* Posts by Skoorb

209 posts • joined 25 Jan 2011

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Ditch crappy landlines and start reading Twitter, 999 call centres told

Skoorb

Re: all well and good

You can already send text messages to 999 and have been able to for a few years. But for some reason you are supposed to register your phone first...

http://www.emergencysms.org.uk/

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Windows 10 upgrade ADWARE forces its way on to Windows 7 and 8.1

Skoorb

Re: Thanks for spamming me Microsoft

I'm afraid there are no more service packs - updates will be 'streamed' out as and when - apparently there will be no more versions either...

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There's a BIG problem with Microsoft's VDI rules

Skoorb

Re: Or

Yeah. Actually paying for:

- Redhat or equivalent desktop license (with support)

- Crossover office (so you can run MS office with support)

- MS Office

Ain't exactly cheaper than Windows + Office. Especially for small businesses where you get the Windows licence with the PC.

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Skoorb

For very legacy apps the best solution we have come up with so far is actually to run them on Linux under Wine, then stream them out to the desktop.

You may laugh, but Wine still officially supports 16 bit Windows executables, even under a 64 bit OS install. This way you remain under full support and maintain a working solution. Take a look at this and this.

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Skoorb

Re: I've never been convinced

I have seen VDI (specifically Citrix XenApp) work for a medical patient admin system - it was very useful for things like remote access and access from PCs owned by another organisation. The problem was that all access had to be through VDI (even from locally owned PCs) and that it was hosted off site by CSC on Windown NT; the link bombed out multiple times a day kicking everyone off.

VDI for some cases can be very useful, but you should be wary of making everything VDI, and of hosting off site unless you have very fat, reliable and redundant links. Either way though it is unlikely to be a significant money saver.

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Don’t want a footie-field-size data centre? No problem (or is there?)

Skoorb

Re: Not really surprising

Yeah. Compare it to a SuperMicro offering, with equivalent features (you can normally despec controllers from SuperMicro boxes if you don't need them) and warranty. Probably not quite as much of a cost saving.

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Hyper-convergence? I believe – just not like this

Skoorb

Hyper Converged newness vs Big Iron oldness

El Reg regulaly fetures articles on snazzy new things like hyper convergence (incluuding from the big boys like EMC) and articles on mainframe releases, but never really mixes the two. Any chance of an article giving a comparison between the 'old' way of buying converged infrasctucture and the 'new' way? You have mentioned startups buying the 'old' way as a preference in articles in the past (like this), so there must be something in it.

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Unisys looks to ‘streamline’ as losses increase, sales fall

Skoorb

Re: Bah!

Do their mainframes natively support TCP/IP and new fangled languages like C++ yet?

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Tesco broadband goes TITSUP, world keeps turning on wobbly-wheeled trolley

Skoorb

Re: Dont Worry Tesco users

Aldi spent a while selling holidays in Eastern Europe on the cheap for some reason, before they realised that was bizarre and stopped.

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Skoorb

Ye olde Tesco Broadband (tesco.net) used to be NTL over BTw Datastream rebranded. They then moved supplier after Openreach came into being and Datastream started to be replaced by WBC (also NTL subcontracted its ADSL contracts out to Fujitsu).

Tesco then changed wholesale supplier, and are now kicking the whole shebang off to TalkTalk.

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Is hyper-convergence a good thing? Ask a mini computer veteran

Skoorb

Re: In my day sonny,

It's a fair point. IBM's Mainframe deep discount pricing if you run Linux only is rather attractive - and can do more (with arguably better support) than most of EMC's new offerings.

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Sick of Chrome vs Firefox? Check out these 3 NEW browsers

Skoorb

Re: New browsers pop up all the time.

One of the good things about the new Firefox Dev edition is that you can (finally) get a version compiled for 64 bit Windows like Pale Moon is, with the addons working. Give it a shot.

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Virgin Media to splurge BEELLIONS on UK network infrastructure expansion

Skoorb

Re: Innovating...

IPv6 is in the works and rollout should commence this year - see Virgin Media's talk at an IET conference last year at http://tv.theiet.org/channels/news/40805.cfm or the slides only at http://www.ipv6.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/VM-IPv6-council-presentation.pdf.

Details from other major providers, like BT, Sky and Janet are at http://www.ipv6.org.uk/2014/11/20/ipv6-council-meeting-oct2014/.

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Care.data refuseniks will be DENIED CANCER SCREENING invites

Skoorb

Re: Nothing wrong here

If you have already been referred to a screening programme that moved to using the new automated extract your data will stay there, but just as it was before migration, so you will still be invited, but if you move or die you will continue to be invited at your old address, and any new people will not appear on the automated extract so may be missed unless a manual audit is completed by the local team.

At the moment this only affects bowel screening, but the Diabetic Eye Screening programme is next on the list to move to a GPES extract through a system called GP2DRS.

This has been known about for ages by some people(I in fact posted this warning on this very forum way back) but unfortunately it has taken until now for the HSCIC to finally realise.

:-/

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BAN email footers – they WASTE my INK, wails Ctrl+P MP

Skoorb

Re: HEAR HEAR!!!

I personally love the ones that say that the sender cannot enter into a contact or make any representation on behalf of the company they work for. Stuck on the bottom of a purchase order email from their procurement department...

Great stuff there.

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Healthcare: Look anywhere you like for answers, just not the US

Skoorb

Re: Thoughts

That's not the clerical staff, but the (relatively) new idea of "Referral Management". File on 4 have an interesting episode on it. Broadly speaking, if you have a dodgy knee your referral will be "managed" to see if the cheaper physiotherapy will do enough to make you happy and only if that fails will you be passed up to an expensive Orthopedic surgeon. It is possible to get around this by the referral meeting criteria to not go to physiotherapy, but GPs tend not to push for that in most cases.

A good example is when a provider gets a set amount (say £400 million) to provide all Musculoskeletal services, so they have an incentive to not let people to to surgery, as they lose money. Saves the NHS money (improves efficiency), but may annoy some patients. Have a listen to the File on 4 episode, it's really interesting.

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Skoorb

Re: Good question

Well, sort of. You might be subsidising people in Newcastle, but the NHS is now a devolved matter, so the NHS in Scotland, Wales, NI and England are totally separate. They don't even have NHS numbers in Scotland and in NI it's all run by Social Services!

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UK.gov STILL won't pop a cap on stolen mobile bills

Skoorb

Re: SIM code lock

There is one rather annoying problem with SIM card pins; that you only have three attempts to enter it before the SIM card locks itself down and you need a PUK code from your network.

If you have an annoying 'friend' who decides it would be fun to mis-enter your PIN three times then you cannot use your phone again without your network giving you a PUK code or posting you a new SIM. Getting a PUK code out of your network can be harder than you think as well; not all of them let you view it online, you have to go through telephone customer service and get them to send it out.

Bah!

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UK's non-emergency police and NHS Vodafone systems go titsup NATIONWIDE

Skoorb

Well, it's a bit more complicated for 111 and 101. Depending where you are in the country (which can be down to which London Borough you are currently in, only a few square miles) the 111 call needs to be routed to a different provider (111 is technically commissioned locally by CCGs for some reason, it's only 'national' in Scotland).

In this case, they activated a (version of) the backup plan, slammed all 111 calls through to the Scottish service, where a recorded message told you (in a scottish accent) to call the national backup number operated by the HSCIC at 0300 020 0155.

Luckily, the 999 system is much more resilient, and (as of this year) Vodafone (the ex Cable and Wireless bit) are no longer providing the Operator Assistance Centres that handle and route the calls.

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Pharmacist caught spying on friends' med records fined £1,000

Skoorb

Re: We can breathe easy then

Believe it or not digitization of records has actually helped auditability. When I worked in a hospital, I could go to the records library and pull any record at any time; all I needed to do was trace it out somewhere. With digital records every time someone looks at a record, an audit trail is recorded. Not just "where the paper record should physically be".

It can be quite hard sometimes to avoid seeing records for someone you know. Chances are you know someone who is diabetic, so if you work in the local diabetes service at some point you are going to be looking at a letter and think "hang about, I recognise this guy". Likewise, if you work in a hospital and are referred in, if you know anyone in the appointments team they are going to be handling your referral. There is not much you can do about this type of "correct" access; locking records down is only done exceptionally (the fact that someone is diabetic is relevant if they see an eye surgeon about a cataract for example). So, everyone from the clerk upwards gets training to act in a professional manner, and you make a silent audit trail of every access and change so that if someone does act incorrectly, you can discipline them for it after the fact; as well as a fine you are almost certainly going to lose your job in cases like this, and if you are a professional, possibly your licence to practice.

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Right, suits off: Windows 10 preview Internet Explorer is here

Skoorb

Re: biiig problem...

Most of the NHS can't move off IE8 because of the required smartcard support provided by a modified client and load of dodgy Java applets.

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IBM goes gunning for Intel with Nvidia GPU-charged Power8 servers

Skoorb

But when will someone (especially not IBM) actually let you buy an OpenPOWER system?

One of the points was to make it cheaper to get POWER systems actually into your datacentre, especially on a large scale. There is still no announcement about actually getting some lower cost POWER boxes from anyone.

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Xen sticks pin in bug behind Rackspace GLOBAL CLOUD REBOOT

Skoorb

I can see why you would simply patch the VM

When the alternative (switching to PV) involves reinstalling and reconfiguring the guest OSs, loses you access to the CPUs virtualisation acceleration circuitry and stops you being able to use Windows.

But I thought Xen had live migration (like vMotion)? If so why is everyone terminating their guest OSs?

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Ellison: Sparc M7 is Oracle's most important silicon EVER

Skoorb

Re: Nice

Yeah. It's gonna be pricy.

If you were going to spec a brand new database system tomorrow it's quite hard to justify Oracle (or IBM for that matter) with their pricing.

Not impossible mind, but if they keep it up it may well be unless you are in the Fortune 100.

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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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