* Posts by The Original Steve

439 posts • joined 24 Jun 2009

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VMware's Tech Day Online: A conference you can attend from your desk

The Original Steve

Am I behind the times?

Last few years my employers have been Hyper-V shops, although I did a lot with vSphere 3.5 - 5.5 a few years back. I work for a small MSP / IT Services shop and most of our clients use Hyper-V, although we have one who is vSphere and just taken on another. That in mind I'd be quite interested in a refresher in VMWare's latest and greatest virtualisation stack. Loved their stuff when I last played with it properly.

Then I looked into it and realised it's yet another "cloud" offering.

Is it just me? Am I really behind with the modern IT shop / MSP with our infrastructure, and also our customers? We dabble with Azure for toying with stuff, as do one or two of our bigger customers, and we have a load of clients with Office 365, but moving VM's from a working virtualised platform in-house to VMWare's (or anyone's) "cloud" just doesn't appeal. Do I need to see the light?

Give me a "virtual conference" on vSphere or HyperV, maybe even KVM and I'll bite your hand off.

But attending a half day conference on "cloud" (VMWare's as well) doesn't tickle my fancy. Especially if you're not even throwing in the coffee.

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Sight for sore eyes: Dropbox lands on Win 10 with iris recognition

The Original Steve

On a serious note, your biometrics never leave your hardware. One of the few things Microsoft don't slurp by default admittedly...

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For fsck's SAKKE: GCHQ-built phone voice encryption has massive backdoor – researcher

The Original Steve

Re: VPN

Voice over a VPN? Last thing you would ever want is RTCP being compressed and encrypted at such a low layer.

You're not a SIP guy are you?! ;)

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Att: Windows Phone owners: Win 10 Mobile has been spotted and it wants your phone

The Original Steve

Really?

Andrew's coverage seems to contrast heavily with my own experience, my colleague and one of my clients.

950 XL off Amazon mid Dec and I can't say I've experienced any of the battery or reliability issues he's described. My client has the same with his 950 XL as does my co-worker who brought a 950.

Maybe Andrew got a bad couple of devices, or maybe he's particularly anti WM10. Not sure, but other sites aren't reporting anything similar to Andrew's comments.

Smoother than my 930 on 8.1 and compared to when it was on insider previews.

YMMV but there's at least 3 of us who think it's refreshing and pretty awesome at any rate. Just got a handmade leather back to replace the one shipped making the phone look premium / high end, and MS have just given me a free 1 year Office365 sub plus a free continuum dock too - hard to complain.

I'd recommend it to anyone other than heavy social media / heavy app users. Has everything most people will want, other than a handful of apps like snapchat.

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Microsoft's 200 million 'Windows 10' 'devices' include Lumias, Xboxes

The Original Steve

Re: Dear Microsoft

Im fairly sure security and functionality (support for new hardware for example) are features in any new OS that everyone benefits from.

That aside, I fail to see why you'd not just use a local account, turn off the telemetry and not use the store.

The amount of rants about the telemetry in W10 is crazy. Should someone post that they hate the default settings in Ubuntu, they get a prompt reply to make a setting change such as changing the X server used or to disable the amazon search. Yet changing the default behaviour on Windows demands burning it with fire and swearing to $Deity that you'll never touch it again.

Change the telemetry, the you can enjoy the new security improvements since W7 as well as support for newer hardware and performance improvements (yes, W10 is faster than W7 on the same HW) for free without the 'prostitution'.

One assumes you only use GNU / FOSS, inc for mobile? Or are you happy being pimped out by Google and Apple but not Microsoft?

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Surface Pro 4: Will you go the F**K to SLEEP?

The Original Steve

@Franco

But the behaviour is the same on W10 isn't it? You flick from the right side of the screen and the "Action Centre" appears with a "Connect" button, which is the button to press to connect to an external monitor AFAIK...?

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Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL: Clear thoughts of Continuum with a snazzy camera

The Original Steve

Good review

Glad to know what the hardware is like - excellent.

I've been using Windows 10 via the insider preview on my Lumia 930 and personally find it to be excellent once getting to know the OS a little.

The only thing I can't really test is hardware, which you've confirmed as being great. I personally find the OS pretty good to use so think I'll end up buying the XL shortly.

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The gear I use in my test lab: A look at three Trident+ switches

The Original Steve

Personally...

... I'm a massive fan of HP ProCurve switches. Cheaper than Cisco for a very similar feature set, open standards and the life time warranty is the topper.

Had a bad experience years ago with Dell PowerConnect and haven't used them since.

Can't justify Cisco prices.

Unsure about Supermicro - what's the software and interface like? Support?

For me, it's HP switches and Juniper firewalls.

Just sayin.

6
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Windows 10 market share growth rate flattens again

The Original Steve

Re: word is getting out

The project started over a year ago to migrate the last few hundred XP boxes to the latest platform, but the amount of work involved in the discovery and planning phases was enormous. Biggest problem was around legacy applications that were old when originally deployed about 5 years ago. These are niche / industry specific applications, some win32, some web based that are poorly written.

Spent a lot of time sourcing new versions of the product and doing upgrades at the backend (as you know from the same industry, each one has to be QA's and validated too which can take months...!)

Whilst we waited I took the opportunity to essentially rebuild the AD domain partition with a new root OU and created a new structure from there, including consolidating the GPO's - which were nearly 900 - into about 2 dozen which took me to Q1 this year.

Seemed silly to push ahead with Windows 8.1, which whilst I don't mind it, I think the users will be happier with Windows 10 (I think there's a smaller learning curve from XP/7 to 10 compared to XP/7 to 8.1). About 3,000 devices will be purchased new as replacements due to hardware lifecycle as well.

Outside of IT, the rest of the business won't be seeing the image until at least the latter part of Q1 2016, more likely Q2. By that point Windows 10 has had at least 9 months of use in the wild - so seemed daft to push on with deploying Windows 8.1 really.

Our development team are working on "Apps" for BI content in particular that will be pushed out via SCCM as a side-loaded application, as well as being accessible in the business store. Company seems quite keen on that for some reason, but this is driven more by BI that by anything else.

Will let you know how the deployment goes!

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The Original Steve

Re: word is getting out

I'm sure that your XP VM does boot faster than Windows 10.

I'd also wager that my copy of Windows 95 would kick the shit out of your XP machine.

I'm piloting a new Windows 10 image to be deployed to about 10,000 seats via SCCM. Part of the build process is to use benchmarking tools for boot up - used it successfully to persuade management that the extra money spent on SSD's for new kit is worthwhile, and had the data to backup my claim.

I can assure you, that compared to Windows 8.1, Windows 8 and Windows 7 the boot time, and the time to desktop is vastly improved on Windows 10 - should those things matter to you.

Overall, I find Windows 10 to be a rather nice upgrade from Windows 7. The UI is remarkably similar to Windows 7 (things are in the same places - e.g. desktop, start button, start menu, context, Windows explorer etc.) other than the default colour is different.

I can't say I understand the complaints about the telemetry. I work in the pharmaceutical industry, so compliance and auditing is VERY high up on our list. Everything can be disabled via GPO, so from a business (or at least from an enterprise) point of view it's a non-issue. I wouldn't dream of deploying a new OS without a few months of in-depth testing and ensuring anything new is manageable centrally, and then configuring those settings.

Consumers, I can see why some people are pissed off - but again the vast majority can be disabled. Microsoft have a pretty good track record on using telemetry for just that - data sent to MS is error reporting, usability and feature related, as opposed to sending everything for marketing and profiling. But again, where compliance allows it I've always set my devices to send detailed errors to Microsoft as I'd rather they fix the issues than me simply moaning about it online.

- The UI is changed enough to call is an upgrade, but if you were to change the colour of the theme and remove the tiles from the start menu then it's essentially the same as previous releases of Windows.

- It's faster than previous (but modern) release of Windows.

- There's security improvements over it's previous releases

- Better support for 3rd party devices

- Additional features over previous releases (some excellent, some not relevant to me at all)

- Consumers will get all security patches, so all "IT experts" that thought it was a good idea to disable granny's automatic updates can fuck off and make the internet that little bit safer

- Built-in apps have improved massively. (Still some are rough, but vastly improved over previous releases)

Really not too sure why there is a so much hatred for Windows 10 in these forums. There's loads of rough edges (Microsoft Edge, inconsistent settings UI), but no more than I've seen in other versions of both Windows, but other platforms and large applications including from other developers.

I understand the privacy implications, and personally I think MS really should have made each privacy option crystal clear about what it does, and that users must opt-in to each one. That aside I think it's one of the better Windows releases, and so far appears to be a reasonable replacement to Windows 7.

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Are you the keymaster? Alternatives in a LogMeIn/LastPass universe

The Original Steve

Secret Server

Can't believe it only got one small mention.

Cloud or on-premise, there's a free (express) version and quite frankly, it's bloody awesome! It is focused around the enterprise, and for a single person it's probably way overkill, but if you've got more than a couple of people in a business or security focused business I honestly think it's the best out there.

We sort of used KeePass but it just wasn't scalable enough or have enough management features. (Although as a personal vault it's a great product)

Great support, features coming out of your ears (RDP and PuTTY launchers, works with SSH, Telnet, Web forms, Oracle and SQL Db's, ESXi) and is very, very flexible.

I particularly like the password changing features (our high security clients have their admin passwords change daily by Secret Server, forcing people to use it and the RDP launcher to gain access). Just requires a single "agent" installed somewhere on the remote site.

Reporting, 2FA, even screen recording / keystroke recording if you get the really expensive version.

Can't recommend it enough. (Yes, I've just deployed it in the last couple of months after evaluating a few different options). No affiliation with the vendor.

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Star Wars Battlefront: Is this the shooter you’re looking for?

The Original Steve

Think the opposite...!

Personally I rather like the lack of detailed / advanced controls and levelling in the game. Unlike Battlefield or COD, where throw though time into the game and you get enough perks that you're a one man army, Battlefront is refreshingly accessible to noobs.

Battlefield in particular was really very, very hard to control aircraft. You needed to spend a LONG time learning and practicing flying, as well as have a very high level so you had the perks to make it usable.

No such issues with Battlefront.

If I want a FPS where I can level up, get lots of extras and hone my skills to perfection then I'll fire up Battlefield or COD. If I want a drop in/ drop out bit of fun on a glorious looking Star Wars set then this game is pretty much spot on.

Although I totally agree with the arse raping that EA are doing regarding the DLC. Although it's EA, so I shouldn't be surprised.

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Can't get a break: Pwned Linux ransomware pwned again, infects 3000

The Original Steve

Re: Does it infect Linux destops?

Since MS cleaned up it's act in the last 5-10 years Windows and other MS software's weakest area has been th fleshy bit IMHO.

Far from perfect, but best practice and knowledge of what you're doing makes most mainstream platforms pretty secure by default these days.

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Brace yourselves. Huawei’s launching an HCIA product

The Original Steve

Am I missing something?

Aren't all these appliances similar to blade architecture with shared components?

I ask as I can't, in this day and age, see any scenario where a blade would be a good fit technically whilst offering a reasonable TCO...

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Hands On with Windows 10 Mobile build 10572

The Original Steve

MDM

MDM APIs for Windows 10 are the same for phone and desktop. Therefore MobileIron, Good, InTune etc - if they manage WP10 then they can manage Windows 10 too.

The APIs are of course documented and free to use for 3rd parties.

Will make life easier managing phone, tablets and desktops all the same way.

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Cops use terror powers to lift BBC man's laptop after ISIS interview

The Original Steve

@ Tony S

I have never seen / heard that poem before. Gave me Goosebumps, what an amazing poem about a truly awful time.

That will stick with me all my life, powerful reading.

Thank you for posting.

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Windows 10 out, users happy, PCs upgraded, my work here is done – says Microsoft OS chief

The Original Steve

Re: Warning! Incoming

"Ordinary people" are aware of the telemetary in Windows 10 but aren't IT experts or work in IT...? Jog on. Most "IT experts" I come across don't even know about it, let alone the great unwashed!

And most people you know "are moving towards Mac's because they need to run tools like Photoshop"... Really? Are you from the 90's? Every major desktop platform, including Linux has a plethora of excellent, best of breed photo editing packages. Photoshop is identical on OS X or Windows, and Linux has dozens of tools that can do the job too. Nobody, truthfully, as opted for OS X because of Photoshop for about 15 years. If anything there are more photo editng applications for Windows than Mac, and none of the platforms has some magical edge when it come to heavy photo editing.

The fact you believe this questions why on earth you are even visiting El Reg. Computer Active forums down or something?

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All in the name of Liberty: OpenStack 12 set free!

The Original Steve

Consumer POV

It's piss awful.

However that's not necessarily down to the technology, but the implementation - however if you can make it that shite then there's something wrong with the tech too IMHO.

We're an MSP that's focuses mainly on MS tech. Our upstream network partner (we resell their products as a boutique ISP) that we have colo with offered us the opportunity to be the first client on their new OpenStack environment.

Hours spent getting drivers for Windows 2008 R2 and injecting them in. Had the provider reboot our instance a few times by mistake. Advised there's no firewall between the instance and our colo other than our main colo firewall. Total, utter bollocks. Again, hours spent trying to fix an issue after their accidentially reset the config on this non-existant firewall so turning it one-way (that passed ICMP both ways just to really throw me off!) which totally screwed up our Exchange DAG that spanned into the OpenStack instance.

And the performance... my $God. We've actually given up trying to backup from the OpenStack instance now entirely. The read performance is terrible. VSS backup of Exchange on the VM on our HyperV colo - < hour. OpenStack, gets to >5 hours and then times out. Apparently they have a "Ceph" cluster with SSD's and excellent IOPS - but I'm clearly not seeing it.

Sorry, but I've rolled my own vSphere (3.5 - 5.5) and HyperV (2008R2 - 2012 R2) as well as used Azure and vCloud Air and OpenStack, in the way our provider configured it is just a dead duck. Nothing good at all came from us using it.

We've since brought a new bit of tin and are in the process of rebuilding the instances we have on OpenStack so we can decommission.

Appreciate that this is probably down to how it's been implemented - but these guys aren't spanners. They've FOSS nuts who develop their own Linux based firewall and run as an ISP. All Linux nuts.

Sure, they've probably messed things up - but I can't remember a time when I deployed VMWare of Microsoft products for the first time and things ended up being so... well shit.

Sure if you're a massive company with a lot of FOSS resource you can dedicate you can probably craft your own cloudy stack and OpenStack is the best way of doing this.

Everyone else, seriously, I'd recommend paying HP to use Helion or a similar provider, or just use Microsoft's Azure Stack onpremise or use VMWare's vSphere stack instead.

After the rest of the Infrastructure team here started calling it OpenShat I think I decided we weren't going to look into it any futher...

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'Traditional' forms of thuggery decline in UK, cybercrime on the rise

The Original Steve

404 were reports of unauthorised access

Shame it wasn't 401...

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Windows 10 mobile upgrade coming in December

The Original Steve

Re: Stick with 8.1

I'm sure I read that MS will be releasing Win10 mobile to non-Lumia devices. As long as there is enough capacity with the onboard storage it's up to HTC to roll it out.

Actually I'm more than sure - got a mate with an 8x running the tech preview...

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The Original Steve

Re: Stick with 8.1

The last couple of builds have placed my 930 with Win 10 pretty much on par with it on 8.1.

Did have some issues, but after doing a factory reset (so wiped but still with the latest tech preview on it) and restoring a backup (all automatic on WP) then it's been working fine since.

Admittedly it's annoying I have to wipe the user partition, but that aside I'm finding it to be pretty good.

Although not entirely confident they'll have it ship shape by December...!

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'One Windows' crunch time: Microsoft tempts with glittery new devices

The Original Steve

Re: two problems

I disagree. The default / in-built apps like photos, maps etc are the same code between desktop on my 55" TV HTPC and my 5" Lumia 930. The UI controls scale with minimal code changes to the point that you simply build a UI as normal in VS and make a few small decelerations and then compile. The output gets added to the MS store and all devices can use it, suited to all device sizes.

Even Office Mobile does that, which works brilliantly in scaling and functionality on desktop and mobile.

Try using it, you maybe pleasantly surprised.

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BOFH: I'm not doing this for the benefit of your health, you know

The Original Steve

Re: Obligatory safety video

And who says the Germans don't have a good sense of humour - excellent. The last scene is something straight from a Final Destination film!

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Volkswagen used software to CHEAT on AIR POLLUTION tests, alleges US gov

The Original Steve

Re: One surprise...

I disagree. I got a 2015 2ltr BMW 1-Series rated at 181BHP.

I don't feather it, and spend about 30% of my 70 mile round trip in sport mode giving it some beans and enjoying my journey (safely mind). My average per trip is 61.4 mpg. I assume you've seen the price of diesel vs. petrol at the pumps recently...?

I opted for this as the total cost over 3 years was cheaper compared to estimates on getting the 118i (as opposed to the 120d that I picked). The 0-100 km/h speed on the petrol is 7.4 vs the 7.2 on my oil burner.

So it's faster and cheaper. Oh, and it's generally acknowledged that engine wise they'll outlast a petrol by quite some margin.

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WinPhone community descends into CANNIBALISM and WOE

The Original Steve

I have a theory...

There's lots of speculation around a 'Surface Phone' coming out Q1/Q2 2016.

The renders of the latest flagships (Cityman / Talkman - the 950 / 950XL) appear to have great specs on paper, but look very much like a lower-end Lumia. Quite a contrast to the sharp edges and metallic bodies of the earlier flagships of the 930.

There seems to be a lot more OEMs interested and creating devices for Windows 10 Mobile, mostly small OEMs but Acer and HTC have devices in the pipeline.

Adding those things together, along with the general tone coming from Microsoft in the last 6 months I wouldn't be surprised to see MS spending the next 6 - 12 months working hard on getting a solid HW line up, a full range of latest gen Lumia's... And then selling the whole Lumia family to a 3rd party.

At that point they will do the same as they have with the Surface tablet range... Just a handful SKU's at the premium end of the market, with MS referring to them as 'reference designs' for other OEMs. Will have the same design language as the Surface tablet, not too dissimilar from the 930 with sharp, angled edges and premium materials.

I think that could give the ecosystem a kick up the arse and the best possible chance of gaining market share.

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Tintri T850: Storage array demonstrates stiff upper lip under pressure

The Original Steve

Review of Windows

Would love to see El Reg take two pizza trays and a shared, passive enclosure of rust and flash, bang 2012 R2 on it and manage using storage spaces, presenting as SMB / NFS / iSCSI.

Use the dedupe and auto tiering features.

Doesn't sound a million miles from a lot of new storage nodes these days and something I'm interested in... Roll your own auto-tiering, deduping SAN

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ICO probes NHS clinic's data blunder that exposed HIV+ status of 800 patients

The Original Steve

Re: Simple solution

Microsoft's fault?

Exchange is more than happy having a send limit.

It's equally trivial to have it check for emails that contain key words, you know, like HIV, and present tooltips and even policies preventing the behaviour we've just witnessed.

If anything Microsoft provide pretty comprehensive DLP tools in Exchange. Just needs a competent admin to... You know... Administer it.

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Collective noun search for security vulns moves into beta testing

The Original Steve

Flash

I like a 'flash of failures' or a 'flash of flaws'. personally. Of course with recent events (well, the last 5 years really) there's a 'droid of vulnerabilities'.

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Embracing the life-changing qualities of USB power packs and battery extenders

The Original Steve

Windows Phones...

... For all their flaws (well, personally I love them, but some app-tastic people may want more apps) Windows Phone is particularly good at battery life and power management.

Get 2 days on my year old Lumia 930. My backup / spare 630 goes 3 days with a little left in the tank.

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Spotify now officially even worse than the NSA

The Original Steve

Xbox Music

Anyone know what Microsoft's Xbox Music / Groove Music service is like privacy wise in comparison?

Cheaper than Spotify, and as I have a Lumia, Win10 work laptop, Win10 HTPC, Win10 Linx 10 tablet and an Xbox One it sort of makes sense.

Interested in how it compares...

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Android apps are flooding on to jailbroken Win10 phones

The Original Steve

Not quite as it sounds...

... Sure you can run that Android binary blob - no problem.

What do you think happens when accessing contracts / Google Play Services API's...? Crashes? Requests to install Google apps?

Nope.

Microsoft redirects the call and sends the user to the relevant Microsoft Live services. E.g. you run an Android app that would normally call Google Maps mid-app - it will simply use Bing Maps instead.

That way MS can get the apps, but ties the user back to the native services.

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Introducing the Asus VivoMini UN42 – a pint-sized PC, literally

The Original Steve

Re: Footprint

For the Side-By-Side store (Sxs folder) you can dump that with a powershell command if you won't want to install any new Windows features in the future.

Something along the lines of uninstall-windowsfeature from memory, I use it frequently on VM's that I build to slim them down.

As for the overall size, I have Windows 10 running fine on my £140 Linx tablet with 32GB eMMC internally. I do have a nippy 64GB MicroSD in too for documents and apps, but so far that's taking up under 200Mb.

And that's without the special space saving measures OEMs can use (as can I if I was arsed) where the recovery image is actually what's used but with pointers so the recovery image essentially costs nothing in disc space.

Got around 13Gb free at the minute, and had W10 for at least 4 weeks or so. Ran CCleaner after setting it up and removing the contents of the sxs.

1
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Are smart safes secure? Not after we've USB'd them, say infosec bods

The Original Steve

Re: @ The Original Steve

Um, Windows doesn't either...

Not since 2001 anyway, when XP was released.

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The Original Steve

Unbelievable

As much as I may get slated for saying it, I'm not shocked - or even object - to the use of Windows as the OS for this sort of device. Windows, as well as Linux, BSD, QNX and others would be fine for the job. All of the above platforms are used in embedded environments, including safety critical appliances.

However, using one that is so, so old is unforgivable. On top of that, using vanilla USB is plain stupid, and I'm also assuming that the OS is set to autorun when the stick is inserted. Unless they are doing something clever and essentially bypassing the OS or exploiting a vulnerability then the reason this can be achieved is because of one thing - piss poor configuration.

I don't care what OS they are using, but if it's set to auto-execute anything plugged into the UNIVERSAL serial bus, and the environment is running privileged then it's totally irrelevant what platform the vendor has used. If it's a vuln in the OS then the vendor should be using a patched and up to date platform, and also additional measures should be in place regardless.

Even if you get into the OS and can spin up a shell or GUI, then why should that just give away access to the safe? Maybe after hours and hours, but by getting into the existing / current session should not be enough anyway. The control software should be secure, require all sorts of authentication and authorisation....

It's very easy to slate Microsoft, but actually I fail to see how it's the fault of the OS here. The vendor is exposing USB, on a platform built 14 years ago, without good security best practice once you have a session.

Shit security by shit design.

8
2

Ford's parallel PARCing: Motor giant tries to craft new tech just like Xerox

The Original Steve

Re: Meh. @ Terafirma-NZ

My motor, which is a new already BMW 1 series (so the cheapest range they do!), scans the road signs and alerts me if I'm doing the wrong speed. Not GPS and maps - it uses OCR to read the road signs, displays them on my dash and tells me if I'm speeding.

And multiple lanes is a problem already solved. Again, my motor (and many more) have lane detection. It knows what lane I'm in and tells me if I'm in the wrong one.

My point is that most of your objections are already covered technically speaking. Just need to join the dots and iron out some kinks.

Exciting times!

0
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We put Windows 10 on a small fondleslab: STILL not ready, 3 days to go

The Original Steve

Re: Pester Power

"BBC iplayer radio on a Windows phone will flatten its battery overnight. Even if you've exited the app."

Um, no.

I use iPlayer radio daily, normally in the morning. If you exit the app (rather than just switching) then the application is closed and my Lumia 930 will keep chugging away for the rest of the day and won't need a charge until I'm ready for bed.

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The Original Steve

Better...

Build 10240 is on the right track, and thankfully as MS have de-coupled the first party apps from the OS in terms of updates so bugs in Mail and other apps can be updated via the store in the background pretty quickly.

Can't say I've used Win10 on a small tablet, but I have been testing it since Jan on a Linx 10, and in the last month I've also installed it onto my Dell Inspiron hybrid laptop/tablet device.

On both of these devices I've actually found it to be incredibly stable. I haven't been able to replicate the issues mentioned in the article, however I have come across a couple of problems elsewhere. (e.g. I can't edit the TCP/IP properties in the GUI for a VPN connection...)

Overall it seems like a big improvement on Windows 8.1, both for touch and non-touch devices alike. I haven't recommended people to upgrade from Windows 7 to 8/8.1 as I didn't feel it brought enough to the party vs the changes in UI / learning curve for most people. However it looks like W10 will be easy enough for end users to get used to (compared to 7) and brings enough goodies to warrant the upgrade.

UI aside (everyone is fixated on the UI, which whilst important is only one aspect of an OS) Win 10 feels like a big jump, particularly from Win 7 in areas of performance and manageability. The revised areas of start screen / store / apps from Windows 8/8.1 is a huge relief, and now makes enough sense for it not to be a 'blocker' in terms of recommending the platform to end users.

Whilst the first party apps aren't the best, not in any area to be honest, they are mostly good enough for the majority of users. Yes, Mail is crap compared to Outlook or even Outlook.com or GMail, but it's good enough for basic email use. I use Outlook 2016 preview on my laptop, signed into the domain, but have my MS account hooked up and use Mail for day-to-day operations on my personal mailbox.

There's some massive gaps that MS need to address. OneDrive placeholders is a huge issue for me, Groove Music needs some basic features adding (MP3 tag editing, seamless playback etc.) and Edge needs extension support (coming soon but not soon enough).

However ignoring Windows 10 on it's own, and looking at it by comparing to Windows 7 and Windows 8.x then it looks very promising. The servicing model of the applications means they should be getting regular updates which is overdue and will make a huge difference based on the updates done during the Insider Preview programme.

Think I'll give it 6 months, see if there's anything major reported and looks at rolling out a small pilot. Genuinely does look like the best release (at RTM) of Windows and the future roadmap looks equally promising.

12
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Even Microsoft thinks Outlook is bloated and slow

The Original Steve

Think I'll stick to Lync / Skype for Business thanks...

0
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Feel like you're being herded onto Windows 10? Well, you should

The Original Steve

Re: Why not, Steve laddie ?

Then I suggest turning those features off via GPO...

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The Original Steve

Win 10 looks and operates in a very similar manner to Win 7. I'll give it 6 months of testing myself (have been as an insider since start of the year) and if there's no major known issues I'll be recommending it and deploying it.

The UI is far more similar to W7 than 8.1, same architecture since Vista in terms of deployment (.wim), same sys requirements and unless the devs are dicks and check for a winNT version number then drivers that worked as far back as Vista should be fine too.

Tried it on a Linx 10, a 5 year old i5 home built HTPC and now on a new Dell touchscreen laptop and not had a single issue driver wise.

If you're on XP still or even if you're on Win7 I don't see why you'd not be looking at Win10 within a few months.

Worth pointing out that now it's "as-a-service" there is no 'service pack' so pointless holding on for that to happen.

Skip 8/8.1, carry on with Win7 for 6 months then look at the landscape.

Architecturally there's not any major changes since Vista, so why not?

8
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Microsoft sprints to finish, emits possible Windows 10 RC build

The Original Steve

Re: Microsoft were betting on Intel reaching 10nm sooner, for 'Phone' use.

Huh? Windows Phone / Windows 10 Mobile is for ARM only.

Tablets are x86. Based on my use of my Linx 10 the Atom seems adequate in terms of power vs. performance. Get a couple of days which I think is reasonable.

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Everything you know about OpenStack is wrong

The Original Steve

Skeptical

I can only offer a view from the standpoint of a "user" of OpenStack - I haven't read up on it nor implemented it. However our co-lo, datacentre and connectivity partner have been deploying OpenStack for a good 6 months + and we had an urgent need to deploy a Windows VM with 2Tb of storage as we've ran out of capacity on our co-lo SAN.

They had just announced their OpenStack platform as being production ready, so we looked at building a Windows 2008 R2 VM with Exchange 2010 on it as part of an existing DAG.

Way, way more trouble than it's worth. Now my basic / limited understanding of the platform does cause me to think that OpenStack runs "services" rather than VM's - similar to Microsoft's Private Cloud using SCVMM - so running an Exchange VM probably isn't a fair test.

However from an "end-users" point of view the entire experience was dire. Utterly terrible. Some bits that stand out:

- Terrible UI. Basic functionality in the web UI, rest is via shell

- Very complex. The open source boffins running it were in over their heads and struggle to understand it

- Doesn't play nice with Windows guests. At all. Drivers were a bloody nightmare

- Modularity is nice - powerful, but also brings with it complexity

- Performance was poor using Ceph. Although the 3rd party says this is due to a defragmentation that was running at the time. Regardless the disk IOPS are much worse on the VM on OpenStack with Ceph than a Hyper-V host and a Lefthand SAN.

- The overall experience I got had me going away thinking it's very immature

It's an interesting project, but the limited experience I've had with it so far leaves quite a bit to be desired. Lots of potential, and I'm sure if you've got dozens of open source experts to hand, lots of time and of course the budget for the hardware then you'd be laughing... although you could say that with nearly any "private cloud" or modern day "infrastructure platform".

Feels like it needs a couple of years to grow before I'd consider looking at it seriously for medium sized organisations.

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Smartphones are ludicrously under-used, so steal their brains

The Original Steve

Continuum

Actually sounds rather interesting... Not entirely novel, but if the execution is right...

Intrigued.

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Dyre times ahead: Zeus-style trojan slurps your banking login creds

The Original Steve

Is it not a bit pointless?

Not sure about other banks, but with Barclays you have to use two factor to logon rendering this sort of keylogging malware moot.

YMMV, but I'm sure other banks enforce similar countermeasures.

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ONE MILLION new lines of code hit Linux Kernel

The Original Steve

Re: wait for it...

"...leaving you without a sane way of interrupting a failing boot in order to get into safe mode "

Other than pressing F8 you mean?

Or letting it fail three times in which case it will jump to recovery itself.

But yeah, those things - as well as changing the boot order in the BIOS to recovery media (PXE, USB, optical etc.) - aside it's really, really hard to get into safe mode. /s

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UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends

The Original Steve

Going to get slated, but...

... I actually think it's a pretty good idea to be honest. I qualify that statement by saying that I'd be much, much happier if I knew exactly how it worked - particularly around prevent LAN access to people who have access to your Wifi.

But really, this won't impact corporates (and if it does then the problem is with your implementation of Wifi rather than Wifi Sense - you should be using 802.11x over PSK's FFS!).

So it's actually going to be for consumers over businesses that will be impacted by it. And if MS are storing the key encrypted at rest and over the wire, as well as it only being shared in a non-visible way to your address book with WAN access only.

To be honest, with the track history and how much is "sensitive" data is stored on cloud services (iCloud, Google, OneDrive) a PSK that's limited to WAN only access and shared with people in your address book only - that you can change / revoke - doesn't bother me that much.

Considering that with Chrome your web-based passwords are sync'd via Google Cloud, and with IE / Edge your credentials are sync'd with OneDrive as the store then my home Wifi PSK seems fairly "safe". Well, safe enough.

Until otherwise stated, at present you need to be in my address book and have physical access to the Wifi signal. Even then it's just WAN access too.

I have used this as an owner of a Lumia 930. My brother has a Lumia 1020, whilst my mum has a 730. Works really well - just seamless... They pop over and turn on their Wifi.... and voila - internet access without the need to shout out keys.

Also have a Linx 10 tablet that I've been running Windows 10 Insider for a few months. Again with this - always have Wifi access without dicking about with keys. Have tested it out with some test scenarios and indeed, there is no LAN access. Haven't investigated why, and as a techie I'd really like to know how this is achieved, but on the surface it seems useful.

Sure, there maybe a potential / possible security issue - but in reality and so far it all seems good. Worth noting that it's not shared with Facebook by default. You have to explicitly give consent for just that one type of sharing.

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Webmail password reset scam lays groundwork for serious aggro

The Original Steve

Um... Not quite as easy...

At least Outlook.com, and I suspect others, don't actually tell you the mobile number of the mark. So you'll need three things:

1. My mobile number

2. The email address associated with said mobile number

3. End user stupid enough to send a verification code they haven't requested to someone asking for it that they weren't expecting either.

This isn't a "hack" or "scam". It's Symantec thinking of any possible way to trick someone. If they are such a moron that you get verification code you haven't asked, AND then ALSO forward it on as well then you're too stupid to take part in society and your computer licence is revoked.

Bah! 5:18 on a Friday and still in the office. Can you tell?!

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Feature-rich work in progress: Windows Mobile 10 build 10136

The Original Steve

Impressed

Previous builds have been pretty poor on most fronts - which I suppose is fair enough as it's alpha / beta - but this build is much, much better. Running on a Lumia 930 and think I'll be giving it a run as my "daily driver". Even works better with the car Bluetooth than 8.1 and the previous 10 builds!

Long as those "Universal Apps" come along seems like WP10 or whatever the hell its called now is a reasonable contender for 3rd choice on mobile OS. Good thing.

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Config file wipe blunder caused deadly Airbus A400M crash – claim

The Original Steve

Re: Lack of imagination when thinking up things that can go wrong.

For this sort of thing a simple information warning should be more than enough. No action needed, but you can still have lots of checks. Like my car tells me if a tyre is flat, but wont stop me driving.

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Sysadmins rebel over GUI-free install for Windows Server 2016

The Original Steve

Re: and in the real world...

"there is a huge legacy of windows based server-side software that is not in any way command line based - including IIS and Exchange for example."

Totally, utterly wrong.

Exchange 2013 is ALL PowerShell. Every action you do in the web-based GUI is just running PowerShell in the background. And if you've managed more than a single Exchange 2013 server, or just done some of the more advanced stuff with it you'd soon realise that the GUI in Exchange 2013 only shows about 60% of what can be done.

Mailbox permissions, IP-less DAG, testing replication etc. ALL in PowerShell. There is no GUI.

IIS also can be managed without a GUI too. Server Core on 2012 R2 fully supports IIS 8.5 without a UI on the local server.

System Centre suite (SCVMM, SCCM, SCDPM, SCSM and SCOM) are all based on PowerShell. Same with SharePoint. Active Directory, HyperV and pretty much every single part of Windows can be managed without a GUI by using PowerShell.

I believe SQL 2014 also uses PowerShell for the non-TSQL elements too. (Although I haven't used that myself)

Microsoft is pushing ahead for ALL server and infrastructure products to have their management layer done with PowerShell. The GUI in current and future products are simply running PowerShell commands. The majority of functionality and configuration cannot be done in the GUI alone, with the only way to fully manage MS Server products will be PowerShell. The GUI is purely for the day-to-day admin tasks by Servicedesk. The actual infrastructure administrators are / will be expected to manage their solutions using PowerShell.

If you can't manage Windows Server with PowerShell, Event Viewer, Server Manager, Services and Device Manager then you shouldn't be managing a Windows Server. (Or any Server other than Small Business Server / Windows Server Essentials)

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