And now we have VS Code.
500 posts • joined 8 May 2020
Fastly 'fesses up to breaking the internet with an 'an undiscovered software bug' triggered by a customer
Re: Fastly 'fesses up'
That's the sort of thing I was after, thanks. According to the Graun gov.uk can switch to AWS manually, but didn't choose to do so as the outage was short. I know our Government's a bit wank, but I'd hope that in the event that someone's proof of settled status was unavailable due to an obvious network issue they'd default to "wait" rather than "deport".
Re: Fastly 'fesses up'
And just to add to that — when it comes to uptime guarantees, that's what contractual SLAs are for. If they aren't met, a penalty is usually incurred. If there's no penalty written into the contract, or no SLA, then that's on the folks signing the contract. It's a fairly crucial concept in IT that I first learned about as a first line service desk bod, though I imagine it existed in other industries (tech and engineering, say) earlier.
If Fastly consistently failed to hit their SLAs, I'd expect that people would stop using them and use somebody else. If all the alternatives were just as bad, I'd expect some irate customers to step up and provide their own alternative that learned from the mistakes they'd seen. It gets a bit different when a provider has a monopoly, but we've (nominally) got laws to protect against such things.
Re: Fastly 'fesses up'
Is the infrastructure actually that critical though? As far as I can tell this CDN was supporting numerous websites, and I can't think of many websites that are critical in a life-or-death sense — especially given the timeframe in which this was fixed. DNS issues often hit harder and for longer.
I'd expect any site or service which was so critical as to require uninterrupted availability to have contingency measures in place that meant that there was tolerance for the primary CDN going down. Sure, this could maybe have been avoided given enough resources (cash), but one of the safest ways to keep stuff running is to never allow any deployments ever again — which is fairly untenable. All any of us can do is to mitigate risk the best we can, and know how to lessen the impact when we fail to preempt something.
At a certain point I don't see there being much difference between stuff like this happening and e.g. the pandemic, or a natural (geological) disaster, or even just heavy snowfall — except as far as I'm aware this didn't kill anybody, it just presented mild inconvenience to people trying to read the news or buy tat from Amazon on their coffee break.
I don't wish to come across as condescending or a know-it-all; if there are truly critical services that were impacted as a result of this then I'm up for hearing about them — I'd just expect such services to know how to react to situations beyond their control. We got by pretty well without the web before it existed.
Holy margins, Batman: Pandemic tech prices balloon as demand outweighs stocks and suppliers get greedy
How much would you pay me to develop a COVID tracking app that actually works? Ah, thought so: nothing
'Biggest data grab' in NHS history stuffs GP records in a central store for 'research' – and the time to opt out is now
Re: Get your tin foil hat on!
I'm certainly guilty of wishful thinking :)
I'm not particularly interested in the idea of extending the human lifespan — I agree the arse-end of life isn't renowned for being too pleasant.
What I was thinking of specifically was being able to spot patterns and precursors (genetic, dietary, environmental, drug-induced) for existing diseases that wouldn't normally be recognised otherwise, due to the fact that it's often difficult to get funding for a clinical study for something without there being potential future drug revenue attached to it.
Having truly open data (as in accessible to all) would mean that amateurs could try their hand at tackling a given condition, potentially providing leads for funded professional or academic research in the name of improving people's quality of life (there are plenty of conditions that don't affect lifespan but do make the span of your life a pretty shit time). I'm sort of inspired by the way extraordinary rendition was brought to the public's attention via amateur sleuths and planespotters investigating flight patterns, tail numbers and aircraft ownership records using data in the public domain; as well as astronomers who often operate out of passion and interest.
As I say, I'm an optimist in such matters, but I think we'd probably find quite a lot of interesting stuff that way. The idea of the data being personal is a matter that's not as black-and-white as I'd like it to be — my idealist self would like everybody to know everything about everybody else and for no stigma to be attached to any sort of health concern, but I'm not of the opinion that that should be enforced or even encouraged as there are innumerable reasons for wanting something kept private (and there's an uncomfortable parallel with the idea of making all communications be out in the open, which I'm against).
Thanks for the link to the lectures, I'll be checking those out :)
Re: Get your tin foil hat on!
I'm actually of the opinion that everybody's medical data should be available at full granularity to anybody in the name of the greater good, and for myself I'm not fussed about anonymisation at all — I'm open about everything with medical professionals, friends, colleagues and strangers alike.
However the right to privacy trumps that. My mindset's something that's specifically mentioned in NHS training on these matters, but the fact that people own their data and are entitled to privacy always comes first, so my utopian fever dream doesn't matter.
As pointed out elsewhere, it's pretty much impossible to guarantee that you've irreversibly anonymised personal data. You can attempt to mitigate it, but something will always slip through the net — even without personal demographic data, there are instances where a postcode alone can be used to identify someone. There are probably instances where the postcode area can be used, and there are probably islands with a population of 1 where other address details would give it away. Throw some personal demographic or medical data in there and you haven't got a chance — it may be illegal/unlawful/a breach of contract to attempt to deanonymise data, but that doesn't mean it won't be done. The only sane option is to give people the choice, which is not what's happening here.
I'm torn on whether to opt out because I truly believe that pulling healthcare provision and studies out of the dark ages will accelerate humanity's wellbeing at a rate we haven't seen before, but I'm cynical enough to question the motives behind this particular project and I wonder whether the benefits (to healthcare knowledge) truly outweigh the risks (to, e.g., our fairly-socialised healthcare system).
Oops, says Manchester City Council after thousands of number plates exposed in parking ticket spreadsheet
I've just looked at some old PCNs I got slapped on my motorbike (while it was parked in the place that an MCC-contracted parking warden told me to park it) and they follow this format, so it's definitely a staff number (though they're not actually employed by the council which obviously means the wardens are on commission = more tickets and the council have a bit of plausible deniability when I take them to court).
Likely 1192 does foot patrols occasionally but is usually reviewing and verifying the CCTV footage prior to issuing PCNs.
Capgemini scores £150m contract to help Student Loan Company overcome its IT problems 5 years after £50m superfail
Re: Cap G?
Yeah, I'm hoping my grant details have disappeared somewhere along the way. Given how hilariously they screwed up my loan I wouldn't be surprised.
Replying to SLC's full immediate repayment demand with my own calculations suggesting that perhaps they owed me money, and having them sheepishly agree, is the sort of delight I suspect I'll rarely be able to relish again.
Intel accused of wiretapping because it uses analytics to track keystrokes, mouse movements on its website
Clothes retailer Fatface: Someone's broken in and accessed your personal data, including partial card payment details... Don't tell anyone
What happens when cancel culture meets Adolf Hitler pareidolia? Amazon decides it needs a new app icon
Brave buys a search engine, promises no tracking, no profiling – and may even offer a paid-for, no-ad version
I try to use DDG as my primary sometimes, but for me it often lets me down on those searches that you do where you know exactly what page you're after but don't have the URL bookmarked or can't be bothered finding it. I've got to the point where I'm typing long, specific strings of qualifiers (including the domain!) to try to get to e.g. the UK version of a website, and when it still doesn't show up in the first twenty-odd results of DDG I hit Google and find it with a single word.
When enough of that kind of thing happens in one day, I revert to Google and it can take me weeks to remember to try using DDG again. I like them, and I want to use them, but I can't justify hanging around when the search engine isn't finding what I'm searching for. Obviously their search capabilities aren't going to be as impressive as Google's, but it's pretty annoying (I like everything else about them, like the fact that they don't blithely ignore quotes and mutate your search string with no way of overriding).
Rookie's code couldn't have been so terrible that it made a supermarket spontaneously combust... right?
Re: even if in Apple's case it's really just a fruit emblem
I agree. I wouldn't buy one of their products (tell a lie, I'm going to get an old second-hand iPad for an application that I need that a vendor refuses to port to Android, which is fine as I've wanted a tablet for various guff for about a decade now) but I've seen and known plenty of people who absolutely are not swayed by shiny branding who swear by iOS for various reasons.
Version to version of the same Linux distro can mean a complete rebuild and learning how to mash your old setup into whatever software does that functionality in this release, as well as all the associated commands. Version to version of Windows I've usually found less painful because of Microsoft's pathological obsession with back-compatibility, but the net result is that Windows is a complete mess under the hood and too often there's the appearance of compatibility without it actually being there.
I used to love rooting my phone, flashing custom ROMs, trying out different nifty little bits of tweaky software and the like. I'd spend hours on it. There comes a point in life where you kinda want something to just work without you ploughing hours into making it work, and I suspect that's the appeal of Apple for a lot of people.
Plus, look at how Google and MS respond to feature requests (check out the Teams ones sometime) and even bug reports. More often than not, they have zero interest in listening, engaging or responding. Google contacts have a field for a birthday. This birthday then appears in your Google Calendar. To my knowledge, it has never been able to initiate a calendar reminder for these, and Google won't listen. I can't imagine that something so hilariously basic (and easy to fix, I'd hope) would be the case in the Apple ecosystem (though perhaps they're just as bad as the rest and have their own stupid WontFixes, I don't know).
AWS is fed up with tech that wasn’t built for clouds because it has a big 'blast radius' when things go awry
Bitter war of words erupts between UK cops and web security expert over alleged flaws in Cyberalarm monitoring tool
The nightmare is real: 'Excel formulas are the world's most widely used programming language,' says Microsoft
'We've heard the feedback...' Microsoft 365 axes per-user productivity monitoring after privacy backlash
Re: I don't understand
I know, but it's always been a paid product and I don't use Office enough to warrant buying it (I certainly wouldn't buy Office for a home machine). I'm luckily adept with keyboard shortcuts for what I do with any regularity.
The worst things about the Ribbon are that third parties have started aping it, and the way it's tainted non-Office MS products. I'm still waiting for the day they move all the calc.exe buttons into a Ribbon, with the numbers on one tab and the decimal point on another and the operators on a third and the equals button buried behind a dialogue offering to save your calculation to OneDrive.
Re: I don't understand
What I don't understand is why thirteen years of detailed metrics slurpage still hasn't informed them that I (and presumably countless others) spend a good three minutes staring at the Ribbon interface any time I want to use a basic piece of functionality before Alt-Tabbing to a browser window to find out which area of which "tab" they've hidden it on in this release.
Microsoft engineer thinking ahead? Troubleshooter doc for Active Directory references 'Florida Retirement System'
Salesforce to buy Slack for $28bn in cash, shares – and vows to make it the new face of Customer 360
Probably a good thing uk.gov isn't in charge of that or we'd have a "telescope company that doesn't have any telescopes" story. Or possibly an "ex-next door neighbour of cabinet minister, who owns a sandwich shop owner and isn't really part of the science game but reckoned the toasting oven could probably be repurposed to produce deep space telemetry components" one.