* Posts by Oengus

1113 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Jun 2012


It's always DNS, especially when you're on holiday with nothing but a phone on GPRS


Re: No Service

I only have to go to my Rumpus room and I get no service. In my upstairs rooms I have marginal service from one of the three major carriers in Oz. In my lounge room I get minimal service from all three carriers. If I want good service I need to go outside to near the pool...

Dead spots are everywhere here.


Re: It was a quiet Friday night and I wasn't on call,

On call roster - What is that. The Ops team had a list of names and numbers for the different application suites. I am sure they had my number on speed dial.

I really don't miss being on-call.

Beer for those of us who are no longer chained to the help desk.

Advertisers want exemption from web privacy rules that, you know, enforce privacy


I don't want

I don't want a 'Do Not Sell My Personal Information' link, I want a 'Do Not Collect My Personal Information' link.

When will these big data miners (and that is what the advertising companies are in reality) learn that most people don't want their data being sold to god only knows who without their permission.

Remember the Dutch kid who stuck his finger in a dam to save the village? Here's the IT equivalent


Junior Customer Engineer

Back in the day (1970's) our regular IBM Customer Engineer (CE) was on leave and we had an issue. IBM sent out a Junior CE because it was a "simple' issue. As he walked past the console of the system that was running as production that day he said "What is that button doing pressed in?". Before anyone could stop him he reached up and pulled the big red button labelled "Emergency Pull".

Former Oracle product manager says he was forced out for refusing to deceive customers. Now he's suing the biz


"Those aren't bugs, they are upgrades undocumented features!"


Trump Administration fast-tracks compulsory border facial recognition scans for all US citizens


Who pays for the visa?

There are a range of other proposed changes to the immigration system, many of them imposing additional fees on the individual. Individual processing fees are a remedy frequently imposed in an effort to limit applications and fund the process but critics - including the government of India - argue that it only serves to exclude people from poorer, non-Western nations while failing to address endemic problems and inconsistencies within the immigration process.

I thought the H1-B visas were supplied to the person by the company they were going to the US to work for. If that is the case isn't it the responsibility of the company to pay for the visa fees? How does this exclude people from poorer countries? Or, is it some companies, operating in the US, pass on all of the fees to get the employee to the US to the employee because they can get away with it in their "home" country?


Re: At a Loss For Words

In a democracy you deserve who you put in power.

Newly born Firefox 71 emerges from its den – with its own VPN and some privacy tricks


Re: inviting US users of the Firefox desktop browser with Firefox Accounts

exactly what I came here to say... As soon as a "service" wants me to create an account so I can use it, where I don't believe one is necessary, I avoid it. I use Firefox currently but don't have a Firefox account because I don't give a damn about sharing stuff between devices.

That's Microsoft price: Now you can enjoy a BSOD from the comfort of your driving seat


Re: As described

I don't know what you ordered but you got a lemon is probably more correct.

Irish eyes aren't smiling after govt blows €1m on mega-printer too big for parliament's doors


Re: Will it fit?

One of my jobs was to relocate the contents of a wire room from level 5 to level 11 when we leased level 5 to another company. It had two large racks. We emptied the racks and relocated the equipment then someone decided we needed one of the racks on level 12 for future expansion. Getting the empty rack out of the wire room was easy. We took off the side panels, doors and removable shelves to make it lighter, tilted it, and carried it out through the door. When we got to the lift the rack wouldn't fit (too tall). Someone decided we could take it up the fire stairs. I laughed. One of the other techos grabbed a couple of burly builders, already on site working on the floor the rack was relocating to, who agreed to help. On level 5 we were able to get the rack into the fire stairs and with a bit of manoeuvring we managed to get to the 8th floor. So far, so good... However, from the 8th floor the layout of the fire stairs changed very slightly and we could no longer get the rack up the stairs. We couldn't even get the rack out the door. Back down to level 5 we go. In the end I went to my car and got my tool kit, dismantled the rack completely, loaded it in the lift, moved to its new location and reassembled (which was my suggestion in the first place), The other rack was dismantled and placed into storage...

Mine's the one with the tools in the pockets.


Not quite the same scale...

A mate of mine spent a lot of time shopping for an entertainment unit to house his large screen TV and stereo equipment. It arrived at his new house just before the family was ready to move in so he invited me over to help him set everything up and have a night where we could drink beer and scotch, eat pizza and turn up the volume without upsetting his missus.

The TV fitted perfectly. Then it came time to install the stereo amp, pre-amp, CD and turntable. The stereo and pre-amp were designed to be rack mounted so wouldn't fit in the spaces for them. There was no cut-outs to run cables between the amp, pre-amp and CD. We had to set everything up on the top of the entertainment unit so we could play music. The next day we had to take the amp and pre-amp to a machine shop to have them mill off the rack mount lugs which meant we had to remove the front plate from both. Then we had to make cut-outs in the back of the shelves to route the cables. For the last 20 years I have paid out on him every time he has gone to buy anything that is size dependent or needs assembly. (BTW last month he retired the entertainment unit).

Talking a Blue Streak: The ambitious, quiet waste of the Spadeadam Rocket Establishment


Good news...

The Reg's expenses budget wouldn't stretch to a visit to the Woomera test site in Australia

You don't need to go to Woomera. The Power House museum in Sydney has retrieved a large number of pieces from Woomera and have them stored in their back room facility in north west Sydney. A couple of years ago I had the privilege of a back room tour of their aeronautic archives. They had complete rocket engines and other pieces from some of the British and Australian rockets launched from Woomera that had been retrieved by museum researchers. Also they had pieces of Skylab. They had some very interesting pieces in their collection. I could have spent days in there but was restricted to a couple of hours. From memory Australia was the third country to launch objects into space from their own territory.

Bose customers beg for firmware ceasefire after headphones fall victim to another crap update


Re: Criminal Damage

Also, they had an immediate (very low cost) resolution of rolling back the firmware while they resolved the issues. That adds to the recklessness.

After five losses, Apple finally wins a round in $600m VirnetX FaceTime patent mega-battle


Re: "Apple’s entire legal strategy [is] to drag out the fight for as long as it can"

the only honest answer right now is sometime in the 2020s.

I think this underestimates the resolve of big business to drag things out.

From July, you better be Putin these Kremlin-approved apps on gadgets sold in Russia


Re: This will start another black market

Yeah, I have seen this happen.The Russians have never been averse to obtaining things they want by any method. I saw tons of products, not available in Russia, shipped across the border by people ready to take advantage of the law of supply and demand.

Close the windows, it's coming through the walls: Copper Cthulu invades Dabbsy's living room


Hot desking - law of unintended consequences

It only takes a few seconds to pick my hot-desk location for the day since it's always the same one

When our office implemented "hot desking". We (IT) were instructed that we had to set the example and not sit at the same desk all of the time.

One guy decided that he would have a desk for each day of the week, in my regular office I just swap between two desks others took the random approach seriously.

As I was part of the implementation team I was responsible for checking each desk. Each desk was setup with a Targus USB docking station with LAN, 27" LCD screen and power adapter and plugs for the different laptops. The first two sites went okay (approximately 100 spaces per site). At the third site I started to have issues with docks. About half way through testing the third site all of docks were failing. Docks I tested early at the third site were OK but the later ones all failed. Another of the guys tested the failed docks and they worked but my laptop steadfastly refused to work with any "new" dock. Eventually we determined that the issue was the number of docks I had connected to. Each dock installed their own driver because of the different MAC addresses on the LAN ports. After 250+ drivers were installed the drivers had an issue and wouldn't install. Targus were able to provide a solution with a "Ghost" dock removal tool but it served as a warning to management about people being "too mobile".

That code that could never run? Well, guess what. Now Windows thinks it's Batman


Re: Gac.

Hint: I'm an old fart :-)

I know the feeling... I'll join you in the beer and we can blame inebriation rather than age...


Shouldn't that be yacc



Years ago I was writing a CICS Cobol (remember that...) system at the bank I worked for. I used to insert different messages in "If-then-else" structures that were incomplete so I knew where I had to add code. I was going on two weeks leave so I updated my manager on my progress and told her explicitly that the program was not ready for demonstrating.

Two weeks later I returned from leave and was called in to the managers office. She started to chew me out over the program I was in the middle of writing. I stopped her and reminded her that I had explicitly told her not to demonstrate it to the users as the results were unpredictable. She said "Unpredictable - that is an understatement". She had disobeyed my instructions and demonstrated it to the users. She said that during the demonstration she had hit one of the incomplete branches and the message "OK Turkey. How in hell did you get here?". My Response was "I told you it wasn't ready to demonstrate". When I looked into the message it was actually a condition that wasn't covered in the specifications. The disappointing thing was she couldn't tell me what she had done to get to that section of the code. It took me ages to pull apart the code to figure out what she had done and go back to the analysts to find out what to do under those conditions...

BOFH: Trying to go after IT's budget again?


No, after replacing the waste paper bin with the magnesium one just make sure the only extinguisher in the bosses reach is a water one. Water on a magnesium fire is quite spectacular.


Re: I'm going to quote this!

PMSL. Where do I nominate this for simile of the century?

Bad news: 'Unblockable' web trackers emerge. Good news: Firefox with uBlock Origin can stop it. Chrome, not so much


Re: Come the revolution...

I think Carrot Top is building a suitably large wall...

IBM, Microsoft and Linux Foundation link arms to fight patent trolls with 'multimillion' scheme


Re: The only way Microsoft could make some people happy

Not just past transgressions,,, crap like Windows ME, Windows 8, the "Ribbon" and the monitoring in Windows 10 show that Microsoft really haven't learned from the past so they keep inflicting crap on their users. One day Microsoft will listen to their users (and yes the pigs are fuelled up and ready to fly).

Iran kills the internet for its people's own good as riots grip the Middle Eastern nation

Thumb Down

Only 13 cents

Even with the price increase Iran’s 13 cents a liter gas prices

If the Iranians riot over 13 cents per litre what would they do if they have a price rises we have here. In the last couple of days prices here have jumped up by 40+ cents per litre (33% increase). Lately this is standard for the regular price hike cycle.

Jump price 25% during the day, drop steadily over the next couple of weeks to the starting price (or close to it), rinse, repeat.

Oil companies here really rip us off.

Intel end-of-lifing BIOS and driver downloads for dusty hardware


Note to self

Go out and buy every Compaq LTE 5280 laptop you can find.

Hold for a few years and market to the McLaren community at greatly inflated prices (or maybe pick up a F1 cheap because the owner can no longer service it...)

Interpol: Strong encryption helps online predators. Build backdoors


20th Century? Isn't that a bit "old hat"...


Re: So if they outlaw strong encryption...

No, Interpol and he other agencies can use strong encryption but in their personal lives the Interpol agents (and other LEOs) are required to use the same "weak" encryption as everyone else for their banking etc. or else they are automatically criminals and should be convicted and set example of.

What a load of bollards! Object of bloke's street furniture romp run over


Police are investigating the incidenct but are not sure if this a case of Road rage or domestic violence.

Can't you hear me knocking? But I installed a smart knocker


OK so I didn't have a smart lock but managed to lock myself out with the keys inside one night. (The house key and car keys were on the same key ring, a friend came over and we went out in his car so I didn't take my car keys...) When I got home I realised I didn't have the key. The only window I could get to was the one over the kitchen sink. I managed to get in but some how my foot got caught up on the tap and I was plunged head first onto the kitchen floor. I busted my nose and left a pool of blood on the floor. After that incident I secured a spare key in a well hidden spot and ensured I had another in my wallet...

With my new place I have a mate who lives 15 mins walk away so we have done a "Key escrow" swap... One summer afternoon I had to walk, in my swimmers, to his place to get the key when the back door slammed shut and locked while I was in the pool.

The silence of the racks is deafening, production gear has gone dark – so which wire do we cut?


Spanner in the works

Setting the Way Back machine...

In the late '70's I was working shift in the state data centre for a major OZ bank. This was in the days before ATM's were prevalent and there was no such thing as EFTPOS. This particular day I was on Morning Shift (06:00 start). The manager of the centre had scheduled some work on the main power distribution board so we only started essential systems. The ATM network was scheduled to come up at 07:00 and the Branch On-Line network was to be active by 08:00. The sparky arrived at 06:30 and was directed to the distribution board. He opened the doors and looked inside. He had a large spanner in his hand and when he went to throw the main breaker somehow he managed to short the main power leads with the spanner. There was a huge bang and the flash lit up the room brighter than the brightest welding arc I have seen; then the room fell into a deathly silence. The sparky was thrown across the room and slammed into the back of the tape units. The room went dark (except for the emergency lighting). All of the systems and the air conditioning shut down. We raced for the emergency torches and called for an ambulance. When we reached the sparky he was unconscious but breathing. While we waited for the ambulance the sparky regained consciousness but was saying he couldn't see anything. The ambulance guys said he was lucky to be alive. The hospital reported that he had received flash burns to his retinas. He did recover his sight eventually. The spanner was found later that day and was missing a full half inch of metal from one of the lugs.

Power was restored at 09:00 and the systems bought up. Distribution board maintenance was never again scheduled for a week day.

Beer - because after that shift we really needed it to settle our nerves.

In your face! US Senate mulls bipartisan federal law on police facial recognition use


Re: Clarity

Will they define extenuating circumstances

That was my first thought. Any exception will be exploited to the max and I can already see the steady stream of appeals over the use of the technology. I suppose if it passes we will have to wait until a case reaches the supreme court to have the exception clarified.

Facebook iOS app silently turns on your phone camera. Ah, relax – it's just a bug, lol!?


The paranoid in me wonders how long before Facebook accidentally inserts a bug that exploits Facebook Pay to fund Facebook with micropayments for each click on the App.

Section 230 supporters turn on it, its critics rely on it. Up is down, black is white in the crazy world of US law



allowing politicians to lie without recourse

I thought that this was standard for politicians especially during election campaigns. I can't count the number of political promises that have been made during election campaigns that have been conveniently forgotten about once they are elected. The difference between "fake news" and political promises or smear campaigns seems only to be the source of the story.

Uber CEO compares pedestrian death to murder of Saudi journalist, saying all should be forgiven


Re: Everyone likes to hate on Uber

I, for one, refuse to install Uber on my devices and actively talk against people using Uber or Uber Eats. I also don't use any of the "disruptional" apps unless there is no choice e.g. getting the equivalent of a taxi in some cities in India; and even then I didn't use Uber because there were alternatives.

Hyphens of mass destruction: When a clumsy finger meant the end for hundreds of jobs


SCO Unix

I worked at a major bank and was in the area that supported the staff superannuation fund (billions of dollars under management). We had inherited a SCO unix system from a take over. One of the operators was a little less careful than he should be and on more than one occasion "inadvertently" entered an incorrect command. As this system was only used by a few staff, and had no access outside the operations room, the login management was a "little slack". Mostly the operators logged in as root. The instructions were to periodically clean out the temp folder using the "rm * -r" command (of course after changing the current working directory to the temp folder). One day the fat-fingered operator was logged in as root and entered the command (as he had done frequently in the past). The only problem was he had forgotten to change the working directory and was in the root folder.

The only good thing to come out of this was the complete system backup, that had been taken just before he deleted everything, had been successful and we were able to restore the system (DR procedures tested - Check. No DR test required that year).

We changed the root password after the system was restored and wouldn't give him the new password.

They say lightning never strikes twice, but boffins have built an AI to show where it'll come next


My father used to say I was lightning with an axe... I never struck the same place twice. I wonder how the AI model would go with that.

Here are some deadhead jobs any chatbot could take over right now


Bought back memories

Another time, I was wondering why my coffee tasted sour until I reached the teabag at the bottom.

This bought back memories of my army days... We were on exercise and had been out bush for about two weeks. The catering corps had setup a kitchen in the field and we came in for lunch. Some of the guys had coffee from a 20 litre urn and complained as to how crap it was (even for army coffee). I was assigned to help the cooks clean up after lunch. They got me to clean out the coffee and tea urns. On opening the coffee urn and emptying the contents I found a rather large calico bag. I asked the cook what it was. He replied it was what they used as a tea bag. No wonder the coffee was worse than normal. Someone had left the teabag in after breakfast and mistakenly put coffee in for lunch... I never again drank coffee in the field.

Beer... because I still remember the CO bringing us several cartons from the Officers' Mess to our barracks when we arrived back at base after the OR's Mess had closed.

When the IT department speaks, users listen. Or face the consequences


Re: User ignore email

At our office we send out regular e-mails from head office (off-shore) to educate users about Phishing and most seem to go unread. In Oz we hold face to face sessions to reinforce the e-mails. Once per quarter head-office will send a Phishing e-mail test. The number of people who fail to recognise the Phish is amazing. We get stats, broken up by region, showing the people who clicked the Phish vs those that reported the e-mail. The good news is that, in Oz, we have the highest reporting rate and lowest Phish rate of all regions.

I think the face-to-face has more impact than the e-mails on their own. If I am in the office when the Phishing e-mails go out I get lots of people asking if the e-mail is suspicious. I ask what made them suspect the e-mail to see if the eductaion sessions are getting through and go back over the warning signs. Sometimes the personal touch is a more effective the way to go.

Blood, snot and fear: Why the travelling lone tech reporter should always knock twice


Re: Interesting problem

Apply Hanlon's Razor and think of the capability of the desk staff. It would be simple for the desk staff to misread the room number and program the key incorrectly.


Re: worse yet

I wouldn't be that lucky.

NSA to Congress: Our spy programs don’t work, aren’t used, or have gone wrong – now can you permanently reauthorize them?

Black Helicopters


These have been reauthorised long enough to be able to show results but the NSA can't give an example of their success.

These have repeatedly overstepped their authorised purpose and seem to be unable to correct this.

The NSA don't have any appetite to fix the issues with the programs.

The DNI (and other "intelligence" staff) repeatedly lie to or stall replying to Congress and the Senate.

The question has to be Why on earth would the senate ever reauthorise this legislation permanently?

Also, If I so blatantly lied to Congress or the Senate I would be thrown in jail why haven't these liars been punished?

Remember the Uber self-driving car that killed a woman crossing the street? The AI had no clue about jaywalkers



We know the Radar and Lidar detected an object multiple times. Surely the "AI" detected the movement and could predict the path and speed. That would have given rise to at least a high risk regardless of what the object was. Wouldn't the default state be unknown object moving into path of SUV; do something to avoid the unknown object.

Socket to the energy bill: 5-bed home with stupid number of power outlets leaves us asking... why?


1 in the shed

1 in the shed. I couldn't survive with that. 10 in my shed plus 6 light fittings and 2 cat5.

10 in the kitchen and 2 cat5.

8 in the master bedroom and 4 cat5 plus 4 outlets in the ensuite.

4 in each of the other 3 bedrooms and 2 cat5.

4 in the main bathroom.

6 in the living room and 6 cat5.

4 in the dining room.

8 in the main office and 4 cat5.

4 in the back office and 4 cat5.

4 in the rumpus room and 2 cat5.

2 in the laundry.

2 outside at the rear deck.

2 outside in the carport.

Even 2 in the pool shed with the pool filter.

The cat5 concentrator is in the cavity under the steps (in a small rack) with a total of 64 cat5 outlets and 4 power sockets. The rack has 2 x 4 way power rails.

Damn, when you add them up that is a lot of sockets. I would have never guessed I had so many. The scary thing though is the number of 4 or 6-way power boards plugged in to those sockets.

I cannae do it, captain, I'm giving it all she's got, but she just cannae take another dose of bullsh!t


Re: "People will always argue over truth"

"I'm right and don't you dare question it"

So you have met the knobs from Extinction Rebellion and had a sip of their Kool-Aid.

Boffins don bad 1980s fashion to avoid being detected by object-recognizing AI cameras


Re: Great

If a Tesla can't recognise a truck turning in front of it it won't matter what you are wearing, it isn't going to see a pedestrian. Maybe you will be lucky and the Tesla software will incorrectly classify you as a large inanimate object and see you as an obstacle to avoid...

Come on, you can't be serious: Now Australia mulls face-recog tech for p0rno site age checks



One of Australia's most popular personalities had the nickname Moon Face. I think rather than dick pics we should give new meaning to "Moon face"... with a vertical smile.

Who's the leakiest of them all? It's the UK's public sector, breach fine analysis reveals


I remember when I wanted to send a file (containing some very sensitive and confidential information for 40000 employees) using an external company's "secure delivery" on-line system. The file was to be encrypted and sent over an SFTP connection. My manager decided that wasn't secure enough. I had to burn the file (in clear text) onto a CD and have it couriered to the external company (and yes this was in the 21st century but not by much...).


The managers get promoted. A witch hunt fails to identify any individuals responsible.

The department's budget takes a hit but they just go over budget by the amount of the fine (assuming they were on budget before the fine). The next year they increase the budget to cover potential fines. The increase comes from "consolidated revenue" (or what ever bucket the government uses for their public service funding). Department uses fine as an excuse to reduce services to the public.

The department responsible for handing out the fines gets an income boost from the fine revenue collected so comes in under budget and gets their budget reduced the next year.

The government gets a nett zero impact - fine paid by over budget department comes out of "consolidated revenue", income received by fine issuing department goes into "consolidated revenue". GDP increases.

Government celebrates the effectiveness of the data privacy legislation and uses the success to screw the public even more.

Remember the 1980s? Oversized shoulder pads, Metal Mickey and... sticky keyboards?



Goes even faster if you send the "Skip to Next Page" control signal and the carriage control tape breaks... in which case (from memory) the only way to stop it was to go to the printer and hit the "Carriage Stop" button.

No extra bank holiday for 75th VE Day, but the pub will be open longer


Re: Bastille Day

Don't you have "Guy Fawkes night"? OK, so it isn't a public holiday but it is an excuse to celebrate the attempt to blow up the entitled inbred nobs that ran the place...