* Posts by Nematode

64 posts • joined 15 May 2018

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UK.gov announces review – not proper inquiry – into Fujitsu and Post Office's Horizon IT scandal

Nematode

Is it 2011 already? https://www.postofficetrial.com/2020/04/private-eye-special-report-out-now.html

UK government puts IR35 tax reforms on hold for a year in wake of coronavirus crisis

Nematode

Wot about the Public Sector?

It's not the private sector that is most in need at this time, it's the public sector! But that horse has bolted. Great, eh?

Boeing, Boeing, gone! CEO Muilenburg quits 'effective immediately'

Nematode

Fault tree

Not that I disagree with the guy going, but what's the connection between a CEO and some dude deciding that the MCAS system only needed a single sensor? I'd be interested to see the full causal analysis. Like, er, what part of Safety Critical System did they not understand? Definitely sounds like the bean counters were ruling. I'd wager there are engineers in Boeing biting their tongues from saying "I told them..."

If tsoHost is lecturing us on sleep hygiene, Brit outfit really does have hosting back to front

Nematode

Re: still not working

I was that Legacy Customer. I moved as I got the larger GB package for the same dosh. They moved me to Gemini. Doh. MS mails non funzione. Took a week to stop the bounces, then stopped bouncing but still failed to get through, probably the lack of an SPF/DKIM setup. Got that sorted, mails sent were received. 2 days later, bang, bounces again. At least it took them only 24 hrs to get delisted again. It's plainly a problem of not understanding and not implementing or enforcing anti-spam/mer policies and of not checking against MS policies, which ARE published

IR35 blame game: Barclays to halt off-payroll contractors, goes directly to PAYE

Nematode

Great

As a Barclays customer (yeah, I know, I know), I can soon expect a further worsening of service, then. Jeezo, this incarnation of IR35 is not really that different from the first. Once the anti-contractor bunch find they're losing all their contractors to clients that work with the rules in a more imaginative way, shall we say, then they'll all do it. There's many reasons for the contractor community and IR35 doesn't make them go away. #gladimretired

In the bag: Serco 'delighted' to grab £450m ferry and freight deal between Scotland and Northern Isles

Nematode

All the time, Pentland Ferries are quicker and cheaper (to Orkney - don't serve Shetland) https://www.pentlandferries.co.uk/ A damn sight more comfortable and less spew-inducing than Serco's floating bricks. The book, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pentland-Hero-Roy-N-Pedersen/dp/1841588881 about their boss's creation of the route is great. It includes a stinging critique of the cozy relationship between the Scottish "Government" (the one that thought up the crazy Named Person scheme and who think that Independence is a magic bullet and will solve all woes - like, er, Brexit is a magic bullet and solves all woes?) and the big ferry companies. A good read of itself, anyway, if you're "for" the little man.

Microsoft blocked TSO Host's email IPs from Hotmail, Outlook inboxes and no one seems to care

Nematode

BTinternet is another ISP who use blocklists which seem to pick up every tiny indiscretion (and often block gmail addresses =:-o)

But I saw a friend's TSOhost mail get bounced the other week. AFAICR, the relevant TSOHost IP block blacklisted was only blacklisted by one organisation, so either M$ use that same blacklist or keep their own. That TSOhost account was I think one of their Cloud accounts. My own email & site is a legacy Cpanel site originally on Evohosting (who were bought up by TSO) and I have not had any problems (touch wood).

Real issue I think is a quick and effective means of saying Oy! this email is genuine. </holdingbreath>

Industry reps told the UK taxman everything wrong with extending IR35. What happened next will astound you

Nematode

Don't like it? Take it to an employment tribunal!

Yes. "Nuclear Option"! The only way to solve the injustice of being found as "employed" but having no employment rights. HM Gumment and HMRaidersofCash don't care

This Free software ain't free to make, pal, it's expensive: Mozilla to bankroll Firefox with paid-for premium extras

Nematode

Re: It's tragic really

Absolutely. Don't trust Google at all, privacy wise. And I never found Chrome particularly intuitive. Chrome is the new IE. Everyone's got it but they don't really know why. Why does anyone think Tor is based on Firefox?

Like using the latest version of Microsoft Office? Love Offline Files? Not for long!

Nematode

Still on 2010 here.... In fact 2003+.docx converter on da wife's </luddite>

Zorin OS 15 nods at Ubuntu and welcomes Windows escapees

Nematode

Will give it a try

Strangely, I just bought a super cheap HP lappie from Costco to mess with Win10 (W7 luddite that I am) and to install a play version of Linux on a machine that's not been built before the advent of microprocessors, i.e. one of my old disused machines. Long term plan is to get off Windaes to something that doesn't bork at each update, nor consumes vast amounts of cash at start and at every couple of OS releases (Apple, I'm calling you out). Latest download of Mint failed the basic test that it should "just work" - no driver for the oh so modern wifi adapter. Dur. Zorin iso sitting waiting to pop on a stick. We'll see...

Nematode

Hmmm

Sourceforge servers struggling within a few minutes of this article...

Help the Macless: Apple’s iPadOS is a huge update that will enable more people to do without a Mac... or a PC

Nematode

Having slowed down all devices with 11, they realised they'd screwed up and made 12 faster, so hey, yeah, let's kill off all this not-really-very-old-at-all hardware asap, with 13.

RSS broken?

Nematode

RSS broken?

was working yesterday. Can't refresh and a re-add says "that page has no feeds"

How do you like dem Windows, Apple? July opening for Microsoft's first store in Blighty

Nematode

I didn't say it was painless. In fact the experience might create an anti-Apple-head (shame). Like when the missus was told that the iPad charger that had come in an Apple box with, er, the iPad, was not an Apple charger.

Nematode

From a non-specialist non-expert punter point of view, many more are needed. At least with an iThing you can just take to the "local" store and get your broken iThing unbrokened. MS's "proposition" is more prone to breaking and a lot harder to get fixed and the local laptop repair shop isn't going to be able to unbroken a Surface since MS have out-Appled Apple on repairability there.

Apple's privacy schtick is just an act, say folks suing the iGiant: iTunes 'purchase histories sold' to data slurpers

Nematode

"Which requires user consent, btw" Yebbut, it'll be buried in a huge EULA or similar. It's time consent moved to a specific-agree-to-item basis, assumed non-consent unless punter knows exactly what is being slurped and why. "Do you consent to us selling your address? Y/N" Hell yes, of course, why wouldn't I?

'Evolution of the PC ecosystem'? Microsoft's 'modern' OS reminds us of the Windows RT days

Nematode

Utter joke, M$

Well, I finally went to Windows 10. Noooo, not on my main machine, dafty, I still got Work to do. No, I saw an HP lappie in Costco for £300 with a few decent features, enough memory, SSD, plenty ports, half decent keyboard, same screen as my old Dell, and thought I'd be daft not to buy it to (a) investigate Win 10 - conclusion: just plain unnecessary, (b) stick Linux on a machine that doesn't have 8 year old hardware and set it up properly to see if it's a solution for when I pop my clogs and leave the wife to have to use a computer without my constantly maintaining it (read:stop M$ screwing it up). Nearly finished the (a), next, choose which distro. I sort of like Ubuntu but I think Mint is prolly best, and for pure MS document compatibility, she can use Word online, though she doesn't do documents anything like as complex as I used to, so Libre Office is prolly fine.

Seamless updates, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ........

Dedicated techie risks life and limb to locate office conference phone hiding under newspaper

Nematode

Non-shouty client call.

I had just returned from the wilds of Scotland and a major gas terminal there on a Friday night. Saturday morning I received a call from work to call the client, which I did. He very quietly said that there was a serious problem with the control system and the alarms and printer were going crazy and I needed to get back there pronto. Questions about what exactly was happening were met with further "you need to get back up here now"s and the Client's voice was very quiet and I could tell he was s****** himself, er, was very worried. About something, what I knew not.

No remote access in those days, so I climbed back on a plane (sheesh) and got there Saturday afternoon. Shure enuff, printer going bonkers, alarms having to be silenced every few seconds (it was a new system they weren't familiar with). I took a look and it all seemed to be just one alarm. Shurely they could see that? I asked what were they doing outside, on the plant. They had recently re-started flow from the offshore gas line and suddenly, alarms like crazy. Er, might these be connected? As Process Engineering was actually my original discipline, I could see that there were slugs coming in from offshore, and the alarm in question was the Slug Catcher liquid level low-low. The plant had been below that level and as the slugs came in, they temporarily raised the level then levelled out below low trip again, setting off the alarm, quite correctly. I asked how long did it take to restart the line, to which they said several days in all. The slug catcher was a monster beast and this was definitely going to continue for a while.

Just one of those things you learn that drop between the cracks of the functional spec. We can't know which loop(s) need filter blocks unless you tell us which loops are liable to jump around, we do try to ask you, but you can't see that such things are necessary if you don't realise what's going to happen. I configured a filter block and it all went quiet. Fortunately the flight south was not followed by another northwards until some good time later.

Brekkie TV host Lorraine Kelly wins IR35 ruling against HMRC, adds fuel to freelance techies' ire over tax reforms

Nematode

Hmmm. Bl**dy h**l. There I was expecting a discussion on IR35, and all I learn is a new set of slang that has passed me by in all my 64 years. How come, and this is a criticism of all News Site "Comment" sections, all of you guys have the time, during the normal working day, to post all these (mostly fatuous and thoroughly unimportant) posts, and of course to read the article in the first place, and, actually, to be on El Reg site in the noughth place. Or don't you have work to do? Actually, no I don't, I'm retired and managed to go my whole contractor career without an IR35 case, phew. (OK, some, but not all, will have a genuine excuse.) And what's the proportion of permies vs. contractors on this thread? So, for those who don't have a valid reason for being here, think - are you a professional, or an MGB? Don't bother replying, I'm not going to rise to the bait. You're probably saying, no, we don't need to be serious, it's alright to have a bit of fun. My point entirely. On either Company or Client time. Ducks brickbats and thumbs downs. And off to work out what I can do next out of all the post-retirement possibilities....

Customer: We fancy changing a 25-year-old installation. C'mon, it's just one extra valve... Only wafer thin...

Nematode

"They are designed by people that are engineers in the more traditional sense, not software people." Or just as likely (more so in my experience), software peple who haven't got a clue about the real world. Unfortunately some of the software people I was dealing with with the system I worked on were the main dev engineers. Common problem: 12 controller cards in a cardfile, 11 are operative, the 12th was a standby failover card. Software problem on one of the 11? Fails over, then takes the backup card down too, and with it, the plant. Or the asynchronous "set this valve to X position" call, which then allows the next line of code to execute without the valve yet being as required. Had to add in a synchronous call function into the basic opsys - after 2 years of this system being in existence. How did the deve engs not know the set statement had to complete and get feedback from the valve position. In a major control company. In a Process Engineering environment. Like they had been working in for 20 years+

Nematode

All sounds entirely normal commissioning to me. I am still suffering the physical-after effects of when the valve that moved, that shouldn't have, was a 36" diameter gas line valve from one of the major offshore high pressure (70+ bar) transport lines coming to the beach. And why is this noteworthy? Cos it was in 1988.

El Reg deep dive: Everything you need to know about UK.gov's pr0n block

Nematode

Is the Digital Minister's name seriously Hancock...

Guess who's working on a health data-slurping digital tool? Bzzt! Nope, it's the UK Department for Work and Pensions

Nematode

Nice idea to use evidence in assessing benefits for the truly ill. Evidence is arbitrarily and constructively ignored at present. As someone who is fortunately retired but if I wasn't a major health event a year ago (and I mean major, only just surviving it) would have had me entirely unable to work now, but by the DSS rules I would actually have no chance of getting benefits, I would welcome an evidence based assessment system. Chance of this actually happening? Nil.

HMRC: We 'rigorously tested' IR35 tax-check tool... but have almost nothing to show for it

Nematode

HMRC simply do not care

Sysadmin's three-line 'annoyance-buster' busts painstakingly crafted, crucial policy

Nematode

I'm glad I retired. I don't think I understood any of the above, other than (i) DNS, (ii) broken and (iii) coffee break.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers

Nematode

Ha ha. Reminds me of working for a controls company, doing real-time control by computer. One Control Room was in a basement which got flooded. Of course, everything went down and we were called. They got the water drained off from the control room. As we went underneath the desk-level CRTs and operator keyboards to see what damage there was to the kit underneath, we took the panels off. The first panel exploded with water behind it when sufficient screws were loosened. All the panels were still full of water. The Site Report following this incident suggested in the Lessons Learned section that in future all control panels should be fitted with drain holes !! :)

Trying to log into Office 365 right now? It's a coin flip, says Microsoft: Service goes TITSUP as Azure portal wobbles

Nematode

At least when your own servers were down you could run down the corridor and suggest politely to the systems guys that they needed to look at it as the whoel company was sitting around doing nothing. No chance with Microsoft.

Plusnet vows to shove a sword in members area 'White Screen Of Death'

Nematode

Yeah, right

What makes I think that a problem that's been around for months will suddenly be fixed today? #WSOD

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home

Nematode

Re: Line of sight

Used to love getting no work done at a well-known Contractor's office in Old Street. Who linked their remote building in by line of sight microwave from their main office. And when it was foggy.... :)

Nematode

Time waits for no man, except for the Captain. I commissioned a DCS control system in the late 80's, on a well-known UK gas terminal. One day I found the client's Instrument/Elec Engineer plonked in front of a display, (a Captain's Chair, hence the nickname) watching the bottom right corner. Every once in a while he'd jump out of his seat, point at the screen and say "There it is!, Done it again!". After a while he came to me to complain that the system clock was wrong. Except it wasn't, it was spot on. So he got me to watch too, and sure enough the on-screen digital clock would get to e.g. xx:00:00 then jump to xx:00:02 or so. I had to explain that the screen display was just a task, like all the other 100+ or so tasks, and its priority was pretty low and due to that it occasionally re-synced itself with the system clock. I'm sure he was still there when I left....

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

Nematode

Re: Turnpike

I developed my dislike of tagged email filing systems with Turdpike. Couldn't believe Google brought it back with Gmail. #foldersforever

Just updated Windows 7? Can't access network shares? It isn't just you

Nematode

Only another year before they stop fannying around with W7 and then it'll be stable. :)

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

Nematode

I very much doubt a 1968 vinyl is anywhere near what vinyl can actually do technically. Only a few decent labels turned out quality stuff back then, Decca classical being one. Most of my 60's 70's and 80's vinyl just doesn't hack it really, though the odd CD replacement/remaster etc is usually grotesque in its CD-ness

Nematode

Re: Hmm

No, not worried, because on my phone I jave to turn voice recognition on. Which I do occasionally. By mistake. Before turning it off again

Nematode

Re "smart" speakers, I loved the true story the other day about the parrot ordering stuff online from Amazon

Detailed: How Russian government's Fancy Bear UEFI rootkit sneaks onto Windows PCs

Nematode

Re: Wait, what?

And why would a recruiter want your CV in an editable format? Er, oh, I see, they're going to EDIT your carefully put together professional record so that can misrepresent you.

Nematode

How can I find out if I'm vulnerable / protect against it

Had a look around for a non-expert description of how to check if our PCs are vulnerable and if so how to protect them. UEFI discussions get to a mega level of complexity quite rapidly. I was hoping for somethjng like boot-to-bios-configure, check Secure Boot setting, switch it on, sorted. Win 7 Dell Vostro laptops. Cheers in advance!

Error pop-up? Don't worry, let's just get this migration done... BTW it's my day off tomorrow

Nematode

Re. being laid off and still being needed to Fix Stuff, the old joke is

"There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired.

Some time later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine fixed, but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge.

He spent a day studying the issue. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and proudly stated, "That's where your problem is". The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for £50,000 from the engineer for his service. They thought this was steep and demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

The engineer responded with the following account:

Chalk: £1

Knowing where to put it: £49,999

Nematode

With the coming of browser checks for https certificates, and warnings when they are not right / expired / chain broke worrying users who don't understand these things, why do people still insist on migrating their sites to https when they have no data traffic worth encrypting? Don't they realise they are creating themselves huge maintenance headaches? Er, that'll be a "no"

Jingle bells, disk drives sell not so well from today. Oh what fun it is to ride on a one-horse open array...

Nematode

ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE CHRISTMAS SONG PUN HEADLINES !!!!

Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you're sure you yelled STOP!

Nematode

Windows 10? What's that?

Probably you mean like Skype upgrading itself even when you told it not to

College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

Nematode

Ah, Pr1mos. I remember that. Sort of like VMS but a more human friendly interface. Loved the script language. Used to run a program, inspect the output, grab data from it to feed into next program(s) and iterate until solved. Try doing that with "Apps" or even MS's OS-level script language, which I use so often I can't even recall its name. Also let you do shenanigans, like the chasp in this article.

UK taxman told to chill out 'cos loan charge is whacking tax dodgers and whoopsies alike

Nematode

"failing to distinguish between genuine tax avoidance and innocent mistakes". Er, what about folk genuinely in business on their own account and whose employment status for employment rights are "non-employed" when the tax man decides "employed for tax purposes".

Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab

Nematode

Confession time

OK, so, in the days we used to have huge CRT monitors on top of horizontal desktop boxes on the real (wooden) desktop (this was about 1992 or so), keyboard in front, I was also wielding a project data lever-arch file that we also used to use "back then". I managed to whack the CRT with the corner of the lever arch file. I mean, this was a heavy file, and it was a heavy whack. The screen went blank. Oh c*ck, I thought, and thought I had better not do anything but call on the support guys who were very good and one had for exampled secreted some extra memory in there for me once, by getting round "the system". Anyway, aforesaid technie turns up, takes a look at the set-up, leans over, and turns the brightness control up, which was one of the line of controls at the front of the CRT. CRT now working normally. Face red.

That Saudi oil and gas plant that got hacked. You'll never guess who could... OK, it's Russia

Nematode

I recall working (in 1987) for a well known DCS manufacturer who used a semi-proprietary OS. We used to get sales questions from prospective customers asking how secure it was from virus attacks. We used to jokingly say that if anyone could hack in to the OS and get anything to run, we'd probably hire them as a developer, so arcane was the OS and so difficult to get it to actually do what WE wanted it to. Actually, I quite liked the OS as it was so simples

Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait

Nematode

MS should realise that W10 is an OPERATING SYSTEM and not an end in itself. It should be invisible, reliable, secure, bug free, easy to use, give us one or maybe two consistent ways to run programs or change settings, not many many, not steal our data, not force "upgrades" on us and, oh, do what an OS should which is lie there out of sight and let just us run the applications which we're actually using a computer for in the first place. Jeez I had to hack the registry yesterday to export a Powerpoint slide to jpg at a decent resolution. The average user can't even find that fix much less do it. My wife would have simply turned the machine off.

MS need to shift their entire paradigm and realise where they are in the product development curve and just settle for less. Apple is not a lot better, and getting worse. If I could have truly seamless app level compatibility with Linux, I'd be on Mint or Ubuntu like a flash, but unfortunately there are too many real-world mismatches, and the favoured answer of some to "just run Windows in a virtual machine" is also not real world simple. But Linux is not far off the ideal. No wonder it's used for web servers

In Windows 10 Update land, nobody can hear you scream

Nematode

In Windows 7 Update land with Woody's Patch Lady page, no-one can hear you laugh

Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID

Nematode

Sidebar

An amusing and appropriate sidebar advert - Gear, Best

HMRC contractor scores IR35 payout after yet another taxman blunder

Nematode

Again, TG I'm retired. I was never afraid of losing an IR35 case, but Very Afraid of having to fight one. Glad to see what we used to call (in the fledgling PCG as it was then) the nuclear option being rolled out.

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