* Posts by batfastad

568 posts • joined 1 Aug 2009

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Stripped to the core and full of Xfce: Xubuntu Linux loses it

batfastad
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XFCE

Xubuntu is good. Been the primary OS on my laptop for a couple of years now. Was a Mint+XFCE before that but switched to Xubuntu for a reason I can't now remember.

XFCE does exactly what I want from a desktop environment: Stays out of the way, fast without unnecessary bouncy icons and other Fisher Price effects, allows for loads of customisation, and lets me use the actual desktop instead of having a glorious empty unusable space as seems to be the fashion

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What the BLEEP? BitTorrent's secure messaging app arrives

batfastad
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Hey

Hey everyone, here's a new secure messaging app. Can everyone switch to it for us please? No you can't read the code.

And while you're at it, do us a favour and store all your passwords on lastpass for us will you?

Cheers

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Spotify springs bloody leak as losses grow to $197m – report

batfastad
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Paid subscribers?

I wonder how many of paid subscribers only signed up because of the 99p for 3 month deal just before Christmas. I did and guess what, I let it rot. It's a good service but I just didn't use it enough to justify a tenner a month. A fiver? Perhaps. But as it goes the free version is more than adequate for the limited amount of time I listen to any of the music that is offered by Spotify.

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Round Two in Sky vs Skype trademark scrap goes to Murdoch's men

batfastad
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Confusing?

I don't know about anyone else but I signed up to Sky because of their marketing. It's everywhere, every time I look up, above me all the time. Fscking Murdoch can take his fscking sky and shove it.

Wait, what, you mean... the atmosphere is not owned by Sky Plc despite having the word "sky" in it? Oh I see, solicitors found prior art in this case.

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Low price, big power: Virtual Private Server picks for power nerds

batfastad
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Re: Excuse my ignorance please

Well AWS offers a whole raft of services that generic cheapo VPS providers and competing public clouds from MS and Google simply don't offer (though MS and Google keep playing catch-up). Object storage, managed NFS, Solr search, load balancers, DNS, databases etc

But in terms of simple compute+disk, i.e. a VM, I would say the reason many would use a VPS instead would be price. Even the smallest Amazon instance is usually more expensive than some of the offerings from DigitalOcean etc. On AWS a t1.micro "on demand" instance plus a 20GB EBS volume will run to $29 per month (unless you reserve for 1+ years which brings the monthly cost down).

An advantage of using AWS though is their API. We spin up additional instances when req/s through our load balancers starts rising and then spin instances down during quieter times. We have several reasonably large internal applications which are powered up on demand by users through a dashboard on the intranet etc. As yet I don't think DigitalOcean, Linode etc have such an expansive API or well-worn SDKs to rival AWS.

Even though we use AWS heavily, we make sure our compute workload can be easily spun up with any other generic provider. We can route some applications to pre-configured environments with other providers or our own racks if needed.

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batfastad
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Lowendbox

Worth having a look at lowendbox.com

I've worked with a few "companies" that have absolutely minimal budget so have bounced around quite a few of these cheap VPS providers. Experience on the whole is largely very good. Main uses... DNS, distributed mail relay clusters, reverse proxy caches, database replicas, backup boxes, and generally being able to distribute workloads across several providers.

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High-speed powerline: Home connectivity without the cables

batfastad
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Latency

The thing that really surprised me about homeplug was the latency. Granted I've got a pair of budget Trendnet devices, not sure which gen, maybe 200mbps. Ping to the router through homeplug is about 10ms, which is the same as pinging one of my servers in a DC from my router (ADSL). Compared to less than 1ms over Wifi.

It's a new-build flat, which I know doesn't guarantee good wiring. I don't think the brand of adaptor or the homeplug standard version would make too much difference to this though, I'm assuming the latency is simply down to the conversion/transmission protocol. Anyone able to elaborate?

I'm not dissing homeplug in the slightest, it just works and blows my mind really. But I was just surprised at this level of latency.

Unless I've just got duff homeplugs and other people get lower latency?

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Costa Coffee Club members wake up and smell the data breach

batfastad
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Details

Do people actually give correct details to these things?

They can have my spamalot Gmail address. But other than that I am Mr A Partridge, 10 King Road, Ipswich.

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Web advertising giant (Google) to spew ads over web – using HTTPS

batfastad
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Eh?

All our sites are forced-HTTPS and have DFP ads, served over HTTPS. Use a scheme-relative URL... //www.googletagservices.com/blah to load the initial JS and the rest of it is apparently handled. We've been running it that was for quite a few years IIRC.

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Chrome 42 breaks vSphere web client thanks to ye olde NPAPI

batfastad
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Browser plugin required?

Fail.

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30 per cent of servers, storage and switches now sold to clouds

batfastad
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Hello darkness my old friend

Ah yes, the default HTML table styling, how I have missed thee!

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It's 2015 and a RICH TEXT FILE or a HTTP request can own your Windows machine

batfastad
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Re: Flash Player - or a Prayer?

@elDog Ditch that Foxit adware... Check out SumatraPDF :)

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Google sticks anti-SQL injection vaccine into MySQL MariaDB fork

batfastad
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Pls paste into El Reg CMS

TRUNCATE TABLE `el_reg_authors`;

DELETE FROM `articles` WHERE `copy_pasted`=1 OR `proof_read` IS NULL;

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Intel shows Google how to stick it real good

batfastad
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Re: Hello darkness my old friend

Pure unadulterated HTML... table cellspacing="0" border="1"

Party like it's 1999 dudes.

Please add a simple TABLE { border-collapse:collapse; } into your CSS, I beg you.

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batfastad
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Hello darkness my old friend

Ah yes, the default HTML table styling, how I have missed thee!

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Torvalds' temptress comes of age: Xfce 4.12 hits the streets

batfastad
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Good!

Long time user of XFCE, love it. Used to be Mint+XFCE, now Xubuntu, for a couple of minor reasons.

MATE and Cinnamon are decent too though to be fair.

It does what it's meant to. A menu. A status bar. An actual usable desktop. And plenty of customisation within that.

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Crack security team finishes TrueCrypt audit – and the results are in

batfastad
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Audit

Can you trust it again now then? Depends who did the audit I suppose. I mean who really did the audit.

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The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

batfastad
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The same kbps as a potato

Every single time I have tried DAB it has ended up sounding no better than a potato. Underwater.

The only time I ever listen to radio is TMS on LW, or 5 live MW in the car, which are both equally as capable of sounding like a potato underwater at times. But I accept potato sound quality because it's old tech that's universal, and my portable radio easily fits in a pocket and can do an entire winter test match series on a single pair of AAAs.

I expect much much better from DAB radios that are typically larger, heavier, more expensive and either require mains power or a daily feed of batteries/charging.

Happy to be proven wrong though if anyone can find me a DAB radio that has a mass equal to or less than 150g, dimensions equal to or less than 7cm x 10cm x 3cm, and can run for a week non-stop on a pair of AAAs. Or that works when not driving in perfect concentric circles around the nearest transmitter.

Digital TV works because its consumption happens through a stationary receiver/aerial. Radio on the other hand, less so, alot less.

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Silent server monitoring: A neat little cure that doesn't kill the patient

batfastad
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Nagios

Zabbix, munin, icinga, zenoss... yet everyone always ends up back at Nagios.

Pretty happy with Graphite for metrics though, with Grafana for fancy dashboards.

We all know Nagios sucks. But it's the de-facto standard of sucking.

Having said that, I have been impressed by Zabbix but adding a new Nagios check for anything is so simple. Using Puppet makes it even easier to deploy custom checks en-masse.

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Millions of voters are missing: It’s another #GovtDigiShambles

batfastad
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Re: Irrelevant

I should follow up by adding that despite my attitude towards politics in this country and politicians in general, I will still toddle down to the ballot box and make the mark of the illiterate in a box on the form. I will get a warm feeling of enfranchisement in a happy utopia for all of about 30 seconds. Before stepping back out onto a street covered with vomit and chicken bones*.

*Said in jest of course. I realise that by living in the UK I have truly won the lottery of life compared to the hell that most of the world's population have to get through. If I'm really lucky maybe there'll be a pigeon eating the chicken bone, that is a sight to behold!

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Delving into Office 2016: Microsoft goes public with new preview

batfastad
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Speed

Does it load faster than the Office XP that I'm still rocking?

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Vince Cable opens hipster-friendly London tech creche

batfastad
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Phew!

Thank god. More money for London will fix the rest of the country in no time!

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Not in the Budget: Spooks beg UK.gov for £111m brown envelope

batfastad
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Hmmm

Itemised invoice please.

Yours faithfully

The Electorate

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Cisco posts kit to empty houses to dodge NSA chop shops

batfastad
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Support

It's largely irrelevant anyway. Many sites I visit have Cisco gear that hasn't been updated since it was originally installed and the support has lapsed meaning you can't get the newer code anyway. Open season because of the unique way Cisco stuff seems to leave the factory full of bugs.

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Hackable media box based on the Raspberry Pi compute module: Five Ninjas Slice

batfastad
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Re: Ethernet

Have a look at the Beaglebone Black

EDIT: Actually don't... that's not what I was looking for

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batfastad
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Re: An alternative

Nice tip on the plusberry!

I've been looking for a decent Pi case for ages. The way the wires sprout out of all sides is a bit annoying and having one with an integrated iR receiver would be decent. Like you I've fudged it with lego for now.

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UK says comms metadata can kill personal privacy

batfastad
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Hello old friend

Ah yes, the default HTML table styling, how I have missed thee!

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Ark scoops £700m to host ALL UK.gov's data centre needs

batfastad
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GovCloud

Sounds like "Baroness Manningham-Buller, DCB, life peer in the House of Lords and former director general of the Security Service (MI5)" has got the hang of that GovCloud procurement framework perfectly!

Remember GovCloud has the word "cloud" in it. A new-fangled word... same old sh*t.

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batfastad
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Re: Well

Was thinking the same. Until I got to "Non-executive directors on the firm's board include Baroness Manningham-Buller, DCB, life peer in the House of Lords and former director general of the Security Service (MI5)".

So it seems the best way of winning Gov business still is to have a "Baroness Manningham-Buller" on your board. Anyone aware of any channel suppliers for those and how are they deployed?

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MPs 'alarmed' by millions of mugshots on Brit cops' databases

batfastad
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Meh

alarmed

Here's my alarmed face... http://goo.gl/5Exw0G

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

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Want to deploy virtual machines in a hurry? PowerShell is your friend

batfastad
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PowersHELL!

PowerShell is no doubt a step on from the abysmal effort at command line that MS had been peddling since the mid-90s. Admittedly I've only looked at it briefly but the implementation and syntax of commands that I've used seems so inconsistent and appears to vary massively depending on the Windows team/product (Exchange vs IIS vs SQL Server etc).

It's useful as a way of exposing a programmatic API to what is usually point-n-click Windows interfaces and wizards.

But you still need a decent wrapper language to bind it all together. And that's where cygwin comes in for me ;)

Not hatin', just sayin'.

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Price slashed on Reg-branded Swiss Army Knife

batfastad
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Leatherman

Leatherman Micra is the boss of portable knives. I've had one (a few) for years and they are truly portable. Sometimes a little bit too portable... to the point of no return at airports where I have ended up having to bin it and buy another.

And that concludes the story of my ownership of the Leatherman Micra. You're welcome.

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Bad movie: Hackers can raid networks with burnt Blu-Rays

batfastad
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Stop

Blue Ray?

Is this some sort of physical media format?

Joking aside, I just don't have the space or desire to store a crate of discs for someone. If the publishers/studio wants me to store a copy of their latest "re-make of a prequel to a re-make of a book" for them then that's fine. Storage prices start at £20 per year for long-term archival. Though contracts might be terminated without notice when I decide to dump them at a charity shop.

If they want me to give up my time to actually watch their latest "re-make of a prequel to a re-make of a book" then that will cost them $£$$£. Prices on application.

Their business model is all wrong :)

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SIM hack scandal biz Gemalto: Everything's fine ... Security industry: No, it's really not

batfastad
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Move along, nothing to see here

If the secret police want to be all up in you sh*t, they don't need to hack.

Carry on as you were everyone... says the secret warrant issued by a secret court.

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Apache finally signs off Hadoop database... after 7 years of development

batfastad
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I heart commas

"Facebook Pintrest"?

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Gemalto: NSA, GCHQ hacked us – but didn't snatch crucial SIM keys

batfastad
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Prison

I, me, you, we would all be banged up if for industrial espionage on this scale.

As ever, the rules are different for those that make the rules.

I'm not condoning terrierislamopedoismists or whoever the threat to national insecurity is this week. But there's defence and there's offence. This is most definitely offence.

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BT fixes home hub drop-out glitch ONE YEAR after denying flaw existed

batfastad
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Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

Yep. You don't think they have access to anywhere near the bandwidth they actually sell to their customers do you? I'm fine with the principle of overselling, I totally get it. But there's overselling to make sure users have a fair service, then there's BT's overselling to maximise profit while being able to trumpet "X number of properties have access to super-fast broadband*"

* but only at off-peak times. In a vacuum. At close to 0K at which point the home hub is transformed into a Bose-Einstein Condensate and only then able to shift packets at the advertised speed.

You've probably guessed... I wouldn't p*ss on BT even if it was on fire.

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IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

batfastad
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Baron(ess)?\?

And when Baroness Morgan talks, you better listen. Because she knows her sh*t on this stuff.

Wait... who?

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M0n0wall comes tumbling down as dev throws in the trowel

batfastad
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Times changed

Used it for a number of years at a few small offices and worked well. IPCop also. But as embedded router boxes increased in power and features our need for the use of commodity hardware and dedicated firewall distros has gone away.

Used a few Microtik RouterOS devices in the last 5 years which do a good job but with fewer moving parts.

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Virgin Media to splurge BEELLIONS on UK network infrastructure expansion

batfastad
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Coat

Peppa

In the immortal words of Mr Bull... "We're digging up the road!"

An in-joke for Peppa Pig afficionados/sufferers there. Please don't hate me.

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batfastad
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Agree with this.

Worked at a small business on a business park for a number of years and being on the ar$e end of town the ADSL was terrible. All the residential cabinets along the main road had been deployed in the first wave of FTTC rollout. But absolutely no effort to provide anything more than ADSL to businesses on the business park. The only option was leased line/ethernet connections which started off at £1k+ per month, they just didn't have the budget for that.

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Free WiFi coming to UK trains ... in two years

batfastad
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Priorities

Well that sounds like it will make fares cheaper so a +1 from me. Waiddaminute!

Since public transport is clearly aimed at the luxury travel market these days, I would expect very decent connection speeds.

When East Coast GNER National Express (or whatever they're called this week) say on-board wifi what they mean is a bunch of 3G/4G dongles bonded together across the length of the train. Not that it matters. I'd rather use my own bandwidth from my phone/whatever device, than a connection shared amongst a carriage or 12.

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At the third beep, the Atomic Clock will be 60 ... imprecisely

batfastad
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Re: Another DAB "put-down" !!

My DAB radio sounds like a potato. Underwater. And needs a dedicated landfill site for the batteries it eats. And has a mass of at least 500g.

Until it doesn't, DAB is dead to me.

Whereas my long wave portable Roberts radio can achieve similar potato-like sound quality for a whole winter cricket test match series, all on a single pair of AAAs.

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Brit Linux distro CrunchBang calls it quits

batfastad
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Almost

The few times I tried #! over the years I liked it but just couldn't use it medium-term. Unfortunately openbox just didn't fit for the way I prefer to work... not being able to use the desktop annoys me and unfortunately seems to be trendy and like so hot right now. Also Debian always has Iceweasel instead of Firefox, which I realise is basically the same thing, but it's just something else I had to faff with on a re-install. For some reason my Lenovo ThinkPad (with a nasty AMD Neo X2 CPU/chipset) was pretty unstable... wifi sporadically not working, random freezes and failing to boot etc. I know I know, ask for a refund, fix it yourself etc.

I switched to Mint+XFCE a few years ago (now running Xubuntu for a couple of small reasons (Mint totally munging my Firefox profile with gubbins)) and XFCE does the job perfectly. No flair, no needless tinkering every 6 months by some UI committee, massively customisable, and the desktop and UI just stay out of your way... exactly how a desktop environment should be.

Overall it is a shame but there's no reason why the project couldn't live on as an openbox theme or something on Debian. I have massive respect for anyone willing to put so much free time into a project like that and so completely understand when they need to pay some bills or generally get on with life.

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vSphere 6.0 is BADASS. Not that I've played with it or anything. Ahem

batfastad
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2004

I have been transported back to 2004, where web admin interfaces need Flash/ActiveX/Java/Silverlight to function properly. Or have some spectacularly rubbish JavaScript that will only let you in if running Internet Explorer 6.

Cross platform my ar$€. Must do better.

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'Tech' City hasn't got proper broadband and it's like BT doesn't CARE

batfastad
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FAIL

Infrastructure

Considering the tax-payer is giving BT a decent amount of dosh for the FTTC roll-out (apparently ASA rules they can call this "fibre") I presume the tax-payer will then own all this infrastructure and will charge BT Openreach Whoever PLC for using it in the future to recoup the investment. Wait, what?

However in this case I sort of agree with BT. Decent commercial business-grade connections are available throughout central London from many suppliers. If you're a hip startup with no cash, no product to speak of, no sales to speak of and shopping in the residential market, then you have to wait your turn like any other residents. What, hardly any residents in your area?

There are lots of other small businesses and humans you know, outside of lucky lucky London. I live in London with sh*t ADSL and sh*t ADSL is all I need.

I would make the same argument I made about the 'lympics. If anywhere needs the cash spending on infrastructure it's definitely not London. Regardless of what some oik London politician says, in London.

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'Boutique' ISPs: Snub the Big 4 AND get great service

batfastad
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Re: Xilo is hard to beat

+1 for Xilo

Went there for their O2 Wholesale connections after my Be connection was about to be migrated to Sky. Unfortunately O2 Wholesale were sold off so had to migrate to a TT wholesale connection. Not actually noticed any difference and Xilo handled the whole thing really well.

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Scary code of the week: Valve Steam CLEANS Linux PCs (if you're not careful)

batfastad
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Bumblebee

Reminds me of this epic thread on a commit... https://github.com/MrMEEE/bumblebee-Old-and-abbandoned/commit/a047be85247755cdbe0acce6f1dafc8beb84f2ac

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GDS builds UNICORN HERDER, plays with Puppets

batfastad
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rvm use build gem bundle install... ARRRGH!!!

There is some good stuff in there, just a shame so much of it is wow, so hip, much Ruby, amaze! Nothing against the language. But from an operations point of view all my experiences of Ruby have been a complete pain in the backend. Probably different if you run Ubuntu Server Tepid Teabag etc in your enterprise though.

Some more stuff here too https://github.com/alphagov but don't expect it to actually, well, work at all ever.

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ONE in A HUNDRED reported bugs exploited, says Cisco

batfastad
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My Annual Report on Cisco

Well my annual report on Cisco goes something like this... Sell kit that's always full of bugs, so you keep paying for support to get software updates to fix the things that supposedly should have worked in the first place. It's the same report as last year, and the last 10 years before that.

Not that I'm bitter at having wasted most of this week dealing with an interoperability issue between minor release versions of iOS.

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