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back to article BYOD is a PITA: Employee devices cost firms £61 a month

Companies are paying £61 a month for every device their workers bring into the office, but less than half of IT departments have any say in mobile strategy these days. The numbers come from biz Wi-Fi flogger iPass, which discovered that only 48 per cent of IT departments are still in control of the spending on mobile devices, …

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I don't see the issue

If a company is worried for its security, the choice should be simple - If an employee does not have a company sanctioned phone they don't get on the network.

They could always provide limited access via an external facing mail proxy or webmail ui for those who desire it which is probably what most people need anyway. This is a desirable thing to do even if smart phones didn't exist - so much more sensible than some companies which issue laptops with layers of encryption, antivirus, VPNs, wifi stacks etc. just so somebody can read a lousy email.

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FAIL

Re: Security issues

Androids are more secure than windows laptops or tablets

[citation needed]

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Re: Security issues

"A) Most technical security issues are caused by Microsoft security holes."

Post proof, or retract.

"B) An even greater number of security issues are caused by social engineering or by employees making mistakes or up to nefarious activities, either out of incompetence, disgruntlement or out of a desire to defraud."

So "most" are caused by MS, but "an even greater number" are caused by stupid human tricks? It would seem that basic logic is not quite within your grasp ...

Couple that with "BYOD is a security concern but generally not as bad as the above security concerns, the extra risk of BYOD is nowhere near as great as fixing the above would reduce risks."

Uh, dude/tte, it's EASY to remove the BYOD issue from the picture. Ban personal devices from the workplace. Simple. No more issue.

"In fact if BYOD meant fewer MS boxes, then it might improve security."

"If" and "might" are not compelling security/business arguments.

No wonder people look down their noses at Linux fanbois ... and that's speaking as someone who has used Slackware as his personal desktop for coming up on 20 years.

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My prediction

Sometime this year, a legitimate, but insecure, web site will be penetrated and rogue software installed that will infect any visiting Android device with malware. Hell, it's probably happened already. I've no doubt that the same could be done for iPhone/iPads, as well.

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Re: My prediction

Uh, Chris ... Isn't that what iFads & fAndroids do, by design? Enable marketards to view, compile, and act on the user's personal opinions & etc?

I'll stick to my 12 year old Nokia, TYVM ... All I want a telephone to do is make and receive telephone calls.

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Coat

Re: Security issues

@jake

Friend Eadon really doesn't know when to stop digging and look around before the horizon disappears does (s)he? Some people are so over-enthusiastic and naive that it's really embarrassing when they decide to join the party you just want to leave. So much "knowledge", so little wisdom.

Sometimes you wonder just who is working for MS (double-agent?).

['nix and Internet admin >30years, Linux admin ~20years (= boring old fart). ]

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@jake: "Ban personal devices from the workplace. Simple."

Security is always a trade off against effectiveness/efficiency. If a client asks me to make their Internet connection '100% secure', I say: "No problem - give me 5 minutes with my snips in your machine room, and I guarantee it." After which statement, we can get down to a sensible discussion about the degree of security that's appropriate and affordable in their particular environment.

No doubt there are some organisations where a total ban on personal devices in the workplace might be justified. But if the US military can't enforce such a ban, how likely is it that any other institution could?

Your faithful old Nokia may meet your needs perfectly well. I prefer the flexibility of accessing my desktop from my phone when I'm travelling. I'm well aware that Google/Apple/Samsung/der gubernment could be viewing my data when I use it, and I factor that cost into my decision.

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Re: Security issues

"A) Most technical security issues are caused by Microsoft security holes."

I think you mean that a lot of technical security issues can be attirbuted to software that runs on Windows machines including within the Windows software.

"B) An even greater number of security issues are caused by social engineering or by employees making mistakes or up to nefarious activities, either out of incompetence, disgruntlement or out of a desire to defraud."

And such security issues will continue to exist and become potentially more apparent in a BYOD world where users continue to do all of the above plus fail to implement the necessary controls that exist on laptops and desktops which have anti-virus, firewall and malware software installed to minise those risks.

"BYOD is a security concern but generally not as bad as the above security concerns, the extra risk of BYOD is nowhere near as great as fixing the above would reduce risks."

Just not true, the issues in your point B continue to apply in the BYOD world.

"In fact if BYOD meant fewer MS boxes, then it might improve security. iPads and Androids are more secure than windows laptops or tablets "

The problem is that there is no evidence that fewer MS boxes would result. Data still needs to be stored, applications still need to be run, web servers and proxies are still required so why would someone running round with a fancy device they brought in impact on the number of MS boxes? Even in the device area Windows phones are available as is Surface, chances are that like the XBox these products will become more used rather than remaining at their low levels simply because companies will see them as easier to integrate and will therefore incentivise their use as BYOD rather than Apple or Android devices.

BYOD is a complex issue for companies and trying to make it an "easy" decision will simply create more problems down the line

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Re: Security issues

"Industry is moving away from MS because MS systems are more insecure"

I don't know what industry you work in, but I've never seen such a move on desktops or servers.

Companies in general use whatever they want based on what the person spec'ing it (a) knew and (b) was told was available. If a company can buy Windows boxes/licences cheap and they have tools/people to manage, they will; if they can't, they'll look at whatever else their preferred suppliers have that fits the bill.

Most reasonably sized companies don't build their own servers with Linux on; they pay a supplier (IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, etc.) for a fully supported system, regardless of how good their local sysad is, which cost (initially; not discussing TCO) very similar figures to the Windows based options.

In my experience of working for a company with 250k+ employees, only the security of the public-facing servers were really a consideration, and those numbers were such a small amount compared to the internal-only ones. Internally, all employee access was logged and they relied on standard ACL to limit access. If someone was found to have hacked in to something they shouldn't, they'd be out on their ass.

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Vic
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Re: Security issues

> I've never seen such a move on desktops or servers.

I'm starting to see it.

It's a slow process, to be sure, but I've got customers now actively migrating desktop fleets to Linux[1].

It's going to be many, many years before that becomes a majority, though.

Vic.

[1] My biggest customer is now rolling out an Ubuntu image, despite my best efforts to get them to look at an EL-based desktop :-(

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Re: Security issues

"Note that windows desktop share and windows server share are both falling, so this isn't just anecdotal."

That wasn't my point at all; you stated that it's because MS' systems are more insecure, but I don't believe that is much of a factor at all.

The only factors I've ever seen in non-public-facing infrastructure is (a) cost, (b) existing licences, (c) existing knowledge. And pretty much in that order.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Security issues

We haven't quite shifted our Desktop to Linux (I am certainly going to allow the option soon, but I have begun that shift of Servers. It just makes more sense, in TOC, especially with Developers using opensource tools, and developing platform agnostic /Web Services.

II would highly suggest if your 250+ in employees, its worth a glace to look into Linux (I'm specifically looking at RHEL, but I want the 24x7 support). If your Sysadmins are platform agnostic, it only makes sense to at least entertain the idea.

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Re: Security issues

Jake,

You hit the nail on the head with your post.

Eadon does not do us any favours mouthing off as (s)he does.

I also use Slackware for my personal desktop.

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Stop

Re: @jake: "Ban personal devices from the workplace. Simple."

If a system has security designed into it from the start then it will be more secure than another system that does not.

You need to stick to Plan 9 from Bell Labs.

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The connectivity costs $61 ...

... and what would an IT-provided device cost? My guess is: about the same.

On another note: It's revealing that IT is still measured only as cost because other factors such as productivity or revenue contributions are so hard to figure . Nothimg changed in the las 40 years ...

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FAIL

The underlying premise is wrong

People here are businly babbling about the techncal issues when the entire underlying premise is wrong. It is like drivers at a freight company wanting to bring their own Mini Coopers in.

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Meh

Are "stationary" supplies ones that don't move very much?

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Anonymous Coward

A never ending game.

My company laptop was so a celeron, 160Gb HDD and a stupid 1400x768 (or thereabouts) screen. They expected me to build trial build a system that uses 8 different servers thus at least 8 VM. The level of lockdown was also something behold.

Thankfully my manager saw the light and I now have a decently spec'd laptop with 32Gb ram. The company machine is now a VM.

Sadly the network gestapo are threatening to block my MAC address from the network unless is my machine is 'locked down'. The war continues.

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Re: A never ending game.

I might feel sympathy, but what you don't tell us is part of the equation. Do they already have a bunch of dedicated virtualisation hosts that you're meant to be using, but you want it all on your own machine for convenience? And do you have a docking station? I take it you have local admin rights to your machine and object to not having those any more - why 'should' you have them?

Not prejudging - it could be anyting from a genuinely overzealous bunch of traffic-wardens in your IT dept to you simply being a dangerous maverick, to something in-between.

.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A never ending game.

32Gb? Do you mean 4GiB? Perhaps you mean 32GiB?

32Gb (gigabits) would be 4 gigabytes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A never ending game.

There are some ancient servers around but these are all test builds for customers. I then go to various parts of the world and setup the real thing for them. I can setup all those horrid things called group policies and test them before I get anywhere near the customer kit. A few SQLServer and ORacle Databases are also in the mix plus that nightmare of administration MSMQ (er? where's me message gone today folks).

I can also get most of the documentation done beforehand.

Besides, it reduces the time needed on site and not every site is the same. Lots of the static content db's is specific for that site as are the business app rules.

Ok?

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Joke

The next big thing?

A windows installation on a flash device which doesn't throw a fit when you plug it into a different computer, allowing you to run on any handy (at least x86) device.

Hahaha, I've just had my funny-bone license activated for this instance of joke.

Bother, I'm not allowed to repost.

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Meh

Re: The next big thing?

yeah, truly unthinkable

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Stationery

You get it from a stationers. While you're there, get a dictionary. And a sub.

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Connection costs are a fixed overhead?

So I purchase my own device, and my management pony up £61pcm for the network connection.

One desk over (back in the day when we had desks) my colleague has a company-sourced device, and our management pony up £61pcm for the network connection.

If there is a news story here it is that employee connectivity costs £61pcm for the network connection, not including the costs of the end-user device.

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WTF?

What happend to the company providing kit to do their dirty work with?

Why are we all wanting to let the company off their duty to provide the tools to do the work?

I would never use my kit for company use. They want me to do the work, they provide the kit.

If this carries on soon you'll find a electricity meter sitting beside your desk that you'll have to fill with your own 50p pieces.

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Re: What happend to the company providing kit to do their dirty work with?

Mmmmm, the downside to this is that you get supplied the cheapest crap possible with which to do your work. It will be slow, so loaded down with "management" services that you can just about run notepad if your lucky, takes an age to boot, is tied to the network with some desperately unreliable synchronization software that means you have to reboot your hideously slow to boot POC just to get undocked.

All the while the IT desk pilots have supplied themselves with the latest all singing all dancing hardware because they have spreadsheets to full in.

I'd pay to use my own laptop just to remove the stress related to struggling along with a POC laptop. I could run a corporate image as a VM and it would still be twice as fast as the poxy abacus they gave me.

I'm field based and work mostly on customer sites and this is universal in my experience. IT bods and managers get the decent kit because they don't need it. Power users get crap.

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Facepalm

Re: What happend to the company providing kit to do their dirty work with?

And most average joe's home hardware is any better?

I service normal computing folks gear for a living. I have to antibac it before touching most of it let alone have it connect up to a corporate network.

I have to say that laptops costing more than £400 are pretty rare. Not to mention most don't have a working copy of Office or legit software on them.

BYOD was thought up by an small elitist bunch of gadgeteers that didn't want to be part of the herd. However, as usual didn't bother to think how the rest, that really don't give a crap about their computer hardware and showing off how much disposable income they have would fare.

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Facepalm

Re: What happend to the company providing kit to do their dirty work with?

"BYOD was thought up by an small elitist bunch of gadgeteers that didn't want to be part of the herd. However, as usual didn't bother to think how the rest, that really don't give a crap about their computer hardware and showing off how much disposable income they have would fare."

That sounds a more accurate idea of how it came about than most of the bo**cks talked about this.

Either they wanted to show off their new shiny in the office or they wanted the office to buy their new shiny for them.

Dumb for any company that falls for this solely on that justification.

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Re: What happend to the company providing kit to do their dirty work with?

You may be willing to provide your own laptop, but what about your co-workers? I've worked within a couple of companies where management put pressure on an individual to change their way of working, take on more work, etc. and then, when they had been coerced, set it as some kind of precedent for everyone else. With BYOD this could have all sorts of implications for other workers.

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Re: What happend to the company providing kit to do their dirty work with?

@ Jason 7,

Every single member of the department I am currently contracting in owns a laptop that is at least twice as well spec's as the Toys R Us "my first computer"s that the IT bods allow us. Mine must be 4 times as good and mines isn't even the best!

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Re: What happend to the company providing kit to do their dirty work with?

"Either they wanted to show off their new shiny in the office or they wanted the office to buy their new shiny for them."

No, what we want is a machine that is spec'd to allow us to actually do our jobs. Without crashing, without the sync hanging, without the hard-disk paging constantly etc etc.

The problem with IT is they spec themselve the latest and greatest kit blowing all the budget on themselves, then foist junk onto everyone else, as if it wasn't everyone else that kept them in a job!

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Re: What happend to the company providing kit to do their dirty work with?

With BYOD this could have all sorts of implications for other workers.

That is a fair point. It would be so much better if the IT guys just stopped keeping the good shit for themselves.

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Re: What happend to the company providing kit to do their dirty work with?

Mmmmm, the downside to this is that you get supplied the cheapest crap possible with which to do your work. It will be slow, so loaded down with "management" services that you can just about run notepad if your lucky, takes an age to boot, is tied to the network with some desperately unreliable synchronization software that means you have to reboot your hideously slow to boot POC just to get undocked.

Frequent complaint about company supplied hardware, however I dont think BYOD is the solution.

If you are wasting an hour a day because the device is slow, then you company needs to be made aware of this (1 hour per day per employee = lots of new hardware) so management can make a decision.

If your time is profitable to the company, then this wasted time is costing them (not you) so they really should cough up and get you a better device to work on. Anything else is losing them money.

It may be that your time isnt as valuable to management as you think, in which case it isnt cheaper for them to improve your hardware - if this is the case, then make the most of the enforced breaks and enjoy the more relaxed pace of work.

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FAIL

Re: What happend to the company providing kit to do their dirty work with?

Yeah but that might work for the gadgeteers that know how to configure a pagefile etc. but what about the rest of the staff that dont have a clue about how to setup a laptop properly?

Again BYOD only works for the tech smartarses and gadget showoffs.

Office Willy waving of the next generation. It's just another way to create a pecking order.

As an aside the IBM Thinkpads and Dell lattitudes our corp issued us with worked fine. Maybe some firms just need to find better build teams.

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Linux

"PCs eventually came under the sysadmin's thumb, so it might be safe to assume that mobile devices will eventually succumb in the same way."

No one will touch a key of "My Device(TM)", if a company wants control over my equipment they will have to provide it.

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FAIL

Im good with either scenario.

If my employer want to provide me with a mobile device then they can give me whatever they want.

If they don't want me to use my device for work then that's cool too.

Once they decide which approach they want to use then all they need to do is give me a heads up.

But then there was that one firm where the PM ordered me to buy and pay for my own mobile phone so they could reach me wherever and whenever. I am no longer with that firm. Although, to be fair, neither is the PM.

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Happy

Horses for courses

I have been a "sys-admin" for part of the time since the mid 1980s, and a system user for all of the time since the late 1970s. In all that time I have never come across a company IT department (including ones I was running) that got the right kit to make all the workers as productive as they could be, never come across one that got the best possible deal on the hardware they did buy, nor one that did a halfway decent job on security.

The trouble is that IT departments know about IT for IT departments, and a bit about IT for other departments, and damn all about the jobs other departments do.

People in other departments no about their jobs and a bit about IT for their jobs and damn all about IT in general.

There is no one size fits all solution, some people and some jobs fit a stalinist IT policy, and some are better in a free for all. Most are better somewhere in between. BYOD has always existed, either officially or via the "pump-controller"/"stationery supplies" route, it always will. and corporate lock downs have always and will always exist, to varying degrees.

Reports that one or other approach is bad are certain to be wrong and are almost always written on behalf of people who want to sell something. Then followed up by journalists who want to fill column inches. They will then be commented on by ill-informed zealots (like me). The world will continue spinning and people will continue working, some security breaches will happen (in both stalinist and anarchic organisations). Get over it.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/happy_32.png

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LOL

Gotta love the unintended (I guess) hilarity of seeing the "Illicit phone rings in Sri Lankan inmate's back crack" article cheek by jowl with the "BYOD is a PITA" one ... or are the Reg editors having a bit of fun today?

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Be careful for what you ask for, you might get it!

Just a note about BYOD stuff. Here in the USA we just had a court case that indicated that workers who did company work "on the own time" were entitled to compensation and (possibly) overtime. If one does BYOD, then there is the opposite effect of having workers actually do work on it "away form the workplace". So, it runs both ways. Would you allow "work" stuff to run on your home network (tracking, etc.) and would you actually trust it to keep ALL of your personal stuff private.

So, it may be doubly costly to have workers BYOD. Then again, some places (like where I am) allow "work from home". Joy Joy Happy Happy.

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Happy

I sometimes think that Eadon is unfairly downvoted...

But then I think of the experience base of those doing the downvoting.

And it does not seem so unfair. after all.

I'll think up a more serious comment about this later.

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Question

So you bring your own laptop to work. Loaded it with company apps and data. What happens if that employee is fired or quits ?

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Go

Evolution in action

Let's just imagine that BYOD extended to desktops. Every morning you'd lug in your PC or mac or linux box, loaded with all the crap programs, malware and illegal downloads you and your kiddies have put on it. Somehow your 'fat and old' IT department has to work out a system by which random operating systems at arbitrary revision levels, with random mixes of applications, unknown open and unfixed or badly fixed bugs, can be secured and made compliant with business policy and legal requirements, and by the way perform in a way which you find acceptable.

Now what exactly is the difference between this and a modern mobe, which is no different to a PC you can stick in your pocket?

While you people are happily stuffing around with your phone (the new smoking) in blissful ignorance, your company is well on the way going broke either because of increased costs or decreased security or both, and you will soon be out of a job, and all in pursuit of largely illusory productivity gains. So your problem will soon go away and so will you. Ta ta.

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Meh

BYOD seems to be about 2 things

1) People who want to use their UI as they can't get the company provided software to do what they want.

2) The hardware they've been issued is not good enough to do the job.

Both are reasons to investigate further what is really needed. They are effects, not causes.

Better hardware. "too heavy" is not an issue from the company PoV. Too slow (in for example a financial services app) is an issue if it takes too long for a rep to demonstrate what-if scenarios to a client. Likewise a slowish processor is not too important for a field service engineer, but flaky comms can make it difficult to order parts and over time be very annoying.

Better software. Any software that helps people do their job (rather than allows them to) is complex because it incorporates deep knowledge of that job (the "business rules" part of a system). You've got to wonder how people are saying they can't use the current UI (but they can use their pad/phone/PMP/whatever) if they've been doing the job for a while.

The question is how well they've been trained to use it and wheather the UI handles the tasks you need to do as well as it could. The former is a training issue (and boy do companies hate doing that) the latter depends on wheather its an in house app or a product. If bought in can it be better configured? If so does anyone in house know how to re-configure it?

If the company buys your hardware it's their dime. But expect to play by their rules if they do. Personally I like my work/life balance to keep my work at work and my life outside my work. BYOD -> PITA (for in house IT).

Incidentally the House of Commons has rather a BYOD policy with all the MP's devices.

Have they got their virus re-infections contained yet?

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I just don't get why anyone would want to have the expense and risk of having to supply their own kit for work. If it fails or gets broken or lost you have to provide a replacement. If i drop my blackberry down the toilet by accident my company gets me a new one, when my laptop hard disk dies my company gets me a new one all with the added bonus of knowing that everything I do is secure either connected of disconnected.

maybe I am just lucky as I get 2 monitors on my desk, a core i5 laptop with 8gb ram and SSD running windows 7, plus a blackberry, plus access to outlook and sharepoint and lync on the web. all of these devices work seamlessly with my company services. This is standard issue stuff and I wouldn't say my company is exactly cutting edge.

There are some who insist on bring their ipads which have basic mail and calender access provided although in most meetings my paper based notepad is far more productive and not so tempting to constantly pick up and play with instead of paying attention to what is going on.

p.s , i have no particular allegiance to any platform, i just choose what works best for the job in hand , I run systems on Linux, AIX , Z/OS, Solaris and Windows all of which work well when looked after and engineered properly.

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