* Posts by Andy Denton

55 posts • joined 11 Dec 2017


A cautionary tale of virtual floppies and all too real credentials

Andy Denton

Not sure why all the panic.....

..... this was Novell Netware. A simple salvage command from the same terminal would have restored the deleted files. Got me out of a few scrapes back in the day.

Excel Hell: It's not just blame for pandemic pandemonium being spread between the sheets

Andy Denton

The problem is....

...even if Microsoft were to come up with a spangly new replacement for Excel that was perfect in every conceivable way, people wouldn't use it because It's Not Excel and Excel is all these people have been used to using for decades. Many people (accountants etc) that use Excel a lot aren't adventurous types and there's no way they'd trust their precious data to some new spangly product when Excel is still available.

0ops. 1,OOO-plus parking fine refunds ordered after drivers typed 'O' instead of '0'

Andy Denton

Re: And this ladies and gentlemen...

Under that system the last two letters denoted the area where the car was registered. OO and NO were south Essex registrations if I remember correctly. This was carried over into the system that followed (year letter, numbers and then three letters). The current system uses the first two letter to denote where the car was registered.

GCHQ's cyber arm report on Huawei said to be burning hole through UK.gov desks

Andy Denton

Re: No doubt

Don't forget the price of his house along with a sidebar of shame piece about how "His daughter has really grown"

HTC breaks with tradition to push out 2 phones someone might actually want to buy

Andy Denton

I hope they succeed

In my 25 year phone history, the majority of those phones have been made by HTC first various Orange SPVs (re-badged HTCs), then the Touch HD, Desire, One and One m8 and they've all been excellent. Never had a single issue with any of them and the build quality was always excellent.

Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

Andy Denton

I experienced on of these

Back in the late 80's at the start of my career, the company I worked for were selling Northstar Dimension systems. These were big boxes with S100 backplanes into which you could insert terminal cards that you could plug terminals into and ran Novell Netware. The main box had a floppy drive and option for a tape backup unit. Terminals could request use of the floppy drive (if no one else was using it) by typing in a command. We received an early sample of the Dimension 386 box and some fancy new 286 workstation cards to play around with. I decided to install some software on it to see how it worked. So I typed in 'request d' on my terminal to request floppy drive access, then typed 'A:Install' to run the installation program. Unfortunately the disk was corrupted and I got the dreaded 'Data error reading drive A: A)bort, R)etry, F)ail?' message. At this point I'd usually type A and go find another copy of the disk, but for some reason I typed F. I was then greeted with the message 'You fucked that, didn't you?' Several further experiments revealed that on a floppy error, pressing F always yielded this message. Cue one phone call to our mortified Northstar rep. Needless to say, this was patched in production firmware.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

Andy Denton

My very first job was writing software in Pascal...

..UCSD P-System to be precise. Back in 1988, I started off writing bespoke invoicing systems for an accounting system that was written in the same language. The software was originally running on Apple II and I did the IBM PC port (which took me just under a day). It was literally just changing one library of non-portable functions. Whilst at the same company I also worked on a 3D carpet design system that was written in Turbo Pascal 3.

I stuck with Pascal (although I used C, C++ and various random 4GLs as well) through various jobs eventually using Delphi since its inception. I still have a few apps I maintain written in Delphi but when the contract market for Delphi dried up, I switched to C# and now I'm having to use node.js (JavaScript is the very antithesis of Pascal). I still love Pascal though - it's been good to me over the course of almost 30 years.

Huawei to sling Google-free mid-range P40 Lite 5G at British shores this summer

Andy Denton

Could you just not root it and install something like Cyanogen or is that not a thing any more?

Latest NHS IT revolution is failing to learn lessons from the last £10bn car crash

Andy Denton

Meanwhile in Wales...

...they have a standard system for everything across the country. All software is developed in house by NWIS (NHS Wales Informatics Service). The system was originally developed by people actually working in the hospital and they spoke to clinicians and staff as to what they actually wanted from a system. It's not perfect by any means but it's much better than the farcical state of affairs where staff have to cope with US developed systems that insist on inter-departmental charging and staff have to work against the system. It beggars belief that individual trusts spend millions on different systems that are incapable of exchanging anything but basic patient information with other trust's systems.

You overstepped and infringed British sovereignty, Court of Appeal tells US in software companies' copyright battle

Andy Denton

Re: Watch Out USA...

That's OK, he can just nip to the nearest Walmart and acquire sufficient arms to equip a small army.

Visual Studio Code 1.45 released: Binary custom editors and 'unbiased Notebook solution' in the works

Andy Denton

Re: Too hard

No, it's because of a limitation in Electron, the tool they use to develop VSCode, nothing at all to do with the development process.

Cheshire Police celebrates three-year migration to Oracle Fusion by lobbing out tender for system to replace it... one year later

Andy Denton

I agree, however the people making the purchase decisions have little or no idea how these things work. The big players (Oracle & SAP) have these products that appear all-encompassing, an easy one-stop shop. The problem is, these systems are very broad, but incredibly shallow and barely fit for purpose without lots of expensive customisation but they appear to be an easier option than buying lots of individual systems and spending additional money linking these systems together. You've then got lots of individual support contracts, and if there's an issue is it with Software A, Software B or the interface module C?

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin

Andy Denton

Another FNatic fan here

I have the FNatic Mini Streak (Tenkeyless form factor) with Cherry MX Browns and it's utterly superb. Fantastic build quality and feels like it will go on forever. It's so good even my wife wanted one when she tried it. Hers has Cherry silent keys. I also have a Cherry MX Board 3.0 that gets regular use and I used to think it was brilliant until I got the FNatic. Now, I just think it's OK.

I do miss the Model M that I started my career with over 30 years ago, but they're not really usable in an open office unless you want your colleagues to beat you to death with it.

Nine million logs of Brits' road journeys spill onto the internet from password-less number-plate camera dashboard

Andy Denton

Let's not lose sight of the real problem here.....

....the numbers on that website are LEFT-JUSTIFIED!!!

White House creates 'Team Telecom' to probe whether foreign telcos should be allowed near US networks

Andy Denton


"Competition and free market is the best....so long as our companies win"

Hunting for IT staff? Lost your job during the pandemic? Sysadmin vacancies – and a free job ads offer – inside

Andy Denton

Re: What a selection

It's still two more job adverts than you've posted.

All roads lead to Bork in Kansas as Windows puts on a show for motorists

Andy Denton

"Seen something borking in the wire?" Surely that should be "Seen something borking in the wild?"?

Control is only an illusion, no matter what you shove on the Netware share

Andy Denton

Neil obviously wasn't that familiar with Netware....

.... as a simple Salvage command would have restored the missing folder.

Time to svn commit like it's the year 2000: Apache celebrates 20 years of Subversion

Andy Denton

Anyone remember PVCS?

My first foray into SCM in the mid to late 90's was when we started to use PVCS. Cue lots of devs checking out code and then going on holiday rendering no one else to do any work on said code. Subversion was my go to in the late noughties. I persuaded several clients to migrate from Visual Source Safe to SVN and Mantis at the front-end for feature/bug tracking for a reasonably integrated solution and it worked very well. Git was a game-changer for me though (once I'd got my head round the whole concept) and I don't think I've touched SVN since.

Who needs the A-Team or MacGyver when there's a techie with an SCSI cable?

Andy Denton


Never had a problem (aside from the odd dodgy terminator) with SCSI. A mate of mine who still runs the business we started decades ago told me he retired the last Netware server from one of our customers last year. It was a 486 DX2/66 with 16Mb of RAM, a 2GB SCSI HDD connected via an Adaptec 1542CF SCSI Adapter. It had almost 6 and a half years of uptime showing when he finally shut it down.

Clunk, whirr, buzz, whine. Shared office space can be a riot and sounds like one too

Andy Denton

I hate open plan offices with a passion. My current contract has me working in a huge building that is one enormous open plan area (with a mezzanine) that contains over 600 people. I long for the days when I had my own office and I could shut the door and actually concentrate on some work.

A stranger's TV went on spending spree with my Amazon account – and web giant did nothing about it for months

Andy Denton

Re: The list of compelling reasons

Indeed, my money's on someone exploiting a hardware manufacturer specific API these smart devices are supposed to use which perhaps hasn't gone through the same scrutiny that other, more widely-used APIs have.

The wheels on the bus go round and... Oh dear. Chancellor Sajid Javid unveils spending review

Andy Denton

Re: His father was a bus driver?

My father was a bus driver and I don't have the first fucking clue about how to run public transport.

Andy Denton

Re: A British bus?


Too hot to handle? Raspberry Pi 4 fans left wondering if kit should come with a heatsink

Andy Denton

How long...

.... before some nutter comes up with a water cooling kit for it, I wonder?

It's happening, tech contractors: UK.gov is pushing IR35 off-payroll rules to private sector in Finance Bill

Andy Denton

The definition of Large and medium sized companies to which this pertains is somewhat open to interpretation. What's to stop a large/medium company spinning off a small project development company that exists just to hire contractors, thus falling outside this legislation?

Front-end dev cops to billing NSA $220,000 for hours he didn't work

Andy Denton

Re: Scam undone by...

Depends on your point of Vue

NHS Wales flings £39m at Microsoft for Office 365 and Windows 10

Andy Denton

Re: They should of gone

Should *HAVE*

It's a fullblown Crysis: Gamers press pause on PC purchases, shipments freeze

Andy Denton

Re: Screw the GPUs...

I was about to pull the trigger on a new gaming PC purchase and then the AMD announcements hit and I decided to wait a month or so to see if they're really as good as they look.

Now Chinese-made drones rubbing US govt up the Huawei: 'Strong concerns' DJI kit threat to national security

Andy Denton


"The United States government has strong concerns about any technology product that is sufficiently competitive with or is demonstrably ahead of American technology and will do anything in its power to sabotage said product(s) and deny 'free' market access"

US minister invokes Maggie Thatcher, says she would have halted Huawei 5G rollout

Andy Denton

Re: He's right.

No he's not. He's getting desperate as the US desperately tries to play catch up whilst trying to cling to its dominance of the internet. They're so far behind Huawei, their only option is to stifle them in the West until such time as their companies have caught up.

Apple, Samsung feel the pain as smartphone market slumps to lowest shipments in 5 YEARS

Andy Denton

My G4 died unexpectedly, but had been faultless up until then. I was going to get a G7 but it was 3 days away from being available. Ended up spending a bit more on an Honor 10 which is excellent (aside from a not insignificant amount of crap ware) and has all the features I'll ever probably need.

Microsoft: Yo dawg, we heard you liked Windows password expiry policies. So we expired your expiry policy

Andy Denton

Just add 'PW' to the end - simples.

Cheapskate Brits appear to love their Poundland MVNOs as UK's big four snubbed in survey again

Andy Denton

Re: EE

On the rare occasions I've had to contact them, they've always been excellent. Whether or not it's to do with the length of time I've been with them (21 years minus a disastrous year with Vodafone), They always managed to solve whatever the issue was and if I threaten to leave, match any deal I've been offered elsewhere. I'm currently paying £4.99 per month for Unlimited calls/texts and 1gb of data. Don't need any more data as I'm nearly always near some Wi-Fi.

US: We'll pull security co-operation if you lot buy from Huawei

Andy Denton

It's not like the US hasn't got form with complaining and then sabotaging other country's efforts when they're ahead of the game. Look at what they did with Concorde or the TSR-2.

User secures floppies to a filing cabinet with a magnet, but at least they backed up daily... right?

Andy Denton

Re: Well if the US ships want the Chinese to keep out of the way

My first job in the late 80's was as an Analyst/Programmer/Tech support person. I'd had a call out to one of the users of my bespoke invoicing system (vertical market for Road Hauliers). The hard drive had a parity error (a common fault among the Epson PCs the company had been installing at that time). I installed a replacement drive, re-installed DOS and the menu system we used, then the accounts software and my invoicing system. I then asked the woman who ran the office for her backup disks. She'd been told to back up the system (via an option in our menu system) and file the disks somewhere safe. She presented me with a set of A5 ring binders with the holes neatly punched through the 5 1/4" disks....

Buffer overflow flaw in British Airways in-flight entertainment systems will affect other airlines, but why try it in the air?

Andy Denton


...with the exception of a couple of decent employees, the biggest bunch of inept fools I've ever had the misfortune to work with in my 30 year career.

IR35 contractor tax reforms crawl closer to UK private sector with second consultation

Andy Denton

Re: Tax loss for HMRC

It doesn't go to HMRC - the VAT you charge a client, just gets claimed back by said client.

Airbus will shutter its A380 production line from 2021

Andy Denton

I flew from Manchester to Auckland (via Dubai and Brisbane) on an Emirates A380 a couple of years ago and despite it being the longest trip I've ever had (is there a longer one?), it was the most pleasant economy class experience I've ever had. Airbus planes seem to be quieter and smoother than their Boeing counterparts from my (limited) experience.

You like JavaScript! You really like it! Scripting lingo tops dev survey of programming languages

Andy Denton

As a developer for over 30 years....

I hate JavaScript. I get that it has its uses for the front end but what idiot thought using it at the back end was ever a good idea? In my current contract, I'm having to use node on a daily basis and the sooner I can get back to .NET Core, the better. Sadly, the current company I'm at has bought into the "JavaScript Everywhere" cult on the erroneous thinking that "Javascript developers are easier to recruit because there's more of them" totally missing the point that whilst most devs will have JS knowledge (primarily front ent), writing front-end code and writing back-end code are very different things. I'd like to imagine a time where we'll look back and laugh at the notion of using JavaScript everywhere, but I'm not hopeful.

Microsoft sends a raft of Windows 10 patches out into the Windows Update ocean

Andy Denton

Easy to criticise....

As a break from the usual Microsoft-bashing, can we at least give them some credit for still fixing software that's over 20 years old? How many other companies would do that?

If you've been dying to run some math on a dinky toy quantum computer, IBM may have something for you

Andy Denton

It's maths not math.

Dutch boyband hopes to reverse Brexit through the power of music

Andy Denton

Compitant? Is that like cofveve?

Microsoft squeezes a 2019 server out of the Azure DevOps pipeline

Andy Denton

To be fair to Microsoft, the whole VSTS/Azure DevOps package is a compelling solution when compared to trying to graft together a pipeline of several disparate tools. My last contract was using VSTS and found the whole pipeline slick and powerful. My current contract uses an unholy mix of GitHub, JIRA, TeamCity, CircleCI, Heroku and Cloud Foundry. There's really no comparison and it feels like going back to the dark ages.

Windows 10 goes into the Light and Cortana MIA as Microsoft buys chatbot bods XOXCO

Andy Denton


Shouldn't that be "Razor support in Visual Studio Code" (not Core)?

Germany pushes router security rules, OpenWRT and CCC push back

Andy Denton

The thing is..

....the vast majority of users don't ever buy a router. They just use whatever POS their broadband provider supplies at the start of their contract. Some ISPs will even go as far as to try and prohibit the use of a 3rd party router/modem (I'm looking at you Sky).

NHS*IT: Welsh system outages put patients at risk

Andy Denton

It's a lot better than the English model...

The English model of each trust using whatever half-arsed system they can acquire is an utter shambles. E.g. Rotherham were using some US system that required Radiology to raise an invoice to A & E for every X-Ray/Image taken and a lot of manual work cancelling and writing off these invoices periodically. This system is of course entirely incompatible with Leeds or Sheffield who run entirely different systems that can barely share basic information between each other.

I contracted as a senior dev at NWIS for almost 2 years. They have a standard system for hospital PAS (Myrddin), Cancer (the mentioned CANISC), Radiology (RADIS) and all these systems feed information into the Welsh Clinical Portal to provide a single view of a patient's full medical history for healthcare professionals.

Whilst some of the platforms they use are old (.NET 2.0, Delphi), they do a pretty decent job under pretty tight budgetary constraints.

In memoriam: See you in Valhalla, Skype Classic. Version 8 can never replace you

Andy Denton

Re: "rumuors of Microsoft embracing open Source"

Yes, Skype's Windows version was indeed written in Delphi. I interviewed for a contract role working on it about 6 years ago (got the role, but they were tardy in responding and I'd already signed for someone else).

Mourning Apple's war against sockets? The 2018 Mac mini should be your first port of call

Andy Denton

If you're a developer and you need to produce any native code for iOS you need a Mac and an entry-level Mac Mini fulfils the role perfectly. You might want to think about the real world rather than PC forums populated by 733t haxx0rs before launching ill-conceived rants.

Remember that lost memory stick from Heathrow Airport? The terrorist's wet dream? So does the ICO

Andy Denton

"Timings and routes of security patrols"

Whilst there may be defined patrol routes, the last thing you want is to execute these patrols in a predictable manner, especially in a high security environment. If your patrol management software doesn't cater for this, buy better software.



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