* Posts by Cpt Blue Bear

305 posts • joined 2 Aug 2010

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YouTube skiddie busted for hacking Country Liberal Party

Cpt Blue Bear

...it's crazy. No its cheap.

Sigh.

Political parties in this country, for all the massive donations they receive, are loath to spend money on real stuff. You can judge this by the quality of the photos used on election posters (which are cable tied to every vertical object right now) - clearly taken by friends, family or if by a professional one who's just found out the sitter expects not to pay for it as a contribution to the cause. I've experienced it first hand from our state conservative party (self styled as the party of small business to add surrealism to the experience) and can well imaging the feelings of a small developer who thought he'd landed a lucrative job for an influential client.

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Database man flown to Hong Kong to install forgotten patch spends week in pub

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Welly

Small planes? Like 747s...

I remember standing on the "observation deck" trying to smoke a cigarette as an Air New Zealand (I think) jumbo came in with its nose at what looked like 30 degrees into the crosswind...

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Cpt Blue Bear

Ah, Paris

The Sister-in-Law works for the Oz tentacle of a formerly Danish (now owned by Spaniards, I believe) agricultural machinery manufacturer. Her boss is not able to attend the annual "foreign subsidiaries" meeting in the mother country, so she gets deputised and sent along with the CFO halfway around the world in his place. During the meeting a certain volcano in Iceland goes foom! and grounds all air traffic. She got as far as Charles de Gaul airport before finding out.

Cue frantic emails and phone calls trying to work out how to get her home. Various suggestions are made and abandoned because, basically there are half a million people in the immeadiate vicinity all trying to do the same thing. In the end the French CEO rang to say she should use his apartment in the 16th Arrondissment until further notice. Just get a taxi and show up, he'd let the caretaker know to expect her...

Oh, and pay for anything she needed on the company credit card - the usual limits had been lifted.

So there she was: trapped in Paris in April on the company dime. Life is tough for some.

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Walmart sues Visa for being too lax with protecting chip cards

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Zip code for non-US cards

"Or carry cash and use that."

That's the best advice. When in the USA I rapidly learnt to keep my foreign credit cards (including the company Amex) for big hotels and the like where they were used to such exotic things.

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Telstra being paid to fix Telstra's network for NBN – AGAIN

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: How Corrupt Can It Get

Actually its worse than that: we bought a shitty broken down network for billions that our parents paid to build before the current owner was privatised.

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Yelp minimum wage row shines spotlight on … broke, fired employee

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: All me self-centered...

"Worked in one as well. I wouldn't be too sure about tenure of IT."

Here in Oz IT turnover seems to be about 12 months. That's because the IT staff generally have an escape route and the job is seen as either stop gap or resume filler. Mind you, more than 2 years working at a call centre is seen as a red flag on a CV in many HR departments - like still working at Mcdonalds after you are 25.

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Solution to tech bros' disgust of SF homeless people launched

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Yes, but HOW exactly?

"I would hate to visit the new Apple Campus, only to be greeted by a talking shrub."

Have you been into an Apple Store (tm)? Talking shrub is a pretty good description.

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Send tortuous stand-up ‘nine-thirty’ meetings back to the dark ages

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: "giant aquarium"

"The kind of meeting I hated most, is the one they fly you out there for."

I have developed a simple defense against this this form of time wasting: if you want me in to attend a meeting on the other side of the country you will fly me business class. Meeting is at 9:30? Fine, you can fly me in the afternoon before, stick me in a convenient hotel and organise some form of transport to have me there on time.

Don't want to do those things? Then you don't need me in that meeting enough.

It may make me sound like a cunt but better that is a small price to pay. An unexpected upside is you get treated with a strange level of respect by people who would treat you like dirt if you showed up in cab fresh off the redeye.

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When asked 'What's a .CNT file?' there's a polite way to answer

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Planes taking off

You found the key that got the idea across. I had a receptionist who's written instructions for scanning visitor IDs had the first line:

1. click on the big red bear

She was far too sweet to see the Ifanview icon as squashed cat...

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Cpt Blue Bear

I love these stories, it shows what a nasty, immature disfunctional bunch we are.

Back when I ran Helldesk , a mercifully brief contract covering for a mate who'd gone on to better things, I'd have written "PC" up for being a lazy .CNT and added him to my mental list of people to get rid of at the first opportunity.

Working the tech support phone you are the face of the company. You are also there to fucking help people (hint: the clue is in the name). The people calling need help and for many of them you are the only lifeline they have. They are probably already stressed enough from having to listen to our shitty hold music for ten minutes and they don't need you being a smartarse. It costs nothing to be helpful - even if that just means, in this case, working out that the file has gone missing and the caller needs to talk to someone else (bonus points for pointing him in the right direction) - and the whole company looks good and I get to add another successful resolution to our numbers. Enough of the latter (but not so many that the baseline gets pushed up, please) and we all get a bonus at the end of the year.

If you can't manage that then you should be looking for another line of work. Mocking people who are unfortunate enough to be in the position of relying on technology which is, to them, little short of black magic, says more about our insecurity than their ignorance.

OK, having said all that, the bloke I took over running that support desk from went on to run internal training. It was around the time that PCs were being dumped on C-level desks and I suspect someone in the company thought that if they could teach executives read and answer their own email then they could sack a few secretaries and PAs. My mate was the guy who did the teaching and his best story was the CFO who had got it into his head that you couldn't lift the mouse off the desk. Cue "click on blah", "it won't reach", etc.

I also don't get the calling people "sir" thing. I've never done it and never had it done to me. If someone on tech support did so, I'd probably assume they were taking the piss and tell them that the call will go a lot smoother is they drop the condescension. Every time I see it in story about a support call, it makes me think the story is made up by some 15 year old geek working as a junior salesman at whatever big box consumer electronics store blights your region.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Stupid customers

"Yes Sir. Blocking the SMTP port is a service we offer as standard to all our customers.

Er.. a lot of (if not most) ISPs do indeed block outgoing port 25 for any mail server other than their own. Sounds like the user may have been more clued up than the tech support on this occasion."

Its petty much SOP here in Oz since email viruses became common. The exchange is perfectly reasonable - it sounds like both user and tech support are more clued up than the OP :-)

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Ex-TalkTalker TalkTalks: Records portal had shared password. It was 4 years old

Cpt Blue Bear

I've come across this twice. Its the result of using an off-the-shelf solution and being too cheap to customise it.

The second case was slightly more complex: they picked the cheapest quote and then got upset when the vendor submited an extra bill for "variations" that weren't explicitly part of the original quote. The vendor put them on the bottom of their priority list, I presume on the basis that paying customers come first and this job wasn't profitable. In the end they got sued by the supplier for non-payment. The vendor made a loss and they ended up with a shitty system that only partially did what they needed.

But I digress, the result was a number of mandatory fields that are inappropriate or pointless. The solution we suggested was to fill them in with standard but nonsense data. If it got "lost" or "stolen" at least it would raise an instant red flag when someone tried to use it.

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AdBlock Plus, websites draft peace deal so ads can bypass blockade

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Firefox 44.0 upgrade kills adblocker and Google

Hmmm, just checked and I'm running FF44.0 with ABP. My existing plug-ins are unmolested and Google is still my default search engine.

I think you may have bigger issues than Firefox, mate.

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Telstra dominates NBN retail, but less than you might think

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: There's more to it than that (in my experience)

"Certainly I have never heard of such a thing before"

I'm guessing your experience is purely with existing individual domestic sites then. The OP is talking about fibre-to-the-block / basement / some other word starting with B and meaning the site rather than premises.

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There's an epidemic of idiots who can't find power switches

Cpt Blue Bear

@Joe User

Let me guess: you buy the cheapest? I worked hard to keep my system builders on the straight and narrow, make sure they know what I expect and shouldn't have to ask for and that there will be hell to pay if they mess me around. I really don't miss that end of this business.

You seem to expect more than brain-dead monkeys when you pay peanuts. Anyway, you shouldn't be fixing a brand-new computer, you just warranty the bastard.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Batteries?

Heh, heh, heh. Spot the people who've never worked minimum wage at a thankless task for management who regard any second you aren't flat out as time wasting and treat you like shit.

I built PCs for six months or so after leaving uni. It wasn't a bad job on the whole - the pay was crap but the hours were flexible, conditions better than picking fruit in winter and the warehouse manager let me park my motorbike inside the roller door where it was safe and dry. I don't recall ever knowingly sending out a dud machine but one did go out with quite a lot of my blood on the inside of the case. A "colleague" also send a Windows 3.1 machine out with the high score table in Minesweeper full of near unbeatable scores.

Six months after I left, the company founder cashed out to a national level play (since gone bust) and things went down the toilet fast. A year later I heard exactly the Phuzz's sort of stories about their build quality, and worse.

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At least 10 major loyalty card schemes compromised in industry-wide scam

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: I feel left out (@heyrick)

They don't "double" the price "because they are local", their costs are higher because they lack the leverage to beat down their suppliers, landlords and tax authorities. They also lack alternative revenue streams such as selling shelf space and position*

* It was a badly kept secret that Coles (one of Oz's two big chains) made more money selling shelf space to the local Coca Cola licensee than selling their product.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: I feel left out

"" My last microwave was "free" with loyalty points,"

Tesco Clubcard Points have paid for three holidays in France, one in Spain and paid for RAC breakdown cover for the last half decade. Done right loyalty points can be worthwhile."

Once again, no they didn't - you paid for those things with points. You gave Tesco an interest free loan of, if points values are anything like here in Oz, 1% of your spend with them and they repaid it in company scrip.

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Let's shut down the internet: Republicans vacate their mind bowels

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Conservative = stupid

No, I have to disagree: Conservative = frightened.

I have yet to work out if people are frightened because they are conservative or conservative because they are frightened. Like much of life, I suspect its both.

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Turnbull's 'ideas boom' plan recycles existing ideas

Cpt Blue Bear

Teachers lacking training - now there's a novelty

"Which is remarkable, because as we've often reported, Australia's teachers recognise that the Digital Technologies curriculum is a good idea, but point out they just haven't been trained to deliver it."

Had a conversation with a mate's missus over the weekend - she's a primary school teacher.

"I'm teaching coding on Monday"

"What will you be using?"

"No idea. Its going to be a debarcle".

Now she's seriously smart and has a general interest but absolutely no training or support.

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BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Wrecked Lotus

They're still makin' 'em, mate. Besides, if they don't end up wrecked you aren't driving them right.

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Australian cops rush to stop 2AM murder of … a spider

Cpt Blue Bear

"Should have gone for the thong (australian flip flop) instead."

I recently saw a news report that redbacks have colonised Japan - probably arriving on Aussie fruit. That'll teach the buggers for buying up all our prawns and crayfish.

Anway, mild panic has ensued as the Japanese are not accustomed to dealing with aggressive and highly venomous wildlife. A mate suggested we send them a container of left thongs labelled "Redback Spider Control Devices".

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Uber Australia is broke: 'We don't pay tax because we don't generate revenue'

Cpt Blue Bear

Reading comprehension

The other nine occurrences in the story might also be considered a clue.

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Lawyers use anti-piracy law to get website blocked over corporate ID brouhaha

Cpt Blue Bear

The DCMA does not apply as this is in Australia.

I'd have let it slide, this the third story I've read in a row where at least one commentard has been unable to work out what country the story relates to. In this case its only mentioned thirteen times...

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NewEgg cracks open Australian shipping scheme

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Bit of a worry

Nah, its just ignorance and hurbis. Its pretty common for US companies to try these things on when they open up OS (I'm looking at you, Apple). They'll probably get away with it for a few months until the complaints to the ACCC result in a nasty letter then they'll quietly drop their returns policy.

As for manufacturers' warranties, they only get away with what you let them. Retailers are required by law to replace or refund here, they cannot legally duck their responsibilities so don't let them.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: They appear cheaper

"Standard builds"? WTF are you doing at a retailer if you are building in volume? You should be talking to a disty if you're buying volume, Mate.

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Volvo eyes kangaroo detection tech

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: They should check out wombats as well

That's a big wombat mate!

I've always found them pretty easy to spot and avoid 'cause they don't move fast.

True story: I met a bloke who hit a wombat on the Stuart Highway at night. Almighty bang and the car is fishtailing all over because the passenger side front wheel no longer seems to be having any part of steering the car. Or holding it up off the road for that matter. He walks back down the road to see what he hits and finds a mound of bloody fur in the shape of a wombat about 200m back. It moves. He thinks "shit, the poor bastard's still alive" and walks back to the car to get something with which to put it out of its misery. On the way he takes in the skid and scrape marks and thinks to have a look at the damage: front passenger side suspension unit punched vertically through the top of the tower and the bonnet. Now he's angry and heads back to deal retribution with a tyre iron but the wombat is nowhere to be found. A trail leads off into the bush.

That's the point where we found him and gave him a lift to Catherine.

However, they will not flip a car or truck, physics just doesn't work like that outside of Hollywood, bu I'm sure people have rolled cars due a loss of control after hitting the bastards..

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Mobile first? Microsoft decides to kneecap its Android users instead

Cpt Blue Bear

"This is what 'cloud-first' and 'mobile-first' amounts to."

Once all the marketing BS and hype is hosed off, yes. Wasn't it obvious from the start?

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NOxious VW emissions scandal: Car maker warned of cheatware YEARS AGO – reports

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: VW had been cautioned not to rig the tests by its software supplier Bosch

I doubt it.

To stretch your simile, it took a while for the authorities to find the Bosch made weapon used in the robbery and trace it via the serial number to VW. Bosch are saying sure, we sold VW the gun but we told them quite explicitly not to use it to commit any armed robberies.

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Top QLD sex shop cops Cryptowall lock; cops flop as state biz popped

Cpt Blue Bear

"Must be a hell of an exploit to be able to execute code from a preview pane and get out into the wider system."

Nah, all of these things I've seen are just an executable attachment masquerading a document. Ten will get you twenty he opened an attachment named resume.exe or something similar.

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Cpt Blue Bear

"4 words - backup, backup, backup daily!"

And fer Christ's sake don't give users write access to the backup. There are good reasons why all those Unix (and its bastard offspring) systems have a dedicated backup user...

And don't rely on a single copy, keep a historic copy or two. Storage is cheap, a lot cheaper than the ransom.

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Cpt Blue Bear

Time to move to North Queensland and set up as a general tech

"It could be possible to restore from backups but the tech says drives have to be fully formatted otherwise files may be re-encrypted."

Clearly, there aren't decent ones in the area.

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When the IT department is 'just another supplier'

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: You are kidding me

From my recent experience I'll add:

The guy who organised it left six months ago taking all knowledge of and, more importantly, access to the hosting service with him.

The hosting company was bought by another who discovered a disturbing laxness of record keeping at their new aquisition. Both shall remain nameless; the latter at least tried to help...

At least I didn't get rudely awakened at 3am. As a consultant, I got to wander in at a leisurely time and ask all the awkward questions. Sadly, the one question I was not allowed to ask was "what the fuck were you thinking?"

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Cpt Blue Bear

Re: It amazes me that we still have to discuss

As an outside consultant who sees quite a lot of these things, I have to disagree. IT depts are pretty well aligned with business needs - just not the fantasies and current wants of, mostly middle, management, which commonly get mistaken for business needs.

Your sentiment is, however, an article of faith in many places.

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Australia the idiot in the global village, says Geoff Huston

Cpt Blue Bear

All the head scratching comes from misunderstanding the purpose of a meta-data retention scheme. Its not about terrorists or organised crime, its about being able to find and punish whistle blowers and leakers*. The whole farce only makes sense if you bear that in mind.

* You could, I guess, make the case that there are few things that politicians and senior bureaucrats are more terrorised by than having their misdeeds revealed thus those revealing them are terrorists...

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Amazon UK conditions 'exhausting', claims union

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: So where do the Amazon-phobes shop online?

There is plenty of life outside the big chains. As the kids say, "Google is your friend".

"I wouldn't touch ebay either, and "locally" doesn't work because stores on this side of the pond don't stock anything. For example, I've gone to Best Buy for a wired mouse, a hard disk, and a wired ethernet card, and not only have they not had them, I've been laughed at for not wanting wireless."

Everywhere I've been in the last two decades has had a local seller of IT bits and bobs. Generally its a store front with a counter and a photocopied price list (some locked display cabinets if they are feeling a little flash) and staffed by two Chinese, and Indian and a lost looking parkeha. Replace the Chinese with Vietnamese, Koreans or Filipinos depending on continent but the other two seem universal. The trick is to find them 'cause they generally don't don't advertise and they go where the rents are cheap. Find out where the local gamers buy from.

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'I don't recognise Amazon as a bullying workplace' says Bezos

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: This is exactly the Amazon I know - As a customer

Sadly, in the world of Amazon and massive supermarket chains, your mate is actually the problem. The correct response to being squeezed is not let them. The problem for the publishing industry is that its been a sheltered workshop full of genuinely nice people for a long time and they simply don't have the skills to stand up to the hard men from the likes of Amazon.

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And so it begins... Cleaning up HMRC's £10.7bn Aspire mess

Cpt Blue Bear

Meh, that describes one very common career strategy for climbing a business bureaucracy greasy pole. Its a way to progress beyond the seniority limit implied by the Peter Principle.

I was in a meeting yesterday with a middle aged senior manager who got where he is by never being party to a decision made by less than three people. The theory is, I guess, that if it goes pear shaped he can always claim he was against it all along but out voted by the others. The man could equivocate for his country.

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Netzpolitik spy journo treason case stalls, chief prosecutor told to quit

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Sometimes we have to put bureaucrats in their place

"The English find it necessary to shoot an admiral now and again to encourage the others"

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Cheaper broadband will slow NBN adoption, says Turnbull

Cpt Blue Bear

I really can't see what Turbull's game is these days. I used to think it was to give Abbott and Co the rope to hang themselves with and then step in as leader before the election. The best theory we have now is that he's just wrecking the party in revenge for their stabbing him in the back twice. Maybe he also has an eye out for a directorship or two once he's done.

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Pirates also buy content legally, Australian gov study finds

Cpt Blue Bear

I love getting told that "creatives" (read publishing companies) have the right to get paid for their work. My favourite reply is to look slightly puzzled and say "I didn't realise you were a Marxist".

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Australian carriers try to head off government telco security bill

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: "National Security"

Indeed, every time I see Brandis on TV he looks like a scared rabbit in the headlights. He's clearly been house trained in the Yes, Minister sense by the security services he's supposed to oversee.

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

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: What CIOs say

"I can't believe there are that many corporates still on XP."

There are.

" Those that are left are probably paying for extended support..."

They aren't.

"...or praying that their security procedures are adequate."

Some probably are. Others just stumble on blindly. Most just apply sensible security procedures and get on with business.

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Sixty-five THOUSAND Range Rovers recalled over DOOR software glitch

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Car software

"I used to have a Yamaha RD400 which was tuned an inch from being embarrassing"

I miss my RD. Fast, noisy and thoroughly obnoxious when it ran. Infuriating and heart breaking when it didn't, which was about 1 day a week plus Thursdays when there was an R in the month. I chased electrical gremlins around that bike for the whole time I had it. Earthing? Yamaha had heard of it.

In the end it had to go because The Girlfriend hated the pillion seat and having to take a shower after every trip to get rid of the smell of burnt two stroke. I sold it to a mate for whom it performed faultlessly until the engine seized one night on a wet roundabout and dumped his brother in the gutter breaking his forearm. Treacherous bastard things, two strokes...

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Cpt Blue Bear

Meh, the fact that every time we go four wheel driving with someone in a Disco we end up towing the broken Landy is enough for me. Last one did the transfer case climbing out of a creek bed.

At least they don't catch fire like Jeeps.

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Evil computers sense you’re in a hurry and mess with your head

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: @Alistair Dabbs, re Charities.

I got that "we thought you might do it as a donation" BS from our local mainstream conservative party a few years back. I expressed surprise as I thought they were the party for of all business great and small, free enterprise, etc. I added that I was reasonably sure I saw a poster to that effect around the time of the previous state election. I further asked if their receptionist worked for free or if the alleged office manager I was speaking to (turned out she was the daughter of one of the higher ups) donated her time. Finally I asked if the owner of the rather fine and prominent building they occupied donated the rent (this would turn into a bit of a scandal over undeclared party funding when said landlord decided he'd rather have the cash). She had the good grace to look embarrassed, but not sufficient write me a cheque.

It took nine months to get a bill for just over a grand paid and I learnt why the bloke who passed me the job did so...

By contrast, the Freemason's Foundation and the Transport Workers' Union not only paid on time but said thank you.

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Wi-Fi Alliance ushers in new era of intrusive apps

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: > location-based ads remain a disappointment

Live in SA, I presume he's offering 50% off the black market price he was charging yesterday.

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Epic Games, Epic Fail: Forumers' info blown into dust by hack

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: Sigh

Security is straightforward (I'm so glad you didn't say simple or easy, cheers!) if its a consideration from the start and there's no interference from management or marketing types with silly ideas.

Let's take this case: a forum for a game. What do we actually need? A username, an email and a password. The first two need to be stored and used but the last can be hashed so even if it leaks its no use anywhere else. Simple, understood and easy to implement.

Then someone from legal points out that you need to confirm an age to comply with something or other. Note that the age doesn't have to be real, just what the user says they are 'cause this is strictly for compliance and arse covering purposes not actual child protection or anything like that. So we start collecting birth dates, flag user as legal or not and dump the original data.

Then someone from marketing has the genius idea that that data would be useful. I've never seen a compelling case beyond "personalisation" by sending an automated happy birthday message which is about as endearing as any automated greeting. So now we have personal information we have to store and the slippery slope begins. Before you know it you are collecting names, addresses, mother's maiden name and inside leg measurement and all on a system that was never intended to store anything confidential.

Been there, wrote the post mortem after it went tits up.

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Apple Watch sales in death dive after mega launch, claims study

Cpt Blue Bear

No the correct response is to say "Hey! Nice watch, what is it?" and when he swells with pride and tells you respond with a disappointed "oh" as if you thought it might have been something interesting but it turned out to be extremely mundane and not a little tacky. Then ignore him. Three of four such swift kicks in his fragile ego should send him back to his room to beat his wife in frustration.

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'The server broke and so did my back on the flight to fix it'

Cpt Blue Bear

Re: The trouble with backs

I had one of those once.

Right up to the afternoon he slipped on the stairs* and landed on his coccyx on the edge of a tread. The poor bastard never walked quite the same and watching him get up from a meeting room chair after half an hour was traumatic. The following few months were interesting as by mid-afternoon he was usually out of his tree on codeine.

The upside was you only had to start doing lower back stretches to get sent for a break and anything up to three days sick leave (the maximum he could authorise) got waived through as long as it was back related.

* I swear, officer, I was no where near at the time.

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