* Posts by Tony S

348 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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Shadow minister for Fun calls for Openreach separation

Tony S

Re: Question

10 Mbps connection in a rural area? I'm betting that there are not too many rural areas where they will get anything approaching 10 Mbps

I was in a rural area and getting less than 0.1 Mbps for a very lengthy period (just under 18 months) whilst BT hummed and ahhed about replacing the cable that was in a truly appalling condition. When they finally replaced the cable 2 months before I moved away, it went up to a blisteringly fast 1.1 Mbps.

Worth noting that I was paying the same fee for my broadband as most other people in areas where they could get 10 Mbps.

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Bruce Schneier: 'We're in early years of a cyber arms race'

Tony S

@1980s_coder

"Or to put it another way - I would be sitting on virtually indestructable and invulnerable computing power that couldn't easily be taken down."

Until they turn the electricity off.

6
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Why do driverless car makers have this insatiable need for speed?

Tony S

re: AC

Just like a taxi (think Uber on steroids). But you eliminate the cost of the driver.

The biggest reason given for keeping a car is the convenience. If the automated driving car system can provide a service as convenient as keeping a car, then that will go a long way towards getting people to accept a different system.

From the car manufacturers pov, margins are getting thinner and they sell more cars for less profit. Moving from a personal ownership model to a purely "leased" scheme could offer the chance for increased profits, on a lower number of actual cars produced. Many dealerships already offer similar options where in fact you are never actually going to own the car, just continue to make monthly payments; and this is where many of them are actually making their money these days.

So you might end up with a multiple tiered system; less than 6 month old cars for those that want to pay extra, slightly older cars for the hoi polloi. (Shitty, beat up old wrecks for me!)

I'm not saying that it will all happen in the next 10 years, but I'm betting that we will see things start to develop in that time; and I still think that it will happen a bit faster than most people expect.

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Tony S

You're on.

I think that it's a reasonable bet; there is already work under way testing automated driving within a few cities. I think that we will see similar test project on the motorways within the next 2-3 years. (Probably only small scale admittedly).

After that, at some stage, there will be pressure to allow automated driving access everywhere; and at some point, the PTB will probably want to remove the element that is most likely to cause problems; the loose nut behind the wheel.

Mind you, if you were to see some of the driving that I've seen lately, you'd want to go back to having a man walking in front with a red flag.

That sounds like a good charity. Happy to stump up the money if I'm proven wrong.

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Tony S

" it wouldn't be a surprise to find the technology being made mandatory for use on some of the public road network some decades down the line."

I'm betting that it will happen sooner than that. Probably on motorways first, but then in the centres of the bigger cities. Anyone else care to wager if it will start within the next 10 years?

I'm also wondering if we won't see a change in the way that cars are owned; already, there are all sorts of schemes available. I sort of believe that we will see no car "ownership" in the future, just a process where you buy the right to use a car that includes servicing, replacement parts etc. (Potentially more lucrative than just making and selling)

You could book a car to take you to work in the morning and it would drive itself to your door (or even close by your mobile phone for example). It would then go to the next job, or sit in a parking space until required; then repeat to take you on whenever you needed it. No worries about tax, fuel, tyres, etc.

If managed by the big car companies, they could provide you with whatever size / colour / model was in vogue, anywhere in the world. They could probably use economies of scale, reducing the number of vehicles required, possibly reducing congestion and parking hassles as well.

1
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You CAN'T jail online pirates for 10 years, legal eagles tell UK govt

Tony S

Re: Just as a technical aside

There is a difference in the way that the law works in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as compared to England; and that is why there have to be separate statutes, because they need to take those differences into account when drawing the statutes up.

But as you say, it is UK Law, not British Law; they are not the same thing

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Tony S

Re: Just as a technical aside

The word is jurisdictions. The phrase would be "UK law"

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Tony S

Just as a technical aside

Contrary to what a number of people seem to think (including the government), there is no such thing as "British Law". Scotland and Northern Ireland have to have separate Acts of Parliament (and Wales sometimes). Generally what they refer to is actually English Law which sometimes might not apply in the other Home nations.

BTW, I understand that BILETA is an organization, so they can use the phrase "British Law", even though it doesn't exist.

0
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Anti-botnet initiatives USELESS in sea of patch-hating pirates

Tony S

Who's responsible

One of the problems with getting these devices patched, would be to identify who would be responsible for doing that (as per Simon's comment above).

Here is a scenario that I am dealing with.

The company where I am performing some consultancy work, has an IT Manager and 5 IT staff. They are a brand new company, just in operation for about 8 - 9 months. Most stuff they are working on is outsourced, so they have no servers on site.

One group of the people that are providing the hosting *should* be performing backups, patching, maintenance etc. but no-one is checking this. As far as I can tell, none of the servers have been patched in at least 3 months. Another group of servers for the ERP system are being patched; but as they currently don't have the ERP system running on those, it doesn't make a huge difference.

The IT Manager has placed an order for a server; but there is an issue because he wants the vendor to set-up and configure the server. When I queried why, he told me that he "doesn't know how to do this" and none of his staff do either. On top of that, he insisted that they "don't have time to learn".

Anyone think that these guys are going to make sure that their systems are patched?

4
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Capita: Listen up redundo staff, we know you're leaving but...

Tony S

What could possibly go wrong?

Upset staff, with nothing to lose, talking to incoming staff about the management team and their abilities or lack thereof.

I'm sure that the new staff will be thoroughly motivated by this (to look for another place as soon as possible)

7
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Boss hands dunce's cap to chap who turned off disk monitor

Tony S

Let there be light

It was a Saturday morning; I had woken up, but was luxuriating in a warm bed, thinking about 2 whole days off to do nothing. Then my mobile rang and I answered it; big mistake.

The manager of a site some distance away was almost screaming down the phone at me to help sort them out; no access to email, no access to data etc. etc. Tried to remote in but no response. I did ask if there had been a power cut and he confirmed that there had, but everything was now back on.

In the end, I drove there, about 4 hours through some shitty traffic. When I arrived, I found out that the local electric company had been doing some work to the power transformer nearby; the site had been informed of this, but didn't think to tell anyone in IT. As a result, when power went off, it all went onto UPS; an alert was sent, but unfortunately, the router had failed before the email was transmitted due to not having been put on the UPS by the staff member that set it up. Plus the UPS had drained down so far, it shut everything down.

Even worse, when the power came back on, it caused the breaker for the UPS circuit to trip, so nothing on that line restarted. It took me about 10 minutes to identify this, restart some of the kit, then I had to hang around for a while checking everything cam back on.

After that, another nearly 4 hour drive home. All because some git put a power lead in the wrong socket

8
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Hey, folks. Meet the economics 'genius' behind Jeremy Corbyn

Tony S

Re: Expats should pay tax

"Since they tend to come running home to the mummy country when they get elderly "

In most cases (OK not all, but most) the people that do that, actually became ex-pats after they retired. So they had actually contributed for most of their working life to the system.

(Mind you, if they are that elderly, they're probably not running...)

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Tony S

Re: It's OK

"The largest cost of a road is the initial construction, operation is relatively low and not much dependant on the use"

Actually no. Most repair work is utterly dependent upon how much (and what weight of) traffic that travels over it. The busiest roads are the ones that need the most repairs; and if those repairs are not conducted in a timely fashion, the amount (and necessity) of repair increases faster. The roads that carry the heaviest vehicles are often the ones that need the most upkeep.

In addition, most road repairs cost more than the original cost price of the road; even when allowing for inflation. Partly due to increased technical requirements, environmental concerns, H & S needs etc. but also because the amount of traffic has increased by more ten fold in the last 60 years; and the new road surfaces have to be better than the original specifications.

It's also not just the roads, but bridges, culverts, embankments etc. That doesn't take into account any hidden costs, caused to local / regional / national economy by the road works and any subsequent traffic congestion that creates increased delays, excess fuel usage, diversionary activity etc.

6
1

W is for WTF: Google CEO quits, new biz Alphabet takes over

Tony S

Re: Return

Charles Duell was supposed to have said "Everything that can be invented, has been invented". As it happens, he didn't, but a lot of people still misquote him.

The fact is that we don't know what new ideas people will dream up; or how they will be applied in the future. They only have to hit the jackpot once for hundreds of failed ideas for it to be a successful method of working.

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What a shower: METEORS will BLAZE a FIERY TRAIL across our skies

Tony S

Re: Wrong title

It's unlikely I'll get to see anything here either (Persian Gulf). We generally get clear skies, but with the ever present dust in the atmosphere, only very bright items show up in the night sky. Even Jupiter / Mars / Venus are not always visible.

At least it won't be raining though; forecast is no rain for the next 5 months.

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RSA chief uncans insurance giant's mega IT infrastructure review

Tony S

Best of luck

There have been occasions in the past where a CEO or their business triumphantly announces that IT is the corner stone to their improvement; but then happily either outsources to the cheapest bidder or slashes their internal arrangements to the bone (sometimes doing both). In virtually every such case, the business then experiences horrendous problems.

It's therefore a bit refreshing to hear from someone that does seem to have taken notice of where the problems occur and is actually showing some indication of being prepared to actually invest in the IT provision, rather than just treat it as yet another cost on the company. Hopefully, he will get the chance to carry out the necessary changes.

Unfortunately, I suspect that he may find that the other stakeholders are still of the old school that think they need to replace the expensive local technical people with cheaper drones from the other side of the world; and he may discover that he spends more time arguing the toss with them, than he's allowed to spend on actually getting his systems updated and working.

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Job ad warns of boss who 'will incite anger and frustration'

Tony S

Re: It's an advert to work for Coca Cola

"All that's missing..."

The pervading odour of poorly washed bodies, unwashed clothes, various half eaten ethnic cuisine meals; and the stench of fear that you might be dismissed in the next round of "right sizing" cuts.

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Keep up, boyos! 20k Win XP PCs still in use by NHS in Wales

Tony S

Re: Looking back 10 years

@Christian

Ah yes; AS/400. I saw one of those a few years ago. It was running a system that from a security point of view was leakier than a colander. Staff in the warehouse had worked out how to bypass some of the controls.

The finance staff hated it because it would sometimes fail part way through a print run and then couldn't restart, but had to do it all again from the start; but might then miss off some of the invoices because they had already been processed even if they hadn't printed. If the recognised printers were offline, it was a bit of a lottery if it would work with any of the newer machines.

It made data analysis a nightmare and crashed about 4 or 5 times a day. Each year, it also cost the company concerned as much as the volume licences & CALs for all of the rest of their landscape put together for a 3 year deal.

Added to that, it wouldn't handle a lot of their work; the staff were running 30,000 spreadsheets to manage data that the AS/400 couldn't.

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IT security staff have a job for life – possibly a grim, frustrating life

Tony S

Job for life?

Security is not like Sales or Marketing. Those departments can easily demonstrate what they bring to the table, Security is not so easy; and there will always be senior managers looking to "cut costs", "trim the fat" etc. that will be more than happy to wield that axe in an area that they don't understand or believe adds any value to the business.

Having said that, anyone that has the key skills within security and is reasonably competent *should* be able to find work, as there are still relatively few people that are sufficiently well enough trained to fill available gaps.

Perhaps not a "Job for Life", but more likely a "Career for Life"

0
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Hurrah! Windfarms produce whopping ONE PER CENT of EU energy

Tony S

I don't know about Portugal; but I heard someone talking about Spain and how they were achieving 68% of their supply from wind.

Only that wasn't true; the figure was 56% and that was for about 1 hour during a major storm some years ago. On average, it's less than half of that and at times, it's less than 10%.

I'm all for reducing reliance on gas and oil; and I'm in favour of renewable technology. But it does seem that there are a lot of claims being made that don't actually stand up to close scrutiny; and especially being made by people that have an agenda to promote these products.

They actually do themselves and the technology a grave disservice; by over promising, it makes the failure to deliver on a consistent basis, seem much worse than it ought.

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Ballmer's billion-dollar blunders: When he gambled Microsoft's money and lost

Tony S

Don't be scared to fail

Almost all entrepreneurs make the comment that to succeed, you have to be prepared to fail; and to succeed big, you have to be prepared to fail big.

This is something that the US seems to accept much more easily than in the UK, where there seems to be a culture of standing around waiting for someone to screw up, so that you can applaud as they wallow in the sticky brown stuff.

This attitude will actually cause people to hold back from having a go; and that will be to the detriment of business in the UK.

3
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Happy birthday Alf Garnett, you daft, reactionary old git

Tony S

@El_Fev

"yeah yeah sure you did, when you were 10 , you were embracing your social consciousness, why do people bother to lie on boards like this?"

You don't know me, I don't know you; so you've no way of knowing if that's true or not. But I can assure you that it is; whether you believe that or not is irrelevant.

It's nothing to do with social consciousness; I've always disliked anything that relies too much on shock tactics to get the audience's attention.

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Tony S

I watched the pilot, then a couple of the shows. As a pre-teenager, I was initially amused by the language used, but that got old very quickly. I knew that it was taking the mick out of so many that did actually think like that; but just found the attitude expressed offensive.

After about 4 or 5 episodes, no-one in the family was that interested in watching. Many of my school friends carried on watching it, and I just stayed away from those that seemed to revel in some of the more unpleasant scripts.

But we exercised our right to turn off the idiot box and do something of more interest.

Having said that, I did see Warren Mitchell some years later at a theatre production (can't remember now what it was; maybe Death of a Salesman?); a totally different character and it showed that he was actually a really good actor.

1
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It’s DEJA VU: Customer forgets to tell us about essential feature AGAIN

Tony S

Re: Soiled underwear

I did try Hershey's once; I actually spat it out into a bin.

The product was given to me by a rep; he was trying to persuade me that I should put it on the shelves and sell it. His arguments about it being the best seller in the US cut no ice with me; I wouldn't even order one box, I thought it was so vile.

However, the vendor concerned have managed to persuade a couple of UK supermarket chains to stock Hershey's. Speaking to a former colleague, they have to keep it in stock and order a minimum of something like 5 boxes at a time. That stock will go out of date, usually before they are through the second box. He also indicated that on a number of occasions, people bought the product and then tried to return it as they thought it had gone off.

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Hackers invade systems holding medical files on 4.5 million Cali patients

Tony S

Mr Cynical

"Hospital bosses aren't convinced the attackers were able to copy the information out of the network, and claim it's possible the hackers may not have viewed the medical records."

If you ask me, that phrase from their statement tells you everything that you need to know about the technical knowledge of the people in charge, and therefore who is really responsible. I'd suggest that it also indicates who will get their arse kicked; and it won't be the management.

3
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Ant-Man: Big ideas, small payoff

Tony S

Hooray for Hollywood

All they produce these days are films that have increasingly tenuous links to original material.

They add in car chases, explosions, gun battles, martial arts, zombies and special effects because Joe Public continues to pay for this garbage. Whilst it makes money, they will continue to churn out infantile dreck; when it stops being profitable, they'll panic and start looking for someone to blame.

Perhaps then, we'll start to see some good movies being produced; but I'm not going to hold my breath.

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UK.gov will appeal against DRIPA-busting verdict, says minister

Tony S

Re: Hmmm....

"They didn't get where they are today by not having the mandate of 24% of the electorate..."

Tony Blair got to number 10 with 22% of the electorate having voted for Labour.

Is there a government since 1960 that has reached more than 40%?

2
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Evil computers sense you’re in a hurry and mess with your head

Tony S

The innate hostility of inanimate objects. They'll get you every time.

By the way, don't think for one second that church people are any easier to work with than anyone else. They change their minds just as often, question prices, specifications and delay payments like a master; and if you don't deliver, they can be surprisingly nasty for a group that profess to turn the other cheek (I'd rather deal with HMRC!). Anyone that has had to deal with church wardens will know that they can be total jobsworths as well.

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Download Festival face scan: You’re right to be annoyed, said UK surveillance commish

Tony S

Re: Today - faces, tomorrow - thoughts

Or thinking about something that they later decide should be a crime.

Hell, let's be honest, they just don't want the proles thinking, full stop. Far too dangerous.

8
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Windows Server 2003 support deadline is TOMORROW – but thousands don't care

Tony S

Meh

Difficult to get too worked up over this, when there are a lot of businesses that are still running crucial systems on Win 2K and NT4.

I worked for one of these about 2 years ago. They had outsourced their IT and were reliant upon a certain well know vendor / services company. As far as I know, they still have their Win 2K server running, containing about 15 years worth of data that nobody actually makes use of. They keep it "Just in case".

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Surviving Hurricane Katrina: A sysadmin's epic DR (as in Didn't Realise) odyssey

Tony S

Been there - almost

Last year, I was involved with a disaster; not on the IT side though. Some of my thoughts.

If you think that the authorities have planned for BC / DR, think again. Most of them will have had numerous meetings and discussions, but none of this will be in the slightest bit relevant when it all goes belly up. Most of their staff will not have read any plans and will mostly stay in offices hiding; those that go out to meet the public will stand around looking bewildered.

This includes Police, who will possibly have some junior staff standing around being visible to "prevent civil unrest / looting" but actually achieve very little. They will probably have a silver & gold command structure, which will prove to be as useful as the proverbial chocolate tea pot. They won't talk to fire or ambulance service, so expect fire engines and ambulances to end up in the wrong places.

The army do sometimes get called out, but they are very few in number these days. Being cynical, I might suggest that they'll be around whilst TV cameras are there, so that the general public can be assured that "something is being done"; but as soon as the cameras get switched off, the army will be on their way back to barracks.

Communication seems to be a bad word; none of the organisations that should be talking to one another or to the public will actually have a clue how to get information out. If any government agencies are involved, they will actually make matters worse by passing incorrect / out of date / irrelevant / misleading information to the media.

National news media will cover the story as long as there are potentially "serious consequences". After that, you're yesterdays news. Local media tend to do a better job of getting their facts right and of keeping on top of the story.

In the end, more will get done by volunteers, or by individuals helping themselves out.

Afterwards, all of the relevant public bodies will tell everyone what a great job they did; and senior people will receive awards for their contributions. But at the same time, they will all bemoan the fact that they don't get enough funding and will spend more time in the press telling everyone of this than they did during the disaster in providing information that was relevant to the people affected.

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Revive the Nathan Barley Quango – former Downing Street wonk

Tony S

Made a wrong turning somewhere

I've spent most of my life working my nuts off; clearly, I should have just learned to speak gobble de gook and I could be earning a fortune for producing nothing of value.

</cynicism>

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Life after HP cracks off into two: Execs spill the beans – tiny little beans

Tony S

@Ledswinger

I had the misfortune to work for a company that outsourced their IT to EDS / HP. If I hadn't, I probably wouldn't believe that it could be so bad; but having seen it, I now know that it really is so terribly poor.

Helpdesk staff that had little of no technical skills, just the ability to read from a script. Highly detailed security practices that people ignored on a daily basis. A baffling array of policy and procedure documents that contradicted each other. IT staff that actively set out to do things that they knew would cause problems because they were so pissed off at the way that they were being treated.

Even worse, the business had people with no technical ability managing many aspects of the IT. Anyone that did have any skill was ignored and became so frustrated that they left as quickly as they could.

I am so glad I got out of there; soul destroying

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Are you sure there are servers in this cold, dark basement?

Tony S

2 stories.

I had to fly to a remote site because they had lost connectivity. I had queried when it happened etc. but they assured me nothing had changed. When I got there, one of the network cables from the server had been cut through; and they had just tied the two ends together in an attempt at a reef knot!

My brother set a company up with a system in the days of floppy disks and gave them several warnings about making copies of the disk so that if there was a failure, it would be possible to restore the data from a backup. This happened some 18 months later, so they asked him to go to site. On arrival, he confirmed the floppy was corrupt and asked for the latest copy. The person in charge opened a filing cabinet and produced a sheaf of A4 paper; on each one was a photocopy of the disk!

16
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RIP Leonard Nimoy: He lived long and prospered

Tony S

RIP Leonard Nimoy

There will be very few people that don't know at least something about Star Trek and recognize the character of Spock. Even those that are not fans of SF will be aware at some level of the key aspects; and it's said that many people working in the field of science did so because of what they saw within the show.

Overall, that's a pretty good legacy.

7
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'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts

Tony S

Old news, not new news

" ...as Jon Stewart might have observed, two things here. One, this was leaked by Chris Grayling’s mob. And two, it wasn’t news."

http://zelo-street.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/two-years-for-trolling-was-not-news.html

The party apparatchiks sent out the information to the various news media as "new" items; but failed to mention that all of the items had in fact been included in Bills that had already passed though Parliament. Unfortunately, virtually all of the media just accepted this at face value (no reason not to) and printed the comments.

Just wondering what they will tell us next?

0
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Merger-hungry Comcast and Time Warner withdraw from FCC commissioner's dinner event

Tony S

Whaaaat?

Funny; came across this video about Comcast this morning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uoWzMOp8fQ

Almost everything in the video screams "typical large corporation, shitty customer service". I can't believe that any merger would do anything to fix the underlying problems.

1
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HP Enterprise Services staff feel the burn as managers turn off the cash taps

Tony S

Re: Quick Win

For 18 months, I worked at a place that had outsourced much of their IT services to HP; and I was utterly astonished that the company was still using them despite the total lack of anything approaching a half decent function. I don't think that HP even pretended to be meeting any of their SLAs; and the cost was eye wateringly high for a very second rate performance.

This plan to reduce head count, cut costs etc is guaranteed to make the situation worse; and no doubt, they will demand yet another increase for their appalling service next year. Quite simply, I think that I could provide better by employing a load of 14 year old kids, straight out of school.

I think that Ebola is too good for the managers; although I do have some sympathy for the staff who must now be wondering how quickly they can find alternative employment.

4
1

SAP NetWeaver flaw spews user tables

Tony S

Slow And Painful

"SAP users were notorious bad at updating and securing their deployments"

Probably because it's not an easy process. Most people that have never worked with SAP think that patching is just a case of running a file (or files) that just do the work and maybe re-start the server afterwards.

Within SAP, there are a large number of steps, many opportunities to screw up the in-house written apps that *have* to be used; and it also has to be tested several times before rolling it out. Plus people bitch like crazy about the time that it takes; there always seems to be yet another project underway that means it really inconvenient to do the patching this quarter.

But the biggest problem is that SAP think that "security by obscurity" is an appropriate security strategy. It's not always clear just what patches need to be applied without some careful research

2
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Treat yourself to some FA or NFL action at Wembley

Tony S

The last time that I checked, it was £299 per seat for the basic package. The next level was £399; you got a free programme, and a buffet lunch. The full package was over £600 and you had a 3 course champagne lunch.

Personally, for that much money, I'd want a rub and a tug thrown in as well!

2
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John Lewis unzips mega Oracle ERP package

Tony S

Re: Money pit

"In a decade you'll have amortized all the investment "

Probably not; most of these bigger ERP implementations will only be cost effective if it's calculated over a longer period of time such as 20 years. Based upon my own experience, if they are saying 4 years, then it probably means that they will still have consultants on site doing various bits of work in 6 years time.

" unless you've invested a fairly big amount of money,"

I think that is an absolute guarantee. Certainly, this project will be costing many 10s of millions of pounds (possibly into the 100s of millions). In most cases, they go way over the original budget as the sales people work on the basis that once you are locked in, you won't want to back out and they deliberately under quote to hook the customer. I'd not be surprised to hear that it was 3 or 4 times over budget by the end.

"Seems that not only nobody learns from their mistakes, it is even worse: nobody learns even from mistakes of others."

That is very true; there are more papers, studies, investigations into failed projects than you would want to read unless you were an academic researcher. Ultimately, they all boil down to the same failings, each and every time. But hey, what do any of us know about anything; we're only the silly buggers that have to try and make these things work.

3
0

HP: We're so down wid da kidz! Look at... er, Smithers, what DO yoof look at these days?

Tony S

Another mistake

"Our marketing teams make sure we’re sending out the right messages to people and businesses all over the world, so they know about what we and how we can help them."

Re-read that last phrase

"So that they know about what we"

&

"and how we can help them"

I'd say that the message they are sending is that their people are not too bothered about accuracy. As for the help, probably to spend lots of money for something that is of poor quality and doesn't do what it should.

5
0

NHS England DIDN'T tell households about GP medical data grab plan

Tony S

I've never received it either; and if I had used all of the vouchers sent by just one particular pizza chain in the last year, I'd now weigh 30 stone.

3
0

Capita and Updata ink £325m Scottish PSN deal

Tony S

Crapita

Well named.

Recently had the "pleasure" of dealing with one of their contracts. Nice guys, but I don't think they understand just what they are supposed to be doing, who the customer is or what they need.

Working primarily with technology that is 10 years old or more; and with processes that were considered a bit archaic at the turn of the century. At the initial meeting, they told me that security was their number one priority, but then I was allowed to walk around the site, unescorted for over 30 minutes and not challenged once. I entered several offices, saw workstations unlocked and with passwords written down on post-it notes, stuck to the screen.

More money down the drain.

4
0

Lloyds Group probes server crash behind ATM, cash card outage

Tony S

Re: Dear Banks@ Pen-y-gors

"why interest rates are so low"

It's also worth noting that the interest rates paid to the account holders are low; but the banks themselves use that money to fund loans. Often at 10 times what they pay to the account holders.

Some of that money also goes into the stock market in various forms. Value of investments can go down as well as up, but even so, many of them are making 20 or 30 times what they pay the account holder. (I saw one indication where a bank was making more per day than they were paying out per year)

As for the "free" banking accounts; they reserve the right to make charges for certain things. Some of these will only be levied if you make a mistake, but even so, just one of these charges could mean that your "free" account is costing you more than you are earning in interest on the money in your account.

For what it's worth, my bank keep pestering me to move to their "premier" account. I'd end up paying more per month than my savings would earn in interest over 5 years.

3
0

Boffins find ALIEN WORLD orbiting the Sun's LONG LOST TWIN

Tony S

Call me Mr Sceptical

We won't know for absolute certainty until we find a way to either communicate in real time with any potential life forms; or better still, travel there to see with our own eyes.

Surely, there are so many opportunities to advance human knowledge and so many opportunities to make the most of the talents of the whole human race, that this has to be a goal that we should all be looking towards.

(Yes; and don't call me Shirley!)

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Thought sales were in the toilet before? Behold the agony: 2013 was a PC market BLOODBATH

Tony S

Ummm..

"...analysts estimate that some 315, 967,516 PCs were shipped worldwide... "

315 million PCs. That may be a decline over the previous year, but that is still a lot of hardware being shipped. (About 10 every second).

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Fasthosts goes titsup after storm-induced power outage

Tony S

Better get used to this

The current UK power generation system and distribution network are starting to creak at the edges due to many years of under investment. (However, it would appear that the UK is not alone in this.)

Many of the hosting companies are trying to cut their costs, so that they can offer the cheapest service. When that happens, something has to give and first thing is usually quality of service. I've seen a couple of these hosted places and I'm not convinced that they are serious about their business continuity and disaster recovery planning. They may talk a good game; but what you see and experience tells a different story.

I've recently had to deal with a number of organisations that have outsourced various parts of their IT provision; their senior managers seem to think that this removes the chance of loss of service and worse, they then don't check to make sure that the provider is doing their job.

As a result of this, we are probably going to see a lot more outages, reduced service levels, loss of business and almost certainly, companies going out of business.

Need an Eeyore icon!

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Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Tony S

I'd bought a slide rule (10 shillings with the discount we were allowed as students) in '67 for my first year at the grammar school. (4 weeks pocket money!) I used this throughout the next 5 years; although I still had to use log tables.

I remember when the first of the Casio calculators was brought in by someone; we actually organised some tests to see who could do the calculations quicker, those with slide rules or the electronic device. (Damn, we were sad!) Because of complexity in operations, slide rules tended to win to begin with, but as people became more familiar with the set-up, they started to get faster.

After I started work, it was mostly mental arithmetic and manual addition. 8-(

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HP: We're axing 29,000 workers? Add another 5,000 to that

Tony S

Sad, but inevitable

I worked for a business that had outsourced their IT support to HP (EDS). It was an appalling service; bureaucratic, inflexible and their operators were often unable to fix the most basic problems. They were also forcing people to use badly written scripts, out of date software and insecure practices; it was a nightmare.

The problem is that their sales people make all sorts of promises that senior business managers lap up; "think of the money we can save". But then HP employ the cheapest people that they can find, working to helpdesk scripts without having the required IT knowledge. No wonder that the service they provide is so poor.

I could not in all good conscience ever accept HP as a sensible choice for out sourcing any part of the IT work at any size of business.

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