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* Posts by Duncan Robertson

34 posts • joined 11 Apr 2007

IBM's z12 mainframe engine makes each clock count

Duncan Robertson
Pint

Re: Difficult

Exactly!

I've worked on midrange boxes for a while and they are infinitely superior in terms of I/O and uptime than any x86 based machine. They are just workhorses. Couple with this the software architecture of the applications that run on these beasts and you have a platform designed from the ground up to perform data processing - which is what they're meant for. Our machine can support thousands of users, run ERP, crunch data like no tomorrow, serve web pages and applications, work as a MTA, do file and print services, etc. etc. all at once. Yes, you may use a 5250 terminal to administer and get down and dirty with it (there is a GUI but I'm a die hard!) but it works. All the time. No skipping a beat, no coughing and spluttering. Just working.

You can just can't compare a spanner and a screwdriver - they're two completely different tools!

And no, you probably couldn't play Crysis on it!

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You'll be on a list 3 hrs after you start downloading from pirates - study

Duncan Robertson

Re: 1 or 2

Here here mate!

If you pay for a 50p disc with £35 content on it, you should be allowed to make copies of it. I've lost count of the number of tears I've experienced after the latest Lego game on XBox has been scratched or had something spilt on it.

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BT chief: People don't need fibre to the home

Duncan Robertson
Paris Hilton

Here, here b166er!

Yep, Adam, you are indeed a numpty!!

If you would kindly remove your head from your arse for a second or two, you may find that it is actually more expensive to live in a rural area than in the good old south east.

My house is still quite expensive - on par with Edinburgh actually. We only have 1 supermarket in a 30 mile radius. It took me 2 years of hard campaigning to get ADSL. Yes, I have an acre of land and a log cabin in the garden and I love being at the end of a true 8Mbit/s line and being able to actually taste the water coming out of the tap.

However, you are right that the benefits far out-weigh the expense or hassle.

Now, if the government would just make car tax for 4x4's post code dependent such that those of us that actually need 4-wheel-drive can use the vehicles for what they are meant for rather than just running the kids to school!!!

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IBM 'in talks' to buy Sun Microsystems

Duncan Robertson
Unhappy

Wow! This is massive!

Then there were two - effectively...

Whilst I have always been more of a Big Blue man rather than a fan of Sun kit, I have always admired Sun for their innovative (and different, but not in an Apple way) approach to the IT industry.

Solaris is a good OS, albeit with a few quirks! I remember having to compile an IBM i/o library just so that PHP's mail function could work with that rather than Solaris's stdio. Took a while to find that solution I'll tell you. However, the reasons behind why Solaris wouldn't let PHP do what it wanted to do were sound when you took into account other factors such as the way iPlanet (SunONE) worked.

All I can say on this article is that it was a sad day when DEC disappearred (especially since I longed for an Alpha), it was a sad day when Compaq went HP and it will indeed be a sad day when the Sun sets too.

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AVG finally bothers with behaviour-based defences

Duncan Robertson
Thumb Up

Don't like it, then shift

I used to use AVG and ZoneAlarm until the latter went bloatware and buggy - seemed to happen when they got bought over by CheckPoint...

Anyway, moved over to Comodo for a firewall. I'd heard of them before having purchased a SSL certificate from them a few years previous. Huge range of config options and feature loaded software with a small memory footprint! So, well happy with that then especially as it's free and seems to do the job.

Comodo have updated their software to be a security suite and it certainly seems to do the job as well. So I have ditched AVG as I didn't see the need for 2 icons in the systray...

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Novo Minoru - the world's first 3D webcam

Duncan Robertson
Alien

I, for one...

welcome our new minoru overlords.

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ADSL - the VoIP killer

Duncan Robertson
Stop

Cue enter...

IPv6! QoS built-in - is that not the driver for upgrading?

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BOFH: Blackmail and fine wine

Duncan Robertson
Thumb Up

To coin a phrase...

As an old manager of mine used to say, "What do we do to prevent this from happening again?"

Answer: Never try and blackmail a bastard!

Brilliant!

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What the heck is an IT Architect anyway?

Duncan Robertson
Happy

Give me a defined title and I'll give you a defined role...

I have worked in IT for a number of years and been called a few things - not always by the users either! I have always felt that regardless of your title, you end up doing a variety of things.

I ended up as a DBA whilst having the title Sys. Admin, along with stripping PC's, changing toner carts. and configuring firewalls.

As a Systems Analyst, I ended up as Web Developer and Project Manager on an e-Commerce project.

Now, as a Systems Architect, I am an auditor, consultant, developer and desktop support type person.

You don't have a cut and dry role in IT, you have a knowledge that (hopefully) gets used and expanded upon. One of the reasons I always say that I get paid for my hobby is that I love what I do. I love the variety and the fact that you can fairly easily shape your own career path. Don't let's get pigeon holed!!!

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BT claims UK broadband boost breakthrough

Duncan Robertson
Thumb Up

Replace the wiring as well!

Disconnecting the bell wire is the first step. You really want to replace the shitty extension wire with some nice shielded CAT5.

As for the NTE5 being BT's property, yes but as http://www.jarviser.co.uk/jarviser/bellwirenutshell.html explains, it's only the bit behind the pull-out bit you're not allowed to tamper with.

Removing the bell wire is the fix for less disconnects, more speed and less noise on the line. It's obsolete, it should be removed - probably from the whole BT network!

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Digital divide looms again over superfast broadband for all

Duncan Robertson
Dead Vulture

Forward planning and foresight?

Can we have some please?

I mean some of us have been calling for FTTH for some time now. BT is investing approx. £10bn in updating its core network (21CN) and converting it to a packet switched infrastructure rather than circuit switched. Surely, if next generation services are all going to be packet routed, then it makes ultimate sense to make the jump NOW! Think about it people, one line (cable/fibre) for telephone, internet, TV and whatever else in the next generation.

IF we are serious about turning ourselves into an information economy and keeping up with the likes of South Korea, then this sort of investment is needed and needed NOW!

I actually enjoy a 7Mbit/s connection living in rural Scotland, however, it took me over 6 months to get it even after the exchange had had a DSLAM installed due to some legacy kit. Think forward OFCOM. There's a lot of bright people working there and between the ISP's, surely you can come up with a way to share the cost of deployment fairly?

Dead parrot because if we don't invest, then Information Tech UK will be as much use as a dead parrot!

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BT slams bandwidth brakes on all subscribers

Duncan Robertson
Paris Hilton

@Tim Russell: Over Subscription

Yes Tim, however, business contracts have SLA's and lesser contention. Hence the price! You're obviously sitting on a leased line or bundled SDSL or something. Most residential customers can't afford £1000's pcm.

Personally, I live in a small village, a couple of hundered metres from the exchange. I have enjoyed 7Mbit/s in the past and work from home a fair bit. Up until now that is. It would seem that BT have now decided that me connecting into the office via a VPN is in the same class as P2P downloaders. Em, no!

What about the likes of Skype or SSH or online gaming? Am I now confined to the lands of broken speech during calls and crappy laggy framerates?

I think it's time to give Bloody Terrible a call and move everything (phone inc.) somewhere else. I had moved back to them to consolidate and WAS quite happy. However, THIS is NOT what I signed up for BT. Goodbye!

Paris because she clearly knows more about filesharing and port numbers than BT!

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Blank robbers swipe 3,000 'fraud-proof' UK passports

Duncan Robertson
Coat

Surprised? Em, no...

How many USB sticks lost by the MOD? How many families data for Child Benefit lost? How many laptops left in the back of cabs? I'll stop there.

And these people want to vote THEMSELVES a pay rise! On top of the several thousands of pounds they may claim in expenses! Eh, f*ck off!!!

ISO27k anyone?

The country is a joke! They tax us to the point of desperation and then p*ss the tax money up against the wall by claiming they're doing their job. We'd be better off with a group of South American meat packing glitterati in charge.

I hear Canada's looking for IT Pro's.

Mine's the one with the fur hood...

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Heavyweight physics prof weighs into climate/energy scrap

Duncan Robertson
Thumb Up

Superb article!

Whilst no tree-hugger, I do think that we need to do something about energy consumption in this country. This is coming from someone that works for an Oil and Gas Consultancy as well!!

Anyway, there's no economical way to produce the amount of energy we need, let alone the amount we want, from renewables. Clean coal needs to be implemented, as does Nuclear. I think I'm right in saying that the UK has only ever had 1 Fast Breeder - Dounreay. YES, there were problems! It was built in the 50's, we didn't (and some may argue still don't) know much about Nuclear Physics. Through work carried out at Dounreay, we understand a lot more. And no I'm not just talking about the "What do we do to prevent this from happening again?" lessons learned... The amount of research that was carried out at Dounreay is staggering and we just shut it down. Eh? No, we need more of these Fast Breeders.

Wind is too unreliable and takes up too many beauty spots and all that - according to most folk. Wave is not quite there yet. Tidal will take a fair amount of investment and there are only a few sites suited to large-scale development. There's the tree-huggers to consider here as well. Bio-fuel will mean the entire UK being covered with fields of Rape or something and then we'll go hungry.

Sorry folks, either scale down your energy requirements - something that is not easy when we are so reliant on it - or embrace the Nuclear age! It's the cheapest, cleanest and most reliable. No more relying on the Saudis or Russians for Oil and Gas, then having them jack up prices on a whim. When you think what has caused the hike in Oil prices recently, a large portion of the blame has to land on these toe-rag stockbroker types who speculate on commodities prices. Yeah, you pricks, the price has gone up because you all bought loads. Leave it alone! You can afford to run your Porsche with your bonus. Some of us have to fork out £1.32 per litre (IN THE OIL CAPITAL OF EUROPE!!!) and do 70 miles a day just commuting. And no there is no bus! Why do I live here? Because it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. I drink clean water, off a hill, from the tap. My kids are safe. I leave my house unlocked, car with the keys in the ignition and I can breathe clean air.

As far as where to put these new Nuclear stations, how about on the sites of the existing plants? They were chosen for a reason and you're also cutting de-commisioning costs long term.

Rant over. That is all....

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SCADA security bug exposes world's critical infrastructure

Duncan Robertson
Boffin

Here, here!

Filipo and Charles have hit the nail on the head!

Yes, the software should be secure (not really that difficult with this stuff!) and the networks the software is being run on needs to be secure. None of these guys heard of proxies or VPN's? Tiered security with decent authorisation and authentication should cover it...

Hooking these sorts of systems up to the interweb in full view of some monkey intent on playing terrorist or anti-globalisation activist is like hooking a completely un-patched or protected Windows PC to the same interweb. You just wouldn't would you?

Goggles - safety first!

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Royal Bank of Scotland takes three weeks to squash nasty Worldpay bug

Duncan Robertson
Paris Hilton

Re: Quick

To the AC who wrote:

"Well, one arm of RBS has only recently got an online banking application working with Java 6, the previous version worked only with Java 1.4.2...

So in relative terms, this is instantaneous ;-)"

Em, Java 1.4.2 was fairly current on System i which is probably what RBS uses since it is leagues ahead in security and capability than an equivalent MS box. Different OS and platforms have different version numbering for software. Imagine the complaints and downtime if RBS ran windows boxes to run their core systems... You'd be standing at the Cashline machine for hours just waiting to for your PIN to be verified!

On the timescale thing, Tom Peach is bang on. You wouldn't just fire in and write a bit of C# or Java to solve this one would you! Having been on an ISO27k course with a couple of blokes from RBS, 3 weeks sounds pretty damn quick! Security fixes need to be carefully implemented or you'd end up opening a whole load of other holes.

Paris because holes were mentioned... uhuh.

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BOFH: PFY's mum pays a visit

Duncan Robertson
Paris Hilton

The perfect "something for the weekend"

BOFH. On a Friday. Brilliant!

Paris because having her under my desk on a Friday is the only way it could get better...

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French won Waterloo, says Italian telecoms chief

Duncan Robertson
Linux

Ha! From an Italian...

Weren't they the ones that changed sides at half time? <Insert joke about tanks and reverse gears here>

Has this clown not seen http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/victories.html for the poted history of the french armed forces?

Eh? I mean I'm a scotsman but even WE wouldn't deny the english a few victories. Lol.

Penguin - he probably believed the BBC's April fools about penguins flying...

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DIY satellite TV installer shoots wife dead

Duncan Robertson
Dead Vulture

Only in America

So, first there was the bloke who tried loosening his wheel nuts

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/shotgun_mechanic/

Now this...

Is there any more proof required for tighter US border control?

Dead bird due to the morbid and tragic nature of this story...

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1&1 says sorry to one in ten

Duncan Robertson
Dead Vulture

1and1 - the world's No. 1 mickey mouse hosting company

The title says it all really.

All that 1and1 are interested in is hosting more servers than anyone else. Their packages suck! Plesk overwrites BIND configs, billing errors happen with great frequency and then there's the 99.99% uptime. Em, by my reckoning that's about 53 minutes of downtime per year. Looks like that SLA is out the window... Ooops!

Dead bird because that is all a 1and1 package is worth.

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Has your shifty foreign neighbour got 16 mobes?

Duncan Robertson
Gates Horns

If there's something strange...

In your neighbourhood,

Who ya gonna call?

I mean, really! Who do these people think we or they are?

I vote that anyone with any brain in their head leaves the country. Then all that will be left is the dole bludgers, politicians and chavs. The terrorists are welcome to them. Let them do their business and then we can all move back in. Problems solved!

Bill - because it is an evil megalomanic plan to rid a country of the dross and crap.

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IBM explores 67.1m-core computer for running entire internet

Duncan Robertson
Thumb Up

The point is actually...

IBM have been working on "On Demand" computing for ages - take AS/400 or iSeries as an example. The ability to call on "more power" when you need it and only pay for it when you need it.

Having worked in the retail industry, I can tell you that for 6-8 weeks every year we NEEDED an iSeries i520: the rest of the time it was twiddling its thumbs somewhat... This project IS about saving power and money by buying a machine more than capable for everyday needs but also one that has the ability to scale to whatever demand is placed upon it. Think data centers and Application Service Providers. Remember when ASP's were springing up every week in the late 90's, well now we actually have affordable bandwidth to support this, or Software As A Service. Microsoft has been wanting to go the SAAS route for a while now and this sort of technology empowers it.

As far as the comments regarding "wasn't the internet meant to be a multi-node network..." It still will be! There would be a few of these monsters dotted around the world, thus creating a much more dynamic and scaleable network of server capacity than we currently have.

On the Sun and parallelism aspects... Yes, Sun do make great boxes but they do have a habit of being a bit Apple - that is not really working well with anything else. I once had a problem where I couldn't get a Sun box to send mail using PHP. The cause was the stdio library. The solution: to compile and install sfio (an IBM library) instead. Unfortunately that was against the AUP of the provider, so we moved to a Linux box instead. Parallelism is a very complex problem. Yes, parallelism of interpreted languages is a problem. But seriously, we are not looking at this happening tomorrow. PHP ver. 8 could be moved to a compiled language which would not only make it faster - dare I say it less susceptible to security issues or bugs?!?!

I think that IBM are perfectly suited to be the ones undertaking this research. After all this looks to me to be right up their street. iSeries has had Logical Partitions capable of running disparate OSes for a while - OS/400 or i/OS simply abstracted the layers and provided the control of resource. They have ample experience of Linux and have been advocates of Linux for a long time. They are also the mainframe and super computer kings. Roll on!

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Milton Keynes council embraces WiMAX

Duncan Robertson
Dead Vulture

MK not a new town?

I live in the Highlands of Scotland - admittedly only approx. 200 metres from the exchange. However, this exchange was built in the early 20th Century when the local laird was the Queen's High Commissioner to India, purely to boost the signal from another exchange to our superior's house. My point is that I would have thought that a "new" town's construction would have had the foresight to install scaleable infrastructure from the outset... When was it built? 1967 or something!

I chose the dead bird because I'm as sick as a parrot of the same thing happening in this country. Lack of foresight is going to cost us dearly. Come on people, forget the political terms and look beyond the next 5 years! It might cost more just now but it WILL be worth it in 7 to 10.

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BOFH: Workplace accidents = 0

Duncan Robertson
Jobs Horns

The Bastard's back - but not in his usual form...

Quality! It almost suggests that users learn... Ha! That'll be the day!

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Prince stomps on unofficial websites

Duncan Robertson
Stop

Prince needs to spend more time in the studio

I mean he obviously has far too much time on his hands. Some one needs to step on the squeaky wee sh1te!

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Pentagon: Chinese military hacked us

Duncan Robertson

Just a thought....

Em? Methinks that someone in US High Command has been playing to much CnC Generals. "The chinese have hackers in this great game I'm playing that really looks like real life. I mean they got a US General who specializes in lasers too".

Misspelling of "specializes" for the benefit of any high command officials that read this....

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BOFH: PFY rescue mission

Duncan Robertson

Thank Crunchie!

Fridays have returned to normal again.....

With our Boss being away, it may be time for a spot of Duke Nukem - rip 'em a new one!

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Fishermen Sea DOS Vietnam

Duncan Robertson

Here, here!

Well said Jason,

Vultures may leave their Nike's, Coke and McDonalds at the door. Thank you!

I personally, don't care whether El Reg adopts .com rather than .co.uk, as long as the quality of my favourite geek website stays the same. I do read arstechnica as well, however, it is El Reg that is the number one site for Tech news IMHO.

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BT declares ceasefire in broadband speed wars

Duncan Robertson

I feel the need.....

Gents/Ladies,

I live in rural North East Scotland and when I tried to get ADSL, BT didn't even know my exchange existed. I was sorely tempted to take a photo and send it into them, the postage to Mumbai would have been more expensive than BT Broadband though..... However, after much badgering, I now have a 6-7 Mbit/s connection seeing as hardly anyone else in the village has ADSL and I'm 150m away from the exchange. I'm the only nerd in the village!

Up here in the sticks, BT have had a tendency to use Aluminium and install DACS in pretty damn near all lines. DACS made even 56k modems struggle - how long ago was that? My in-laws, who live just a hop skip and a jump away, firstly struggled to get DSL due to the DACS and now can only get 1.5 Mbit/s after it was removed. The cause? Mmmmm, could it be the Aluminium?

I understand that FTTH would be extremely expensive, however so is the 21CN. I mean, do we not have to have the infrastructure in place to support all these fantastic new services through BT's shiny new boxes, before the content can BE delivered.

The "new" BT Home Hub boxes are a bit of a piece of sh*t anyway. For starters, they don't support anything stronger than WEP. Whilst that might be fine for me up here in my rural Highland paradise, that's not exactly the war-driving capital of the universe, down in central Westminster might be just a bit different.... I sure as hell wouldn't want anything less than WPA2 with a long length non-dictionary based passphrase. Paranoid, yes. Sensible, yes. However, I once sat in a mate's flat with my laptop in Edinburgh and it picked up a wireless network. "Oooh, might as well grab some scuzz whilst we're here". Clickety-click, the prick had only left the default admin password on the router and NO encryption enabled. Sorry if you are reading this mate, I doubt it, but it was for your benefit in the long run I swear..... I sent a message ("Tut, tut, tut! Should have at least gone with WEP") to his PC using the NETBIOS name, enabled the default encryption and changed the admin router password. Bad, I know! However, it just shows that with a little knowledge, I could have hijacked his machine and made it a proxy for whatever I liked (<- insert dodgy illegal practice here) AND got away with it.

Anyway, I digress and rant away. What I would like to see is all the ISP's and Telco's getting together and investing in the UK data infrastructure. With all this talk of convergence and data services, should they not be working collaboratively to enhance the position of the UK on the stage of the connected global economy? If the UK is going to outsource all the manufacturing, service and resource industries to countries like India and China, becoming a nation where innovation and ideas are our major export, then surely we need to concrete our position at the top of the digital food chain!

Jesus I think I sounded like McSherry there <- those who know me, know what I mean!

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Fancy a nuclear power station in your backyard?

Duncan Robertson

Cut them off entirely!!! Har de har!

Cut them off from our surplus electricity produced up here in what is clearly God's country. But wait! Don't stop there!!! Oh no, sever the water we supply them because all their pipes leak. Re-route the oil, re-build Hadrians Wall and use the surplus electricity to electrify it.

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Argentinian commuters fight back

Duncan Robertson

Ah, that fiery Latin temperament.....

In good old blighty we'd just have formed an orderly queue and waited for the next one. Imagine if the Argies had our railways to contend with.

I wonder what reaction a platform change gets? For God's sake don't let them order anything from the buffet car.....

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'As I watch England turn into a quivering pile of dung'

Duncan Robertson

History as well as grammer

It would appear that our intellectually challenged American friend needs a History lesson as well as a Grammar lesson.

The nth Country experiment was ACTUALLY conducted during the sixties to determine how long a couple of physics students would take to devise a feasible DESIGN for a fission weapon.

The development of a fission weapon during the Second World War actually took between 3 and 6 years - depending on when you take the starting point. The initial work was carried out by the British (the "Tube Alloys" project) and this is where the breakthrough calculations and theory was discovered. The British travelled to the US to discuss the exhange of technologies (RADAR, Jet Engines & Fission - oooo all British discoveries then? Fission was after all discovered by John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton in 1932) in exchange to allow the British research laboratories to be sited in US - out of range of German bombers. A YEAR LATER, the Americans had done nothing with the research the British had provided them. Well, OK, they HAD locked it away in a safe. The Manhattan Project was the ACTUAL project set up by the Americans to develop a fission weapon. This was a continuation of the Tube Alloys project under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer, although with significant British input at various stages. Initially the British did not want to be part of the Manhattan Project (probably because they feared the Yanks would cock it up - sounds familiar?!?!), however with the signature of the Quebec Agreement in 1943, Britain entered the project. At the end of the War, the McMahon Act was passed and Britain, thinking that fission weapons had been a joint (some may say British!!!) discovery, was denied access to any US research. It therefore took Britain until 1952 to detonate its first fission weapon - seeing as we had to start again - thanks to the yanks!

So, IF you are going to post to a website mate, check your spelling and get your facts right before you hit "Submit".

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Sinclair ZX Spectrum: 25 today

Duncan Robertson

Thanks Sir Clive

Whilst I didn't pop my programming cherry on a Speccy, I don't think anyone can truly put into words how significant it has been. I wrote my first program on an IBM PC XT - Dad worked for a software house and got a good deal! In those days (1984 - I think) there were not many games for PC's apart from text based adventures like Zork or Atari ports like Defender. I ended up using GW-BASIC to write ports of games for the Speccy to pass the time. Hours were spent porting and debugging code. But hey when the geek in you is in-bred, inside is good outside is bad. Got to mention a quote I saw on a posting the other day, "In the room where the evil day star shines and pizza comes from....." or something like that.

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IBM's new server targets the 'i' in SMB

Duncan Robertson

Ever heard of LPAR's?

AS/400 or iSeries has had the capability of running almost any OS on a Logical Partition (LPAR) for years! The main controlling LPAR is run under OS/400 - giving all the benefits and security of the true 64-bit and truly wonderful OS.

Our shop has an i520 with OS/400, AiX, Linux and a Windows server running on it. The LPAR's dynamically adjust according to the load on the machine and, if properly managed, hardly require any administration.

Having been involved with the AS/400 for a number of years, I am amazed that it is taking this long for the rest of the world to catch up. I know that the iSeries is IBM's fastest selling machine and that they have been pushing development for it for a while, however, once you have a taste of what a real high performance machine can do, you'll never turn back. The only reason that I can see to non-adoption of the iSeries is the price and the need to have some niche personnel in your IT Dept. However, it is well worth it in the long run...

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