39 posts • joined 24 Jul 2009
Re: the wise spouse
To be fair... I did see someone plug in a 19" monitor with a decent resolution to an ancient old PC that had a graphics card with a massive 1MB graphics card RAM then complain when it would neither display at full resolution nor work at anything more than flicker-screen refreshes on routine work. The thing routinely overheated the graphics card and caused plenty of BSODs. The solution was to replace the 19" one with the old 14" one it had replaced, problems went away, user was happy and call was closed.
A bit of both...
First the users...
Back in the early 1990s, I was a break/fix techie covering a large number of small sites. There was a very tightly defined SLA that meant that we had to fix everything first time even if it involved getting the soldering iron out for component repair on monitors, PCs and so on. Everything that was not on the service schedule or was user error was chargeable.
One such site had had warnings from senior manglement that they were generating too many chargeable calls because of their really basic errors. I was called out because one of the green-screen terminals was dead, refused to boot. I decided to be civil and call in advance because the most common fault was them being pulled forward and removing the power cable from the over-tight cable management. User "I'm not stupid you know, I know you don't pull them forward". I turn up at site, before I touch anything, I point the user to the dust trail at the back of the terminal that had been disturbed and the power cable was out. She said "you must have just done that!" By magic as I'd been standing with her at the time? Plug in, chargeable job as it fires up immediately.
Another site had a user complain that she couldn't access the terminal service. Sounded legit, light on unit's power switch, nothing on the screen and the brightness/contrast dials did nothing. On site, I saw it was a standard PC monitor. The manager of the unit had bough a few to "make the terminal service faster". Most users had never seen a PC before and all they knew were the green-screen things. Manager got all ranty at me telling me to "just make it work, it's a computer, make it work!" Once I explained it was an unsupported device, he (the manager) agreed to it being chargeable for me to install the terminal access software on the PCs he'd bought and he'd arrange training for his staff on how to work PCs. Then after I plugged in the first one, it had no OS on it, had no OS disks and the manager said "why would I need to buy software when we don't have any on the older machines". A complaint was registered against me because I was too incompetent to resolve a simple issue. My manager replied with an invoice for chargeable callout plus 2 hours, no other comment. Two weeks later after another guy had done the install work, for a fee, I was called out again with the call details being "New, faster PCs have not made terminal service any faster"...
A good friend of mine showed me a keyboard he replaced on NHS site. User reported that some of the numbers on the keypad were wrong when displayed on the screen, he pressed 1 displayed 7, 2 displayed 8 and 3 displayed 9 and vice versa. When questioned, he said he preferred the way numbers were on his phone's keypad so wedged out the keys thinking that that would do the job as, after all, computers should be smart enough to know that he was pressing 7 to get 7. The keys wouldn't go back in as he'd snapped a few retainers so superglued them in.
I could spend many hours typing anecdotes about that time of my life but it's only really fair to let some of the techie people have fingers pointed a them as well:
One very highly paid (for the time in 1999) Oracle DBA working on site called me at 4:55 saying he was going home and hadn't achieved anything that day because he hadn't been able to get a script doing what he wanted. He hadn't bothered saying anything when he turned up in the morning because he tried once and thought someone else would fix it when they noticed it wasn't working themselves. The idiot had logged onto the wrong server and had run a completely different named script that was a simple maintenance script that had no output. Apparently it was our fault for not being there to supervise him. A few weeks later he complained to my manager that I was micromanaging him.
Another place had two senior Exchange techies, there was a third who left and wasn't replaced. He told the other two before he left that someone had to redo the backup solution as it was currently a bodge job using his admin account for permissions (yes, really...). The two that were left thought the other one would do it. 8 months later a very senior manager asked for a restore of a mailbox that they believed a user had deleted to help hide criminal insider trading activity, this mailbox was to be handed over in an as-is format to the relevant authorities for review. Two techies look at each other with increasing horror realising that there were NO backups of any mailboxes since the leaving techie's admin account was disabled. Oh the fun that the company had explaining that one. I was on the project team that had to be constituted to try to "do something"
There's a little paranoid thing in the back of my head that had a running commentary when I read this:
"Nope, we really can't crack Tor and can't easily identify users from it, honest, cross our hearts and hope to die.. Would we lie and tell you that it's all nice and secure when we've really worked out ways in? We really have no first public hop monitoring going on to help us with this, nope, no siree, that'd just be a blatant lie. It's also a lie that we left this presentation in a folder marked 'ultra confidential stuff do not read this unsecured folder if you're a bad guy. By the way did you like that little gimme we gave you on an outdated Firefox flaw that was fixed and is no longer of value to us, that was our only tool, we have no others, really."
Just far, far too convenient for my liking. And that's me not normally a conspiracy theorist nutjob!
The current malaise infecting Microsoft reminds me of an STD. If you have one and get it treated then you may suffer a bit of embarrassment, especially if you have to tell others, but then you'll usually get better with treatment. If you have one but pretend it doesn't exist to the extent that you're beating up those who'd normally support you just to pretend that you're better than ever then eventually you'll either fall over dead or become the social equivalent of Abu Qatada at BNP rally.
Admit Win8's broken, take the hit for a year in developing an SP1 that creates a proper desktop GUI while actively promoting in the short terms that Win7 is actually a very good, stable and quick OS with massive compatibility and consumer user adoption.
Managing the user change process from XP to Win7 is hard enough for most businesses but, as mentioned above, the change from Win7 to Win8 is large enough that most companies just won't bother. Keep them sweet with Win7 until there's an OS capable of being business-friendly.
As an off-topic aside, the company I'm working at now would happily go to a full Apple rollout rather than Win8 if only they could get a Citrix desktop to match.
Earlier than 8am
It was offline at 5:50 this morning when I tried to use it.
8am is probably the first time someone reported it meaning that that's when the SLA for fixing it kicked in. ;)
Re: Not news
Really not news.
I've had the Live Mesh client pointing to the "cloud" SkyDrive storage for ages now, at least since late 2010. It's an outstanding little thing that syncs my files between my PC, Mac and the online storage.
Bit of a process hog on Mac OSX 10.7 but still works fine.
I'm getting about a 2.5 hour delay at present on emails. I just got an email through on my blackberry that was in my inbox at 8:30 this morning (11:00 now). I sent myself a test mail at 9:00, still not got it on my blackberry yet.
It's not a huge impact for me today as I'm at my desk but it was a right pain on Monday when I was out and about.
My company's website is hosted with 1&1, as are my emails, and had no outages all afternoon. Tracking shows consistent hits all afternoon with no outages. Must have been a partial outage for them then...
I hear that as part of the festivities they're having Boris dress up as Old Wanky Knobby with Ken Livingstone as the Emperor. Should lead for some fun if they go at each other with lightsabers drawn; with Boris's history with loose women though, I'd expect his sword will have a green end.
As a contractor, I've become used to having to supply my own stuff. I'm currently onsite on my personal Macbook Pro, connecting through the corporate network both to external and internal resources without fuss and restricted only by my ethical standards. There are far too many things I can access without having to authenticate myself, including sensitive intranet sites and unsecured file shares.
From a purely personal perspective, I love having my own kit rather than the typical 8 year old snail of a corporate laptop full of unnecessary bloat. From an IT professional's perspective though, it's an absolute shambles that will eventually result in grief when someone without the required nouse brings in his laptop that his teenage son has been using to browse websites that are of interest to many adolescent young men.
been like that for some time now
Over the last few years Game has reduced from a sizeable in-store PC game presence down to one back-of-store, hidden away shelf section at best. I was in one Game yesterday (Westfield Shopping Centre) and they had a tiny selection hidden away without even a "PC" sign over the games, also about half the games were pre-order and the rest were fairly patchy in coverage of the recent games market. A complete waste of time.
Profit on a PC game is trivial compared to that of console games, especially the 2nd hand games that dominate most Game stores these days.
Stars that have never shone...
We need look no further than Channel 5 these days with Celeb Big Brother for some perfect examples of far closer "stars" that have never shone and have no hope of ever shining. About as much chance of finding intelligent life there as well.
Response from Davenport Lyons
As a point of principle, I refuse to pay tax for my cat. This hugely pettist regressive tax is symptomatic of the way the country is going.
of course it's IT related...
... have you seen the average female DBA?
Some people say they don't exist, that's just because the human brain is quite adept at shielding us from true horrors. Who do you think does all the real DBA work while the male DBAs throw their regular strops about being unappreciated?
One place I worked on a contract a few years ago gave me two logins. Fat client laptop with normal account had internet access but no secured data access and a thin client account with secured data access rights but no internet access. Thin client session set for no pass-through or data access from fat client. Secured account only let me log into thin client.
Made for an embuggerance if I needed to send secured stuff externally but apparently they'd had an incident before and had locked the systems down.
There were still compromises made but then only the terminally naive think that you can secure data to completely remove any chance of being stolen.
Kick in the nuts
I've said it before, I'll say it again, the only reliable way to ensure that data isn't lost on mobile devices is to introduce personal liability on the person who authorised its removal from a fixed storage server/device and the person who lost it.
First offence: a kick in the nuts/female parts from everyone whose data was lost/compromised. In this case, that's 4000 kicks in the nuts/female parts each; as they may be old/vulnerable people, they can delegate the kicking to a professional nut kicker of their choice.
Repeat offence: unlikely to happen but if it does then it should be considered as a capital crime.
re: am I being thick?
One key benefit of this is to allow the council to give emergency accommodation to vulnerable people at very short notice without having to dig someone out of their bed, wait until they get to site then mess around doing handovers. If the decision is made to give someone emergency accommodation then give them the code to the box, they get the key and can go in immediately.
I can understand the likes of project managers and others who have to talk to other departments/clients having to have very good communication skills but who cares if a techie with no business interaction requirements is a Quasimodo-like hermit with bad hygiene and even worse socialisation skills as long as he's good at his job?
A good rule of thumb I work to is that the scruffiest techie in an IT department is usually the most valuable while the smartest dressed just wants to be a manager and screw the IT department. Not always true but works more often than not.
I wouldn't mind IR35 if it were just truly targeted at disguised employees but it's a far too wide catch-all.
I'm currently project managing a one-off project using very narrow niche skills that the client does not have and would be utterly redundant in a company employee beyond this one project. Once the project finishes, I'll be surplus to requirements and be out of the door as they have no other work that suits my skills and experience. A perfect scenario for hiring a specialist contractor. Yet, according to the legal review I had, my contract is 75% likely to be classified as "IR35 caught" if it were reviewed today by HMRC.
The three tests might be relevant for testing whether a cleaner is a disguised employee or not with the employer getting away with treating them poorly, they're far too narrow and defined for dealing with specialist contractors.
A huge success for anti-terrorism
+1 to the statistics of "detected and prevented terrorism".
It's just a pity that we don't have our own Guantanamo Bay. May I recommend Basildon or is that really just going too far down the torture route?
Back in the days...
... when people still had the occasional green-screen terminal, I was a desktop break/fix technician. I had this conversation with so many people:
Me - "Did you move the terminal today? You do know that the cable management is so tight at the back that pulling the screen towards you will disconnect one or both of the power or network cables?"
Them - "Of course not, we've been told about that"
Me (on getting to site) - "Do you see that clear spot in the dust trail behind the terminal? That shows me that you moved the terminal today and this cable lying unplugged on the desk is the network cable."
Cue me having an "attitude problem" after plugging the cable back in and miraculous recovery of the terminal session. Also cue complaints about my attitude. Finally, cue manager telling me to suck it up because every false callout like that is chargeable outside of the contract and pays my incredibly poor wages.
Oh for the ability to do the scene in today's BOFH.
Yes, you can
"(can't do much about the CD on the train though)."
Yes, you can. Repeated and brutal beatings for offenders until anyone given a cd full of data breaks down in tears at the potential consequences.
Also, a law change that gives people who have had their data lost the opportunity to give the loser a free punt to the nuts (or female equivalent)
Lies, damn lies and politicians (more apt than the old saying)
The government cannot create 2.5m private sector jobs, it can simply pray to $deity that someone will create them from somewhere. They CAN get rid of public sector jobs and they can indirectly cause private sector job losses through reducing state spending with the private sector.
1.3m jobs will go, 2.5m are just a wishful hope from the chancellor.
Pro-Tories will see 1.2m net jobs created
Pro-Labour will see 1.3m jobs lost for nothing more than an empty promise
Pro-Lib Dems will be wondering how long it is until their membership cards expire.
Please note, none of the above detracts in any way from the genuine necessity of cutting the annual deficit and overall government debt.
I partially agree...
I've been a BCS member for many years now and have the shiny Chartered Status badge but I'm increasingly seeing little value in my membership.
I'm genuinely struggling to find value out of the £135 annual fees beyond the post-nominal letters that get "what's that?" queries from the 95% of the industry that isn't up-to-date with the society's lingo.
Some notes though: The society itself is no longer The British Computer society, it is simply BCS now as the manglement do not like the terms British, Computer or Society. It is no longer a member's society for the advancement of IT, it is a training provider pretending to be a professional society.
My membership renewal is due next month, if the EGM backers fail miserably then I'll simply say goodbye to my MBCS CITP certification and probably not notice any difference in the attitude of my clients. That £135 can go to a far better use.
The title says "I partially agree" because I have completely different attitudes to the IEEE CS. If you read their Computer journal you'll see plenty of top-end technical articles written by people at the top of their technical profession. Their other journals also make very good reading for those interested in their narrow remits. I'll keep my membership there as it's still a very valuable professional society that makes the BCS look like a bunch of pimply faced youths pretending they know how to repair a PC.
WHS has a mirroring system that you turn on by enabling "duplication". All files selected for duplication are stored on at least two drives.
If a drive goes bang or is whipped out for upgrade, WHS will rebuild mirrored copies of files lost onto other drives or the new one added if only two drives are available.
Not quite as detailed or configurable as a techy might want but it is aimed at home users who don't need to know how to configure RAID.
So, yes, technically it doesn't have RAID but it does have redundancy features that are going to be more than good enough for 99% of "home" users.
Maybe she doesn't need to because...
... her ancestors filled their pockets and boots for her.
I may think many of our MPs are lying, scheming weasels but at least the people of their constituencies elected them to the position of lying, scheming weasel.
Thanks for the reply
There was a post above mine that mentioned going elsewhere, I didn't, I can easily avoid threads and articles I don't like.
Also, the posts above cover very good reasons why the Lib Dem manifesto is at least as good as the Tory one, if not better, from an IT/Register perspective. That is unless the Register perspective is "vote Tory".
As I said, if you'd added critical points about the Tory manifesto as you had with the Labour/Lib Dem ones then I'd have been quite happy as they tend to follow The Reg's generally critical views on most things. Instead, the Tory one you did was sycophantic and failed to mention that of the three theirs is the most likely to be negative for IT workers, including £4bn in savings from public sector IT. Also, IT procurement costs and delays will just get massively worse with their insistence on lowering the tender bar to £10,000 meaning simple bits of work that may have taken a few weeks or months could be stretched into 1990s NHS waiting list times!
Just a thought...
p.s. well done on finally changing your name on here. No sarcasm, just support.
If this article, and the Labour one done by her on Monday, were taken on their own they'd be rather lightweight articles damning the parties with faint praise and condescension but after the "review" of the Tory manifesto I sense a different message.
The Tory article was so sycophantic that I was very tempted to submit it to Private Eye for an OBN* award.
If you'd bothered to publish a similarly critical one on the Tories then I'd be quite happy as that'd be fair but you don't.
If you openly support the Tories then say so with an "I'm voting Tory and here's why" article rather than pretending to be inclusive with different standards for the three main parties.
* order of the brown nose
... that you'll be allowing Labour and Lib Dem PR people to publish their own one-eyed slants on their manifestos.
Alternatively, why not replace them all with one simple article that says: "we're screwed whoever wins".
Just like CRB and the upcoming vetting agency
We're now at the stage where if you grumble about filling in a CRB form then you've obviously got something to hide, thanks to great spinning by the political PR machines and the willingness of the media to buy it and hype it even further.
Give it those 7 years and you'll see much the same with people being openly queried about what they have to hide if they don't want an ID card.
On a separate thread... I wonder if the police are actively investigating those who already have the ID card. The only sane reason I could think for someone wanting one is to study/break it to make forged copies for any number of nefarious reasons.
The typical fiction book writer gets about 25p-45p per book sold. There is no money in book writing for all bar the biggest names, certainly not enough to make it a career. A lot of books are being sold but publishers, wholesalers and retailers are all pushing to get more cut with the authors being squeezed every time.
Only one of the big problems
The biggest problem I've seen for small companies is large companies taking longer and longer to pay invoices. Some make an art of waiting until right at the end of the invoice payment terms before raising a query then insisting the invoice terms start again. I know more than a few small business that have gone bust through this and similar tactics.
Conversely, two of my suppliers (large companies) have turned my credit accounts into pre-pay even though I have an immaculate trading history with them and generally. Not critical for me but it is a cash-flow problem for many companies.
On HMRC though. The easiest way to keep out of HMRC's sights is to treat every penny that's due to them as separate and stashed away in a separate bank account. Treat it as their money rather than short-term financing and HMRC will never need to get involved. I know more than a few people that treat VAT takings as "their" money then grudge having to pay it out to HMRC at the end of a quarter; same with PAYE and NI, keep it separate and life is easier. Not exactly fitting with modern aggressive money-use practices but then HMRC will never be in a position to wind-up my company.
I was in tears this morning as the Apple employed black-suits dragged me down to their store and FORCED me to buy their wares. Now I have a house full of Macbooks and iMacs and I have no clue how I'll ever pay my credit card bill.
I have rebelled though and am posting this on my PC. They can beat me and FORCE me to buy their stuff but they can never FORCE me to use it.
(I'm actually using my Macbook to stream the cricket while I use my PC to play computer games because my rugby game was called off and I'd rather play computer games than go shopping with the wife)
Tin foil hat time
It's clearly all a plot by that Mandelson bloke who will unmask himself as an interdimensional alien set on removing rogue universes from the multiverse. I, for one, hope that Mandelson will reconsider and become our universal overlord protecting us against other such aliens.
Not just T-mobile insiders selling to other providers.
I have under two months left on my T-mobile contract and T-mobile have a very clear "do not sell my details or pass them on without my permission" notification from me. Last week, I had 5 companies call me, all starting with a variation of "Hi, this is T-mobile, your contract is due for renewal", when pressed, they admit they're resellers who've bought my data from T-mobile.
T-mobile deny selling my data when I challenge them, even though the reseller says they got it from T-mobile and there's not too many other ways they could get my name, phone number, address, renewal date, phone type, etc.
If he did click on the link, I hope he hosed his system and rebuilt it because if his AV (if he had one installed) didn't pick up a drive-by virus then he's most likely got a nasty on his system.
If he didn't then I hope he doesn't mind his fellows a the FBI logging his porn website passwords.
Just out of interest, I wonder if the poor guy arrested has had his IT equipment back and an apology or is it still sitting in a queue waiting to be "assessed"?
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