* Posts by neilo

69 publicly visible posts • joined 25 May 2019


Windows 3.11 trundles on as job site pleads for 'driver updates' on German trains


Re: Improvement?

You can buy new MS-DOS compatible hardware here: https://nixsys.com/legacy-computers/ms-dos-computers

They also sell built Windows 98 machines etc.

Will anybody save Linux on Itanium? Absolutely not


This story reminds me of ESR's commentary "The Italic Disaster" (http://www.catb.org/~esr/halloween/halloween9.html#itanium)

Very old, and told with a focus on SCO.

How much to clean up a ransomware infection? For Rackspace, about $11M


There's a world of difference between "the email stopped working for a day" and "you assholes fucked up so bad that all my emails have been stolen by a 3rd party".

As a former Rackspace customer caught up in this very mess, I'm happy to see the lawsuits taking aim at this.

Apple swipes left on the last Touch Bar Mac, replaces it with a pricier 14″ model


Kinda nice... until it failed

I had one on my 2018 MBP. It was ok; as the author said, it was a nice idea but the software let it down.

My biggest problem with it was how it failed near the power button / Touch ID sensor: maybe an eights of the display just dead. The touch part still worked; I just couldn't see anything - and this was where the volume control was located. Took it to Apple, and they said maybe a grand to fix it, as the whole top plat of the machine needed to be replaced (how I cursed Jon Ivey and his "screw the customer, glue everything down" attitude). My wife and I couldn't justify spending the much money on a computer we both agree would be replaced within 18 months (the M1s were on the horizon), so I left it.

Microsoft is checking everyone's bags for unsupported Office installs


Death to subscriptions

Maybe - just maybe - they will discover that people are sick of subscriptions. And maybe they will learn that we want something that will run stabily and not subject to constant change. Like, for example, Outlook 365 seems to have UI changes on a daily basis: the calendar button is at the bottom of the Accounts / mailbox tree - nope; it's now taking up room in it's own column on the LH side - wait a minute, it's back at the bottom of the screen. Etc.

Being one of the 1% sucks if you're a Rackspace user


Re: "Rackspace has recovered all of the PST files on the compromised servers"

My understanding is that they are doing some sort of automated extraction. It can be done… but it ain’t fast, and if the database is corrupted it won’t be 100% accurate either.

The contempt Rackspace has shown for customers is unbelievable. Yesterday, for the first time since this dumpster fire was lit, I received an email from Rackspace telling my that pst files may soon be available, but it may only be a partial recovery.

What. A. Joke.

Rackspace is dead to me now. I managed to recover > 95% of emails and moved on.

Carmack quits Meta, brands it inefficient and unprepared for competition


Always watch the smart people

For decades, it's been almost a law of Silicon Valley to locate the smart people and follow what are doing. When the smart people start to converge at a single company, expect great things. When smart people move away from a company, expect it to flounder.

Carmack is definitely one of the smart people, and his leaving Meta / Facebook / whatever tells a story way beyond his words.

On the 12th day of the Rackspace email disaster, it did not give to me …


Re: So where are the backups?

Many years ago, I worked at a company who had set up shiny new VM Ware systems and a huge (for the day) SAN. Exchange 2008 (I think) had been spun up and the Exchange 2003 migration was happening as expected: completely transparently and seamlessly. Until, of course, it didn't: the new drive for the mailbox database hadn't been provisioned big enough, and the transfer (and server) fell over. "Don't worry," said our new hire who brandished his Microsoft certifications, "I can deal with this". And off into the server room he strode.

"FUCK!!!!!!" came the scream a few minutes later. Instead of expanding the drive, a very simple process in VM Ware, he had accidentally deleted the mailstore drive. Now we were in trouble: email was not flowing because the old 2003 server was in the process of being decommissioned, and maybe 50% of the mailboxes had been transferred to the new (now deleted) system and were gone from the 2003 mailstore. Backups were not yet running on the new system, as the tape library was still being set up.

It fell to me to spend the weekend restoring the old mailstore from 2003 backup tapes and get that system running again, as our new hire had prior commitments over the weekend (and out IT manager didn't trust him alone with the systems now). It took the weekend, but the 2003 Exchange was up and running with the loss of several days email, then we transferred operations to the new server.

All in all, a process I never want to experience again.


Re: Right.

"... and backed up with safe, offline backups."

Unless the ransomware was installed much earlier and waiting for the command signal.


Re: Only insofar

"If Rackspace has had this service for 10 years, and this is the first outage that would be better that 99.5% availability."

This is true; as a user of Hosted Exchange for 5 years, most outages in that time have been in the vicinity of a few hours, and the total number of outages I can count on one hand.

Not once did I think a cloud-first company like Rackspace, with a history of doing this stuff reliably and well for decades, would suffer a catastrophic failure that basically ends Hosted Exchange in a single incident.


Hosted Exchange is gone

Ex-Rackspace Hosted Exchange user here.

From the outset, it has been obvious Rackspace has no intention of restoring the Hosted Exchange service. Why force-migrate people to Microsoft 365 if the Exchange service will be back up soon? Bringing them back will be just as hard, and honestly who would trust Rackspace's Hosted Exchange now?

There is the question of email archives. What is missing from the Barracuda discussion is that you needed to have been subscribed to that system before the outage in order to recover emails. If you try and sign up now, there is literally nothing to archive because the mailboxes are offline.

I don't envy the decisions Rackspace has to make now, but how they have treated customers is contemptable. It feels like nothing but lies from them. At this stage, we all know there will be data loss; the fact they can't spin up the last known good backup in a read-only state so people can salvage stuff says it doesn't exist. That is inexcusable.

Will Microsoft 365 end up being any better? Time will tell, but for now I'm researching cloud2cloud archiving.

Rackspace confirms ransomware attack behind days-long email meltdown



On every level, Rackspace has failed its customers here:

1. This attack was allowed to occur, either by negligence over patching or some other mechanism

2. They took far too long to let customers know what was happening.

3. Every "suggestion" they made was less than useful

4. This forced-push to Microsoft 365 hosting says that Hosted Exchange, as we know it, is gone - but Rackspace are not acknowledging this

5. The "let us know an external email address and we'll forward email" smacks of desperation

6. This is the 6th day of the outage, and still no estimation for restoration of Hosted Exchange from backups so archival email can be retrieved.

They have posted a Q&A update that basically restates everything know and doesn't give us any more information.

How Rackspace emerge from this with any sort of positive reputation is beyond me.

Rackspace customers rage as email outage continues and migrations create migraines


Re: Complete incompetence

“ After setting up your new mailbox, you have to wait up to 24-48 hours for the changes to propagate across the Internet. ”

I spun up my own M365 instance, because after this I’m done with Rackspace. The DNS has been the absolute worst thing about this entire nightmare. Normally, when I’m changing mailservers I’ll adjust the DNS TTL from the normal 48 hours to 5 minutes a week ahead of time and do the cutover & mail transfer when I know the risk of in-flight email being misrouted is very low.

Because of this shitshow, I’ve no idea how many emails have been lost whilst I waited for the update to propagate. It’s now a three days afterwards , and mail flow looks about right.

Reconstruction of email archives has been problematic, but I’m almost there.

Patience is indeed the key here, and understanding that we are now minimizing the data loss, as opposed to a successful migration.

Rackspace rocked by ‘security incident’ that has taken out hosted Exchange services



I have - had, rather - a custom domain on Rackspace's hosted exchange. We only had email; no need for office 365 or anything like that. Thus, the instructions given to create a Microsoft 365 tenant for Exchange didn't work. After two hours on hold, I gave up Friday night and spun up my own Microsoft 365 level 1 plans of our domain. Our monthly charges for email have dropped from the $17.95 / mth on Rackspace to $8 / mth on Microsoft, which easily covers the price increase for Disney+ (nothing to do with Rackspace, but the price increase was on oof the last emails we received).

Recovering emails, contacts etc. has been a pain; however I've had all the pain and I'll be able to get my wife's stuff ported easily. I pity the people who have to deal with this for an organization. Rackspace has been no help, and even if they were of any help, recovering emails, contacts etc. is all on me.

If this ends Rackspace, so be it. Their DR planning has been shown to be essentially non-existent for hosted exchange. What other aspects of their business has a similar lack of DR planning?

Version 252 of systemd, as expected, locks down the Linux boot process


Re: we can dream

Why do you feel that MS will use it's old EEE tricks today?

Microsoft has no real interest in desktop OSs - the mess that Windows 11 is being the obvious indicator of that. Microsoft today is all about cloud-hosted and browser-agnostic. I'm currently using Dynamics 365 in Safari on my MacBook Pro and it's just as good as Edge on a Windows machine.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike systemd; attributing old Gales / Ballmer era behaviors of Microsoft is hardly one of them.

'Chief Twit' Musk delivers bathroom furniture to Twitter HQ ... but not Tesla results


Re: Something of a nitpick

It's not a nit-pick; it's a fundamental point to the whole thing. Musk's self-aggrandizing and reality-bending needs to be called out.

Rambus offers chip designers a drop-in PCIe 6.0 subsystem


Re: "Oops, did we forget to mention that bit?"

Closely followed by the discovery that the much-ballyhooed memory technology is slow, inefficient junk that needs a bigger heatsink than an NVidia GPU.


Patent Troll

The patent troll rears its ugly head after so many years.

People still seem to think their fancy cars are fully self-driving


Maybe it will never actually happen


My favorite part of the article:

For now, here’s what we know: Computers can run calculations a lot faster than we can, but they still have no idea how to process many common roadway variables. People driving down a city street with a few pigeons pecking away near the median know (a) that the pigeons will fly away as the car approaches and (b) that drivers behind them also know the pigeons will scatter. Drivers know, without having to think about it, that slamming the brakes wouldn’t just be unnecessary — it would be dangerous. So they maintain their speed.

What the smartest self-driving car “sees,” on the other hand, is a small obstacle. It doesn’t know where the obstacle came from or where it may go, only that the car is supposed to safely avoid obstacles, so it might respond by hitting the brakes. The best-case scenario is a small traffic jam, but braking suddenly could cause the next car coming down the road to rear-end it. Computers deal with their shortcomings through repetition, meaning that if you showed the same pigeon scenario to a self-driving car enough times, it might figure out how to handle it reliably. But it would likely have no idea how to deal with slightly different pigeons flying a slightly different way.

Crypto market crashes on Celsius freeze, inflation news


Re: Inflation hedge

How is cryptocurrency in any way of fixed supply? Spinning up a new crypto is ludicrously easy; there are several YouTube videos just on that. And of course people use real-world assets to fund their crypto; the only people who didn't do that were the one setting up this Ponzi scheme in the first place.

RIP: Creators of the GIF and TRS-80


Major typo in the article

The article states that "The TRS-80 is also of enormous importance because Tandy hired a pair of chaps named Bill Gates and Paul Allen to write software for the machine. In case you haven't been paying attention, they later founded a little company you may have heard of called "Microsoft"."

Microsoft was founded in 1975, two years before the TRS-80 was released. The TRS-80 project itself was approved in 1976, well after Microsoft was a company.

But hey, history is what you make up, right?

114 billion transistors, one big meh. Apple's M1 Ultra wake-up call


You asked: but does it actually do much more than a 2001 iMac?

More? Hard to say. Does it do it better and faster? Absolutely. Video editing is a breeze. Audio editing is a breeze. In every aspect, the M1 Macs are simply a better experience of a 2001 PowerPC iMac.

Global consultancies quit Russia



DXC doesn't get any praise here. For Mike "The Screamer" Salvino, it was probably a convenient way to WFR 4,000 people whilst seeming to be some sort of moral crusader.

If DXC really lived by its "people first" policy, surely it would have found a way to ensure the staff there had some sort of way out of the country. The Russian people != Putin.

Team behind delayed ERP project was aware of problems but didn't inform Surrey County Council for months


Re: Scope Creep

My thoughts exactly. If there are new requirements, you add the time for those requirements onto the project timeline. Any extra time in the project timeline is there for existing functional testing issues to be reported and resolved.

Scam, pyramid scheme, environmental disaster: Vivaldi boss shares his thoughts on crypto-coins


Re: Wall Street?

"I'd be more impressed with block chain if its supporters could demonstrate even one beneficial use."

To be clear, I am not a crypto supporter in any way. But the blockchain concept I can see having uses in logistics. As goods move from manufacturers through distributors to retailers, I can see a blockchain that tracks the movements of specific good. Tie the goods to something important at the manufacturing stage - say, the lot id - then dealing with product recalls, food contamination etc. suddenly becomes a lot simpler, because the movements of goods are in the blockchain.

Is it worthwhile? I don't know. Society seems to be fine with 20,000 pounds of ground beef being recalled and destroyed, so maybe the economic costs involved aren't worth it.

But I do see this as a good use-case for blockchain technology.

Insurance giant Lloyd's hires DXC to migrate org off legacy mainframes to AWS cloud


Should have checked with Games Workshop

Lloyds should have checked in with Games Workshop to see how well DXC was handling that migration


Side note: I migrated a company from Sage Line 100 to Axapta 3 using ODBC and Excel / VBA. Speaks to the quality of the consultants remaining at DXC they it gets botched this badly.

West Sussex County Council faces two-year delay to replace ageing SAP system for Oracle


Re: Rule 1 for SAP

This is true for any ERP, though. A new ERP with new processes and functionality is a business-transformative event. It's not like installing the latest version of Word.

Many years ago, I worked on a site where the ERP system (Dynamics AX 4) had been extensively modified to run like its predecessor (SAGE Line 100). It was, predictably, full of bugs and awkward work-arounds. Naturally, the users hated this Dynamics AX 4 thing.

Tech Bro CEO lays off 900 people in Zoom call and makes himself the victim


Re: What a cowardly little shit.

Go and watch the video, then come back here.

What makes this sickening is this:

1. He assured people he wasn't going to cry this time

2. He's doing this a few weeks before Christmas / new year, making it very hard for people to find new jobs fast

3. He did this after receiving almost a billion-dollar cash infusion.

Other comments he's made about his employees shows he's a slime-ball.

As for doing it to 900 people at once over a zoom call, surely it would be better for their managers to have simultaneous meetings to deliver the news to smaller groups. How he did it was cold.

Finally, and as others have said, companies demand a two-week notice period, yet fire 900 people on the spot like this. This CEO sack-of-slime has just tole the remaining employees how much notice the company is willing to tolerate, and this will backfire badly.

This is AUKUS for China – US, UK, Australia reveal defence tech-sharing pact


Re: buy gold now

Under what circumstances do you feel that French agents entering the harbor of a peaceful nation they are not at war with, sinking an unarmed boa and murdering those on boardt is remotely justified?

France committed an act of war against New Zealand that day. That NZ did not retaliate is due to the level-headedness of that country's government.

There are things to admire about Greenpeace, and things to despise. Neither justifies murder.

So the data centre's 'getting a little hot' – at 57°C, that's quite the understatement


Worked for an Air Conditioning manufacturer once

The server room was small; three racks with mostly switches, a handful of actual servers and a big tape library system.

The cooling for the room was a wall mounted unit. It was a nightmare; every hot day it would fall over, allowing the server room to quietly cook. "But this was an A/C manufacturer" you say. It certainly was, and too cheap to actually put a decent unit into the server room. Heck; we had to book service calls for that unit! And we were staff!

IBM's 18-month company-wide email system migration has been a disaster, sources say


Re: Bean counters?

BetaCam and BetaMAX have practically nothing in common, except that the name starts with “Beta” and both come from Sony. BetsMAX looked better because of the ringing added to areas of high contrast which gave the impression of higher detail on the screen.

WTH are NFTs? Here is the token, there is the Beeple....


So too bad when the embedded URL goes bad. Then what do you have? An NFT of a 404 doesn't seem that valuable to me...

With so many cloud services dependent on it, Azure Active Directory has become a single point of failure for Microsoft


Re: This was noticed by potential customers

Dynamics 365 is a mess, in terms of how the various technologies are being welded together. Once the factions within Microsoft can agree on a common data structure things will improve.

On-prem Dynamics 365 is possible... but you don't want to do it. Literally the first line in the on-prem plan is "implement Azure in your datacenter". And even assuming you have the horsepower to do that AND get D365 up and running, you **still* need Azure service bus to make things work, and you **still** need Microsoft Azure-hosted dev systems. So you can go down the expensive Azure approach, or go down the monumentally expensive on-prem approach.


Re: "we will never be able to avoid outages entirely"

Not me. My client was lulled into believing that AzureAD was the way to go. I stay the heck out of infrastructure, and stick with Dynamics 365.


Re: "we will never be able to avoid outages entirely"

"This isn't the first Azure outage in recent months and senior people are beginning to notice how Azure has issues while applications running on AWS are unaffected."

It's not like AWS doesn't have issues. All manner of weird stuff stops working when AWS fall over.

From talking with my clients, this whole "embrace the cloud" push is starting to lose steam. My locally-hosted email server falling over doesn't stop my locally-hosted ERP from running. My locally-hosted ERP falling over doesn't impact AD. AD falling over IS a problem... but having a backup AD controller solves that.

"While it's unlikely to alter decisions in 2020 when spending is tightly constrained, it is affecting planning for spending in 2021."

Oh yeah. And with one client alone that's a potential million dollars.


This was noticed by potential customers

I have a client running (mostly happily) Microsoft Dynamics 2012 R2. They're considering a Dynamics 365 migration (the cloud ERP beastie), but yesterday, for the bulk of their working day, email, Teams, OneDrive, Office 365, Azure AD and some Azure DNS stuff was offline because of this outage.

It hasn't killed talk of a D365 migration dead, but it's certainly on ice now. They are buying some local servers to allow for AD authentication and DNS now, and bringing Exchange back in house isn't out of the question.

Microsoft will survive this outage, and my client will get back on the D365 bandwagon. But they are a whole bunch more skeptical now than the day before.

All that Samsung users found on UK website after weird Find my Mobile push notification was... other people's details


In the US, too

I heard from Samsung-owning friends this happened in the US, too. Exactly the same symptoms.

Tabletop battle-toys purveyor Games Workshop again warns of risks in Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP project


Re: ERP == Enterprise Reduction Programme

A couple of things you forgot to add to your list: "sacrifice a virgin at midnight on the day before switch-over" and "hope like hell".

There's always that. But nothing beats a dress rehearsal run a few days before the actual go-live.

I was involved in a client rescue a few years back. They had implemented AX2012 with a vast swath of customizations that sorta-kinda worked ok, but they never wanted to test the data migration code. They assured us that their code was perfect. So come the go-live, and their system starts spitting out JSON files the size you've never seen before. The AX code groaned under the load, but dutifully processed the data. As you might have guessed, their data was wrong, and every single journal and customer state they shipped in had issues.

Every. Single. One.

So rather than abort the go-live, they decided to press on, and thus began the cleanup work. A year later, the original team started to break up for varying reasons, and I was brought in to keep going with the cleanup. That's the we discovered that not only was there bad data screwing up current transactions, there was bad code writing vast amounts of junk to the database causing further problems.

The remediation work took another six months, until the new CFO of the company in question said to his finance team to just journal out whatever the issues were and move forwards. We got the system mostly debugged, but by then the company, which had been acquired by a much larger company, decided to break away and found a new partner to continue with.

Our PM didn't stand up to the customer PM enough to demand go-live testing. And this was the result. For want on 30 minutes of go-live testing, the entire project and customer was lost.


Re: ERP == Enterprise Reduction Programme

Don't all ERP systems cost at least three times what the initial quote was?

Yes... but there is inevitable scope creep, things take longer than expected, data migration takes longer to get right... the number of things that can go wrong on an ERP project is pretty huge.

So, how do you deliver an ERP project mostly on time and near the budget? Good project management on both sides to begin with. The smallest consulting team you can have. As much experience as you can pack into that team.

Stuffing greenhorn consultants into these projects slows them down. It's great to build skills, but there is a cost. That's why partner selection is so critical. You can go with the "big" names, like DXC - but you're not buying a lot of skill because the good people left a long time ago. The smaller partners may cost a bit - but only a bit - more, but you're more likely to get a skilled team that already knows how to work together. Don't underestimate the value in a team that already fits together.

The other thing that can help is to have a very clear project document that lays out expectations. Knowing what is in scope (and what isn't) for the implementation phase is critical.

Finally, having a client-side testing team is critical to success. Initially, the team needs to be small and consist of just the SMEs, but before the final go/no go decision you need virtually the entire client company to do a "day in the life" sort of exercise. This is an unbelievable way of wringing out all sorts of integration bugs.

That's what I've learned about successfully ERP implementations.


Depends on the partner and the PMs

The success or failure of these projects comes down to three things: choice or partner, effective partner project management and effect client project management.

If the partner is DXC, for example, they are screwed. But any other D365 partner should be more than capable.

Project management is where these projects succeed or fail. If the client PM doesn't understand the business (ie. GW just hired a PM or hasn't done a full requirements document with complete gap analysis), the chances of success plummet because of all the moving parts within a company and the PM's ability to align the company. If the partner PM is weak (ie. they can't say "no" at appropriate moments to defer a new pet requirement to post-go live), then the project will collapse. If the partner PM can't marshal the necessary development and testing consultants, and ensure those consultants understand the company, the project is doomed.

Yes, ERP transitions and big and complex, the opportunity for failure at every turn. Good project management from the client and partner can make even the sketchiest situation succeed.

Y2K quick-fix crick? 1920s come roaring back after mystery blip at UK's vehicle licensing agency


Re: Why

And even that is small potatoes compared to the deeper problem with those databases: record size. A lot of the tables in those systems are close to (or at) their maximum record size. Inserting another 2 characters is simply not possible.

And even if you could simply insert another two characters, there is an unknown amount of code that parses the records starting at the nth character... all of that code would have to be examined and tested.

Resizing database columns would be a painful couple of days. Full regression testing of some of these systems? Weeks and weeks.

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still


Another one with no problems here

Install was smooth. I made sure my critical apps were updated ahead of time. Lightroom Classic, Office, EndNote all work fine. Dark Mode is a joy. Apart from news.com.au stopping loading images are a free page refreshes (this has been an issue since I bought my 2018 MBP), this has been smooth and seamless.

Sure, some apps are borked (TomTom: I'm looking at you!), but these are 32 bits apps and I knew ahead of time trouble was heading that way.

DXC has picked a brand new people person: Finch lands as freed Mason preps to depart


"Our employees are key to achieving our goals and aspirations"

You know, I'm sure I heard that before somewhere... Maybe when Mikey and Jo were talking about the CLEAR values during the initial induction and yearly refreshers. Nah; couldn't have been them, could it? That would mean they were saying thing they didn't actually believe in.

But to the point here, show me a CEO who doesn't, with a straight face, say exactly this.

I'm surprised he is even continuing with "digital transformation" as a phrase. Why not go back in time and talk about reengineering the company? I mean, "Reengineering the Corporation" started with (then) CSC. Why not dust off that concept and try to sell it again?


(I always thought 'cutting steak' was a rather odd euphemism, but there you are.)

You're confusing "euphemism" with "weird stuff that actually happened".

Mike drop, DXC-ya later! Lawrie immediately ejects as CEO from IT outsourcing giant


Re: his pedigree

Exactly: Accenture. From reading, it seems like he was a hatchet man there, laying off vast swathes of employees and offshoring whatever he could.

This guy is no savior for DXC.



Why on earth are you celebrating? This guy was hand-picked by Lawrie. What makes you think, given his pedigree, that he will do anything remotely helpful to employees remaining at DXC?

Now, if the board had fired Lawrie and brought this guy in to sort out the mess, sure; maybe. Bu that's not the case. And Lawrie's cold, dead hand is still there...

Another 3,900 staffers gone, 3 data centres to be closed, and yet DXC revenues keep falling


CLEARly, DXC is a people-first company

"It is taking longer to eliminate the head count as we automate activities."

Yup; eliminate people first.

Not all heroes wear capes: Contractor grills DXC globo veep on pay rises, offshoring, and cuts to healthcare help


Re: Thanks from the missus

... it would be delicious if she ends up contracting for DXC ...

Do not, under any circumstances, become a DXC contractor.

Contractors get royally fucked every possible way. Note that, in the US at least, contractor invoices are paid 90 days after the invoice due date.

So consider this: She's finished up with DXC as an employee, and has lined up contracting work with the client on behalf of DXC. She does her first week of work, dutifully invoices DXC, and won't see that money for several months.

Avoid DXC. Just don't do anything for them. They are a toxic cesspool the fucks anyone and everyone over. Contract to the client directly if possible. And the client will be better off without DXC anyway.