* Posts by J. Cook

1831 posts • joined 16 Jul 2007

USB-C iPhone, anyone? EU finalizes charging standard rule

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Lint Magnet

Not to shill for them, but I use OtterBox Defender cases pretty much exclusively on my phones, and they've kept the devices in near pristine condition over their life. They may be bulky, but they'll survive a fall onto hard concrete with no damage to the device. (I've broken latches on the cases from impacts, though- such is the price to pay.)

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Lint Magnet

I got around the lint problem by putting my phones in cases with port covers on them, TBH. Seeing as I'm clumsy and tend to drop things, it solves multiple problems at the same time. :)

Atlassian, Microsoft bugs on CISA’s must-patch list after exploitation spree

J. Cook Silver badge

Technically, you can, but it involves putting a content-aware proxy in-between the exchange server(s) and the firewall. while such things do exist (there's an iApp for the F5 load balancers) it also requires adding custom code to said load balancer which is not for the faint of heart. Oh, and it still wouldn't protect you against this exploit, and it'll break rather a lot of stuff that things like mobile clients use

Exchange should only ever swap email externally though an edge server and/or an smtp gateway appliance (i.e. spam filter)- while you could hook up a node directly for SMTP exchange, it's a really bad idea. (I was against putting Edge nodes into ours until I discovered that the cloud based email security appliances we migrated to a couple years back required it; this has resulted in at least one problem where user A blocks a sender as junk, and the edge boxes dutifully start doing so and then user B complains they aren't getting emails from that sender anymore...)

One of my projects this year is migrating to Exchange Online, which I'm pretty sure will cause the bald spot forming on my head to grow. :(

You thought you bought software – all you bought was a lie

J. Cook Silver badge

IIRC, for FreeBSD and linux, you have to actively work at it to exclude developer tools out of a distro, and even then the first time you need to install something that's not a flat-pack or something that requires a dependency tends to trigger the "Install the Dev Tools" circus. :D

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: switch to an OS OS

One of the apps I use (Scrivener) runs (reluctantly) under WINE, but only the current version, and only after some very specific steps are done to get the stars to align; Previous versions apparently require me to sacrifice a virgin, a chicken, and a virgin chicken (I forget which, or possibly all three) when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter is aligned with uranus or some shit, because I never got it working right.

And even then, I still need to find a specific cloud storage client that'll run under linux before I really start fettling around with it on my main system.

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: switch to an OS OS

I need to review what all Proton let's run on a linux machine, but I imagine some of the games I have (Skyrim, Borderlands, Saint's Row 3, etc.) might present a challenge. Maybe. I've not had the time to really poke that specific bear yet.

Tesla has a lot of work to do on its Optimus robot

J. Cook Silver badge

Oh, the places I could go with this; unfortunately, none of them are work safe. :D

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Exchange Server zero-days actively exploited

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: cynical?

Indeed; This is... annoying, to say the very least.

How CIA betrayed informants with shoddy front websites built for covert comms

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: So which is worse

Also, our E14 agency did a bang up job everywhere they went. No, you probably haven't heard about them. They were somewhat of a secret while they operated...

Since no one heard of them, I can only assume that they did a really good job?

(kind of like the old gag of Not Being Seen, I think...)

IBM updates desktop mainframe emulator

J. Cook Silver badge

I know that's one reason why we are moving away from our iSeries. (aka AS/400); there's no test or dev environment outside of a test instance that runs side by side on the production box, and getting a third set of hardware for training is just ludacrisly expensive.

Soaring costs, inflation nurturing generation of 'quiet quitters' among under-30s

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Getting what you pay for

In some situations people can raise their game for a limited period of time. However, study after study have shown that working longer than normal quickly has a lasting effect on quality and subsquently on morale. Also, it's not just about money but "Pay People Peanuts and You Will Get Monkeys".


One of the biggest complaints that I heard at [RedactedCo] was the lack of a cost of living adjustment (COLA), which had the effect of people jumping ship at the drop of a hat if something that paid better presented itself AND being unable to hire replacements, because no one wanted to work for the wages they were paying.

And that was LONG before COVID reared it's ugly head. They've finally fixed it (in fact, they are now doing either annual or semi-annual 'market rate' adjustments to make sure pay is in line with the rest of the industry), but the damage to morale and knowledge drain had already been done.

(I have a seperate rant about their employee review system, but that's outside scope.)

PC component scavenging queue jumper pulled into line with a screensaver

J. Cook Silver badge

The team at the ISP I used to work for had two machines; a corporate one on the corportate network with all the usual group policy lockdown hassles, and another machine that was on a seperate space they'd carved out of the out of band administrative network for the various switch and routing gear.

You very quickly learned to lock your workstations, lest you find your non-corporate machine's home page set to some adult site, and I'm not talking about 'tame' sites like playboy, but the really raunchy hardcore sites. (this was done with the blessing of the infosec people, who were even worse than we were...)

Then there was 'That Guy' at LAN parties who had their computer that routinely had not-kid friendly wallpapers, screen savers, etc. on it. He also didn't lock his workstation, and also had a habit of running a torrent client 24/7 on it, regardless of the network it was one. THis was back when world of warcraft was a thing in our group, and one day we discovered he had fallen asleep whilst logged in. We didn't do anything bad to his account, but there was a spare keyboard that got plugged in and messages were sent to the guild chat about how large their pants were, and proclaimed their love for murlocs (one of the 'cute' monsters in the game), which he hated.

As revenge for running a torrent client when we told him to stop, we did change his desktop wallpaper, icon set, and sounds to murlocs. That was also the last time he was invited to a LAN party as well.

Fitbit users will have to sign into Google from 2023

J. Cook Silver badge

Some back story: I'm actively looking for a fitness tracker, with some specific requirements.

While fitbit checked most of the boxes, what took them off my 'will consider' list was the inconsistent build quality and QA across their range, and the most irritating of all, the fact that most of the features I want under the "must have" list all required signing up for the premium service.

Bias: I had a gen 1 fitbit Flex way back when, and stopped using it when it decided one fine day to not interact with it's charging cradle, no matter how much I futzed with it.

Amazon's Roomba acquisition gets caught on FTC's rug

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Presumably, new Amazon features will include:

Well, amazon does like integrating Alexa with everything...

Morgan Stanley fined $35m after hard drives sold with customer info still on them

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Data destruction is fun!

Naw, the recycling center was probably wanting to resell the machines, and having to buy new hard drives for old machines cuts into (or neutralizes entirely) their profit margin.

Depending on what's on the drive, If I need to sanitize it, I'll run DBAN on it with a couple passes from the randomizer with a final blanking pass. If it's something super sensitive, then I'll go the physical destruction route.

Letter to FCC: Why are US carriers locking handsets to networks?

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Waiting period...

And half the time you have to absolutely prove to them that Yes, the line really is bad- they will swear up and down that it's fine when in reality the neighborhood access box is on fire due to the car that landed on top of it upside down from the accident in the road next to it. Or that the local drug addicts decided that the stuff inside the fiber distribution box was all high grade copper, removed it with a fire axe, then realized that it's just plastic and glass, smashed it into bits and left it behind (along with said fire axe and the remains of the 8 ball they took beforehand)...

The cable companies are not much better, but at least their damned support call tree has hooks into the head end to run automated diagnostics and resets.

'Last man standing in the floppy disk business' reckons his company has 4 years left

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: I'm surprised

The Amiga/Commodore, Atari, and Apple (including older 68K/powerPC macs) communities have been creating floppy drive emulators for some time that connect to the computer's drive interface and present a disk image as a disk. I'd have to go and dig up the relevant bookmarks, but they do exist.

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Speaking Of Ancient Storage Methods .....

I can provide an example of tape's longevity. Back in 2017, [RedactedCo] was going through the (rather large) amount of media we had stored off-site looking for media that was past data retention, and after recalling a number of of items, decided to see if I could read an old LTO1 tape we had from 2003-ish.

I had to get a server built, dredge up and LTO3 drive, and install BackupExec on the server, but the tape was not only readable, but if I wanted to, I could have restored the data from it.

There's a reason why I have old hardware sitting in the archive cabinets, and that's one of them. (the other reason is regulatory- we are required to keep certain types of data for a specific minimum time frame, and in the event they ever want to audit us, I'd like to be able to read the media that has that data in-house without having to scramble and find a refurbished tape drive or have to call in a service that does that sort of thing.)

Keeping printers quiet broke disk drives, thanks to very fuzzy logic

J. Cook Silver badge

Yes, please; I had to junk an old eMac (one that used a CRT for the display) and that was part of the service instructions.

J. Cook Silver badge


The 5si's successor, the 8000, was pretty decent too, seeing as it was the same base engine.

Meta's next-gen Oculus headset kit left in a hotel room

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Kit was "left" in a hotel room

"There are too many results- please refine your question."

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Kit was "left" in a hotel room

"In order to determine what is wrong with you, please sign up for Amazon Health by saying 'sign up for Amazon Health.' Terms and conditions in the Alexa App."

Microsoft fixes Windows security hole likely widely exploited by miscreants

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Preposterous


I had a similar experience both with an off-brand android tablet and an Samsumg Note 8.

I was able to get a different firmware (LiniageOS) on both, but the off brand tablet ran slower than molasses on a cold winter's day, and a bunch of stuff on the Note 8 didn't work, because Samsung decided (in their infinite wisdom) to not contribute drivers for things like the audio subsystem to the overall ecosystem. (we'll ignore the pen input for the moment, but it was also not present)

Samsung has a track record of providing 18 months worth of updates to their devices period- after that, even if it's a security issue that ranks a 12 on the CVSS scale*, you are SOL by and large, and your only real choice is to get a different device, even if the hardware is still functional.

Shame really, the Note 8 was pretty decent hardware and the pen input was very useful for doodling with.

Arrest warrant issued for Do Kwon – the man blamed for 'crypto winter'

J. Cook Silver badge

On a side tangent...

So, I've been getting robocalls from companies (or realtors) trying to buy my house.

They get incredibly offended when I tell them that I'll only entertain a starting offer in the 10-50 million $USD range, and that it goes up every 90 seconds they keep me on the phone.

Strangely enough, I seem to be getting less of those now than when I started this tactic a couple months ago, so I guess it's working...

troll icon, because.

SWIFT to trial blockchain – but not for its core payment service

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: evolution?

Sadly, my grammar and my gramper are both dead, but they both lived long, happy lives.

(read it using a southern US accent for your mental voice and it'll make sense.)

Backblaze thinks SSDs are more reliable than hard drives

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: SSD Failure

The ranking for professional server SSDs is different: "Don't care how much of them die, they have support for X years".

Correct. For server and enterprise the rule is also 'one is none, two is one, three or more is better'.

Granted, I have seen cases where the controller falls over and takes the data on the drives with it as it goes down. (Previous boss liked to spin a tale of an EMC firmware update that proceeded to corrupt the data on the entire appliance, which is why he was very, very suspicious of firmware updates on storage appliances. I don't blame him, but the only bits of EMC storage we've ever had in house was a data domain, and that's been shrink wrapped until the data on it passes retention in a couple more years...

J. Cook Silver badge

Not quite.

Unless you've configured your ESXi hosts to write log files somewhere else, by default it'll write to the local datastore. If you've been booting your hosts off SD cards, your log files get written to a ramdrive due to the failure rate of SD cards that get lots of writes. (Ask anyone who runs a hand full of Raspberry Pis about media failure...)

VMWare, at one point, declared that installing and booting off SD cards would no longer be allowed for ESXi 7, which was walked back after a lot of outrage. It's still planed for a 'future version', probably 8 or a dot release of 8. (which is why I was rather annoyed that the new servers we just bought did not have any local drives on them...)

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: 'High-tech credibility' at risk here.

Citation needed, please.

I'd like to point out that Backblaze is doing this for exactly this reason; to determine what types, brands, and models of drives are the most reliable over time in a vendor-independent manner.

No, Apple, you may not sell iPhones without chargers

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: The rest

Yep. I've trashed cables just by use, but still have the dinky little charger that came with it, sitting in a drawer.

And half the time, I don't even use those anymore, as I've been slowly replacing multi-outlet taps ("power strips" for the americans) with ones that have built-in USB chargers.

J. Cook Silver badge

indeed- I think I have a couple OEM apple cables lying around in a drawer for the rare occasion I have to do a restore on a borked device; I use a decent quality third party 'certified' compatible charge/data cable for day to day operations.

Amazon drivers unionize after AI sends them on 'impossible' routes

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: AI to Humans: "Drop dead!:

Either you missed a sarcasm tag, or you needed this icon on your post. :)

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Routing


(Seriously- the best I've been able to do it was re-order the items on a parcel that was clearly dropped off at someone else's house after their system suggested that I wander up and down my neighborhood asking random neighbors (who may or may not speak my language) if someone had dropped off $12 worth of USB cables by mistake...)

Convicted felon busted for 3D printing gun parts

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Can any American gun enthusiasts please explain

Ah, yes. the National Firearms Act of 1934; designed to make it harder for gangs to buy guns by implementing a $200 tax stamp on full auto weapons, short barreled rifles/shotguns, and mufflers (silencers).

IIRC, the 1968 gun control act put even more stringent restrictions on full auto, and the last one in 1986 banned any 'new' full auto from public sales unless you have a number of licenses, tax stamps, and 'Father May I' notes.

This is why a beat-up 30's vintage Thompson submachine gun that is in horrible condition that jams every other shot can still fetch 50 thousand or more.

Dead people could be designated authors of Atlassian Confluence docs but that can't be changed

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Reminds me of a meme:

Yeah, that's an old joke, and is the reason why we have a human performing oversight on account creation. (plus, we've long since moved to firstname.lastname@domain for emails.)

The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: It does suck

Windows XP Pro had a Tablet edition, which turned on a few additional bells, whistles, and gongs that were otherwise optional in the standard edition; It was OK, but the machines I had that I used it on were not daily drivers for me. (they were originally bought for Marketing to allow their guest services staff to roam around and sign guests up for the loyalty program, which would have worked fine except that the app that the loyalty program used was very much desktop-centric and did not work terribly well on a tablet-centric UI. I ended up using it during inventory audits when marketing handed the four or five of them back to IT with "these were OK, but they ended up not working out for us" at 2and a half thousand US pesos each.)

Heroku to delete inactive accounts, shut down free tier

J. Cook Silver badge

I can confirm, I received one of the emails as I use a dyno to run a translation between a Hubitat-connected button and Amazon to make a specific echo run a timer. Unfortunately, the authors of the code that does that ("Echo Speaks") doesn't appear to have a means to put this into, say, a Docker container which I could then run from one of my on-prem servers. I did notice a pull request to containerize the thing, I'll have to followup on that.

Not surprising considering it's SalesFarce that owns Heroku. Not surprising at all...

Big Tech is building the metaverse of its own dreams. You don't want to go there

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: It is inevitable and a lot of sci fi movies predicted it well.

I'm using SecondLife as an example, because I know a little about it's pricing structures at least. (I have no idea how much VRChat runs or the server side infrastructure for it.)

For second life, if you want 'land' (which here in Meatspace is a slice of compute time on the server that's hosting it, and object storage) you have to pay a fixed amount of virtual (or real) currency a month for it. It's listed as "Maintenance fees". It works out to about $100 USD for a year, IIRC. That's tied to your account, which has a payment method on it. If you want an entire region (which is basically an entire server's worth of land) it's something like $350 a month.

The client workstation has to be a reasonably modern machine with a reasonably modern graphics card in it.

VR is... possible, but not officially supported. (There's a mod to use it, although the game itself is not really set up for it.)

J. Cook Silver badge


...Is/ was an interesting concept, but to really get a lot out of it you had to practically learn how to script, and import graphics for textures and either use their (crude) modeling tools or import something from a proper 3d program in a format it understood. It's changed around a HUGE amount from the last time I really used it back in 2004/5 and is practically a different application now. (IIRC, it was originally based around the VRML protocols, so there is that.)

J. Cook Silver badge

Thought experiment - If Facebook didn't collect / sell your data and was ad-free, would you be willing to pay $3/mth for it? Because that seems like a fair deal to me, and if every current user paid that, that's more than their current revenue.

Not in it's current iteration, hell no. The UI is horrible, the display order defaults to 'most popular' and can't be changed, the settings (and locations thereof) move around more often than Microsoft. and there's too much garbage in the UI itself, resulting in a thin column for the content I'm there for surrounded by large slabs of irrelevant options that I'll never use and can't remove, presented (or "featured") content I do not want to see nor intend to see, an IM client that I can't minimize off to the side, and on both sides, vast tracts of empty browser space because someone didn't write the UI to scale the content column properly.

Oh, and new settings are automatically turned ON without notice and obfuscating the toggle to turn them off. (i.e., 'we opt-in everyone, and somewhere in the mess of the settings UI there's a way to opt-out- good luck finding it!')

Give me a UI like what Livejournal (or it's clones) use, let me customize it to remove what I don't want to use (you can still have it, just give me the option to remove it) tell me if there's a new setting if I want to turn it ON (leave it OFF by default!) and make the settings UI layout more sensible and usable.

I wouldn't mind a walled garden nearly as much if the owners of it respected my right of privacy and made it easy for me to actually use, dammit.

Deluge of of entries to Spamhaus blocklists includes 'various household names'

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Lack of feedback

Indeed. We should stop feeding the trolls.

Besides, it's friday and almost Pub-O-Clock.

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Lack of feedback

And many, MANY, MANY automated processes use a 'no-reply' address as well, for small, unimportant things like:

confirmation of a password change

confirmation of account changes (address, contact information, etc.)

the occasional confirmation of a purchase or shipment (technically, it should use something like a customer service queue, but some companies...)

blocking those would probably be a bad idea, actually. and adding the company's entire domain because of it? HORRIBLE idea. I don't give a load of dingo's kidneys how easy it is to get removed from a blacklist, getting put on there because of this idea is an absolutely stupid idea and it would increase the legit email admin's workload rather a lot, along with sowing discontent from the company's userbase.

Epson says ink pad saturation behind 'end of service life' warning on inkjet printers

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Not just Epson...

Oh gods yes.

I remember when I was still doing the field repair tech getting a ticket to bring an OfficeJet into the shop for service. I was very glad I put the thing on a sheet of cardboard in the bed of my truck, because the cleaning area had overflowed with ink and had gotten pretty much everywhere inside the damned thing, and was leaking out around the bottom seams.

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Brother

The downvotes are because the punters here know that HP will remote-brick the printer if you ever stop paying for the Instant Ink, including the cart that's in the printer already. And remote updating firmware that bricks the device if it finds 3rd party or non-OEM carts in the printer. And other stupid stunts.

Microsoft's Secure Boot fix sends some PCs into BitLocker Recovery

J. Cook Silver badge

Well, to play devil's advocate here for a moment...

... Microsoft generally does advise people to disable Bitlocker before installing updates.

HOWEVER, the fact that it doesn't automatically do this is unforgivable, nor is providing any evidence to people that their drives are encrypted using it , and/or providing a means for people to easily back up the recovery to a bootable drive.

At [RedactedCo], we set up a handful of machines with Bitlocker for various reasons; when we configured it, we also configured a group policy (because these were domain joined machines) that stored the recovery key in AD for that computer account.

We also had a batch of laptops that used a thumb drive (amusingly shaped like a key!) that held the bitlocker key as a sort of second factor for booting or resuming those machines.

We since gone to using the TPM for the bitlocker key, but still have the recovery keys stored in AD. Just in case.

Oh Deere: Farm hardware jailbroken to run Doom

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Internet of Farming Things

The EFF might be interested in pursuing it.

This tiny Intel Xeon-toting PC board can take your Raspberry Pi any day

J. Cook Silver badge

Well, if it's a $30,000+ 'billboard' for highway/freeway signs, an $800 SBC that has enough processing horse to drive that big of a display is peanuts.

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: the same.

We have a bunch of pi-based systems running a table-side controller/signalling system here at [RedactedCo]; from what I understand, once they are configured, they run pretty decently, SD card failures aside.

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: SBC?

the cooler they have for it is... massive. And tall. which means that a custom heatsink would have to be designed and fabricates for putting it in a multi-node server chassis, and TBH, there's already a fair number of those out in the wild already.

I think that this is designed more for the embedded markets or specialty systems where a decent amount of compute horsepower is needed, but it's not the star of the show.

General Motors charges mandatory $1,500 fee for three years of optional car features

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Other car manufacturers are available.

.. I'm assuming that's partly why he's an Ex brother in law?

BOFH: Who us? Sysadmins? Spend time with other departments?

J. Cook Silver badge

Re: Internal relationship manager

It'd certainly raise a few interesting... questions.

(what did you think I was going to say?)

One does wonder what it'd like working for an adult movie company, though...


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