* Posts by Fred Daggy

232 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Sep 2018

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RIP Fred 'Mythical Man-Month' Brooks: IBM guru of software project management

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Holmes

Re: Man-month

Is an Oracle/Fujitsu that the time from when a CIO first picks up a Gartner Report to when

a, the last lawsuit is concluded for the non-delivery of the project, or

b, last management mouth-breather responsible for the failure is promoted,

c, the article hits El Reg, or

d, all of the above?

Boss broke servers with a careless bit of keyboarding, leaving techies to sort it out late on a Sunday

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: Bosses shouldn't touch stuff...

Does "Drop Database" on a production database count?

Mastered SQL and the Backup software in a day. Promptly forgot MSSQL in the quest for sanity.

Low code is no replacement for software development, say German-speaking SAP users

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
WTF?

Bah Humbug

Inevitably if end users are given the chance to automate something, it is only a trivial few out of thousands that will spend the time to do it.

Reason: they just want to get it done and move on to the next thing. Sort of like IT staff, really. Even if, over the long hall it could be done and result in a net time saving. Time is of the essence.

Most of the time, its one person with one itch to scratch. Once the business realises they can save time, THEN, there is some chance the process might be started. But, never, ever, will it be end users themselves doing it, they will palm it off to IT.

Picking up a new skill, like coding, is something only driven by business imperative. For some, even thinking logically like this is a new field. And for a great many, thinking is something new. If you think users will flock to low-code solutions, ask yourself "How many users still manually add up columns of data in Excel".

FAA wants pilots to be less dependent on computer autopilots

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Mushroom

1 set of computers for the boring bits

1 meatbag to step in when it gets interesting

1 meatbag to watch the other meatbag for the stuff that is likely to have a documentary made about it

JWST snaps first chemical profile of an exoplanet atmosphere

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: Pie-eating

Probably want to blow on the plasmafied cake first. It might be a bit hot and burn the roof of your mouth.

Time Lords decree an end to leap seconds before risky attempt to reverse time

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: Cop Out

Actually, some of the time, it splits a word and put some of it at the end of the sentence, and some of it as the second word - and other places. But it is still (nominally) one word.

HP Inc to lay off up to 6,000 staff, cut costs by $1.4 billion

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: what still surprises me is

Probably, more like cut as close to the bone as possible, then a little more. Those with the snouts in the trough get the info before the mug punters. First wiff of bad news, cash out and RUN.

UK competition watchdog investigates Apple and Google 'stranglehold' over the mobile market

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Unhappy

Re: Shortsighted oversight :/

Point of order, guv.

You point stands, but it's not if there are 10,000 users. But are those 10,000 users going to pay? I recall a study that suggested that the Apple ecosystem is so powerfull it generates money, a lot/enormous/huge $$$$ for Apple, but also there is still some for devs and other members of the eco system. If it's Andriod, well, all the money stays with Google. Handset manufacturers make pennies and devs, not a brass razoo.

Andriod handsets are cheaper, simply because there are so many more manufacturers competing. But cheap attracts cheap. Very few users pay for the apps. So, the major revenue stream is ads. And who sells the ads on the platform? (Clue, starts with a G).

Apple, well, if you're not poor (hackers aside), you don't buy Andriod, you buy Apple. And it's priced accordingly. Slightly (trivially?) more people pay for apps in the eco system, but it's 99% ads all the way.

1 billion users doesn't mean anything if there isn't a revenue stream attached.

Artemis I isn't just a test run – there's science to be done

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: such as spacecraft orientation [...] through simple voice commands

Only if it goes to 11.

World Cup apps pose a data security and privacy nightmare

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Pint

Re: App Stores

Just wait until you watch Test Cricket (unless it's a greentop pitch)!

Tension and interest doesn't come just from scoring. No sport is interesting when the scores are lopsided and unless there is a "personal interest story", there won't be. Conversely, it's easy to manufacture tension when the scores are close - even between the two worst teams in the competition.

Icon, because SWMBO will never join me at the cricket and I get a chance to enjoy one or two in moderation. (Cell phones have put an end to any chance of peace and tranquility though)

The world was promised 'cloud magic'. So much for that fairy tale

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Public cloud is not your Datacenter

I don't consider myself a rack-hugger, I just want to provide a service. However, it's not as simple as you claim. You ask for Cap-Ex to expand your on-premises capacity, and it needs to go through a whole approval process. I think minimum in our chain is 9 people, and normally about 11. Meanwhile your request sits and waits.

If you time the request right, just after some capacity is purchased, it can be provisioned quickly. Otherwise, Infrastructure group gets the blame but Management is the root cause.

The cloud can help with the agility aspect. And it can provide some insight in cost. But it's not a magic bullet. I don't think anyone would apportion out the cost of an individual cloud router, probably just a portion of the "infrastructure". (Dilbert, ca1999: Infrastructure is what everyone wants but no one wants to pay for)

Lift and shift of static workloads is by far the worst way to go cloud. Refactoring applications to take advantage of cloud elasticity is the way to go. Or SAAS.

Now, with our Change Advisiory Board, we have 10 steps of IT approvals to get, as well as 10 financial approvals, just to provision a server in the cloud. There is not a thing on the planet that can't be made worse by Management.

Gelsinger takes ax to Intel after chip sales slump, profit nosedives

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Did Executive compensation take a hit?

Did Executive compensation take a hit? Because ... colour me surprised, staff are taking a hit.

FWIW, there are only 5 rejuvenation plans in business:

1 - First, cut staff. This is done in 100% of cases.

2 - If the organisation is centralised, de-centralise (aka agility). However, if the business is already decentralised, centralise it.

3 - Buy competitors.

4 - Outsource core competencies until they are no longer yours or deliver any actual advantage.

5 - Do NOT touch Executive compensation.

Voyager mission's project scientist retires after 50 years of service

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Pint

Nobel Prize

Can the Nobel Prize be awarded to a team? Because this team definately deserve one. Each.

One of the finest achievements of humankind.

Firefox points the way to eradicating one of the rudest words online: PDF

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: I don't mind PDFs

Yes, yes ... you can read them on any device.

Whether that it something you'd want to do is another thing. Tried doing that on the phone? Not pleasant. Scroll, scroll, "crap", zoom out, zoom in, scroll scroll scroll. E-readers - with e-ink? Pretty much hopeless as the more complex the document, the harder it is to convert.

And lets not forget the Letter versus A4 wars that battle themselves wherever a "PC Load Letter" sign is blinking, and beeping. The document is NOT the same, even if automagic resizing takes place. Die PDF, Die.

Not having read the spec, i'd wager PDF has no concept of a paragraph. That would probably make the whole thing a lot easier for everyone. Or it's not implemented in any meaningful way.

Bias toward office staff will cost you: Your WFH crew could walk, say execs

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Angel

Re: You can't measure knowledge work

That's stupid. Claim that you found 1 hour to optimise the process and then do a few other things. Then, when next questioned, say you found another way to shave 1 hour off the process.

Each time there will be pats on the back for improved performance. Job gets done. Boss feels happy, Productivity improves and worker gets promoted (maybe).

Do NOT ever tell anyone how much you optimised the process on the first go.

Firefox 106 will let you type directly into browser PDFs

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Unhappy

PDF Must Die

PDF. What's not to hate?

Implicit assumption is that your at a Desk/Laptop. Using PDF browser of choice. All looks the same? Well mostly the same because A4 and Letter aren't the same. Will be Letter on my screen but I may need to print it to A4 paper. Cue "PC Load Letter". Most software is getting smarter about this, but, not all. But there will still be a difference.

But what if you're not at a desk. But using a phone, or even a smaller tablet. One is reduced to endless bouts of scroll, zoom in, scroll a little, zoom out. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

99.99% of all PDF documents do not convert well, to say, an e-reader. Unwrapping lines is at best a guess - "Anything over x% of a full line width indicates end of paragraph".

And really, it is just useless if one wants to automate a workflow. But, seems to have been pressed in to service to fit this use case. Most people have no idea how to make editable fields. (See also para 1, above)

I just hates it.

Brexit dividend? 'Newly independent' UK will be world's 'data hub', claims digital minister

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Meh

If the data protection provisions in the UK are weakened, then I just won't leave me personal data there. I won't do business with any business in the UK that does not abide by the GDPR (or stronger) and leaves my data in the UK.

I say this as a non-UK resident and citizen. So, UK businesses lose out.

THAT, is the real dividend of Brexit.

Tetchy trainee turned the lights down low to teach turgid lecturer a lesson

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Pint

I handwrite copious amounts of notes on things I am studying. But, there is a rule: Fast, Accurate, Readable. Pick any 2.

Depends upon the subject matter and the speed of the lecturer. Some have just wizzed through with barely a thought to the student. Others take time and one can take in the topic - and make notes. Not always the SME the best one to teach in a classroom environment.

Or better still, go the Open University route and largely drop the lecturer and give the student ample material to draw their own conclusion from.

In Rust We Trust: Microsoft Azure CTO shuns C and C++

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: ...been developing its own cloud-oriented memory safe programming language ...

v5 telemetary added

v6 compulsory registration added before wheel could be activated. Also allows chat with other wheel users

v7 use of wheel downhill now requires optional micropayment

v8 wheel is no longer available to purchase but as pay-as-you-go

Excel's comedy of errors needs a new script, not new scripting

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: Who is to blame?

Trust me, it isn't the IT that wants this. It the Business Manglement that wants this.

Simply, cost. If a project can be stalled by the beur ... beuar ... business civil service, then that has saved the company some money in avoided expense. 2 logical fallacies for the price of one.

It does take time and money to do something right. It takes a lot more time and money to document "what is right" so that when the next Excel guru throws in the towel, the next one can stumble on a bit. And there's the rub of it.

Appeals court already under fire for upholding Texas no-content-moderation law

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: Violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause

This, and the various Texas court districts supporting patent trolls, is probably proof that Texas is beyond corrupt. Probably beyond saving, too.

US throws millions at AI to diagnose diseases by the sound of your voice

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Pint

Re: I have a bad feeling about this

"Here I am with a brain the size of a planet and they ask me to pick up a piece of paper. Call that job satisfaction? I don't."

I'd say that is a pretty recognisable symptom.

The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: "The OS companies have insulated themselves from user pain"

I would almost (no, I actually won't) forgive the ribbon, if one could just move the freaking ribbon to the right or the left.

Start bar was movable, so should the ribbon. I have SO much screen real estate on a big monitor, but it's wide. As has been nearly every monitor for the last decade or more. But NO, we are going to use only the real estate at the top of the screen, forcing me to scroll around my document. Placing it conveniently to the side would let me actually see both my document and then play pin the tail on the ribbon option.

AI detects 20,000 hidden taxable swimming pools in France, netting €10m

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: If it steers boots on the ground to double check

"Looks around".

Please let me know if you ever get it.

Microsoft fixes Windows 'idiosyncrasy' that hampered some SMB file transfers

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: "Now we just assume if you try to compress, you want to compress."

The user is boss.

But I have seen with dd and tar and gzip that compression does not always lead to faster transfer times. Might have been a move to prevent the user shooring themselves in the foot. But, I agree that the user should be allowed to do this.

Germany orders Sept 1 shutdown of digital ad displays to save gas

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Mushroom

Funnily enough, France declined to test in Metropolitan France, but instead DID test in the South Pacific. I think there is a lesson in there somewhere.

FTC presses ahead in its war on 'free' Turbo Tax

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

I would replace "could" with "should". Who knows, perhaps an easy to use system would actually make it easier to be honest and MORE taxes would be collected? Some people will lie no matter what. Honest people should not be punished for being honest, eg a million hoops just to do the right thing.

Zoom patches make-me-root security flaw, patches patch

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Re: Basic security principles were vehemently ignored

And people look at me crazy when i tell them to disable all auto-update functionality in any program for corporate deployment. BEFORE it hits the desktop. Why go to that trouble - they think?

1 - Buggy updates. You wanna wipe out the company with one fouled update that leaves the program stone dead, removes critical functinality, is a known vulnerable or hoses the PC? Go ahead.

2 - Buggy updaters. Seems like this is the poster child. But it can just be that it doesn't realise the user does not have privlidges to actually perform the update. Or just that they site their consuming memory. The worst updaters have a process for each user that logged on to the PC!

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Unhappy

I remember Flash

Is Zoom the new "Flash player" of security vulnerabilities?

Our software is perfect. If something has gone wrong, it must be YOUR fault

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: '...own web-hosted user community forums...'

Sounds like the mid-00 IBM web site. Never the same link worked twice. Especially for anything to do with ServeRaid. It was FAR FAR easier to use a site specific google search than IBMs own.

Still far too many web sites like this now days. And a bit of Google-fu and one can search all the web sites. This of course, on the work PC, through a VPN. Because at home it is only DDG.

Google tells Apple to 'fix text messaging' in bid to promote RCS protocol

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Unhappy

Let's see who is for and against it.

More than the money side, let's see who is for and against it.

If the US is for it (one will probably hear more from backwards Southern states) - "think of the kids", then it is probably secure. Or they are showing their ignorance, or both.

If the evil dictator de jour is for it, or not against it - it probably is open to everyone that asks Google for info. If the evil dictator de jour is against it, it probably means it has good enough security (one's definition of security can vary to the next persons')

If the UK security agencies are against it, it is probably barred TO THEM. I assume they can also as Uncle Sam and Google nicely.

If the EU are against it on privacy ground, i will assume it leaks like a sieve.

I am sure a matrix or decision tree can be made of this.

Major IT outage forces UK emergency call handlers to use 'pen and paper'

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Pint

Re: Per Ardua....

I find the number 0118 999 881 999 119 725 ... 3 quite snappy. Never needed it in real life but worked well in an emergency drill.

DuckDuckGo says Hell, Hell, No to those Microsoft trackers after web revolt

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: full blocks would be added against Redmond.

Pretty sure that DDG share of the search market would be statistical noise. And even if it wasn't, the other 96% of users would yield much better returns for search companies.

Bing because it's there by default on the default browser on the dominant Operating System. Google because it's a verb and a noun. DDG - well, one has to know what they are going and go out of they way.

Turning off Javascript, using a reasonable blocker for the rate exception and DDG. That's probably about 99.9% sorted. Avoid Amazon and Facebook. However, I am sure something will leak out at some point.

IBM board probes claims of fudged sales figures that led to big bonuses for execs

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Devil

If you have no interest, you only have a tickbox "yes" or "no".

If you have an interest, you have a much more detailed form to fill out that gives one much more creative ways to bend the truth. At least, that is how it works at our company.

Samsung boss likely to be pardoned for bribery

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

As a matter of principle, no one should be above the law. This is a bad precedent.

I'd say the laws that Lee Jae-yong are alleged to have broken are now useless. Of course, not everyone will be rich enough to buy their way out of trouble like Lee.

Your job was probably outsourced for exactly the reason you suspected

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
FAIL

I can completely understand what you have seen. Living it right at the moment.

Warm bodies are being placed on every project. However, they don't actually do anything apart from ask a lot of questions that were answered during knowledge transfer. So instead of one competent person looking after around 20 systems. We have 5 looking after 1 system. HOwever, so long as they have ticked the box marked "not us", they are happy. Actually solving the customer's problem is not in their remit.

Time to touch ticket has plummeted. Time to resolve issue has ballooned.

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Trollface

Re: Realistic rates

Agreed, the east can be much cheaper than the west.

However, what happens is often the top of the market (west) is compared to the bottom of the market (east) because, looks prettier in Excel. Show the most POTENTIAL cost savings. However, if you want quality, east or west, it is going to cost you. It could cost less in the east. But we know that bean-counters have no column for quality in their spreadsheet.

It is only after years of sustained failure and success by accident, not by strategy, that the ACTUAL COSTS start to reveal themselves. However, by this time, everyone involved has collected their bonus and promotion out the door.

Google, Oracle cloud servers wilt in UK heatwave, take down websites

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Coat

Re: My airport is melting

Don't worry, the Minister for Administrative Affairs has a meeting at the Qumrani embassy soon, he'll be able to advise after that.

India's central bank calls for cryptocurrency ban

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Devil

Actually, many countries now place limits on the amount of cash in a single transaction. And contractual terms can override the presumption that cash can be used to settle debts. (Depending upon where you are, of course). If the contract is silent on the matter, then, cash is king.

You need to RTFM, but feel free to use your brain too

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Mushroom

Apocryphal story that did the rounds a while back about the Victorian (Austalian state) Police pulling up a car on the freeway belonging to the Worksafe Authority, for speeding. Cop wanders over and give the drive a find for $Au100 worth of beer vouchers. Ouch. Reason: Exceeding the speed limit.

"Fair cop gov" and no hard feelings.

Work Saftey Officer dons high-vis vest, leaves car and hands Plod $Au350 find for operating in a dangerous area (side of freeway) without appropriate protective clothing. To wit: One high-vis vest.

Justice served.

Watch a RAID rebuild or go to a Christmas party? Tough choice

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: Another old

Point of order, it does nothing to stop them from throwing you under the bus. What is means is that you can throw them under a faster, and heavier bus when they do it.

Of course, the next level up will then just ask "why didn't you escalate?" - thereby throwing both PHB and you under a bus so big it can be mistaken for a "B" ark.

If you do ask, I believe Murphy was an optimist.

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

Re: Another old

Next step is to get old and cranky and to start to learn the management lingo.

Throw in terms like "preventative maintenance schedule cycle" and "service delivery optimisation alignment window" and you will have your planned maintenance in a few seconds. A few meaningless graphs of before and after and you're half way to a promotion to PHB.

Take the day off: Windows Autopatch is live and can even fix cloudy PCs

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

But, but, but .... there's three links in this chain.

1 - Bad patches from the source. Eg, insufficiently tested patches issued by Microsoft.

2 - Local Server that, with certain configurations, has TB of disk space caching patches and a DB that does not normally perform in any way optimally. (This is what MS are providing here). I wonder how this assists with the telemetry, i mean spying, I mean enhanced marketing experience? As bad as this is, it normally at least works.

3 - A WSUS client that falls over at the drop of a hat. That MS even had to write a support service to try and fix it.

Fix 1 and 3, THEN have a look at 2, please Microsoft.

Marriott Hotels admits to third data breach in 4 years

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Pint

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action” Ian Fleming

I'd argue that the enemy in this case is top management. A deliberate and considered lack of competant action. I smell a lawsuit that might take the company AND the directors down.

Beer icon, but really deserves Beer and Popcorn. I will enjoy watching the fallout from this - to serve as a warning to others.

Getting that syncing feeling after an Exchange restore

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

MSBackup that was installed with NT4 was overwritten by an "Exchange aware" version, on the local machine. It could cope with an online backup. But, backing up, say, a mapped network drive of the Exchange Server was a no-no. I saw that surprisingly often, as it was one of the ways that things could happen in those days.

Of course, the remote version of MSBackup would not have been able to cope.

Offline Backup was of course, the dogs unmentionables.

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
FAIL

Much like Financial Controller of anonymous company "ACME Corp". New iphone fired up, restored from iPhone backup, sync with Exchange - killed every meeting in the calendar. Most contacts lost things like birth dates and email addresses.

Restore of the iPhone overwrote all the details in the Exchange calendar and contacts with its own copy. Meetings were still there, but without an attendence list to know who called it, who had accepted and who hadn't. No attachments either so documents were lost. Because they weren't on the file server. Also, company info, birthdates, addresses were all shorn from their owner. Business contacts of a lifetime that the Bean Counter could no longer send a birthday card too. Oh the humanity.

Cue CIO now racing to yours truly to do an urgent mailbox restore. To which I replied - you know that server that finance knocked back, that we could have restored the tape too? Yeah, that's where we would have space for the Exchange server - unless you want to take us offline for a week. Without it, we can't do it. 3 month lead time.

The perfect crime – undone by the perfect email backups

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Big Brother

Re: Heh. A classic.

I think that that highlights one of the problems of Exchange. It is so often used as a substitue to do "X" where "X" is some sort of records keeping system, or documentation system.

Our entire sourcing department used to use their Exchange mailboxes to store ALL their interactions with suppliers. Massive trees of folders that would more often than not cause Outlook to fall over. Massive problems with covering holidays and personnel changes as huge (for the time) data sets were moved.

This one department used about 80% of the Exchange space with 2% of the personnel. We started recharging departments by weighted mailbox size, at which point they moved the mailboxes to the local hard disk (PST files). Exchange problem solved but another nightmare scenario presents itself.

The correct solution is of course a CRM or SRM product. We even had JDE modules for this.

IT was nearly as bad but we adopted Wikis, then Confluence as the tool of choice for the documentation task as soon as they became moderately viable. The rest of the company is moving over to Sharepoint online. However, mostly they just use word files and convert to PDF and publish that. Not realising that these could be all versioned properly with an audit trail - or perhaps that is what they DON'T want.

(Need Riker and Picard double facepalm here)

Oracle shrinks on-prem cloud offering in both size and cost

Fred Daggy Bronze badge
Unhappy

Smells bad from a distance AND up close

Beware of Oracle bearing gifts.

If you didn't store valuable data, ransomware would become impotent

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

... and that not everyone lives in "some state" or "Canada", but somewhere else entirely.

Engineer sues Amazon for not covering work-from-home internet, electricity bills

Fred Daggy Bronze badge

In Switzerland, the cost of public transport is claimable. And is car where it would save more than 1 hour each way or was outside of sociable hours

Private car commutes, where a socially acceptable public transport route exists are NOT claimable.

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