* Posts by prinz

28 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Jun 2016

Honey, I built the app! Amazon's beta no-code dev platform is great for ad-hoc stuff, but not much else – yet


Programming by Pictures - been a dream for a long, long time

I remember back in the 90's overhearing a conversation of executives who were excited about component programming with com/dcom - saying that they could get rid of programmers and replace them with normal people that just needed to drag-and-drop components on a screen to make programs.

The old lead programmer next to me laughed after they had left and said : "It will never work - non-technical people cannot think in logical steps. In fact, we'll get more work fixing their messes."

Fast forward 25 years and we have this Amazon thing, Microsoft's Power Apps (https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/) and several others.

Here is a quote from the MS Power App site touting its success :

“It’s given me the confidence that I never knew I had. I have no background in IT or any experience in coding but … you can think of any idea and make it become a reality through Power Apps.”

Naz B

Insurance Claims Officer + App Guru

The bottom line is this : there is a concerted effort to get rid of expensive technologists - they were very successful with the Cloud idea (bye bye infrastructure people). Now, they're trying, yet again, to get rid of developers. But, like my old lead said - it requires people to think logically and ahead - something most people cannot do.

Amazon staffer based just a stone's throw away from Seattle HQ tests positive for COVID-19 coronavirus


Re: "So there is a high number of undiagnosed cases in that region"

That is a small sample size, which includes a cluster located in or associated with a single nursing home - which was housing people that were already weak and old - the very category most likely to die from any illness.

We need to be careful throwing around statistics as the values change based upon the definition of key terms.

For example, what is the definition of a "case" of illness "X"?

When the person presents in a doctor's office? Or arrives in the hospital? Or, when they simply have symptoms that look like a illness "X"?

For a US example using the common flu in 2018-2019 :


If "case" = "presenting to the hospital for care due to symptoms" then death rate = 7%.

If "case"= "visit primary care provider for care due to symptoms" then death rate is 0.2% (very different).

If "case" = "anyone with flu-like symptoms" then the death rate = 0.1% (half of the prior).

Then you have to take into account age groups. The vast majority of the population might get sick and annoyed, but won't die, but the normal flu is lethal to people 65 and older - they are more likely to seek hospitalization and far more likely to die (they account for 75% of the deaths in 2018-2019).

For the Wuhan/COVID-19 virus, we need more data before an accurate statistical picture can be created - the data from China is not reliable as they changed their definitions multiple times and seem to have not counted all people that would likely have been infected early on.

Maersk prepares to lay off the Maidenhead staffers who rescued it from NotPetya super-pwnage


Re: Seems insane

Sorry, hate to be a pessimist, but it will NOT come back to bite Maersk in an way obvious to non-technologists.

The reason for the layoffs in the FIRST place is due to a lack of understanding of IT and what it does for the company by non-technologists.

If they cannot connect the dots between IT and their business operations now, why would they be able to do it in the future?

They will not.

In their world, each outage is, and will be, viewed as a separate, inevitable event that some group of "geeky wizard" people in some office somewhere will have to fix.

Therefore, in their minds, why not go out and get cheaper "geeky wizard" people to react to the next "inevitable" event?

So, sorry, but I highly doubt that anything that comes back to "bite" them will ever be linked to the layoffs in their most remote thoughts. It will be viewed as just another inevitable event....

Bada Bing, bada bork: Windows 10 is not happy, and Microsoft's search engine has something to do with it


Try Lightshot

Every once in a while I come across a tool that is a "must have" in my toolbelt.

Lightshot is one of those. It handles 99% of my screenshot needs. Simple and Fast. (It attaches to the print screen button.)



I just wish they had it for Linux.

Judge snubs IT outsourcers' plea to Alt-F4 tougher H-1B visa rules: Bosses told to fill out the extra paperwork


... at the current price

"specific skills that are in limited supply in the US" <---- this sentence is not true because it is incomplete.

Rule #1 when someone complains about a lack of resources - add "at the current price" and one will find the real reason.

"specific skills that are in limited supply in the US at the current price" -- much better - the Tech Companies do not want to pay US market rates for technologists so of course they cannot find enough people at the current price they're paying.

Up until now they've been able to bias the playing field in their favor through H1B to import cheap labor and control that labor with contracts.

Glad to see somebody has the guts to finally stand up to them and make the playing field fair again.

Totally Subcontracted Business: TSB to outsource entire IT estate to IBM for a cool $1bn after 2019 meltdown


Pfft...nothing new here - Management fails and then blames IT

Typical Pattern :

(1) Management dreams up a project, a budget and a date and tells IT : make it happen.

(2) Management ignore's any concern that their fairy tale might be "unrealistic"

(3) Project Fails

(4) Management Blames IT and then Outsources IT to "smart people"

From the report linked to above :

2.23 At the time of its offer for TSB in March 2015, and without detailed knowledge of TSB's requirements, Sabadell set an expectation that the Programme would be completed by the end of 2017. By as early as 1 July 2015 (the day after Sabadell's offer for TSB was declared unconditional), Sabadell had identified Sunday 5 November 2017 as the intended date for Go Live.

2.24 .... The pattern of setting a desired end date and then creating a plan to fit that date, whether or not it was realistic or involved taking too much risk, was set for the remainder of the Programme.

This is just the same pattern, but on a more visible and larger scale.

The Six Million Dollar Scam: London cops probe Travelex cyber-ransacking amid reports of £m ransomware demand, wide-open VPN server holes


Re: Outsourced and out of sight?

Well, perhaps IT was already outsourced long ago...

From 2003 :


Having trouble finding a job in your 40s? Study shows some bosses like job applicants... up until they see dates of birth


Yes, that is true, but with prior generations it was not noticed as much because they were a much smaller group servicing technology that slowly faded with them while younger technologists took over the newer technologies that took center stage - so there wasn't as much competition from "young people" over the same work.

But now - even with "The Cloud" and "functional programming" - a huge number of aging technologists have skills that are still needed widely across the market. Their technology is not fading away anytime soon and they would still like to compete...

This page is currency unavailable... Travelex scrubs UK homepage, kills services, knackers other sites amid 'software virus' infection


Re: "Travelex had public-facing Windows remote-desktop servers with no NLA enabled"

Great point, but your final idea of dumping the CEO - not likely.

You are looking at it wrong.

IT are viewed as overhead - weird expensive nerdy people that non-technologists neither understand nor respect and sometimes hate.

Therefore, in their minds, not having real IT or outsourcing it to some extremely cheap country (which amounts to the same) will save them massive amounts of money, but with a risk of something like this happening.

As long as the cost of the outage is less than the money saved, they're still making money with the added bonus of not having to deal with those weird expensive nerdy people.

So, unless this outage is super expensive in the final analysis, the CEO stays and in fact, proves the theory - the CEO can say "See, it cost less to take an outage than to prevent one with expensive nerdy IT".

LibreOffice 6.4 nearly done as open-source office software project prepares for 10th anniversary


Re: LIbreOffice Turns 10

>> Also it is nice not having all your info in the cloud.

But, isn't that the new trendy thing now? "Everything in the Cloud"?

My observation is that non-technicals, Millennials and Gen Z folks flock to "the Cloud" like moths to a flame.

The idea of "trapping" their files on a computer in an office somewhere - and not having them available "when and where they want them" is abhorrent to them.

So, although there are those of us that prefer to keep things under our control on our devices, I fear that is a losing battle.

A battle that also affects LibreOffice. Unless it has native "Cloud" capabilities - file storage, security and live collaboration, it will not survive the fight.

When is an electrical engineer not an engineer? When Arizona's state regulators decide to play word games


Re: @Kimo AKA Libertarians

When I was there back in the 80s (around the time when OSU started pushing "THE Ohio State University" as name), the CoE also granted a degree in Computer Engineering which was very hardware focused. You could also get a *BA* in CIS as well.

Interestingly, the Computer Science portion of the various degrees was all the same. What made them different were the electives you put with them.

And, then to add confusion to my poor little college mind way back then, I had a Linguistics professor at OSU make an acidic claim which stung us CIS majors :

"If you have to use the word 'Science' to describe your profession, then you are not a real scientist."

Still kind of stings today... ;)


Re: As this article mentions, up to 98% of people with "engineer" in their titles

As @devilsinthedetails outlines above, in the digital world, almost every software individual meets your definition of "Engineer".

As the definition itself does not mandate "physical world only" - we can all happily call ourselves "Engineers" and you should not complain.

Most importantly, the digital world has very few limitations, unlike the physical world, so our type of Engineering goes beyond anything you could possibly do.

If someone asks for a cloud castle in the physical world - ain't gonna happen.

But in the digital world? Sure, no problem -- our Engineers can add a castle floating on top of a big white cloud in your favorite game with minor effort..

And, as the digital world is slowly creeping to higher importance than the physical one, I think it better to be an Engineer in the digital than physical. ;)

Trump Administration fast-tracks compulsory border facial recognition scans for all US citizens


Re: State border crossings, too

I travel throughout a subset of the Midwest - Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. I cross over and back between States without an issue. Never a problem, never stopped.

But, then again, I'm not a trucker hauling produce or whatever California is worried about. (I do note that the other comments and yours have one thing in common : California.)

That being said, the worry that other States will suddenly spend a lot of money to throw up border checkpoints is highly dubious - too many roads between States, some cities crossing State lines, too expensive and way too politically negative (except evidently, California).


Re: State border crossings, too


Are you referring to States bordering other countries? Or borders between States?

If the latter, can you give an example of a point-of-entry check station between States?

All I see, if I'm lucky, are signs that say "Welcome to State XYZ" - and sometimes I'll see "Now Leaving State ABC".

Googlers fired after tracking colleagues working on US border cop projects. Now, if they had monetized that stalking...


Re: Hoist on own petard

@JMCH, I agree - how someone feels is not really relevant - and this CA law *agrees* with you on this point.

That's why the second part of (e) is key - "serves no legitimate purpose".

The reason for the stalking behavior in question does not appear to serve any legitimate purpose and could easily be interpreted as a threat - especially *if* the stalkers let it be known that they were "watching" the victims.

Only when **both** conditions are met do you have something to begin to work with.

It isn't just "feelings".

For example : A police detective tracking a suspect as part of an investigation. That would be legitimate - even if the suspect felt "unsafe" - the officer has a legitimate reason.

But, if the same police officer were tracking a woman because he liked her and she felt "unsafe", that would not be a legitimate reason and then becomes stalking (eg. https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article235979622.html).

Hope that help makes it more clear that it isn't just how one "feels".


Re: Hoist on own petard

"No, quite the opposite"

Quite the opposite?! Really?

You do not seem to be aware that the US and its States have laws against Stalking.

Here is California's :


Section (e) is subjective to the opinions of the victims --- note that the article clearly states that the victims felt "scared or unsafe", thus meeting this requirement (it would also be a huge clue that they had already been visiting lawyers).

Section (e) also states "no legitimate purpose" (being self-righteous is not a legitimate purpose)

Section (h) addresses methods (i.e. use of computers).

Whether it is "PUBLIC" or not is orthogonal to the issue of stalking.

Therefore, the stalking gang forced Google's hand - if Google did nothing, the victims might choose to file a criminal complaint giving them leverage in a civil suit. (And, possibly dragging some of its management into the criminal complaint as well for not acting when warned).

Even if the victims chose not to file a criminal complaint, a civil lawsuit would still be possible and the bad press would be widespread.

So, to keep this problem from exploding out of control, Google got rid of the source of the problem : the stalkers.

Take a Big Blue cheque and go: IBM settles 281 UK age discrim cases


Re: Sure took a long time

Given IBM's attitude towards older workers, they were probably hoping that their delaying tactics would last long enough for the majority of plaintiffs would die.

Internet world despairs as non-profit .org sold for $$$$ to private equity firm, price caps axed


Re: Yawn

I have to agree - in part - there is a lot of that going on, but it isn't every non-profit either.

In the US, pull the 990 Forms for "non-profit"organizations -- might be surprised just how "poor" many of the Leader-type folks are in these "non-profits" - here is an example :


Or, look at the 990 of the Internet Society mentioned in the article, for a "non-profit" their "altruistic" staff was making some good money even before all of this :


But, just poking around your *local* charities/non-profits is also interesting (in the US, you can get the 990 forms here : https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/) -- and see if they are funded by government grants and then trace those non-profits to see if they give to other non-profits and see who "owns" them, and see which politicians are friends of said "non-profit" directors, and well, you might find an "interesting" pattern....

Video-editing upstart bares users' raunchy flicks to world+dog via leaky AWS bucket


Re: I wonder if....

>> But why do we see so many examples of this?

1. Because the whole purpose of the "Cloud" is to get rid of icky -- and expensive -- tech people.

If an organization has to hire someone who actually knows what they are doing, the huge cost savings for going to the Cloud get blasted out of the water.

2. Amazon, et al, do not want to be responsible for the security of millions of hosted software instances. Read the fine print in the contract - the customer is responsible, NOT the "Cloud" provider. Thus, they provide the tools for the customer, but no more, as any more may imply that they are responsible in some way.

Facebook iOS app silently turns on your phone camera. Ah, relax – it's just a bug, lol!?


Re: Bulletproof

You forgot to add small business web hosting - more and more I cannot even see the info about a small business without having to go to FB because the small business owner thinks their FB "site" is awesome because they get social networking, web hosting and instant updates, without any of that "icky" IT stuff.

This even applies to larger companies - their FB pages (and Twitter) are updated before their main web pages - the former controlled by a non-technical person, the latter by "icky" IT people.

Your observation is that FB is "The Internet" is absolutely spot on.

Power to the users? Admins be warned: Microsoft set to introduce 'self-service purchase' in Office 365


The Mainframe Strikes Back

It seems to be more of the opposite - The Mainframe guys are striking back.

The "Cloud" is the "Mainframe" - and the Cloud guys are striking back at the concept of an independent PC configured by on-prem folks running whatever they want.

In their vision, everything will be done on the Cloud and controlled by the Cloud. Your "PC" will effectively become an extension of the Cloud through tighter OS integration and control. An advanced version of the "terminal".

Yes, users can "choose" what apps to "install" - making it look like they have freedom, but that list too will be controlled by Microsoft, not your company.

In times past, **your** company controlled the Mainframe - it, its policies and applications were governed by your company's IT department.

But, that is going to change. Microsoft (and Amazon, Google, etc) is aiming squarely at the Central IT department - its inability to describe what it does for the budget it uses, its slow or oftentimes outright unresponsiveness to user needs, and its sluggish and plodding processes make it a ripe target for replacement by a "service".

Microsoft, et al, will replace Central IT with a self-service "Mainframe" - the magical silver bullet called "The Cloud".

And, developers - don't rejoice! Once they've achieved the goal of wiping the floor with the Central IT folks, you're next.

If you have a security alert, I feel bad for you, son – you got 99 problems but a hack ain't one


Re: Politicians have the solution

That is an AWESOME find - I'm going to forward that around as a pressing suggestion for us to adopt - and see how many people actually bother to read it before reacting to it (We have folks that skim a topic and then knee-jerk attack/argue, no matter the idea, just to show how "smart" they are). This will be fun. Thank you!

US games company Blizzard kowtows to Beijing by banning gamer who dared to bring up Hong Kong


Make no mistake - their actions promote what they believe and treasure.

No amount of PR will undo the blatant demonstration of what they value and what they do not.

They are an American company, why are they ashamed of American rights - like Freedom of Speech?

They had a choice - promote China's values or American values. They chose China's.

That's all we need to know.

IT biz Web Yoga adopts contrition pose, admits it turned blind eye to college's H-1B visa fraud


The reals news is the university didn't get prosecuted...

...and the $1 million fine is just the university giving back to the Feds the tax money the Feds send them to prop them up. They'll just apply for more funding to make up the difference.

And, the no further investigation was done to nail the people that did this? I love the folks who ran this were on paid leave from the university for three years.

They should be in jail. This was a full non-trivial scam.

If this were a mafia group running this scam rather than a bunch of egg heads, that's where they'd be. I guess egg heads get a slap on the wrist....

Free online tax filing? Yeah, that'll soon be illegal thanks to rare US Congressional unity


Re: If ever...

It isn't about money. It is about POWER.

They don't want people to be self-sufficient.

They want people dependent -- upon them in government and their business friends.

That is why it is bi-partisan : the Elite in America want to re-create aristocracy - they want serfs!

To get serfs you have to make them dependent.

This is yet another micro-step towards building that dependency.

Salesforce boss Marc Benioff objects to US immigration policy so much, he makes millions from, er, US immigration


They left a part out...

"All of this despite the Department of Labor having, in many cases, certified that no qualified US workers are available to do that person’s job." ... AT THE CURRENT PAY RATES.

They leave that part out so they can lie by telling a half-truth: Sure, they cannot find the talent they want locally ---- because they will not pay for it.

And, they won't pay for it because ultimately IT workers are not viewed as valuable.

They're viewed by upper management as just more expensive versions of the people that clean the company toilets - the company **must** have them, but they're really not strategically valuable in their view.

So, why not import cheap labor to replace all that expensive overhead and hide behind the "we cannot find anyone" lie?

Why everyone* hates Salesforce's Marc Benioff


Huh?! This is about PEOPLE - not technology!

The force behind Trump's support has nothing, and I repeat, NOTHING, to do with technology.

It is about companies using cheap H1A, H1B, L1B workers and ILLEGALS to replace American workers -- in their own country.

It is about companies moving manufacturing (of whatever product you like) overseas to economies so poor that no American worker could ever have a fair shot of competing against those workers.

In other words, the globalists have stacked the deck against American workers and now there is a revolt against those that are doing so via Trump. Nothing to do with technology.