* Posts by sketharaman

69 posts • joined 6 May 2019

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Samsung: We will remotely brick smart TVs looted from our warehouse

sketharaman

Re: Everybody can do that

True dat. I've heard of banks that brick your car / smartphone if you're late on your car / consumer loan repayments.

https://gtm360.com/blog2/2018/10/12/will-you-wont-you-will-you-wont-you-get-your-blockchain-app/

Zoom incompatible with GDPR, claims data protection watchdog for the German city of Hamburg

sketharaman

Commitment

"Zoom is committed to complying with ... GDPR."

I love the way these guys are always committed to complying with the law but never commit that they comply with the law! Reminds me of the time when I was committed to becoming a billionaire and getting married to a Miss India!

Activist raided by police after downloading London property firm's 'confidential' meeting minutes from Google Search

sketharaman

Re: Met police cybercrime unit ?

Of all the explanations for this incident that I've read in the article and comments, yours is easily the most plausible one:)

sketharaman

Re: Loss of income? Inconvenience?

True but, in the USA, AFAIK, "Probable Cause" is required to get an arrest warrant. Question is, was there probable cause in this incident? Given that the said document was clearly an internal company document, the answer appears to be yes. But, given that it was downloaded from a public domain website, the answer would be no. Tricky as it is, it becomes trickier considering that evidence gathered without probable cause would be inadmissable after the booking / arraignment stage.

Customers warn Gartner of AWS's high-pressure sales tactics in latest verdict on public cloud providers

sketharaman

Cloud Providers Do Access Customer Data

Not FUD in terms of data access. But FUD in terms of anybody caring in USA. Oracle and Salesforce have publicly stated that they will use one customer's data to provide market intelligence to other customers. Although both companies are facing billion dollar lawsuits in EU over this GDPR violation, nobody seems to care about this in their core market in USA. Until the mid 2000s or so, leading US retailer TARGET had its online store on Amazon.com. AFAIK, Netflix still runs on AWS despite the obvious competition from Amazon Prime Video.

sketharaman

Re: Gartner Magic Quadrant

Totally agree. I've been in the IT industry for 35+ years. If there's one constant during that period, it's that CxOs always eat out of Gartner's hands. It's not only in large enterprises but even in the government, as another article on El Reg would suggest: Leeds City Council swallows the Gartner glossary and orders up 'post-modern' ERP in £44m SAP replacement (https://www.theregister.com/2021/08/03/leeds_city_council_erp/).

And it's not just buyers.

Given a choice between landing a Fortune 500 company deal and being featured in the Leader Quadrant of Gartner MQ, I reckon a majority of IT company CEOs would choose the latter.

Jack Dorsey's side hustle – payments outfit Square – acquires buy now pay later darling Afterpay for $29bn

sketharaman

Re: make the financial system more fair, accessible, and inclusive

Banks charge 2-3% MDR and take over the risk of default in payment by credit cardholder ("credit risk"). I can bet that BNPL providers, who charge 4-6% MDR, will also take over the credit risk from the vendor / merchant. Yes, it's too risky but BNPLs are getting a higher slice of the sale to cover their risk. End of the day, NO RISC NO GAIN, as it said on an HP RISC processor T-Shirt back in the day!

India to open-source its Co-WIN national vaccination booking platform

sketharaman

Re: Does TheReg have an Anti-India bias?

Good question! I was about to ask it myself.

WhatsApp sues India over new law requiring ‘traceability’ of messages

sketharaman

Re: Just another draconian government move.

Technically you're right but the government's counter to this approach is, in a country with 450M WhatsApp users, and where stuff gets forwarded literally millions of times, it'd take a very long time to use this approach to trace the original sender, by which time the damage purportedly caused by the message would already be done. So the government is seeking a way to cut to the chase and have a 1-Click way of getting the info. From the government's pov, it's not an unreasonable ask, but, but the way WhatsApp says its app is architected, it will have to "unhaystack" the entire haystack to find the needle, which is obviously anti-privacy.

sketharaman

People use Facebook et al, sharing the data is part of the usage, how is it hypocrisy? It's like saying my ISP knows which websites I visit, so my government should do too.

Microsoft sheds some light on perplexing Outlook blank email incident: Word was to blame

sketharaman

Word & Outlook for HTML

"Word's Web Layout view is little used, and users are only likely to encounter it if they open an HTML document in Word, or foolishly attempt to author web content there and save as HTML."

LOL. Guilty as charged!

I use the combo of Word, Excel and Outlook to compose, mail / merge and deliver my company's monthly email newsletters! Since it had images, Outlook's plain text mode was ruled out. I tried the Rich Text Format but the email occupied the entire width of the screen, which necessitated horizontal scrolling, which was not ideal. So, I was left with the HTML mode. At the time I started this newsletter, I had zero HTML / CSS skills but I was able to compose the mailer template in less than an hour. I've subsequently acquired rudimentary skills in HTML, CSS, MailChimp, and, most recently Amazon SES and I've tried to move my newsletter setup to one of those cloud options. But, for a combination of technical and commercial reasons, nothing has worked out, and I've kept coming back to my original MS Office combo. I know a lot of people think it's foolish to do HTML stuff on MS Word but, for a lot of non-geeks, it's simple. And works. Exhibit A: My newsletter has been going out on the first working day of the month for every month for the past 10 years and counting.

Stuck in R/3verse: East Sussex County Council struggles to move forward with £25m SAP replacement

sketharaman

How custom - good question!

I have spent half my career in ERP and the concept of "how custom?" is a perpetual bone of contention between customers and ERP vendors. This is not only the case with old monolithic ERPs like SAP but also with modern ones. In https://gtm360.com/blog/2020/05/27/when-erp-projects-get-derailed-by-silly-reasons/, I give three examples, including one of SAP-Lidl, where customer felt the extent of customizations was minor, vendor agreed to implement them, and the movies had a sad ending.

Microsoft revokes MVP status of developer who tweeted complaint about request to promote SQL-on-Azure

sketharaman

Re: Bloody Azure

AWS does have onprem, just that it keeps it on the QT.

https://twitter.com/GTM360/status/1301135365798014977

Global pharma firm GSK opens Pandora's Box of its SAP system to find 28,000 variations on a process

sketharaman

Every User ID Is A Variation?

100,000 users, out of which only a subset will enter sales orders. I can believe the "28,000 variations in sales order" figure only if every sales order pathway having a different UserID (or SKU or CustomerID) is treated as a variation.

WordPress core contributor proposes treating Google FLoC as a security vulnerability

sketharaman

Enable or Disable FLoC

Precisely. "We're giving you a way to make money. Enable it" is a godsend. It can never be extortion.

Facebook job ads algorithm still discriminates on gender, LinkedIn not so much

sketharaman

Snakeoil Not Research

What if more women turned off ads than men and are hence seeing fewer ads than men? This study has no way to know that. Claiming bias on the basis of just the information that these researchers can access is a reflection of bias in the study. Besides, when there are thousands of companies that post job ads on Facebook (and LinkedIn), how will a study based on the job ads posted by just two advertisers yield statistically significant results for the entire ad platform?

Amazon claims victory after warehouse workers in Alabama vote to reject union

sketharaman

Election Fraud!

Sore loser! Reminds me of somebody else who claimed election fraud after losing!!

Privacy activist Max Schrems claims Google Advertising ID on Android is unlawful, files complaint in France

sketharaman

Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

Free versus Paid software is a too simplistic argument. There are so many free alternatives to Windows, still Windows has 85% market share of desktop OS market.

Turns out humans are leading AI systems astray because we can't agree on labeling

sketharaman

GIGO

In short, AI suffers from GIGO. zzzzz.

sketharaman

An enlightened explanation of how we got ourselves into this mess

+1. Precisely.

SAP exec reminds the world that Microsoft is a customer

sketharaman

Any Dogfood Is Food Enough

I've been in IT for 30+ years and I've seen dozens of examples of IT companies preaching one thing to the outside world and doing another thing - including "do nothing" - inside. In the mid-1990s, Sun Microsystems was big, created paradigm shift in computing from old mainframe to new client-server architecture, but, for its internal order management system, it used an IBM mainframe! Microsoft has been using SAP ERP since circa 1998 that I know of. At the time, Internet and Intranet were going mainstream and enterprises were in the early stages of extending their applications to end users in self-service mode. Microsoft wanted all its sales and marketing employees to access a certain product / pricing-related functionality processed on SAP. The SOP was to buy licenses for all these folks but, since they numbered in thousands, extending SAP to them would have cost the company tens of millions of dollars. While that was peanuts for Microsoft, we know from history that people with modest means don't have a monopoly over nickel-and-diming. Accordingly, Microsoft allegedly built a frontend in VB and used it to access the information from the SAP backend periodicially and distribute it to the end users. Said VB app counted as just one extra user license of SAP. SAP threatened to sue Microsoft for violation of its EULA by replacing thousands of user licenses with just one. Microsoft countered back, saying it was making very innovative use of Remote Job Execution technology. Memory serves, the lawsuit was settled before it went to / out of court - hopefully for an amount, including lawyers' fees, that was less than the 10s of $M price quoted by SAP for those additional SAP user licenses.

'Business folk often don't understand what developers do...' Twilio boss on the chasm that holds companies back

sketharaman

Software Developer Obfuscation

It's not like all the digital transformation software that moves tech from backoffice to frontoffice is done by coders alone. "Software Developer" is one of the best examples of obfuscation I've ever come across. Coders monopolize the title "Software Developers" although the process of software development involves many roles other than coders e.g. designers, architects, testers.

East London council breaks off 20-year Oracle relationship to shack up with cloud ERP nobodies by year's end

sketharaman

Re: A wise man once told me......

Like all projects, this one will also go thru' The Emotional Cycle of Change (http://ow.ly/Vvdk30rumNp). Right now, it's at the "Uninformed Optimism" stage. By the end of 2020, it will have moved into the "Informed Pessimism" or "Valley of Despair" stages, when we'll really know about those savings!

On another note, the wise man who told you about LEAST BAD is totally right. And not just when it comes to selection exercises. Back in the day, I used to work for a leading IT company in India. We used to tell our customers proudly that our company was rated as the BEST IT company in India by a leading tech publication. Then one long-term customer corrected us by saying it was the LEAST BAD IT company in India! This also seems to be true outside the IT industry. Social media conversation shows that Bank of America is consumer's most favorite bank aka least disliked bank (https://twitter.com/NowYouKnowConf/status/976832880851718145).

Four women seek release from forced arbitration to sue Infosys for widespread gender discrimination

sketharaman

Bullying yes, but Gender Discrimination? Hmmm.

The narrated incident clearly shows bullying was involved. But I didn't find any evidence of gender discrimination. On the contrary, the very fact that a female employee was placed above a male employee in the project team hiearachy suggests the opposite.

Pizza and beer night out the window, hours trying to sort issue, then a fresh pair of eyes says 'See, the problem is...'

sketharaman

you often see what you expect to see, not necessarily what is really there.

True dat. Perhaps this tendency harkens back to the roots of Information Theory. I did a course on this 35 years ago where I studied about 1, 2 and 3 dimensional arrays of the characters of the English alphabet. I vaguely remember that, if you take a given 2-letter combo, say, "ed", there's a very high probability that the next letter is a or e or u, etc. and very low probability that the next letter is b or c or x, etc. Therefore, the English speaker's eyes are conditioned to read the word, say, "edxcated" as "educated" and miss the typo during proof reading. I also remember that compression technology leverages this principle. The sender sends "ed cated", saves one character, and the receiver is easily able to replace the blank character with u on the other side. (Of course, spell check programs would easily be catch this typo).

Facebook appeals ruling that it stole tech. So, Italian judge issues new judgment: Pay 10 times the original fine

sketharaman

Re: Only an order of magnitude?

LOL. Reminds me of the closing line of FORTUNE magazine's article on Archer Daniels Midland lysine price fixing scandal in the mid 1990s:

“Not only does crime pay, it’s just the cost of doing business.”

Excel is for amateurs. To properly screw things up, those same amateurs need a copy of Access

sketharaman

Access or SQL Server or SAP HANA - Bugs Never Go Away

Why single out Access? Bugs happen in Inventory - and lot of other places - even in SQL Server, Oracle, HANA, etc.

An ERP vendor that used SQL Server found that the software failed to update the stock status automatically after material was issued from the warehouse. Engineering said it would take a couple of quarters to fix the problem. Obviously Sales couldn't stop for six months, so it devised its own workaround. During demos to prospective customers, the presales consultant would raise a Delivery Challan on the system and shout "We have raised a Delivery Challan for 30 units" twice or thrice. More than a few prospects used to wonder why the presales consultant was so excited about such a mundane transaction. Little did they know that his or her voice had to carry over to the next room where a developer would run a SQL Query to manually update the stock by 30 units!

Coming to SAP HANA, there's this well documented horror story where German retailer Lidl wrote off €500M because the database couldn't handle a change in Inventory Valuation from Selling Price (SAP's standard) to Purchase Price (Lidl's requirement).

What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases

sketharaman

VBA implicated yet?

Totally agree. I'm not a techie, although I work in tech industry. In circa 1995, I developed a model in Excel to forecast input costs of various components used in a PC. As a sales guy, my objective was to tighten my costing and, hence, pricing so that I could improve my win rates on government tenders. I used ODBC on my Excel worksheet to fetch historical cost data from a mainframe-based inventory management system. I did have to spend an hour or two to learn lookup, pivot table, and other advanced features of Excel but I didn't - anyway couldn't - write a single line of code. It took me a week to develop and test the spreadsheet. When it was ready, it worked as advertised. Our win rate on government tenders went up, which was precisely the purpose of the model. My Excel model became the talk of the company and many others used it for similar purposes in their own LOBs.

Over the subsequent 25 years, I've had the need for a similar forecasting model a few times, including as recently as last month. Everytime, I've gone to techies as the first port of call to get it developed the "proper way" i.e. with some programming language on some database. Everytime, I've been told it will take "awhile", which is techie-speak for "get lost" to an exec whom they can't rebuff bluntly. If I had to redo such a forecasting model on a tight deadline today, I'd still use Excel. Yeah I know it's 2020 but c'est la vie. Excel is the oldest "no-code" platform I know!

It's not only me. Per anecdata, 70% of Fortune 500 companies have ERP but 90% of them use Excel to prepare reports for their Board of Directors!

SAP S/4HANA rollout at Queensland Health went so well that hospitals bent over backwards to avoid using it

sketharaman

When Is An ERP Project A Success?

The update at the end of the article reminded me of a CIO article which reported a sharp increase in percentage of companies that rated their ERP project a success. Key reason for miraculous rise of the figure from 58% in 2015 to 88% in 2019: Companies define sucess as "whatever they get" in order to avoid reputational damage arising out of failure.

Amazon bean-counter, her husband, father-in-law cough up $2.6m after SEC collars them on insider-trading rap

sketharaman

Victimless Crime

As long as a stock is liquid, which $AMZN surely is, somebody is always buying that stock and somebody else is always selling it. It's immaterial that one out of the thousands of buyers bought the stock because s/he had inside information that the stock price would increase. As long as the seller who sold the stock to that buyer did not have inside information, s/he can't claim any loss - s/he was anyway selling the stock. That's why they call insider trading a "Victimless Crime".

Dell cuts jobs again... which in Dell-speak is 'addressing cost structure to make sure we’re competitive'

sketharaman

Re: Computerless Cloud

...because cloud providers don't need DELL computers. ICYMI, the AWSes and Azures of the world tend to buy servers and other computer equipment from relatively unbranded companies, and not from DELL. While cloud is not a challenge for computers, it's definitely a major challenge for DELL - and HPE, Lenovo, and other onprem computer gear suppliers.

Server buyers ask Lenovo for made-in-Mexico models instead of Chinese kit

sketharaman

Nutanix for Lenovo

What exactly is the locus standi of Nutanix's VP to talk about Lenovo? What makes him so confident that he can make assurances like "Lenovo will go out of its way to make sure the customer is happy” on behalf of another company?

Infosys to hire 12,000 more Americans – especially the cheapest ones it can find

sketharaman

Striking the Balance

Great question! Especially when the cost against quality is a non-linear scale. I've been in IT for 20+ years. In my experience, if it costs $X to get 70% of a software right, it costs another $X to go to 95% and yet another $X to reach near 100% quality. Quite often, project sponsors forget this and assume that they can go from 95% to 100% by incurring just 5% of the project cost, which is why some software never reaches 100% quality. https://twitter.com/s_ketharaman/status/1181955118482313217 . Also, different usage scenarios needs different levels of quality. https://twitter.com/GTM360/status/1264896602822578178

Google, Amazon pass on UK Digital Services Tax by hiking ad prices, fees at same rate the government takes

sketharaman

Move on nothing to see.

Taxes are always passed on to customers. Nothing to see move on.

Outage: Faulty UPS at data centre housing London Internet Exchange causes grief for ISPs and telcos alike

sketharaman

OMG, this is close - next door to my ex-house in Meridian Place E14 9FF!

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

sketharaman

SEPT2 ... automatically formatted to 2-Sep.

Nope. Excel autoformats the numeral as year, not day. SEPT2 becomes 1-Sep-2002, not 2-Sep.

Someone made an AI that predicted gender from email addresses, usernames. It went about as well as expected

sketharaman

I once wished for an algo to predict a person's religion from their name and email to ascertain whether it was appropriate to send them a Diwali Greeting. https://gtm360.com/blog/2014/01/24/how-a-small-problem-in-mail-merge-leads-to-a-big-lesson-about-content-marketing/. I never dreamt that it was so damn hard to just predict gender. On a side note, this tool claims to predict gender from email addresses and usernames. All examples that have busted the tool have words like stupid, women, etc. TBH, while whatever has happened to this tool has happened, I can't think of any email addresses or usernames with these words. In other words, I find these tests dubious. Twitter works like Twitter but no rigorous testing methodology for this tool will use such test cases.

India drops the bar on e-commerce seller's listings: You want to sell it? Tell us where it came from from then

sketharaman

"Inform people in case they go Chinese and ignore self-sufficiency drive". This is the first I'm hearing about this. Since it's in the title, I'm assuming this is a provision under the new law. How exactly are ecommerce companies supposed to do that informing? By simply declaring China as Country of Origin and leaving it to people to draw the inference by themselves or do they need to flash some banner at the point of purchase saying "traitor" or something like that?

Machine-learning models trained on pre-COVID data are now completely out of whack, says Gartner

sketharaman

They say past results are no guarantee of future performance. Then they use AI/ML systems to improve future performance. But these systems can't work unless they're trained on past data. #GoFigure

ServiceNow slammed for 'tone deaf' letter telling customers contracts can't be tweaked as COVID-19 batters businesses

sketharaman

Re: @Chris Hills - Are you telling me

Having been a part of the vendor sales team, that's exactly how it works. Totally agree - except for the word "implantation" unless you meant "implementation". But there's also another side to it. Large customers take 3-6 months to whet and sign contracts whereas their CxOs put pressure on vendor to start work immediately. Ergo, we end up where we end up. This hasn't changed in my last 20 years of experience in software sales and marketing.

sketharaman

Re: Legal?

Extremely well said: "as I've learned from painful life experience, people don't want to be educated on the negatives of their decisions; either they learn it themselves or they don't wish to learn about them at all."

Indian app that deleted Chinese apps from Androids deleted from Play Store

sketharaman

Re: What horrid security Android has to allow this in the first place

I have installed and used this app. It does not delete anything. The app only lists apps it calls China apps. It gives me the option to delete the listed apps. If I don't exercise that option, the apps remain on my phone. It's just like many other storage management apps like CCleaner.

sketharaman

Re: Remove China Apps

OIC I didn't know that!

Wipro names new CEO: Former Capgemini COO Thierry Delaporte

sketharaman

Western India ....

When I worked in WIPRO in the late 1980s, we were told the full form is WESTERN INDIA VEGETABLE PRODUCTS, after the company's origin in Bombay in western India, trading and later manufacturing of soaps and "vanaspati" (hydrogenerated vegetable oil). I just Googled, I see that the "vegetable" has been dropped but otherwise it's the same. I don't think WIPRO ever had Palm Oil as a part of its name.

US cable subscribers are still being 'ripped off' by creeping price increases – and this lot has had enough

sketharaman

What Is Cable TV?

By now I thought "Cord Cutters" would have killed Cable TV?

Uber plans to ride out of stable Singapore, move APAC HQ to high-tension Hong Kong

sketharaman

Uber & Regulatory Gaps

I was curious about Uber's legality status in Hong Kong. Apparently, it's not legal enough for having rider protections and insurances as a rider would get with licensed taxi, so it's a case of "caveat rider". Just the type of "regulatory gap" that Uber has thrived on in many other cities it operates. What can go wrong in HK, eh?

$500bn fewer greenbacks to be forked out on IT in 2020 due to... well, you know what

sketharaman

Yes. Gartner's forecasts about tech are generally more accurate than Imperial College of London's forecasts about epidemics.

Twitter sticks a beak in, Clippy-style: Are you sure you want to set your account alight with that flame?

sketharaman

You can certainly edit a tweet

Didn't think they kept a screenshot of the punchcard back in the day...

Google says no more shady anonymous web ads – if you want your billboard up, you've got to show us some valid ID

sketharaman

Google Knows!

I run a marketing solutions company and we've been buying Google Ads for over 10 years. Of course, Google knows the identity of the Advertiser. If Google wanted to, it can also verify some or all of the ID by using the bank account or credit card information submitted by the Advertiser. (For the uninitiated, it's impossible to set up a Google Ads account without adding at least one funding source). But what Google is doing with its new measure, I'm guessing, is seeking additional info like incorporation location, making the advertiser info public, and simultaneously giving a chance to the advertiser to clean up their accounts, if required, and submit the info regarding name, address, incorporation location etc. that they want their prospects and customers to know them by. For example, when I set up my Google Ads account, it was in my personal name. Even if I subsequently run my company ads on the same account, it doesn't matter since the ID is between me and Google. But, if my ID is going to be shown to the public, I'd rather change the name to my company name, which is how I want my ad to be seen.

New York Attorney General probes Charter over claims it forced staff to work in offices amid coronavirus pandemic

sketharaman

Onsite or Remote?

Having spent a good part of my career in sales and marketing, I appreciate the advantages of F2F interactions but remote working becomes necessary some times. And I'm not even talking about the current pandemic situation. A decade or two ago, my company was doing a multiyear-long IT transformation project for a Top 5 UK Bank. The HQ and Dev teams were in London whereas the Ops team was in Manchester. It so happened that the Manchester premises was new and extremely short of space. There were only 3 meeting rooms for a total staff strength of 3500 people. Our counterparts in Manchester told us there was no chance of securing a meeting room, so we'd do all our ops work remotely from London. Then one day, the proverbial s**t hit the proverbial f*n in our software and the matter got escalated to the Head of the SBU. This gentleman was one of those guys who read emails after his PA printed them out. To put it mildly, he was a bit skeptical about technology tools even though he was heading a business that was almost entirely driven by technology. When he saw us in his office in London, he shouted at us, asking what the heck we were doing in London when there was a fire in Manchester. We tried telling him about space constraints in Manchester but nothing worked. Long story short, a team of five of us took a Virgin Pendolino from Euston, reached Manchester, entered the office, as expected couldn't find a free meeting room, sat wherever we could find a seat, dialed in to the same bridge that we'd have dialed in from London. Big boss was happy. Who cares about a few thousands of pounds wasted on train tickets and hotel rooms, eh?

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