* Posts by The Blacksmith

38 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Feb 2013

Bankrupt school ITT pleads 'don't let Microsoft wipe our cloud data!'

The Blacksmith

Re: Price googing?

Even better, if they know they are not going to be paid, but will probably have to hold it (it's before the courts type arrangement), you put the highest possible price on it. That allows you to write off that bad debt later against tax and thus reduce the tax bill payable.

Bonus time!

Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

The Blacksmith

Re: In terms of farmers -- Drive a tractor??

Ah yes, the tractor stuck in the field. Been there, not sadly a combine harvester, but certainly largish tractors, the ability to get it going again is hideously important, and is becoming apparent to the folks here. The ability to replace a belt, change a pulley, replace a blade in the field is paramount. Lost time is very much lost money, especially for simple repairs.

What we're seeing is the electronic systems of these machines becoming more and more integrated. Raise the deck, need a sensor for that. If that (usually non-redundant) sensor malfunctions (and it's a difficult environment for sensors here) the whole machine stops. As Brian correctly points out having a machine out of action because of a sensor that cannot be overridden when it goes faulty to at least get the job done before it rains is disasterous.

Our local Kubota dealer at least still has a decent collection of spares, but I dread the day of just in time or on demand parts. When an delivery time is usually 3 days or more that does seriously affect productivity.

To give an analogy, imagine if a fan speed sensor dies in your server. The machine says "faulty" and shuts down, or says nothing, just shuts down and you need a proprietary piece of diagnostic equipment to read the fault code. To get the machine diagnosed and repaired you have to disconnect the server and take it to the dealer (at your expense) where they will hook it up to their diagnostic machine, say that part 213-81672349B needs to be replaced. It will take 3 to 5 days for the part to arrive and then they replace it and you can take your server back (again, at your expense) and then re-install it.

The solution is, naturally, to have on-call service professionals who will turn up on site and diagnose (and possibly order the spare part) and then replace it. The farmer meanwhile has to switch to the failover machine. This changes the economics of these machines completely.

Netgear: Nothing to see here, please disperse. Just another really bad router security hole

The Blacksmith

Since we're kicking Netgear

Their code is getting crappier and crappier. On the WNR2000v5 they can no longer handle NAT and internal routing. Something they had in previous models. So, if you have an internal network with multiple subnets the NAT only works on the local net, all the other subnets are not NATted at all. Of course, the documentation doesn't mention this limitation, although it claims the router supports NAT and networks.

If nbn™ can't say when it will arrive in your street, you're getting a Telstra HFC connection

The Blacksmith

Re: Hmmm...

Better than me, I'm listed as 2020, and that's after the nice Mr Turnbull promised that I would have 25Mb/s to replace the 128k (on a good day) I get at the moment by 2016. Such a nice man, why did he lie to me?

My Microsoft Office 365 woes: Constant crashes, malware macros – and settings from Hell

The Blacksmith

Re: all those dumb "smart quotes."

I think you mean troff, although I sometimes prefer postscript for that high precision formatting.

What's long, hard and full of seamen? The USS Harvey Milk

The Blacksmith

Re: Five-inch Naval Gun...

Actually condoms over guns is a very common practice. If done properly it is tight enough to stop dirt, water (and other fluids) from entering the barrel, but doesn't impede the projectile when shot through.

That's my coat, the one with the patented gun barrel protector (and other handy uses) prophylactic in the pocket.

Labor's broadband policy decides 39% fibre is healthy NBN diet

The Blacksmith
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Re: We of the Never Bloody Never ...

To bloody true. Broadband? Heard about it. Wireless? Heard about it. Unless you live in a major city, or next to an exchange broadband in Australia is woeful.

I could fly to Japan, book into a hotel and download an ISO of a linux distribution, and finally fly back faster than downloading it here.

Balls up, the lot of them.

iiNet struggles through five-day outage to get thousands back online

The Blacksmith
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Re: How low can it go?

Sure Tim, when you want to do that let us know. I'd jump from Internode to a competent technical ISP as soon as I can get the phone dialed. Given that NBN is still almost 2 years away (yes, H2, 2017 they claim!) I'm not holding my breath, but once NBN is everywhere running an ISP over their pipes is just a business decision (plus peering, backhaul and a million other costs).

Not to be too negative, but these days an ISP is all about scale, the barriers to entry are high, and to get customers to churn to you you need to give excellent service (and good data caps as well). However, those lock in contracts that TPG keeps pushing will slow down your uptake rate.

Sad really.

Telstra wins copper repair contract on the copper it sold to nbn

The Blacksmith

Or, just possibly the government (the owner of NBNco) could decide that the NBN could be the beginning of a skills renaissance for Australia. Actually employing people, training them, and building a world class workforce who knows and understands what they're working on, how to make it work, and how to get the best out of what they're using.

Or we could just employ "cheapest" contractors who don't care, aren't paid enough to care, and once the job is signed off are no longer responsible.

The Register's Australian technology headline predictions … for 2017!

The Blacksmith

Re: NBNCo rejects Copper over new RFC2549 Implementation

Excellent, this should raise employment too, with grain merchants and dung collectors benefiting the most.

I can see our "renewables" led recovery coming to a barn near you soon.

And! best of all, It'll keep the kids off streaming video, too much stutter in the stream.

Tasmania needn't miss out, NBNco can use an alternate carrier system (see icon!)

Data retention has started in Australia, but carriers aren't ready

The Blacksmith
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So concisely said. Well done sir, well done.

OECD nations gang up on internet retailers, tax dodgers

The Blacksmith
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And a good thing too

The MAAl law is too long in coming. Multinationals drain resources from a country. This proposal to force them to actually provide support for the countries they are feeding from is totally justified,

Microsoft's nightmare DEEPENS: Windows 8 market share falling fast

The Blacksmith

Re: The REAL Mystery in the Numbers:

Because the laptop (Lenovo X131e) shipped with 8, and cannot upgrade to 8.1 - don't ask me why, it just refuses to with a message saying it's incompatible. It does nag about the upgrade though ;-). If I had my way it'd be Linux in an instant.

Patch Bash NOW: 'Shellshock' bug blasts OS X, Linux systems wide open

The Blacksmith

Re: Be careful how you test

Ta, and I see someone was caught by that assumption ;-) Perhaps we should say it clearly, on Ubuntu systems /bin/sh is a symlink to dash, not bash, but if bash is available it can be exploited!

The Blacksmith

Re: Not in 4.3.11, dating from April

see my point above, the test code was wrong, as it assumed /bin/sh and bash are the same thing. Try the updated test in the article:

env X="() { :;} ; echo busted" `which bash` -c "echo completed"

and you may be in for a bit of a bash shock (sorry, bad pun :-)

The Blacksmith

Be careful how you test

The example exploit code does not necessarily work. Especially if /bin/sh is not bash, but bash is available...

$ env X="() { :;}; echo busted" bash -c "echo stuff"



$ env X="() { :;}; echo busted" /bin/sh -c "echo stuff"


Lower prices are BAD FOR CONSUMERS, says Turnbull

The Blacksmith

What they mean is lower prices are bad for mates at Telstra

The NBN-lite schmozzle seems to roll on and on, with the current plan missing in action. But I remember that we'll have minimum 25Mb/s before this election cycle is out. Or maybe that was just a lie and should be added to the others.

NBN CO told to pretty itself up for bankers by 2017

The Blacksmith

Re: Disaster looms

Which is exactly the point. It's another Labor disaster. They couldn't build it, they knew they couldn't build it, so with this hamstringing they are leaving it to the next government to fund. By cutting off funds they are "balancing the budget" and bugger the future.

The economic credentials of this lot of morons are pathetic. Sell everything, buy nothing and watch the country go to hell. But they will have "balanced the budget". After that there will HAVE to be substantial government expenditure (or substantial household expenditure) to have the country functioning again.

Jodee 'One.Tel' Rich spruiks .CEO sites for email LIKE A BOSS

The Blacksmith

Tell Your Friends

As per the One.Tel jingle, and remembering Imagineering, I told all my friends about One.Tel. Don't I said, just don't. Too true it was in the end.

NBN Co puts October date on first FTTB connections

The Blacksmith

Re: What about the Black Spots!!!!

Forget about it. Blackspots are not "Commercially viable". Remember, the business owners of the current government are just interested in commercially viable ventures. Why would they be interested in social good? That just gets in the way of their bonus.

Soon you'll be saying that having decent telecommunications should be a social minimum for this first world country. Ha! You want better broadband speed? Move.

This is a massive social fail for this country. It's one more piece of divisive "Haves v. Have nots" legislation from the government. But get used to it.

Turnbull waters down broadband black spot fix promise

The Blacksmith
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Re: Oh, the humanity !!!!!

I agree. In fact, education, healthcare, security, any of these should ONLY be governed by commercial reality. You want your child to go to school? Pay for it, you want the police? Pay for it.

As for healthcare, I'd suggest we implement the commercial reality as practised in our vast livestock industry. If you find a sick sheep out the back paddock it's either a quick bullet, or just let it get better/die by itself - it's cheaper that way.

Society works better, is more enjoyable, and is safer if everybody has a basic standard of living. Today society deems food, water, healthcare, education, security and communications as basic requirements. Basic requirements should be satisfied by the government. Relying on "commercial" organisations is a copout by the government.

Telstra 'snot boxes' challenge Turnbull's FTTN plan

The Blacksmith

Thank the Deity Australia is a Desert

After the last decent rainfall the local exchange suffered a "major outage" - both phone lines dead, internet dead. 2 weeks later we're told it's fixed - only problem is, it isn't. More calls and two days later a tech turns up. Traces the cables and finds an open joint in one of the lovely road side pill boxes. Internet speeds are currently 2703/434 according to the modem, and 41ms/2.01Mb/.25Mb according to speedtest.

We were never on the NBN Fibre footprint being 35Km from Sydney CBD and I'm not expecting things to get better anytime (well, ever really) because we're in a safe luddite (sorry Coalition) seat.

Interestingly, since Telstra said the fault was fixed they don't pay compensation for the time of the second "fault". I'm probably going to the ombudsman about that.

Surveillance, that's a hot topic right now. We'll make some disk drives for that – WD, Seagate

The Blacksmith
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Seagate ST3000VX000 are rubbish

I have had 8x ST3000VX000 in a raid set writing video camera feeds from 10 or so cameras. We have had both the 9YW166 batch and the 1CU166 batch. They went into production in October 2012. The last of them died today. Seagate refused to believe there was a batch problem, but one by one they have been dying (and replaced under warranty).

The seven 9YW166s died first, and I thought it was only them, but the 1CU166 died today. bringing a sorry end to the experiment.

The drives were mounted on shock absorbing mounts, with dedicated cooling in a specific enclosure, so I can't really put it down to environment. Particularly since the 8 WD30EFRXs in another system similarly built haven't suffered a hiccup ;-)

David Attenborough warns that humans have stopped evolving

The Blacksmith

Re: Evolution? Devolution!

Monkeys? Apes please, or a certain librarian will be after you!

Turnbull floats e-vote, compulsory ID

The Blacksmith

Re: ...requires all numbers to be marked ...

The election process make perfect sense. In essence Australia has a multi-round election with one ballot. I am always amused by some countries where the "election" has multiple rounds, with candidates being eliminated after each round. It must be tedious voting up to N-1 times if there are N candidates.

The Australian system uses the system of preferences for the voter to say if X was eliminated then I'd go for Y out of the remainder, and so on until it's down to two left, and one then has to get more than 50% (excepting ties of course). Now whether people understand what they are doing is another problem, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.

A simple majority with an N way ballot is easily manipulated. Just add additional candidates who espouses EXACTLY the same policies as your opposition. Opposition vote is diluted, you get more, you win! profit! Yahoo!

The Blacksmith

Re: Pesky paper trails

The point of the machines is to simplify the general case of things. The machine can help ensure that you have performed a valid vote, and does a count, BUT the machine count is NOT the definitive count. The final arbiter is the paper copy, placed into the election box by the voter.

The advantage of the machine is ONLY in helping the voter get the "rules" right. To ensure the correct number of boxes are ticked, or numbered in sequence, whatever the appropriate rule is. This will reduce the number of mistakenly spoilt votes. In which case you might as well let the voter print out their ballot at home and bring it already completed.

You have an electronic version and a paper version. You do random audits on these to ensure that the machine and paper counts are the same. Therefore you have a level of confidence that the paper and electronic counts are the same without having to manually count all the paper ballots. Trying to return a different electronic count will result in an audit turning up a discrepancy which will eventually out the whole system. Actually, there always seems to be one scrutineers who is totally anally retentive and will do a complete count (for their candidate), so differences should be picked up quickly.

However, there is always the problem of spoilt paper ballots, the spilled cup of coffee/water, the lost ballot box, the extra ballot box. Machine voting is still susceptible to all of these problems.

The Blacksmith

Re: Just to put things into context

I agree. The whole question, nay, the real question, is this a problem, or is it just a furfey for something more sinister?

If all they wanted was a way to reduce accidental invalid ballots then a "print at home" method would be simpler.

Fill in your ballot at home, print out your ballot. Take it (folded) to the voting place, have the election official initial it to ensure it is a "valid" vote, put into box. Heck, you could even have it printed in an easy to scan format. No nasty cryptography, just plain words on paper. When counting it is treated as like every other ballot.

You could have a web form that presented the papers and let you fill them in and print them easily enough. The only difference between this and the current system is that the paper inserted into the box is not the special ballot paper, but a printed at home paper.

The Blacksmith

Re: Sickies

You can vote anywhere in australia, or at an australian embassy, consulate or misson anywhere in the world. If you know you are not (or may not) be able to vote on election day you can pre-poll either in person or my mail several weeks before the election (Basically once the candidates are confirmed). My parents were on the sunny Mediterranean on election night and so pre-polled several weeks ago.

These votes are counted last, I.e. only if they could change the outcome of the election.

If given all these choices you still didn't attend to your duty you will receive a fine of about $50.

Strangely enough practically all Australian do conscientiously attend to voting. At the polling places there are the usual rabble who want to hand out "how to vote" cards. Most people have already made up their mind, and either don't want one, or only take the one for the party they so desire.

Of course, deciding to vote informally shows that the person has made a serious effort in understanding the candidates, their policies, and possible decided that they are all bat shit crazy. It is a valid choice. the difference between allowing compulsory voting (including informals) and optional voting is simple. If you decide to vote informally you have still looked at the candidates, and thought about it.

I generally start voting from both ends. I know who goes first, and who goes last. It's the great unwashed in the middle that is so bloody hard to order :-)

Vulture 2 autopilot reports for duty

The Blacksmith
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That's real shiny

Forget the iphone/android launches. This is real shiny shiny kit, and will hopefully make a very good launch.

Scientists demo light-controlled semiconductor

The Blacksmith

Re: Yes, early days and all that, but...

Actually, I think the effect is the other way. At all temperatures above -73C the material exhibited semiconductor effects irrespective of illumination. At temperatures BELOW -73C it behaves as a metal, unless illuminated. When illuminated it behaved as a semi-conductor.

The graphs show the region from -73C to be remarkably similar, where as the difference is the area below 200K (actually, it looks move likely to be below 180K or so).

Also, the scale is different in the two graphs which further confuses things. The linked article does not clear things up.

The Solar System's second-largest volcano found hiding on Earth

The Blacksmith

Re: Goin' downtown

And when it goes down there will probably be a bit of shaking in Japan. But on the bright side, Fukushima will probably be decommissioned by then, we hope.

Australia votes and Vulture South picks the flesh off tech policy

The Blacksmith

I've just wanted broadband. HFC, ADSL, anything. I managed to get Unwired for a while (a 25db directional antenna and just line of sight). Mobile broadband is a joke, it's usually little faster than dial-up here. Maybe if I go live under a tower or, I know, maybe get the telco to install a tower in my back yard so I get decent reception. Ah, but wait, then they'd need decent back haul to the rest of the network.

I'm so happy for you, but perhaps creating equitable infrastructure for all would be a nice idea, especially as most government departments, nay, most businesses now assume that decent broadband is ubiquitous.

I think a good beer, or maybe a dozen, is required on Saturday, because on Sunday we're waking up with a headache no matter who wins.

Fukushima sends Japanese IT to the cloud

The Blacksmith

What was left?

"BCM professionals must plan for the complete loss of people, facilities and resources for extended periods." Without these do you still have a business? DR is usually so fundamentally ignored it is nice to see some thought being placed to real DR.

Of course, the PHBs will scrap it all when the next bonus rounds are approaching so as to improve the bottom line. All for the sake of business efficiency.

ICANN destroys Google's dotless domain dream

The Blacksmith

Re: re. Refused domains include .AFRICA and .GCC.

.asia is a valid domain name already. You too can buy a domain there. It was your typical land grab with cyber squatters and shills asking for protection (sorry, extortion, oops, realy sorry, advance payment) monies for <your domain name.asia> before it launched. US$500 per domain if I recall correctly.

I certainly can't see why .gcc was refused, unless it was requested by somebody other than the FSF. .africa may have been disputed as to whom the "rightful" owner was.

Microsoft's Nokia plan: WHACK APPLE AND GOOGLE

The Blacksmith

Re: Good phones and good OS

Sorry, don't like the tiles, don't like the OS; intrusive, flashy, in your face. I prefer my phone to be quiet and to respond to me. In fact, I also need my computer to do this. I don't want to be interrupted by what it (Well, the developers) thinks is important. Oh, ok, I let it notify me when a call comes it.

You may disagree, and good luck to you there, but I'm not buying a new Nokia. It had been 4 Nokia phones from the 1990's through to now. Now it's a Sony Android (it was a present, I didn't get to choose), but I'm not pleased when I had a play with the new Nokia phones. Lovely hardware, poor software.

Microsoft buys Nokia's mobile business

The Blacksmith

A sad sad day for Nokia

Let us see if Microsoft can make anything in the mobile space. So far it has unimpressed. I was a loyal follower of Nokia phones (They just worked, really really well) until 2 years ago. But I jumped and will probably not go back. I'm expecting tight integration now between a Microsoft phone and a Microsoft desktop, which, given Microsoft Windows 8, would seem to spell doom. Sad really. I was always impressed by Nokia hardware, software, not so much, less now too :-)

Cisco borgs VHA packet core

The Blacksmith

Customers require customer service

The main problem with Vodafone, as is decried in numerous places, and that I can attest to is that their idea of customer service is to bend the customer over and ....

Trying to deal with vodafone's customer service is tedious, painful, exasperating, and usually futile. I've given up.

FUD flies as Raytheon reveals social media analysis tool

The Blacksmith
Black Helicopters

Quick check then...

Facebook - no account, Twitter - no account, Google Plus - no posts, No Photos on instaflick, yep seems ok to me. You can't post your life online and then worry about the stalkers. Especially when as mentioned it was so well known this was all possible.

Of course, google, facebook, twitter, linkedin, and everybody else who supplies those "like" buttons on a page get referrer information and cookie information to allow them to track your online habits. If you don't run your photos through jpegtopnm pnmscale then pnmtojpeg to strip exif information (and reduce the size) then you get everything you deserve.

I have to admit I like the idea of people spending all this effort at tracking. There's so much low hanging fruit that those that are harder to track are (currently) being ignored.

Oh no, I hear a helicopter