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* Posts by Peter2

422 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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Hackers attempt to BLACKMAIL plastic surgeons

Peter2
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Re: Through its contact form?

Easy. When it arrives at the marketing department then it gets pulled into the database as a prospect by our case management system, which also acts as a CRM system for sales.

Admittedly, it's still in a database, however it's not web facing.

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Peter2
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Re: Through its contact form?

My question would be why the hell is a contact form storing stuff in a database?!

The contact form on my company website just points at a hardcoded php form -> email script that I knocked up in about 5 mins when somebody asked if they could have a contact form on the website. Absolutely no client details are stored on the website, you could totally compromise every script on there and still gain nothing.

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Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not

Peter2
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Re: Developers, developers, developers

Engineering wasn't always that good. Back in ye old days, bridges etc used to collapse with surprising regularity, even after they had just been built and the supports taken away.

The Romans reputedly dealt with that by requiring the responsible engineer to stand under the bridge when the supports were removed. After a very short adjustment period, Roman engineering projects tended to be to done to a standard admired after a couple of thousand years.

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Bank-raid ZeuS malware waltzes around web with 'valid app signature'

Peter2
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Re: Whose signature?

Oh, i'm not doubting that's correct. But at this point, the key is quite obviously compromised and imo should be revoked.

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Peter2
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Re: Whose signature?

At the time of writing, as so far as I can see it's still a valid certificate.

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Not your father's spam: Trojan slingers attach badness to attachment WITHIN attachment

Peter2
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The people who should really be answering questions are the total morons like Voltage SecureMail who send HTML attachments in their legitimate emails with a username and password box, apparently trusting that phishers would NEVER send a damned near identical email with an HTML file with a html form set to the spammers server to get the login details.

They also contribute towards reducing security by getting users used to having to open attachments from unexpected emails, which they are otherwise highly sceptical about.

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In three hours, Microsoft gave the Windows-verse everything it needed

Peter2
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Re: Too little too late? don't be preposterous!

Be honest, the only reason every business deploys windows is because there is no alternative to it for most businesses.

Most companies don't so much buy windows, as buy the industry specific software that you need for the business which happens to run on windows.

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Boss at 'Microsoft' scam support biz told to cough £000s in comp

Peter2
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Re: B'stards

If you get one of these calls, pretend to be a composite of the most idiotic users you speak to on the phone and take up as much of their time as possible.

You can drag the call out through the following techniques:-

1) Your on a slow computer and <program/webpage> is taking ages to load. You can easily stack up 15-30 seconds with this repeatedly.

2) Tell them their remote access program that they want to connect with has been blocked by your firewall. You can easily stretch it out for another 5 minutes with them trying to talk them through this before offering to uninstall it.

3) Tell them their program is blocked by your AV software. You can get another 5 mins from this, and offering to uninstall and then tell them it's asked to reboot and ask them if they want you to do it. That'll be another minute or two.

4) In case of emergency, feign an XP SP1/2 box, and claim that anything the scammer wants you to run gives you a "this computer needs SP3" error. and let him talk you through downloading SP3 so he can scam you. You know how long you can gain through this if you can keep the scammer on the phone.

You should be able to keep them on the phone for 15 minutes easily. 30mins is quite possible, and points should be awarded exceeding 30 mins or for getting the "engineer" on the other end to:-

1) sound audibly frustrated.

2) Scream or shout at you. Bonus points can be earned if you can sound like your upset at being shouted at enough to make the "engineer" feel guilty. Further points if you can calm him down enough to keep him on the phone only to repeat a few minutes later. Considerable bonus points if you can get his supervisor on the phone so your wasting 2 peoples time.

3) get the caller so frustrated that they end up taking the frustration out on people in the office at the other end, or just get so generally frustrated that they consider a new career in response.

My record is about 40 minutes before the phone was slammed down hard enough that it could have written off the handset, but i'm sad to say that I think i'm on a blacklist now. I've not had one of these calls for several years so I haven't had any opportunity to get a higher score.

Bastards. I was starting to enjoy those calls.

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Brit game devs WILL get tax relief for, er, EastEnders Game and Legend of Slough

Peter2
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Perhaps it's intended to fight the total cultural conquest the bloody yanks have been allowed to pull off due to the death of British film and the fact that British games are basically carbon copies of american ones. I think you'd be hard pushed to find much difference other than the accent between British and American kids these days.

As an example of what could be done in retaliation:- A Dr Who game (very popular franchise, even in the US) which visits past events that the American's have re-written in the popular imagination via hollywood and while the characters play through the plot unfolds it shows what actually happened other than the hollywood history. This is valuable because kids don't read history books to find out what actually happened, and assume that the Americans actually base their games and media on something approaching truth.

Other cultural counterattacks could easily be mounted along similar lines.

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This changes everything: Microsoft slips WinXP holdouts $100 to buy new Windows 8 PCs

Peter2
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Re: Clearly you need Clippy to give you advice on blood pressure management

To be fair, my reaction to Clippy wasn't quite that bad. I did however immediately kick the user off the computer to completely uninstall it.

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NASA: Earth JUST dodged comms-killing SOLAR BLAST in 2012

Peter2
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Re: a car is a sufficiently good Faraday cage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve6XGKZxYxA

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Peter2
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Re: Really?

I think your missing a basic understanding of electronics and electrical transmission infrastructure, as well as the fact that a car is a sufficiently good Faraday cage to take lighting bolts (for which there is some great footage of on youtube) which discounts damage to cars IMO.

Also- frying a sensitive low voltage device from with higher voltage is easy with extra voltage as it's sensitive to single digit change. Frying things meant to take literally hundreds of thousands of volts with an extra few hundred or thousand volts is not as easy.

I'm not going to bother arguing with you in detail because it's generally pointless on the Intranet, but unless you show at least back of the envelope figures to support your claims then i'm going to continue to consider them illiterate scaremongering.

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Peter2
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Re: Really?

You know, I don't consider telegraph wires existing in 1859 to be a particularly great guide to what might happen today.

Wires get hot because your putting too much current over them, and I would assume that data cable in 1859 was less good at taking currant than CAT5. However, if we assume it was exactly identical then CAT5 could take what, about 25watts at 12v before starting to get hot or melting?

I can see that level being picked up, especially on long cable runs since we aren't talking high voltages here. However, I can't see a cable 2 inches thick used to carrying a thousand megawatts at 100-750 kv (ie; thousand volts) being melted. That's hundreds of thousands of times greater currant required to do any damage and transformers aren't exactly delicate little bits of microelectronics either. I can see why the crowd who ring us when they can't find the power button on the front of the PC would worry (or perhaps fantasise?) about all technology vanishing overnight, but I don't see why I should.

Oh, I'd imagine that the grid would go out of range and things would shutdown causing a blackout, but isn't that about the worst that's going to happen?

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Microsoft frisked blogger's Hotmail inbox, IM chat to hunt Windows 8 leaker, court told

Peter2
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"the software giant, on its own initiative, peered into the Hotmail account and instant-messenger chatter"

Host your email with us in our cloudy service, it's really secure and you can trust us not to go reading through anything on our systems that we might find interesting. Honest!

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Win XP holdouts storm eBay and licence brokers, hiss: Give us all your Windows 7

Peter2
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Re: @Peter2 As i'm buying VLK's

Besides the purchase price you don't pay a penny.

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Peter2
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In my eyes, the advantage of doing this is not the single PC cost, it's:-

1) Being able to toss winXP P3/P4 systems.

2) Having a standard set of PC's across the business.

3) Bulk cheapness, I can actually afford to replace every PC this year with cash left over in my budget.

4) As i'm buying VLK's, I can reuse them when I finish my replacement program and then need to put a longer term equipment replacement program in place.

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Peter2
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And did you know that you can pick up a HP DC7800 computer with Win7 installed by a Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher with a lowish end C2D processor for about £80, with a copy of Office 2007 from discount licensing for a broadly similar amount?

Old, yes. Better than XP machines from 2002? also yes.

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Not sure if you're STILL running Windows XP? AmIRunningXP.com to the rescue!

Peter2
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Re: <XP

I think i'd be interesting to play around with the browsers id just to see what the site would come up with if you said you were running IE1 on Win95.

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My work-from-home setup's better than the office. It's GLORIOUS

Peter2
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How do you square employees having their own computers with their own tools, own choice of anti virus with no monitoring to ensure settings are appropriate and the hardware being the personal property of the owner with no right of IT staff to search the contents of the device with little things like say, PCI DSS compliance?

And yes, if your company has a credit card machine then it applies to your company.

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Peter2
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Without trying to sound funny, every person in every single department in every single business I have ever worked for comes out with the line that "only I need a better PC and everybody else can make do" yet I have yet to meet the person who is willing to pay even the amount between the baseline model offered and what they want out of their budget.

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Peter2
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. . .

Ok, imagine that your running the budget. The company is in several years worth of turnovers worth of debt which is just about being paid down because of the recession. To get to the current day the company took a 7 year holiday from buying any new equipment. This office has equipment from 2002-2007 that is basically XP with office 2003 on a P3 or P4 varying in clock speeds from 1.5-3GHz. You have after a titanic political struggle managed to secure a budget for replacement hardware; £1000 per month.

Do you:-

A) Spend the entire budget on one user on a really nice computer that you'd like to have. At a rate of one per month, you'll replace 50 PC's in 4 years. How long did you expect those 2002 vintage PC's to last...?

or;

B) Get refurb HP DC7800's with win7 MAR and second hand office 2007 VLK from discount licensing at a combined cost of ~£170 inc VAT per PC. That lets you do 5 a month, with space in the budget for replacing mice etc meaning that you'll have replaced every computer in 10 months with something without about triple the performance of the existing knackered hardware which then gives you a chance to put a better replacement program to run on a longer term.

Unsurprisingly my home equipment is considerably better than the office equipment virtue of my home setup in aggregate total having had several months worth of my work budget for the entire office spent on it, where as my office setup has about a fifth of a months spending on it.

Bigger budgets? Good luck, the money is in many cases simply not there.

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Toshiba: Our 2.5-incher does the same job as a 3.5-incher

Peter2
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Re: Title: Self-encrypting?

Because for most of us, the danger is a break in and having the lot stolen by somebody who then posts data from it under our care, therefore causing major business reputation problems.

The SAS breaking in and stealing my servers for GCHQ is not exactly a major concern. In fact, it's not mentioned on our contingency planning for some reason. Even if we were subject to the authorities demanding all of our data then once we had a court order then we'd have to comply with said court order or be locked up so encryption would seem to not offer any protection.

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If you don't GRIP it tightly, lonely enterprise cloud will WANDER

Peter2
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What, you mean you don't lock down your network to prevent use of unauthorised applications?

My (Watchguard) Firewall comes with application access control, ticking the boxes for it is not exactly a major task and Software Restriction Polices can be used by anybody who can find the group policy management console free of charge.

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Passenger jet grounded by two-hour insect attack

Peter2
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Re: What? No pitot covers?

Presumably the issue is either that people are too lazy to get out the requisite ladders etc to put in covers which they then have to take out on takeoff a couple of hours later, or just as likely that the airlines don't want to pay somebody to do it.

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Fed chairwoman casts doubt on Bitcoin regulation in the US

Peter2
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Re: Not what Manchin wants to hear

So to sum up, like any victim of robbery you know you have been robbed, but you don't know by whom or how to recover your lost property?

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Pork time! £350m in Health Service mail-etcetera cloud deals up for grabs

Peter2
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Re: Gmail

Yep, then the NSA wouldn't even need to compromise the NHS network to get intimately private medical material about people, they could just demand it all from the service provider.

Great idea.

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UK citizens to Microsoft: Oi. We WANT ODF as our doc standard

Peter2
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Re: Very long term

No. Format shifting is not a good idea.

Imagine that the 1215 Magna Carta was created in word. What are the chances that after being shifted to a new format every ten years the result would be readable in exactly the original form without losing content or positioning after 80 format changes?

A static format is the only sensible way to go.

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Peter2
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Re: This all boils down to:

It is often said that 80% of users only use 20% of features. As anybody who has ever done support knows, it's more like 80% of users only know 5% of features exist. I caught a user adding up cells in Excel with a calculator and adding them in manually recently. That is the stark reality of the level of ignorance that exists in the userbase.

For this 80%, If I could then I would cheerfully give the users LibreOffice on the basis that it meets all of their needs and then only give people Microsoft Office if they needed it. Microsoft know full well many other organisations would cheerfully do the same, and will do anything to avoid this happening, since Office is one of Microsoft's big money makers.

Microsoft is not going to keep office in a dominant position by having the best software around, even if they did have it. A combination of "zero purchase price" and "good enough" would severely degrade offices profitability.

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Silk Road admins: Sorry for the hack, we're sorting out refunds

Peter2
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Or more likely the FBI invited one of the admins to cooperate in handing drugs money over in exchange for a reduced sentance, and if he posts "yep, the FBI has the cash" then he gets jailed.

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Google promises 10Gps fiber network to blast 4K into living rooms

Peter2
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Re: What's the point?

> "Name ONE THING you can do with 10Gbit that you can't do with 1Gbit. One thing that doesn't involve torrents, or dreamland technology like a personal holodeck served via the cloud."

Run a large site (when large is >1000 users) without ever having network problems related to bandwidth.

For home users, your absolutely right; it's pointless.

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The UNTOLD SUCCESS of Microsoft: Yes, it's Windows 7

Peter2
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Re: What the hell did they expect?

We don't need to wipe the win8 install and install Win7; the vendors do that for us! Look in one of the junk mail catalogues that you get sent; nobody is pushing Win8.

I would very much like to know how many of those Win8 licenses are pre downgraded to Win7.

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'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

Peter2
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Re: Few CIOs or VP ITs can code

Scotty was considered a miracle worker because he multiplied his repair estimates by a factor of 4.

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Peter2
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Re: Few CIOs or VP ITs can code

Even if he did sit around for 30 weeks pissing about, at least the project came in on time and on budget!

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The revival of survival – the gaming genre that refuses to die

Peter2
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Re: Expensive

Is it?

Ok, the production values are through the roof and they have lots of well done maps etc but if you take the time spent playing an indie game and an AAA release and divide the cost of the game by the number of hours spent enjoying them both then the results can easily come out with the AAA game taking second place to indie titles.

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EVE Online erects mashed-up memorial to biggest space fight in history

Peter2
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Re: Alternatives

Star Citizen has been planning something like this for when the beta goes live called Operation Pitchfork.

Ie; see exactly how much damage can be done to an NPC empire when virtually every human goes for it simultaneously.

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NatWest 'spam' email cockup got me slapped with late payment fee, says angry Reg reader

Peter2
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Re: SPF natwest.com

To be honest, given the number of spam emails sent out in banks names you would think they would be a bit more supportive of SPF and other such anti spam methods.

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Lloyds Group probes server crash behind ATM, cash card outage

Peter2
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Note that he says that "the HP server failed in the UK" when the assertation was that had they have had a competent and experianced IT support team in the UK they wouldn't have the issue.

Is it just because i'm a hardened cynic that I notice Sir Humprhy-esque evasion in answers like this and assume that he means that the lack of experianced staff (and BCM/DR tests) was the issue that caused this problem...?

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Valve showers Debian Linux devs with FREE Steam games

Peter2
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Re: That's Denian productivity down the pan then!

I must admit that one of my first thoughts after "that's nice" was to wonder exactly how much was going to get done on Debian this year. It's a nice way of saying thanks, and one person can only play so many games after all! ;)

And on a more pragmatic basis, the ability to actually play the games is likely to encourage the debian devs to ensure that they actually work on Debian.

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Margaret Hodge, PAC are scaring off new biz: Treasury source

Peter2
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Re: The staff at the Treasury et-al should grow a pair..

Our local ASDA has slowly been replacing their checkout people with self service lanes supervised by a single person over the years.

One has to suspect that closing down half a dozen human operated checkouts has reduced the number of staff proportionally, and presumably this has meant they are employing less people so I think it is fair to say that the minimum wage has destroyed jobs. IT in general is also a huge job killer, I think that most people reading this have probably automated jobs out of existence, I have done; by automating data capture the associated data entry jobs no longer need humans.

As the cost of the staff goes up, the benefits of automation goes up with it and when implemented automation means that there are the fewer people needed to do the job. Already, many companies have realised productivity gains (and employment reductions) of around 100% compared to the systems used a decade or so ago. This is not going to have a pretty social impact in the long term and is probably something that should be addressed by politics. It won't get addressed until there is mass unemployment among graduates who happen to be party members of one of the major political parties.

I say that because we already have mass unemployment on a scale I suspect was last seen in the industrial revolution.

On the main subject, I don't see the problem. The market is only so big and if a multinational won't pay tax in the UK then honestly I don't think it's any great loss if they don't come to the UK. A UK company can do the business and honestly I think that we are better off without businesses not paying tax because businesses evading tax means that the companies not evading tax are at a competitive disadvantage.

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UK.gov: NO MORE tech deals bigger than £100m. Unless we feel like it

Peter2
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Re: Is this the first time that ...

No. Otherwise they would have learnt that a large project will indeed be split up into it's constituent components, however I rather suspect that in a couple of years we will see news stories reporting that all of those smaller chunks are awarded to the same supplier.

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UK.gov recruiting 400 crack CompSci experts to go into teaching

Peter2
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Re: @Ben Norris

To be honest, I think that there is something seriously wrong with teaching when you can get a degree in teaching and then become a teacher pretty much immediately.

When I was at school, such teachers were totally useless because they knew no more about the subject than I did, save their lesson prep and could only parrot what a book said by rote without understanding it- any advanced/non basic questions tended to be reflected by setting the question as homework. That sort of teacher is IMO useless. They certainly didn't teach me much.

The other sort of teacher we had was like my physics teacher who was once in the aerospace industry and who claimed to have worked on a small subcomponent of concord which was entirely believable given how thoroughly he knew and understood his subject.

If you have somebody who has passed a "teaching degree" teaching programming or any other subject that can't be adequately taught by rote then I should be surprised if we end up with any competently educated children, let alone competent programmers educated as a result of such an initiative.

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Smog-hit Beijing shows sunsets on a giant TV to remind people what the sun looks like

Peter2
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Re: Hebei

Coal is going to be the biggest polluter, it always has been in Britain. Despite what some people smugly pronounce, we've had problems every bit as bad as China and the solutions look to be about the same.

I am wondering about cars though, since the UK had environmental regulations on cars before they have had a chance to cause really major pollution. In China when you say that the petrol is a lower grade, do you mean that it's lower octane fuel boosted to more usual levels with large amounts of lead, or high sulfur content?

I'm also wondering if you have any idea if western vehicles in huge concentrations just emit to high an amount of pollution, or if indigenous vehicles to China are built to less demanding standards (no catalytic converter's etc)

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FCC boss: I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep net neutrality down

Peter2
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Re: Doesn't it depend what you mean *by* "net neutrality" ?

I think most people support the principle of being able to use the internet, what many of us object to is the extreme wing of net neutrality wanting to ban traffic management such as being able to prioritise packets such as VOIP because that's not neutral(?!?!)

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THOUSANDS of UK.gov Win XP PCs to face April hacker storm... including boxes at TAXMAN, NHS

Peter2
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Or alternately, "the NHS" (which is btw not one organisation, the NHS is best through of as a billing structure as every county and a lot of hospitals has it's own NHS trust/organisation with it's own CEO making it's own decisions) has a wide range of suppliers for various bits of equipment. Like pacemakers, AED's and all sorts of things that occasionally needs interaction with a PC for diagnostics or the like.

Unfortunately, some of those companies have had the temerity to dare to go out of business without the NHS's permission since their extremely reliable equipment which lasts a lifetime (sometimes all to literally) relies on the software which came with it, which is no longer produced or updated.

The approaches to problem detection advocated by some kids based on "I just install it at home and see what doesn't work" is excessively dangerous when dealing with things that absolutely have to work or somebody dies. "The installer ran..." is not good enough. You have to document ever facet of the program as working correctly. Do you have any idea how expensive that is for high hundreds to low thousands of programs?

This added to the fact that the cost of replacing some equipment needing the PC interface is actually roughly equivalent to the salary costs of the staff using the equipment over the course of their entire career may go some way to explaining why there are still XP/9x boxes around.

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Think your brilliant app idea will earn some big bucks? HAH. You fool

Peter2
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Re: class comment

minus the contributions from class 1 & 2 national insurance contributions (from registering as self employed) and then having to pay VAT after the first 2 months at that rate.

All of a sudden, the total diminishes by an alarming amount! (still far better than you can get by working for somebody else and producing that app, mind)

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Furtive ebook readers push Hitler's Mein Kampf up the charts

Peter2
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Re: A lot of bored/dissapointed people out there.

What I don't understand, is why people say "yeah, that was on the reading list at uni" and then say "I don't understand who would read it" apparently without making any connection between the two.

I have a sneaking suspicion that far more uni students read it than neo nazi's.

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Is your IT department too tough on users?

Peter2
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Re: Just discussed this topic at lunch today

The problem is that the user are rarely professional enough to check that their systems are legally compliant with the company's legal requirements. Because you know, some regulators react with companies flouting the rules by striking individuals off of the "authorised to practice" list at best and just shutting the company down as non compliant at worst. And that's just one set of regulators and excluding things like "we just lost the credit card machines because we are now no longer compliant with PCI DSS".

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Workers, guards clash in hours-long Samsung factory RIOT in Vietnam

Peter2
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Re: Actually...

What needs to happen is that a company should get hit with import taxes equal to the difference between what they pay their workers and the national minimum wage to discourage undermining manufacturing jobs in our own country, otherwise the minimum wage is just a suicide pact for the companies that don't offshore.

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Has Intel side-stepped NGOs on conflict minerals in its chips?

Peter2
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Re: The real issue with the Dodd-Frank Method

Presumably if they are that close to each other then the "good" mine would be having to pay the "bad" mine "protection money" for their continued operation in which case we start to get into moral gray areas about if they should be buying from "good" businesses that are financing "bad" business and therefore slave labour through extortion schemes.

I would imagine that the few cases are likely to be fairly small, and ultimately if it puts people operating slave labour out of business then it might be a worthwhile price to pay anyway. As you say though, it's hardly likely to be a concern in the grand scheme anyway and one would assume that issues such as this have been considered, although it would be interesting to see what the offical line is!

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Microsoft shops ditch XP for New Year as Windows market share expands

Peter2
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Re: @ Peter2

We can't reliably do monthly payments due to chaotic cashflow so leases are out.

Project work is more or less the only thing we can do, as long as it requires zero spending. We have had major successes in quite a few areas such as eliminating people entering data into 3 different systems, reduced that to 1 along with the staff required. Also, due to most of the work having moved to the internet from the yellow pages IT is also marketing.

Our replacement cycle is now "when it stops working", although the 98 and 2k boxes did get "lost" during an office move 2 years back.

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