* Posts by Custard Fridge

59 posts • joined 28 Jun 2012


Enterprise IT finds itself in a war zone – with no script

Custard Fridge

The West will have this chance only once...

Information is, as has been said to me several times over 30 years in IT, the new utility that we cannot do without.

Having the ability to reduce the opposition's major companies to their knees is indeed a very new & powerful tool indeed.

Cutting off multiple industries from their primary / secondary systems for production, monitoring, HR, payroll, sales, purchasing, design - it's as if the West suddenly realises it has keys to most of the virtual filing cabinets in Russia. It can lock them shut, or indeed incinerate the contents.

This will only happen once.

5-10 years from now, China will have those keys.

Hmmmmm, how to cool that overheating CPU, if only there was a solution...

Custard Fridge

Almost time to hit the big red button

Only once in my 27 years of IT have I had that 'do I power off the ops room or not' decision to make.

One afternoon in sunny Surrey our cleaner spotted something shining through the air con vents of the raised flooring and asked me as the IBM Mainframe Operator on duty to take a look.

Looking down I realised there was a pond of water there instead of the usual bone dry concrete, with the air con still happily blowing away above it.

Rather than lift floor tiles to see how far up the sloped room the water had got - and I was thinking of those four-bars that were stashed under the AIX / Token Ring cabinets... - I did consider powering down the Ops room entirely via the big red button. However as I stood there I realised nothing had stopped working, nobody was dead, nothing was on fire etc., so I legged it up the corridor to pull my boss out of the monthly IT meeting. I'd never seen his eyebrows raised as high as when he looked through the same vent. When we did lift the tiles shortly afterward we had less than a foot to go before the four-bars would have been flooded. The IBM engineer said it was an impressive amount of water for a pin-hole sized water leak...

Microsoft settles £200,000+ claims against tech support scammers who ran global ripoff from cottage in Surrey

Custard Fridge

Sleepy Dorking

Dorking has been sleepy ever since Ollie Reed left...

Max Schrems is back: Facebook, Google hit with GDPR complaint

Custard Fridge

Don’t bother, drink beer

Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Custard Fridge

Can you hear it?

That’s the sound of the world slowing down...

Hand in your notice – by 2022 there'll be 350,000 cybersecurity vacancies

Custard Fridge

Your post makes me feel like Marvin the paranoid android "I think you ought to know I'm feeling rather depressed"

The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

Custard Fridge

Do any really large companies rip it all out and start again?

I'd love to hear examples of really large companies that wrip-out their IT and start again to get genuine resilience back after x years of smooth operating.

I'd be willing to bet the only time this is gotten close too is if a government or parent company forces them to do so.


'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem

Custard Fridge

Re: Giving the users what they ask for......

I should think there are several pages of story / comments possible on laptop / smartphone envy.

But the move from BlackBerry to iPhone was particularly polarising.

But 3 out of my 24 smartphone users insisted on staying with BlackBerry.

They all liked their BlackBerry Passports... lots...

BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'

Custard Fridge

Boots on the ground

Once the dust settles I would see this as a victory for UK based IT workers - however much you outsource abroad, when it hits the fan, and blimey it looks like it has here, you need those boots on the ground in the data centre/s as fast as possible.

A small army of knowledgable people who between then designed / built / installed / maintain it, will be able to get it started quicker than equally talented people who did none of those things and who are based thousands of miles away.

Also - If someone cut through a mains supply (or three) quite that powerful why aren't we reading about it as a news event itself?

I can't quite believe this is a cover-up for something more sinister - unless there are a lot of police cars / black transit vans around the data centres and nobody has spotted them yet...

Connected car in the second-hand lot? Don't buy it if you're not hack-savvy

Custard Fridge

Fingerprint readers

I suggest fingerprint readers that enable & encrypt this level of data owner by owner.

No live finger print - no apps.

There would be a service / valet key as required - but apps / settings would only be enabled by the fingerprint reader. Perhaps the ignition key does what it does now, and the fingerprint does the rest.

The reader scans several fingers for each driver as part of the setup in case of chopping board injuries, and scans for a pulse to make sure someone hasn't done something gruesome.

Those who want to avoid apps on their car entirely, seeing apps as truly the work of the devil, only use the service key and never the fingerprint reader. This turns the object into a car again.

The majority, who will want apps, use the fingerprint reader.

Something will need to evolve because once the driver has bags of time because the car drives, they will want connections / apps to do work / leisure in the car. Those who only use the valet key will install a library shelf for books to read during traffic jams.

When you sell the car & key you can wipe your settings / fingerprint entirely (perhaps with combined use of the service key and your fingerprints) or trust that the encryption level will be good enough to keep hackers out. Those with a different mind-set will not think about it anyway and still get the same result.

By the time the iPhone 100 can hack the encryption level of your one-time car, you should have changed passwords anyway, or indeed be dead and not caring as much.

Want to come to the US? Be prepared to hand over your passwords if you're on Trump's hit list

Custard Fridge

Re: More ignorance

What these comments have shown is -

How easy it is for someone to get around this by setting up fake accounts (takes a little time but if you are a terrorist planning is everything I suppose)

How banks could not get away with allowing this huge and gaping a hole in their systems

How decent two-part security will not let third parties look at this anyway

Zooming out for a minute -

This policy is simply to make a good impression with Trump's core vote - nothing more.

Trump needs millions more to march for him in order to stay in power and bully the other marchers into submission.

The more his core vote see he is 'delivering' (however false the reality of that is) the more likely they are to actually march.

If they do then the US is doomed to become inward looking, protectionist and shortly thereafter fascist.

‘So-called judge’ – perhaps the start of the fight against the rule of law as per Weimar Germany.

Temporary ban on 15% of Muslims – perhaps the start of the fight to stoke up real hatred of a minority (any minority will do) as per Nazi Germany.

All your passwords are belonging to us – perhaps the start of how to ‘protect’ everyone as per issuing ID cards in occupied Europe / 1984.

I realise Aodhhan will not see any of this as being linked or realistic or sensible, but battle lines are being drawn around the world – and you and I are unfortunately on different sides.

And no, I have never been a member of the Labour or indeed Communist party, but I am a history graduate who has read about all this before, but had always thought he wouldn’t be living through an attempt to re-hash it.

‘May you live in interesting times’ – no, bollocks, no.

President Donald Trump taken on by unlikely foe: Badass park rangers

Custard Fridge

We few...

We few, we happy few, we band of mostly techies,

For he today that vents his spleen with me

Shall be my tech brother, be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition;

And BOFHs in England now a-beering

Shall think themselves formatted they where not here,

And hold their hard drives cheap whiles any speaks

That vents with me upon Dark Snoflake’s day!

My fortnight eating Blighty's own human fart-powder

Custard Fridge

Re: Yeesh.

I ordered some on the strength of the article and tried it this morning for breakfast.

Having never had anything like it before I was impressed, although it will take more mixing.

I am trying it out to see if it stops me snacking whilst my job winds-down to a finish in a few weeks.

I am also trying it as I am lactose intolerant and it makes a change frankly.

Oh, and just because it says mix it with water won't stop me mixing it with Oat milk, or almond milk, or whatever I am trying that isn't cow or soya.

But will it reduce my snacking? Time will tell.

Thanks for the article - it must have taken a level of bravery to publish.

Oh, and as for the person pooing six times a day - there is something wrong - go to a doctor! Cripes!

View from a Reg reader: My take on the Basic Income

Custard Fridge

Communism works, but people have quirks.

Eastern Europe used to have housing according to need with heating, power, water and transport centrally controlled. Nobody starved, everyone had a job. But at what cost to their society and economy?

Communism works, but people have quirks.

Communism therefore never works, because people run it, and inevitably some of them want more influence / income / sturdy glass mugs than others.

Before you know it those running it have their own limos and their own traffic lanes to be driven down and if you dare drive in one you will be shot at.

However, if computers ran communism, the readers of The Register would truly rule the world, rather than only build its electronic cathedrals...

User needed 40-minute lesson in turning it off and turning it on again

Custard Fridge

The Register Annual 2017 - you read it here first

I wonder if all these 'On-call' Friday stories are either -

Made up - 15 minutes to explain a PC box layout?


Supposed to be a bit crap but able to generate lots of better stories that will be published in The Register Annual 2017?

Custard Fridge

Carriage return - ding!

My Logitech keyboard has two 'ENTER' keys. The Microsoft & Lenovo keyboards next to it has Enter (number pad side) and the carriage return key.

I must be getting on a bit for this key - mainly because at Uni I would type my essays and use the return key to make the carriage return (on one type writer with a satifsying 'ting').

Later, using actual computers there would be times I wanted to carriage return and not enter, and visa-versa. This is still true now - Facebook springs to mind.

Still no sign of an 'Any' key to press though. Bastards.

NHS IT bod sends test email to 850k users – and then responses are sent 'reply all'

Custard Fridge

"Although one can never underestimate a User."

Amen to that

The sharks of AI will attack expensive and scarce workers faster than they eat drivers

Custard Fridge

Whoops, there goes the Internet - now what Doctor Robot? Doctor Robot?

This strikes me as a 'bubble' story not entirely grounded in the real world.

The only hint of truth is for long distance lorry drivers - repeating the same task again and again, meaning everything required can be in one storage location in one lorry with it's own portable power source. If the connection goes down it can either carry on as it knows where to go, or it stops at the side of the road to wait for the connection to come up again.

AI, like the internet generally, is great for helping the professional reach the answer faster than before. I refer to my books less and less now because I can google the problem. However I know what to google for - most people with an IT problem do now know enough to google as well as I can and usually do not get the right answer, or if they do it takes them many times longer.

Even when they do get it right they often need me to implement the problem by literally crawling under desks or metaphorically crawling into the computer’s operating system.

AI would have to interact perfectly to understand the problem and have total control over the physical aspect to implement the fix. Rise of the Robots indeed.

The big problem for this AI reliance is though that crap happens and connections go down. In times of conflict they go down on purpose. Would we really let a world develop with no doctors around to actually practise medicine for example? Are we stupid enough to actually do that?

Perhaps one day there will be enough storage, processing power and battery power to power a doctor bot that can work in Aleppo etc. under war conditions for days on end without rest. However, right now I see the dust, dirt and shelling stopping that after the first few plaster boards dustily crash down from the ceiling. Error - please call service.

Meanwhile on the home front, I would love a robot to help my mother around the house, but she would rather die than see a robot doctor. If I get to her age I will probably think the same thing.

Trump's plan: Tariffs on electronics, ban on skilled tech migrants, turn off the internet

Custard Fridge

Re: Who needs a visa?

Are you being ironic? 'Relative peace' in Syria'?

This election result will mean thousands more civilians will die.

'Relative peace'? - no - it means more gas attacks, more shelling, more cruise missiles, generally more hell on earth for those poor sods as Putin has nobody that will stop him now. Next stop Estonia / Latvia / Lithunia. The NATO house of cards collapses.

Meanwhile intermational organisations are ignored and conventions are put to one side because the world's policeman is on a 4 or 8 year doughnut break.

Custard Fridge

Re: The Dark Valley

I'd not seen that cartoon for 20 years...

The next question is, if history is repeating itself, are we post 1929 or not?

Is there a crash approaching before the wars start, or do we head straight on to trade tarrifs, jackboots, decadent westerners etc?

I've been humming 'tomorrow belongs to me' all bloody day now

BT will HATE us for this one weird 5G trick

Custard Fridge

Re: Surely ...

As a former 'O' level economic history student, I should point out that 'home-working' should not be equated with 'cottage industry'.

On the other hand everyone did used to walk in their clogs to the mills...

The rise of the robots will mean everything is delivered by robot anyway (bring it on) most of it will be built by robot, meaning less and less people will need to drive - and those that need to travel will be driven by robots as we will be too expensive to insure - "A human driver in control? Certanly sir - that will be a £500,000 excess of course."

Face it, would you rather walk to work or commute via train / car? Strive for a future you want rather than the one you think you have to have.

Blimey - we are off topic, but I'm rather liking it.

Custard Fridge

Re: Surely ...

Well typed Dwarf!

Living and working in the Surrey Hills, as one does, means cyclists are everywhere now, especially at the weekends.

A road, B road, single lane with passing spaces - all are blocked by cyclists who shouty-shout their way around and are mortified when you point out that Pelotons are pointless and illegal unless racing.

Frankly I blame Boris for all of it. Mind you I blame Boris for most things at the moment.

Get everyone home-working, and walking everywhere. Get the cycles off the pavements.

Tax the cyclists using Oyster cards and use the money to get the cycle lanes working properly again.

I know it's not really practical and everyone would ignore it anyway, but I will feel better as a result.

And, no, I can't ride a bike so am totally biased. And cross. Clearly.

Margaret Hodge's book outlines 'mind boggling' UK public sector waste

Custard Fridge

Bonus scheme

From the outside looking in the major problems for government IT seem to be -

Mission creep

Change of management due to election

Stupidly wide project scope

Arse covering due to previous points

Why not put everyone in the department onto a bonus scheme that depends on fixed project trargets, fixed budgets and fixed go-live dates? Pull together as a team, stop adding more caveats and deliver it on time. Oh, and still be there 12 months after go-live to collect.

Or am I moving too far towards the Lenin school of project management via a 5 year plan / gun to the head?

US Marine Corps to fly F-35s from HMS Queen Lizzie as UK won't have enough jets

Custard Fridge

Re: US Marine Corps will be flying F-35Bs

Perhaps an IBM angle to this would suffice -

"This Carrier intentionally left blank"

Forget Khan and Klingons, Star Trek's greatest trick was simply surviving

Custard Fridge

Wot no Picard?

As a teenager of the 1980's whilst I watched the original series repeats with my dad, it was The Next Generation that really rocked it for me, and for him.

Space Opera AND Science Fiction - TNG was a stronger combination of both which is why it worked so well.

Or maybe it was me being a teenager. Ahhh... easy days...

Is there a Part 2 coming about TNG? Pleeease say there is...


A plumber with a blowtorch is the enemy of the data centre

Custard Fridge

Re: Been there

It doesn't matter how expensive your switches are for this story because melted copper wires are melted copper wires...

IBM swings axe through staff, humming contently about cloud and AI

Custard Fridge

Re: Quite impressed it has taken this long

I'd be interested if anyone out there works for a company that actually does this - mine doesn't...

Custard Fridge

Quite impressed it has taken this long

I started in IT in 1994 in an all IBM shop - mainframe through to OS/2 IBM PCs.

Given the massive changes since then, mostly not by IBM, I am frankly impressed that IBM still exists.

Perhaps not for long now though.

Back then the mantra could still be 'you never get fired for buying IBM' - well not any more.

Why do they treat their staff / lifeblood this badly?

Does anyone think beyond the next financial year / 5 year plan now?

Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

Custard Fridge

Why didn't Virgin ask Corbyn if they could release the video?

I think the golden nosed 747 caused this to come out now.

Otherwise Corbyn could have been put on the spot by being asked if Virgin could release the video - he'd have had to say yes, wouldn't he? Perhaps a 'friendly bet' with the money going to charity? Too late now...

Hackers unleash smart Twitter phishing tool that snags two in three users

Custard Fridge

Short URLs

I have never clicked on a short URL. They always look suspcious to me.


Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?

Custard Fridge

Re: coffee in the kettle...

For the love of God, remember you're British! Snap out of it man!

Custard Fridge

And what of using a coffee pot to make tea? SPECIAL DISCRETION REQUIRED

Since when did tea ever taste like tea when brewed in a works coffee pot?

Or does El Reg have a working dishwasher? Really? That gets loaded? Ever?

A deeply disturbing article this. Needs one of those Channel 4 'Special Discretion Required' badges on... now those where the days...

Zen loses its chill: UK biz ISP falls offline for four hours and counting

Custard Fridge

Zen FTTC was down, Zen leased line was up

And no, I don't just use Zen, for just this reason.

Oh the irony of the BT FTTC line staying up, for once, whist Zen's was down.

And as for my recently cancelled Daisy 4-line Bonded ADSL... never again...

Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

Custard Fridge

Re: @Custard Fridge: Cracking article

"Could it all go well and make the EU more like people really want it to be, a close political and trade alliance that keeps like minded countries united in the face of destabling forces like Russia and China (and even the USA, in a different way)? Yes."

Top marks PW. Top marks.

Custard Fridge

Re: Cracking article

Nobody honestly thinks the EU is beamless or perfect - but the alternatives are truly awful.

There is a reason Putin wants Brexit, and it's not so we can go back to feet and inches again

Custard Fridge

Cracking article

I think it was the Chinese who used to refer to Europe as the warring continent.

Now however southern Europe is teetering on the brink of economic collapse (to be followed by political collapse) caused by greedy bankers, wonky accountants & Syria. Weakening one of the main institutions that can help stop that is reckless.

And, honestly, do we really want The Boris as PM?

Three non-obvious reasons to Vote Leave on the 23rd

Custard Fridge

Reboot Europe?

Brexit would not reboot Europe - it would probably break it.

Rebooting Europe now would be like pulling the power out of the server whist the RAID array is still rebuilding itself and the second PSU is probably faulty.

Don't bloody risk it.

If you must reboot Europe, do it when Europe can cope - right now it cannot.

Greece, Spain and even Italy teeter on the brink of democratic collapse with mass youth unemployment and pressure from migrant populations stuck with nowhere to go.

Democracy can quickly be swept away by desperate people ready to listen to the fascists and communists of old - FFS don't go there...

US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

Custard Fridge

Tax codes still generated on a 56 year old mainframe

All of a sudden I feel yong again...

Sysadmin paid a month's salary for one day of nothing

Custard Fridge

Planning, testing, replacing, relaxing.

I worked for a house builders way back then, and we replaced the old database that couldn't do the year 2000 in 1998. Of the 300 PCs I tested, just 1 was too old for the year 2000, so I replaced it in September 1999.

I got paid two day's money over New Year's just in case, but I tested everything from home without incident. No drama, no worries.

Admin fishes dirty office chat from mistyped-email bin and then ...?

Custard Fridge

Re: The real lesson...

Or as a legal director said to me many, many years ago - 'never put anything in an email that you are not prepared to stand up in court and read out word for word.' Works for me.

Sub-atomic boffins glimpse four-pack tetraquark

Custard Fridge

Holy underpants

Look, it's Friday afternoon, I've had a week of SAP training and this is simply too much. My. Brain. Hurts.

How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?

Custard Fridge

Foot squek

I used to support a user who operated the mouse with their right foot.

Remote support worked well enough as he'd not changed the settings.

However a hot summer forced him to change to the more traditional mouse method, but he span the mouse round and used him palm to click. That was an interesting remote support session for the first 30 seconds or so whilst he explained this, and helpfully put the settings for me back to 'foot' mode.

And he wasn't doing any of this to deliberately wind me up either. Nice bloke. Smelly feet though.

IT pros are a bunch of wedding and funeral-dodging sickos

Custard Fridge

One man IT band

To quote Leo Sayer (a first, that's for sure) -

Well I'm a one man band

Nobody knows nor understands

Is there anybody out there want to lend me a hand

With my one man band

Coffee fixes the damage booze did to your liver, study finds

Custard Fridge

Christmas is coming

Top Health Tip - add a bottle of Tia Maria to the Christmas shopping list...

TalkTalk: Hackers may have nicked personal, banking info on 4 million Brits

Custard Fridge

Talk Talk Techies - are you out there?

Any TalkTalk IT people care to comment on all this? Or are you all outsourced?

In other news - Sainsbury has large proper jars of Marmite on sale again, which is nice.

How long does it take an NHS doctor to turn on a computer?

Custard Fridge

Brainspace full

Academics are well known for lacking IT skills - it's not their specialist area. They use their brainspace for that and not IT.

I always used to operate the overhead projector for the head of Theology at my college during lectures because he'd never learnt how to do it. He wasn't lazy, it just wasn't for him. Doctorates all over the shop, used to work for the Pope etc. OHP? Fail. Someone else will solve that.

Doctors - the more senior, the more 'right' they have to be all the time to save lives.

However thinking that you are right on a topic you no little about is, as we know, common for IT.

Teachers - married to one - works with IT all day long, but lacks the IT support required.

Schools spend the money on the sparkling new equipment. Having worked in hundreds of schools the majority had some kit in that nobody could fix, and often had no support contract to ask someone who could. The IT staff they had where overworked and always underpaid, and where managed by IT Teachers who had usually been teachers all their careers and so not IT people. With the best will in the world it won't work as well as having IT people manage them.

We live in a world of specialisms. Get used to it. It keeps us in work anyway.

AVG to flog your web browsing, search history from mid-October

Custard Fridge

Re: Why on earth do people still expect decent software to be free?

I should have classed this as a Windows comment - I've been a fan of Linux / RedHat for over a decade...

Custard Fridge

Why on earth do people still expect decent software to be free?

Why is this bizzare 'everything must be free' attitude still in IT, especially for a security product?

Do you get your doorlocks for free from the bloke down the pub?

Things you should know about the hard work of home working

Custard Fridge

Walk around the block and avoid the cheese in the fridge

I worked from home when the company got too big for the offices, and then stayed at home whilst the company was merged 100 miles north.

The fridge was a major distraction - as Mayor Boris commented the temptation is always to nibble at the bit of cheese therein.

Did I feel cut-off? Yes, despite being on the phone over half the day. I ended up going in to the office one day a week to compensate.

The commute had been an hour each way so I did an hour extra when at home - seemed fair at the time.

Not commuting also blurs the break between home and work - I had to walk around the block after working at home otherwise I stayed in work mode all evening!

IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

Custard Fridge

Re: My IT classes...

The French teacher was probably embarrassed at her lack of in-depth IT knowledge but reacted poorly as a result. There is a good example of a teacher having to teach something that is not their core subject - this is not the fault of the teacher but is a lack of teaching resource / money.

The Physics teacher made the right call taking you to the expert and not just bollocking you there and then. The sysadmin was of course a decent IT professional who knew a good resource when they saw one...



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