* Posts by MatthewSt

480 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jun 2013


Contract for England's controversial health data platform delayed


Re: Always a "central database"

Getting requirements nailed down is always good, but outsourced projects fail more than in house ones in that scenario. Partially because you're over a barrel at that point with your current supplier, where you either get the wrong thing delivered for (maybe) the original cost, nothing delivered if you can walk away and lose what you've already paid, or pay a premium to change the spec.

The NHS is paying £77m per year (as of 2018) to EMIS and TPP just for patient records systems that probably don't even cover the whole of the NHS. Could build quite a team with that budget!


Re: Always a "central database"

Why should we need to trust any third parties?

Let the NHS build and run the system itself. Make the code open source (if only read-only), but written by the NHS. Bound to be cheaper than getting someone to build a solution for you.

Israel and Italy have cheapest mobile data out of 237 countries


Re: Who is the UK provider selling at $0.08 ?

Depends if they were allowed to haggle. I'm on £7 for 100gb with VM/O2. You get what you pay for though...!

It looks like you’re a developer. Would you like help upgrading Windows 11?


Re: tuned to the needs of developers with features like Copy-on-Write (CoW)

It's not about saving disk space, it's about build performance: I have a referenced NuGet package. So it's one on my disk where it was downloaded. Then when project A is built it gets copied to that folder. Project B references project A so takes a copy when that gets built etc. Multiply that by tens or hundreds of dependencies, tens or hundreds of projects, and hundreds of builds per day and those savings add up.

I don't need multiple copies of something that was downloaded for me automatically from the Internet

Oracle's $130M-plus payday still looms on horizon for Larry and Safra


Yes, because letting founders have a say in their own company is definitely a bad idea...

Also, some things are 1 person 1 vote (as opposed to 1 share 1 vote) so it's possible that the number of people not called Larry in agreement is closer to 67%. I haven't checked whether this is one of those scenarios

37 Signals says cloud repatriation plan has already saved it $1 million


Ops Team

"37 Signals ops team remains the same size"

If your Ops team can handle your on-prem load, then they were either over-spec'd for cloud or you were doing cloud not quite in the way it was intended. We don't have an Ops team. No one is racking and stacking, installing OSs, running updates, or doing anything related to server IT. Then again, that's the distinction between PaaS and IaaS.

Techie labelled 'disgusting filth merchant' by disgusting hypocrite


Oh Nuts...

Lightning struck: Apple switches to USB-C for iPhone 15 lineup


Re: Where do we go from here...?

Your car comparison is a good one: look up the Naruse pedal. A potential way to decrease the number of accidents made by using the wrong pedal, but 0% chance of being implemented because it'll be a break to the "standard".

We've already standardised electric chargers in the UK (type 2 and CCS). A new standard will most likely have to be agreed when power requirements exceed the current connectors.

The international sockets is a good example too, because it's the existing standards that are out there that prevent the "innovation" of being able to unify the world on to one standard.

My point (in a very clumsy way) is that standards discourage innovation. That's fine if there's no innovation left to make, or if you've got a standards body (like USB) which can handle the innovation


Re: Where do we go from here...?

Geniunely didn't know that. Thought the requirement was for it to use USB-C in particular. More than happy to ditch proprietary connectors. My last 3 phones have all been USB-C anyway so I confess I'd only skim-read the requirements.


Where do we go from here...?

So is this the end of innovation for physical phone connectors now? If no one is allowed to choose what kind of connector we can use then we're stuck with (the many variants of) USB-C. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for standardising things, but if this decision had been made 10 years ago then the standard would have been micro-USB and we wouldn't have reversable cables or "power delivery".

How to snoop on passwords with this one weird trick (involving public Wi-Fi signals)


Re: So 85% accuracy..

Or Dvorak...

Square blames last week's outage on DNS screw-up


Re: It's always DNS

Always lower your TTL first. Means fat finger mistakes don't take as long to fix

Watt's the worst thing you can do to a datacenter? Failing to RTFM, electrically


Re: I I be a-goin there, I be-n't start from here

I barely have a working knowledge of electricity, but I always thought amps were "drawn" rather than pushed. I've been told (for example) that adaptors need to match voltage, and need to have an equal or higher amp value than the device you're powering.

Power grids tremble as electric vehicle growth set to accelerate 19% next year


Re: For many of us, hybrids make more sense than BEVs

"Did I mention that public charging points will be far more expensive to use than overnight charging at home?"

I would imagine that a market will appear for cheap overnight public charging. In the same way that Tesco etc list their car parks on apps for cheap long term parking, something similar will come along for charge points too. At the end of the day they've paid for the infrastructure so as long as they get a mark up on the electricity it's worth doing.

If overnight costs them 10p/kWh then they're better off selling it at 15p/kWh than not selling it at 40p/kWh

What happens when What3Words gets lost in translation?


Re: Jeepers.

The problem isn't just the sending, but the receiving too. You need your 999 service to be able to receive a text message and link it to the ongoing call. Like E911 or E112 do. Now you just need to make it a globally recognised and implemented standard, and hope that wherever you're calling from has enough connectivity to maintain a data connection as well as a phone call.

The bit you're suggesting is the easy bit, and has (rather unsurprisingly) already been done.

Wordpress sells 100-year domain, hosting plan for $38K


Re: The sound of whalesong and the smell of incense are strong with this one

Bought by competitors would still count as continuing to trade, although there'd be the risk of these unprofitable customers being sold off to another company that then would go under...

Intel seems to think Wi-Fi 7 is too cool for old-school Windows 10



One of the reasons given for not moving to 11 is a lack of TPM2 chip. If you're missing one of those are you likely to be dealing with WiFi 7 hardware?

Hope for nerds! ChatGPT's still a below-average math student


Below average is a bit generous...


Can you make 147 using only 396, 200, 16 and 519?


Sure, you can make 147 using the numbers 396, 200, 16, and 519 with the following mathematical expression:

(396 - 200) + (16 * 519) = 147


No, it doesn't


I apologize for the mistake. You're right, the expression I provided doesn't result in 147. Here's the correct way to make 147 using the numbers 396, 200, 16, and 519:

(519 - 396) + 200 + 16 = 147

Bank of Ireland outage sees customers queue for 'free' cash – or maybe any cash


Banks issue mortgages with the money that other customers have got in deposit / savings accounts. That's why even though the base rate is going up in the UK, the savings rates are taking a while to catch up because the changes don't affect anyone who's already on a cheaper fixed mortgage.

Microsoft OneDrive a willing and eager 'ransomware double agent'


Re: Relatively easy...

Apart from OneDrive doesn't run as admin. He's talking about using OneDrive to overwrite the users own files that they are not storing in OneDrive.

And why are we fine saying that the EDR trusts OneDrive but overlooking those tools when we have to "just" get the user to run an executable?


Relatively easy...

... once he managed to achieve an initial compromise of a Windows machine

So in order to get OneDrive to do all of these things to a user's files, you have to already have had access to those files yourself? Sounds like a massive security hole.

Granted they shouldn't be storing tokens in logs, but if you're in a position to read those logs the user has already lost.

Boffins say they can turn typing sounds into text with 95% accuracy


2016 called...

... https://www.pindrop.com/blog/recording-keystroke-sounds-over-skype-to-steal-user-data

Slightly suspicious that the Skype percentage hasn't changed!

Russia's Cozy Bear is back and hitting Microsoft Teams to phish top targets


Re: Teams and low-hanging fruit

Businesses sometimes do business with other businesses. We use Teams, some of our customers use Teams. It's the same logic for "Why would you want to send an email or make a phone call outside the organisation?". More interactive than an email, less demanding than a phone call.

Teams does quite a good job of warning you that you're talking to someone who is not part of your organisation. It's a training issue, not a technical one.

AWS: IPv4 addresses cost too much, so you’re going to pay


Re: Without comment

Interestingly, I'm pretty sure El Reg went through a brief phase of being fronted by Cloudflare which did enable IPv6. Easy come easy go

Edit: Beaten to it by EvaQ

The choice: Pay BT megabucks, or do something a bit illegal. OK, that’s no choice



I love the Dvorak layout (have it enabled on my phone) but when I try using it on PC it's the keyboard shortcuts that catch me out. Never seemed to be able to get the hang of them

Clingy Virgin Media won't let us leave, customers complain


Re: Successfully Rubbish "We are committed to providing our customers with excellent service"

Because when Virgin say that they're increasing the price by RPI + 3%, they refer to the price before the "fixed" discount that they've offered you. Eg the package I'm on "retails" for £70 something, but 12 months ago I got them to do it for £36 (like everyone else does). They're not actually doing it for £36 though, they're applying a £34 discount on my bill. So the "retail" price went up by (for example) £10, my bill goes up by £10 too as the discount is fixed and not subject to inflationary adjustments.

Combine that with the fact that they only let you leave / renegotiate _before_ that increase happens (and supposedly let you know by some form of writing that never actually appears) and the people on the end of the phone are less than inclined to help

Where are we now, Microsoft 362.5? Europe reports outages


Re: IT is long past time for a Class Action lawsuit against

By all means give it a go but you may want to get your numbers right first. They promise 99.9% uptime on a monthly basis, so they're allowed 43 minutes of downtime per month **per service**. Then the terms (which you've accepted by signing up of course) tell you that it's only a financially backed guarantee so you get a percentage of your bill back.

I think you're probably better off trying to file a lawsuit against your beancounters if it's that detrimental to your business.

Salesforce lures staff with $10 donation to charity for each day they're in the office


Re: wow!

Spending $10 to knock $2 off your tax bill doesn't seem like a great way to me...

If they get $8 worth of publicity from it then it might be worthwhile, but businesses very rarely do it for the tax break (unless the charity is run by a friend...)

Google snubbed JPEG XL so of course Apple now supports it in Safari



> ...a decision that denied the codec to Chrome and to other downstream browsers like Microsoft Edge

Apart from the fact that the entire reason that these downstream browsers exist is to put in functionality that isn't in the Chromium project itself. If Microsoft want to support it in Edge there is literally nothing stopping them from putting the same code back in. Same goes for any other derivative.

Microsoft wants you to think inside the Dev Box from July


The Cost...!

Looks like a good offering, but it adds up very quickly! Disk space is paid even when the box is off so that's £32/month for 256gb (£384/year), and then a 4cpu 16gb box is 40p/hour. Assume a 35 hour week (as if!) then that's £14 per week. Let's say 45 weeks/year (holidays, bank holidays, sick days) and you're looking at £1000/year!

Microsoft tries a deeper dive into Azure Firewall traffic


Re: Apparently Microsoft also peeks into encrypted zip files the firewall may have more to do

I know it's more fun to bash Microsoft than to actually read the article, but they get the CRC values from the zip file (which are stored unencrypted) and compare them to known bad values. Not immensely useful with today's virus tactics, but every little helps

The future of cars may be self-driving EVs gossiping about their humans and traffic


Re: Lots of good uses for it technically

Yeah, some lines are better than others. Yorkshire to Oxford return for 2 with a railcard is £120. I can drive the 364 miles for a lot less than that! I understand the efficiency, and I like travelling by train, but it has to be attractive


Re: Lots of good uses for it technically

It's possible you've not bought a train ticket in a while, but in a lot of cases it's cheaper to drive, unless there's a group of you going in which case it's significantly cheaper to drive

Alpine Linux 3.18 fixes DNS over TCP issue, now ready for all the internet's problems


Re: The "so what" portion is missing from the article

I believe DNS over TLS and DNS over HTTPS also make use of TCP (if they fall under this category).

Cloudflare opposes Europe's plan to make Big Tech help pay for networks


Arguably if the ISP doesn't like the traffic then it should be the ISP blocking it. Netflix is always an entertaining one because they actually offer hardware "free of charge" to ISPs to reduce their bandwidth burden. All you need to do is rack it, power it and network it. Saves both the ISP and Netflix on bandwidth costs (and presumably all of the transit hops in between).

Akamai (and others presumably) do the same kind of thing, as when you navigate to Google from within Plusnet's infrastructure you don't leave their network.

These problems are already solved for big-tech

iPhones hook up with Windows as Microsoft’s Phone Link dials up Apple's iOS


Seconded, and I think I even managed to convince my computer to present itself as a "hands free kit" to the phone, so I could make calls too!

Firmware is on shaky ground – let's see what it's made of


Re: True for closed source as well....

There's also accountability. If Asus brick my router with a firmware update then I can send it back and get a new router. If it's bricked as a result of me installing custom firmware then I'm on my own.

Not saying it shouldn't be an option, but how do you communicate to people that custom firmwares invalidate your warranty. Sounds like a support nightmare.

While Twitter wants to sell its verification, Microsoft will do it for free on LinkedIn


Re: Microsoft will do it for free?

Not sure why the article indicates that it's free anyway as it requires a paid for subscription to Azure AD.

Amazon CEO says AWS staff now spending ‘much of their time’ optimizing customers’ clouds


Re: Chicken, welcome to the roost...

None of these will be special deals, they'll just be setting people up with commitment discounts or right-sizing VMs (as 2 examples)

It's time to stop fearing CPU power management


And 1 horse = 14.9 horsepower

Azure admins warned to disable shared key access as backdoor attack detailed


Is that all?

So you need a specifically configured set of security rights, a specific use of Azure resources deployed... and a compromised account that has access to do all of the things that you need to do. If something you're doing relies on you having valid user credentials, then that's not a security issue.

As a side, it's all well and good recommending you disable the shared access keys but Azure Functions don't yet (as far as I know) support using Managed Identities to talk to Storage

Benchmark a cloud PC? No way. Just trust us, they work, says Microsoft


Which is a shame really, because if they were letting you choose the overprovisioning it would be better all round! I don't need 2 CPUs per user, I can probably get away with 0.5 per user in general, as long as they can use the others when needed. Let me share 16 CPUs across 32 users!

Defunct comms link connected to nothing at a fire station – for 15 years


Re: Money for nothing, it's the best

Unless they use Stripe - https://stripe.com/docs/saving-cards#automatic-card-updates

They have tentacles into the bank's systems, so basically get told your new number automagically so the company can continue to bill you

British govt tech supplier Capita crippled by 'IT issue'


Re: Slow news day?

Given it would be bigger news if it was affecting more than just Capita, this is less likely to be a cloud issue and more likely to be an on-prem issue (you can tell Azure AD to delegate auth to your local Domain Controller)

Microsoft breaks geolocation, locking users out of Azure and M365


But fail DKIM, which is arguably a more valuable signal

Also, all of the Azure IP addresses that send mail require validation, so you won't be able to send an email from someone else unless you have their credentials.


Re: IPv6 still the poor relation chez Microsoft

Be careful what you wish for - https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-entra-azure-ad-blog/ipv6-coming-to-azure-ad/ba-p/2967451

Microsoft admits Azure Resource Manager failed after code change



"Between 02.41 UTC and 07.10 UTC on 23 Mar (sic) 2023"

Is "Mar" no longer the three letter abbreviation for March?

Silicon Valley Bank's UK arm bought by HSBC for 1 British pound in rescue deal


Re: If it was profitable

The problem isn't the profitability of the bank, but the assets. Let's say they have £100m of loans owed to them, and they've got deposit balances of £120m. That means they're currently holding £20m. What happened in the US was that companies wanted to withdraw more than £20m. The bank can't call in its loans early, so is technically bankrupt.

To carry on your example, it's possible that the bank "needs" £100m of work, because that's how many companies could withdraw their money tomorrow. HSBC are then left with a trickle of money coming in over the next few years.

US Air Force scares up $75.5M for ad-hoc missile silo network


Probably, but your roving vehicles would have to make sure not to cross over each other too often

Waymo robo taxis rack up a million miles without killing anyone


Number plates

How long before the cameras start reading the number plates of surrounding vehicles and swapping notes on who's a bad driver, who to give more space to etc?