* Posts by Data Mangler

42 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Nov 2012

Shock horror – and there goes the network neighborhood

Data Mangler

When checking voltages...

... it always helps if you make sure that the meter is set to measure voltage, not current.

Boss such a tyrant you need a job quitting agent? It works in Japan

Data Mangler


Alternatively, this might represent a niche in the greeting cards market. About 50 years ago there was a cartoon in a UK daily which showed a shocked shop assistant saying "You want a get WHAT card for your boss?"

Anyone care to come up with suitable verses? I'll offer:

Effluent stinks

Rotting garbage is vile

But not nearly as much as

Your management style.

Run a demo on live data? Sure! What could possibly go wrong? Hang on. Are you sure that's not working?

Data Mangler

Re: Ready, fire, aim

I think it's iffy writing. If you carry on to the next single line paragraph you'll find that he didn't do the sensible thing.

Fixing an upside-down USB plug: A case of supporting the insupportable

Data Mangler

You were very lucky. Tantalums nearly ways fail short-circuit. They are renowned for it..

Ad blockers struggle under Chrome's new rules

Data Mangler

Pihole, all the way

Simply use Pihole. This combined with Wireguard VPN for DNS can also ensure your mobile browsing is ad- and tracker-free.

Lapping the computer room in record time until the inevitable happens

Data Mangler

Not just IT

Swivel chair racing was not confined to IT. A long time ago, in the analytical lab of a chemical company long gone*, the sport of swivel chair jousting was developed. The blindfolded sitters were equipped with wash bottles of demineralised water (not the alcohol or acetone ones!) and tried to squirt each other as they passed, pushed by the human 'horses'. This was, of course, in the days before Health and Safety were invented.

*The chemical factory shut down not long after the solvent stores caught fire and nearly took out the local pub.

Engineers on the brink of extinction threaten entire tech ecosystems

Data Mangler

Re: 6 here!

Many late sixties radios had more than six transistors, but some of them used a transistor as the detector diode and any in excess of this were non-functioning devices just soldered on to the pcb for bragging rites. Hong Kong made radios were the worst for this practice.

Brute force and whiskey: The solution to all life's problems

Data Mangler

Narrowing it down

A bit of sleuthing is required to determine the veracity of this story. Firstly. there is the mention of turbo pumps. In my mind this suggests that the rocket was liquid fuelled. The great British success in sounding rockets was the Skylark which was, I believe, solid fuelled, so I think this rules out the Skylark. Similarly, the Canadian Black Brant was solid fuelled. There's the V2, of course, but what other liquid fuelled sounding rockets were there?

Keeping your head as an entire database goes pear-shaped

Data Mangler

Re: Dont touch grandmother

Oh dear. That reminds me of an embarrassing moment in an open plan office. I was on the phone to a customer who managed to dig himself into a hole. It was a bad line and I had to speak loud. Suddenly, the entire office went quiet as everyone, by chance, stopped talking. It was into this silence that I heard myself bellow "Have you mounted your grandmother?".

It took about three seconds for the first chuckle to be heard, but within 15 seconds the entire office was filled with guffaws.

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’

Data Mangler

Re: "Voyager 1 is now 45 years old"

Mind you, that's still more than twice the uplink speed we used to get with 1200/75 Prestel.

Latency was a tad better though.

Saving a loved one from a document disaster

Data Mangler

Re: Rather computers than cars

But they do have the same problems. I see lots of drivers unaware of how wide their vehicle is, how to turn off their fog lights, how to operate indicators, how to park entirely within a parking space, even how to steer round junctions properly. The list is, sadly, endless, and driving is far from a pleasure these days as a result. I can only console myself with the thought that I don't have to provide these idiots with IT support.

But why that VPN? How WireGuard made it into Linux

Data Mangler
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Works well

Have it running on an RPi4 also running PiHole. Family have it set up so their phones use the PiHole for DNS. It's very effective in blocking ads etc. while out and about.

Say what you see: Four-letter fun on a late-night support call

Data Mangler

Re: X-Ray

Hence the negative response.

Opt-out is the right approach for sharing your medical records with researchers

Data Mangler

"The experience of COVID-19 has shown that more collectivist, “tight” societies like Singapore and others in South-East Asia have fared better than more individualistic “loose” societies like the USA and the UK."

I fail to see how this is an argument in favour of the motion. It says lots about decisive government action and nothing about sharing medical data. Repeat after me: "Association does not imply causation". This, of course, is yet another argument against basing medical treatment on statistical studies. I would submit that there are far too many unrecorded confounding variables for many of the statistical studies to be of any value at all. I would much rather see the time, money and effort put into real medical research into the underlying causes of disease instead of epidemiological studies of dubious value.

Macmillan best-biscuit list unexpectedly promotes breakfast cereal to treat status

Data Mangler

They're not totally bonkers.

At least they didn't grace the execrable Oreos with so much as a mention.

Hard drives at Autonomy offices were destroyed the same month CEO Lynch quit, extradition trial was told

Data Mangler

Re: Lynched?

There seems to be a general belief that a far higher proportion of extradition requests made by the US succeed than the proportion made by the UK that succeed. I was surprised to find that this is not the case, at least according to these data from an FOI request:


I didn't find any data relating to the period after May 2014, but I didn't look very hard.

Paid antivirus? On ads? Think of all the beer you could buy without that subscription

Data Mangler

Re: New tipple?

That would be brewed in Blandford Forum in Dorset, (Hall & Woodhouse, Badger Beer) not the Cotswolds.Thankfully, their product has become a lot more palatable than the stuff they used to churn out in the seventies.

Smuggler caught with 256 Intel Core processors wrapped around him in cling film

Data Mangler

Re: Polynomials

If he'd limited it to 88 he might have got lucky.

Ouch! When the IT equipment is sound, but the setup is hole-y inappropriate

Data Mangler

Re: Losing my mother's marbles

That's very sad. Unfortunately many of us are destined for similar outcomes.

Wanted: Brexit grand fromage. £120k a year. Perks? Hmmmm…

Data Mangler

I know someone who's totally f****** hopeless. Should I suggest they apply?

Hubble Space Telescope to switch to backup memory module after instrument computer halts

Data Mangler

Why not send Bezos?

Why not send Bezos to fix it with some bargain basement Amazon Partner sino-tat? I feel a Change.org petition coming on...

Ireland warned it could face 'rolling blackouts' if it doesn't address data centres' demand for electricity

Data Mangler

Re: Lucky Ireland

Hmm. 15th Jun, lunchtime, warm and sunny. Nuclear going full belt. But what's this? 360MW of coal-fired generation. Who'd have though it.

Takes from the taxpayer, gives to the old – by squishing a bug in Thatcherite benefits system

Data Mangler

Re: As they said in the 80s...

Pension? What quaint, old-fashioned terminology! It's called the Death-seeker's Allowance now.

Boffins store text message inside E coli bacteria using electromagnetic signal – and you'll never guess what it says

Data Mangler

"Hello world!" ?

They should have stored "Now wash your hands"

Upgrade now to avoid a cluster-suck: Microsoft wields the breaking change stick over Azure Service Fabric laggards

Data Mangler

Just maybe...

Maybe this security issue is related to the prodigious volumes of spam emanating from Azure recently. If this change stops it I, for one, will be very pleased.

Microsoft emits a colourful Windows Terminal preview

Data Mangler

Re: Open Cmd Here?

I don't have Cygwin, but if you have the Ubuntu subsystem installed, you can shift-right-click on a folder and "Open Linux shell here".

Internet imbeciles, aka British ISP lobbyists, backtrack on dubbing Mozilla a villain for DNS-over-HTTPS support

Data Mangler

How will DoH affect ad blockers?

I'm given to understand that the first malware using DoH to evade detection has already been spotted. What happens when ad-flingers start using DoH to avoid DNS traps?

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter

Data Mangler

Re: Remember

If you're interested in looking at the AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) there's a series of Youtube videos by CuriousMarc, starting with https://youtu.be/2KSahAoOLdU , doing a restoration of an actual unit. It's fascinating stuff well worth a watch for those into that kind of thing.

It's nearly 2019, and your network can get pwned through an oscilloscope

Data Mangler

Re: stuxnet/duqu

Keysight (previously Agilent/HP) recently announced a 110 GHz scope costing over a milliion. That's probably several streets of houses in some places.

Data Mangler

This will upset a lot of people

If Siglent block this hole it will upset a lot of people. These scopes are sold with a variety of bandwidths and features. The hardware is the same in each case. The backdoor is used by many as a means of hacking into the scope to obtain a free upgrade from a cheap entry-level version, although I believe Siglent have been trying to make that more difficult lately. Head over to the eevblog for more details.

Devon County Council techies: WE KNOW IT WASN'T YOU!

Data Mangler

Re: aaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddd that's why....

If you want to see Muphry's Law (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muphry%27s_law) in action, observe a commentard unable to spell Ofsted while complaining about spelling mistakes.

Is it just me, or is there a real problem here?

Data Mangler

Is it just me, or is there a real problem here?

I've just got off the phone after a very frustrating conversation with our GP's practice manager concerning privacy and security issues. The practice has two online methods of ordering prescription repeats.

1. A secure website that requires registration.

2. Just drop us an email.

I have no problems with the first, I have a big problem with the second. When I raised the issue with the practice, the response I got was: "NHS email is secure". When I informed the practice manager about the realities, including some free email providers reading emails for targetted advertising, she replied, "Yes, I know, but its' the patient's choice". I could not get her t understand that it's not an informed choice.

The NHS Privacy Policy says:

“Sending information via email to patients is permissible, provided the risks of using unencrypted email have been explained to them, they have given their consent and the information is not person-identifiable or confidential information.”

While it say nothing about patients emailing the NHS, my contention is that the NHS should not be encouraging patients to risk confidentiality by using insecure methods to request repeat prescriptions, especially when a secure method is also provided. I think pretty much all Reg readers would agree that the vast majority of people are uninformed as to the risks involved.

A side issue here is that the practice manager confirmed that there is no verification that the person sending the email request is the actual patient...

A quick trawl using a well-known search engine suggests that many GP practices in NHS England are encouraging repeat prescription requests by email. So, as the title suggests, is it just me, or is there a real problem here?

The Solar System's oldest minerals reveal the Sun's violent past

Data Mangler

Re: Highly volatile noble gases?

> volatile: (of a substance) easily evaporated at normal temperatures.

So... a gas, then.

IMHO, "highly volatile" is one of those terms that are greatly overused in the popular media.

Capita strikes again: Bug in UK-wide school info management system risks huge data breach

Data Mangler

Re: Pupil linked to wrong records.

They already do that, but this is not the problem in this case. The issue is who the parents are. For some children, of course, this is not just a software question.

Data Mangler

Spare a thought for the data managers.

While hurling well-deserved brickbats at Crapita, spare a thought for the poor sods who are going to have to sort this mess out: the schools' data managers. These downtrodden individuals have to work with SIMS (or equally appalling products like CMIS) all the time. As non-teaching staff they are treated as being the lowest of the low and, usually being term time plus some holiday working, get paid three-fifths of damn-all with pensions to match.

Summer holidays? Forget it. School management will leave it until the last moment to tell you about the assessment scheme they want you to implement for next year, so what with that and exam results analysis it leaves precious little time to squeeze in a vacation.

Some will even be forced to produce the school timetable using Nova T6, a package so evil that 'user hostile' doesn't come close to doing it justice.

Couple all of this with execrable software from practically all suppliers to schools, dealing with teaching staff who have all the IT skills of a small piece of putty, laughable local authority support and lies from Capita and you'll get some idea of how happy I am to be retired.

Maplin Electronics CEO ups stakes for steak house

Data Mangler

Perhaps he's going to bring a whole new meaning to steak and chips. Flash fried, of course.

Fewer than half GCSE computing students got a B or higher this year

Data Mangler

One of the problems facing schools is the relatively low take-up of some GCSE options in combination with serious funding issues. Teaching GCSE computer science is not a full time position for which they've been able to recruit specialist staff. Therefore what most most schools have had to do is to migrate staff from the old IT curriculum to teaching CS.

I would add that, while working as support staff in a secondary school, I've seen an experienced PE teacher teaching IT very well and an experienced IT professional being a totally useless teacher. It's not all about professional experience in the subject being taught.

Online VAT fraud: Calls for government crackdown grow louder

Data Mangler

Re: Let's talk VAT numbers..

"for example if you have less than £75,000[1] of pure profit per year you are not required to have a VAT number at all."

It's got nothing to do with profit. It's on non-VAT exempt turnover. The current UK threshold is £82,000.

See: https://www.gov.uk/vat-registration/when-to-register

Hubble spots Pluto's moons are a chaotic mess of tumbling rock

Data Mangler

Or perhaps...

It may be the egg of an enormous mutant star goat. It's time to give those telephones one last wipe before boarding the 'B' Ark.

At the third beep, the Atomic Clock will be 60 ... imprecisely

Data Mangler

After the HP-Agilent split in 1999, the healthcare divisions were the first to be sold off -- to Phillips. Components spun off as Avago. Test and measurement (the original HP) shrunk a lot, I think, and recently split off as Keysight Technologies, leaving Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis as Agilent.

Data Mangler

The caesium clocks flown around the world in 1971 were Hewlett-Packard ones, from the days when HP had a well-deserved reputation for innovation and quality. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Psst: Heard the one about the National Pupil Database? Thought not

Data Mangler
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Re: In my experience...

Please don't tar all schools with the same brush. While some are as you describe, most are very conscious of data protection issues and conscientious in looking after their data. As data manger at a large secondary school, I keep a *very* tight rein, I assure you.