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* Posts by Keith Langmead

114 posts • joined 8 Mar 2007

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MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'

Keith Langmead

A rod for their own backs

"However, this company does not appear to regard itself as under any obligation to ensure that its systems identify such exchanges, or to take action or notify the authorities when its communications services appear to be used by terrorists."

To my mind the issue (aside from jurisdictional issues) is that they're now complaining about behaviour that the Government created. Unless things have change, my understanding is that so long as these companies DON'T actively monitor what's being done on their services then they're safe from responsibility, just as long as they act when notified of an issue. If on the other hand they do ANY monitoring and for instance censor certain posts, then they lose that protection and are deemed responsible for what's written on their systems.

With rules like that (which the government put in place) why would any provider act any differently? There's zero incentive for them to do a little proactive monitoring or censoring etc. There's no legal mechanism for taking a best effort approach and being let off if you miss something (which realistically is bound to happen regardless of how hard they tried). Far easier in terms of both cost and legal liability to do nothing at all.

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Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

Keith Langmead

Re: stupid (calculator size) chip and pin devices for every purchase

"stupid how? Because it actually manages to provide a little security?"

They're fine if you only ever doing online ordering at home, but it gets annoying when you've got the availability of internet connections at work and on the move, but you can't place an order because the damn fob is on your desk at home. I wouldn't mind as much if they let you have more than one of them, either the fobs or the little card readers, at least then you could keep one at home and one at work (or other second location of choice) but last I heard none of the banks will let you.

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Keith Langmead

Re: Start with the basics

"Is this the same "verified by visa" that limits you to a ten character password that won't let you use special characters"

That's the one, though I thought it was an eight character limit. When I had to setup my mastercard one I came up with a completely random 20+ password that was fine, I couldn't believe it sometime later when I had to create my Visa one, when I tried to doing the same (different password obviously) and got an error telling it was too many characters!

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Ha ha, fooled you! Shares tumble over G4S fake website profit warning

Keith Langmead

Impetus to check

You also have to wonder if any of those reporters or analysts trade in those stocks themselves (or know those who do). There are laws about giving bogus information in order to make a profit, but if you've been "fooled" by information given by someone else due to not bothering to check the facts then how would anyone prove it. Even if you suspected it might not be legit, I imagine there must be a temptation to publish anyway, make some cash (either directly or indirectly via friends), and then say "woops, can't believe I fell for that!" afterwards.

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Keith Langmead

Re: https

"Of course, if all websites employed secure HTTP and Extended Validation Certificates this would be rather more difficult."

That only helps if EVERY website adopts that, and realistically that's not going to happen. Even having HTTPS won't help, I could go and register thereal-theregister.co.uk today under my name and get a valid SSL certificate for that and then setup a dummy thereg site on it. You'd get a legit looking site running under SSL, you'd only know there was an issue if you dug deeper. On the face of it in terms of the browser saying it's legit, SSL only helps confirm you're on the website you're attempting to visit, it doesn't confirm you've gone to the wrong address.

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Clara goes to the dark side, with dark secrets revealed in Dark Water

Keith Langmead

Re: "Moffatt has set the precedent for Timelords switching gender"

Indeed, the Doctor has already said that The Corsair regenerated as both men and women, so while the Doctor hasn't yet it doesn't mean he can't. Same as how he hasn't yet regenerated as ginger.

"The mark of The Corsair. Fantastic bloke. He had that snake as a tattoo in every regeneration. Didn't feel like himself unless he had that tattoo. Or herself a couple of times. Oo hoo! She was a bad girl!"

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Hate the BlackBerry Z10 and Passport? How about this dusty old flashback instead?

Keith Langmead

Quality over quantity

"Some would argue, however, that Blackberry is in fact very much in need of fixing"

If fixing means making it more like the iPhone then god no it doesn't need fixing. The great unwashed can have their iPhones, those of us in know will stick with our BB's that provide actual work related functionality!

It's good to see they're bringing out new keyboard versions, since 1) there are plenty of people who still want a physical keyboard on a smartphone, and 2) it's something no one else seems to be doing, but I hope they don't go completely down that road. I love my z30, it's my first entirely touch phone (following on from a Nokia e7 and before that a Nokia e90), and now I'm used to it and the intelligent keyboard has learnt my typing style I actually find the touch keyboard faster to use than the qwerty keyboards on either of my Nokia phones.

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FBI impersonated newspaper to finger school bomb threat suspect

Keith Langmead

Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission

While I'm not sure I agree with what they did, the way they did it seems ideal for both the FBI and the Seattle Times.

As much as they might complain about damaging trust, what WOULD have damaged trust in the Seattle Times would have been if the FBI had asked them for permission and they'd said yes. As it is the FBI gets their arrest, and the paper gets to complain publically about it, distancing themselves from the story and highlighting how they're not in law enforcements pockets. It's a win win for both sides, even if they're unlikely to admit it publically.

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Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes

Keith Langmead

"New" hotkey?

"There's a new hotkey that allows you to move apps easily between monitors by pressing Win+Shift and the left or right arrow key."

Sorry, are you saying that they didn't include that key combination which has been part of Windows since Windows 7 (possibly Vista) in the previous build, or that you weren't aware of it until now? It's definitely not "new". See also Win+Shift+Up, Win+Up, Win+Down, Win+Left and Win+Right (though the last two may only be since Windows 8).

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Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'

Keith Langmead

"Because this diminish the graviy of those vulnerabilities? And still shouldn't open source code have been reviewed by thousand of eyes to spot those vuilnerabilities earlier? Shouldn't have open source code "more secure" because of that? Of course this is closed source, thereby no one peer reviewed it, right?"

That's a fair point, after all those thousand eyes helped with OpenSSL / Heartbleed! :-)

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Keith Langmead

Re: The Hype is Strong in This One

Quite. I saw the title and started thinking "bugger, have to patch servers", then saw references to OLE and suspected where this was going, and finally got to the PowerPoint bit and realised "oh, fuss over nothing then, patches needed for clients, but funnily enough the servers don't run PowerPoint!".

My one real complaint about this... why link to a wikipedia article explaining Shai-Hulud and not link to the CVE article!

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Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan

Keith Langmead

Getting my hopes up!

Damn it Reg for getting my hopes up, I thought we might finally see the end of that POS app which hasn't been the same since it stopped being Veritas, and Symantec absorbed it into the borg.

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iPhone 6: Advanced features? Pah! Nexus 4 had most of them in 2012

Keith Langmead

Re: NFC woes to come

"The optimal solution for bank / retailer would be they continued to issue proximity payment cards and if Visa / Mastercard released a payment app for a phone that the card could be registered with. The finger to pie ratio stays the same as does the transaction charge."

I think that's kind of the point. It's only being released in the US where as I understand it they don't have proximity payment currently. Here in the UK it'd be yet another system, but in the US there's currently no competition. The differences between card security and mobile NFC security aside (since normal users won't know or care) I assume there must be a reason for the lack of US rollout, perhaps due to more diversity in banks etc across states making it harder to have a single system nationwide (like the old Baby Bell issue with mobile networks). If that's the case then I can imagine banks being tempted to back something like this rather than have to find a way to do it themselves nationally.

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IT blokes: would you say that LEWD comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman

Keith Langmead

Re: Out the b*****ds

"Go right up to that sales booth and tell them.

"I would have been interested in your product but one of your sales men was a total ass, so I won't be buying from you ever again"

Word WILL get around the company in question, even if its not in official channels, the talk over the water cooler will cause embarrassment."

Completely agree.

Stories like this make me ashamed of my gender at times, and it's not just IT world, I've heard similar (and worse) tales from female friends who're seriously into the sci-fi / cosplay world, with the minority (I hope) seriously letting the side down.

Reporting the bad behaviour to the relevant companies, especially when they're on hand at the conference, sounds like the best option. Far better than simply ignoring their stand, which does nothing to make the company aware of what their staff are doing or give them a chance to resolve the issue.

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Top money men face up to 2 YEARS in slammer for neglecting to spot crim-cash activity

Keith Langmead

Sounds like they're simply getting management into the same level of responsibility as accountants! A friend of mine's training to be an accountant, and as I understand it from him they don't even have a defence of "I didn't know" in some circumstances. Eg, if based on the information they had access to + their level of knowledge (whether they're chartered or just a book keeper) they SHOULD have known and suspected that something dodgy was happening then it's assumed that they DID know. So I guess it sucks if you're an incompetent accountant, and now an incompetent manager!

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

Keith Langmead

Re: Anecdote

"I couldn't believe it untill I checked one evening after working late. The regular change policy didn't last, probably because IT staff got tired of people moaning that they had lost their post-it. Mind you, I checked again later and a lot of the post-its were still there."

That's not just with regular changes, I've seen that with users when they only get changed once a year. My solution (after telling them that wallets were fine, just NOT under the keyboard), go round at night, remove the post-its, and reset the password to something longer. Wait a few days and repeat. People eventually got the idea.

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Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu

Keith Langmead

Sounds like bullshit stats to me

So only 15k of the 550k servers have changed their private keys, and on that basis it's assumed the remaining servers are vulnerable!?!

As others have mentioned, many of those companies are likely running older Linux OS versions, which will be using pre-v1.0.0 OpenSSL which wasn't vulnerable. On top of that, of the top 1000 FTSE companies something like 35% to 45% of them are running IIS on their web servers, so no OpenSSL and again no vulnerability. So loads of those 97% of companies won't have changed their keys because they didn't need to in the first place!

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14 antivirus apps found to have security problems

Keith Langmead

Re: Point of Issue

I suspect the reality is that the "insecurity" of C has less to do with the language itself, and more to do with the underlying application code being written 10/15/20 years ago and not being looked at since. Even the best programmer back then couldn't be expected to foresee every security eventuality, and would have no knowledge of much of what is now considered best practice.

This kind of thing is always the risk you take when you focus on simply adding bits to existing applications and making it look pretty, rather than starting from scratch and writing the entire thing based on current best practice from the ground up. You might not be able to polish a turd, but some companies really will try! :-)

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MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets

Keith Langmead

Re: Not sure about this

While the mass media may word it that way, I think from a scientific point of view the point is in identifying those planets that definitely CAN support life rather than excluding others.

If you assume that there may be many forms of life, and they may be capable of surviving on any planet in any solar system, then suddenly any planet is a likely candidate. If that's the case where do you focus your attention? It's far simpler to focus on what we know for sure, and base the search on conditions that make life possible here (and which as far as we know preclude it on Venus or Mars). Besides, in searching for planets with Earth like conditions they're not only looking for planets which may already have life, but also planets which could support us were we one day able to reach them.

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The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

Keith Langmead

Long winded search

"On a non-Update 1 system, searching meant you had to swipe your finger in from the right edge of the screen to start the process, or hover your mouse over the lower-right hand corner of the screen and then move the cursor up to the Search box to type in your query."

Yeah, or you could just press Start on your keyboard and immediately start typing what you're searching for! Why faff around hovering over things with your mouse etc, especially on a system with a keyboard?

I'll admit it's nice to have an actual search box on the Start screen, but purely because the idea of just typing without putting the cursor somewhere does blow some users minds.

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Everyone can and should learn to code? RUBBISH, says Torvalds

Keith Langmead

Re: arehole

"What's not so fine is trying to train up a generation of coders who will lead the march into a glorious British capitalist future of economic innovation. That's moronic, because the real problems with innovation and business in the UK are social and political, and creating a generation of kids who know Python won't even come close to solving them."

Well said. That's my biggest issue with the policy, not that they want to give kids a taste of what programming is about, but that their aim seems to be to produce an army of coders who'll keep the UK ahead. Aside from not being the most effective way to teach things like logic, or that if a child does take an interest the teacher will be unlikely to have the skills to help them progress, I find it somewhat insulting that they assume that programming is the only area in computing that anyone should care about. Are they going to follow it up with a year of networking, a year of sysadmin'ing, a year of DBAing etc?

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HP: Customers, partners are fleeing IBM x86 since Lenovo System x bid

Keith Langmead

Probably scared of competing with Lenovo servers

To my mind it can only be a good thing. IMHO Lenovo desktop / laptop kit these days is far better than the HP equivalent, so I can only hope Lenovo entering the server space will improve things in that arena as well!

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Fat-fingered admin downs entire Joyent data center

Keith Langmead

Re: Poor sod...

Though you can guarantee he'll be getting the piss taken out of him over it by the other sysadmins for years to come (in a light hearted way of course). My major screw up was about 10 years ago and it still comes up occasionally, and we still mention a friend of mines best screw up now and again some 15 years later.

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Keith Langmead

Re: Jheez, poor bastard. :\

Definitely true! Only after experiencing that sinking feeling where it feels like the bottom has just dropped out of your world, and then having to tell your boss what you've done, only then can you truly appreciate axioms like "don't assume, check" and "hope for the best but plan for the worst". Until then they're just words that are impossible to put into proper context.

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Windows XP fixes flaws for free if you turn PCs into CASH REGISTERS

Keith Langmead

"Updates for free ? Maybe not. But I certainly do not think that Microsoft has the right to arbitrarily decide to no longer support a product that millions of customers are still using."

Hardly arbitrary, MS have documented their life cycle policy for years, and in the case of XP they've already extended it far beyond when support should have ended.

It's interesting that people only seem to get worked up over MS stopping support for one of their products, but no one seems to put it into context. They're no different than other OS suppliers. Apple stopped support for OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) last year (original release date 2009). RHEL 4 stopped being supported two years ago after only 5 years. Debian 5 after only 3 years.

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Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed

Keith Langmead

Re: my tuppence worth

"Server versions can go up to 64GB."

Though that's only if you're running Enterprise or Datacenter editions, otherwise you're limited to 4GB on 32-bit standard.

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Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed

Keith Langmead

Re: That is what you get for using Windows

If it's old you might be fine. From what I can see the issue only affects the newer versions of openssl, older versions like 0.9.8 and below don't have the vulnerability, so some older kit will likely be fine. For instance Watchguard report some of their older firewalls are unaffected, and I believe CentOS 5.x is also fine as it doesn't support OpenSSL newer than 0.9.8, unlike any of the CentOS 6.x versions which have the newer one and therefore need looking at.

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Meet Microsoft's latest Windows Server reseller – come on down, Google

Keith Langmead

2008 r2?!?

Why would anyone want a new box running 2008?!? It sucks, it's the vista of the server world! Only reason for using 2008 rtm is if you need 32-bit windows but since that's not an option in r2 I don't see why you wouldn't want 2012 which is a far better os imho. Perhaps avoid 2012 r2 if you're scared of being up to date, but personally I think it's the best windows server os yet.

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MPs urge UK.gov to use 1950s obscenity law to stifle online stiffies

Keith Langmead

Headline grabbing

To my mind this definitely smacks of headline grabbing rather than an attempt to protect children.

Having told us that the network level filters are necessary and will solve everything, now they're saying that they need additional protections.

If they really want to protect children then I'd have thought the obvious place for them to look first is at helping to make the network level filters and home based filters more accurate. Rather than dumping costly requirements on anyone hosting a site featuring adult content, surely the simpler method would be to come up with a universal way to identify those sites. For instance agree on a collection of tags, for instance Adult, Porn, NSFW etc, which could simply be added to the meta data of any adult oriented websites. The filters can then easily look for those tags and immediately restrict access to those people who don't want that material visible.

You'd obviously make it clear that should sites fail to implement those simple fixes then more stringent legal action may follow, but start with the carrot and move to the stick only when required.

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'Amazon has destroyed the unicorn factory' ... How clouds are making sysadmins extinct

Keith Langmead

Re: PowerShell?

"I've been one of those some of us for 20 years. The point I'm making is that previously you had to use a mishmash of whatever the heck worked to get things done, VBScript, Perl, Batch and in my case the UnxUtils Win32 ports to give me stuff like sed, awk, grep, wget, etc when Perl wasn't allowable or practical."

Oh yes, been there, done that. Batch scripts basically acting as a wrapper to call vbs scripts and Win32 ports of Unix commands. Those Win32 port files are quite possibly the most used utils I've ever found. It's so much nicer now finally having a uniform language that can do all that (I know you probably could in VBScript, but I never really got my head into it), without having to worry whether I've already copied those scripts to a server. Being able to include much better help and error trapping is a benefit as well of course, using something designed for SysAdmins rather than programmers.

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Keith Langmead

Re: I'm glad people believe sysadmin skills are becoming extinct

"Those are people who live in the Microsoft bubble where people believe they don't need to be able to program, and that somehow it is normal that e-mail is something complex."

To be fair, I imagine there are people like that on both sides of the OS divide, with people considering themselves "Linux admins" because they admin a cPanel install on a Linux box, yet have no idea how to do anything at a bash prompt.

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Friends don't do tech support for friends running Windows XP

Keith Langmead

Re: "13 years. 13 years. 13 years is far too long to expect support."

"So we're really not talking about systems as old as 13 years, we're talking about machines that could be less than 5. And some businesses with volume licenses may well have still been building XP systems more recently than this."

In a business environment perhaps, but in the home it's quite possible. Until this Christmas my parents were still using their 10 year old XP machine, and it's these types of people I think MS are targeting. In my parents case I got so fed up with having to support XP legacy that I bought them a new Windows 8 box instead. Bit of a learning curve for them admittedly, but after showing them how it works I think they've got the hang of it now.

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Spam drops as legit biz dumps mass email ads: Only the dodgy remain

Keith Langmead

Re: Mass e-mail != Spam

I suspect there's two elements to the problem. 1) users have been told for ages not to click unsubscribe links in emails since it identifies them as being real people. 2) webmail sites like Gmail make it very easy to mark unwanted messages as spam without having to provide any justification, so users get in the habit of hitting the spam link since it's easier than doing it properly, without understanding the ramifications of what they're doing.

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Cryptolocker infects cop PC: Massachusetts plod fork out Bitcoin ransom

Keith Langmead

Re: To be fair ...

Always nice to read comments and articles from people who've clearly never seen the thing they're writing about!

"The problem is in the helper applications. Adobe's PDF Reader is a particular culprit. There is no way that viewing any kind of document should EVER allow any executable code to run without further explicit confirmation from the user. We are far too lenient about applications that allow remote execution exploits."

Except it's not an actual PDF attachment, it (at least with the variant I've seen in the wild) is an executable, with its icon set to be the standard PDF document icon and a file extension of .pdf.exe, so on machines with the default "hide extension of known file types" option enabled it looks like a pdf file. The example I saw even displayed as having come from another member of staff (a valid address) rather than some government agency.

Surprised there's been no mention in the articles about this of how it also attacks mapped drives, so it's not just the local system at risk. The client that got this had not just that users machine infected, but also every file that could be accessed via his mapped drives. Fortunately we had backups of the server data, but the client machine's data was less fortunate. Served as a valuable explanation of why we kept telling them to store their data on the server!

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Thought you didn't need to show ID in the UK? Wrong

Keith Langmead

Not just Newquay

It's not just Newquay, I believe most places in Exeter don't accept them either any more. Certainly a few years ago when I had some young friends at the Uni they confirmed that some or all pubs wouldn't accept NUS cards or even PASS cards as proof of age, so many of them had to permanently go around with their passport when on a night out.

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Want to go to billionaire Sun kingpin's beach? Hope you're a strong swimmer

Keith Langmead

Does seem a crappy way of going about things but I guess it depends on whether he now goes into discussions with people about granting access. Much easier to start from a position of "I don't have to be here, I'm legally entitled to just deny access, now let's haggle." than one where the others may or may not have rights.

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Z30: The classiest BlackBerry mobe ever ... and possibly the last

Keith Langmead

Re: Here we go again...

"It's aimed at RICH grown-ups. I don't know anyone who would spend that kind of money on a mobile and if I did, I'd have to say they were fucking lunatics."

Hardly, I'd say for what it does it's a bargain! Considering my last three phones were an XDA Exec, Nokia E90 and Nokia E7, all of which cost around the £600 unlocked, getting this for £475 when it's only just come out is hardly a wrench.

I've had mine for about a week now and absolutely love it. As someone who's always had a full physical keyboard that takes a little getting used to, but the soft keyboard is superb and it's improving as it learns how to write. The way everything fits together seamlessly is great, as is the granularity that you can choose which things alert at what time. Definitely the best phone I've ever owned and the biggest jump in improvements from one phone to another.

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Want to keep the users happy? Don't call them users for a start

Keith Langmead

Re: Do not trust but don't dismiss either

So agree with you. I've had so many calls over the years from clients with email problems where it turns out the Internet connection is down. But they're users, they don't make that same mental connection.

The other thing I'd add to the list is honesty. Admit when you make mistakes, come clean on screwups, and users are more likely to trust you. Also when something really isn't your fault they're far more likely to believe you.

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How do you choose your vendors?

Keith Langmead

Completely agree. I'd add to that the sales guys who insist on speaking to you on the phone rather than just replying to an email. I can understand the whole "it's more customer friendly", but if I'm asking for specific information and I've already asked you to email then JUST EMAIL! I know my boss has ditched at least a couple of suppliers who figured it was better to interrupt him than simply email like he'd requested.

The other big thing for me is honesty, not in terms of those mentioned already, but simply the willingness to admit when you've done something wrong, or when you don't know the answer. We all make mistakes, and I'd much rather know about it quickly re-arrange timescales etc accordingly, than live in ignorance until a deadline has been missed.

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PowerShell daddy on Windows Server 2012 R2: Cloudy cloud cloud

Keith Langmead
FAIL

Re: Flawed as usual

"A VM which only runs the latest MS OS and can't emulated H/W is freaking useless..."

Where does it say that's your only choice? If your client machine's running 2012 you can take advantage of the benefits of a generation 2 VM, if not then you continue like before with a normal VM that functions like it always has.

"If I was an enterprise admin, I'd probably want a proper hypervisor OS which is optimised to run and support VMs, without all the unnecessary cruft in a 'server' (glorified client) bloated carp kernel OS."

If you were an enterprise admin you'd probably already know that Hyper-V is a type 1 hypervisor, so it's already running on bare metal without the OS bloat. You can install the standalone Hyper-V Server to avoid having a management OS on the server, or install Server 2012 with Hyper-V, but either way the Hyper-V part is type 1. In the latter case the Windows OS is technically referred to as a management OS rather a host (since the other guest OS's sit on-top of Hyper-V NOT Windows Server).

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Coke? Windows 8 is Microsoft's 'Vista moment'. Again

Keith Langmead

Re: Licenses 'sold'.

What would be an interesting figure to find out is how many of those licences have had their downgrade rights enacted, so they're actually used to license a Windows 7 / Windows XP install.

While Win8 is far from perfect I don't think some peoples blinkered attitude to change helps, especially when it comes from those of us who should be able to handle it. Having got my head around the new ways of doing things I much prefer Win8, and found for most customers simply spending a little time to familiarise them with the new ways of navigating, shutting down etc removes most of the concerns they have with it.

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Google: Our 'freedom of expression' should trump punters' privacy

Keith Langmead

Scarily agree with Google!

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually agree with Google on this one. If there's a legitimate reason under EU law to have information about you taken down then you should be making that demand on the website, not the search engine. Surely the point is to prevent people from accessing that information about you, in which case simply taking it off Google hasn't done that. If you can't justify taking it down from the website under EU law then how do justify taking it down from Google?

Once taken down from the website of course it's a different matter, and if Google don't then remove the entry from their listing, and more importantly their cache, then there's obviously a case to answer.

It feels like anyone taking this route is either being lazy, feeling it's easier to make the request from a large organisation like Google rather than a smaller website, or they know the request lacks merit under EU law and would be rejected by the smaller website owner.

Agree with Fred's comment about Google siting their being a US company though. It's a stupid argument, and you have to wonder how many people end up thinking "I agree with your premise, but you've pissed me off with that comment so now I'm against you".

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Education Secretary Gove: Tim Berners-Lee 'created the INTERNET'

Keith Langmead

Re: Hmm

"The most important thing for teaching is good teachers rather than good subject knowledge. A CompSci graduate is complete overkill for teaching computing to lower years."

I disagree, the most important things for a teacher other than the ability to teach are enjoyment and knowledge of the subject. If the teacher doesn't have a passion for what they teach then that will come across to the students and the lessons will be boring. Think of those great teachers you've had that engaged with the class and generated excitement about their subject, they're the ones encourage students to learn. I can't imagine an arts grad who decides to do this for the extra beer tokens being nearly as good as a computer geek who wants to pass their knowledge on.

A CompSci graduate may well be overkill for many students, but the same could be said for science teachers with degree's in their chosen subject. When a gifted student gets ahead of the class and asks tricky questions attempting to push themselves, that's when that additional knowledge comes in and becomes important.

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Climate sceptic? You're probably a 'Birther', don't vaccinate your kids

Keith Langmead

Re: You count engineer as a scientist?

There are plenty of proper engineers who'd scoff at you calling yourself an engineer. In any other profession it takes more than just going to Uni for 4 years to call yourself an engineer, you have to be properly accredited as well. It's only within IT that we get to blindly call ourselves engineers, and I believe the other professions hate us for it since it devalues the work they do.

IIRC while they might just be doing screwdriver jobs in your house, proper BT engineers have to do a LOT of training to get that title, and are arguably more entitled to use the name than a programmer.

Hell, I've spent 12 years actually working in and with computers, but just coding on them, and I still feel somewhat uncomfortable about being referred to as an IT "Engineer", though most people can at least understand that term compared to something like Sys Admin.

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Fired Toyota coder trashes systems, steals data

Keith Langmead

Re: This depends where you are

There's definitely no excuse for not locking out a member of staff when they're fired, hell in the past I've been asked to disable / remove someone's access (but not discuss it with anyone else) while said someone's been in the meeting being fired.

When it comes to notice periods for people in sensitive positions (for instance Sys Admins where they need elevated access just to do their jobs), a common method I've seen is garden leave, where the person is paid as normal during their notice period, is excluded from actually working at the company (since they no longer have access), but is required to be available if required during that time in case they need information / help etc since they are still technically employed during that time.

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IT departments are BRATTY TEENAGERS

Keith Langmead

Re: Trevor Pott

I think he makes many valid points but they're only one side of the issue. I agree that as techies we can be a little too eager to opt for the solution that gives us more toys to play with, and to lose sight of the business side of the equation. Building the best all singing all dancing solution that incorporates every element of failover, expansion and redundancy from a MS whitepaper might sound great, but spending £50k+ on a solution that might save the company £1k per year just isn't worth it. And while we might try to deny it, us techies are just as keen to build our own little empires as any other part of the business.

But on the flip side, guys like this and others in management need to treat IT as a key element in finding the appropriate solution, not simply the implementers of whatever management decide is the best way to go based on little or no actual knowledge. Sometimes management may have the right answer, but if they don't include IT in the decision they'll never know if there might have been a better, cheaper and quicker solution available that they weren't aware of.

In my experience almost all solutions that have come from IT controlling the direction are anything but random, it's where management change their minds, update the spec mid project, and fail to give an overview of the long term direction being taken that the approach becomes random, as IT has to scramble to pry different systems alongside each other.

Too often I think management take the view of "oh, they don't need to know those details", and are then annoyed when the solution presented doesn't meet all the requirements that have existed purely in the managers own head. If there are specific constraints, objectives and long term plans then we NEED to know about them.

Any task can be broken down into Why, What and How. Why and What are down to management to decide, and they NEED to tell us the What with which we decide on the How. IT don't need to know the Why as long as the What includes those constraints and considerations that will make a difference to How. Management can make suggestions for How, but at the end of the day, that's what we're paid for!

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Sysadmins! There's no shame in using a mouse to delete files

Keith Langmead

Different tools for different situations

Completely agree with you. I regularly use both method, with the choice depending purely on which is more suitable and convenient for a given situation. If I want to do the same exact task lots of times then being able to script and automate it is fantastic, but for those simple tasks I do once in a blue moon I'd never remember the specific command, but a GUI is easy to remember.

I loved it with SQL 2005 when they introduced the option to generate the script for what you'd just setup in the GUI. It might not have been the most efficient code, but for something I want to run at night once a week / month I don't care, it's not worth spending hours working out how to script it manually. On the other hand, I hated how MS decided with Exchange 2007 that lots of functions (including some simple day to day ones) should be done exclusively via PowerShell! Why? Allow me to do everything via either interface (allowing for some specific, unusual, high level options you couldn't fit into the GUI) and let me decide which one suits my current task.

GUI wizards may be simplistic at times, but they do make delegation of simple tasks to junior staff much easier. I can show a junior how to run through the wizard and be confident of them not screwing anything up, at the command line I wouldn't feel as secure. But having the command line option means I can use that method when something more complex comes along that the GUI can't handle.

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Keith Langmead

Re: Remote Control

Surprised no one's mentioned PowerShell, which certainly since v2 has included the ability to remotely administer systems!

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Girl Geek Dinner lady: The IT Crowd is putting schoolgirls off tech

Keith Langmead

Re: What A Load Of Girlie Bull-....

@Mad Mike. I definitely agree with the first paragraph! I think part of the issue tends to be that people forget that "IT" is a VERY large subject containing a lot of very different disciplines, each of which tends to lend itself to certain types of people.

I remember reading some research years ago that mentioned how typical personality traits of programmers for instance don't tend to match those of many women, but the more cautious, careful and planned approach required of good DBA's and Sysadmins is a far better match. In fact if you simply look on the Technet forums you'll notice that in the DBA and Sysadmin arenas there are quite a few very skilled and knowledgeable women working in those fields.

The problem in my opinion (and this also applies to getting guys into IT) is that IT education is still very much geared towards the belief that IT = programming. Most courses (school/college/uni) focus on teaching programming languages with some coverage on other areas, so the only people likely to attend them are 1) those who want to be programmers, and 2) those who're into computing enough to put up with a few years of learning things they don't care about to get a piece of paper and get a job in the area they're actually interested in.

If they specifically want more women in IT they need to focus on those disciplines that women actually want to do and have a passion for, show girls that those career paths are available and how to get into them, and stop treating the entire IT world as if it's a single career path.

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