* Posts by FirstTangoInParis

242 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Nov 2021


European Commission may be about to put the squeeze on Apple for its App Store rules

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Just greedy?

While there is obviously a cost to running the App Store and approving the apps and general cyber housekeeping, it strikes me that if the App Store owners hadn’t set the levies so high, lawmakers wouldn’t be so uppity about it.

Even more so since Google’s idea of cyber housekeeping seems to be “oh what’s that mess over there?”, and Amazon’s idea of browsing App Store, book store, in fact anything is “you touched/looked at/thought about it, you bought it”.

Wells Fargo fires employees accused of faking keyboard activity to pretend to work

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Re: It's usually management

I’m not a project manager but have carried out the role now and then. All the middle managers want monthly reports in minute detail in their own unique format that takes forever to prepare and they spend either max 10 minutes or all day looking at it. I was once reporting to three such managers at the same time and tried automating the reports but couldn’t install tools to do so. I was so glad to leave that role. When one of the middle managers retired they were actually not replaced, so that tells you how much value they added.

BOFH: An 'AI PC' for an Acutely Ignorant user

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Re: Virtual coloured penclis?

Someone found some money for one of those smart whiteboards. I’ve never seen any of those used effectively in a business setting but primary schools (and the kids) are definitely experts at them.

We need a volunteer to literally crawl over broken glass to fix this network

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Re: "I literally crawled over broken glass for this company."

Basic utilities such as power and networking never seem to feature in stand designs. One show I was at, $manager had decided that there should be no physical assets on the stand for people to look at and play with, but the staff were to have collateral on iPads. It wasn’t one of their better decisions.

Arm CEO aims to conquer half the Windows world in 5 years

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Re: Wishful thinking indeed

MS Office already runs native on Apple Silicon with universal (Intel + Apple) binaries, as does a lot of the typical software run on the average Windows box (because versions for Apple Silicon). Not forgetting Windows on Arm is already a thing. So the software ecosystem is mostly already there. So is Ubuntu and likely several other Linuxes. So all that’s really waiting is the chips. Remind me why I need a 13th generation Core i5 to pen documents and do video calls consuming twice the power of a current MacBook?

Thanks for coming to help. No, we can't say why we called – it's classified

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> Not that I've been to Dallas, but I'm fairly sure you wouldn't need the software to notice something like a Submarine trundling down the high street there.

Downtown Dallas has restaurants with polite notices asking customers not to bring concealed carry weapons on to the premises. On that basis one could park a sub laden with weapons outside and it would not look at all out of place. In fact some nice chap would valet park it for the captain!

Lords of May-hem: Seven signs it is Oracle's year end

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Utter sharks

So in $bigCompany, unplanned (and that having not started planning 18 months ago) expenditure is seriously frowned upon. If Oracle turned up at my place and demanded money with menaces for licenses they allowed us to use without charging in advance (I think there’s laws about that), they’d be told to show their working and we’d maybe get the money in 2 years. Perhaps that would stop them not capping license counts at what we’d pay for.

Uni staff fall back on Excel to work around mis-coded transactions in Oracle system

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Re: Who got paid?

It was “discovered“ that the Bath Uni VC was on a similar salary and had to leave out of embarrassment.

I know everyone uses MS Office and Windows and admins generally hate it because it’s so fiddly and as a result has something of a mind of its own, but this Oracle stuff seems to be in a whole different league. Surely Sale of Goods Act could apply if it’s not fit for purpose and promised functionality never appeared, but then the lawyers would hide behind it not being true off the shelf and being individually customised. However I’d love to see what they write up as successful reference implementations.

UK government faces £17.5M shortfall from UKCloud liquidation

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> That's the question the next guys will have to spend time deciding.

The 160 likely different data sources I'm sure will be a contributing factor. 'Data Sources' may include dusty old bits of paper and stuff in people's heads who left the organisation five years back, as well as a collection of weird and wonderful spreadsheets, Word documents, and $deity knows what else software packages that were used, all representing the data in different ways with no uniform standard. I guess building the underlying software for the system was completed in a couple of days tops and then the fun started with trying to obtain and comprehend all 160 submissions (wonder if there weren't 160 and a good 1/3 or so of them still have to supply said data sets).

I would not be surprised in the slightest if the supplier tired of trying to get all the data it needed and was only too glad to throw in the towel.

Help! My mouse climbed a wall and now it doesn't work right

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Re: Mouse story

Someone told me years back that you could get CAD desks with optical mouse mat built in to the worktop. I never saw one so might be an urban myth.

City council audit trail is an audit fail after disastrous Oracle ERP rollout

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What’s going on, El Reg?

So we have the rolling popcorn-fest that is Birmingham, and elsewhere City of London is entering “Here be dragons” territory with its SAP upgrade. I’m sure commentards can regale endlessly with similar stories.

Question is, what is the in-depth take on this? What are the typical bear traps? What needs time and effort and experience to get it right from the get-go? What checkpoints should be mandatory to stop things going off-piste? What does best practice look like? In short, how can organisations stop themselves becoming ransomware victims, not from the usual scum but from consultants from the likes of Oracle and SAP?

How about it, El Reg?

Now all Windows 11 users are getting adverts to 'make the Start menu great again'

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Re: Probably be accused of being a Linux shill, BUT....

>A lot of CAD is only on Windows,

I can understand that, given some graphics drivers for high-end boards are somewhat fiddly to install on Linux (here's looking at you AMD) and may require a complete rebuild (--> icon) to get rid of if the install didn't go well. Fix that problem and we may see more take-up on some approved combinations of distros and graphics drivers. Of course Sun/Solaris was the original CAD platform after the proprietaries had all had their day. SGI may well have had a following too, but guessing that was because there was only one graphics card that was available.

Microsoft is a national security threat, says ex-White House cyber policy director

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Re: Many of us older commentards here

So just yesterday I was fixing a family computer that had collected a rogue web site shouting notifications about alleged viruses via Edge. Having uprated the anti-virus and added browser guards, I wanted to uninstall Edge because the user wasn't using it, by choice. You can't, you can only 'modify' it, which means downloading a fresh copy and re-installing it. So having changed default browser to Chrome, you still can't get rid of Edge. I'm told some third party products rely on it somehow too.

One of these days, the EU is going to go full anti-trust against Microsoft and demand that all new PCs come with a multi-OS installer, allowing the user to choose which OS they run on it from new. Only then will the much-fabled year of Linux desktops come to pass, as people turn away from MS because of bad press.

Zilog to end standalone sales of the legendary Z80 CPU

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I/O, I/O ....

Having programmed in both 6502 and Z80 assembler (and a bit of 6809), the I/O on a Z80 beat the 6502 and peripherals into a cocked hat, and so easy to build controller boards with I/O. But then as others have pointed out here, the 6502 was easier to learn to program.

I've seen the NSC800 CMOS version used in military applications, no idea if that is still around.

Over on Substack there are some interesting history lessons on how the 6502 became so popular, basically because it was dirt cheap compared to Motorola offerings.

Definitely raise a glass to the Z80 and all the 8-bit micros we cut our teeth on ...... -->

A knotty problem: Boffins working on fuel-efficient trajectories for space travel

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What does good enough look like?

Some years back I was working on some bleeding edge communications project, run by a project manager who had a background in mechanical engineering (car gearboxes, brakes and the like). He forced me to explain everything to him in layman's terms (always a good filter) and constantly asked "what does good enough look like?", because in our case you could either compute the heck out of our problem or use some fairly rudimentary approximation, which saved a lot of energy and yielded much the same results, especially as all of our nodes were constantly on the move.

When at some point in the future a craft simply has to move (eg some X-wing fighter is on your tail), would you be able to somehow do this by eye if you had enough experience with the maths-generated paths?

October 2025 will be a support massacre for a bunch of Microsoft products

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Hmm ... there are large organisations who would sooner move to something else rather than to cloudy Exchange. Trouble is, unless you go back to building your own mail networks out of *nix boxes, I'm not sure there are groupware servers that could scale like this. Sure you'd be building them from Red Hat rather than Solaris these days, but even so ....

Microsoft to use Windows 11 Start menu as a billboard with app ads for Insiders

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Re: If you read the Windows EULA carefully, you'll note the words...

So clearly you’ve never seen W11. You can’t move for ads, and have to work quite hard to get rid of them.

If M$ are going to continue like this and act like Amazon do with the Fire tablet, best they start giving away Windows and MS365. I don’t buy a car and expect to be recommended partner crap every time I change gear. I’d demand a refund pretty quick if I got that user experience.

D-Link issues rip and replace order for besieged NAS drives

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Build your own ….

And it will never be EOL. It’s not that expensive either, the biggest cost is the drives themselves. Get a fanless motherboard eg Celeron J series with four SATA ports and a NAS case and you’re in business. Load up with your fave Linux server distro and customise as you wish. Google for RAID settings, Time Machine support and more.

San Francisco's light rail to upgrade from floppy disks

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Re: "best in the US"

I flew into Washington DC many years back and wondered why there was no light rail /metro connection to the city. Traffic in rush hour was hideous. My host explained the locals round the airport weren’t keen on a railway because then criminals would use it and crime would increase. I haven’t been back but looks like the metro does now go there.

Windows 95 support chap skipped a step and sent user into Micro-hell

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Re: Those were peak 'fix by reinstall' days

ISTR that by the time we were ready to migrate from W95 to XP, my laptop was crashing twice a day, regular as clockwork. XP was marketed as 13 times more reliable than W95, so I looked forwards to it only crashing once a week or so. And he things W95 allowed us to do as mere users .... 'can you put this CD in your drive and share it on the network so I can boot this thing which doesn't have a CD drive? Yes of course ....'

Feds finally decide to do something about years-old SS7 spy holes in phone networks

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Re: As far back as 2007?

Meanwhile it would be nice if they fixed SIP Calling Line ID spoofing. Some mandatory checking that the CLI is the one assigned to the users account and not one they’ve had before it got revoked for abuse.

Iowa sysadmin pleads guilty to 33-year identity theft of former coworker

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Regarding marrying under a false name, pretty sure that’s illegal just about everywhere. More jail time …..

Good news: HMRC offers a Linux version of Basic PAYE Tools. Bad news: It broke

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Re: RFQ issued:


EU antitrust cops probe Microsoft ties between Entra ID and 365 services

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Think of the smaller sysadmins

No please EU can you fsck off out of this one? It’s enough trouble being a part time sysadmin for a charity that chose to run 365 as it is. While you are there, tell Google et al to stop bickering, and get on with whatever other protectionist policies you are doing.

Please can someone develop a simple version of Entra? One that tells me if my small fleet of PCs are happy, that they successfully installed all the patches they were supposed to, and email me if something is amiss? That’s all I need. I don’t need an interface that tells me all is well while my W10 devices are repeatedly failing to install the patch from January or so that MS borked.

Uncle Sam wants to know how big airlines use passenger data

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Re: How interesting

In the UK there are two voter registration lists. One with everyone for the voting authorities, the other you can opt out of that gets sold to commercial users.

BOFH: So you want more boardroom tech that no one knows how to use

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Re: But surely...

This. Times 2.

Strike 1: my employer has just spent a pile of money installing a top grade but nonetheless company standard rig for multi site meetings. Wireless mics and everything. First senior visitor to address us in the room declined to use said mic as his voice is “loud enough”. <Rolls eyes>

Strike 2: trying to use a spiffy conference room in a shared office space. There is a big space age thing in the ceiling which turns out to be a Sennheiser conference room mic/speaker connected via a Barco click device. Said mic will not come out of mute except with one colleagues Windows laptop who has a different configuration to ours. Doesn’t work with a Mac either. Perhaps my laptop needs a super special deep state black ops registry hack that is so secret Trump is not allowed within 10 miles of it and is definitely not allowed in his bathroom.

DARPA tasks Northrop Grumman with drafting lunar train blueprints

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Re: So what will be the excuses for late trains ?

I do hope someone is developing the Moon Rail Replacement Bus too.

What strange beauty is this? Microsoft commits to two more non-subscription Office editions

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Re: First hit is always free-ish.

I once wrote a 50 page report in Word (likely 2013) and took it for sign off by QA. He immediately handed it back to me and told me the font size and type was not regulation. Sigh.

Anyhow, I thought I’d fix that by changing the font size and type in the Normal style. Kaboom! It took me three days to get the document back in order.,,

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Re: First hit is always free-ish.

> You mean adding AI? No way.

Oooohhhhh, you haven’t used Word 365 with all its AI garbage then. You thought Clippy was annoying? Times that by a hundred with a side order of getting in the way and you won’t be able to find the off setting fast enough.

Whoever directed that development needs to be met down a dark alley by a bunch of people with a proposal to get out the door.

Microsoft license shuffle means Power Apps users could break the bank

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No docs of any substance

Whoever signs off on the documentation at MS is clearly not technical. The docs across the board are universally garbage, and you have to resort to YouTube to find anyone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

McDonald's ordering system suffers McFlurry of tech troubles

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> Because The CloudTM, obviously

You don’t want to have to fix an on-prem McServer covered in McGoo, did you?

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Re: Maccas closed?

> Anyone remember Wimpy in the UK?

Wimpy still lives on in South Africa. Many main road services have a Wimpy also many shopping malls. And the coffee is awesome.

But none of that beats Roosterkoek, bread baked on the braii (bbq to northern hemisphere peeps).

Ad agency boss owned two Ferraris but wouldn't buy a real server

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My small fileserver (Celeron + 4 disks in 2x RAID 1) went through a phase of appearing to eat disks ... even though I bought fileserver grade disks (eg Seagate Ironwolf). The problem turned out to be the Ubuntu kernel's use of SATA Native Command Queueing by default. There is a kernel option to turn that off, and it's all been sweetness and light ever since.

The end of classic Outlook for Windows is coming. Are you ready?

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PST files are a must for enterprises, what with inbox limits and movement between mail systems. Losing COM is going to mean big trouble too.

I also mourn the passing of the TAPI interface to allow SIP phones to do caller ID lookup. Yes I know it is still hanging on by its fingernails in 32-bit Outlook but guess that’ll be gone soon too. I’ve looked for some equivalent so I can set up a contacts server for a small office but drawn a blank thus far.

Trump 'tried to sell Truth Social to Musk' as SPAC deal stalled

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Re: How much?

ISTR one had to be invited to join the “Truth” social. Guessing all those invited were rolling in money already. But anyhow, how does an invite-only org go public?

What a surprise! Apple found a way to deliver browser engine and app store choice

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Re: I see the blind fanboys are out already

> All the law is saying is that they need to provide a choice to the end users.

Suppose I’m a baker and I make pastries with jam in them, and I’ve used the same brand for years. Is the EU now going to force me to allow punters to turn with their own jam for me to put inside said pastry? I can’t see that going down well.

How to Netflix Oracle’s blockbuster audit model

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Re: Better option

> They'd complain that, just when they desperately wanted the 31st user to use the software, it was a horrible practice for the software vendor to restrict the use.

I’m guessing that’s because they wanted to use license 31 “now” and couldn’t wait for procurement process to wind its way to having the license in their hands. That way be dragons; it’s mightily kicking the can down the road and leaving you way open to overspend.

German defense chat overheard by Russian eavesdroppers on Cisco's WebEx

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Exactly why UK gov routinely chats via WhatsApp instead of the more obvious and accredited Teams chat. Though they might want an off-the-record conversation…. That’s been blown apart by the Covid inquiry and the magically disappeared WhatsApp threads.

Apple gets in on the AI PC hype, claims fanless M3 MacBook Air is fab for LLMs

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Dual monitors

Good to hear that’s finally happened. I’m using a dual display link adapter but it has issues and doesn’t work under all circumstances. What with HP biz laptops routinely supporting 3 monitors, it’s about time.

Intel urges businesses to undergo AI PC facelift with vPro update

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Re: 47% increase in what, exactly?

Though an M2 MacBook has some sort of ML thingummy and it does export video from iMovie a heck of a lot faster than it did on an Intel-based MacBook.

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47% increase in what, exactly?

Can I now write PowerPoint slides 47% faster? Type Word documents 47% faster? Will Excel add up faster? Perhaps Outlook will let me read emails faster? I very much doubt all of this. In fact I doubt if I will gain any performance increase over the early Compaq laptop I had in ‘97.

Juniper sued over HPE buyout after allegedly ginning up execs' wallets

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How many times ....

.... did the exec say AI? Didn't HP used to make LAN switches? So they are buying a router company? And how does that help AI? They may as well have said 'cloud' or 'orchestration' or some other buzzword they don't fully understand the nuances of.

Square Kilometre Array precursor looks to filter out satellite interference

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Re: 41k loc in bash scripts

And if your Fortran runs for more than 3 hours, be prepared for a critique from the Sysadmin.

Self-taught-techie slept on the datacenter floor, survived communism, ended a marriage

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Re: Daily!?! RFC begs to differ

Did this for my parents a few years back. Even accounting for the very helpful bank staff and very good staff at UK Gov Pensions, not to mention a very helpful local council, there's still a lot of red tape to wade through, and once you get sufficiently advanced in years just getting out of bed for a few hours is as much as you can bear, and even worse for dementia and Alzheimer's. So yes, definitely get PoA. There's two types in the UK, one for finances and other for medical. See a decent solicitor and get it done. And bear in mind PoA is cooperative between you and parents until the day comes when they really can't manage, and then solicitor has to go to court to get parent on the protection register, when responsibilities change somewhat.

Apple makes it official: No Home Screen web apps in European Union

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Re: Yes, you really are the product

I’ve been a Mac etc user since 2012 and never looked back. Meanwhile my corporate Windows laptop has been replaced more times than I can remember due to some drop off or other. Mac bloatware? Ever checked how much free disk space there is once you’ve installed the OS? There is just no comparison.

And just this month the Patch Tuesday was just an almighty clusterfudge that should never have got out the door.

Microsoft embraces its inner penguin as sudo sneaks into Windows 11

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Next will be GRUB

Come on, Microsoft, you know you want to!

Moving to Windows 11 is so easy! You just need to buy a PC that supports it!

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10 + 0.1 = 11, according to Microsoft

In Microsoft Entra (no idea why it’s called that made up name) you can check the version of windows on every device you manage. Any W10 device shows a version of 10.0.1xxxx. Any Windows 11 device shows a version of 10.0.2xxxx. I would not be surprised in the slightest if Win12 turns out to be 10.0.3xxxx. Under the rules of Semantic Versioning, by only incrementing the patch level, Win 11 should not involve any functionality that breaks compatibility, yet it requires new hardware.

There’s clearly some infighting between engineers and marketing going on at Microsoft!

Tesla's Cybertruck may not be so stainless after all

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Re: Cybertruck - the gift that keeps on giving...

Even British Leyland cars from 70s were better than this. Oh well, they better get some Waxoyl then.

PiStorm turbocharges vintage Amigas with the Raspberry Pi

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Makes me wonder if this could run other 68000 code like SunOS 3.x, assuming you could still get the binaries, and still had the tape drive. Why? Well I’m sure someone knows they want to.

Billions lost to fraud and error during UK's pandemic spending spree

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So that seems the sensible approach, but then take a step further and establish the oversight bodies as the authority data standard. All data from each department must be exported to them in real time in a defined manner and structure. Surely can’t be that difficult, even for Fujitsu. Just needs someone with the political will and determination to see it through.

Anyhow 60 bn will fill the MOD black hole and fund the local councils with the money they should have been getting all along.