* Posts by Krassi

43 posts • joined 24 Jun 2019

IBM's 3% sales growth may not seem like much but it's the biggest it's had in three years

Krassi

going backwards still

Putting this in context: I've seen reported this morning an estimate of the Q2 growth in US GDP of 8-9% year on year, and the inflation rate estimated around 5-6 %. So IBM are lagging the general economy and going backwards in real (inflation adjusted) terms.

Stob treks back across the decades to review the greatest TV sci-fi in the light of recent experience

Krassi

Re: "always bearing hard left"

OTOH, everywhere on the surface of the typical Star Trek planet can be reached within about 20 minutes walk of your random beam - down point. So maybe consistent with the orbit view. More like "Little Prince" planet size than Jupiter.

Ransomware victim Colonial Pipeline paid $5m to get oil pumping again, restored from backups anyway – report

Krassi

Re: back-up isn't just an IT issue

How is that blackmailing your customers. It is more "we''re trying to do the best we can in a crisis situation, please be understanding if your next bill doesn't have a digital meter read-out to umpteen significant figures "

Krassi

back-up isn't just an IT issue

"the ransomware KO'd back-office systems used for monitoring oil flows and generating billing records based on those flows"

That shouldn't be a reason to shut down completely. There should be some back-up means of measuring quantities, may be less accurate and you might lose a profit margin, but better to do that and keep things flowing and save on the ransom. For example, if the oil comes from or goes into storage tanks (which it probably does), then send someone out to read the level gauges on the tanks before and after, take a photo perhaps, write out the bill by hand if necessary. Point out to customers they have a choice of delivery charged on that basis or no delivery at all.

On parallel lines , my local supermarket once had all the barcode scanning equipment down. To keep things moving and probably prevent a riot, the check out staff were authorised to assess the value of each shopping trolley by sight and propose a price , if the customer disagreed , they got out the pen and paper. Sure , they must have lost something, but they didn't throw away perishables as unsold, and all the customers were happy in getting their dinners as normal.

Bill to protect UK against harmful foreign investment becomes law

Krassi

GKN

are owned by Melrose, a UK registered company quoted on the London stock exchange. They may be sharks, but they are British sharks. Melrose too is more of a conglomerate than a hedge fund.

Facebook and Australia do a deal: The Social Network™ will restore news down under and even start paying for it

Krassi

only the start

This could be the IT equivalent of the oil price shock in the 1970's. That started very gently in about 1970 with one Col Gaddaffi demanding a 30 cent per barrel increase in the Libyan take (from a total oil price of around 2-3 $) , but as each producer country demanded more from the international oil companies (mainly US) , the next country was encouraged to push their terms higher. By 1973 with the oil price around $20 per barrel, the original demands which were shocking to the oil companies at the time now seemed ridiculously timid. The parallels are unpopular foreign companies making vast profits which don't seem to benefit the nations where they operate, and on the other hand governments as always desperate for revenue to fund the state budgets. Facebook , Google et al are where the money is, and governments will be coming for it once they have worked out how. When it turns out that a small charge on news snippets doesn't make the sky fall in or the internet collapse, how about a modest tax on ad revenue or transactions ? And then a slightly less modest tax and so on.

Facebook and Apple are toying with us, and it's scarcely believable

Krassi

Re: Feel odd

The current Ozzie stance seems more designed to shake up Facebook and make them start to engage seriously than anything else.

My guess is that Google know to the cent how much links and news snippets are worth to them, and also how much access via Google search results are worth to the news organisations and therefore could agree a deal very fast once they assessed that Oz is serious on this one. People going to Google to search for news probably expect to get a certain quality of results, & not having that would cost Google something. Facebook on other hand firstly seem to have no self-awareness and secondly seem to be happy to fill their pages with user generated trash, cat pictures and fake news at nil cost in place of journalism.

Groupware is not dead! HCL drops second beta of Notes/Domino version 12 and goes all low-code and cloudy

Krassi

Way back , last century , my workplace used Lotus products , cc:mail, 1-2-3, Approach, ami-pro and then Notes. I found Notes pretty good for the sharing , group-working stuff. Sure, it wasn't entirely stable, but in those days Windows was more likely to fall over than any of the applications , so Notes didn't seem that bad by comparison. Overall , it was much better designed at the user interface end than anything I've come across in Sharepoint ever.

Two wrongs don't make a right: They make a successful project sign-off

Krassi

law of triviality

"Someone once made an an apocryphal observation...."

This was originally by the master himself: the "law of triviality" in the chapter "high finance " in Parkinson's Law . Actually, it is the supply of tea coffee and biscuits that sparks more discussion than needed for approving a nuclear power plant or the staff bike shed.

"All management science (? ) is a series of footnotes to Parkinson. "

Whistleblowers have come to us alleging spy agency wrongdoing, says UK auditor IPCO

Krassi

Re: "tended to use “templated or generic” reasons"

see also timesheets and travel authorisations etc.

Once the applicant has found a form of words that works, there is every incentive to use the "right answer" next time. The approver probably has many similar admin tasks, and may see their role as checking the form or process, not the truth or "proportionality" of the underlying facts behind it. That the form exists proves the applicant has thought about the matter , therefore due process has been done, therefore tick.

This research finding won't surprise anyone who has worked in a large organisation, I suspect. But good to have a study to conclusively prove it.

The nightmare is real: 'Excel formulas are the world's most widely used programming language,' says Microsoft

Krassi

"The reason why it's a good tool is that the person who understands the business problem can try out a few things and have something "working" pretty quick so know that what they want is possible."

Spot-on. A great prototyping tool.

Bugs are not unique to Excel, so when the "proper" software comes back from the dev team for review, and the Customer has to do some UAT, what are they going to reference the new package against.... their good old Excel spreadsheet !

AMD performance plummets when relying on battery power, says Intel. Let's take a closer look at those stats

Krassi

look squirrel

So no comparisons to Apple's ARM chip then, which independent experts give the impression can beat both AMD & Intel offers with eyes closed & running backwards.

You can't spell 'electronics' without 'elect': The time for online democracy has come

Krassi

Note to Register: please ask Mr/Ms iglethal to write for you in future.

The basic issues are understanding and trust. Nearly everyone can understand paper ballots, there are simply understood checks and process to verify the results. Ordinary people can and do help verify paper ballot processes as election observers. For example, the political parties will often have people counting the numbers of voters entering each polling station , hence getting a check on total votes cast by area (no missing boxes); the overall count is public and witnessed by the parties and by the general public and so on. Also it is a good thing that members of the public volunteer to sit all day in the polling station or work at the counts, being an essential part of democracy. It is much healthier that participation in democracy means more than clicking.

99% plus of us will never understand cryptographic methods in IT or be able to verify that they have worked . It is an invitation to conspiracy theories. And if you say - what about online banking: I can verify electronic banking transactions by looking at my bank balance, and I trust on-line banking that far. I can't verify if my electronic vote and everyone else's has arrived correctly.

As Iglethal and others have noted, electronic voting doesn't address the real problems in existing electoral systems (eg in UK - first past the post vs proportional, what the 2nd chamber is for etc ). Paper balloting can even be extremely fast - in UK general elections some areas have declared a result less than 1 hour after the polling stations closing.

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

Krassi

Excel is used all the time because the specialised tools don't work ! It is harsh to blame excel for being crap when it is being used as sticking plaster to patch up much more expensive and supposedly advanced database systems that can't do simple (*) tasks like passing data from one place to another.

(*) far from simple of course, but the objective is simple and easy to ask for.

Krassi

Re: Anyone Remember Lotus Imrov

Upvote for Lotus Approach. Back in the day it helped me do simple data handling from a starting point of knowing squat about databases.

But the main article misses big advantages of Excel. It is flexible, easy to adapt - using it is the ultimate in agile programming, do something, change it , change it again, keep on keeping on. There are lots of real world uses that don't have large data bases; that don't stretch desk-top computing power even passed through excel and VBA; projects that don't have the time or budget to bother "real" programmers; jobs that are a little different each time. Every one has excel, so different organisations can work together.

Ironically, excel was probably being used in this case because two "proper" software products couldn't interface AT ALL.

Anyway, Excel is approved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology ! Have a look at this great example of excel VBA

https://pages.nist.gov/AGA8/downloads/AGA8.XLS

UK, US hospital computers are down, early unofficial diagnosis is a suspected outbreak of Ryuk ransomware

Krassi

Re: Auntie Virus Software

I wish I felt as confident at weeded out the spam as you. The fake delivery company & invoice ones, yes I spot those for the reasons mentioned. Recently I've got emails pretending to be MS 365 system or admin messages - you missed a teams call and that sort of thing. So far, they have had signs that raised suspicion, but we are on 365, it is plausible to get system messages, (like message undeliverable ones) and with a better quality of phishing .... there but for the the grace of God.

Too many staff have privileged work accounts for no good reason, reckon IT bods

Krassi

The sub-header: ever seen a Trello board...

At a previous organisation Trello was rolled out by means of an unexpected mass-emailing from an external organisation inviting one to follow a URL and log in at an external website with one's company credentials.

After being enrolled about a week or so, increasing rate of spam emails from Trello, & finally I set a new email rule "if contains <Trello> then delete" . Work then continued as normal.

Krassi

.. all the access they ask for ..

tfb:

Agree that some controls are needed. But the AC said " ...all the access they ask for... " and that isn't the same as unlimited . Actually it could be a lot less than broad-brush permissions given out by IT or management without thinking what individuals actually need.

Future airliners will run on hydrogen, vows Airbus as it teases world-plus-dog with concept designs

Krassi

Re: bio-kerosene

Certainly there is a lot more to pollution than CO2 emissions. If you're looking to reduce particulates, jet engines burning kerosene are probably not the worst offenders. And synthetic fuels tend to be a little cleaner than refinery based fuels.

Diesel road vehicles are pumping out particulates right next out homes, ship engines burning low grade fuel are hugely polluting, although more distant. Plenty of problems to fix, it is a question of priorities and where best to start.

Krassi

bio-kerosene

Energy density has so much value for aircraft that expensive biofuels could actually make sense. Much more sensible to convert all land & sea transport to hydrogen or electric before doing anything about flight. I believe several airlines have already made trials with bio-fuel mixes and some small scale production. Solution is there - just needs society to accept the price. OTOH battery and hydrogen powered aircraft research is mostly green-wash.

We're not getting back with Galileo, UK govt tells The Reg, as question marks sprout above its BS*

Krassi

Two chocolate teapots

If the enemy has a way to put GPS out of action, a second satellite location system is possibly not going to be a great back-up, doesn't matter whether it has an EU or GB sticker on. There are plenty of old-tech, non-sexy, land-based location systems that could work perfectly OK for our part of the world & immediate neighbours. If only we didn't have the habit of messing around that much in all the other parts.

IT blunder permanently erases 145,000 users' personal chats in KPMG's Microsoft Teams deployment – memo

Krassi

make deletion routine

"chat" should be something informal & ephemeral, like a real-life chat - for me the ideal chat app would wipe the history every 24 hours. Informal and undocumented communication has a value. Teams and its ilk have got it wrong, thinking chat retention is a feature, not a bug. If you want to record communication, email is pretty good in most companies, then paper, stone masonry... Natter away on Teams, send an email or memo to document the outcome if it is that important.

It's been five years since Windows 10 hit: So... how's that working out for you all?

Krassi

A benchmarking

I've recently moved my copy of a graphics package from an old PC with Win 7 (dual core pentium, old spinning hard disk, bought as a cheap refurb box 4-5 years ago) to my newish laptop (Win 10 enterprise, 4 core i7, more RAM, nice fast SSD). It struggled a bit on the old machine and I hoped for a step forward, specially with the SSD. No such luck. After a bit of messing about, it works slightly less badly in Win 8 compatibility mode, although the software is dated 2015, so contemporary with Win 10 & claims Win 10 compatibility . Even closing all other programs down & doing the best to give it a free run, Win 10 & current hardware is less effective than Win 7 & obsolete hardware.

An OS is just a means to run more interesting, useful or entertaining software, and for that Win 10 is a step backwards. YMMV.

Dutch national broadcaster saw ad revenue rise when it stopped tracking users. It's meant to work like that, right?

Krassi

Targeted advertising can work pretty well for a supermarket. I bought some yoghurt this morning, give it a week, I'll likely buy some more, and a well-targeted voucher could tempt me to try a more expensive brand. Its not really the same for many other purchases. My washing machine broke the other week - searched online for faults, repairs and then for a new one and suppose I've triggered all the ad trackers as a washing machine obsessive. I won't be interested in the topic again for a good few years I hope.

Microsoft sees the world has moved on, cranks OneDrive file size upload limit from 15GB to more useful 100GB

Krassi

"Where can I find that file?"

There's a thought. Maybe MS could try developing indexing, file manager and search tools that actually work effectively ?

IBM quits facial recognition because Black Lives Matter

Krassi

AI facial recognition can't be abolished unfortunately. Effective actions might include controlling its use, by law if necessary, and actually getting it to work properly, in a non-biased way, and making clear the limitations, likelihood of error etc..

IBM throwing in the towel might reflect their ability to do anything useful, but I don't see they should get any credit for being useless.

Google tests hiding Chrome extension icons by default, developers definitely not amused by the change

Krassi

obvious monetisation ahead

Shortly, Google announces that (only)members of their premium trusted extension program will have the ability to place pinned icons on the toolbar.

And whispers quietly - there is a membership fee for this program.

Bit surprised El Reg cynicism didn't spot this .

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

Krassi

"That's the problem with all these systems trying to make life easier,"

Upvote x 1000.

Recently opened files and default file locations are all well and good, but if your workflow deviates from the concept Microsoft had, then these become obstacles not aids. Many people find a work-round , but I've sympathy with that User believing that the software was there to help him.

BTW - having a two onedrive accounts, or is that one onedrive account and one sharepoint account. Confuses the Office applications and me both.

Don't Flip out or anything, but the 'flexible glass display' on Samsung's latest pholdable doesn't behave like glass

Krassi

Re: Lawsuit time

For what is and what isn't "glass" , see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_transition.

If there are any lawsuits about the product, a better cause would be that it is defective rather arguments about what glass is.

Krassi

Materials science does have a precise definition of Glass. Many polymers can be accurately be described as glasses - eg Perspex - "acrylic glass" is a technically correct description not just marketing puff. There are also metallic glasses. On the other hand, some hard clear substances such as diamond or sapphire are definitely not glasses.

Not call, dude: UK govt says guaranteed surcharge-free EU roaming will end after Brexit transition period. Brits left at the mercy of networks

Krassi

no such thing as a free roam

Someone pays for "free" roaming, and if you are a mobile subscriber I suggest that person may be you, albeit that it is not itemised on your bill. The EU rule creates a cross-subsidy from those people who don't do much roaming for the benefit of those who do. Personally, that suits me, but that doesn't necessarily make it right.

What was Boeing through their heads? Emails show staff wouldn't put their families on a 737 Max over safety fears

Krassi

Re: That's interesting..

It's a kitchen sink job. The new boss gets all the bad things in the open and blames them on the previous regime. Yes , I know the new guy was part of that regime and the tactic doesn't stand much scrutiny, but that's the routine. Expect big write-offs and losses in the next set of accounts - it will all make the recovery under new leadership look that more impressive. I don't know if it is likely, but it is not impossible that the Boeing Commercial division could even be restructured in creditor protection / bankruptcy. If it is going to happen, now is the moment.

(The financial status of Boeing commercial wing all depends on what value you place on all that undelivered stock ... if the approval from FAA keeps being delayed, at what point do they have to start writing it down and take huge losses in the balance sheet ? The cash flow of course has been awful since deliveries to customers stopped.)

No wonder Bezos wants to move industry into orbit: In space, no one can hear you* scream

Krassi

Re: The space talk is interesting, but...

As comparison, for the UK, the "transport / storage" sector has 2.99 % reported work related illness and 1.86% reported injury rate. Like "Cuddles", my experience of working in a hazardous industry was that the vast majority of accidents by number were everyday hazards, not from the hazardous activities . Nr 1 in our case being homeward bound folk getting in their cars and crashing before even getting off site.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/industry/

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Microsoft Teams: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Krassi

Re: Facts and figures or forced feeding

As a small business Office 365 subscriber, SkypefB stopped and Teams started one day a few weeks ago. I guess we knew it was coming in a general way, but still an inconvenience when it happened. SfB was OK more or less and we wouldn't have moved over by choice. The majority of our need is external communication, and Teams seems to be less easy to use and/or less functional for that.

It has prompted us to look at paid for alternatives again (another factor, most alternatives we've used from time to time seem to have much better sound & video quality than SfB or Teams), but I guess as Teams is in the O365 subscription, MS will always count us as users.

UK.gov's smart meter cost-benefit analysis for 2019 goes big on cost, easy on the benefits

Krassi

tinfoil hat

Put it over the smart meter - no signal - problem solved.

Google to bury indicator for Extended Validation certs in Chrome because users barely took notice

Krassi

pointless, even harmful

Being a legal entity is such as low qualification it is almost worthless. Every year, huge amounts of financial fraud is carried out through perfectly valid legal entities for example. Being trustworthy is something totally different. Fraudsters like these sort of schemes as they distract from the underlying scam and give false security : we've got an EV (just like Google) - you can trust us with your life-savings / credit card details / bank log-ins .

The public is right to be indifferent to EV.

And BTW, if EV had caught on, there would be a black market in EV registrations, methods to spoof it, fake it, hack the register etc etc..

Experts: No need to worry about Europe's navigation sats going dark for days. Also: What the hell is going on with those satellites?!

Krassi

Re: Definitely Russian or Chinese hacking

or British hacking ? Some key parts were developed in UK. The UK has been thrown off the program. And strangely it starts having problems. Oh dear Europe, it doesn't work properly. Sorry we can't help you fix it anymore, best of friends honestly.

I don't have to save my work, it's in The Cloud. But Microsoft really must fix this files issue

Krassi
Happy

Re: The user is right

You're spot-on, zeroth-line support from the colleague at the next desk sorts many more problems than IT support ever hear about

Krassi

The user is right

Some version of " you don't save it on your machine anymore, everything is saved in the cloud" is a commonplace explanation. Note "is saved" implying it happens automatically, not " you have to make the effort to save it in the cloud" . My guess is the user correctly heard and understood the training about how wonderful and easy the new cloud setup is, and her only mistake was believing it to be literally true.

UK's North Midlands hospitals IT outage, day 2: All surgery and appointments cancelled

Krassi

Re: This reflects poorly on the Hospital Trust Chairman, the CEO and other members of its board

I imagine many other hospitals have had similar problems, and not all been properly prepared as per your excellent advice, but they find a way to manage, muddle through for the duration and we don't hear about it. What gets me about this case is the defeatist, give up and all go home approach.

Many of the patients coming in know what they are there for, who they are seeing and what for, many appointments are exactly the same checks etc as last time. And, for example, try to contact the patients and ask them to bring their appointment letters. Even these days there are lots of paper records in the system . Make an effort, it might be slower than usual and maybe some things will have to be cancelled, but getting through even 50% of the workload is a huge advance on nil.

Having bank problems? I feel bad for you son: I've got 25 million problems, but a bulk upload ain't one

Krassi

Re: 10 minutes, not a second more...

LOTO indeed - for on-site engineering it is standard practice since whenever, and very rigorously enforced at good sites: you don't call up your mate in the control room to cut the power, you go in person, isolate, put your padlock on, keep the key. When you've finished, roll call, back to the control room and unlock. Some places everyone in the team has an individual lock & has to be there in person to lock and unlock.

A bit of crypto wizardry & the IT equivalent should be trivial. But we'd rather a quick bodge job.

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