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* Posts by Skoorb

184 posts • joined 25 Jan 2011

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Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome

Skoorb

Not a bad idea actually

I've noticed the same thing; rediculous RAM usage on desktop systems and have had another look at Firefox as a result.

Firefox seems to have improved from a few years ago, and most of the same add ons as in Chrome seem to be readily avaliable as well if you are after them.

In terms of this article though, Mozilla currently only release a 64 bit version on Linux, though someone has forked Windoes Firefox and compiled it for 64 bit, with pretty decent results (as long as you are using an Intel processor) https://www.waterfoxproject.org/.

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NeoPost: This is how you DON'T do PIN security

Skoorb

Re: Errr....

Yup. And then go use someone like TNT Post or one of the other 11 large postal operators, now that we live with a fully deregulated postal market.

If you are too small for you to be worth their while, Hybrid Mail and couriers like CollectPlus and MyHermes for the parcels are worth looking into.

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Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?

Skoorb

Re: ha

And if you go for something like EnterpriseDB's version of PostGres, you really do get the large clustering performance and the like. If you don't get Oracle's education or non-profit discounts it can blow them out of the water on overall price.

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Opera launches public beta of data-saving app

Skoorb

Re: Weird

Yeah. This one sounds a bit like a mobile version of the old google Web Accelerator, which subsequently became mobile only with Google's Data Compression Proxy.

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GPs slam NHS England for poor publicity of data grab plan

Skoorb

" "Red" data, which is for front line emergency care (i.e. if you're having a major op in a Bupa hospital or something)."

Bupa will not get a damn thing that falls under "Red" data, even if you go into cardiac arrest in one of their hospitals; care.data is not for front line care at all.

Read http://www.england.nhs.uk/2014/01/15/geraint-lewis/ or ring 0300 456 3531 and ask specific questions (like "will the police get my data"; wait for the stunned silence when they can't quite decide if you are being serious or not).

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BBC, ITV gang up on YouView with 'FreeView Connect'

Skoorb

Of course you can get a free one and then change broadband providers; you just have to remember that pesky minimum term contract termination fee for your broadband...

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'Maybe we haven't been clear enough about med records opt-out', admits NHS data boss

Skoorb

Re: Junk Mail

This is where it gets difficult; many providers of NHS care are in fact private companies, or the NHS uses private companies or charities to perform research; Dr Foster are a great example of this.

You can stop information leaving the Health and Social Care Information Centre, which is closest to what you mean. This means that information related to you or your care should not get passed outside the organisation responsible for NHS statistics and information; regardless of whether it goes to an NHS organisation or not. You do this by asking for the following code to be placed on your record at your GP:

‘Dissent from disclosure of personal confidential data by Health and Social Care Information Centre’.

code: Read v2: 9Nu4 or CTV3: XaaVL depending on which system your GP uses.

As I mentioned above, if you want to stop yourself being included in hospital returns (which are nothing new) you also need to ask the relevant NHS Trust(s) or other relevant provider to exclude you as necessary.

In your case, you should probably read the detail at http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/records/healthrecords/Documents/Patient%20FAQs%202014.pdf.

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Skoorb

Re: How about

To opt out of the GP Extraction Service (GPES) you ask your surgery to put the opt out code on your medical record. When GPES comes across a record with that code it skips it and nothing gets pulled out in the first place.

Hospitals (broadly all NHS providers who are not your GP) have been submitting information to this systems forerunner (The Hospital Episode Statistics) for 25 years or so; this is where stats in the news about death rates and waiting times come from. If you want to stop a hospital including you in their returns you need to contact them; the medico-legal department or Customer Care team are a good place to try.

If you are having difficulty ring the helpline on 0300 456 3531.

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NHS website hit by MASSIVE malware security COCKUP

Skoorb

You find this in a heck of a lot of contracts with suppliers to the NHS. Everything is measured in 'working days' or 'business days', so nothing happens at all over weekends, bank holidays, Christmas etc. Even the emergency response times measured in hours seem to stop on a Friday evening.

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Skoorb

reddit

Official response also made on, err, Reddit:

http://www.reddit.com/r/unitedkingdom/comments/1wv91h/nhsuk_compromised_many_pages_are_serving_malware/cf5wcfi

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Valve showers Debian Linux devs with FREE Steam games

Skoorb

Re: Do I see a potential glut of Debian devs in future?

Becoming a full Debian member is hard. The full details are at https://wiki.debian.org/DebianDeveloper, but include (amongst other things) a test of if your philosophical views on free software are up to scratch and compatible with theirs, sponsorship by a current member, agreeing to a social contract, at least six months of significant contributions, and a ton of free time to jump though hoops.

There is a reason that Debian Developers are a bit cliquey.

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BT 118 phone number fee howler lands telco giant with £225k fine

Skoorb

MSE

Have a read of http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/directory-enquiries-free.

118 390 costs 33p per call.

0800 118 3733 is a free version run by the 118 188 people

195 is still totally free if you have a disability or can't use the phone book

If you have a really old mobile phone, wap.thephonebook.com is still running!

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Optical Express 'ruined my life' attack site wins Nominet takedown battle

Skoorb

Re: The whole industry is ripe for investigation

If you really want some sort of surgical refractive visions correction, whether that be from a laser or from swapping your lens out with a plastic one (see warnings above) then at the very least look at the private wings of NHS eye hospitals - they tend to be more 'open' about what they are doing and why, and have a much greater level of Clinical Governance overseeing everything.

Both Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital will take private patients on like this , and they are two of the leading eye hospitals in Europe

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NHS carelessly slings out care.data plans to 26.5 million Brits

Skoorb

Re: More details

Not quite... see http://www.hscic.gov.uk/media/12604/Diabetic-Retinopathy-Screening---Customer-Requirement-Summary/pdf/GP2DRS_-_Customer_Requirement_Summary_-_August_2013_(NIC-154590-YG6QH).pdf for the full details of the Diabetic Eye Screening extraction though GPES (part of care.data); specifically you want Appendix C onwards (page 28) for details of all the consent read codes and data extracted.

If you are interested in the specific Information Governance, Confidentiality and Consent details for the specific example, they can be found at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/media/12606/Diabetic-Retinopathy-Screening---Information-Governance-Assessment/pdf/GP2DRS_-_HSCIC_Information_Governance_Assessment_-_August_2013_(NIC-154590-YG6QH).pdf (but note that it is 12 pages long...)

To be perfectly clear to people who know the specifics, the Diabetic Eye Screening programme is a non-mandatory request made under section 255, so opt out is possible if a GP practice records certain opt-out codes.

To be honest, one of the biggest issues with opt-out that no-one seems to have noticed is that if anyone changes GP surgeries, they may have to opt-out all over again, as even today the automated transfer of records through the GP2GP (part of the old NPfIT) does not cover anywhere near all GP re-registrations - many still require posting printouts around the country. Whilst a dissent code should hold across GP registrations, there are a number of cases where this may not happen and the patient would have no idea.

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Skoorb

More details

If anyone is interested, the official details are at http://www.nhs.uk/caredata with a copy of the leaflet at http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/records/healthrecords/Documents/NHS_Door_drop_26-11-13.pdf.

Details specifically about confidentiality are at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/patientconf.

Or you can ring 0300 456 3531.

Watch out though as if the GP puts all the opt-out read codes on your record some NHS services may start to miss you, like screening programmes, as some are moving to identifying which patients they should be screening though this system. (As an example, the Diabetic Eye Screening programme only screens Diabetics, so needs to know if you have a diabetes code on your record, and if so, your demographic details so they can send you an invitation. If you refuse to let this data make it to them you may miss out on screening - see http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/3514/Diabetic-retinopathy).

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Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

Skoorb

Re: 97% of the population

Ahh, but 'everyone' (who doesn't live at the bottom of a ditch) can get Freesat (from the BBC and ITV) for only £50-£200 for the box and about £90 for the installation, so that's alright then...

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Cheap 64-bit Snapdragon hopes to blow Chinese middle class's SoCs off

Skoorb

Re: BeiDou needed?

Also, BeiDou is fully operational over Chinese soil, all they are doing now is expanding it to cover the rest of the world all the time.

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How UK air traffic control system was caught asleep on the job

Skoorb

I would actually like to know more

Whilst everyone else is going mental about how useless NATS are, I would honestly like to know about what happened, why, what systems are in place to deal with things like this and what changes will be made. Incident response on large critical systems like this always makes for a very interesting case study to improve your own professional practice.

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The only way is Office: UK Parliament to migrate to Microsoft cloud

Skoorb

On somewhat of a side note from the article...

Creating a custom word processor for specialist tasks (as mentioned in the article) is easier than you think.

One of the best examples, created in house cheaply, is ALMA (Automated Letter Management) from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It manages all the clinical correspondence from the doctors, even automatically injecting them into the right part of the electronic notes, and has an additional spell checker covering medical terminology.

Take a look at http://alma.io/ for an example of IT Done Right for Once.

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Consumer disks trump enterprise platters in cloudy reliability study

Skoorb

Re: Enterprise drives are NOT designed to be more reliable

With a better warranty and returns process as well. Also, you are going to struggle finding many consumer SAS drives if you want something that isn't going to flood crap onto your your control plane when it dies, taking your NAS / SAN node down with it (as the SATA protocol is designed to do).

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I thought I was being DDOSed. Turns out I'm not that important...

Skoorb

Action Fraud

FYI the link to Action Fraud is wrong, it should be http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/. It's run by the City of London Police who have overall responsibility for fraud and internet crime and pass (mostly statistics) on to people like the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, other police forces, the NCA and the National Intelligence Machinery. Action Fraud are worth contacting if you have been the victim of any fraud, even if it's just someone making an unauthorised charge on your credit card.

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I want to play with VMs

Skoorb

OpenVZ is another container style solution to have a look at if you have time to read a few wikipedia articles.

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Skoorb

Re: I want to play with VMs

And a Hyper-V is built into Windows 8 Pro if you have it: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/hyper-v-run-virtual-machines. If you want some free basic certifications take a look at http://www.microsoft.com/click/services/Redirect2.ashx?CR_CC=200331171 (if you get it done soon you can take the in person exam for free) or http://www.joshodgers.com/2013/10/06/vmware-certified-associate-data-center-virtualization-cloud-and-workforce-mobility/ for VMWare.

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What does the NHS’s new IT plan really want to extract from us?

Skoorb

Re: How else is the NHS supposed to do this?

Again, to use an example from the article. In Farnham Virgin Healthcare are the provider of Diabetic Eye Screening. In East Anglia it's Health Intelligence ltd.. Oh dear, it looks like private companies may already be getting some data. Likewise, companies like Ramsey Healthcare (own lots of private hospitals) and Specsavers (hearing aids and glasses) do a lot of NHS work.

If the issue is private company involvement in the NHS, it should be taken up as the issue of private companies being allowed to bid for NHS contracts, not used as a complaint to dismantle any kind of data transfer or data sharing programmes.

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Skoorb

How else is the NHS supposed to do this?

It should be pointed out that a lot of 'data sharing' has gone on for many years within the NHS, and is required for it to function.

A couple of examples:

Diabetic Eye Screening. This is referenced in the article. For any screening programme to function it has to know who they should be screening, and where they live so they can send a letter out telling the patient to turn up. Currently that means every GP in the country posting or faxing a form to their local screening programme every time they get a new diabetic patient, the patient moves house, changes their name, dies etc. This is ridiculous, how exactly would anyone suggest that this information gets from the GP to the screening programme if not through automated data transfer? Shall we stick with the faxing of handwritten forms?

The HES, or Hospital Episode Statistics. Hospitals are paid based on their results from treating patients. For example, if a patient is discharged following surgery, and is then readmitted within 28 days, it is assumed that the discharging hospital sent them home too early. The hospital that performed the surgery and discharged them has to pay for the new admission, even if the patient is admitted to another hospital. How exactly is anyone supposed to notice that a patient is readmitted soon after discharge so the first hospital can be penalised without automated data transfer? If we stop this, hospitals can go back to discharging patients too early without worrying about losing money, or it being noticed by the regulator. People will only start to notice when many patients die. The data has to be recorded and checked to keep hospital managers honest.

Just two examples there of problems that cannot be solved by going back to paper records locked in filing cabinets. Does anyone have any idea how to solve them without any sort of data sharing?

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Internet Explorer 11 for Win7 bods: Soz, no HTML5 fun for you

Skoorb

Re: Flash on Android

And Flash was never very well supported on Android anyway - I think it was only ARMv7 chips that they bothered to compile it for.

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Backup software for HDD and Cloud

Skoorb

Re: Two things to consider

You normally get another file everywhere called <FILENAME> (PC NAME'S CONFLICTED COPY YYYY-MM-DD HH-MM-SS).extension or something similar.

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TalkTalk to block nuisance calls with no help AT ALL from Huawei

Skoorb

Unfortunately, it's not technically possible without a lot of faff. You can 'spoof' the CLID with little effort, or simply provide no CLID for a start, so blocking based on a CLID beginning with 00 is no real use. Likewise with modern IP based systems many domestic calls may well be routed through a cable that is outside of the UK's borders, so basing it in what route a call comes from is useless.

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EasyJet website crashes and burns

Skoorb

Re: Hmmm, no website

Yup. I am in the North West near Manchester, Liverpool and Blackpool (if you are desperate) airports. Travelling BA or one of the other big boys quite often means either getting to a London airport by public transport, or a connecting flight somewhere (even if it is just Manchester to Heathrow), so I end up travelling with whoever is cheap and will get me there is a reasonable time from home. Farting around getting to Gatwick, Luton (or even Heathrow) by train from north of London will take most of a day.

This means when going to Canada I can only fly Air Transat, as they are the only airline that offers direct flights from non London airports to Canada; everyone else takes 14 hours to get me to Toronto.

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Look out, world! HP's found a use for Autonomy - rescuing Win XP bods

Skoorb

Re: I wonder...

You mean something like the codes on MS' site here?

There are various ways that MS allows volume licences or OEM licences to continue to work.

I do echo your question about how perpetual licences may or may not continue to be activated after April next year though.

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Engine Yard loads Oracle tech into cloud platform

Skoorb

Well, lets see what Oracle's cloud prices turn out to be compared to everyone else under the sun. Unless they are offering something special I don't see many people jumping to their IaaS at standard Oracle prices.

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How many apps does it take to back up your data?

Skoorb

Heck, Windows has had Volume Shadow Copy built in for well over a decade now, so the software doesn't even need to know, just ask the OS to manage it.

It's a similar situation for POSIX, just ask the OS to manage it for you and copy the blocks you are fed.

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OK, so we paid a bill late, but did BT have to do this?

Skoorb

Re: How to make a big company pay their debts on time

A follow on from above. The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2002 (SI 2002 No 1674) and now the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013 means you can apply interest and penalty payments for late payments, regardless of what you have written in your contract (you cannot 'agree' that these laws do not apply to you).

These laws mean (amongst other things) you can charge interest at 8% over base rate and an additional fixed penalty charge of £40, £70 or £100 (depending on the size of the debt) as well as the 8% over base rate of interest. Note that these laws specifically apply to business to business contracts.

Go read the information here as well. Even if you don't use it, you should know about it to at least protect yourself from other people using it on you if you pay late.

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Skoorb

Re: How to make a big company pay their debts on time

It's not as bad as you might think. Go have a look at a site by Andrews and Arnold (AAISP) at http://www.paylate.co.uk/. It explains how they go about dealing with late payers and how you can too. It's highly effective!

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Tape's NOT dead. WHOMP: This 8.5TB Oracle drive proves it

Skoorb

Re: Magnetic Tape vs Magentic Platter

Or, more to the point, how much would this solution cost compared to doing the same thing with LTO-6? Even if you need more tapes and drives, if Oracle go crazy with the pricing it might not be worth it.

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Skoorb

Re: All day and then some for backup

Also, 68 exabytes in one library? Why would you? You are not going to be able to restore most of that in any reasonable time, and if the room sets on fire you've just lost 68 exabytes in one go.

But my word, 8.5 terabytes on one drive in one night is pretty good going.

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Oracle revs up Sparc M6 chip for seriously big iron

Skoorb

Re: Bandwidth != LAtency

I wonder if the compiler / kernel will be able to attempt to 'intelligently' allocate or shift threads to cores where the other threads that need to 'talk' to the first one are a small number of hops away.

i.e. thread A keeps shoving stuff at thread B, so move A to a core one hop from B.

Whilst very complicated, I wonder if it would be worth the effort.

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Google adds 'Differential Snapshots' to cloud storage

Skoorb

GCE

Has anyone done any Serious Work with Google's new cloud offerings? I would love to know if Google Compute Engine is generally 'better' / easier / more reliable etc than AWS (excluding the higher cost) now that they have both bedded in a bit.

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Amazon's weekend cloud outage highlights EBS problems

Skoorb
Facepalm

Re: One region? What's the big deal?

One of the issues with EBS in certain failures is that the breaking doesn't always work. Sometimes you just get a 100x slowdown one disk, without any 'breaking', until you detect and route around the slowdown. Other times Amazon reports that a disk transaction has been committed, but if you try and read it back you get corrupted data every time you try; indicating a corrupted write in the first place (this is rare, but anyone who has spent much time with any hefty EBS instances will have seen this). So you can end up with corrupted data on both master and slave copies before any of Amazon's stuff actually reports that anything might be wrong, whilst what you have left runs like a drain.

This does not make reliability engineering very easy.

Basically, it's not that EBS fails (you should plan for that as has been mentioned) it's that it sometimes fails in completely unexpected ways that go against the documentation on how it should fail, and you don't necessarily notice that it's gone off on an acid trip until it is too late.

It also doesn't help when multiple availability zones break at the same time, or when the failover takes forever because everyone else is failing over with you.

I should point out that I haven't touched AWS recently, so Amazon may have miraculously fixed all of this, and this latest issue is some unrelated problem.

Any one with more up to date knowledge of AWS care to weigh in?

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UK Post Office admits false accusations after computer system cockup

Skoorb

Re: This is just getting ....

Follow the procedure at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/complaints-procedure or http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/complaints-appeals/how-to-complain/index.htm in writing. Keep escalating along that procedure, keep to the timescales.

The squeakiest wheel gets the grease

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Skoorb

You can

You can FOI the Post Office - it's a public corporation. See http://www.postoffice.co.uk/our-publication-scheme and https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/post_office

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Oracle tunes up Enterprise Manager control freak for 12c database

Skoorb

Could be interesting.

This, with the new 12c database and the Sparc cluster announced last week do look like a very interesting proposition, both from a business and sysadmin perspective.

But I dread to think what the price would be; I have a feeling that Oracle won't want to offer big discounts even if you buy all three with 'premier' support.

Speaking of Oracle support, I understand that the support offered by the Oracle compatible EnterpriseDB version of PostGres is a breath of fresh air; they actually do something to help.

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RBS Mainframe Meltdown: A year on, the fallout is still coming

Skoorb

Re: GreyWolf AC: This wasn't a hardware flaw. This wasn't a mainframe flaw.

There is a fair point about whether a full rip and replace would have been warranted.

Whilst there does come a point at which a system becomes so unwieldy the only option is to bin it, RBS do not feel that the time has come to put themselves through that pain.

As for moving to a more 'standardized' system, Nationwide are having a shot at moving to SAP, and it seems to be sort of on track. Mostly.

Anybody think that moving to SAP would be a better bet for RBS? It seems more like simply swapping to a different kind of masochism to me...

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Easy rip'n'replace storage using cheap kit? Nooooo, wail vendors

Skoorb
Thumb Up

Re: Blame us customers.

Yup! Though some up-start vendors are at least beginning to tackle this. Nexenta are a pretty good example - although they are the software people, they have a list of people who sell fully 'certified' solutions where you have one number to ring for support and a very detailed 26 page list of supported hardware components if you want to do it yourself.

Even with that though there is still a way to go generally in the market before most people would be willing to actually buy one. Would you trust your storage to one of these?

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We gave SQL Server 2012 one year to prove itself: What happened?

Skoorb
Unhappy

Whilst a little extreme, I do get your point. SQL Server is well known for having a really nice suite of management tools, but I was also hoping for some details on the database itself - at least as far as how the latest version compares to, say, Oracle, DB2 or PostGres.

Anybody got any pointers? I've not touched the last two versions of SQL Server at all, but have just been told that I may have to do some 'data quality' and 'migration' work as part of DB being adopted by our organisation.

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If you've bought DRM'd film files from Acetrax, here's the bad news

Skoorb
Unhappy

Re: Don't buy an Xbox One

Unfortunately, yes. This has been happening for a few years now; even the major players who don't go bankrupt are not immune.

For example, Microsoft used to run a service called MSN Music that let you stream and download songs, but when they launched the ill fated Zune, they killed off the old MSN Music, including the DRM servers. You could only listen to anything you had bought on "authorised" devices that you had already played them on. There was no way to move them to another system.

Even better is, as some people discovered, Windows Media DRM is sensitive to the hardware configuration of the system - if you add, change or disable a new piece of hardware (which can sometimes include changing BIOS settings) the DRM system kills itself and requires re-authorisation, which you now cannot get.

All in all a bit of a failure all round.

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Intel's answer to ARM: Customisable x86 chips with HIDDEN POWERS

Skoorb
WTF?

Re: We need fewer registers not more!

Dear lord. The main problem with x86 chips is that they are register starved. How many general purpose registers (GPRs) does x86 have? 6. But the x86_64 chips manage to get as high as 14 GPRs. Whew!

Even 32 bit ARM chips manage to have 16 GPRs for goodness sake. SPARC has 31 and Itanium 128 GPRs.

As any electrical engineer or anyone who has had the misfortune to have to do any Assembly programming will tell you; only having 6 usable registers is a massive pain in the behind.

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Hunt: I'll barcode sick Brits and rip up NHS's paper prescriptions

Skoorb

Re: Too late to opt out?

You can 'opt out' of all sorts of stuff if you want to. See here for SCR.

As for the Big National Database of everyone registered with the NHS:

"There are a small number of patients who feel that the existence of a database containing their contact details may place them at increased risk and may want to have details within their records restricted and flagged.

It is important for healthcare staff who are approached with requests for a patient's record to be flagged to understand and communicate to patients that flagging a record should not be undertaken lightly, because of the potentially significant impact on the ability of the NHS to deliver joined-up healthcare.

Flagging a record as 'sensitive' will mean that local NHS IT systems will be unable to retrieve your address, telecomms details, registered GP Practice and alternative contacts (such as next of kin) from the PDS. The information will still be held nationally, however.

As a patient, if you require your record flagged you should contact your GP. Similarly, if you wish to have a flag removed from your record this should be done through your GP. Further information for healthcare professionals is available on the NHS CFH nww (N3 connection required) site (N3 connection required)." See the HSCIC's site for more information.

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Skoorb
WTF?

I don't understand how this is different from the existing systems that everyone has had repeated hissy fits about then refused to use.

Have a look at The Electronic Prescription Service and Summery Care Record and tell me what the difference is between these and Mr Hunt's plans?

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IT bloke publishes comprehensive maps of CALL CENTRE menu HELL

Skoorb

Re: Ummm...

Well, NHS Direct doesn't even exist anymore in England, and when it did exist it wasn't available in Scotland or NI.

And there are a lot of 'needs an account or phone number to go further so we have no information' as well.

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