* Posts by Tony S

523 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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Software exploits overrated - it's the humans you need to be watching

Tony S
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Re: "Organizations should put controls and processes in place"

"Most companies of more than 100 employees do, because they have enough money to get an IT department in place that will properly prepare and configure the network to allow for it.

Unfortunately, in too many cases, said IT team tell them what they need, but are then overruled by the beancounters, or other head honchos.

It also has to be said, that sometimes, the IT staff themselves get into bad habits; and can easily do things for speed and keeping the suits off their backs, rather than doing what they know is right.

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HPE sharpens knife for next salami-slicing staff redundo round

Tony S
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"...give HPE the needed workforce to be a more nimble customer- and partner-centric company

(Nimble = they all have to do 3 times as much work as before.)

That is a really shitty, mealy mouthed piece of garbage. What they are showing, quite clearly is that they simply do not give the furry crack of a rat's arse about their staff, their customers or their partners.

What the c-level suits do care about is trying to maintain the value of their shares and quarterly bonuses. Nothing else at all.

They are despicable and beyond contempt.

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Beauty site lets anyone read customers' personal information

Tony S
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Pirate

This happens far too often

I've said it before; I'll say it again.

Nothing will change until the people at the top making / allowing this sort of idiotic decisions to occur are held personally responsible.

I'm not taking about a slap on the wrist; the directors need to be facing serious financial penalties that really will make them squeal.

Voltaire said it best:

"Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres

"In this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others."

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Ford announces plans for mass production of self-driving cars by 2021

Tony S
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Exciting times

I think that the big motor companies are just waking up to a new business model.

For years now, people tend not to "buy" a car, but rather get it on some sort of leasing deal, which allows them to roll over to a new model and just keep paying. This is actually more profitable for the auto manufacturers than the traditional purchase route, and it offers them the chance to provide additional services.

I still think that we will move to some sort of subscription based package; you'll pay based upon what type of vehicle you want to use, when you tend to use it, the locations, and how long you want to wait for a car. Those that don't want to wait pay more; if you can wait half an hour, you'll pay less.

It will probably be linked to some sort of mobile technology, either through phone app or similar. The prospective user will request the vehicle, and it will be dispatched either from a holding location, or after having dropped off a previous customer. Having completed the journey, it will then either park or go to another job.

The key advantages; fewer cars on the road, more efficient use of those that are. They will also get maintained and valeted on a set cycle, so should be kept in better condition. The motor companies will probably do deals with 3rd party maintenance companies, so there is the opportunity for smaller businesses to get involved.

I still think my £50 bet is looking OK!

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Hilton hotels' email so much like phishing it fooled its own techies

Tony S
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Paris Hilton

I had that email.

My reaction was also "just another scam" as I haven't used Hilton since last year, due to the way they handled a complaint of mine. So I deleted it.

Way to go Hilton. (Paris of course)

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London's Met Police has missed the Windows XP escape deadline

Tony S
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Re: Government investment in the Police

"go check out the earth station they built just north of Bude "

You're mistaken; there's nothing there.

Seriously; according to the authorities, there is nothing there and never has been.

It doesn't matter what you think you see, you are definitely incorrect.

If you give them the location, they will tell you that it is just a patch of open ground above the beach; nothing to see, please move along.

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HMRC's IR35 tweaks have 90% of UK's IT contractors up in arms

Tony S
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James Avon Clyde (Lord Clyde) said it best

""No man in the country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel in his stores. The Inland Revenue is not slow, and quite rightly, to take every advantage which is open to it under the Taxing Statutes for the purposes of depleting the taxpayer's pocket. And the taxpayer is in like manner entitled to be astute to prevent, so far as he honestly can, the depletion of his means by the Inland Revenue"

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Australia to spend a billion bucks and seven years on SAP project

Tony S
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Anyone there been told about Queensland Health Authority? I actually read the report from the inquiry, all 500 + pages and I could have written about half of them just knowing it was a government project, SAP & IBM. 1.2 billion AUD down the tubes.

Now I hate SAP with a passion; worked on a couple of implementations, so I know exactly what kind of shit can hit the fan. It's a bitch to implement, a swine to manage, a pig to train people on and it can become the worst nightmare when things go wrong. It's bloody expensive, inflexible, out dated, and an absolute bastard to work with.

But it can be made to work.

To do that, you HAVE to follow SAP's own guidelines. You MUSTN'T change requirements part way through. There HAS to be a project champion high enough up to kick backsides when people start drifting off plan (which they will). The Project Manager MUST be able to keep track of what's going on, and organise things to happen at the right time. And the business units HAVE GOT to be involved all the way through, in their own process, but also for several complete end to end tests of all processes. And the system should ONLY go live once those tests have been completed successfully without any hiccups.

I'd be willing to have a crack at it; not that I'll get the chance. But only if they signed up to follow the above, otherwise I wouldn't even contemplate the idea.

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All roads lead to Rome as Irish seminary gripped by Grindr scandal

Tony S
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"The church in question demands it of their priests, nuns, and monk types so they will be more "like Jesus"."

I'm not a religious scholar, but I believe that those who are (and who are a bit less controlled by the church) have established that Mary Magdalene became Jesus' "companion"; which in those days meant the equivalent of "common law wife". Apparently, this is now pretty much accepted as true even by many of the hierarchy within the church.

I was also told that in a couple of the various writings that were eliminated from the Bible by the Council of Nicea in 325, there were also references that suggested that Mary M had also had a child before his death. (This was part of the back story used by Dan Brown for the "Da Vinci Code".)

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Tony S
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Not surprised

I've been sharing a place with a gay couple; well it's saved me a few quid rather than live on my own, plus I get my washing done and meals cooked! But it is a real eye opener when you see some of the things going on.

This couple have a habit of inviting some of their friends over; pretty much just offering them a cheap holiday in the sun. One of these people was around last week, and he seemed to be finding a new conquest every other day, and it was getting a bit embarrassing seeing him with yet another bloke in the swimming pool.

On his penultimate day, he was accompanied by a fresh faced young chap that he had picked up locally on Grindr. It was only later that I found out this new paramour was a man of the cloth, running around in civvies.

"Nowt so queer as folk"!

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F-35 targeting system laser will be 'almost impossible' to use in UK

Tony S
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You couldn't make it up

There was a really great film made some years ago, with Cary Elwes and Kelsey Grammer. The Pentagon Wars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDYpRhoZqBY - if you've not seen it, take the time to watch. But get ready for the WTF moments. (The way KG tries to hide how much money they've spent and how long they took, without a single functioning device.)

Based on real events, it shows just how crazy the whole procurement system has become. What's quite sad is that all of the officers involved were promoted, apart from the one who blew the whistle; and he was dismissed the service.

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My Microsoft Office 365 woes: Constant crashes, malware macros – and settings from Hell

Tony S
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" Under no circumstances should anything be accessing the internet these days without a list of defenses as long as my leg."

Yes; for sure. But the trouble is, that's not what happens. Everyone is obsessed with capturing metadata that can be analysed and then (most importantly) used to make MONEY. Even some FOSS / OSS has been modified (in some cases without people knowing) specifically to make it easier to capture / monitor data.

The worst are the apps that continue to run in the background after being closed, and capture data from other apps or web browsing. Normally, the developer company are adamant that "they" would never abuse what they find, but are the first ones to get upset if someone else does the same thing, and messes up what their lovely app does.

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Floods hit India's IT hubs, wash away some credibility

Tony S
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Test your BC / DR plans

The problem is that so many senior managers seem to work on the principle "outsource = I don't have to worry". In reality, they should be worrying even more, as so much of what they've outsourced is completely out of their control.

They are often expecting the external business doing the right thing, when it is far more likely that the 3rd party are trying to keep their costs down. And as a result, anything that doesn't generate an income is seen as being of questionable value, and might even be cut.

Anyone that has sent work to any external supplier should now be checking on their ability to keep operating when the smelly stuff hits the air circulation equipment. Anyone that doesn't should be held accountable for their negligence.

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What's long, hard and full of seamen? The USS Harvey Milk

Tony S
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Re: What would Aubrey and Maturin say?

Why are ships called she?

“A ship is called a she because there is always a great deal of bustle around her; there is usually a gang of men about; she has a waist and stays; it takes a lot of paint to keep her good-looking; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep; she can be all decked out; it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly; and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her topsides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.”

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Capita was always going to axe staff under Project Vincent – sources

Tony S
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I'm waiting for the day that Capita decide to start outsourcing all of their work; so they don't provide a single person to the client, just "manage the relationship".

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Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?

Tony S
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Re: No brainer shirley?

During the 30s, 40s & 50s, the army used to have tea made in huge dixies; no tea bags in those days, loose tea leaves. The water and tea would be boiled, then they would add evaporated milk and a couple pounds of sugar. When ready, men would be allowed to dip their mugs into the brew and this meant that relatively few leaves would be taken up as those would settle to the bottom.

Many ex-service and a lot of national service men actually developed a taste for evaporated milk in tea; and in some of the former service base areas, they do still make tea with either evaporated or condensed milk from a tin.

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Buzz Aldrin's Apollo XI expenses claim revealed

Tony S
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Hmmm...

A shame that he couldn't claim mileage. My last company offered 45 ppm.

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Happy Mappiversary, Ordnance Survey

Tony S
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Re: Happy days

Totally agree, nothing to feel sad about.

I spent many a happy hour / day / week pottering up and down various hillsides, along footpaths in my younger days. A great way to get out, get exercise, fresh air, and enjoy the countryside.

After I reached 18, and could legally be served in pubs... well actually, it didn't make a lot of difference, as I had been nipping in and out since 16, but there was a greater sense of enjoyment.

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TAFE's troubled TITSUP tech terminated AT BLOODY LAST

Tony S
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Been here before

There was a major buggerup of a project just next door in Queensland a few years ago. They had an enquiry, produced a report (over 500 pages and I read the lot) and it basically came down to the same old things that seem to be the case every time. I'd put money on it that it's the same in this instance.

Dealing with a similar situation at the moment. So frustrated because I've warned them, but of course, they think that they know better.

What is it about senior managers that means they won't listen to people with experience?

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UK's education system blamed for IT jobs going to non-Brits

Tony S
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The senior managers decided to outsource a specific function. They selected a partner organisation with no staff with provable skills in that field, very much against the advice of the IT Manager.

The consultancy then employed a couple of people from the sub-continent; they were cheap and had certain buzzwords on their C.Vs. that matched the requirements. However, not one of them had previously worked with the systems involved; or it appears, anything relevant.

Move forward four years, and the project has gone from bad to worse. The amount of money that has been spent in the last year, is nearly three times what the organisation had been spending before it was outsourced.

The senior managers decide to bring it back in house as clearly the consultancy can't deliver. They advertise the jobs that had been sent overseas; but at a rate that was about 40% below what they had paid their staff 4 years before. They then complain that they can't get the "trained staff" that they need.

Anyone recognise this situation?

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Voter registration site collapse proves genius of GDS, says minister

Tony S
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Pure Doublethink; where a failure becomes a success.

I think that we may have to change the old adage.

To err, is human. To really mess things up requires a computer and a government.

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Lester Haines: RIP

Tony S
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He'll be missed.

RIP

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Developer waits two years for management to define project

Tony S
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It was a large multi national manufacturing company. I was told that they needed someone to sort out their IT in the UK. This would involve the network, servers, data storage etc.

On the very first day, it became clear that the people that offered me the job, did not have the authority to make any changes to the IT; so neither would I. I queried what I supposed to do and it seemed to be mostly travelling between the two sites, taking part in meetings where I was not required to make any comments. I also occasionally talked to the people that did have to do the work, but they were not required to take any notice of what I suggested.

Basically paid £40k a year to sit at a vacant desk and surf the Internet. Made a start on a research project for my Master's.

I did actually find a few items where I was able to help some of the staff out; none of them were authorised and I got told off, but they actually meant that I more than covered the cost of my salary. So I don't feel at all guilty.

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Mars One puts 100 Red Planet corpses colonists through fresh tests

Tony S
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"My nightmare about it is that people continue to support it and give it money and attention, and it then gets to the point where it inevitably falls on its face," said Roche.

That's actually a really cogent point. Think how quickly the American Public (and Congress) lost interest in the Moon Landings. Apollo 12 had considerably less viewers than Apollo 11; and it seems that none of the networks were interested in Apollo 13 until they thought that someone might die.

If they make a complete lash up of this, then the public and potential investors will lose any interest in future space exploration.

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The screeching of Violin Memory's parting strings is horrible

Tony S
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I first came across Violin about 6 years ago; I was mega impressed with their product. The price was a little high for my budget, but I could see a real argument for using their system, especially for the bigger systems.

That was a bit after we had implemented SAP; and with the issues that we faced, I thought for sure that here was a match that could not fail. Here was away for the really big implementations to avoid some of the key problems with performance, and at a price that was well within their budget.

So I am still puzzled at how they are still struggling. It just shows that nothing in this world is guaranteed.

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Blighty's National Cyber Security Centre cyber-reveals cyber-blueprints

Tony S
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OK...

There are some fairly sensible sounding items in that document. Repeated several times in fact. Cut out the waffle, the unnecessary pictures and the 12 pages could become 4 (possibly even 3)

The real issue will be if they can actually achieve any of the things that they set out to do. Like most of these type of documents, they make great sound bites, but don't really get to the point where it commits to any single thing.

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Being an IT trainer is like performing the bullet-catching trick

Tony S
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Pint

Re: You had me at

Saw them at Glasto in '86.

If you were really there, you wouldn't have remembered it.

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UK digital minister denies legal right to 10Mbps is 'damp squib'

Tony S
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For a while, I was connected to Ed Vaisey on LinkedIn. (Not quite sure how that happened.) I did send him some links to various things happening at the time to highlight the need to upgrade infrastructure if we wanted UK business to be competitive. Not sure that it had any impact though.

"We will keep under review, we do not want to leave people on 10Mbps in 10 years' time when they might need 100Mbps," he said.

Well, there are those of us that would dearly love to get 10 Mbps at the moment, but there's smeg all chance of that happening any time soon, or even probably in the next 10 years. (For reference; the all powerful BT regularly promote their high speed service to me, but can actually only deliver a rather miserable 1.3 Mbps.)

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Queen's Speech: Ministers, release the spaceplanes!*

Tony S
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Year, right!

"UK.gov also promised “new powers for public authorities to share information to combat the public sector fraud which costs the country billions”."

Unless it seems likely to embarrass the particular public authority, the civil servants or the politicians involved in the fraud.

Oooh; did I just say that out loud? (cynical me!)

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Want a Brexit? Promise you'll sort out UK universities' £1bn research cash loss

Tony S
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Call me Mr Cynical

“For me, in the end, it’s all about innovation. The European Union is bad at doing it, good at discouraging it, repeatedly sides with those who have vested interests in resisting it, and holds Britain back from achieving it.

Replace "European Union" with the name of any government, politician or civil servant. The statement still holds true.

As for expecting the private sector to increase their funding; sorry, but that's a pipe dream, unless there is a definite incentive for them to do so (such as tax credits or similar).

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A UK-wide fibre broadband investment plan? Don't ask awkward questions

Tony S
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I'm sure that we had this exact same discussion in 2012; and in 2008; and in 2004 and in 2000.....

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HPE: Where IT shops ... for their CEOs

Tony S
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Re: Losers all

"I doubt any of these PHBs are nothing but clueless wonders who lead to their new employers into bankruptcy.

Couldn't agree more.

Seriously; why would any business choose to recruit a senior manager from the ranks of an organisation that is floundering as badly as HP?

I also wonder if rather than bankruptcy, the new boss prepares Gridstor to be taken over by HP...

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BT to splash £550m integrating EE. Firm shrugs: Cheap!

Tony S
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I've never been a BT employee, but am a shareholder. The bit that might worry me is

"The business also revealed net pension deficit of £5.2bn net of tax"

That's a tonne of money that they are going to have to find at some stage in the future; unless they decide to default on pension plans already in place.

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UK govt admits it pulled 10-year file-sharing jail sentence out of its arse

Tony S
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Facepalm

The sad thing is that this story will not appear in mainstream media; the people prefer the more interesting fictions that are put out as "news"

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Barclays.net Bank Holiday outage leaves firms unable to process payments

Tony S
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" ..and we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused"

And I would like to see a penalty applied to any bank that has this kind of a problem. Say a sliding scale of so much per set period of time. £10 per 24 hours, £25 for 48 hours etc.

But not to come out of bank profits, oh no. To come off the director's salary or bonus.

"When a man knows he is to be hanged, it concentrates the mind most wonderfully"

Samuel Johnson

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Vendor rep 'Stinky Sam' told to wash and brush teeth or lose job

Tony S
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As a junior manager in the 70s, it was sometimes left to me to do some of the less attractive jobs; and on a couple of occasions, I did have to talk to staff about personal hygiene and appearance.

Not always the easiest thing to do; but my view is that there is no point dancing around, you have to come right out and state the obvious. This sometimes doesn't go down too well with the individual concerned. The first time was the hardest; so embarrassing. But after that, it did get easier.

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HP Enterprise Services readies deeper cuts in UK: Now 1,000 techies face axe

Tony S
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"Where I work almost an entire support team is made up of contractors with no knowledge of the systems, so SLA's are being broken everywhere, the service given is utterly woeful, and the customer receives little or no actual support.

Sadly, I've seen that from the view of the client; and service levels that were bad are now shockingly awful.

What was once a company that provided a good service at a reasonable price is clearly doomed. I feel tremendously sorry for those people that have tried to do the right thing, but have been shafted by corporate greed and incompetence.

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Everything bad in the world can be traced to crap Wi-Fi

Tony S
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Alert

Shit Wi-Fi?

Is it really shit Wi-Fi or is it badly designed, shitty apps that broadcast their presence to world + dog every 10 milliseconds.

Or is caused by the obsession of marketing droids to capture every activity that we make so that they can apply bad "Data Science" in order to try and sell us shit that we don't need?

Or is caused by the obsession of TPTB to capture every fleeting message in order to ensure that there is no "wrongthink" or unauthorised shit taking place?

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Bruce Schneier: We're sleepwalking towards digital disaster and are too dumb to stop

Tony S
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"Defenders have to protect an entire system, where as an attacker only has to find one flaw to achieve their objective."

Unfortunately, this misses a key issue. That there are a lot of people that should be on the side of the defenders, producing secure systems; but are in fact doing a half arsed job. Although those people are not on the side of the attackers, they are effectively supporting attackers.

For example, there is a situation where some programmers have hard-coded something into a system that makes it very easy for an outsider to gain access to an internal system through a device that is outside of that system. When I queried this, they were clearly oblivious to any thoughts that it might not a good idea from an overall view, just that it was a convenient way of fudging something to make it work. The chances of getting this changed? Zero. So for the next 10 years, this system will be a back door that allows access to all sorts of important data.

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Donald Trump promises 'such trouble' for Jeff Bezos and Amazon

Tony S
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Re: Just a successful PR campaign

""Hey, I'll run for president. Worst Best case it's a lot of cheap PR, best worst case I'll be the next president."

FTFY

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IT boss gets 30 months of porridge for trashing ex-employer's servers

Tony S
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Pint

Ummm...

"No policy of changing passwords when tech staff leave?

Bet they have one now."

You'd think so wouldn't you; but based upon the average company's methods of working, I'd be prepared to bet they've done SFA and won't do anything until it's happened another couple of times.

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HMRC clamps down on gov bodies wanting to reclaim VAT on IT kit

Tony S
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Re: Someone explain this

That's what it sounds like to me; and it makes a lot of sense, especially if it then encourages them to actually pay the invoices on time.

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NASA stormed by 18,000 wannabe 'nauts

Tony S
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" at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft"."

They forgot to highlight that hours logged on Microsoft Flight Simulator don't count; that'd probably cut out about 80% of applicants

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Ukraine has a Eurovision pop at Russia

Tony S
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Joke

I thought that there was going to be a referendum on the UK pulling out of Eurovision.

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Brit spies can legally hack PCs and phones, say Brit spies' overseers

Tony S
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Black Helicopters

Think about this

Go and read the short story "Minority Report" by Philip K Dick or watch the film of the same name. Now think about the issues raised in the story. Compare it to what is going on now and what these people seem to want to be able to do.

Feeling scared? You should be.

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No, HMG, bulk data surveillance is NOT inevitable

Tony S
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Big Brother

"There needs to be a debate as to whether bulk works and whether it really is worth it.

I'd say that there has been a debate; unfortunately, the PTB have not been the ones involved. I'd go further and say that the arguments have been very clear; it doesn't work, is not worth it and would actually have the opposite effect to what the proponents suggest.

But we seem to live in an age rather nicely described by Isaac Asimov; "Democracy; where the belief is that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge'"

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Ex-TalkTalker TalkTalks: Records portal had shared password. It was 4 years old

Tony S
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Not at all surprised.

I remember seeing a green screen application some years ago at a big company. Most of the staff had access to this, without needing any form of security control. I believe that they had something like 400,000 customer details in that particular system.

That was a system based / managed in India. Used by some call centre staff there, but also by several call centres in the UK.

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Home Office lost its workers' completed security vetting forms

Tony S
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Flame

Why am I not even in the least surprised?

Yes; these are the people that want us to trust them over matters of security. On that basis, why am I not more upset? Anyone that deals with security should be howling for blood.

Please assure me that there will be no-one from this incompetent bunch that gets anything in the Queens Birthday honours list for at least the next couple of years.

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The monitor didn't work but the problem was between the user's ears

Tony S
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Along those lines

The client's PC wasn't working; so after testing several things, I tried a different power lead, at which point it booted OK. Clearly, a problem with the fuse in the plug. I went to change this, but was told off by the office manager. Only an electrician could change a fuse as it was dealing with electricity. No electrician available on site or within an hour's call.

So I went out, bought a new power lead from (I think) PC World. My MD went a bit crazy to begin with when he saw the cost on the job sheet; but after an explanation, happily submitted the bill. The client queried this; we had a snotty note asking why I couldn't change the fuse. Told them to refer to their own office manager.

Much grumbling from the client followed whilst they refused to pay the bill. Then, I hit upon the idea of getting a quote from an electrician for changing a fuse. Submitted that to them as evidence that buying the new lead was still cheaper. They didn't have a choice after that other than to pay the bill.

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'Printer Ready'. Er… you actually want to print? What, right now?

Tony S
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Printing?

How 20th century of you.

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