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* Posts by Nick 6

110 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

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Universal Credit CRISIS: Howard Shiplee SHIPS OUT of top job

Nick 6

Of course its all on track

Iain Duncan Smith told me so, and he *never* lies.

It must be faulty data which tells me that by now there were supposed to be well in excess of a million claimants in the system.

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In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE

Nick 6

Re: and that other German brand who's name escapes me

Replace the brushes myself ? Meh, the Samsung washer I bought recently has a 10 year parts and labour warranty on the motor.

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BlackBerry knocks Google's KNOX LOCK PICK for Android

Nick 6

Re: Serious biz users don't want Samdung Fandroid or iDrone Crapps

Serious biz users get serious representation in the serious requirements phases of serious mobile device management projects. IT advise on the solution integrity and through-life cost of the options to meet the requirements. Business chooses and pays.

Unfortunately few businesses work like this....

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Oracle rewrites 'the brain' of its database to take on SAP

Nick 6

Mehhhhh

Nice if you want a toy to play with. Otherwise DB2 on zOS, backed by solid state storage*

*ok if you don't want DSxxxx, other vendors are available...

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Boffins claim machines now beat humans at face-matching

Nick 6

And this is why...

I editted my [redacted] photo before submitting the application to [redacted]. The photo is definitely "me" to a human looking at it, but the algorithm measuring distances between facial features will not be able to match, depending on tolerances.

They rejected the first one, with Piers Morgan halloween mask on.

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Lloyds Group probes server crash behind ATM, cash card outage

Nick 6

Re: Credit cards ?

Ironically, Nationwide is one of the few with a core banking platform designed and built this decade. Almost all the rest are derived from the last century. This doesn't make them immune from failure of course, nor from the challenges of managing all the interconnected systems, but at least they don't have to treat the whole lot as the IT banking equivalent of Buckaroo.

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Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support

Nick 6

Life is easier with XP

The last thing certain government want is the mass movement away from an insecure operating system for which they have many zero day exploits.

"Please keep supporting it, some of our favourite espionage and control targets still depend upon Windows XP."

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Inside IBM's vomit-inducing, noise-free future chip lab

Nick 6

TEM wins?

Isn't having a TEM in there instead of some "scanning probe" variant somewhat ironic given the facility is named after Binnig and Rohrer ?

I'm sure if my lab had been as well equipped as this, I would have got some better results. Would have kept wots-her-name from bursting in and turning the lights on/off whilst I was in the middle of an experiment.

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EMC demotes VMAX into 'capacity tier'

Nick 6

Vendor panic

They are all at it, trying to position the old flagship stuff as still relevant in the face of new entrant flash arrays where you can get good performance without a specialist machine to tune and spin it over loads of spindles. Yes there's the capacity thing, but then you still don't need the expensive flagship beast, just a bit bucket.

The solution (to storage vendor revenue cliffs) apparently is flogging software licences for virtualising access to all this.

Wow, storage is dull.

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Universal Credit? Universal DISCREDIT, more like, say insiders

Nick 6
Mushroom

Yes and No

The contract has not been managed by any of those suppliers...it was managed (or otherwise) by the DWP. If this is a failure, it is a management failure (as almost all IT project failures are)

All led by Iain Useless-Smith, who was too thin skinned to take advice, and too stupid and stubborn to back off the promised go-live date of the end of April. If he had sucked up the embarrassment of a delay to October, UC might have gone live with some coherent functionality and not be the cancelled £500 million failure which it will eventually become.

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Prankster 'Superhero' takes on robot traffic warden AND WINS

Nick 6
Pirate

Appeals process a sham, sherlock

As any fule kno, the parking operators' appeals process is a tactic to get to to engage, admit who you are, that you drove the car, you parked there, and that they have valid contact details for you.

Typical advice from Pepipoo, Money Saving Expert etc is to ignore them completely. This was successful for me a couple of years ago when I got a ticket despite having parked properly. Sequence of threatening and finally desperate letters, followed by them giving up. Not sure if introduction of POOPLA has made any difference to this, IANAL etc.

I'm not in favour of people parking where they like, but private parking co's have killed the golden goose by pursuing the money rather than acting reasonably or fairly.

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Raise a beer: Titans of tech fill out 'Worst CEOs' list

Nick 6
Pirate

Silly valuations don't come from them

Its the vampire squid and other banktards who, in a coke-fuelled haze, over rate these companies and pump up the valuations. All fees, all the time.

Of course the bubble bursts when they move to another target. Its not that the CEO has destroyed the real value/utility of their company - it was never there to start with.

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'UK DNA database by stealth' proposed in £100m NHS project

Nick 6
Trollface

Re: GATACA

Sounds like appraisal time around here....

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Universal Credit dole 'liable to be paralysed by IT cockups'

Nick 6
Devil

Re: How simple does it need to be?

Assume you want the 'Joke' icon. For nothing if not the 'if you are working you are in the tax system' line, that was a killer...

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British IT consultant talks of his three years as an Iraqi hostage

Nick 6
Black Helicopters

Keep an eye on him

He might have been turned and be attempting to get elected as vice president of the BCS...

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Don't panic, but UK faces BLACKOUTS BY 2015

Nick 6
Mushroom

Waste of energy

Burning gas to make electricity is an appalling waste, squandering a clean primary source which can be used much more effectively for direct heating of house and factories.

But then the private energy companies couldn't ream, sorry, reap the rewards of offering emergency power at extortionate spot prices. Much more lucrative and lower risk than building plant which takes 10 years to start turning a profit.

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Boffins receive quantum key from moving plane

Nick 6
Black Helicopters

Meh

The Lincolnshire Poacher never had these problems....

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UK govt to KILL OFF Directgov within weeks

Nick 6
Mushroom

Queue up here to dance

on the grave of the Government Gateway.

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Cambridge boffins: Chip and PIN cards CAN be cloned – here's how

Nick 6
Devil

No its all secure actually.

No they are all wrong, my bank's website tells me:-

"Chip and PIN increases card payment security to help prevent fraud. Card fraud at the point of sale is reduced significantly by ensuring the card is genuine and that the user is the authorised owner of the card"

so the card must be genuine and used by the authorised owner. It ensures it !

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Qantas' website goes all-but-titsup for an hour

Nick 6
Meh

Nice try though

At least they made some attempt at graceful degradation of their service, rather than throwing the hands up in the air if it can't reach 20 different "nice to have" systems, and reporting some cutesy or hipster "ooops come back later" message.

Now for a bit of testing and rework to get the fallback barebones service working properly...

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Nationwide DOUBLES card payments in fresh banking gaffe

Nick 6

Mistakes happen

Anyone who thinks mistakes don't happen probably doesn't work in IT, and anyone who can't empathize with those involved has probably never worked on the sharp end.

The key elements are communication and speed/effectiveness of recovery. Comms have been fairly good so far and it sounds like recovery is well on the way.

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Cabinet Office: We've cut taxpayers' SAP and Microsoft bills

Nick 6
Unhappy

Re: Linux

The multitude of VBA and other abominations which teams and departments rely upon means quite a bit of lock-in.

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'Inexperienced' RBS tech operative's blunder led to banking meltdown

Nick 6

Re: no backup of the schedule?

More likely they did take some routine backup which included the database but had never exercised a full recovery back to service of the application given this failure mode, followed by successful completion of the batch schedule.

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Nick 6
Mushroom

Investment in the backbone?

Backbone? Guess they don't mean "having the guts to admit to making mistakes and having not properly understood the risks involved with outsourcing".

This situation really does sound like someone pretty high up in the executive chain responsible for operations needs to be fired. And I mean "fired" rather than helped into a taxi holding a massive payoff cheque.

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Huawei Ascend G300 budget Android

Nick 6
Megaphone

low volume...

a lot of low volume probs were sorted by an OTA update about 4-6 weeks ago - worth going through the menus to find and apply it.

i have one and its great as my first smartphone, glad i didn't spend 3-4 times more,

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Natwest, RBS: When will bank glitch be fixed? Probably not today

Nick 6
Windows

Single logical system

Typically there is redundant hardware, sometime OS and other system software too. But above that there is a single logical version of the application and data. You can have as much tin as you, but as many copies of the data as you liked are all the same. You screw up one, you screw up them all. Payment comes in from BACS or FP into the payments engine and is replicated at disk or app level.

Redundant systems developed and deployed in isolation to a common set of requirements is an extremely expensive option only available to mission critical systems - which excludes our retail banks apparently.

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Nick 6
Devil

Re: Hardware failure?

I've worked at one retail bank in this country who does maintenance during a weekday afternoon-evening slot.

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Nick 6
Windows

Re: Eh?

Well they launched some new payments facility on mobile, and those payments go might go share some infrastructure as the batch or other payments, they could have a knock-on effect.

For example perhaps there is a much higher volume than predicted. Or those mobile payments result in a much higher CPU cost or transaction time through the shared payments processing engine. Or connections to external interfaces e.g. for faster payments.

Don't have an inside information though, these are just guesses.

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Tech fault at RBS and Natwest freezes millions of UK bank balances

Nick 6
Windows

My money on

My guess.....Batch screw up, big back log of transactions to post, have some data remediation to get them to post correctly (don't know if they run a batch or real time banking system). Processing capacity requirement to do this is competing with online processing hence flaky online bank (plus peak load due to people checking if they are OK). Faster payments single immediate payments probably ok as not batch interfaces unlike BACS and internal transfers...

Anyone care to comment ? Via an anon posting from those in the know would be interesting, once you get out of the office of course....

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Sheer weight of Brits' interest knackers new tax tool

Nick 6
Pirate

Re: Sooo.....

Meh, mere statutes and acts of parliament, they can be safely ignored by the free.

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Report: SAP exec charged with $1,000 LEGO bar-code caper

Nick 6
Trollface

Sounds like my experience with SAP.....

Buying a box with a promising picture on the side, but opening it to find it just a kit of parts and some vague instructions.

Still at least with Lego you have fun building something which actually works in the end.

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Facebook IPO: The date is set, Zuckerberg casts the dice at last

Nick 6
Alert

Dear Fund Manager

Please don't plough my precious pension fund into this crud. You screwed up last time with that internet bubble in 1999-2002 - remember ? Stick it all in tobacco and guns instead...

thanks,

Nick

[this open letter does not constitute general investment advice]

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Australia OKs iOS for classified comms

Nick 6

Re: Protected ?

Ah true enough I wasn't thinking about civilian public data which needs to be protected. Mind you, I would worry about the impact of aggregation if you start storing a lot of data on the phone, in the UK this can mean the protective marking gets bumped up a level.

Another concern is the ability to access and modify the data in a secure manner, that is to say the context in which you use a smartphone is often public or semi-public. Casual shoulder surfing of mobile devices seems to be fairly common.

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Nick 6
Trollface

Protected ?

Woop dee doo, "Protected" just means keep your voice down a bit whilst talking about it at the pub.

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SAP flashes cash to pump up HANA biz

Nick 6
Devil

Performance tip before you do this.

Possibly cheaper to emove the cruft and tune the code and queries before you rip out your infrastructure and buy new tin.

Still, its impressive to say they are funding consultants to do this work for free - that sounds like an awful lot of cash assuming they do the whole job. I wonder how they recoup that.....every year....

I don't see the 18 month warranty being that popular though - offering a move from a mature Oracle or DB2 database, to HANA, and then off to Sybase or whatever SAP have got on a shelf in the back room. Where are my organisation's skills in that 3rd backend database going to come from.

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Mistakes over GCHQ codebreaker's death crippled inquiry

Nick 6
Gimp

Make him look like a perv

Smear his reputation to provide plausible background to a bizarre death. Use his network connections to visit some dodgy sites online in the period before his death, and then stage his demise in the same manner.

Public interest/concern weakened, easier to sweep away the death of someone serving his country without too many questions being asked.

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Shrunken Intel process boosts SSD performance

Nick 6
Trollface

Can we have figures after a suitably long soak test, i.e. not fresh-from-the-box ?

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Why I'd pay Apple more to give iPad factory workers a break

Nick 6
FAIL

They can do it as soon they want

With their profit margins, they can start being 'nice' to people as soon as they want. Its a matter of will and determination versus greed and shareholder value. They don't need another $10 extra from the shiny-shiny brigade.

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Acorn King Moir: BBC Micros, Ataris and 'BS' marketing

Nick 6
Thumb Up

Early Xara FTW

I remember using the early x86 ports of Xara: jaw-droppingly fast, small, and better quality compared to my experience of CorelDraw.

Wordwise, meh, not interesting to me as a 10 year old kid but the sideways expansion board and disc doctor are still happy memories.

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Vauxhall prices up Ampera e-car for Blighty

Nick 6

Missing some detail...

Range ? Charge time ? Effective MPG ?

Range of colours ?

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Crack GCHQ's code and become the next James Bond

Nick 6

Meh

Do I really have to write my own VM in javascript ?

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Ten... colour laser printers

Nick 6
Meh

Draw me a graph !

What would be really useful would be an indication of total cost versus pages printed. e.g. Assume you keep the device for 5 years, it comes with an X page cartridge included, and additional cartridges cost Y and Z (colour/B&W). What is the most economical assuming 10,100,500,1000 pages per month ?

yours lazily....

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How Apple beat IBM in Steve Jobs' first retail war

Nick 6
Windows

Demo disk, big whoop

Interesting article and well written and original. But one gripe...

Yet again the 'Apple did this' line gets mismorphed into "Apple invented this and all credit to Steve Jobs' genius'.

Actually any mass-market computer worth its salt in those days had a demo disk, and one which the sales people used. The fact IBM didn't is merely a marker of how little they understood of how retail customers bought machine, not that Apple had the unique insight and mastery which is somehow projected 25 years hence to their retail outlets (which *are* pretty good but who couldn't support those storefronts on *those* profit margins?).

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IBM reveals secrets of Watson’s Jeopardy triumph

Nick 6
Happy

Its bizarreness is the challenge

Toronto isn't the correct solution.

And yes the Jeopardy format means some of the 'questions' which the contestants have to get end up being very clunky. I'm not a fan of the show at all.

But when you watch Jeopardy you can understand why its a very difficult challenge to meet with a computer compared to the ease which humans can do it. There are some youtube videos which explain this well and make you realise how impressive the whole thing is.

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Fasthosts downed by dicky Dell switch

Nick 6
Happy

dicky dell switch ?

didn't he present "world of sport" in the 70s and 80s ?

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Memo to kid coders: Enterprise software exists

Nick 6
Devil

Sharepoint - a running joke

Around here there is a running joke answer to someone asking you where the document/whatever you created is: on Sharepoint. Much hilarity, because the metadata is rubbish, and the search slow and inflexible.

Mind you, it was worse when there was no search index available.

Yeah, yeah, it can do everything under the sun and its just the crap way we've implemented it, but still....

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Apple Store down for Lion tweakage

Nick 6

Yep certainly shifting product

No doubt they are doing well and creating and shifting products a plenty - good luck to them if they can get people to pay the premium prices...

I suspect your view on the publicity angle is spot-on though, I wouldn't expect anything different.

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Nick 6
WTF?

Be Back Soon ?

Amazing that such a big cap company doesn't provide continuous availability through their online sales channel...

Don't tell me, its to build the excitement etc etc, but to me it just looks like even their web site is consumer grade....

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