* Posts by billat29

126 publicly visible posts • joined 22 May 2013


Failed gambler? How about an algorithm that predicts the future


Re: Where there’s AI Will there are Myriad New Ways to Skin Dead Bouncing Cats*

He/it/they have been spotted here


But seeing as this version doesn't ramble so much, it's likely to be tailoring its output according to its audience

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’


Re: "Thats odd"

Look behind you - it will appear to be coming towards us......

Visiting a booby-trapped webpage could give attackers code execution privileges on HP network printers


Re: Malware or just a link to the firmware update site?

Simultaneous Peripheral Operations OnLine.

We're in IBM mainframe days here, It allowed a program to write its output to a file on one of those newfangled disks for subsequent printing on a good old fashioned chain printer. Prior to that, the printer was directly attached to the program and as printers are very very slow, the program would hog the CPU spending nearly all of its time waiting for the printer.


Imagine a world where Apple shacked up with Xerox in the '80s: How might it look today?


Re: Xerox Alto

it's very crude... but about 10 years ahead of everything else that was around at the time.


Re: Big credit

Yes but no. When your secretary (we had them in those days) typed up your memo on her mechanical typewriter and presented it to you for signing, you always found mistakes.Especially if you were one to select her on her decorative nature rather than her typing ability/ Some of these errors could be dealt with with correction fluid / paper but others required re-typing. And that's where even a non-networked PC could help.

Of course the Xerox stuff was all networked.....


Re: Xerox

Alternate histories.

Xerox bought Scientific Data Systems who had developed the Sigma. After failing to do much with it, they sold the rights to Honeywell who continued to build them - particularly for one large bureau customer. The rump of the SDS people wound up in Printing Systems.

High Wycombe? Marlow, Shurely.

And if the hardware orientated, high margin, copier top management would, in this history, have been competent to buy and run Apple and Adobe, then Jobs wouldn't have been allowed to see the "Star" in the first place and the Interpress people in Xerox wouldn't have felt the need to go off and form Adobe and develop PostScript. So I call BS

'Ring of fire' headed to northern UK – a partial solar eclipse, not the sensation you get after a potent vindaloo


Re: blurry shadow

Actually, trying to calculate the changing profile of the central luminance source exceeds the power budget of the simulation. Cheaper to simulate clouds whenever there is an "astronomical event" booked.

All you naysayers are just fake posts from the real, genuine and literal BOFH.

Millimetre-sized masses: Physics boffins measure smallest known gravitational field (so far)


I'm sure you lot have all been spending too much time in the bar with AMFM

Dropbox basically decimates workforce, COO logs off: Cloud biz promises to be 'more efficient and nimble'


Re: Remember Kim DotCom?

"What am I missing here?"

The buzzword bingo.

As UK breaks away from Europe, Facebook tells Brits: You'll all be Californians soon


"I wonder how long it will be before Boris declares he's got Brexit's done ... and bails out"

Soon. After moaning about how little he was paid as foreign secretary, he has been whining about how little he makes as PM. Plan was always to slam dunk Brexit, sell us for a cheap deal to Trumpistan and take lucrative job writing the odd essay / doing lecture tour for some billionaire sponsor.

That's gone a bit wrong - but he'll be off soon.

However, meet the new boss ........

UK insurance biz Direct Line drops 'misrepresentation' claims against IBM in £36m database platform lawsuit


One born every..

I can stand up in front of my prospect and say, with absolute truth that my company has done something very much like what you are trying to do. I can demonstrate that we have people with the necessary skills and I will parade them in front of you.

You will sign on the foolish presumption that any of those technical titans will go anywhere near your project. In fact they will be working on more valuable accounts and helping me make the next sale.

You will just get the people that are available at the time and they are available because...

Cyber attack against UK power grid middleman Elexon sparks in-house IT recovery efforts

Thumb Up

Re: From US with LOVE ...... for Captivating Capture by Mother Russia Red Teamsters

That's more the style we expect.


Re: Oxymorons 'r' us

Please stop being comprehensible. It's confusing me.

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?


Re: Self-reporting is bound to fail

CBA to follow your link. Will accept your point about numbers of people but not your presumption that it's the vast majority. My highly unscientific survey of 2 demonstrates that hospitals are routinely testing asymptomatic people for infection control purposes and I can't believe that my relative tested at two hospitals was counted as one person.

Of course all this doesn't detract from the point that people self reporting isn't going to be a substitute for proper testing.


Re: Self-reporting is bound to fail

Incorrect. No of tests is not the same as no of people tested. This is even stated on the slides.

Real examples:

My son (a Nurse) was tested twice. Once to confirm and once to say clear to go back to work.

Another relative - emergency admission to hospital (non covid) . Three times. (lost one. Transferred before result. Test at receiving hospital. Will probably have another when further treatment starts at a third Hospital)

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit


Re: Worst Case Scenario

It used to be thought very likely that the UK was at risk of a communist takeover. Our glorious leaders at that time were very keen to make sure that government didn't have the powers that could be used against them in that event.

Official: Office 365 Personal, Home axed next month... and replaced by Microsoft 365 cloud subscriptions


Re: And here it comes

I've been saying this for a while too. But I don't agree with your conclusion. Microsoft is at the end stage of revamping its business model. Once all those "legacy" products are out of support:

If you have some kind of enterprise agreement with all your servers and desktops and client licences, then you are a customer. You have no choice but to renew.

If you have an Office subscription (cloud or on-premise) then you are a customer. If you want to continue to use it, then you have to continue paying.

If you use any of the "cloud" offerings and are paying for it, then you are a customer.

If you have Windows as a result of buying new hardware that came with Windows 10, then you are a prospect. You are only interesting to Microsoft as you might sign up to one of the above.

If you have an older version of Windows or you took the "free" upgrade and don't fall into any of the categories above, then you are not a customer. You haven't spent money with Microsoft, You are unlikely to spend money with Microsoft. Microsoft does not care about a tightwad like you (me!).

So, the final question is that out of those "billion" devices now running Windows 10, how many are covered by the above agreements and is it worth setting up a subscription option for the remaining devices. Or is it enough just to force feed the maintenance updates to those users first so they can find the problems in advance of paying customers?

Half of organisations willing to be led into the first circle of hell, or what Dante might call upgrading an ERP system


See icon description

"How's the cloud integration business going?"

"Um.Bit of a problem. Everything's on hold due to this coronavirus"

"So how's the revenue looking?"

"Pretty bad. Brakes on spending. Delays in payment."

"What we need then is.."

"A survey! Just need to convince the top management that lots of money to be made next year."


Our 'solution is killing us in a number of areas' IBM said about doomed £175m Co-Op Insurance project


Not that easy

The Co-Op is a general insurer as well as a life insurer. The comment about aggregator websites makes me think that is what we are talking about here.

Insurance in the US is very different to that in the UK and it is not possible to take a US system, make a few tweaks and find that it is good to go. When IBM thought it was a software company, it knew this. The guys at the Co-op should have known this. So for this fact to "emerge" during the project, then someone (everyone) hadn't done their job properly.

It's not a small job. It's one that requires a great deal of understanding of UK insurance products, sales and business process - and as I said, the UK does it very differently to the US. We're talking about "ERP" for insurance not a billing and printing system.

And to put the cost in context - about 20 years ago, the cost of taking another US system and just doing the changes for UK car insurance (before all the go compares) was about £10M. (that's UK quid),

Now, $175M for a whole set of insurance lines seems a bit generous, but there must be an awful lot of client and subcontractor management in there.

Had they asked me, then I could have done it for less .. erm done it for the same price but with a certainty for delivery as I could have put a team together who had done this before -- and bought my yacht.

First water world exoplanet spotted – and thankfully no sign of Kevin Costner, rejoice!


Thank you!

"just 111 light years away from Earth". Now I know how far.

Bloody BBC dribbling on about 650 million million miles away. But I guess they are starting to pander to Rees-Moog. How many rods, poles or perches is that?

Please be aliens, please be aliens, please be aliens... Boffins discover mystery mass beneath Moon's biggest crater


Re: Heavy Metal on the moon?

True. But it's not a perfect vacuum.


Yes, I may have advised 'some' investors to flog their Autonomy shares, analyst tells High Court


"At the end of the day a purchase is a purchase and the revenue that results is real. "

Well, sort of. There are rules about when software revenue can be recognised for accounting purposes which, thankfully, I don't have to worry about any more. but the comment "But you didn't know, did you, about the correct accounting position under the IFRS?" is relevant.

Stuffing the channel is an old trick to inflate sales and there are a number of tricks that companies do to inflate revenues and screw down costs when they are up for sale and any prospective purchaser worth their salt (or maybe their advisors) would be able to spot them. Surely HP would have had some experience here?

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019


Re: The Brexit angle on this...

Brexit GPS takes you to an obscure village that's neither your origin nor your destination and threatens to drive you off the cliff at beachy head if you reprogram it

Ex-UK comms minister's constituents plagued by wonky broadband over ... wireless radio link?


Re: For His Masters Voice Transport Missions with Tramp Steamers/Sleek Tenders

What He Said.

Oh! My! God!

I understood what he is on about!

Could it be that after all my prayers you've answered me

After days of wondering I see the reason why

You've kept it to this minute for ....

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


A real example: (names changed)

Zoe Smith is the child of John Smith and Emily Williams but Emily is now living with Fred Wilson and had a child with him called Joe. Joe Wilson is the brother of Zoe Smith and he has Emily and John down as parents whereas Joe has Emily and Fred.

Now Fred and Emily have Chloe living with them, Chloe is Fred's daughter with his former partner, Susan Jones and retained her mother's family name. However, Emily has parental responsibility for Chloe Jones and so she should be down on SIMS in that case. So should Susan as although Chloe is not living with her, she still is her mother.

So. Zoe Smith; Joe WIlson and Chloe Jones are all siblings but different people living at different addresses need to see their records.

If Emily comes into the school office and says that she has a court order that prevents John seeing Zoe how does that get recorded in SIMS? And does that prevent the school from sending information about Zoe's progress?

So relationships are more complex than in my day so it easy to see that it can get screwed up. And in education software there are fixed release dates set around events in the school year so the pressure is on.

However, there is this thing we have all heard about called testing...

Notes/Domino is alive! Second beta of version 10 is imminent


Re: It's actually used a lot

I seem to recall that IBM went round at one time offering it at a ridiculously low price and that's why so many (public sector) organisations were using it.

Me? I used to stick Outlook on the front.

Tech firms, come to Blighty! Everything is brill! Brexit schmexit, Galileo schmalileo


Re: Its the Will of the People!!

History is a valid subject to study - as the old saying goes "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

Does that mean history graduates actually choose to make the same mistakes over and over? 'cos that's the way it looks to me....

Equifax's IT leaders 'retire' as company says it knew about the bug that brought it down


Re: admin/admin

"Tim Berners-Lee has a BA (albeit in physics)."

Of course. At the time he studied Physics, Oxford University only awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree even for science.

These days he would get an MPhys to recognise that science at Oxford is a four year journey.

'Vicious' neutron star caught collecting dustbunnies


When will I see you again?

"Have you lot done nothing but lie and cover up since I left? No wonder the Empire is sinking with all hands."


Three degrees

There is no such thing as a "degree" Kelvin. It's just Kelvin. And it starts at zero so "10's of degrees Kelvin above zero" is just rubbish.

'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever


Shower upgrade

Much against my better judgement, I bought one of those "digital" showers. It already has had one software upgrade and it is certainly not "done"!

Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry


Re: It's a systemic problem with humans.

"Anyone see that coming? More important, did anyone in the industrial supply chain buck the pressure and move their products to BSD despite the competition touting their easy-to-run Windows systems?"

Of course not. At that time I was moving products TO Windows from perfectly good platforms.

And why was I doing that? Because IT put the block on buying anything that wasn't Windows.


Hardware Support

"So surely if you are buying a piece of medical kit for £250k you also buy a support contract from the vendor? And you put a clause in that contract that the supplier must provide software updates to ensure the software works on a supported OS?"

In an ideal world, yes. But in the real world, that piece of kit has some clever stuff designed and built by the vendor surrounded with a whole load of other stuff that is bought off the shelf. And so there is a chain of dependencies not only on hardware but also the software to drive it. And it takes just one of those vendors to stop producing the kit or decide that it isn't worth their while updating the drivers to the OS latest driver model and you are basically stuffed.

Customer: BT admitted it had 'mis-sold' me fibre broadband


Re: What are customers moaning about?

@ Blotto

I need the 400m of loop that goes down the road to the green cab at the bottom of the street. I don't need the pair that meanders from there back to the exchange. I don't need an allocation of a phone number and the billing thereof, nor the paper thin directory that drops through my door (rarely). Now that won't represent the full amount of the "line rental" but they could knock a few quid off it.

Ransomware sleazeballs target UK schools


sleazeballs target UK schools

Let me see:

Department FOR education

standard for head's email is head@

DfE have it anyway.

Oh wait!

Andrew Stuart, managing director of backup and disaster recovery vendor Datto.....

another El Reg advertorial

European Council agrees to remove geoblocking


Re: Now I understand why Murdoch rags were so vehement on BrExit

Finally someone gets it!

And, of course, they are also part of the pack that want Openreach split from BT so that they can pass expected price savings on to their customers:


or not......

Virgin Galactic and Boom unveil Concorde 2.0 tester to restart supersonic travel


Flying a sports car

rather than in a bus. Nothing quite like the push back in your seat when you accelerated down the runway.

And you could get a standby seat on the evening flight from JFK for about $500. It was cramped on board and "most" people prefered to fly subsonic, have a nice meal and sleep on the 747.

It doesn't matter how much it costs. The rich will afford it. We plebs don't count.

NASA discovers mysterious super-fast electrons whizzing above Earth


Now. I thought that as well when I read the article and I then I thought "Well, it's not a perfect vacuum so why shouldn't there be?" And the answer turns out to be 9000m/s. Or not.(*)

* I read it on the internet. So it must be true.


Dirty code? If it works, leave it says Thoughtworks CTO


It's a mess but it's where your value is. All those different versions, patches, tweaks and kludges represent 20 years investment in understanding what your customers do and all those odd exceptions, minor cases and other surprises that have come up over the years.

The myth that we all subscribe to is that you can sit down with <user> and apply <methodology of the month> and you will produce a complete new shiny system that will cover all those cases.

And one that won't be technologically obsolete by the time you finished it

Smart Meter rollout delayed again. Cost us £11bn, eh?


Re: Outdoor gas meter - power source?

My neighbours had one of these fitted "ages" ago. It stopped reading as the internal battery ran out and the energy co had to estimate.......

MPs want Blighty to enforce domestic roaming to fix 'not spots'


Re: OFCOM Powers

You forgot to include selling their firstborn into slavery.

Hang On! Some of them would see that as an incentive.

First World Problems: John Lewis clients forced to re-register after website 'upgrade'


Well done for reading it all. I bet you even clicked on the link in the email for more information. (What did I say about clicking on unsolicited emails?).

And better comprehension than wot I has.Out of curiosity (and displaying my ignorance), where did it say" re-register". I found "new" and "improved" and "enhanced security" and "new statement" (which has some design flaws).


Re: A step forward

Exactly, Now they did send out an email a couple of weeks prior which blithered on about new features and introducing SecureCode, but did they take the opportunity to say "Oh BTW you will have to reregister on the new website"? Of course not.

And if you went to the old site and tried to login did it say "Oooh! you're still using the old website. You need to go here and reregister" or did it just give an error code with "call customer services"?

You guess.


And guess how secret the information is that you need to register. errr....

Basic income after automation? That’s not how capitalism works


Well, AC. You assume that BI would be sufficient to pay for beer. Bad assumption on many levels.

And maybe you need to tell your dear mother that not being bothered to wash is actually a symptom of a number of recognised conditions.

But then it is your mother that I would like to do out of a job. Not because I have anything against her - but because her role needs to be made obsolete. Medical secretaries are there because medicine runs in an archaic, inefficient and costly manner.

But I digress.........

Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft


Re: Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft

Pedant Alert!

It was Xerox PARC. Rank Xerox was a joint venture between Xerox Corp and the Rank Organisation which had the rights to manufacture and sell Xerox products in EMEA (and some times, Australasia).

But yes, they invented all this stuff. Some of us were using this in the early 80's while the rest of you were still tapping into green / orange screens.

er.. or hadn't been born yet....

London's Met Police has missed the Windows XP escape deadline


You assume that the police run modern programs.

Bad assumption.

PC pioneer Gary Kildall's unpublished memoir revealed


Re: "to pen" is not a verb

My American friends would say; "There ain't no noun that can't be verbed".

Kaspersky so very sorry after suggesting its antivirus will get you laid


Re: Triggered!

"Is it time for Burqas yet?"

Surely. The Sun must be over the yardarm somewhere by now. Oh wait!

Student Loans Company burns £50 million in IT project superfail


Re: its not a loan its a very naughty tax

So you say. I say that it is a cruel trick to reduce youth unemployment by making them take out loans for useless degrees.

And... although you send documents to Darlington, the jobs are in Scotland - where, of course, they still get free education.

My son is still getting letters amending his "award" for 2011. They are without doubt the most useless, inefficient, overly bureaucratic, self righteous, obstructive twats ever.

E-books the same as printed ones, says top Euro court egghead


Re: Can of worms...

several places at once.. until you look at it....