* Posts by Dr Who

229 posts • joined 25 Oct 2007

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HPE sharpens knife for next salami-slicing staff redundo round

Dr Who

To me

It looks more like a chorizo.

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Vodafone: Dear customers. We're sorry we killed your Demon

Dr Who

Re: Saw this coming and recently decamped to Zen

Zen. I use them for home and work broadband and landline. Cannot rate them highly enough. You pay a bit more, but it's worth every penny..

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Quip away, but Microsoft Excel 365's REST APIs win the day

Dr Who

Re: Yup you're old

@Ragarth. Totally agree. I just get frustrated with the large contingent on El Reg who are anti-cloud full stop. They base their entire opinion on services such as Office 360 or SalesForce where in effect you lose control. There are many shades of grey between in house and the Office 360 / SalesForce type scenario. Horses for courses and all that.

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Dr Who

Yup you're old

Years ago my company used to licence a copy, at great expense, of the Post Office PAF file, with regular updates arriving on tape which had to be laboriously loaded into our in house system.

Now - we use PostCodeAnywhere of course. Yes, we depend on a third party for this, but so what? We depend on many third party companies to do business, not least our utilities suppliers, accountants, logistics companies, Internet service providers and so on ad infinitum.

With IT, it's not outsourcing that's the issue, it's how you arrange your outsourced services and who you outsource them to that matters.

In this interconnected world, where as many or more of our users are remote as are office based, the geographical location of the systems is neither here nor there. Even firewall's, DMZs, and intrusion detection systems are increasingly irrelevant in a world where the distinction between your internal and public networks is ever more blurred. You need to defend each system individually, not the perimeter.

I'll stick my neck out even further. Anyone who still believes there's an advantage to running an in house data centre where they can touch the hardware and see the blinking lights is hopelessly out of date. If you know what you're doing, you can deliver far more reliable, far better performing, far more functional systems by outsourcing (cloud or otherwise) than you can in house.

PS I'm old too.

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Cray profits literally go up in smoke after electrical incident

Dr Who

Re: Electrical Smoke Event?

Exactly! Why does everything have to be an event these days?

Severe weather event = big storm

Seismic event = earthquake

Unanticipated landing event = plane crash

Morning ablution event = shit/shower/shave

It's the bloody yanks again I tell you. They started it.

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Google Research opens machine intelligence base in Zurich

Dr Who

Re: Actually...

The ch is the hardest sound for a non-native to get right, hence the time honoured test of asking someone to say "chuchi chaeschtli" which simply means kitchen cupboard but is damn hard to day if you didn't grow up saying it. When a Swiss says the ch it sounds OK. When a foreigner tries it, it normally sounds like they're about to deposit an enormous flob at your feet.

Not mentioned in the article but must be part of Google's thinking is that on their door step in Zurich they will have the ETH - probably the best technical university in Europe.

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When DIY is not enough: Web-snack firm Graze has an offline awakening

Dr Who

The main thing I got from this article is that the Graze office is in a smashing building on the river at Richmond in a Georgian quad opposite Facebook and PayPal - a fact that impressed the author so much he had to write it twice.

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Outsourcery to perform ULTIMATE outsource as it enters administration

Dr Who

Re: The Cloud...

In this case, the customers should be OK. Outsourcery, inspite of its misleading name, is just another reseller of MS cloud services and as such it is likely that service will continue. Now, whether being on the MS cloud is a good thing is an altogether other discussion.

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Rogue Somerset vulture lands at Royal Navy airbase

Dr Who

Re: Surely there's a marketing made in heaven here

With the greatest of respect and to your great credit, your post is an excellent demonstration of why you are a techie and not a marketer.

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Salesforce claims 'record' quarter record at Oracle and SAP's expense

Dr Who

Isn't it ironic

I am in general, and in contrast to much of the opinion expressed on the Reg, a fan of cloud and the opportunities, if used wisely, it offers. This though is a little ironic. The company that just irretrievably lost data for quite a lot of its US customers reports record sales because the competion is cr*p. Have you actually used SalesForce? I have, and it's a nightmare. If they're the best, the others must be truly tragic.

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What is Hybrid Infrastructure? Glad you asked...

Dr Who

Horses for courses

These are all good points well made. It surely depends on the user base you are considering when assessing where your systems should run. If the system you are looking at is for internal consumption within your business, keep the system local. If you are serving tens of thousands of consumers via the web, it may well make sense to place that system in a third party data centre with massive redundant routes to the Internet, something that would be tough to deliver from your own premises. If your system is serving both internal and external user communities, then maybe hybrid is the answer.

I agree entirely that using cloud infrastructure is no silver bullet either financially or technically, it just increases the options available for delivering solutions.

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Snafu! BT funnels all customers' sent email into one poor sod's inbox

Dr Who

Re: Keep your e-mail seperate

Sounds like BT have taken swift action. "I have supported 28 million ..... And now? I am sitting at home polishing my LinkedIn profile".

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German lodges todger in 13 steel rings

Dr Who

Bet he was cockahoop when they finally got them all off.

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We suck at backups. So let's not have a single point of failure any more

Dr Who

This hits the nail on the head. You need to spot the moment the encryption happens by seeing the change between two incremental backups. Even if all your backups are WORM and even if they're on tape, there's still the scenario where the encryption is done but the malware keeps serving up data normally with a software shim for say a month before cutting everything off and demanding its ransom. This means you've got a month's worth of useless backups. Even if your archive goes back more than a month, the data will be completely obsolete. There is malware out there that does precisely this.

As AC says, the only solution is to make log checking your religion and spot the problem as it's happening.

PS this one wakes me up in the middle of the night too!

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Spotify hits the G-Spot, leaps into Google's cloud

Dr Who

Re: What about redundancy and DR ?

Many SMEs do indeed blindly trust in one platform provider, but in Spotify's case I suspect it's a calculated business risk. Google is less likely to go bankrupt than Spotify, so they probably won't disappear overnight. The cost of downtime is a known factor as is the cost of using multiple providers. Given the dependence on proprietary Google tools, having a second provider would involve a complete port of the system to another set of tools. I imagine the cost of this massively outweighs the cost of projected downtime.

Downtime in itself is not necessarily an evil. The cost of five nines often outweighs the business advantages of doing it.

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Growth comes with costs for cloud-support flinger Rackspace

Dr Who

"re-organisation in sales that would allow disrupt its currant"

Could be a typo. More likely it's a verbatim quote from the sales director.

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Building automation systems are so bad IBM hacked one for free

Dr Who

I would work for free if it was for a team called X-Force. It would be worth it just for the answer my seven year old son could give his mates at school when they ask him what his dad does.

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Speednames 'fesses up, admits customers' emails are borked

Dr Who

Exactly

Which is why I'm always amazed when someone spends weeks pitching their product and writing, honing and perfecting their proposal, ping it off in an email to the client and don't bother to make the phone call to be sure it's reached its target. Email delivery is unbelievably unreliable and should not be used as a mission critical business tool.

Bring back X.400 that's what I say.

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Lincolnshire council IT ransomware flingers asked for ... £350

Dr Who

Judith sounds to me a lot like one of those CIOs who place a strong strategic focus on the Chief and Officer side of things (and don't you forget it mate!) but prefers to deploy a light touch approach to the Information part, which is after all jolly hard to understand and is probably best left to others.

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dotCloud dotGone: Ex-Docker PaaS passes away amid bankruptcy

Dr Who

Re: Re-locating all that computing hardware

Spot on! However we arrange our infrastructure we are all unavoidably dependant on a host of third party services from the power grid to communications networks to payment processors et cetera. If we forget the word cloud and replace it with internet, we are of necessity all using it. Having a bunch of servers in your own data centre is only the tiniest piece of the jigsaw.

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Boffins baffled by record-smashing supernova that shouldn't exist

Dr Who

Re: Fixed headline

"BRIAIN-BOGGLINGLY" even

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Database rights are no 'impediment' to Europe's data-driven economy

Dr Who

Re: Clarification ?

Good point. My understanding is the same as yours, but this article appears to suggest the opposite i.e. that you cannot idependently collect and distribute the same data as Football DataCo. If anyone from Outlaw is reading it would be interesting to know the answer.

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Boozing is unsafe at ‘any level’, thunders chief UK.gov quack

Dr Who

Thank God

For El Reg!

There I was feeling like a pariah and thanks to you, the Registrati, I feel normal again. Let's face it, most of us have sailed past the new weekly limit before breakfast on a Monday. By the end of a boozy Sunday lunch sitting in front of the snooker with a couple of cold ones I should, it appears, be dead. Instead, as the white ball clacks softly into the black, I find myself blissfully at one with the world and all creatures that inhabit it.

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HSBC COO ‘profoundly apologises’ for online outage

Dr Who

Re: Likely causes....

Chill. We all get downvotes for comments we thought were really great but clearly weren't. That's the beauty of the comments, they help put our own views into perspective. Stop digging and move on.

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Can DevOps and Agile save the planet? US.gov thinks so

Dr Who

Re: DevOps Man...

Indeed. We should all shy away from mediocrity and instead make sure we check our posts for typographical errors before hitting the submit button.

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Hungryhouse resets thousands of customers' passwords

Dr Who

Re: Very disappointing

If indeed you had no breach (although I find your explanation for the resets somewhat implausible) this is still an object lesson in the art of communicating with your customers whilst you are undertaking a seriously disruptive precautionary action.

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Science Museum trumpets Da Vinci expo

Dr Who

Re: "trumpet's Da Vinci expo"

It's still arguably his name. Many, probably most, last names have their roots in something descriptive. Johnson, Thompson, Smith, Taylor, d'Arc all stem from something descriptive. They're still last names though.Not sure about Beeblebrox.

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Storm in a teacup: Wileyfox does Android cheapie, British style

Dr Who

Having been a Galaxy addict, I bought a Swift and am incredibly impressed with it. At £129 quid it's a no brainer.

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NATS climbs into the cloud to fight legacy software snafus

Dr Who

Well they're quite clear that it's on premise, so under their direct control.

I totally agree with you however, WTF is meant by cloud in this context. Smacks to me of a PR bod using buzz words to garner some free column inches. There's probably a NATS IT bod squirming somewhere.

In fact what is probably happening is that NATS will replace some old onsite infrastructure with some new onsite infrastructure, probably deploying machine virtualisation so that they can scale up capacity super fast in the event of a spike in load. This would make sense given the last failure resulted from overloaded server hardware due to a spike in load caused by an unforeseen use case of the NATS software.

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A BOFH friendly cloud service? Shurely shome mistake...

Dr Who

Depends on whether it's IaaS or SaaS. If it's true SaaS such as Salesforce.com then you are completely at the mercy of the service provider.

If on the other hand you only need infrastructure services, say a bunch of VMs, on which to run your own applications, then just use two (or even three if you're really paranoid) different service providers and mirror your servers. Very easy, very cost effective, and extraordinarily reliable.

We use two different UK service providers, mirror the VMs between the two and have a third location for archive backups.

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BOFH: Power corrupts, uninterrupted power corrupts absolutely

Dr Who

That's why any decent DR plan will include multiple geographically separated redundant pubs.

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Veedub flub hubbub stubs car-jack hack flap

Dr Who

Re: Physical access required

Why would you want to give your car to one of the fathers of the Internet? Or did you mean serf?

I know, sarcasm gets you nowhere, but I couldn't resist.

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Skills crisis? Not for long: More and more UK kids gain STEM quals

Dr Who

Re: A-Level results

Hear hear!. The only bit I don't get is this continual comparison of engineers/techies and sales staff. It's not what you do, it's about how well you do it.

If the sales person in question is a cold calling telesales person they get paid peanuts - probably less than an equivalently skilled tech job. If they have the rare ability to make sales of tens or hundreds of millions of pounds a year they of course get paid a shed load.

Equally if I fix PC hardware or hack code I get paid peanuts. If on the other hand I write a brilliant search algorithm and pair that up with an ingenious page rank system in order to enable highly targeted advertising, I get paid a bomb. As I would if I were to invent cold fusion in my garage.

To get paid well, it's not enough to do a good job. You have to be creative, innovative and several cuts above average. It's nothing to do with engineering vs sales.

And to those who argue that the City is hoovering up all the best IT talent for huge salaries, of course they do. Finance is basically an IT industry now and they need the best software architects and network architects in the world to compete. It proves that there is indeed a a very well paid market for the best tech talent.

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Dr Who

Re: Not so good

Agreed. So, like Brenda, I assume you give up a good slice of your time working with school kids and nurturing their enthusiasm. Unlike you, I don't, but am seriously considering doing so for the reasons you mention.

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Dr Who

Re: Good.

This is great news indeed for the kids and for the country.

I have a good female friend with a senior tech position who also does the STEM ambassador stuff. A very worthy and admirable thing to lend your time to!

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Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

Dr Who

Legend

Saw it last year at the Shoreham airshow where it stole the show and stress tested the ear drums! An iconic machine which I'm glad my kids by happy chance got to see in action see before it was retired.

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Freeparking web hosting services go TITSUP after migration

Dr Who

Re: Three weeks without being able to send mail

Without any hesitation I can recommend CloudFloor DNS (http://www.mtgsy.net) who have provided us and our customers with a top notch, highly reliable service for many years now. They're brilliant. The shocker is, their service actually costs a few pounds a month. Unbelievable isn't it! Who'd have thought that you have to pay a reasonable fee to get a good service. Just doesn't make any sense.

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Oculus adds Surreal Vision to its virty portfolio

Dr Who

Re: Fiona Johnson

Reminds me of an episode of Red Dwarf where Lister is, in a virtual/drug induced world, snogging a gorgeous bird, whereas the lips he is actually kissing in the real world belong to some slobber mouthed alien beast.

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SME IT contracts? That's the last thing Whitehall wants – report

Dr Who

Re: Nirvana.... or not

Thumb up to that. There seems to me to be an opportunity here to set up a business purely for the purpose of "co-ordinating and managing a large number of SMEs" on behalf of government departments. Based on a management fee of one percent of contract value that would be 100 million pounds on the HMRC contract alone. Sounds like a worthwhile venture to me. Who's in?

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NASA plots interplanetary cubesat swarms

Dr Who

To boldly go where no Platonic solid has gone before.

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Mounties nab Canadian woman, 27, in webcam hack shenanigans bust

Dr Who

Re: "recreational terror[-ism, -ist]"

I too was greatly tickled by that particular phrase!

"Darling, just popping out for a spot of terrorism. Should be back in an hour or so. Love you."

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NASA spies weird glow from Pluto's FRIGID pole

Dr Who

Re: "The US has been the first to flyby every planet of the Solar System"

I hope Symon and Voland aren't programmers. Their grasp of syntax is clearly somewhat lacking.

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Google promises proper patch preparation after new cloud outage

Dr Who

Re: In other news:

Indeed. Which could be messy if their internal software system fails to correctly route the egress traffick, resulting in the shit hitting the fan instead of the correct target destination (the pan).

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Thousands of UK drivers' details leaked through hole in parking ticket website

Dr Who

On balance I like El Reg

But this article is just awful. The quote from Sol Cates clearly demonstrates that he has no idea whatsoever what he's talking about. I doubt there was any "backdoor link" that left the "computer database wide open" (what does this even mean?).

I suspect that the only encryption in place was between client and server via https. The "backdoor link" was most likely an unencrypted database, open to anyone either via a web application vulnerability or via direct access to the database server.

You will also notice that even now, the site does not enforce https. If you go to paymypcn.net you end up on a standard http connection (even though they still display the Verisign Secured logo at the foot of the page). You have to explicitly go to https://paymypcn.net to get an encrypted link.

To try and blame the DVLA for this is disingenuous of PaymyPCN.net. This is just a shite web application full of all the usual holes, and John Leyden should have spotted that whilst blindfolded and with his hands tied behind his back.

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HMRC fails to plan for £10.4bn contract exit... because it's 'too risky'

Dr Who

Which is very good to hear for an open source fan such as myself, but in this context makes the sums look even worse. If the software licence costs are lower, that means that an even more ridiculous and frankly unbelievable sum is being spent on development.

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Dr Who

Let's be generous and allow 400 million for hardware expenditure and software licensing (assuming they won't use FLOSS because you don't get the thoroughly outstanding support that can be received from proprietary vendors such as Oracle and MS).

That leaves 10 billion for development. If we assume an average rate of £60 per hour for people involved in the project and working on an 8 hour a day 240 day a year basis, that seems to me to work out at 86806 man years of development time. I could write quite a nice system on that sort of timescale.

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Lizard Squad threatens Malaysia Airlines with data dump: We DID TOO hack your site

Dr Who

In many many ways I would rather have my website compromised than have someone take control of my zone file.

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Will hottest CES gadgets be HOT TARGETS for hackers?

Dr Who

It could give a new meaning to privilege escalation.

Home Central Heating Controller->Smart Watch->Smart Phone->Email Account->Password Reset->Work Laptop->passwordless Private Key->Admin Access to work servers.

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BAN email footers – they WASTE my INK, wails Ctrl+P MP

Dr Who

Re: Obligations

The most offensive stuff is not the mandatory company information but the disclaimer and confidentiality notices, which are often enormous. You'll notice from the Out-law article you posted (which is excellent and one I often refer people to) that these notices are to all intents and purposes pointless and carry no legal weight. They should never be included in a routine email footer.

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So, does anyone in UK.gov actually know what G-Cloud is for? Apparently not

Dr Who

Grease is the word

Does the Crown Hosting Service take me to major international sporting events? No it does not.

Does the Crown Hosting Service have a plush office in the West End and does it take me to a 3 Michelin star restaurant for lunch after meetings there? No it does not.

Does the Crown Hosting Service even know what a round of golf is? No it does not.

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