* Posts by M.Zaccone

73 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Apr 2014


UK consumer help bloke Martin Lewis is suing Facebook over fake ads


Zuck's own words.

In case any of us have forgotten, when asked by Senator Hatch as to how Facebook got its revenue, Mark Zuckerberg replied "we run ads".

I wonder if he will come to regret those words.

Bzzzt! If you're in one of these four British cities, that was a drone


Pothole repairs?

A drone carrying a bucket of hot tarmac? No, can't see any problems with that....

Your connection is not Brexit... we mean private: UK Tory party lets security cert expire


Re: El Reg is more influential than you would think

Why does your comment remind me of the Mitchell and Webb sketch about being the baddies?

IT giant CSC screwed its 1,000 sysadmins out of their overtime – jury


Overtime ? What's that?

Sounds familiar from my time with HP. Unless the project was time and materials, you were only ever allowed to book your contracted hours.

How much will Britain's next F-35s cost? Not telling, says MoD


Quel surprise!

Sigh, with HMS Obvious Target springing a leak, throwing more money at the military is possibly the last thing we need. Maybe we need to consider whether the money we are already spending is being spent well ?

10 years of the Kindle and the curious incident of a dog in the day-time


Horses for courses

I love my paperwhite, especially for trashy science fiction. Books have their place still, but it's great to be able to take a wide selection of books with me for less weight than my tattered copy of H2G2.

UK.gov still drowning in legacy tech because no one's boarding Blighty's £700m data centre Ark


Re: I've always thought archeological programming sounded quite interesting.

The vast majority of my living comes from trouble-shooting legacy systems. It is a hoot, really is. You have to be prepared to search lots of error logs, be comfy with text editors, scour the book section of charity shops for old manuals etc. Generally though the technology is not the problem.

Most of the challenges come from finding documentation.

Anything pre-2000 did tend to be really well documented. Post 2000, CTOs seemed to have it in for technical authors so the quality of documentation goes downhill rather quickly.

Then the more recent trend away from shared NT drives to keeping everything in the cloud/sharepoint/orifice 365 means that even it there was documentation , it has long gone. The source code normally makes it through storage migrations, but the design docs rarely do.

Of course this is just based on my experience. Your mileage may vary.


I'm biased.

I've worked on "legacy" systems and I've worked on modern shiny web stuff. Based on my experience, the thrust of your article that you're left with technology that few people understand can be applied equally well to modern stuff as well as "legacy".

For example, one client of mine spent two years putting in shiny new document databases for their web applications. They are now busy ripping it all out to go back to relational databases. Why ? Because they cannot get staff that can figure out the intermittent performance issues they got from time to time for the rate they want to pay for operations and development staff.

As some have already said it is not usually a technology problem, it is a management problem. Corner office dwellers want nice compliant offshore staff. There are plenty of UK based staff who know about old mainframes, legacy kit etc and so forth.

Congrats, PC slingers. That's now FIVE straight years of shrinking sales


Re: Mature market shake out

"how many have multiple working but unused computers mainly laptops going back years."

Often there is a flavour of linux that will allow an old laptop to be useful again.


Re: Mature market shake out

+1 from me too. If it ain't broke etc. I didn't buy a new dishwasher last year either- because my old one still works!

Routine jobs vanishing and it's all technology's fault? Hold it there, sport


Many do not have a choice.

"For workers left without jobs, accepting lower-wage work presumably is easier than retraining to pursue a position that requires high-level skills."

The article makes it seem like people have a choice. "Easier" - yes it is easier to get a job, any job rather than starving to death and being made homeless.

So how many people here could afford to go back to school of some sort and retrain - could you afford to spend three months, six months, a year ? What financial help is available to cover the cost of training? Tax breaks ? National insurance credits (for the UK)? In the UK the government make a big deal out of apprenticeships, but what about for those in their thirties and older? And employers - what's their role in this - from what I've seen many employers would rather cut off their own leg than spend money on training, and they'd prefer to employ younger workers than older ones.

This is a massive societal problem that I believe is being ignored.

Army social media psyops bods struggling to attract fresh blood


I'm guessing the money is not so good...

In my inbox today I received the following in a job ad from the Metropolitan Police. Admittedly not for the Army but for the Police instead, but I think you can see the core of the problem


National Digital Exploitation Service (NDES) Manager

SALARY: £43,298 to £48,494 plus £3,406 location allowance plus 12.5% shift allowance.


Today's criminals and terrorists are more technically advanced than ever. To combat the threats they represent, digital innovation is crucial. This pioneering work happens at the National Digital Exploitation Service (NDES). Here, our experts work on everything from analysis of cyber attacks to technology development. As a Manager, you'll be leading highly skilled professionals within a cutting-edge environment. It's your chance to inspire a team – and to protect the country.


So the list of responsibilities are pretty long (managing six staff etc),- important, possibly exciting , but piss poor salary for a skilled senior IT worker in London. I suppose with the army your bed and board are provided. When is this country going to get serious about what it pays its key workers ?

If only our British 4G were as good as, um, Albania's... UK.gov's telco tech report


Re: To be fair

"I suspect having good 4G is unlikely to trigger a new civil war "

I dunno. My teenage children can throw quite a hissy fit if they can't connect to whotube or crapchat or whatever....

Microsoft’s ‘Home Hub’ probably isn’t even hardware at all


What would be the point?

Given their recent form, Microsoft would just drop the product three months after introducing it.

Britain must send its F-35s to Italy for heavy overhauls, decrees US


Re: What a clusterfrack

"And yet the UK politicians still approve the 4th largest budget in the world for military spending. I'm not sure how much more committed you would want them to be..."

The politicians do seem to spend this budget really really badly! Or is it down to civil servants? I have no idea. It has all gone a bit tricky at any rate!

Kotkin: Why Trump won


Jobs, jobs jobs , jobs, jobs...

With Brexit and with Trump, it seems to me that a sufficient minority of voters were fed up up with being regarded as mere interchangeable parts by big companies who were quite willing to screw them over through outsourcing, dodgy visas and all the other tactics many trans-national companies do to maintain their bottom line. And for many all over the world they have seen their costs of living rise and rise whilst what were good jobs become breadline jobs or the jobs are moved elsewhere, or they find themselves training a PFY from Chennai to do their job.

And they were also fed up that the politicians were always willing to bend the knee to big business but not to their own constituents. The signs have been there if you were willing to listen.

IMHO Brexit and Trump are not the solutions to these issues, but then the right questions have not been asked. And to quote Douglas Adams:

"It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it... anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

Trump's plan: Tariffs on electronics, ban on skilled tech migrants, turn off the internet


Re: First of all, sorry

He'll probably end up richer because whilst he is being the President, he will have to leave running his business empire to someone who knows what they are doing.


Re: Efficiency kills jobs

But new jobs come along all the time.

For example, mobile phones were tools for yuppies thirty years ago, now they are integrated parts of our lives. Behind those phones are whole swathes of infrastructure and jobs. Meanwhile landlines are increasingly for broadband only.

The obligation on governments (and I'd argue companies too) is to support their citizens in ensuring they have access to get the skills needed to do the new jobs and that they have access to the jobs themselves.

Apple drops dongle prices to make USB-C upgrade affordable


Definition of legacy

I hate it when the term "legacy" is used. In my experience it has always been used to describe systems or products that work and that regular folks are using quite happily but that don't fit with the corner office dwellers vision of the future.

Want to spy on the boss? Try this phone-mast-in-an-HP printer



The adverts at the top of this comment page are for RS Components. They want me to buy a pi 3 and a touchscreen for it too. Is El regf trying to tell me something here?

Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this


Re: you must be joking.

The original ford ka is closer to the mark - simple engine barely updated since the fifties, manual everything,no power steering, simple maintenance schedule and no rev counter , no temperature gauge, heater but no air con, manually adjusted mirrors and a radio/cassette that had FM but no AM.. I ran an early Ka for many years, and by the standards of the time it was pretty reliable, when it did go wrong it was cheap to fix. A total rust bucket by the time I got rid of it, but still remembered more fondly than the p.o.s Mark IV Golf that replaced it.


Re: It is just a car.

"But isn't the required strength of character and disregard for one's own physical integrity half the fun of driving "classics"? :-)"

This was back in the nineties before they were classics i.e. when there was only the mini and you could have either the city or the mayfair, and they still had chokes!


It is just a car.

The wife has a BMW Mini Cooper, and all her previous cars were all original minis. You'd prise it out of her cold dead hands.

Obviously there's no comparison with the original in terms of size, but I much prefer the BMW Mini. I think BMW did a pretty good job of giving you just enough of the fun of the original mini driving feel (which I think BMW did by recreating the low roof line and the bouncy ride) but without all the rubbish that came from driving a car barely upgraded from the 1950s.

The brakes on the original mini were scary in the extreme. You'd stop ....eventually.

The build quality is so much better on BMW minis- no rust on ours yet.

Driving on a motorway - much much better in a BMW mini. You have plenty of power to overtake.

In torrential rain I found original minis to be terrifying - the hair dryer of a heater struggled to keep the windows fog free, there was always the feeling that you were going to get runover by lorries, and whenever anything bigger than 7.5 tons went by, the wave of spray would swamp the engine ("Please don't stall , please don't stall...") . I love to see original minis on the road. I'm just glad my loved ones aren't in them.

'Doubly unacceptable' Swiss vegan forces his way into the army


Re: Bang

The Swiss don't need to do anything like that. If you do attack them, they'll burn your money!

(* copyright Jasper Carrot 1980!)

Ecuador admits it cut Assange's internet to stop WikiLeaks' US election 'interference'


Re: @AC The United States doesn't have enough power to influence Ecuador...

" I was disgusted to read that she knew a rapist she defended was guilty and that it 'put her off the polygraph' (not that any honest lawyer or forensic psychologist should entertain anything but a sceptical opinion), and there is for me some sort of an irony in the current situation."

Isn't that what defence lawyers are supposed to do - to defend their client regardless of what their own opinion is of them? On that basis that rules out anyone who has been a defence lawyer standing for public office, because I guess most will have got scumbags acquitted.


That's not the real reason.

Maybe they just wanted him to tidy his room? Works with my kids every time!

VMS will be ready to run on x86 in 2019!


Re: Say goodbye to vi

I loved EVE aka EDT/TPU. Especially the learn functionality.

To be able to use an OS that doesn't care about what case you use, and that has consistent command arguments. And using task to task processing and proxies to do stuff on other machines. Sometimes tech in the olden days was better!


You can virtualise OpenVMS already.

I've had OpenVMS running in a VM on a laptop. Happy days. What I look forward to is repurposing an old laptop or two so I can a have a cluster of my very own. Roll on 2019!

Now, can they port it to a Pi ?

'There may be no hackers' says Trump in Presidential Debate II


Where is Christopher Walken when you need him?

Is it just me or does DT's candidacy bear far too much resemblance to the plot of "The Dead Zone"?

Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger


Re: What would happen if...

"What would happen if someone ran for PM on a platform of NOT invoking article 50?"

I don't think that's how our system works. You don't vote for a PM - you vote to choose your MP - or in the case of where I live - to quote the late great Alan Beresford B'Stard - the hat stand with a blue rosette. Then all sorts of stuff happens that results in someone in a shiny suit that you wouldn't trust to run a bath let alone run a country being put in charge...

But theoretically, say if you could run it that way - well isn't that what the referendum we just had was all about. David Cameron basically said that a vote for REMAIN was also a vote for him. And look where that got us.


I'd love to know who is paying the lawyers' bills.

", restrictions on land ownership and changes to land taxes could be introduced as well as changes to how income is taxed. "

Yeah,- it is a rather specific example this - but if you want to tempt US and Far Eastern Banks to move their operations from London to Paris, behaving in such a way to their UK employees relocating to France is not a good way to get them to go there instead of Frankfurt.

Really , everyone should step back , take a deep breath and stop running around like chicken licken saying the sky is going to fall. There's going to be a lot more trash talking from all sides before this is done.

You can be my wingman any time! RaspBerry Pi AI waxes Air Force top gun's tail in dogfights


Re: "forces to be deployed without human loss of life"

Quite. It also depends on where and why you are fighting the war. Having just read Robert Fisk's "The Great War For Civilisation" , I find my beliefs in question and now I find I'd rather we never sent a drone of ours overseas ever again...

Osborne on Leave limbo: Travel and trade stay unchanged


Re: Even here at the bottom end it's a mess

So you run a business that trades extensively in other currencies but you don't hedge? Jesus...

Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

Black Helicopters

To be honest...

War used to happen because one bunch of rich people wanted another bunch of rich people's treasure. Once the technology got so good that you broke the treasure when you tried to steal it, all the rich people got together and realized it was easier to take all the money off the proles instead. And hey presto I give you the EU. ( I'll be voting remain but I'll be holding my nose whilst doing it)

Raspberry Pi distributor Premier Farnell in £792m Swiss buyout deal


50% premium?

Obviously they aren't too worried about the risk of a vote in favour of leaving the EU.... I'll get my coat

GCHQ is having problems meeting Osborne's 2020 recruitment target


Re: Last time i checked

And it is based in Cheltenham. Increase the wages. Open up some offices in more locations. Otherwise they should STFU about recruitment issues.

British IT outsourcers back Remain in the EU referendum campaign


Companies aren't people.

Well they would say that wouldn't they. It helps keep the wages bill down.

Staff 'fury' as penny pinching IBM offers legal minimum redundo payoffs



Not planning to get any decent handovers from the staff leaving the building then? Good luck with that.

IBM to erase 14,000 people from the payroll – Wall St analyst


Re: Will the last programmer, please turn off the lights

Many of the large multi-nationals (e.g. IBM, HPE to name the most obvious candidates ) are already dead. They just haven't stopped twitching yet.

Despite (or perhaps because of) redundancies, restructuring, mass offshoring and selling the family silver, many haven't grown their revenue in years. What you are seeing are the death throes of dinosaur organisations, and the creative destruction that leads to new growth elsewhere. Of course, that doesn't help the poor bastards on the shop floor who have done their jobs impeccably.

There are plenty of IT jobs in smaller companies.

British Airways, IT staff job cuts, an outsourcing biz ... you get the point


Are you a PM ?

" if they can fix the downstairs loo"

Unless you are physically unable to do so , if you cannot fix something as simple as your own toilet then you shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a computer in any kind of professional capacity. It's down there with wiring a plug or a patch cable in terms of difficulty. I've built ikea bookcases that were more difficult than changing the syphon on our bog.

IBM UK puts 1,352 Global Tech Services heads 'at risk'

Paris Hilton

The customers might need that but they don't want to pay for it....

"More than ever, large companies need what IBM pre -1994 did - a steady, full service IT company that delivered.

What companies have is IBM and other outsources who try and write clever SLA which extract as much money in as short amount of time, blowing any chance for repeat business."

You are right. The problem is that the customer is the IT director and the Board. They're only going be there two to four years before moving onto their next victim. They aren't looking for the best value, they want the best price, and they want that price to go down year on year. Who cares if the service gets worse and worse. And then in a few years , the client will renew and will play you off against the even cheaper service companies. There is very little in the way of repeat business. The "good" IBM is gone and wouldn't get the business in the modern world with its race to the absolute bottom. It is a shitty situation.

Government in-sourcing: It was never going to be that easy


@denarius Re: meanwhile back in reality..

Yep, you've nailed it. I'd go as far as to say that (IMHO) what you have said also applies to private sector outsourcing deals. The only difference is the government tends to air its dirty laundry. Often in the private sector the CIO just moves on to repeat the mess elsewhere before the full "benefits" of outsourcing are realised, and the real cost of outsourcing is hidden.

Compuware promises mainframe DevOps as old programmers croak


Re: Plenty of people out there, just not at the price industry wants to pay.

"The only Cobol programmer I know is now 70."

I know plenty in their mid to late forties. Mere whipper-snappers , ankle biters, rug rats!


Plenty of people out there, just not at the price industry wants to pay.

I'd hazard a guess that the reason some companies are having trouble recruiting is that they go to their favourite outsource partner such as IBM, HPE or Accenture and find that they don't have any offshore staff that can write for mainframes.

There are plenty of FORTAN and COBOL programmers out there with plenty of years of work left in them and we also know how to write lots of new whizzy stuff like c++, python , java and whatever other languages are flavour of the month. I just tend to keep quiet about the older stuff because employers don't seem to be recruiting for the older languages.

And I expect that the outsource partners have plenty of UK based people that can code for mainframes but keep quiet about it because they have had "to move up the value chain" and take PM, scrum master and other similar salary preserving roles as coding jobs have been shipped offshore.

Dead device walking: Apple iPod Touch 6th generation


Re: Iphone Fail

No click wheel, no sale.

Minister for Fun opens consultation on future of the BBC


That's the problem with politicians....

They have to keep doing stuff to make it seem like there is a point to their existence.

The BBC works, leave it alone. It isn't perfect but it's a lot better than Sky. I've got relatives in the States and Australia who pay for VPNs just so they can get the iPlayer which seems to me a good measure of the alternatives.

iPod dead? Nope, says Apple: New Touch has iPhone 6 brains


Re: where's the click wheel?

"Play/pause/skip/volume are all on most peoples headphone cords."

Nope, not on mine, nor those of the tech savvy teenagers in my house. Not on my cheap earbuds nor on my high end cans. It's not that I'm a luddite, it is just that my headphones need to be able to work with many different devices such as TVs, the household stereos, my personal DAB radio, my old cassette walkman , android devices , several different laptops of different vintages and OSes and I don't want to spend money on several sets of almost identical things... sheesh, I'm begining to feel like Mel Smith in a hifi shop asking about his old 78s.

Apple, you want to sell me another iDevice, bring back a proper tactile interface - you know - one with buttons or similar that I can operate by touch in the dark or when I'm wearing gloves , or when the device is in my pocket. Of course the cynic in my thinks that the main reason you dumped the classic is because it might mean you sell less apps or Apple music subscriptions.


where's the click wheel?

Why can't they make a device with buttons or a click wheel so I can operate it without having to take it out of my pocket?

Self-STOPPING cars are A Good Thing, say motor safety bods


"When I went to buy my Honda CRV the salesman said there was an option that would allow control of the accelerator where it would gauge the distance to the car in front and control the cars speed appropriately...he said it was a complete waste of time and money! "

So were you employing the salesman as your chauffeur ? Seriously though, I've got a CRV with exactly that feature and it is brilliant, especially on decent bits of motorway or autoroute. It makes cruise control worth using rather than some annoying buttons on the steering wheel.YMMV