* Posts by dinsdale54

85 posts • joined 16 Oct 2015


Goodbye, humans: Call centers 'could save $80b' switching to AI


Re: You mean...

I've found the Virgin Media call centre in India to be polite and relatively easy to understand. Obviously they didn't fix my problem (billing issue) until after 5 hours of calls but they were nice about it.

The offensive and difficult to understand Scot on the other hand.....

Crypto exchange Kraken reportedly hunted by the Feds for alleged sanctions busting


Re: "Kraken has robust compliance measures in place"

That's right up there with

"Your call is important to us"

"$COMPANY takes security seriously"

Grifters be grifting

Record players make comeback with Ikea, others pitching tricked-out turntables


Re: Digital transmission?

You've moved in to the "denying Shannon-Nyquist sampling theorem" territory

I suggest you watch these videos by Chris Montgomery (who knows a thing or two aboout codecs) which explain why they are correct and you aren't.



Banks talk big cloud game but few have migrated over 30% of apps


Report produced by cloud provider disappointed that not everybody uses the cloud for everything. News at Ten!

I mentioned this previously but a bank I used to do a lot of work with said that for fixed demand, the cloud was just hosting which they could do much cheaper than any of the cloud providers. They already have many large datacentres all over the world and were running at way lower costs than any of the cloud providers.

Another customer in Australia moved a huge amount of their SQL Server workload to the cloud - successfully - and then discovered that the bills made them the biggest customer in the country. They moved most of it back on prem to save money.

Cloud services are very useful to many people and organisations. Not all of them..

GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims


Re: GPL: Compliance Web Page

You can also use your Pi to turn your TV dumb which was my preference.


My Samsung TV generates more blocked requests than anything else in my home.

ZX Spectrum, the 8-bit home computer that turned Europe onto PCs, is 40


Re: "Rival machines, such as the Commodore 64, did not suffer from the same problem"

For various definitions of "much" :)

The 4 bits of colour information per pixel being every alternate bit in 16 colour mode (mode 2) was a PITA. I hate to think what some of the other machines must have been like to work on!

IBM ordered to pay $105 million to insurer over tech project's collapse


Re: "Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM"

Also "I Bring Many"

I did some work with IBM about 10 years back when they were reselling our product.

We had a meeting at IBM South Bank to run over a few technical details. 1 person from the customer, 2 from my company and EIGHTEEN (yes, really!) from IBM.

Nice pastries TBF.

IBM deliberately misclassified mainframe sales to enrich execs, lawsuit claims


The cynic in me assumes this is standard practice in all large corporates. I've certainly seen it.

"Hey, Mr customer, how about we give you a 90% discount on these servers if you buy a couple of cloud software licences?" No worries if you don't use them.

It's much the same as colleagues at a large corporate referring to the busiest sales day of the year as the 32nd of March.

Any fool can write a language: It takes compilers to save the world


Re: It isn't C that was/is fragmented @Bitsminer


A friend worked on databases at UCB, Ingres, ASK, Postgres anf others. He was at ASK when the takeover by CA was announced. More different corporate cultures you could not imagine. Apparently Oracle had a recruitment van parked outside within a couple of hours, Sybase a bit after that.

By the end of the day over 90% of the development team had quit. That was the final nail in the coffin of Ingres as a leading product.

I worked extensively on Oracle & Ingres back in the day. By the mid 90s Ingres was reliable and low maintenance but was looking VERY out of date by then.

Microsoft accused of spending millions on bribes to seal business deals


Re: Illegal Bribes?

That depends on your definitions.

I've done my fair share of tedious online training on the UK bribery act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and one key difference is the FCPA allows for something called Grease Payments - which are roughly defined as something that speeds up the process but doesn't change the outcome. This is not legal under the UK Bribery act.

Having worked for companies doing business in the Middle East, I always assume that every deal involves payments to individuals, it's just you normally have a middleman to make it a bit less obvious.

UK govt signs IT contracts 'without understanding' the needs


Re: No shit, Sherlock?!

Agree with the NSS.

If you don't have the skills to implement it, you probably don't have the skills to write the spec either. The devil is in the details.

ARPANET pioneer Jack Haverty says the internet was never finished


A line I have repeatedly used in presentations when referring to underdeveloped/incomplete products and technologies is :

"Runs best on powerpoint"

IT advice fuelled by beer is the best IT advice of all, right?


Re: He is very bright

A friend who used to work at BT Martlesham labs said "we have people here so bright they have to be helped to the door"

As with the story above, massive knowledge in one area can result in lacking skill in others.

Worst of CES Awards: The least private, least secure, least repairable, and least sustainable


Re: unintelligible random sound from person in bed

More worrying to me is that the AI has developed enough to get turned on by sex sounds.

£42k for a top-class software engineer? It's no wonder uni research teams can't recruit


Re: if the salaries were improved./ Universities need serious reform across the board

This is already happening. My local university (a polytechnic when I attended it) has run out of money and is culling not just courses but whole departments where the enrollment numbers aren't covering the costs. It's also trying to nerf the pensions.

This is rough if you are one the lecturers but it's the consequence of overspending and overexpanding during the good years.


Re: "In IT" != software development

40K definitely appropriate for London. A couple of years back a relative started on that after graduating. 18 months later moved to a new job on 60K.

Here's the similar story from a few months ago. Military rather than academia but same issue.


Meg Whitman – former HP and eBay CEO – nominated as US ambassador to Kenya


Re: Give Biden some credit

Don't worry. Having worked for a Meg Whitman run company, I can confirm that there's no danger of her noticing anything that's going on right in front of her.

In the '80s, spaceflight sim Elite was nothing short of magic. The annotated source code shows how it was done



I also remember lines and and lines of ROL/ROR operators when doing graphics to move things around on screen. I guess whoever added the barrel shifter to the first ARM had experienced the same!

Computer and data scientists should be as highly regarded as 'warriors' says top UK cybergeneral


Re: Pay

That's wonderfully delusional. Double that and you might get people with some basic experience. Triple that and you might get somebody reasonable.

IBM sued again by its own sales staff: IT giant accused of going back on commission payments promise


Re: Pay 'em what they are worth !

Some companies do pay commission on margin, most don't. However while the salesrep might not be paid on margin you can bet his boss has a margin target. The problem is that the margin changes with the amount you sell. i.e. you sell 3x as much then the %overhead of you being employed has just dropped by 2/3 (OK, oversimplification)

This is why sales plans tend to have big commission multipliers once you have sold over your target. You have covered your costs to the company so it's all upside from there on.


Re: Just

That's a fine way to guarantee you won't have many decent sales people.

Salesfolks are coin operated. This is a feature, not a bug. Take advantage of it by paying generously to people who sell a boatload of stuff.

SCO v. IBM settlement deal is done, but zombie case shuffles on elsewhere


Re: This will run and run because...

No, it's a spinoff from the American Dodgeball Association of America

After quietly switching to slower NAND in an NVMe SSD, Western Digital promises to be a bit louder next time


Re: Revenue is ego, it doesn't mean anything

Pulling this sort of stunt is WHY their gross margin is that high.

Corporate culture always comes from the top. These actions are by design.

Eight-year-old bug in Microsoft's 64-bit VBA prompts complaints of neglect


Re: Not even PHP or JavaScript

Quite. It's a key feature of relational databases designed to deal with missing data.

Let's give the classic example. If you don't know your blood type, you really don't want to be given a blood transfusion of another unknown blood type. NULL does not equal NULL.

Magna Carta mayhem: Protesters lay siege to Edinburgh Castle, citing obscure Latin text that has never applied in Scotland


"Midvale Castle for the Gifted"

Fancy joining the SAS's secret hacker squad in Hereford as an electronics engineer for £33k?


Re: GCHQ only pays

A friend interviewed for GCHQ some years back. The process was bizarre. I was his 2nd reference and had a multi page questionnaire to complete. His first reference had an in person interview. My friend was interviewed for 2 days.

All this was just for the security clearance which - get this - you have to go through BEFORE they tell you what the job is and what it pays.

After jumping through the hoops my mate finally discovers that the job was a java programming job at 10K a year less than he was currently on. Much time could have been saved etc.

But it all makes work for the working man to do.

Chocolate beer barred from sale after child mistakes it for chocolate milk


Re: Beer Definition

That's the opposite of what's happening.

I live in South London. I have done the occasional pub crawl in my life. About 10 years ago I did my first brewery crawl (in Boulder, CO) I can now do a brewery crawl from my front door.

There are now more breweries in the good beer guide than there were beers when I first purchased a copy.

I had several excellent craft beers last time I was in Vietnam.

Even the USA now has decent cheese - although you still have to seek it out.

THX Onyx: A do-it-all DAC for the travelling audiophile


That is literally what Monty does in the video!


Nah, that's bollocks.

As has been proven, you get perfect recreation of the input signal for all frequencies up to the Nyquist frequency - which is basically half the sample rate. This is why digital audio works.

For a decent demo of this from somebody who knows what they are talking about - see here (particularly video 2)


I've got a broken combine harvester – but the manufacturer won't give me the software key


Re: To be fair…

Complexity is not the main issue. It's the scummy business practice.

Even if you can't do rework yourself, there are plenty of companies who can refurbish electronics providing they have access to the actual components and there aren't nasty software locks. Go look on ebay for companies selling reurbished control units for various washing machines etc. The exchange prices are quite reasonable.

My espresso machine requires a fair bit of servicing which I am able to do myself, however the manufacturer refuses to sell spare parts in this country. As the chap at their authorised service centre apologetically explained, they have all the parts but are banned from selling them so I have to buy them from Australia/NZ. Just like the tractor manufacturer they would prefer me to pay 400 quid for a service rather than send me a £5 plastic hose or a £10 temperature sensor.

This is the sort of crap that laws need to address.

Malaysian Police crush crypto-mining kit to punish electricity thieves


They are bitcoin mining rigs - no gfx card, no generic motherboard. They can't be repurposed for anything other than mining bitcoin.

IT manager who swindled Essex hospital trust out of £800k gets 5 years in prison


Re: Everything about this story reeks

Don't overestimate the competence of local government.

Some years back my company was designing a computer system for tracking and managing payments to care homes from the council.

During the design process we asked :

Company : "How do you make and audit payments?"

Council : "The care homes send us invoices and we pay them"

COmpany "But how do you audit them?"

Council "Sometimes we check at the end of the year"

Happy with your existing Windows 10 setup? Good, because Windows 11 could turn its nose up at your CPU


Re: Well, that's going nowhere then

I have the same processor and a 2060 gfx card. I consider it my "new" machine. I expect another several years use out of it before replacement.

I'd have been more than happy to stick with Windows 7 personally.

Pub landlords on notice as 'Internet of Beer' firm not only pulls pints, but can also clean the lines


Re: There is something to be said for dirty lines

I don't consider Newcastle Brown a good drink but I drank it as a student for the same reason as you - it was something the bar staff couldn't screw up.

On a slightly more important note, dirty lines are the single biggest contributor to crap beer quality in pubs. If an automated line cleaning system means more lines get cleaned more often then the can call it anything they want. Even better would be a line monitoring system that would refuse to serve beer that was warm or off.

Me : I'd like a pint of bitter please.

HAL : I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave

A hotline to His Billness? Or a guard having a bit of a giggle?


A friend works at the company where Wills did his rescue helicopter training and work. My friend is also a keen supporter of Gloucester rugby. At the time Mike Tindall was playing for Gloucester and due to being married to royalty they used to sing the National Anthem when he scored.

My friend recounted this tradition to Prince William. The answer came back, with a smile -

"Gran won't be happy about that"

FYI: Today's computer chips are so advanced, they are more 'mercurial' than precise – and here's the proof


I forget the exact details - this was over 10 years ago - but IIRC systems that had generated these errors were put in a radiation test chamber and radioactivity measured. Once you have demonstrated there's a problem then it's down to the chipset manufacturer to find the issue. I think it was just low level contamination in the packaging material that occasionally popped out an Alpha particle and could flip a bit.

The remediation is a massive PITA. I think we were dealing with it for about 2 years from initial high failure rates to having all the faulty systems replaced.

Over the years I have spent far more of my career dealing with these issues than I would like. I put in a big shift remediating Seagate MOOSE drives that had silent data corruption as well.


I have worked for a few hardware companies over the years and every single one has at some point had issues with random errors causing system crashes at above designed rates - these were all bit-flip errors.

In each case the people who noticed first were our biggest customers. In one of these cases they way they discovered the problem was products from two different companies exhibiting random errors. A quick look at both motherboards showed the same I/O chipset in use. Radioactive contamination in the chip packaging was the root cause.

You can mitigate these by putting multi-layer parity and ECC on every chip, bus and register with end-to-end checksumming. That will turn silent data corruption in to non-silent but it's also really expensive.

But at least let's have ECC as standard!

Parliament demands to know the score with Fujitsu as Post Office Horizon scandal gets inquiry with legal teeth


Re: Typical bullcrap

The issue isn't computer systems making mistakes. The issue is pretending it doesn't happen. As the judge said at the trial, denying that there are bugs "amount to the 21st century equivalent of maintaining that the earth is flat"

That's about as harsh a putdown as you are likely to get.

Samsung stops providing security updates to the Galaxy S8 at grand old age of four years


Re: Hey I'm using that!

The advantage is the curved screen provides a greater exposed area to crack the screen when you drop it.

Oh, you meant advantage for the owner, rather than Samsung? Nothing I can see.

I'm on my second Samsung, S4 then S8, Due to the reasons on this thread there won't be a third.

Ex Netflix IT ops boss pocketed $500k+ in bribes before awarding millions in tech contracts


Bizarre decision making on his part.

As he was a VP at Netflix there's a decent chance he was already on a seven figure salary which makes grifting for half a million seem rather poor value given that he's likely to do time.

Salesman who helped land Veritas UK's 'largest ever' deal was lawfully docked £275k in commission, says judge


Re: Slice of a bigger pie

Decent companies stick a large percentage of revenue in to R&D. I think it was ~14% at the last few companies I worked for - most of that is salaries. The senior tech people at my last 3 companies were very well paid - several hundred thousand dollars a year for the experienced people. The money for those salaries has to come from somewhere.

There's a competitive market for experienced tech people as well. It's a symbiotic relationship.

A floppy filled with software worth thousands of francs: Techie can't take it, customs won't keep it. What to do?


Re: F1 and customs

It's obvious why you haven't met. He was travelling in the middle of the night. You were Woking 9 to 5.

Over a decade on, and millions in legal fees, Supreme Court rules for Google over Oracle in Java API legal war


Re: Wah Wah Wah! Oracle! They don't like the ruling!


I had 5 years at Sun and loved it. The company went from 24,000 employees to 42,000 employees in that time. When the dotcom bubble burst and the revenue shrank Sun should have shrunk the numbers down to match. I left and watched my colleagues spend the next 10+ years constantly under threat of redundancy. That's not very motivational.

Now that half of Nominet's board has been ejected, what happens next? Let us walk you through the possibilities


Re: The bottom line?

It might be worth you comparing Nominet's turnover - £44 million with GoDaddy's - $3 billion.

OVH says burned data centre’s UPS, batteries, fuses in the hands of insurers and police


Re: 100A is current current.

I can confirm this. I'm 15M from the substation. Some years ago I was blowing lightbulbs at quite a rate so I checked the mains voltage and the highest I saw was 256V. The electricity company wound it down a bit but it's always high.

I assume there's a voltage drop towards the end of the network and with lots of blocks of flats in the area, they crank it up so the people at the far end still get a useful supply.

HP loses attempt to deny colossal commission to star sales staffer


I spent 25 years in presales - the techie working with the sales folks. I have never seen a situation where a sales rep can price a deal at low margin without approval from a long way up the management chain. Salesfolks are often targeted just on revenue but the levels above them have a margin target as well.

I have on two occasions worked with sales reps who had recently joined from HP and were sueing HP for not paying commission. It's been standard practice there for a long time.

Virtual cycling service bans riders for doping – doping their data, that is


Re: it is for some a good way to get some social contacts

In Zwift? Loads. I'm riding with several hundred other people and chatting with them on discord at the same time.

It's the whole point of Zwift.

Synology to enforce use of validated disks in enterprise NAS boxes. And guess what? Only its own disks exceed 4TB


If you want it to work....

This is normal if you are serious about trying to provide enterprise level kit. You are selling kit with a support contract and with performance & reliability expectations

I had 10+ years at an enterprise storage vendor. Disk drive validation by our engineers took a lot of time & resources. It would usually take a couple of firmware revisions before a new drive actually worked satisfactorily. To quote the guy in charge of testing new drives/firmware - "You'd be amazed by the new and creative ways the disk drive manufacturers find to screw this up"

Two clichés, one headline: 'No good deed goes unpunished' and 'It's always DNS'


Re: My Manager!

That's a good approach. One of my best managers described his job as 'a 2 way bullshit filter'

'Best tech employer of the year' threatened trainee with £15k penalty fee for quitting to look after his sick mum


Re: As a woman in tech myself...

Unsupporting, shurely?



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