the source.

NCSC: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/blog-post/problems-forcing-regular-password-expiry

PanWriter: Cross-platform writing tool runs on anything and outputs to anything


Re: "This editor is the best ..."

The editor wars never ended. The opponents just decided to mostly sit in their own trenches.


Indeed. Use VS Code to write markdown, it includes preview support... and extensions can extend that. Which, while a similar download, has a lot of other abilities.

On which topic, from the article

It uses Markdown, which is a sort of lowest-common-denominator markup language.

Assuming a decent Markdown variant (ie. Common Mark compatible) and a couple of extensions (TeX support, and diagrams, via Mermain.js) you've got a tool that can produce better results than most work processors.

Scientists use supercritical carbon dioxide to power the grid


Re: recuperator == heat exchanger

All of these thermal power cycles are theoretically 100% efficient, i

No they're not. All heat engines are have an upper efficiency limit of (derived from second law of thermodynamics)


where Tin is the input temperature and Tout is the output temperature, both in absolute units.

this is why power stations need cooling towers: to reduce Tout and thus give a big ration (Tin tends to be limited by available materials: superheated liquids tend to be highly corrosive).

AMD has a lot riding on its 5nm Ryzen 7000 CPUs. And so here begins the hype


> Most people

Be careful generalising. My experience is most people do a full replacement every 4+ years (with maybe a GPB replacement between). My previous experience of such small upgrades has been they don't offer enough of a boost to be worth the hassle.

Simpler upgrades (more RAM, updating GPU) still would cost more than your price range (certainly anything in the last decade) to be sufficient to not have done when the machine was built.

Better to build well now with the assumption of a new build after a good lifetime taking the best balance of performance and price for new major components now with the expectation of a good 5+ years usage.

Skyrora fires up second stage of XL rocket


Re: But will they take Gromit with them?

Why would Gromit want such a second class transport: nothing like the comfort of your own armchair in your own rocket. See the documentary A Grand Day Out for full details.

NASA's six-mile-wide orbital telescope is 1/6th built


Re: Hell of an approximation!

For the purpose of the interferometry does the precise orbital radius matter? The relative position of the satellites is another matter of course.