* Posts by GreyWolf

134 posts • joined 29 Jan 2007


COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response


Re: You can't make this sh1t up

One subtlety here - they probably don't have the source code anymore......

And you must take that seriously. I know of a major international company running vital UK infrastructure that has only 25% of the source code needed


You have made a hidden assumption, namely that they still have the source code for their COBOL. Not necessarily the case. I know of a major international business running vital UK infrastructure has only 25% of the source code for the management application. They cannot go anywhere. They are quite literally dumping the infrastructure in order to get out of running the software.

We're all doomed, I tell you.

Welcome to the telco, we've got fun and games: BT inks 5-year deal to outsource mainframe management to IBM


CSS is still running

And if BT ever shut it down, the entire UK landline network will become impossible to make any changes to.

Maybe that's why BT are killing the UK landline network.


Re: On the subject of BT and India

I learned a little Hindi specifically for the purpose of telling "Jack from Mumbai" to go forth and multiply himself. I found the novel Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra to be useful (lots of police slang). Here's what I have:

Chubbarao = Shut Up (say it with force)

I am a burra Sahib = I am a great lord

You are a chota-wallah = You are a small person of no value (if the caller is female, chota-wallee)

And the killer "Are your mother and father proud of how you earn your money?". I got one of them to scream and hang up.

Current favourite: I say "You have reached the BT Business Support Helpdesk. All calls to this number cost £25. Please have your credit card ready. Read out the long number across the front". They hang up before I have finished saying that. And if they don't, I repeat it.

IBM exec told that High Court evidence in Co-Op Insurance case wasn't 'truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth'


Been there...

I've done some contract work for Co-op Insurance (admittedly not recently).

It was then (and probably still is) a hotbed of politics with zero business or technical realism (like every other insurance company). Also, they hate contractors like poison. IBM ought to have known that signing a software development contract with them would be a nightmare of Co-op Insurance trying to screw them.

Moral of the tale: don't contract with insurance companies. If you absolutely have to contract with an insurance company, add Asshole Tax to your daily rate.

Don't use natwest.co.uk for online banking, Natwest bank tells baffled customer


Re: The interns are early this year

There's a lot of shit in the bowels of that bank.

Now that's what we're Tolkien about: You need one storage system to rule them all and in the darkness bind them


I've watched that crash and burn.

In a building society long, long ago, and far, far away, the Movers and Shakers wanted to expand to be a full portfolio business, as big as they could be without becoming a bank (and all the regulation that would mean).

So they looked at the idea that they had a captive audience to sell to, namely all the people who had mortgages with them. All those people need insurance for their houses, cars, and holidays, they said. Probably medical insurance, broadband, electricity, home security. And there was much licking of lips in the directors' corridor.

And soon, in that land, there came a great cry, saying "How the hell do we talk to these people to sell them more stuff, yet not piss them off by sending the same flyer 6 times, incidentally that wastes money?"

Thus was born the idea of a Customer Engagement System (very popular in those days), which would theoretically connection all the accounts of a single person together, so the sales droids could see exactly which of the Society's products a particular individual had, and which were missing and therefore to be sold to the poor mug.

And they set to work, to design this beast. For beast it was. What's the meaning of an address in the mortgage system? Is it a mortgaged building (maybe not)? What is it in the insurance system? Is it an insured object (maybe not)? Why is the insured value different from the mortgage value? Are those two things the same for the same customer? Oh, and by the way, how do you know it's the same building, the same John or Jane Smith? The existing systems contained NONE of the data necessary to connect the concepts together.

The Directors threw money, hardware and software at this.Yeah verily, it availed them nothing.

That Building Society, once one of the best, is now no more than a brand name in somebody else's portfolio.

Are you who you say you are, sir? You are? That's all fine then


Amateur Banks

Let's name and shame.

NatWest - both incompetent and deliberately rude (sister-in-law's death)

Barclays - incompetent, sleepy, and outsourced chaos (they used to be good)

Linux Journal runs shutdown -h now for a second time: Mag editor fires parting shot at proprietary software


Re: Seems unnecessarily pessimistic

"You can't shove the lead in the back of Granny's portable " Yes, you can directly attach to any digital TV with an HDMI port.


Re: Seems unnecessarily pessimistic

"How large that flock will be remains to be seen." at the last count I saw, several months ago, there were 23 million Pis.


Corporate Shutdown Warnings...

"the corporate world isn't slow to put a bullet in its products, but - with the exception of google - at least they give you plenty of advanced warning."

Twenty-four hours is good enough for you, then? That's the typical warning time for anything run by a US corporate.

The sea is dangerous and no one likes robots, so why not send a drone on rescue missions?


Re: MCA gone to pot over recent years

"did you think some chancers were going to be able to trouser a million quid for slapping a paint job on a DJI Phantom?"

And is that unrealistic, considering some of the tricks that have been pulled over the years? The MCA is not the sharpest knife in the government's drawer.


MCA gone to pot over recent years

This proposal shows once again that the MCA do not know what they are doing, spending scarce money they do not know how to use wisely, on ideas from desk jockeys who have never been to sea.

When do you have to carry out sea search and rescue? When the weather is shit. How long does a drone last in shit weather? I'll be generous - less than 60 seconds. 10 seconds is more likely.

I started worrying about safety at sea when the f**king MCA closed all the local Coastguard stations, destroying all the local knowledge. Now you phone some f**king call centre on the other side of the country and say "There's a boat sinking in Pennyhole Bay" and they have no fucking clue where that is, don't know whether to send a helicopter or scratch their arses.

BT boss warns 16-min walk from current HQ to new London base 'just the tip of the iceberg'


Anonymous Mole here...

The so-called management at BT have hired a bunch of American consultants who believe in co-locating people for greater efficiency. This for a company that has been using remote working really effectively for decades. When did you say the Americans are going to catch up with the rest of the world?

UK's Openreach sends full fibre to Coventry


Removing the copper cuts us off

We no mobile signal here. It's the shape of the land, and the fact that the nearest mast is a little short-arse (perhaps somebody wanted to "avoid harming the rural aspect" - fuck off, you townie). We are only two miles from an A-road, so this is not the Lake District or the Pennines.

Thus we will have no way to make a 999 call and have the location automagically identified when they pull our copper cable out.

There must be thousands of small pockets all over UK just like us.

We had a machine gun post at the crossroads during WW2. May have to re-instate it.

Southport: Come for a round of golf, stay for the flesh-eating STIs


Hey, it's Southport ...

...well known in t' North for uninhibited behaviour at the sleazier end of human depravity...

Learn your way round the Internet of Things in a day? Course you can...


Re: Optional

Try IoIT

Internet of Irrelevant Things

Nobody really wants IoT, there is no killer app, and the whole sector is a graveyard of good companies (see Ciseco for an example0.

Raspberry Pi 3 to sport Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE – first photos emerge


"They got widely panned here, seemingly for not being a Rapsberry Pi."

No, shipmate, they got widely panned for claiming to be a competitor to the Pi while being THREE TIMES THE PRICE. In other words, Intel completely missed the point.

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Itty-bitty pyttipanna


Fat lot you know about culinary superpowers

"It's fair to say that Sweden is not known as a culinary world superpower". Yes it is - only the late great Escoffier (him what did the cookbook and reformed French cooking) said "Gravad lax is sublime, and is the Swedish contribution to world cuisine".

On the other hand, as I have lived in Sweden for many years, I agree entirely that pytt i panna is a real delight.

Power Bar: EE was warned of safety risk BEFORE user was burned in explosion


I returned two batteries yesterday in the recall

Got a £20 voucher for each, to spend in EE online shop.

Swedish National Font marches to the sound of whalesong


Söderhavet = Ironic

Söderhavet (the Southern Ocean) is clearly thus named because that's where the "creatives" who own the company want to retire to, in order to live on a nice tropical beach while necking Mai Tais. I mean, that's why you take government contracts, innit? Huge pile of wonga, f*ck off before the ink's dry....

Giant bank IT cockup of 2012 'could have brought down ENTIRE financial system'


Re: Tiny compared to the savings

Not unlucky - incompetent

IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres


Love Story Told in Linux Commands

whois gawk date unzip strip find touch finger mount join nice man top fsck grep eject more yes exit umount sleep dump

Password manager LastPass goes titsup: Users locked out


Re: Who trusts a third party with their authentication?


"This is one thing I would never entrust to "the cloud" - ever."

I see you got two downvotes immediately. That'll be one from the NSA, and one from GCHQ. Both of those love it when people put important stuff "in the cloud".

If you are ever in the same shower as an NSA or GCHQ person, don't drop the soap.

Need a US visa, passport? Prepare for misery: Database crash strands thousands


The new paradigm...

...do everything the RBS way...

UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention


Here's the definition...

Here's the definition, encapsulated in a Czech riddle, given to me by my very good friend who grew up behind the Iron Curtain:

Q: Why do policement in Czechoslavkia go around in threes?

A: One can read, one can write, and the other is there to watch those two dangerous intellectuals.


I was sad in 1989 when the Iron Curtain came down..

...that all those wonderful Communist jokes would disappear, and in only a few years, no-one would understand them...

Now I see that our beloved Government is working to make them all relevant again...and a new generation of stroppy kids will be ridiculing our masters...

Hey, Marissa Mayer: Flexi working time is now LAW in UK. Yahoo!


Cloud-based technologies are ushering in a new social, cultural and corporate paradigm where..

...client companies go out of business because company data gets destroyed, hacked, stolen, held for ransom much more often...where service providers screw up the service for days at a time with no explanation or apology, or shut down their business with no notice, or lock you out of your data over a minor billing dispute. Just in the last few weeks Amazon Web Services, BT. No-IP have all screwed you over.

For almost any company, putting your trust in the "Cloud" is a suicide move.

Microsoft's anti-malware crusade knackers '4 MILLION' No-IP users


Accused of providing composting info to cybercriminals...

... We are a website in a rural village in Suffolk where those who compost their own food and green waste keep a record of what weights they have recycled. We hope to demonstrate that doing your own food and green waste recycling is worth the (minor) effort. This is of course exactly what cybercriminals need to know, and Microsoft wish to hush up.

Our site is unreachable because Microsnot are NOT doing what they said they would - they are not allowing innocent traffic through (or they are too incompetent to do the filtering fast enough, before the timeouts).

Revealed: GCHQ's beyond top secret Middle Eastern internet spy base


" If I was the cable owner,"

Callam, sorry lad, you don't know how this stuff works. The cable owner does not "make a massive public fuss", he/she/it contacts the Powers-That-Be and says "My knighthood seems to have got mislaid. It will be arriving tomorrow first post, will it?". No "massive public fuss" required, just a word in the right ear.

Waterfront flats plan for IBM's UK HQ as housing market goes bananas


Anybody seen IBM hanging out with BT lately?

BT have been trying to get planning permission for 2000 houses on the Adastral Park site, estimated worth to BT £300 million +.

Greenwald alleges NSA tampers with routers to plant backdoors


Details of the hack, list of routers

Description of the hack http://www.synacktiv.com/ressources/TCP32764_backdoor_again.pdf

List of compomised routers https://github.com/elvanderb/TCP-32764

Please work for nothing, Mr Dabbs. What can you lose?


Re: Returning a favour would be nice

I work for marmalade. I live in a village full of retired people, some of whom make killer marmalade. I ALWAYS respond to those people's requests for assistance. I also work for whisky - the composting group wanted a website, and gave me a bottle of Old Pulteney (if you haven't tried it, you've missed something special). The other guy, who can't keep his email working for more than 2 weeks at a time, takes me for days out on his yacht.

Works for me.

All men are part of a PURE GENETIC ELITE, says geno-science bloke


Essex females @ Arnaut the less

If you really think that in Essex, females are now or ever have been unable to dominate, or are as oppressed as elsewhere in the world, I challenge you to say that out loud in Basildon on a Saturday night. I promise to give your remains a decent burial.

If you are not up for being the object of a blood sport, read about Boudicca (whose influence extended over most of East Angular).

Big Blue's GPFS: The tech's fantastic. Shame about the product


IBM products, licensing, etc

26 years at IBM, so I've seen this before. When you the product manager go to Legal before launch, to get the licensing decided, your project can end up being assigned to the nasty paranoid tight-ass, and you end up with an unworkable propositon in the market place. Even at behemoth companies like IBM, it oftens comes down to the attitudes of individuals.

In my day, it was not unusual to have to have a very large number of Go/NoGo signoffs before being permitted to launch. In one case, 57 signoffs, any one of whom could kiil the product after hundreds of thousands had been spent on developing it.

Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed


So... Windows 7, then?

No. Dual-boot with Linux. Mint Cinnamon looks like XP, mostly works like XP, closer to XP than Win 8, easier upgrade path than Win 8, lower rate of support calls from friends and family ...and in my experience, it's lighter and faster and more responsive than XP. So, no, I won't be laying out hundreds of pounds/dollars on a new machine or even more hundreds on replacing all the software that will not work on Win 8.


Re: How many XPers?

Go dual-boot with Linux. I went to Mint Cinnamon a while ago. Looks like XP, mostly works like XP, closer to XP than Win 8, easier upgrade path than Win 8, lower rate of support calls from friends and family ...and in my experience, it's lighter and faster and more responsive than XP. So, no, I won't be laying out hundreds of pounds/dollars on a new machine or even more hundreds on replacing all the software that will not work on Win 8.

When I "need" XP (for software I've paid for), I select it at boot time.

BTW, I have an nVidia graphics card - it works smoother and faster under Mint Cinnamon than it did in XP.

Security 101 fail: 3G/4G modems expose control panels to hackers


Can anyone point to a list of vulnerable devices?

Could be a useful list [cough cough] both coming and going.

BT-owned ISP Plusnet fails to plug security hole on its customer signup page


BT fix a software problem...

...don't hold your breath. I've seen what their software development process looks like from the inside. I know it used to be good, while BT still had its own IT development shop, now long gone. Nowadays everything is outsourced, takes for ever, and costs more and takes longer. And bugs don't get fixed because BT does not manage the contracts.

e-Reader feeling empty? Top it up at El Reg's book shop


Please create the Essential Guide to Getting Up Like a Sex Machine

The collected writings, build instructions, mission reports, launch stories, software code of the LOHAN-Vulture-PARIS Special Projects team. With feeeelthy pictures.

I'd pay for that.

Firefox joins the insanity


Firefox joins the insanity

There's a brain-eating paradigm loose on the streets - the idea that your UI has to be the same on your desktop, your laptop, your tabet, and your phone. So the designers either make the icons big enough for touch (and space-wasteful for mouse use) or too small to touch so they make you move your hands from mouse to keyboard and back (which James Martin condemned 40 years ago). We've seen Windows Metro and Ubuntu Unity.

Now - wait for it - comes Firefox Atlantis Preview and discussion at Daily WTF

One look at this and I've turned off Firefox's auto update on all my computers.

Test question for the alert student: what does the "fairy cake" icon do?

Ex-BT boss bags £9 MILLION bye-bye bundle, moves to key gov post


What He Got Wrong

1. Failed to oversee Global Services division while they were busy making a £100 million loss

2. Failed to get the land round Adastral Park sold (worth £300 million (at least) if planning permission is granted for the 2000 houses they want to erect next to an extremely sensitive European Protected Area.

3. Failed to sell Adastral Park itself (very likely that's their end game for AP which they no longer need or use)

4. Failed to see or deal ith the huge operational issues arising out of closing BT's own software development (who knew what they were doing, sort of) and shipping the work offshore to people who have no clue how BT's internal systems quirk (sic).

Fanbois shun 'crappy plastic' iPhone 5C


Re: IBM Songbook

That was so long ago that anyone who actually experienced it is now in their grave (or balancing on the lip thereof).

Snowden journo's boyfriend 'had crypto key for thumb-drive files written down' - cops


Where do you hide a book?

...in a library...

1. I want to get a copy of secret files out of UK reach

2. I make up up a shiney-shiney, a distraction, a bauble to attract the eye of spooks

3. I "hide" the real files among the shiney-shiney (encrypted differently).

4. I let it fall into the hands of GCHQ/NSA

5. Spooks are satisfied, but they don't know that the real thing has passed them by.

If you are going to Brazil from Germany, there are surely direct flights - if not, you go via Schiphol, not Heathrow. The only reason to go via Heathrow is to wave the shiney-shiney under the noses of the spooks.

'Symbolic' Grauniad drive-smash was not just a storage fail


The purpose was intimidation

1. This time it's your computer that gets the hammer. Next time you publish something, it's your head.

2. This time it's your boyfriend gets done over. Next you publish something, it's you, and it won't be the hammer, it'll be an HIV infection, your home burnt down, and your boyfriend renderd to an American jail.

12 simple rules: How Ted Codd transformed the humble database


Chris Date was my instructor...

..on the various database models..he had to get pretty egotistical and dogmatic because of the "misleading" (aka pack of lies) FUD being spread by the Codasyl advocates. Chris came up with a simple and obvious Codasyl design, a simple and obvious program code example - no-one was ever able to debug it - if I remember rightly it was about 20 lines of code and contained at least 18 bugs. The fundamental problem that he was illustrating was that ring structures like Codasyl look nice in the abstract, but it is impossible to validate programs wrtten for them..

Microsoft warns of post-April zero day hack bonanza on Windows XP


Re: Is there a basic flaw in this reasoning?

You have not understand how these bugs arise.

The process of removing bugs is called debugging. So what is it called, the process of putting bugs into software?

It's called programming.

Every time MS add or change anything in XP, they add bugs. The best news about April 2014? MS will stop screwing around in XP.

It's now or never for old sysadmins to learn new tricks

Black Helicopters

Cloud is so over

or at least, cloud provided by a third party (see recent news about NSA, GCHQ, ISPs and telcos spreading their legs). The Data Protection Act 1998 (and EU legisation) makes it illegal for you put personal data into the care of a cloud provider that is not wholly compliant within the correct jurisdiction.

OTOH, having your own cloud implementation makes sense if (1) you have the problems that cloud solves (2) you have the expertise in-house to design and build it. Few places have (1) and (2).

IBM CIO's Great Refresh: No, Sales Guy, you can't JUST use DropBox


"Building apps for Big Blue".

"to help IBMers quickly find experts in a field using simple keyword searches" was what I was doing in 1986-1987. Obviously, the moment the real hotshots leave, the entire company falls into disrepair.



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