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* Posts by AndrueC

2144 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

Bad PUPPY: Undead Windows XP deposits fresh scamware on lawn

AndrueC
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Re: Business as usual

if a bloke walked up to them in a supermarket carpark offering them a deal to make their car go faster they'd know the difference.

I'm not so sure. Con artists have always played on people's trusting/gullible nature.

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BSkyB, CityFibre, TalkTalk pull clear of bigwig BT's bundles – plan to set fibre to York

AndrueC
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An interesting development. They made some noises a year or so ago that suggested they wanted the ability to unbundle BT's FTTC cabinets.I wonder if they are going to try and go down that route or have given up and will roll everything out themselves? It seems a bit silly to build yet more distribution nodes alongside BT's cabinets. Where's Ofcom when you need it to lean on BT and get them to open the cabinet doors for alternate CPs?

Anyway a cautious thumbs up from me.

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Innovation creates instability, you say? BLASPHEMY, you SCUM

AndrueC
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Re: Good article

The point about innovation and change for change sake is on the mark perfectly.

A quarter of a century of software development makes me agree all the way. And so much of it is just old ideas wrapped up in jargon and YetAnotherFramework.

As for train doors not closing the one behind me on this morning's CrossCountry run up to Birmingham did. And to prove how clever it was it kept doing it for five minutes with no-one needing to press the button.

On a related note I have to praise CCR for their ability to only have a working light for my seat on sunny days. It shows a remarkable ability to predict the weather and where I will choose to plonk my arse down. 's a bit annoying though.

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IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?

AndrueC
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Stop

It's the same with software development mostly but as I've found out recently sometimes there can be a seismic shift that takes longer to grasp. This is especially true if it becomes 'formalised' it seems.

In my case after 22 years employment I was cast adrift last September. It was then I encountered WPF. Now I'd heard of it before then but my previous projects had never used it (being either MFC or WinForms depending on age). The shift over to data binding and MV(V)M is a bit mind blowing. I've mostly come to terms with it now but it took a while. Just a little bit too much 'magic' being kept hidden away (supposedly for my own good?).

Another one I came across very recently was 'dependency injection' and had to use some weird framework that seemed designed to hide the truth from you. Then I found a blog that explained it was when you create objects and give them to a new class rather than the new class creating its own objects (usually coupled with an external file that allowed objects to be controlled and linked without recompiling). Oh and look it has all these cool advantages..

Well duh.

It's also amusing to hear how everything I'm catching up on is the ultimate tool that will solve all our problems.

Uh huh.

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How Brit computer maker beat IBM's S/360 - and Soviet spies

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: Sorry: Not impressed with aircraft industry rants

Supplying parts is all well and good buts its not the same as building the final product. When you look at a car , do you think Ford/Audi/BMW/Whatever or Unipart?

So does this mean you consider the Honda Jazz (built in Swindon) to be a British car?

I mean it's fine by me if you do. It's a great car to claim 'ownership' of. It's just that I think you might have a bit of a fight on your hands from some people over such a statement.

As one other commentard has written here - this 'we build the...' is just old fashioned nationalistic crap. It's a big world and a connected world. Yes we can take some pride in our work but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that we are partners with other countries. Together we are stronger.

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AndrueC
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Re: Plus ça change...

Why are these third-rate incompetents allowed to bugger about with things which they don't understand and haven't got a snowball's chance in Hell of ever understanding?

It's called democracy. It's hard to believe but the alternatives actually seem to be worse.

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IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels

AndrueC
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Joke

although he did manage to get a snap of the onscreen code that represented his virtual brain dump.

Friends Come in Boxes. In this case apparently DOS boxes :)

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Lycamobile launches 'unlimited' 4G for £12 a month. Great. Now where can I get a signal?

AndrueC
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Headmaster

Three’s definition of “unlimited” is 25Gb

So about 3GB then? Think you might have a typo there or else Three are being extremely stingy.

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David Cameron defends BT's taxpayer-funded broadband 'monopoly': It's a 'success story'

AndrueC
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Re: 10,000 a week

Still, on the pure broadband, many many companies out there do it cheaper than BT. O2 did it for £12 a month... More bandwidth than BT as well...

Yeah, I muddied the waters a bit in my last reply :(

We have to be a bit careful there. 'BT' in the context of broadband pricing and profitability is three separate divisions each of which often feels the heavy hand of Ofcom. You can compare the costs and service levels of Orange and Infinity but that ought to be kept separate from the profitability of FTTC.

The company that is rolling out FTTC is BTopenreach. They provide a product called GEA (Generic Ethernet Access) that provides an Ethernet connection in the exchange with data from all the cabinets. Another division called BT Wholesale purchase this product and have used it to create a wholesale product. ISPs (including a third BT division called BT Retail) then purchase this and market it as their consumer/business offering.

The amount you or I would pay to buy 'broadband from BT' has no direct bearing on the profitability of rolling out FTTC. So in that sense I shouldn't have mentioned the allowances really as it's two separate issues. BTr's profit margins have nothing to do with BTo or BTw's.

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AndrueC
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Re: 10,000 a week

Also worth noting is that BT would get that investment 4 times over back inside the first year, from each home

Really, based on what exactly? We have the cheapest broadband in the country and profit margins are wafer thin. When you factor in the pressure Ofcom puts on BTw (and BTor) to provide facilities for other CPs I doubt they are 'raking it in'. No-one in the industry is. That's why usage limits, traffic shaping and lousy customer service are rife.

Frankly most of us that follow this stuff are amazed BT could justify doing any kind of national roll-out. They must have negotiated some really long term, low cost loans off the banks. Another factor is that it prolongs the life of BT's copper local loop which is their biggest asset. That may be the only thing that makes it worth their while.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: fudging numbers

Exchange only lines are ignored with no timescale.

Mostly ignored. Some have had cabs installed but yes, EO lines are falling through the gaps. Still in terms of coverage EO lines are a small minority and most are short lines so already have over 15Mb/s.

No the sneaky bit of BT's figures is whether they include cabinets for outlying villages that haven't been enabled in their figures. In the more rural areas that could amount to a sizeable proportion of an Exchange's claimed 'footprint'.

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Nothing's as SCARY as an overly aggressive SOFTWARE PIMP

AndrueC
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Unhappy

Adobe needlessly locked itself into an 18-month upgrade cycle just before the turn of the century, when it exacerbated the process by kludging half its product line into a suite. The result was..

..Acrobat Reader(TM) Icons appearing on my desktop. Possibly the most useless object ever to appear on my desktop.

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Driver drama delays deep desert XP upgrade

AndrueC
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Unhappy

Had a similar problem a couple of months ago. Bought a PC to use when working from home so I went for some el-cheapo jobby on eBuyer, nothing fancy. Installed Windows. Launched Update only to be told that it couldn't contact the servers. Turns out my Win7 disc (freshly downloaded from MSDN) didn't support the mobo's Realtek network hardware.

What is this - the 1990s? Did I install Linux by mistake?

Coming to a new PC near you soon. Dip switches, jumpers and interrupt conflicts.

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'Dads from the Midwest' pull down their email-spaffing LinkedIn plugin

AndrueC
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Re: @dogged LinkedIn are dangerous amateurs

There are a large number of IT workers registered on LinkdIn, and not all of them management.

Yeah. Me for instance. Never got anything useful out of it though which is why my last email address is now blacklisted and an alternative hasn't been provided.

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AndrueC
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Re: LinkedIn are dangerous amateurs

It has your work number as well.

Anyway this may well explain why twice now I've had to blacklist the email address I've given them and issue a new one. Cretins.

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MPs attack BT's 'monopolistic' grip on gov-subsidised £1.2bn rural broadband rollout

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: You're an idiot.

If you're only 100m from the exchange, fibre-to-the-cabinet will make absolutely no difference what-so-ever.

That depends what you mean. If you mean that ADSL2+ at 100m is no better than FTTC then you're wrong. It's most likely that such a line would run considerably faster were it upgraded to FTTC.

However someone that close to the exchange might be on an EO line which means no cabinet in which case they won't be eligible for FTTC. BT have installed cabs in a few such places but by and large no-one really knows how EO lines are going to be dealt with.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: The UK government has completely screwed up...

Sale of Royal Mail? Roll out of rural broadband? Pretty much everything, in fact.

And yet we still have people like one of the earlier commentards demanding that BT (or parts of it) be nationalised to improve the roll-out. Amazing, ain't it?

Truth is no-one but a large monopolistic provider could ever have done what BDUK wanted. The wholesaling requirements were killer. These are areas where everyone will struggle to roll-out an upgrade and then Ofcom (rightly so) insist that the provider offer wholesale access to the network. So all that expense and you aren't even allowed a full return on your efforts. Ofcom and its 'margin squeeze test' were always waiting just round the corner to pounce.

No wonder the only contenders were large corporations with better access to external funding. Even then Fujitsu knew it wouldn't make sense unless it could take the entire pot and when that didn't transpire they backed out. So BT ended up doing it all because, basically, only BT can. Will it be value for money - dunno. Possibly not. But at least it's being done. I'm reasonably sure this was the only way it was ever going to happen and at least BT are a known operator as opposed to Fujitsu. Better the devil you know.

In hindsight - it would have been quicker to just give the money to BT and be done with it. The BDUK oversight and these committees might at least curb BT's worst behaviours.

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It's EE vs Vodafone: 'How good is my signal' study descends into network bunfight

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: your milage may vary

I've been with voda for nearly 10 years now

Yeah. It can take a long time to get them to actually cancel your service when you're done with it.

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AndrueC
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I have given up caring about mobile data and see it as this imaginary thing that people talk about but no-one gets to see or use.

I wouldn't go quite that far but it does seem very hit and miss. I was particularly perplexed recently. I was eating a meal in Coast to Coast in Birmingham near the ICC and wanted to check train times back home. I had three bars and 'H+' showing on the phone - but couldn't get anything to download. As soon as I stepped outside the download woke up.

But yeah my normal experience of browsing on my phone (GS3) is more akin to the days of analogue modems. Slow, unreliable and prone to random stalls.

In fact I just did a test from my office in Brindleyplace. Five bars and 'H+' on the phone. Speed achieved courtesy of Virgin/EE = 1Mb/s down, 1.3Mb/s up. And the graphs look like a silhouette of the Alps.

It all leads me to suspect that the problem isn't reception per se. It's the mast contention/backhaul or core networks.

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The Reg's desert XP-ocalypse aversion plan revealed

AndrueC
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Re: TeamViewer

pre-install TeamViewer (or similar) on the devices

Windows 7 comes with Windows Remote Assistance out-of-the-box. It only takes a few clicks and an email to get help.

Oh and to launch it ask them to click the start button and type 'ass' :)

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Microsoft issues less-than-helpful tips to XP holdouts

AndrueC
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Re: Backup XP?

Suggestions folks for a good Windows backup program?

I find that Macrium Reflect is doing a solid job for me. Fairly easy to configure and now I just leave it creating images to a backup drive. It keeps the last three it made. Periodically I swap the SSD on my server and do a test restore.

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EE...K: Why can't I uninstall carrier's sticky 'Free Games' app?

AndrueC
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Not to mention the Samsung account thingy. I had to sign up but have never wanted to use it. It spammed me with suggestions for a while but seems to have stopped. It still periodically requires me to sign in though. It's all just cack and junk but presumably someone uses them otherwise why would Samsung bother?

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ICO decides against probe of Santander email spam scammers

AndrueC
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If anything needs to be blacklisted it can be set to 'no such user' in the sendmail virtaliases file.

I run my own email server and used to that. Then in the new year some git started sending 100kB emails to random addresses at the rate of four or five a minute. Used up something like 20GB of my allowance in a couple of days. Now I've gone back to rejecting them at RCPT.

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

Not the only ones. I blocked my original LinkedIn email a couple of years ago because they leaked it. Then last November I was job hunting so gave them a new one. Last week I got a couple of emails sent to it. It's not likely I'd give it to anyone else by accident since it has the text 'linkedin2' as part of it.

Needless to say I've added that to the blacklist. So that's twice in two or three years. Not the kind of networking I was expecting.

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ISPs failing 13m Brits on broadband speed, claims consumer group

AndrueC
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I can upgrade to fibre (BT), but my speed will drop from 4 Mbs to 2Mbps11

That's unusual. Presumably you're a long way from your cabinet. I have heard that VDSL isn't as good at long distances as ADSL. I'm a bit surprised though - FTTC should give 8Mb/s up to 3km from a PCP and your ADSL speed suggests a 4km line in the first place.

That's a slightly odd arrangement it seems having your PCP so much closer to the exchange than your property. Are you on an outlying settlement eg a farm?

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AndrueC
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Outside of inner cities, fibre is simply not an option available to you

Really? I live in Brackley and we've had FTTC for two years now. I believe the latest figures from Ofcom say that over 70% of UK properties have access to 'fibre broadband'.

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AndrueC
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Re: GigE over Coax

[Cable/coax] is how FTTC works, and hence is capable of faster speeds.

Not quite. Cable is a ring circuit so suffers from every property on a street (or an entire neighbourhood) sharing a single coax cable. Capacity of coax is good but suffers when it's contended, especially on uploading. Uploading relies on TDMS and one thing with another is why cable products generally can't match BT on upload speed.

BT's FTTC is a star network so every termination point has a dedicated cable to the cabinet. Swings and roundabouts.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Service quality needs addressing, yes. AAISP are good at it (within the limitations of BT's framework) but even they struggle to get the right people to sort things out. For most other ISPs it's just an exercise is buck passing. As usual the low cost of the service is a major factor. The margins on residential broadband are so thin that good service is bound to suffer. Then you have the ISP/BTw/BTor split and it's recipe for failure.

But Which? also moaned about speed and wanted a speed guarantee from ISPs for connections. That's a none starter. The only way to guarantee anything is to require an engineer to come out and give a quotation. Even then you can only guarantee the speed to the cabinet or exchange. Maybe to the POP and for LLUOs to the ISP's servers. But that's unhelpful. Guaranteed speed to where you actually want to go is impossible. Those places are nearly always outside your ISP's network so completely beyond their control. An effective speed guarantee is impossible - for exactly the same reason no-one can guarantee the journey time from London to Edinburgh.

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Tornado-chasing stealth Batmobile set to invade killer vortices

AndrueC
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It looks like the latest version of a vehicle that's been around for several years. It features on the reality show Stormchasers.

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GIANT FLESH-EATING DEVIL CHICKENS roamed North Dakota

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: Not original

A domestic pussy cat would be terrifying if it was scaled up

It's been done already :)

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Reporters without Borders confirms, yes, lots of nations are spying on their citizens

AndrueC
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Joke

I <Redacted> thanks.

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UK's CASH POINTS to MISS Windows XP withdrawal date

AndrueC
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Re: Are they running on XP Embedded ?

Those of us "old guys" that grew up coding on 8-bit computers can build real system with very little hardware behind it.

True (and I doff my hat to you for that) but how long does it take you? It's a serious question and I'm not at all trying to denigrate you but I suspect the reason you are in the minority is because your 'modern day' compatriot could build the same thing in less time. It'd need more hardware and resources but that's rarely a problem - they've usually caught up before you've finished the project. Not only in time spent coding but the time required to acquire the required knowledge is an expense. These days the costs tend to be in the wetware/software rather than hardware so for most businesses hand crafted code is just too expensive.

On the plus side of course this all means you probably get paid more than most of us :)

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AndrueC
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Re: Hmm

Maybe they should have thought of that before deciding that it was good idea to use XP as the base for their cash machines.

A while back most were running OS/2.

A blast from the past.

Worth a read that article if only for the amusing gems:

"Already there have been four incidents in which Windows viruses have disrupted networks of cash machines running the Microsoft operating system.

But banking experts say the danger is being overplayed and that the risks of infection and disruption are small."

and

"But IBM will end support for OS/2 in 2006 which is forcing banks to look for alternatives."

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Five unbelievable headlines that claim Tim Berners-Lee 'INVENTED the INTERNET'

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: At least those other publications…

Beat me to it. And I bet not many people off the top of their head know what a petard was and why it was bad to be "hoisted" by it (quotes intentional).

Petard

Probably somewhat worse than shooting yourself in the foot.

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The browser's resized future in a fragmented www world

AndrueC
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I remember accessing it through a somewhat rare configuration of CompuServe and OS/2's WebExplorer and a 9600 USR modem. I liked that browser. The hierarchical history was particularly good.

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AndrueC
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Meh

If you wish to experience the web now, you'll need a special app build for purpose.

Part of me says that's very wrong and is annoyed. The older, wiser, part of me says "what goes around comes around". So we're moving back to dedicated applications for tasks. Meh. Eventually interoperability will matter again and the industry will move back to a generic solution.

It's like processing and storage distribution. Dumb terminals talking to a big server gave way to a PC on every desk. Now we're looking at cloud computing and, yes, the terminals are no longer quite as dumb but it's a similar architecture. Give it another decade or two and everyone will start wanting a really powerful local processing unit with dedicated storage.

By then I'll be retired and my intention is to smirk knowingly while drinking whisky :)

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

AndrueC
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Ack. Better internet connection plus I don't have to sit on a train for an hour and pay £400pcm to get to work. Even better my natural tendency to get up early means I could start work at 7am and be done by 3pm. Or I can spread my work out throughout the day (taking several longer breaks between bouts of work). The latter seems to make me more productive.

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Plusnet shunts blame for dodgy DNS traffic onto customers' routers

AndrueC
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Stop

Re: For me there is a basic question

Why are Plusnet users not using the Plusnet provided routers?

I already had a perfectly capable Billion router (prolly more capable) and didn't fancy reconfiguring everything (I host a couple of servers so need to set up port forwarding). I also didn't want to have to pay £10 p&p (or whatever it was) for my free router.

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AndrueC
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Re: Wan side access to the router

They supplied Thompson devices. Is that still the case?

No, they supply Technicolor devices now :)

But yeah, it's the boxes you mean. Usually functional, nice CLI but the UIs tend to look a bit too 'Fisher Price' for my tastes :)

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Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Windows 9?

Windows 9 since 8 is clearly today's Vista.

It was always thus with Microsoft. You'd almost think they have a development strategy of alternating between pushing the envelope(*) and pissing people off and consolidation. Win8 was always going to be a bit of a lame duck. Win 9 should be pretty good.

MSDOS was the same. 3=good, 4=buggy, 5=good, 6=buggy. 2.0 would be exception to this rule but it was early days. Perhaps they hadn't formulated their strategy at that point.

(*)As far as MS can ever be said to have pushed the envelope.

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Boffins build bendy screen using LEDs just THREE atoms thick

AndrueC
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Joke

The brainiacs were able to harvest single sheets of the material using adhesive tape, a technique pioneered in graphene production.

Is there no limit to what you can do with Duct Tape?

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PM Cameron leaps aboard Internet of Thingies

AndrueC
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Re: beats me...

There were other standards for modems before V90

Yeah, I know. My first modem was a 9600 USR.

But still - I've always remembered that boing, boing. Never found out exactly what it was doing. If you didn't get it it meant the v90 bit had failed and you were stuck on analogue.

Edit: A bit of research and apparently it's part of something called DIL (Digital Impairment Learning). There were different kinds and I'm thinking of the TI chip version:

A blast from the past.

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AndrueC
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Re: beats me...

Screeeeeeech, scriiiiiitch, <pause> boinnnnggggg. Boinnnggggg.

:)

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X marks the... They SAID there was a mystery planet there – NASA

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: A-Ha!

Very convenient for sucking hyperdrives out of passing spaceships.

Beowulf Shaeffer to the rescue!

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Women! You too can be 'cool' and 'fun' if you work in tech!

AndrueC
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Unhappy

In between those two there are hours and hours of

..meetings.

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Brit Bitcoin dev: I lost 'over £200k' when MtGox popped its socks

AndrueC
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Re: "12th most active contributor to the Bitcoin protocol"

Wouldn't it be ironic if the security flaw that lead to this theft were traced back directly to his code...

One thing I learnt early on in my programming career was to tone down the outrage when I found a flaw in a project I was working on. Because sometimes (whispering) the stupid careless prat who caused it is yourself.

The only thing that's changed of late is that now the flaw in someone else' project can sometimes be traced back to my project. That's the ugly side of everything being on a network and SaaS :-/

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AndrueC
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Stop

Re: Disappointed with how naïve the dev is

Hey, I have all this money, let me exchange it for a virtual currency, and for that I get a string of 0 & 1's. That's the proof that I own virtual coins. Now, let me give that string to someone else for safe keeping.

As opposed to what we all do with 'real' currency.

Hey, I have all this money, let me give it to my bank in exchange for some ones and zeros (or maybe some ink marks in a book). That's the proof that I own money.

Of course Bitcoin is a far bigger risk and I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole but all of us trust other people to look after our wealth. Most of us labour under the illusion that banks are 'holding our money for us' when in fact they are taking it from us in exchange for a promise that they'll give us some back if we ask.

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Bitcoin ban row latest: 'Unstable, loved by criminals' Yup, that's the US dollar – Colorado rep

AndrueC
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The Dollar is also backed by some questionable promises. A lot of its value comes from the fact we'd all be screwed if it had no value. One might even argue that it's being exploited by the issuer to gain access to unlimited credit from the rest of the world.

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Hundreds of folks ready to sue Bitcoin exchange MtGox

AndrueC
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Stop

Bringing a class action in an English court? Is that even possible? I seem to recall that our judicial system barely (if at all) supports the concept.

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