* Posts by Keith Langmead

199 posts • joined 8 Mar 2007


Supernovae may explain mass extinctions of marine animals 2.6 million years ago

Keith Langmead

Re: Where is everybody?

"Although the supposed equation that purports to tell you the odds of intelligent life in the universe is horseshit*¹"

You mean the Drake equation - https://www.space.com/25219-drake-equation.html - which in almost 60 years no one's come up with something better?

The equation isn't horseshit, but our ability to populate it with accurate numbers is. So the more that scientists learn about planets etc and are able to improve our knowledge of each part of the equation, the more accurate the result it returns will be. In the case of natural disasters, that's where fl, fi, fc and L come into play.

Official: Voyager 2 is now an interstellar spacecraft

Keith Langmead

Re: Science 50 years old

"Voyagers 1 and 2 are 42 years old."

But there was a technology freeze in 1972, so the tech on them is at least 46 years old.

A little phishing knowledge may be a dangerous thing

Keith Langmead

Knowing what you know vs knowing what you don’t know

There’s a difference between knowing enough about a subject to think you know all about it, and knowing enough to know how little you actually know. I suspect many of us in the industry would admit to thinking we knew it all earlier in our careers based on the limited knowledge we possessed at that time, then as knowledge of subjects increases so does awareness of how much we still have to learn. In several areas of IT where I know a reasonable amount, if you’d asked me to rate my knowledge out of 10 back in the first few years of my career I’d have easily rated myself far higher than I would today. That doesn’t mean I knew more about it back then, rather that while I know more about it I also have a much better idea of the scope of that area and therefore how much more there is for me to learn.

Japanese cyber security minister 'doesn't know what a USB stick is'

Keith Langmead

The assumption that everyone uses a PC

I'm completely onboard with the general shock regarding a minister not knowing something so basic, in a way less as a criticism of him and more against whoever chose to put him into that position. Surely after all this time it must be common knowledge that he doesn't do IT! It would be like appointing someone who didn't know the difference between a cow and a sheep.

"Today any company president uses a PC,"

On that I call BS. I can think of a couple of big President/CEO/MD's who don't use computers at all. They have a secretary/pa, the secretary/pa is quick at dictation and very quick at typing. The secretary/pa has done this for the boss for perhaps 30+ years allowing the boss to focus on his/her job... why would they suddenly now start doing their own typing etc just because computers are more common? Computers are supposed to be make things faster and easier, and if they don't achieve that in a particular situation what's the point of using them. They wouldn't reply to most of the letters written to them personally, so why would it be any different with email?

Astroboffins spot one of the oldest, coolest stars in the universe lurking in the Milky Way

Keith Langmead

Re: Bah!

"I thought stars cooked metals themselves, at least as far down Mr Medeleev's bedsheet as iron."

The original stars only had Hydrogen and helium to burn and then over time via fusion create some of the other elements. My understanding is that only the smaller elements form that way, and it's not until the star dies and explodes that you get the higher numbered elements (including metals above Iron). So now you have a gas cloud containing a much wider variety of elements, so stars that form from that new cloud will contain those, and have more metal within them from day one.

So for instance since gold is only created within a supernova, if you detect it within a star then it must have formed from a cloud created by a previous generation of stars, while if it has none of them (eg metal poor) then it's much older and possibly from an earlier point.

Budget 2018: UK goes it alone on digital sales tax for tech giants

Keith Langmead

Taxes on "profits"

I struggle to see how much of a real difference this will actually make. Excluding money they ferret away to other countries, the main reason as I understand it that the big companies pay very little in the way of corporation tax is that it's based on profit, and companies like Amazon they spend it / reinvest it rather than leave the profit on their books where it's taxable. So how is a new tax which is also based on profits (according to what Hammond said in his speech) going to help? Surely they'll just continue as they do now and still pay very little tax since they still won't "make a profit"?!?

Morrisons supermarket: We're taking payroll leak liability fight to UK Supreme Court

Keith Langmead

Re: I expect to be flamed

"No employee should be able to fully export their payroll data and take it out of the building."

Did you even read the article to the end? It was his job specifically to export that data!

"Skelton, the data thief, was an IT auditor for Morrisons."... "After external auditor KPMG asked for copies of various data including the entire company payroll, Skelton made a private copy of it from an encrypted USB stick."

So not only was he the one tasked with making the copy, the export had been made to an encrypted device which to my mind suggests Morrison's procedures had taken care to protect the data in transit, but he while knowing the details to access that secure drive made the copy from there and not from their systems directly (so avoiding any audit logging they might have in place for tracking mass exports).

Microsoft yanks the document-destroying Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Keith Langmead

Re: Waseem

"-- Greg, Columbia Internet""

Hopefully you know the reference... it's from the User Friendly web comic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_Friendly Greg is Tech Support and Columbia Internet is a fictious company.

The ink's not dry on California'a new net neutrality law and the US govt is already suing

Keith Langmead

Pot, meet kettle

"Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce – the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy… We have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order."

Wonder where they learnt that from... replace interstate with international, and California with USA and you'd pretty much sum up what the USA keep trying to do globally.

Send up a satellite to zap space junk if you want Earth's orbit to be clean, say boffins

Keith Langmead

Re: Proud to be British

IANARS but my understanding is that orbital distance is determined by a combination of the mass of the object and the speed of object. Speed up and it moves out, slow down it moves in. It has nothing to do with where you place the object. So if you simply push an object towards the earth without reducing its speed, as soon as you stop exterting force on it the object will natually move back into its original orbit.

In order to work by pushing downwards, you'd need to push it and hold it at a low enough orbit to burn up and I asusme that would take a lot longer and be far less effiencient.

'This is insane!' FCC commissioner tears into colleagues over failure to stop robocalls

Keith Langmead

I get quite a few to my mobile number, mostly during the day. Generally quite easy to spot and ignore, but I've found during a tough day at work if they call when I'm not busy they can be quite cathartic.

I like to engage with the caller (I mostly get actual calls from humans) and see how long I go before they hang up on me. Polite ones I just waste their time, less polite ones get an unleashing of all the rage I can't let out to customers. I even have a set of notes with good one liners to use since I always struggle to remember them in the heat of the moment. Things like :

"You're a polip on the arsehole of humanity"

"Records, what records? Do you mean the phone book and a magic f**king eight ball?"

"There's only one person who'd had an accident... your mum... 9 months before you were born."

Europe's GDPR, Whois shakeup was supposed to trigger spam tsunami – so, er, where is it?

Keith Langmead

Tracking new domains

"Prior to the implementation of the GDPR, many researchers feared that an increase in spam would be an unintended consequence of the law because security researchers would no longer be able to use Whois information to track new domain registrations and identify potentially bad domains,"

Except of course that they still can even after GDPR! You might not be able to view the contact details for a domain, though as others have pointed out those were commonly obscured previously anyway so of limited use, but the registration, updated and expiry dates are still visible which are surely the only really useful elements for consistently seeing if a domain is new so won't have any reputation.

Everyone screams patch ASAP – but it takes most organizations a month to update their networks

Keith Langmead

Re: Patchy McPatchface

"MS just performs minimal testing on their patches these days before releasing them into the wild and seeing what breaks."

So much this! There was a time when MS actually bothered to test updates, and issues from updates were rare occurances. These days it's a rare month where an update doesn't break something. So is it really suprising given the very real and demonstratable risk of an update breaking things, vs the theoretical and possible risk of a compromise due to not installing it, that people may focus on protecting themselves from the greater and more common risk.

Top Euro court: No, you can't steal images from other websites (too bad a school had to be sued to confirm this little fact)

Keith Langmead

Re: Seems a bit churlish...

"Are you sure about that? For example if I download some music, in theory I am breaking copyright. Fair use doctrine is a grey area"

No it really isn't a grey area in this case. While there's no definitive fair use exemption for copying things for person use in most jurisdictions, there IS a clear exemption in place for educational use. The court even said so as reported in the article!


"the EU legislature provided an option for Member States to provide for exceptions or limits… so long as it is for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching or scientific research and to the extent justified by the non-commercial purpose to be achieved."

It decided that since the presentation was posted on the school website, accessible to any internet user, a line had been crossed.


Keith Langmead

Re: Fair use means fair use!

"If people where being really fair here then it was obviously ok for the kid to use it for educational purposes and then school just used it as an example piece on their website while committing the high crime of not checking with the lawyers before farting. Please tell me how that actually risks the copyright holder going hungry, regardless of his 'rights'?"

As several others have already pointed out, there is fair use for educational purposes, and had the child's work remained within the confines of the school there would have been no issue. The issue is the school deciding to publish a load of material to the internet without any restrictions and without considering what it was they were publishing or whether they had the right to do so.

The risk is in effectively losing your copyright if you discover someone is using it without permission and do nothing about it. So when big megacorp decides to just steal it rather than pay your licencing fee to use it there's a good chance you'll have a much harder time proving injury etc in court, and in some jurisdictions may lose the right entirely.

Nokia scores a $3.5bn deal to inflict 5G on T-Mobile customers

Keith Langmead

Re: Hmmmm funnily enough...

How many years minimum experience in 5G is the recruiter expecting?

Science! Luminescent nanocrystals could lead to multi-PB optical discs

Keith Langmead
Thumb Up

Re: Babylon 5

So glad I wasn't the only one thinking of B5 while reading that! :)

Have I been paid, Sage? Cloudy wage service locks out users

Keith Langmead

Reinstall the cloud perhaps?

Maybe they called their own support team... as anyone who's tried getting support from Sage knows, the standard advise is to uninstall and reinstall Sage. Maybe their poor engineers have spent the last week re-installing their entire cloud setup hoping that will fix the issue! ;)

Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows 7, 8.1 support forums

Keith Langmead

Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

@no_handle_yet (Windows MVP)

Well played, very well played! :) I can only assume the one down vote is from someone who's never frequented the forums... or who requires official sarcasm tags on things.

I can only assume this change will be a net benefit, the useless MSC staff will stop waffling on while providing no useful assistance, and leave it to those who know how to help to provide help.

Ex-staffer of UK.gov dept bags payout after boss blabbed medical info to colleagues

Keith Langmead

Re: I'm in no way defending the guilty here, but....

"What I'm wondering is why a mental ailment falls into the second category? There are campaigns on the go about how we need to be more open in talking about peoples' mental health, and removing the stigma from things like depression.

Is there a secondary issue as to whether the workplace culture in this case was such that the employee felt that they needed to be more secretive?"

Because the employer doesn't get to decide which category it fits into, the employee does. There are indeed loads of campaigns to remove the stigma of mental illness, and crap like this only sets those campaigns back. If you've plucked up the courage to open up to your boss and tell them something in confidence, and they then break that confidence by telling others what message does that send? Will that person open up and seek help in future? Will anyone else in that department with mental health issues feel comfortable speaking to anyone? No!

Even if (and it's a big if) there was a legitimate reason for the line manager to tell those other people, it should only have been after they'd informed the employee that they were going to do so. If you've promised the employee that you'll keep what they've told you in confidence, then you should tell them if that's not the case as well as who you need to inform and why they need to know.

Three-hour outage renders Nest-equipped smart homes very dumb

Keith Langmead

Re: "manually adjust thermostats"

"I am sure it would it be easier to go find my phone, unlock it, launch an app, select the right screen and change the settings, then touch the apply button</sarcasm>"

You missed a step... discover the app has an update and refuses to open until that has been installed! :)

Whois privacy shambles becomes last-minute mad data scramble

Keith Langmead

Re: Typical ICANN

"As you say, statute law overrules contractual terms so ICANN's contract terms will shortly become invalid with respect to any data subject resident in the EU irrespective of where the registrar is or the TLD of the registration. "

I imagine the question the registrars are asking isn't whether ICANN can enforce those terms in a court of law (obviously not), but whether they would enforce them independently. Being in the legal right is fine, but if ICANN decided to revoke your access due to being in breach of their terms, and that potentially caused your customers to lose access to their domains, what would you do? Take them to court, but that takes time, during which you and your clients have potentially lost lots of money and business.

It should be far fetched to think they would do something like that, but with their past history, plus the fact that they're now WARNING of compliance audits rather than promising assistance, I wouldn't put it past them.

Mobileye's autonomous cars are heading to California. But they're not going to kill anyone. At least not on purpose

Keith Langmead

Re: Strawmen

It’s not a matter of relying on the ball to grab your attention, it’s being alert to risks, and when you see the ball being aware that it may indicate another risk which isn’t yet visible.

""You don't need to forecast what other vehicles will do," he states boldly."

I'd argue that any competent driver is reading the road, and by extension forecasting what others around them are likely to do. For instance, you're in the middle lane approaching someone in the left lane, and see that they are catching up with a slower vehicle in the left lane. Long before you reach them you should be aware that they will likely want to pull out shortly, so have plenty of time to see if the right lane is clear, and decide if you want to pull into the right lane, or increase/decrease your speed as appropriate. You shouldn't be reaching that car and be surprised when they indicate that they want to pull into the middle lane. Autonomous cars should do no less.

"...predicting what others will do saying it would simply create too much information to effectively compute..."

What I think that means is it's too hard for them to code, so rather than find a way to do it they're going to ignore the problem.

CEO insisted his email was on server that had been offline for years

Keith Langmead

Re: Deleting emails

"Others (mia culpe) hate having cluttered computers and delete them asap - though sometimes it means not having the email you do need."

Like my favourite where they contact support about an email they've received (but don't forward it to support), and when you investigate you find they've deleted it already and emptied deleted items.

Keith Langmead

Re: Deleting emails

"There is a third category. My dear old Mum had the habit of using the Deleted Items folder as an online archive. Once an email had been read, she would delete it. When she needed to refer back to it, she would go into the deleted items folder and dig it out."

Oh so much this! I've seen SO many customer do this with their email, and they can never grasp why it's a bad idea. Especially fun when you migrate email between systems, and select not to export/import the deleted items... then once finished get asked why their email is now missing!

Facebook's login-to-other-sites service lets scum slurp your stuff

Keith Langmead

Re: And is anyone here surprised by this?

Not in the slightest, though it's nice to see my constant avoidance of the "login with your Facebook/Gmail" option for all these years has now been justified. Yeah, no thanks, I'd rather have a separate and unique login for each individual website!

Running on-premises Dynamics 365? Think you're immune to cloud outages? Think again

Keith Langmead

Fix by disabling entirely!?!

So locally they have everything they NEED to login and start, but the login process tries to connect to Azure for the Skype bit and won't continue if it fails? And their "fix" is to entirely disable the Skype functionality, and require it to be done manually? Why not simply remove the dependancy?!? If you can connect, great, if not then continue the login process and let the user crack on using their local resources which are working.

Boring as she goes at Sage? Oh no, no, no! Shares slide as sales slip below forecasts

Keith Langmead

Maybe accountants are finally looking elsewhere.

Can't comment on using it for accounts, but for installing/updating/supporting it the software sucks! It's 2018 and Payroll still assumes you're running as admin, and doesn't handle UAC credential elevation properly. Call Sage support and they just tell you to reinstall Sage (even when the issue is that you CAN'T install Sage). Having to jump through hoops to install the Data Service as Sage have suddenly decided to drop support for your Server OS.

Great Western Railway warns of great Western password reuse: Brits told to reset logins

Keith Langmead

What do you propose should trigger the alarm bells? A failed login? Pointless as there will be many legit failed logins, so the attack would be lost within the noise. Multiple failed logins? If they’ve a list of email addresses and passwords to try, they may only be making one attempt with each email address so that wouldn’t trigger. Multiple failed logins from a single IP? I image something like his is done through a botnet, so there will be many IPs. Plus, the bad guys know full well too many failures with x minutes will trigger alarms, so they keep their attempts slower to stay under the radar.

Also keep in mind, anything you do to detect and stop this kind of thing has to be balanced against not screwing over your own customers. It’s certainly not impossible to protect yourself from these things to a certain extent, but I think to suggest it’s simple is naïve.

Microsoft: Yes, we agree that Irish email dispute is moot... now what's this new warrant about?

Keith Langmead

Re: What Does This Mean in Practice?

"Just like they should have done 4 shagging years ago."

I wonder if the legal separation is the same now as it was four years ago, or has been made more legally water tight in the mean time. If it's changed then presumably with the previous warrant they'd still have needed to argue in court based on the state of things when it was issued. Now it's a new warrant then that resets, and any legal arguments can be made on how things are done now rather than years ago.

Home fibre in the UK sucks so much it doesn't even rank in Euro study

Keith Langmead

"Latvia: probably helped by the fact that 1/3 of the population lives in the capital city."

And also, before fibre what was the state of their DSL rollout, and after that what was the state of their FTTC rollout? Without those details it's hard to get a genuine idea of how why change has happened. If country A has only had 1MB DSL, and you suddenly make FTTP available then I imagine you'll get a massive take up... but if like the UK you've had decent DSL speeds available (more than enough speed for many users), followed by FTTC for more money, how many people would be bothered about FTTP? You'll only attract those who's needs aren't being met by what they have already. Unless you NEED those speeds is it worth the money? Even as a geek I was fine with DSL, the only reason I upgraded to FTTC was because I got a 4K TV and finally had a need for the extra speed.

Apple's HomePod beams you up into new audio dimensions

Keith Langmead

Re: Love the Picture (with the Hacksaw)

"Conclusion, genuinely better than £1000 plus audiophile kit for a fraction of the price."

Conclusion... either the tester's £1000 setup sucks, or the tester used a very select variety of music to test it with.

I've listened to a range of music on one of these and it sounds fecking awful! Whether it's Metallica, The Prodigy or Lindsey Stirling, it ruins all of them. There's very little or no midrange at all, so you can hear all the bass no problem so that's fine if you only care about bass, but the top end sounds stratchy and much of the detail in the middle is lost. I tried the same Lindsey Stirling violin track on my Echo Dot, and even with the obvious lack of bass available it sounded better than on the HomePod.

Oh and I also hate the complete lack of feedback when you talk to it. No light to show it's heard you, and often if it doesn't understand it'll do nothing rather than say it doesn't know what you want.

Sysadmin crashed computer recording data from active space probe

Keith Langmead

Re: NOT ONE WARNING to the effect of "don't use spaces" existed

"Hmm. Maybe I'm an anomaly, but I have a built in warning that says "don't use spaces", and mostly because it causes problems parsing lists of filenames :-)."

Yep, same here. Far too much time spent with various apps and scripting engines (especially .bat files) that don't properly handle spaces. These days I still habitually ensure nothing that could even potentially come near being automated has spaces in it if I can help it.

Damian Green: Not only my workstation – mystery pr0n all over Parliamentary PCs

Keith Langmead

"In defending Green over the weekend, fellow Conservative MP Nadine Dorries made the startling admission that she shares her personal login credentials with her staff, prompting howls of dismay from the information security community."

There may be howls of dismay, but I think for anyone who actually has to deal with real people there were howls of "well Duh!". It shouldn't happen but it does, all the time, in all types of industry and government. My colleagues and I have all had the same conversation with various clients more times than I can count, trying to make them understand why they shouldn't all know each others passwords, yet it continues.

In a way the outcome from this I'd most like is for it to be shown he really is innocent and someone else used his login. At least then it may provide the rest of us with a cautionary tale to use in future.

Lord of the Rings TV show shopped around Hollywood

Keith Langmead

"I was told that Dune series was quite good, and I should look it up. Was that not true?"

Personally I thought it was good. Perhaps not perfect in some areas, but far more accurate to the books (both the Dune series and then the Children of Dune series) than the film version. Well worth a watch if you enjoyed the first three books.

Black Horse Down: Lloyds Banking Group goes TITSUP*

Keith Langmead

PR responses

"Many PR departments up and down the country these days prefer to delay responses until they've fixed the cause of the outage."

Hopefully because PR don't have the actual facts available to them, and those who do are busy finding the issue and fixing it rather than briefing others, and have no real way to know how long it'll take to find the cause until they've found it! Fix first, analyse causes later.

Keith Langmead

Re: "outsource management of its data centres to Big Blue"

Firing someone just for being crap is very difficult, so if they don't do anything incompetent enough to warrant dismissal then the next best option is to palm them off elsewhere. Give them a glowing reference, help them get a massive payrise, and they become someone else's problem!

BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Keith Langmead

Re: RE: Sabroni

" "We don't have control over the rebated money as we're told how to use it."

We are not told how to use it. That is bollocks."

Whether we're told how to spend or it's agreed democratically how we have to spend makes little difference, unless you're willing to stop funding all of those things in the UK that we currently use that rebate for, you can't claim to suddenly have extra cash. For instance some of it comes back to us as farm subsidies... we'll still need to find that money from somewhere unless there's some magical way to stop paying farmers without them all going out of buisness over night.

Beware, sheep rustlers of the South West of England! Police drone spy unit gets to work

Keith Langmead

Not just D&C

Uhhh, no, it's not just D&C that are deploying this, it's both Devon & Cornwall Police AND Dorset Police (eg all three counties have been involved in the same set of tests, unlike Sussex which is separate). As much as we in Devon love to mock our motorway deprived neighbours, lets not completely ignore them! :)

'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

Keith Langmead

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Indeed, rather than the issue of the OS being upgraded I think the bigger issue is of the software running on there never being backward compatible for very long!

I've seen it so many times when upgrading Linux systems, ou suddenly find that several functions / commands no longer work and break what you're using. It's like rather than fix the underlying fault, the dev's just decide to bin various functions and create new ones. Bugs needs fixing of course, but if they were treated more like black boxes there wouldn't be this issue. Eg, leave the function name alone, maintain the same input and output values (or add to them while allowing the original to still work) and fix the errors within the function itself. People using the function don't need to know what's changed inside the function, just that it still works. Most things in Windows work happily like that, for instance IIS, SQL etc, the commands you call work the same as before, and you're unaware that under the hood things have been rewritten and changed without breaking your code.

Keith Langmead

Re: CentOS 6 is in production phase 3

Also, if the host uses cPanel on their boxes for management etc, and the server was running a 32-bit version of CentOS (possible on 6, not on 7), then they'd need to update sooner since cPanel are ending support for 32-bit after v56. While the EOL has extended to October, it was originally supposed to be April, after which you'd no longer receive any cPanel updates if you didn't move to a 64-bit version.

Uber's New York competitor sued over driver equity scheme

Keith Langmead

Re: Law school vocabulary

Maybe it's insider code... other lawyers know it means "I personally think this is bullshit and they've got us bang to rights, but they're my client and I'm required to argue their case, please don't hold this against me!"

WhatsApp app in flap over chap's snap of URL mishap

Keith Langmead

Possible blacklisting

If the website admin is particularly BOFH like there's also a chance you'll get your mobile's IP blacklisted from the webserver. For instance if you've set CSF to block after too many 404's are received, and the file/folder path of the URL being typed is long enough for it to hit that limit.

Oops! Facebook outed its antiterror cops whilst they banned admins

Keith Langmead

It's a stupid idea for many reasons. How do they deal with separation of work and personal? How do they deal with someone leaving and having to remove admin permissions without breaking their personal FB account? How do they prevent someone using admin permissions outside of work? Besides the potential for deliberate abuse of power, there's a real risk of doing it by mistake. If there's an option to do something in facebook when you're at home, is that a standard option everyone has, or is it something you've only got as admin so you shouldn't really be using it for non-official purposes?

The Linux cloud swap that spells trouble for Microsoft and VMware

Keith Langmead

Marketing guff???

"All the "type 1" and "type 2 hypervisor" stuff is marketing guff"

What? In what way is it supposed to be just marketing guff? There are clear, major and well defined differences between the two. One runs the hypervisor directly on the hardware, with all VMs running on top of that including the management OS so there's minimal overhead between the OS and hardware. The other runs the hypervisor on top of the existing OS, with all VMs running on top of that, so all VMs have to communicate with the hardware via not only the hypervisor but also the management OS, and are also reliant on the management OS not having any issues.

Perhaps a petty point, but when such a massive error is made with something I do know about, I wonder how many errors are in the rest of the article on topics I don't know about.

ICO fines 11 big charities over dirty data donor-squeezing deeds

Keith Langmead

Re: @ Lee D Pleas for extra

"I said that I have enough regular contributions on the go, but the charity seemed like a good cause so I was happy to give them a few quid there and then as a one off. My offer was refused. They wanted monthly, ongoing donations, or nothing."

Because they don't work for the charity. From what I understand, most of those chuggers work for agencies which in turn work for different charities. They receive something like 10-20% of whatever you donate in the first year, so essentially they only get paid when you sign up for regular payments. That's why in future I'd much rather go direct to the charity and setup a payment than go through a chugger.

I don't know but I suspect that's also why you often get loads of begging calls around the one year anniversary, normally from someone "on behalf of" the charity, so I wonder if they're actually calling from the chuggers, and getting you to increase your payment effectively renews their cut for another 12 months.

Uber wasn't to blame for robo-ride crash – or was it? Witness said car tried to 'beat the lights'

Keith Langmead

Re: side on impact

"So clearly you never saw the episode of mythbusters where they tried to use the bonnet of one car as a ramp for another. That myth was busted IIRC."

Not sure you can use Mythbusters as a reliable proof of whether something can be done. They once "proved" that robin hooding an arrow in archery (eg shooting one into the back of another) couldn't be done, yet even as an average archer I did it (I still have the two arrows stuck together on my wall), and when visiting the local archery shop with its own range (which the staff regularly used when not serving) they had a bin full of the things. At best they simply prove THEY couldn't do something after a few goes in certain circumstances.

Police Scotland and Accenture were at odds over ill-fated IT project i6

Keith Langmead

"So they signed a fixed-price contract, but allowed the client to make changes? And both sides were surprised that it didn't work out? They never learn."

From the settlement I'd guess it wasn't the Police making changes to what was required, otherwise the requirements would differ from the agreed contract and there'd be no reason for Accenture to not only pay back what they'd already been paid, but also more than that again in compensation. That's why people like that don't mind requirements changing... when things don't work out you're no longer in breach of contract since the customer changed what they wanted.

I imagine the requirements given initially stayed the same, but they underestimated what would be required to fullfil them and perhaps failed to properly find what was needed. If the Police say that every officer needs x, you base your costs on a guess there are 1,000 officers and it turns out there are 5,000 officers, it's not the requirements that have changed.

Video intercom firm Doorbird wants $80 for device password resets

Keith Langmead

Somewhat different...

> My bank doesn't charge me $80 for a password reset!

Except your bank also wouldn't let you setup your account in the first place without providing ALL of your details, and if you'd provided those details this wouldn't be an issue! They're not charging $80 for a password reset (there's nothing stopping you resetting your own password... you just need to not lose it), they're covering their costs while they make absolutely bloody certain you are who you say you are and ensuring they don't accidentally become the next security blunder headline.

Amazon S3-izure cause: Half the web vanished because an AWS bod fat-fingered a command

Keith Langmead

Re: Makes me wonder how many others in the "playbook" have this capacity.

"However it should be made a multistep process with plenty of Are You Sure? types prompts"

Not just "are you sure Y/N", but also "Here's exactly what is about to be done... is that correct and what you actually intended? Y/N", otherwise anyone would just assume the command they'd entered would do what THEY intended, not what the command was about to do.


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