* Posts by 0x80004005

22 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Sep 2021

BOFH: Groundbreaking discovery or patently obvious trolling?


Re: @base

This is a definite thing in most databases:

You can declare a field in SQL Server as "bit NULL" allowing values 0, 1 and NULL


Tenfold electric vehicles on 2030 roads could be a shock to the system


Did you buy or lease an electric car between 2019 and 2025? You could be entitled to compensation.

It's got mis-selling written all over it.

Overstated claims of range - says 300 miles on full charge but it is unfeasible to use this, since you should not charge it above 80% or let it drop below 20%

The non-disclosed liability caused by the dangerous batteries - think about what precautions they must take within the battery factories to keep the cells apart compared to jamming together into a sled intended to travel along public roads at 80mph. Can you imagine a fire in a battery factory?

The environmental claims - amount of raw materials extracted and difficulty of recycling.

All of our current solar wind and nuclear electricity is already used - adding extra demand to the grid for charging EVs will not cause a solar panel or wind turbine to magically appear. The extra demand will be satisfied by nat-gas surely?

I bet some lawyers are already dusting-off their dieselgate documents and doing a Ctrl+H diesel -> electric...

Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson


Re: Unique keys

When I worked in hospital IT the running joke was that everyone had either zero or two NHS numbers.

(Jokes usually come from bitter experience)

Ex-CIO must pay £81k over Total Shambles Bank migration


He earned about £800k in the year in question

in other words, the regulator put him in a room with his pit bull terrier and he got bitten by one of its fleas.

Brit civil service claims there's enough money for mammoth ERP refresh project


Think of a number

No, higher than that.

Startup raises $30 million for wireless power delivery system


$30 million for a microwave oven and a tin can?

Count me in, can't wait to get my snout in the trough!

AWS CEO Adam Selipsky promises 'Zero ETL' future in re:Invent keynote


Re: I am an Amazon Redshift specialist, and I have Views about all this.

Grandparent is excellent and informative post.

So many of these whizz-bang products were invented because the people who make them don't know how to use a relational database properly.

How does this feature set sound:

- The same data, sliced, diced, sorted, denormalised in multiple different ways on disk

- Immediate update of all of these slices upon insert/update/delete of source data; no need to rebuild from zero

- Store each slice of data on a different storage array if you wish

- Bulk amendment of multiple records will only recalculate changed results

And... I'm describing SQL Server indexed views, partitions and the MERGE statement, features which have been there for many many years.

Admittedly these were restricted to the Enterprise Edition a while back, but that's gone now and you can do this on any version, even Express.

California wildfires hit CTRL+Z on 18 years of CO2e removal



Cut down the Cali forests. Claim a "CO2 Emissions Avoided" grant because they would have otherwise burnt at some point.

Then ...

Export to the UK

Stuff the trees into Drax

Claim another "CO2 Emissions Avoided" grant because you're burning Biomass not Coal.


Plant a new forest in California, claim a "CO2 Sequestration" grant because your new trees are absorbing it.

I'm sure there's a flaw in this plan somewhere...

UK's Post Office shells out for SAP software it thought it had


Nice business you've got there squire...

... it would be a shame if something happened to it.

Cookie consent crumbles under fresh UK data law proposals

Big Brother

Re: Straightforward solution

A big part of the problem is that the average ordinary Joe doesn't understand what the implications of accepting or rejecting these different "flavours" of cookie will be.

And, to avoid being patronising here, they shouldn't have to.

When you plug your toaster into the socket, you don't need to check a box to confirm that there is 240V AC 50Hz in the wires; and if you didn't specifically opt out you'll get 100000V on the line.

We in IT are still in the wild west era, like electricity was 100+ years ago. We need to develop our own equivalents to fuses, circuit breakers and overload protection, so anyone can use the internet without a "shock".

But when all the incentives point in the other way, so having live wires poking out everywhere means you make a shed load more money, it's going to be a long time before we get there.

Scribble to app: Microsoft's Power Apps VP talks us through 'Express design'


As a developer, I'm all for this...

... because before you know it, someone in the lunch queue at work will say (in a rather embarrassed manner) we've got this "thing", which Bob did before he left, and we don't think it's working right, and we're getting audited on it next week and we can't prove why half the numbers suddenly don't add up and can you take a look?

turning into the next year's dev project.

In seriousness though, as long as you are fully aware of the limitations of this kind of tool, they are great for getting non-technical people to flesh out what they actually need, rather than what they think they want.

But - it's that awareness of the limitations which is the killer. Try explaining it like "would you live in a house built out of lego?"

Google Docs crashed when fed 'And. And. And. And. And.'



Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Containers may be more effective than VMs for hybrid apps – Gartner


Inefficiencies piled upon inefficiencies

Great progress has been made in CPU performance through caching and precomputation. Having your most frequently-used code and data close to hand is the key to good performance.

The further down the Physical -> VM -> Container -> Serverless rabbit hole you go, the less state you get to keep with you, and you end up with every client request being a total cold start on a different server. Maybe the disks are in Outer Mongolia too. Remember CGI?

When we see .NET 6 optimisation effort being expended on "cold start" scenarios, you do wonder why?

Everyone wants to believe they are building the next Amazon and need to scale to billions of requests a second tomorrow when they are serving 10 requests a minute today. I'll give you a hint - this RARELY happens, and if it does you'll have a LOT of money to throw at the problem.

To quote Knuth:

“The real problem is that programmers have spent far too much time worrying about efficiency in the wrong places and at the wrong times; premature optimization is the root of all evil (or at least most of it) in programming.”

Reg reader rages over Virgin Media's email password policy


Re: Another issue with VM's password policies is...

You've nailed it, that will be why.

Probably too complex for ordinary users to have a separate "email password" and "phone password".

What happens if someone tries to brute-force your account through the phone keypad method? 3 digits x (choice of 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) = 1000 tries. Those odds don't seem too bad?

London university on hunt for £17m SAP ERP replacement


Cookie cutter business processes == cookie cutter businesses

We keep hearing the mantra "The software IS the business".

So once you go down the road of "I'll take a standard SAP implementation please", then you're no different to your competitors.

You'll end up with the same costs, same inefficiencies and provide the same service level as everyone else.

Reduced to being a commodity provider with commodity-level margins.

Oh wait a moment, we're talking about universities here - I guess no-one cares about the costs/inefficiencies (since it's govt. money) and certainly no-one cares about the service level.

Trebles all round then!

Silk could tie up all-but-unbreakable encryption, say South Korean boffins


What goes around comes around...

A similar system to tally sticks:


They were used to record government debts - the amount would be marked on a stick and then broken down the middle. One half was kept by the bank, the other by the borrower. The debt could be paid back by reuniting the two parts; and it would be impossible to fake the exact shape of the split!

What begins with a 'B' and is having problems at tsoHost? Hopefully not your website



Kings Bollege Bambridge anyone?

This House believes: A unified, agnostic software environment can be achieved


Oh great, another inner platform...

Looks like someone hasn't been reading their XKCD:


Typical sales / management hyperbole:

"Our system will do everything that all those other systems do, and better than they do, even though all we've done is put a thin shim layer over the top with a nice logo!"

IT god exposed as false idol by quirks of Java – until he laid his hands on the server


Re: I'll stake my reputation on it - whoops.

Or how about the amazeballs which is SQL Server's SET NOEXEC ON?


PRINT 'You won''t see this message'

IF 0=1



PRINT 'This message will display, proving that the earth is flat.';


Sir Clive Sinclair: Personal computing pioneer missed out on being Britain's Steve Jobs


m.m.m.m.me too

I think I freaked my mum out when she heard noises at 6:00am, it was just my 7-year old self who was desperate to find out whether SIN and COS would let me PLOT a circle on my birthday present ZX81.

We only had one telly so that was my only opportunity...

I could probably key that program out on an emulator without reference to the single-key commands, even now. J = load, A = new etc.

40-odd years later still nerding away; it's not a job it's just a hobby someone pays you for!

Electron-to-joule conversion formulae? Cute. Welcome to the school of hard knocks


Ctrl-B used to do that on MS Excel

One "enterprise-level" customer of mine would slam their global printer configuration down to your PC as soon as you connected to their VPN. Being a lowly contractor I didn't have permission to print to any of them, and I had no desire to send random printouts to unsuspecting users in an office 500 miles away (oh the mischief I could have caused...)

I was having seemingly random freezes in Excel, I'd open it, start using it, and soon enough it would freeze for 30 seconds before returning as if nothing had happened. Initially I thought Microsoft had discovered a way to get cell A3 addicted to Spice.

Turns out the fault was triggered the first time Ctrl+B was pressed to make a cell bold.

This causes Excel to load a new set of font metrics. The fonts are somehow linked to the printer driver (a hangover from the pre-TrueType days perhaps). So it needed to initialise the printer (via a VPN and a blocked firewall) to measure how wide a bold "A" should be.

I soon learned to reset my local printer choice every time I connected to their VPN...

Boffins unveil SSD-Insider++, promise ransomware detection and recovery right in your storage


Bin dun before...

Great, does this mean we can bring back VMS's semicolon operator?



It would never overwrite a file, instead, it gave you a new version ;2 ;3 etc.

The PURGE command would then kill off the plethora of old versions.