* Posts by Sean

20 posts • joined 9 Apr 2007

Most coders have sleep problems, need 'hygiene and care'

Sean

Sleep deprived? Poor Hygeine? Questionable mental health?

Are they sure this research was focused on Dev and not Ops?

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Australia unbans the internet

Sean

And now to make it reappear

If labour get re-elected, no doubt claiming a mandate of approval from the Australian people who voted for them.

What a bucket of bollocks. Vote Greens - they can't run an economy - but at least their social policies aren't bible bashing luddite nonsense.

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BI 2010 - The State of Play

Sean

A webcast is not a whitepaper

Am I the only person around who hates videos as an information delivery system? I'd quite like to read this whitepaper, but a videocast of a powerpoint deck and audio feed? Ugh.

Videos are great for entertainment. But I just want to read this sort of material. And ideally, not as a bloody PDF either.

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How can UK.gov spend £35m on a website?

Sean

You people don't consult to govt enough...

The first time I tendered for a government project, I multiplied my consulting rate by 5 and padded lots of extra hours onto the project to cater for dealing with government bullshit to get signoff and get paid.

I didn't even get a look. When I called to enquire about the tender status, I was told that it had been awarded. I'd made a mistake when I submitted my tender. I was puzzled, I asked for details. They told me that the other 5 providers who'd quoted for it had quoted between 30 and 50 times more then I had. Clearly, I had misunderstood the scope of the project so they'd discarded my proposal.

I bumped my rate and bumped my rate and bumped my rate and still felt like a fucking bank robber when I came in at about half the price of the nearest other tender and got the gig. Even including all the time I wasted because governments are pain in the ass clients - I still got paid at about 75 times my normal hourly rate.

Figure out how much you'd charge as an independant contractor to go and build a webpage or deploy an intranet solution. Then multiply that by 75. And remember - I undercut the next lowest tender by half. The tender assessor thought I was doing the job on the cheap to get the government relationship and thought they were taking advantage of me.

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Microsoft badmouths Google competition - again

Sean

When was the last time...

When was the last time you called Microsoft for Support with a consumer product and didn't finish the phone call feeling like you'd been bent over without even the common courtesy of a reach around?

Yeesh.

About 90% of my total career earnings have revolved around my ability to work with Microsoft products - I like those products for the most part - but Microsoft's end user support process isn't something I'd use to sell those products on. In fact when selling Microsoft products - probably the most effective selling tool I've ever found was the promise to provide support to go with the purchased product, so the buyer didn't ever have to deal with Microsoft.

Microsoft support when there's a corporate support agreement in place, for business solutions isn't awful. It's nothing to write home about, but it's not awful. But try calling Microsoft about your single retail/student licensed copy of Office where due to a flaw in the microsoft product - you've lost data, and you'll almost certainly gain a clearer understanding of what it's like to get a cavity check on the way through customs. You might understand and agree with the reasons why it is like it is, but only a particularly perverse individual will come away with a smile.

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Microsoft bares Steve Jobs' Flash rant claptrap

Sean

Cock-up before conspiracy, you probably didn't know.

Heinlein said "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

Robert J Hanlon - not in anyway related to Heinlein made the above quote, which may or may not be a corruption of Heinlein's version.

I personally prefer Ingham's version - "Cock-up before conspiracy".

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Sean

Jobs has credibility now?

Apple lost its market dominance in the PC field when his primary competitor opened their hardware standards and brought us the wonderous world of mass produced clone hardware. Jobs lost his credibility at the same time when he couldn't get his head around the idea that high cost, heavily restricted solutions can't compete with cheap, open solutions that work just as well.

It's increasingly clear that no matter how far we've come, Jobs still excels at making high quality products that will shape market direction, but sucks at everything else. He complains about the nasty, nasty world of people ripping him off, but can't seem to follow the notion that his companies corporate growth is largely due to the people who ripped him off growing the market with sensible business practices.

Jobs should be packed off to a new product development division and never again allowed to speak to the press or answer an email without cue cards and a minder.

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Judge to movie studios: Why shouldn't I dismiss piracy lawsuits?

Sean

.... Not rly..

The judge's comments don't reflect how many lawyers get paid at all. It's simply a case of Time Warner's lawyers taking the easiest available route to get the action shot down. The litigators are trying to make as much money with as little effort as possible - so they've cut corners. If Time Warner can make them go the long way around, then the action ceases to be ecconomicaly viable and they're forced to drop the lawsuits and bitch about how piracy is why their profits were only ludicrous instead of ungodly.

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Conroy pledges to stop spams infecting Aussies' portals

Sean
Unhappy

In the up coming elections, australians have a choice between this idiot...

And a guy who wants to scrap the plans to actually bring in a national fiber network so that Australian internet speeds might actually let us pretend that we're a first world nation.

And whoever wins is going to assume that their victory is a mandate for their preferred method of buggering up the intarwebs.

On behalf of all voting Australians, I'm really sorry that anyone ever voted for this idiot. If it helps, I'm seriously considering moving almost 2000km's south before the next election, just so I can vote for against him.

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Patching is a pain...

Sean

Centralized desktops

Of all my clients who aren't mickey mouse - about 90% of them use a centralized desktop pushed out via citrix or RDP connections to users - so that the environment can be adequately maintained. IT staff might get admin access to an actual PC. Engineers using CAD or other high resource demand applications might get to work from their local machines. Everyone else gets an SOE with only applications that can recieve forced updates, locked down so that they can't do very much from it and works from a centralized desktop where they get a controlled environment.

There are different ways to do things - basic lockdown of an SOE is pretty well documented - but disabling default gateways in the DHCP server so that only the central server and machines with a reservation can get a route to the internet, and unified threat management solutions at a router level with whitelists of what can and can't pass through, and a threat management capable proxy are cheaper than managing the fallout from less restrictive practices if you're running a large office network now.

For situations where you're forced to trust your customers - I'd have those customer machines in a Kiosk configuration, tools like Untangle come with templates out of the box. Isolated subnets with restricted network access and maybe even PXE booting them from an SOE image with a forced overnight restart can all make that situation less horrific.

Trusting any user, and realistically, most IT admins - is always fraught with danger. Anything that relies on humans not making a mistake is bound to dump you in it eventually. It's a pain in the neck sometimes - but locking down the environment - or investing in infrastructure that locks down the environment for you is a cost saving measure for any decent sized business. Sometimes it takes giving the warning and waiting for an expensive outage to get the budget approved, but businesses are all eventually going to start doing a proper job of securing their environment - or take unsustainable losses from outages and lose out to competitors who did it right.

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Search begins on seized Gizmodo journo kit

Sean
Thumb Down

Extortion used to seem a lot more nefarious.

"If you'll confirm that this thing is yours, sure, we'll give it back" is extortion now? Srsly?

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Confessions of a sysadmin

Sean

Management being a PITA

I get the sense that a few of the people who've poster here have dellusions of BOFH'dom.

As a consultant and project engineer - I routinely go to sites where I set up IT policies and deploy initial configurations and have the conversation with managers about forced patching. Mostly I get my way and everything gets patched in a sensible fashion.

The cold reality is though - if I get push back - there's only so much I can do before the management types just replace me with another IT monkey who'll STFU about forced patching.

One bad patch deployment event in '02 that's made the management team patch shy, or a managerial culture of 'it's a nuisance and it doesn't matter' are both common events. I do my best to educate and I get sign off on reccomendation and warnings about what happens if they don't keep their environment well patched so I can say 'I told you so' and bill them at emergency call out rates for the clean up when it does go pearshaped - but sometimes getting paid means that the solution isn't right or proper. Reality of the workplace is that the IT guy is very rarely the one authorizing cheques - and if you like getting paid - sometimes you need to put up with disasterously bad practice in order to get through the role.

IT/Business Management interaction in industrial situations is the fine art of getting paid enough to put up with this crap.

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William Shatner to star in Twitter-inspired TV show

Sean
Thumb Up

I'm actually excited

Shit my dad says is pretty much the sole redemption of Twitter as a technology. I actually think Shatner will be awesome in the role. I'll watch at least the first couple of episodes.

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Microsoft urges developers to tag sites for IE8

Sean
Pirate

I'm just curious

I can only assume you lot don't have clients who generate revenue through their websites or something. I can only imagine how your client conversations would go.

"Phil, I know you've got thousands of customers using IE, and that most of them just can't update because they're in SOE environments, and those customers represent the bulk of your revenue, but I thought as a developer, it'd be unethical of me to support Microsoft's arbitrary standards - so the site won't work right for them. It's not bad code on my part, it's that there browsers don't work. Can we expect 7 day payment on that invoice?"

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eBayer invites buyers to rip him off

Sean

And this is why I don't sell on Ebay anymore.

In all my time dealing with Ebay - a few hundred transactions all said and done, I've only ever been stung as a seller. Partly my own fault i know, I should have refused to deal with Americans - the notion that people in other countries might use different video formats never occurs to them.

That said, even when the complaint went to paypal, paypal staff clearly understood that the item was exactly as described and working exactly as described - just not working the way the buyer wanted it to - they awarded in the buyers favor. I don't understand why they even bother having rules instead of just saying 'Full refund at buyers request, no questions asked'

I'm still more then happy to buy from them - a sensible buyer should have no risk of issue.

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Mozilla pulls offensive viral campaign

Sean
Thumb Up

I laughed

And I'd laugh again. I think that's one of the funniest marketing campaign premises ever.

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US Army loads up on Apples for 'better security'

Sean
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re: Security through obscurity is Fine

The example that spyware and malware is a profitable industry is excellent - but you don't take it far enough. Virus development is largely a commercial industry if you have sufficiently compromised ethics to release to the wild.

Somebody earlier argued that there are no in the wild examples of Mac Virii - imagine the prestige of being the first - working proof of concepts are out there. Go subscribe to some journals. The difference is - people with the skills to develop malware are very rarely doing it for the sheer delight of being asshats.

The majority of money to be made for people with the necessary skill set is made through hackmailing, or security consulting. Security consultants don't generally release virii to the wild - because it's too much risk. Even if it would be awesome - the excellent chances of ending up in with a criminal record puts most people off the idea of a really funny prank when they could go out and win lucrative contract after lucrative contract.

Hackmailers and puppeteers - the people who do actually develop viruses and release them to the wild - generally don't want notoriety. They generally want the only people aware of their skill set to be the people they've extorted. And Mac's don't have enough marketshare to be worth the effort - why develop solutions to target 5% of the market when you can target 90% of the market?

Mac and Linux systems are no more inherently secure out of the box then any windows system. But there is good reason to move towards Mac and Linux for high security environments - The path to robust security on the platform is well known and easily available - and commercial exploit developers are focused in other directions. Terrorists/malicious governments make use of existing source code developed by commercial black hats - hell, I know first hand of circumstances in the early 90's where an Australian state police division distributed Back Orrifice disguised as joke emails to try and catch kiddy pornographers - and admitted to such at developer conferences explaining the loophole in the law that made it legal at the time.

Malicious third parties will need to custom develop if they want to target mac/linux machines instead of just going to a hackers resource and downloading a pre-fab tool kit. It increases cost of action which is unmistakably a good thing.

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Asus Eee PC as 'hard to get your hands on as a Wii'

Sean

Japanese people might have small enough fingers

To use the bloody thing. But I certainly don't.

I'm a relatively experienced nerd. I touch type fairly quickly on qwerty or dvorak keyboards. I can use most controllers I've ever gotten across, my hands are apparently a bit under normal size for an adult - but despite 20 minutes of trying - I couldn't get a sentance out that wasn't more typo then what I was trying for due to fat fingers.

The big department store near my office remains the only place in town to actually have the bloody things - most of my preferred vendors can't get stock - by the department stores seem to have them out the wazoo.

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Dell reinvents the cardboard box

Sean

That'd be really neat!

If Dell's blade offering wasn't so tragically inferior.

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Thai King video wag pulls YouTube clip

Sean

I see where the Thai's are coming from

I think the majority of people who have their panties in an anti-censorship wad don't know much about Thailand.

The video that set of the event featured a woman's feet above the kings head. Its hard to give an equivalent analogy for western cultures - but in Thailand - its horribly offensive to point your feet at another person. A woman pointing her feet at a man is more offensive. Its a little an adult bending over and spreading open their balloon knot in school playground here.

There's also the increased significance of visual iconography in Thailand. Half the county wears Yellow t-shirts, because the king was born on a day that is a yellow day. That sort of visual significance is incredibly prevalent in Thailand. It makes video's and pictures a lot higher impact then it would be in the west.

The closest equivalent I can think of would be if the Piss Christ photo was recreated daily, with an encore of the Crapy Christ and the Lumpy Jism Christ as part of a live show in art galleries, and they tried to tour through Italy and the Vatican City.

Compared to say the Islamic reaction those offensive cartoon depictions of Muhammed, I think the reaction was quite mild and understandable.

Thai's in general are really lovely people - there are certainly assclowns's in thailand - especially in the Patpong markets... but the people are generally so laid back and mellow, its mind blowing after leaving Camden at 7:30 on a Monday morning for a flight out of Heathrow. When Thai's actually muster up the energy to get upset about something - its usually pretty important

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