* Posts by Bob H

528 posts • joined 20 Sep 2007

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Silent Nork satellite tumbling in orbit

Bob H
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Re: No telemetry

I am confused by the qualification that it is silent, how are people so sure that it isn't transmitting anything? Is it just because it isn't transmitting on Ku-Band, C-Band, L-Band or UHF? Have people checked the entire EM spectrum and found nothing? I would expect the NSA/GCHQ to have done that but it isn't easy if they aren't using standard mechanisms. It could even be using some exotic UWB communications are are very hard to spot and are easily mistaken for noise.

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Dell PowerEdge R730: Reg rack monkeys crack smiles over kindness of engineers

Bob H
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Redundancy

Argh!

Redundant: adjective - not or no longer needed or useful; superfluous.

The power supplies aren't redundant, they are resilient, if they were redundant you wouldn't need them but I am fairly certain it doesn't have its own generator inside.

Can people please stop referring to things as being redundant when they mean resilient?

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Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!

Bob H
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Re: The facts!

My Samsung NC10 didn't perform particularly well with Ubuntu but I think Unity was to blame, I really need to find that machine and rebuild it with Mint.

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Submarine cable cut lops Terabits off Australia's data bridge

Bob H
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Re: Microwave?

Actually you can do tropo-scatter but it is really hard, really noisy and doesn't give nearly the capacity of LoS microwave.

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Lights out for Space Vehicle Number 23: UK smacked when US sat threw GPS out of whack

Bob H
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Good ol' MSF?

Has anyone compared the 1pps of GPS to the frequency reference of MSF? As far as I am aware the MSF signal is very, very accurate (10^12) and so it should make a good reference for the UK.

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El Reg nips down to the Hewlett You Inn?

Bob H
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Recently I received a handful of SD cards, delivered in a tray that would hold 48 SD cards, in an antistatic bag, wrapped in bubble wrap, in a box, inside another box packed with foam.

Those blank SD cards were, at no point, at risk.

This was not HP and I actually received two sets in two separate and identically packed shipments.

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Reg readers battle to claim 'my silicon's older than yours' crown

Bob H
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Re: Nuclear Power Station...

A foreign sounding voice at the end of the line, "we would like to come and study your computer-ma-bob"

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BT scoops £100m network provision deal from the BBC

Bob H
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C&W

The contract used to be what was a facility that C&W set up as part of the Siemens outsourcing deal after BBC Technology was sold to Siemens. The national fibre network was part of the contract to connect every BBC location and largely about moving uncompressed video about. The London connectivity was a separate contract where huge quantities of dark fibre were on long-term lease and that preceded outsourcing.

BT has always provided video connectivity to broadcasters, they host the main neutral video switch at BT Tower that just about everyone uses. To conflate this as being an IT outsourcing contract is to confuse video with IT and the provision is very different.

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'Blue light services will get 4G on London Tube!' Cool, how? 'Errrrm...'

Bob H
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Re: What's wrong with TETRA?

But the TETRA equipment costs a fortune, they could use more COTS parts with LTE (if done correctly).

That saying I would suggest that in the interim, until LTE is ready, it would be easy to build a TETRA accessory module which has a emergency beacon button and links to the officers phone by Bluetooth or USB? That way you could use the LTE network for day-to-day operations but keep TETRA for emergencies and when LTE is unavailable.

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Bob H
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Re: "Who's traffic gets priority?"

If this is EE, will they offer callers priority access if they pay an additional 50p?

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Folk shun UK.gov's 'expensive' subsidised satellite broadband

Bob H
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Re: Satellite Broadband? @Mage

One of the problems with mobile coverage is that most of the the masts aren't owned by the operators, they are owned by Arqiva. If the government paid Arqiva to roll out more masts instead of putting pots into satellite broadband then the rural community might get somewhere. But the other challenge is: do the rural communities want more masts on their hills?

In late 2014 I was staying at the Snake Pass Inn in the Peak District and they were constrained to satellite broadband. I don't imagine many locals wanting the Peak District dotted with masts.

Fibre is great, but it is really expensive to dig roads and rural communities are more spread out, thus connectivity is more expensive. The government has tried to subsidise it but those plans weren't very successful. I believe enabling communities to manage their own solutions, which meet their particular local needs, with government support and subsidy, is the best approach. Enable local communities to petition Arqiva and enable small FTTC cooperatives.

Finally, OpenReach, they are over burdened and as a virtual monopoly there doesn't seem to be an adequate solution that doesn't involve restructuring the market.

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Late night server rebuild led to 'nightmares about mutilated corpses'

Bob H
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Self-inflicted injury, no sympathy.

I actually started my career in the control room of a large satellite communications operator, there you get to see horrific and pornographic things on a regular basis.

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Seagate floats out 10TB HDD filled with lifting gas

Bob H
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Re: Typo in cache size...

If that was an SMR drive then you might want that!

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Fingers crossed tomorrow morning for Telecity's third repair shot

Bob H
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Re: Impressive...

I wonder what colour temperature said carbonised human is currently at....

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Bob H
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Re: Impressive...

Sounded painful to me, I've taken a few zaps in my time but none has resulted in me emitting anything that sharp.

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Broadband's frequency hunters denied Freeview patch – for now

Bob H
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Re: HEVC

Actually BT and TalkTalk both use Multicast for the delivery of YouView channels. But it isn't without complexities and getting the networks to do it with stability is a right b*tch. It is easy to say that all switches support multicast but experience says they get a bit delicate even in lab conditions when you throw a lot of traffic their way, also the equipment at the exchanges needs careful profiling and too many joins sometimes can break things if you aren't careful.

Then the channels want to charge the ISPs for the right to deliver channels instead of seeing the advantage of a distribution medium paid for by someone else. Then the channels also want encyption/DRM which I am sure many here would object to, even if the same channel were originally available free-to-air they still want DRM. Go figure.

Summary: multicast does work, it is in production, but it is more complex at very large scale (hundreds of thousands to millions of users) and channels want to charge ISPs for it.

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Bob H
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Re: Mobile

I agree, the mobile companies shouldn't get more bandwidth until they can prove that they can behave correctly with what they've got already. They should invest in more and better coverage, more small cells and more femto cells. Asking for more premium bandwidth is just executives waving male appendages to see who has the bigger offering.

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Bob H
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Re: HEVC

@NigelW

I'm actually surprised that more of the 'niche' channels haven't cottoned on to the idea that they could save money by switching to H.264 SD. They might reduce their viewership but that cost saving would be substantial. This happened in other countries when they introduced H.264 and the move of some content to the newer systems actually drove adoption of the devices by consumers because they wanted to continue to get the content even if it wasn't in HD.

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LHC records biggest bang ever with 1 Peta-electron-volt jolt

Bob H
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Re: Just ... mind-boggling

Daddy Pig agrees with your sentiment.

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Estonian vendor sparks Li-Fi hypegasm with gigabit demo

Bob H
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Re: Where's the back channel and back haul?

Backhaul via WiFi is my feeling, this can really be just a secondary re-enforcement channel for high bandwidth downlink (given that in most cases user's traffic is async). As for the connection to the lightbulb? I am thinking GbE or 2.5GbE with 802.3at Type 2 PoE is the answer, you'll get 25W per bulb which should be sufficient for each fixture of an LED bulb system.

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What the world needs now is Pi, sweet $5 Raspberry Pi Zero

Bob H
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Re: Teardown awaited with interest

My estimates:

RAM $1.75

PCB $1.00

uUSB $0.40 x 2

uSD $0.60

uHDMI $1.50

Excluding discrete components and the Broadcom IC I count it as $5.65. Now I appreciate that they might pay less for connectors and PCBs, mine are estimates based on only many thousands of volume, not millions. Still, there is no margin as far as I can see and I can't see how Broadcom make any money. Perhaps the Zero is subsidised?

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Tor wars: CMU says FBI came not with cash, but a subpoena

Bob H
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I'm confused CMU/CERT did research into TOR vulnerabilities and found them, but didn't let TOR know? Irrespective of the FBI warrant, surely it is standard practice for CERT to notify interested parties of vulnerabilities so that they can mitigate and alert users if they see fit?

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BlackBerry Priv: After two weeks on test, looks like this is a keeper

Bob H
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Sounds like it would be perfect, shame it doesn't seem to be a dual SIM phone otherwise I would jump on it.

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TalkTalk boss on Joe Garner exit, Virgin Media support for Openreach and THAT attack

Bob H
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It would be interesting if VM did wholesale their broadband at least, not in an LLU kind of way but in the old school virtual operator way. Then you would see other players delivering MPEG4 IPTV over DOCSIS 3.0 competing with VM's mostly MPEG-2 DVB-C + DOCSIS network.

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Powerline Networking

Bob H
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Re: If Only

I know this is an old topic but when the sparky replaced my consumer unit I had him fit a socket next to it and that socket was on the same neutral as the workshop and I have a gigabit Powerline adaptor to bridge the two spaces.

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BT engineers - missed appointments

Bob H
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I got accused of missing an Openreach appointment recently where the engineer was supposed to install a new FTTC line, which was interesting because the bloke came fairly promptly, installed the line, it worked fine and he was on his way fairly quickly (a very satisfactory experience).

I suspect someone failed to close the job correctly and I got blamed as a result.

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Virgin Media daddy Liberty Global swoops on Cable & Wireless Communications

Bob H
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Re: Watershed indeed...

Are you sure you've got the right C&W? Although I believe the Caribbean services aren't fantastic either.

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Bob H
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Thumb Up

Not to be confused with C&W Worldwide which was bought by Vodafone ages ago.

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Commentard achieves bronze badge, goes directly to jail

Bob H
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Joke

Re: And for a bronze badge...

Does he talk about shrimp a lot?

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Bob H
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Flame

Judging by the name is that a Hackers/Cereal Killer reference or a 1984 reference?

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Bob H
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Re: I've been around here for ages

It took me ages, but a few months ago I finally made it to bronze! But sometimes it seems to disappear and reappear, I don't understand the logic. And the fuzz haven't turned up yet....

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Intel Xeon chip ban? Pfeh. China triples top 500 supercomputer tally

Bob H
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Indeed, limiting their supply of Xeon's is probably feeding their innovation in the CPU sector that will likely allow them to disrupt Intel in the long-term. Triumph in the face of adversity? All that money they could be spending with Intel is going in to Chinese R&D instead, this could so easily backfire.

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Now we know why Philae phouled up comet landing

Bob H
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Re: to all the naysayers ....

As the committee that reviewed my dissertation said: "it isn't a failure if you learnt from what happened."

Yes, it didn't work as planned, but if you learnt a great deal more than you expected to then that study alone raises humankind further.

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Virgin Media hikes broadband, phone prices by five per cent

Bob H
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Excellent, I recently threatened to quit VM and they gave me a discount, then sent me a TiVo which I am paying a few pounds a month for. The TiVo is sh*te, so I can call them up and return it without waiting a year.

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TalkTalk boss: 'Customers think we're doing right thing after attack'

Bob H
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Re: Customers think TalkTalk is doing the right thing

"Virgin do ADSL just like the rest. Did you ask?"

Virgin got out of the DSL business and sold it to TalkTalk.

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Star Trek to go boldly back onto telly, then beam down in streams

Bob H
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Re: @Alien8n

@Alien8n,

I did mention the need to kill key characters elsewhere in the posting.

@Simon Harris,

I love the idea that dystopian futures are an excuse not to make our own lives better.

You seem to have pointed out quite a number of films more than TV series and yes there are many examples of both TV and films being dystopial. However my concern is valid because the writing trends elsewhere and notably more so to me recently, have been rather against what Gene R. wanted from Star Trek. We can assume the writers, producers and directors will be somewhat experienced in the genre and thus will bring their own interpretation to the series. However dark can also be viewed as a criticism of many ST films, but especially so of the TNG films.

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Bob H
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I hope it is less dystopian than the current trend in writing has become. ST:TNG was always aiming for something higher, Gene Rodenberry thought ST should elevate mankind more than playing to its fears.

I've been trying to watch Revolution and Defiance on Amazon Prime because they looked like interesting science fiction, but the problem is that the writers seem to feel inadequate unless they've killed off a key character every few episodes. I'm not saying "keep it light" but lets not have a constant negative spiral with long story arcs that result in a portion of the crew dying every few weeks, it gets draining on the soul.

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Linus Torvalds targeted by honeytraps, claims Eric S. Raymond

Bob H
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Actually his rants, while often caused by bad code, have also included suggestions that people kill themselves so I'd call that personal.

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Facebook's laser-powered internet drone preps for take off

Bob H
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That picture is cropped here is a full size view.

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Slow connections can’t come fast enough as industry eyes low bandwidth

Bob H
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IoT all the things!

IoT is great but what worries me is this centralisation. Here are my concerning scenarios:

* You buy a thermostat and it works great but perhaps you want to change supplier or service provider and now you lose some functionality.

* You buy some IoT widget that does something interesting. The company that developed it loses interest in it, can't make money from it or goes bankrupt. Your widget no longer works and worse still is now landfill.

The lack of open standards, open platforms and the rise of lock-in in these things makes me worry. BTW, I've got a Nest but it replaced a Heatmiser which was interesting because it had a micro webserver on-board which allowed you to programme and control it with simple requests. The Nest is more fancy, more beautiful and works better overall but when the connectivity fails the gains worry me.

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Bob H
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Re: A dubious idea because of line of sight, power and future availability.

The TalkTalk routers are a one box solution for VDSL or ADSL2, I was amazed when I went to my fathers house and saw the mess under his desk partly caused by the two box solution from Plusnet.

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He's a Seoul Man: Jeff Bezos' Amazon AWS in Korea-defining move

Bob H
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Microsoft

Having worked for the Koreans for many years I am actually surprised that Azure doesn't have a presence in S. Korea. S. Korea is a hotbed of Microsoft allegiances since the Government mandated ActiveX and some Microsoft security systems for all government interfaces. It was hard to get any online service, even inside a corporation, that worked well on browsers other than IE.

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Wikipedia cracks the five-million article barrier, in English

Bob H
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Re: @Chuq But it isn't in English

What about auto-translation between the two versions, should be possible and a bot could even process to create the parallel universes.

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Why was the modem down? Let us count the ways. And phone lines

Bob H
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Modem upgrades

The Register needs to track down one of the techs who had to go around visiting the exchange PoPs in the 90s swapping out the modems. I met a guy once that said it was like painting the Forth Bridge, he'd finish the upgrade cycle and then some fool would invent a better coding scheme or increase the density of the modem racks and he'd have to go around doing it all again.

If no one puts their hands up I could track said fellow down, he works in a reasonably senior position at a service provider now.

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UK competition watchdog provisionally clears BT's £12.5bn EE gobble

Bob H
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They convinced me to move to EE from my old Orange contract which was amazing, because I needed more data allowance, the service is crap and they really don't care about me as a long term customer.

I've been thinking about going elsewhere but frankly I don't think there is much out there that actually appeals to me. I would have been Three but their service sucks in my village.

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Imagination cuddles Brillo, Debian and OpenWrt for thing-devs

Bob H
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Android is a bloated Linux framework, so they cut it down to make it suitable for IoT.... clearly I am missing something.

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Mystery object re-entering atmosphere may be Apollo booster

Bob H
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Just getting it in early for later reference:

All hail Zerg, our new Earth overlord!

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No 4King way: Dolby snuggles its high-def TV tech into MStar SoCs

Bob H
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Re: Yeah...

@Nigel

Actually at 2k resolution the 4k silicon can already do HFR+HDR, which I found quite cool, if HFR+HDR content was available that would make me buy a 4k TV for sure.

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Western Digital's hard drive encryption is useless. Totally useless

Bob H
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Re: NSA?

Hanlon's Razor applies here:

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

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Reg reader escapes four-month lightning-struck Windows Vista farm nightmare

Bob H
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I've worked for a large company that also ran things a bit like a small company. I once got bored with the cobbled together 100Mbit/s switches and just ordered a 48 port gigabit switch without asking, without following the procurement processed and just put it on the company credit card. I claimed it as a business expense and told the FD it was on a short term discount and we needed it. He grumbled about processes but he was so tight that the discount kept him quiet.

Took me ages to convince them to get a backup server, when one of the directors lost his laptop that was the final straw and I won the battle.

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