* Posts by Lazlo Woodbine

470 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Feb 2014


Future Roku TVs may inject tailored ads into anything and everything when you pause

Lazlo Woodbine

Playing to an empty room

You pause the TV when you go to make a brew or use the facilities, so nobody will ever see these ads...

Snowmobile, Amazon's truck-powered migration service, reaches the end of the road

Lazlo Woodbine

When we moved from locally hosted Exchange to Office 365, our IT manager copied everyone's mailbox to a couple of 10tb hard drives and I walked them down the road to our network support office and they uploaded everything to Microsoft's servers for us. I think they used to call that kind of thing Sneaker Net...

Brits blissfully unbothered by snail-paced mobile network speeds

Lazlo Woodbine

I'd just like something over 3G speeds at home please...

What strange beauty is this? Microsoft commits to two more non-subscription Office editions

Lazlo Woodbine

I'm pretty sure all the paid for versions of Office 365 allow local installation, with most of them allowing for up to 5 installations across Windows and MacOS.

Only the free version of Office 365 Online is web only

Ad agency boss owned two Ferraris but wouldn't buy a real server

Lazlo Woodbine

I used to work in pre-sales tech support for a security distributor.

One of my tasks was working out how much storage a CCTV system would need based on number of cameras, type of camera, frame rate on idle, frame rate on alarm, number of days archive etc.

I'd then recommend the number of servers needed and the amount and type of storage.

One job we had people tendering for was a large town in Berkshire that hosted a castle and large public school.

The system involved over 100 cameras in total, and over 100tb of storage, made up of 10tb of very fast storage for live recordings and 90tb for archives.

For reasons I'll never understand, the guy that won the tender ran a mobile phone shop, he didn't have an account with us and was buying everything on credit card.

He also had no idea what he was doing, so he was going to pay £1000 a day for my time and a colleague.

I sent him a detailed list of the server and stoarge requirements, with a recommended set up configuration, he assured us he would buy the gear and set up the arrays, they would be ready for us when we arrived on site to do the config.

When we got there he'd bought a couple of very dodgy looking Chinese servers running 3-year out of date Xeons, not the spec I suggested, about half the RAM I suggested, and instead of the SAN I told him to buy, he'd bought a 5U SATA connected box holding 64 x 2TB SATA drives configured as a single RAID 5 array, to do the live recording and archive.

We told him it wasn't going to work, and it failed about 6 hours after we turned it on, because two of the drives he'd bought off eBay died and the system couldn't cope with recording all those cameras whilst it rebuilt the array.

The customer's justification was the kit I recommended would have cost around £60k, his box of hard drives and chinese servers cost less than £10k. The point that my system would work and his didn't seemed to get lost somewhere.

My manager pulled us out that afternoon and demanded the council appointed a different company.

The last I heard the customer filed for bankruptcy as he couldn't cover the credit card debt and the camera manufacturer appointed one of their approved installers to fix the mess...

What a surprise! Apple found a way to deliver browser engine and app store choice

Lazlo Woodbine

You stop your kids by not giving them access to an expensive mobile phone.

The most danger a kid will be exposed to on a phone is from 24/7 online bullying on anti-social media. Don't give them a phone that has access to Meta et al and you'll keep them 100% safer than if they have an iPhone...

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: My phone, my life.

I'm not aware that anyone is forcing users to use other app stores, it's a 100% certainty that they won't be pushing alternative markets out with the update, so users will have to go and look for them.

Lazlo Woodbine

How has access to additional app stores made it that "users have less choice than before"

Having less choice would only be the case if Apple had shuttered their own App Store in the EU, this doesn't appear to be the case...

Logitech MX Brio 705 – where Ultra HD meets Ultra AI

Lazlo Woodbine

This looks like they're moving into Polycom Studio territory, we had a couple of their systems at my last school during Covid, the auto zoom facility that tracked the speaker was great, and the long range microphone was good even in a large conference room

Spam crusade lands charity in hot water with data watchdog

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: RNLI vs chuggers

The RNLI and Trinity House who run the lighthouses, have always been funded from charity

The same is true for air ambulances.

The Givernment can't be seen to be helping people...

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: just stop it

Cameron's "Big Society" initiative put the final nail in the "government doing good work" coffin, since then, anything that helps but can't turn a profit has been delegated to voluntary bodies and charities.

EU takes a bite out of Apple with $2B in-app purchase fine

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: Sweep

Like Trump has just found out, if you are fined, and wish to appeal, you have to post the full amount of the fine or you don't get to appeal.

This is why he's scrabbling around begging his dwindling number of friends for $400,000,000

It's that most wonderful time of the year when tech cannot handle the date

Lazlo Woodbine

That year we were more concerned about the Y2K Bug™

Lazlo Woodbine

After 2038, assuming the human race is still around, we'll need to cope with the fact 2100 ISN'T a leap year...

Meta kills Facebook News in the US and Australia

Lazlo Woodbine

Considering 90% of news stories are made up of quotes from Twitter, it's perhaps in Zuck's interest to stop republishing Elmo's content...

That home router botnet the Feds took down? Moscow's probably going to try again

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: Ubiquiti used to be my go-to source...

A firend of mine replaced 15 Ubiquiti edge switches with Arubas over the half term holiday.

The Arubas are over 4 times the price, but are much easier to manage and are less likely to reboot themselves overnight after downloading and installing a firmware update on their own.

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: Wtf?

When my dad's TalkTalk connection was down, their operative logged into my router while I was on a call to them and they managed to change my password to a new random one, so they couldn't tell me what my new password was.

When I enquired about how I would log into my router in future they had no answer, so I asked if they could send me a new one with an intact password sticker they said it would cost me £50 for a new router as my current one wasn't faulty.

TalkTalk lost a customer that day.

If we plug this in without telling anyone, nobody will know we caused the outage

Lazlo Woodbine

At my last job, we had to be very, very careful when working on one of our racks, because one of the fibres didn't quite fit soundly in the back of one of the servers.

We all knew this, so we never had a problem.

Well, we didn't until the aircon engineer visited.

The aircon engineer who dropped his screwdriver.

The screwdriver that just happened to graze that exact fibre as it fell to earth.

Cue lots of frantic teachers calling because they'd lost access to all the vital powerpoints held on that server...

Work for you? Again? After you lied about the job and stole my stuff? No thanks

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: Fire in haste, regret at leisure

That wasn't the case back then, this would have been 2003 or 4...

Lazlo Woodbine

Fire in haste, regret at leisure

About 20 years ago I was let go by my employer. a large retailler. I was assistant manager of one of their busier branches, the manager was a clueless oaf who rarely left his office.

Around the same time as I was run out of town, the company changed their IT support contractor.

One day I recieved a call from my old boss, he'd somehow tracked me down at my new employer, "ahh, we had a power cut last night, the server shut down and the backup has failed, you wouldn't happen to remember the password would you, the support company don't have it on record."

Now, if he'd been at all supportive of me whilst I'd been in dispute with the senior management I'd have told him where to find the password, but instead he'd been an utter shit who'd locked himself in his office while I was being disciplined for his mistakes, so I let him stew for a while, then phoned someone else at the shop to tell them the password.

Crowning glory of GOV.UK websites updated, sparking frontend upgrades

Lazlo Woodbine

Maybe once they've swapped the crown, they could spend a few bob on updating the DfE COLLECT website.

Every time I have to upload a School Census I marvel at the time machine effect of zipping back to the days of Windows NT...

Oxide reimagines private cloud as... a 2,500-pound blade server?

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: ...yet you cannot buy a DC bus-bar-based system from Dell, HP, or Supermicro

Yep, I put in a CCTV system for a customer that could only give us DC power, Dell sent me everything I needed with DC power supplies.

Oddly, the customer was a power station, generating lots of AC power, but the security lodge where our gear was going only had DC...

Apple Vision Pro has densest display iFixit's ever seen, and almost-OK repairability

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: 50 Virgin Bro pixels

I suspect it's a slur on the sexual desirability of a person wearing the Apple goggles...

Standards-obsessed boss ignored one, and suffered all night for his sin

Lazlo Woodbine

This was stated on every quote I issued for an order that included a rack, because one particular customer did try to claim 4x300kg castors could carry a 1,200kg cabinet, I pointed out the text in our catalogue and on our website did advise that 4x300kg castors were for a cabinet with a total weight (rack and equipment) of 300kg...

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: Nice rack

I spotted that typo when it was too late to fix :)

Lazlo Woodbine

Many years ago I worked for a security equipment distributor, I used to sell a lot of racks for DVRs, servers, storage and the likes.

We sold 3 different grades of rack castors, 300kg, 600kb, 1200kg.

Everybody bought the 300kg wheels, reasoning they would only be used once to wheel the rack into place, and that would be fine.

One time we got an order for a lot of gear that would completely fill a 42u rack, UPS, lots of storage, 4 servers, switches and power distribution units, about £250k worth of stuff to go in a casino

I totted up the weight from spec sheets and it was 1,100kg, so natural the customer decided to shave £100 off the £250,000 bill by opting for the 300kg castors.

Last I heard, they had to get a forklift to move the rack as the castors collapsed before they could push it into place...

We put salt in our tea so you don't have to

Lazlo Woodbine

The worst "tea" I ever experienced was chai in a Pakistani village deep in the North West Frontier Province

I was warned prior to the experience that this is very much like Arthur Dent discovered when drinking from the Nutri-Matic machine, Chai is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

First the leaves are put in a pan, cold water from the river was poured on top and the pan was placed atop a fire. While the tea was brew / stewing, a villager produced several sugar canes, these were pressed in a mill powered by a pair of oxen, a couple of jugs full of the resultant sugary liquid was added to pan.

After the brownian motion producer had bubbled for an hour or two, the pan was removed from the fire, a goat was produced from somewhere and milked directly into the pan.

All I can say is that if every villager hadn't been carrying an AK, I wouldn't have drunk it.

Sometimes I wonder if being shot would have been better or worse than the chai...

University chops students' Microsoft 365 storage to 20GB

Lazlo Woodbine

Storage need expands to fill the space available

A couple of years back I was working in a boarding school, some of our kids managed to fill the 1TB OneDrive storage with whatever kids fill storage with, as a department we decided not to look too closely at their files.

It wasn't a problem until the school leadership and Governors decided we needed a robust backup stratergy, so we purchased sufficient storage at another cloud vendor and proceded to copy the data across. A fortnight later the backup was still running, and I don't think it had actually finished when I left at the end of the month...

The 'nothing-happened' Y2K bug – how the IT industry worked overtime to save world's computers

Lazlo Woodbine

The millenium weekend was a great payday for me.

I was paid 1/4 time to stay relatively sober from our shops closing at 4pm on the 31st until they reopened at 9am on the January 3rd, then I was paid quadruple time from the minute I left the house on the morning of New Year's Day, until I got home after checking the computers worked in the four stores in my area.

I don't think I've ever driven so slowly to eke out every minute of that quadruple time...

HP customers claim firmware update rendered third-party ink verboten

Lazlo Woodbine

The last place I worked we had a mix of Brother, HP, Kyocera and Espon printers. HP was the only make we had problems with using 3rd party cartridges.

Brother had by far the cheapest genuine carts, but we still saved about 50% buying compatibles. Epson had the biggest difference in price between genuine and 3rd party carts.

The first thing we asked when ordering a new printer is "do you have compatible consumables?" and we only bought printers that had compatibles available.

Unfortunately, we had some department heads who insisted on having HP printers, and I have to admit, their Pagewide inkjets were an amazing piece of kit, but the ink was punishingly expensive.

Code archaeologist digs up oldest known ancestor of MS-DOS

Lazlo Woodbine

One place I worked, our despatch computer wasn't networked, so each day after the despatches were complete I had to pop a 3.5" floppy into the PC, dump the despatch file, then load said file on my PC.

Around 50% of the time, the 3.5" floppy wasn't readable after the 50 metre walk from the despatch bay to my office...

Juno's joyride around Jupiter snaps stellar shots of Io

Lazlo Woodbine

It's amazing that photos can come back from IO 400 million miles away quicker than they used to come back from Supasnaps...

Google Pixel gets privacy mode to keep your selfies safe from prying repair techs

Lazlo Woodbine
Big Brother

Re: I can't see the UK government liking this one bit.

You can't add an icon when posting anonymously...

Ofcom proposes ban on UK telcos making 'inflation-linked' price hikes mid-contract

Lazlo Woodbine

It's amazing isn't it, Ofcom rules allow phone contracts to increase by a maximum of CPI + 3.9%, and they're surprised when everybody increases their contracts by CPI + 3.9%

The 15-inch MacBook Air just nails it

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: Cost as reviewed?

I'm guessing you missed this paragraph:

"Twenty-four gigabytes of Hynix LPDDR5 memory can't hurt – nor would the eight-core M2 (which also packs a 10-core GPU) and a two-terabyte SSD. You pay for that power: the machine I tested sells for $2,499/£2,599."

Openreach hits halfway mark in quest to hook up 25M premises with fiber broadband

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: It's here

I've just moved house, Openreach are not fitting any more landlines in the local exchange, so I had no option but to go with fibre, I'm now getting a steady 300mbps for £2.50 a month cheaper than I was paying for 20mbps at my last address.

Running fibre from the telegraph poles is handy, but I worry about how resiliant the fibre is

Half a century ago, NASA's Pioneer 10 visited Jupiter, then just kept going

Lazlo Woodbine

I think one of the best things about NASA is all those amazing photos are in the public domain.

Back in the 80's I wrote to NASA to ask for some information about the Space Shuttle for a school project, I remember I just put NASA on the envelope with an airmail stamp.

I didn't expect a response, especially as I'm in the UK, but a few weeks later I got a 2 inch thick package through the post, it was stuffed with photos and documentation about the Space Shuttle and its missions, it even had about 50 pages detailing the Challenger disaster. That lot made for the best school project I ever did.

Hershey phishes! Crooks snarf chocolate lovers' creds

Lazlo Woodbine

Chocolate lovers and Hershey's customer is a Venn with zero overlap...

It's ba-ack... UK watchdog publishes age verification proposals

Lazlo Woodbine

Yeah, I'm more than willing to hand my credit card number to th kind of sharks who operate many of the XXX sites, same with a sna of my driving license.

HP exec says quiet part out loud when it comes to locking in print customers

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: If car manufacturers did this...

You don't have to use a Supercharger to charge a Tesla...

Lazlo Woodbine

If car manufacturers did this...

If car manufacturers tied you to certain filling stations, there'd be uproar.

At least now HP have confirmed they hate theiir customers and see them only as cash cows, we can all now avoid them...

Bank boss hated IT, loved the beach, was clueless about ports and politeness

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: Every single time

In the days of dial-up USB really wasn't a thing, besides, whilst an RJ11 modem plug will fit in an RJ45 socket, it's not a snug fit, so most people with a working brain would try the RJ11 socket that was usually right next to the RJ45

Time to take action: Google's inactive account purge begins Friday

Lazlo Woodbine

Does forwarding emails from one gmail address to another count as using the service, or do I need to log into my second account occasionally?

Apple exec defends 8GB $1,599 MacBook Pro, claims it's like 16GB in a PC

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: Insult to injury

The £280 I sold it for was exactly £280 more than I paid for it.

It had been humming away silently for 9 years or so acting as a print and file server for the iMacs in our graphics classroom. When they swapped the iMacs for HP workstations (a BAD idea) I helped myself to a couple of the 2012 iMacs and the MacMini server...

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: Insult to injury

Dunno about current kit, but last year I sold a 2011 i7 MacMini server with 16gb RAM and 2x500gb hard drives for £280, it was on eBay for 30 minutes before I sold it.

I can't imagine an 11 year old M2 based MacMini will retain value as well, but it will still sell for more than a similarly old Windows box, if only because they're much better built.

FTX crypto-villain Sam Bankman-Fried convicted on all charges

Lazlo Woodbine

Re: Whats wrong with crypto

"Pounds are only useful in England"

Not true, Pounds Sterling is the currency in the whole United Kingdom, they may have different notes in Scotland & Northern Ireland, but they're still Pounds Sterling...

95% of NFTs now totally worthless, say researchers

Lazlo Woodbine


One thing that's never in short supply is human greed, and stupidity.

Luckily, there's always someone beavering away in new and interesting ways to separate the gullible from their liquid assets...

BT confirms it's switching off 3G in UK from Jan next year

Lazlo Woodbine

Not Spot

I've just moved house, so I've been without WiFi for a month while Openreach pulled their finger out and installed fibre.

While we waited we had to manage with 3G most of the time, with a woeful 1meg data rate.

The most annoying thing is if I walk 50 paces to the end of the black I can see Three's nice new 5G masts attached to the roof of the theatre on the prom, the signal passes right over us, sprinkling a smattering of 5G fairy dust over the office in the loft as it passes...

BT and OneWeb deliver internet to rock in Bristol Channel – population 28

Lazlo Woodbine


Microwave links can easily carry full duplex 1Gbps over 20km, and unless sea spray is significantly worse than rain, the fade from droplets is about 10-20%

Lazlo Woodbine


Cam here to say this.

15 years ago I was selling Point to Point microwave links that could squirt upwards of 40mbps to a reciever 12 miles away, and I'm pretty sure technology has increased the reliability of higher throughputs.

At any rate, it'll be cheaper than using satellites...