* Posts by Keith Langmead

165 posts • joined 8 Mar 2007

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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! :)

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'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.

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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.

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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!"

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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GitLab.com melts down after wrong directory deleted, backups fail

Keith Langmead

Re: @ Adam 52

Completely agree with both of you. There's no doubt they made mistakes, backups, replication etc should have been tested properly and clearly wasn't, but do you know what really hit me reading about this? How open they've been about the whole thing. From the initial issues through to publishing the live notes for the restoration attempts, I'm personally very impressed that they've been open and honest about what's happening. So many other companies would and have hidden behind vague "we're working on it" responses, and while it doesn't undo their failure to test, I think their honesty does need to be acknowledged and commended.

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Happy birthday: Jimbo Wales' sweet 16 Wikipedia fails

Keith Langmead

Another one

For many years the entry listing the ladies wheelchair winners of the London Marathon wasn’t even correct. I happened to date one of the former winners for a while, and she mentioned getting the gold medal. It was early days and I decided to check online, found the wiki article which listed someone else and accused her of telling fibs. Needless to say seeing the certificate and her gold medal set me straight! It seems for several years Tanni Grey-Thompson had won, and someone had just inserted her name in there (either by mistake or just being lazy) and no one had noticed. That’s the first and only time I’ve edited an entry, but at least it remains correct.

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Brilliant phishing attack probes sent mail, sends fake attachments

Keith Langmead

Re: Hide extensions for known file types

No, as I understand it there is no attachment, rather there's an image attached and displayed in the email. The image is designed to look the same as a normal Gmail attachment link, with the attachment name shown to be one you'd legitimately receive from that contact. So you click on what you think is a Gmail button but which is actually just a link, and get sent to the dodgy page.

That said, I also think they should have binned the hide extensions default long long ago, and I'm amazed it's remained the default even on the latest versions Windows! In addition to the security issues, it's a support issue... I've seen so many people accidentally break their file associations and then not understand why they can't open certain docs. Un-hide extensions and you immediately see that no, it might have a PDF icon, but you're actually trying to open a docx file.

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NHS IT bod sends test email to 850k users – and then responses are sent 'reply all'

Keith Langmead

Only 70 or 80 people

Am I the only one surprised and a little impressed that only 70 or 80 out of 1.2 million people hit reply all!?! With that many recipients I'd have expected far more, unless the techs managed to nip it in the bud quickly enough to block some of the other replies.

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Silicon Valley's oligarchs got a punch in the head – and that's actually good thing

Keith Langmead

"Hence Trumps campaign fo the working man vote including swathing tax cuts for the very rich."

It was an episode of West Wing that summed it up I think by suggesting that it's the downside to the American dream. Everyone thinks that one day their fortunes will change and they'll become rich, as such no one wants to cripple the rich as one day they want to be in that position themselves.

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Elon Musk: I'm gonna turn Mars into a $10bn death-dealing interplanetary gas station

Keith Langmead

Re: Musk seems to be losing it

"And it will be a long task and it will take many generations before any 'normal' people can ever hope to live in anything like comfort on another planet, but that doesn't make the inevitable pioneers 'loons' for helping get us there."

Indeed, it's arguably not unlike the early settlements in the USA with long dangerous journeys to cross the atlantic, unknown dangers and challenges to overcome, the very real possibility of not surviving, and the reality that you'd likely never see your homeland again.

Hopefully it won't be too many more generations until "normal" people can start inhabiting the USA! :)

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Forgive me, father, for I have used an ad-blocker on news websites...

Keith Langmead

Blocking's the only way to make them usable.

Don't feel bad at all. When many sites are so bad it's impossible to actually view them without an adblocker running, the choice isn't between using or not using an adblocker, it's between using one or going elsewhere. Besides, none of their content is unique, so by making their content impossible to view it doesn't prevent me reading about something, it simply ensures I read it elsewhere!

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‘Penultimate’ BlackBerry seen on 'do not publish' page as fire sale begins

Keith Langmead

As a former z30 owner I can definitely recommend the Priv. I do wish it has BB10 in many ways (though I'd miss the app support), but if I have to put up with Android at least the Priv manages to hide the worst of it.

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Sorry Nanny, e-cigs have 'no serious side-effects' – researchers

Keith Langmead

Re: Nicotine addiction?

“The very fact that the vast majority of users of these devices start off at 24/18/12mg nicotine, and tend to scale down to 3/6mg by choice without any problems should suggest that nicotine, in and of itself, just isn't all that addictive.”

Cutting back to cigarettes and reducing the nicotine concentration isn’t the same thing. The former requires a change in habit and routine alongside a reduction in the daily nicotine intake, while the latter only need impact the intake while everything else stays the same which is far easier to deal with.

IMHO the issue with smoking is twofold, there’s nicotine addiction, but there’s also habit. The benefit of vaping is that it’s far easier to gradually deal with the former on its own, and then later once you’re down to 0% it’s easier to deal with the habit side.

I’ve been off tobacco for just over a year now, and am slowly reducing the strength of liquid I vape (I’ve got bottles of 1.8% and 0% which I mix) without adjusting the volume.

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FBI: Look out – hackers are breaking into US election board systems

Keith Langmead

Directory traversal

I'm suprised they allow parent paths, I thought that was known to be a risk since the turn of the century!

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Phoney bling ring pinged by Tolkien's kin

Keith Langmead

Trade descriptions

"Saltalamacchia had tried to skirt the law by inserting a gap into the “Black Speech” inscription otherwise copied from Lord of the Rings"

So while close enough for copyright to kick in, what he produced wasn't a proper "The One Ring"? Presumably once this is over the people who purchased it could also sue since they didn't get what they paid him for, after all he confirmed that as part of his defense!

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Microsoft takes five months to replace broken patch

Keith Langmead

Re: This is why Windows is no longer viable.

"One thing about W10 that above commentators are forgetting is that a lot less W10 users than you would imagine actually agreed to the W10 EULA. "

Yeah I was thinking the same thing regarding Windows 10. Whether it was held up in court is another matter, but I don't see how you can hold someone to updated terms when you forcibly updated the software. The fact that MS decided to install the software, removing the choice from the users, should (but probably doesn't in court unfortunately) make them accountable for any issues arising from that forced upgrade.

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Web meltdown: BT feels heat from angry punters

Keith Langmead

Yep, have had many support calls this morning from people unable to connect to our systems (we're not with BT), all of which were from BT customers. The joy of trying to explain the difference between internet connection and internet routing to customers.

Was amused last night to get home to some junk mail from BT trying to sell me "Super reliable BT broadband".

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No 10's online EU vote signup crash 'inevitable' – GDS overseer

Keith Langmead

Government procurement methods don't help

Many government style procurement processes tend to be very strict, and want to assume that everything has a definitive cost. I can well imagine them being offered a properly scalable setup which would cope with everything, but of course the cost of that depends on usage, and the accounts department can’t cope with that. So they take a guess on usage, set a hard limit, and cross their fingers. The guys maintaining it aren’t just going to scale things up without prior authorisation, since they know there’s a good chance they won’t get reimbursed without a valid PO for the cost.

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Big Pharma wrote EU anti-vaping diktat, claims Tory ex-MEP

Keith Langmead

Re: Have to ask...

"How do you go about setting the dose?

I've not smoked in ~35 years, and never will again - but I am *toying* with the idea of getting a vaping device[1] to see if the claims of nicotine helping concentration are plausible. And I've no idea what sort of strength liquid I should be looking at..."

The ecig liquid (aka "juice") comes in various strengths, and that's how you choose the dose, eg by selecting not only the flavour you want but also the strength. For instance I normally use 1.8%, but you can also get 0%, 0.6%, 1.2%, 2.4% (at least those the options where I shop), which is handy since you can drop the strength over time.

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Switch survives three hours of beer spray, fails after twelve

Keith Langmead

"Oswald's a Brit, so when he says “football” he means soccer."

Should read "Oswald's a Brit, so when he says “football” he means football... not pansy ass version of rugby with body armour."

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PC World's cloudy backup failed when exposed to ransomware

Keith Langmead

Re: Something doesn't add up here...

"I'm trying to figure out why renamed encrypted files would overwrite the originals on the backup, from my experience with ransomware it rarely leaves the originals and you'll have tons of .abc .locky etc files instead."

It depends on the specific ransomware. As mentioned here http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/11/09/cryptowall_40/ last year, Cryptowall 4.0 introduced changing the filenames, but earlier Cryptowall (and cryptlocker) versions didn't. The first instance of it I was it wasn't even obvious an infection had happened other than the files couldn't be read (someone else on the network had been infected, and they've received the notification and kept quiet). So assuming it was one of the earlier versions she was infected with, the file names would have remained the same and would be able to overwrite the original ones.

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HTTPS is not enough: Boffins fingerprint user environments without cracking crypto

Keith Langmead

"In the mean time I will go back to posting a pen and paper out to my website visitors so they can fill in their details securely."

But how will you securely get their addresses to post them the pens and paper? :D

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Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 nagware shows signs of sentience

Keith Langmead

"It was originally my understanding that if you ran Windows 7 joined to a domain, then GWX would ignore you, however this seems not to be the case anymore, as I've had to play whack-a-mole on a number of my domain member desktops recently."

I don't think that's ever been the case, it's only people running Enterprise edition that can't receive it. Pro users (certainly retail versions of Pro) can get it even if they're joined to a domain, though obviously if they're in a domain environment there's a better chance they get their updates centrally managed, and the admins have already excluded the offending update from being applied.

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LogMeIn adds emergency break-in feature to LastPass

Keith Langmead

In fact yes, the documentation mentions "After the waiting period passes, your vault will sync to their LastPass account automatically.", so those trusted contacts do need to be existing users.

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Keith Langmead

Hopefully it requires you to have designated your "trusted family, friends or colleagues" as being authorised in advance, at which point the relevant passwords are encrypted not only with your key but also theirs as well, but they're not allowed access to their copy of the encrypted passwords from your vault. Then when the Emergency Access feature is used, if you fail to deny the request then LMI makes those details available, and they can be accessed by the requester using their own login.

That way LMI still don't access to the original passwords, they're simply controlling which encrypted details are visible in your account.

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Laid-off IT workers: You want free on-demand service for what now?

Keith Langmead

Especially idiotic when you consider how common garden leave seems to be within IT these days, especially for people like SysAdmins, regardless of whether it's an acrimonious split or not.

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Junk patent ditched in EAST TEXAS

Keith Langmead

Re: Good idea, but that still allows the troll to start the procedure

"Because the only entities harmed by patent abuse are the ones selling product. You don't sell product, you are not harmed if someone else is doing the selling."

So you genuinely invent something that's worth millions and get a patent on it, but without massive investment or infrastructure you can't simply manufacture and sell it independantly. You then approach a large corp that it would fit well with, and offer to sell / licence your invention to them since they've got related products, capital, facilities etc. They use your patent info to build it themselves and pay you nothing...

By your logic you couldn't sue large corp since you don't produce anything and currently make no money with your invention.

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Three mobile data network GOES TITSUP across Blighty

Keith Langmead

Issues in Devon

It's been down most of this morning, though a colleague has seen his phone reconnect and then drop off again for data so may not be 100% dead. Having to rely on wifi like some kind of savage... this must be what it's like to be one of those people on the lessor networks, where poor comms is the norm!

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Wanna go all Gandalf – YOU SHALL NOT PASS – on Windows 10?

Keith Langmead

Re: OK, but is this really relevant?

Boothy beat me to it, but yeah, the text of the KB gives zero indication of what it does. The only reason I knew anything about it was thanks to someone helpfully mentioned it on the TechNet forums (not an MS employee / contractor / etc), who'd obviously gone through the updates one at a time until he got the prompt.

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A server apocalypse can come in different shapes and sizes. Be prepared

Keith Langmead

Business continuity isn't just tech orientated

@Pascal Monett - That's why you plan for that kind of scenario in advance in your documented plan. For instance you could have it in writing that in the event of a disaster, select staff WILL get expenses repaid (no questions asked within reason) where used to get things operational again. Or perhaps ensuring ahead of time that there are staff who have access to a company credit card (other than Directors in case they're not immediately available) or have limited purchasing authority.

IMHO the biggest issue with DR is that done properly it has to be business led, but business tends to think of it as an IT only issue. Given enough budget we in IT can effectively get a customers system running 24/7 with zero downtime, but if a days downtime doesn't massively impact the business there's little sense spending thousands to protect against rare events. It's the business that needs to decide what the maximum allowable downtime is, and determine the financial implications of any downtime that does occur, for instance in £s per hour. Only then can be plan and budget a solution that's appropriate to the requirements and perhaps most importantly, the justifiable costs.

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PCI council gives up, dumbs down PCI DSS for small business

Keith Langmead

Disabling security to allow security tests

I always love the requests from PCI testers to whitelist their IP ranges so they can do their security tests. Amusingly they never seem to get the irony of asking us to effectively disable our clients security mechanisms to allow the PCI tester to check the security is good enough. Especially annoying when the client in question has nothing PCI related on their server or machines (payment terminal talking direct to the bank, and online payments handled via 3rd party processor), yet they still have to be tested.

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Robots.txt tells hackers the places you don't want them to look

Keith Langmead

Re: This was news back in 1996

Perhaps this has lapsed into the realm of "well duh, everyone knows this, if you don't then what are you even doing here" and become something they don't even both to teach any more. Thiebauld may currently be coming to the embarrasing realisation that he's effectively announced that water is wet! :-)

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Keith Langmead

anti-sysadmin

"Weksteen, a Securus Global hacker, thinks they offer clues about where system administrators store sensitive assets because the mention of a directory in a robots.txt file screams out that the owner has something they want to hide."

Change "system administrators" to "developers" or "Wanabies" then perhaps you have a point. A SysAdmin by definition has access to the entire system, so has no need to store sensitive stuff within the web root! Your normal peon that's limited to an FTP login however doesn't have a choice. Us SysAdmins get enough crap already without people trying to blame us for dev faults.

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Chinese cyber-spies hid botnet controls in MS TechNet comments

Keith Langmead

Explains

Well that would certainly explain some of the weirder questions and replies I've seen on Technet, including some from MSFT CSG posters! All this time I assumed they were morons, but perhaps they were C&C bots! :-)

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Are YOU The One? Become a guru of your chosen sysadmin path

Keith Langmead

Moving "Up"

Some interesting points but I find it somewhat insulting and condescending that you (and to be fair others as well) refer to it as a move UP, as if by narrowing your field of expertise to a single area (at the expense of all others) that it somehow makes you better and more important. Granted, in the long run specialists may tend to have greater potential for earning more than generalists, but I'd suggest that's more about that individual focusing on becoming the best in that field, than their speciality simply conferring that on them.

Let's stick with calling it what it really is, a move across. I imagine there are plenty of us generalists that would consider your description of workplace politics, paperwork, red tape and loss of autonomy as a move DOWN!

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Because the server room is certainly no place for pets

Keith Langmead

Hanging out with the wrong people!

"People often romanticise legacy IT. Sys Admins fondly look at that old Compaq Netware server"

What kind of Sys Admins have you been hanging out with? I don't know a single one who looks fondly on old legacy kit, they / I might accept that time / financial / logistical constraints may prevent everything bring brought up to date as quickly as we might like, but in an ideal world where money / time / resources were no object I think we'd all prefer to be working with and maintaining up to date systems.

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A year with Canada's Volvo-esque smartphone – The BlackBerry Z30

Keith Langmead

Z30's a superb phone

Have to agree, it's a superb phone. I've had mine for about a year, and before that had an XDA Exec, Nokia E90 and Nokia E7, so I was used to having a physical and large keyboard. The Z30's virtual keyboard beats them all hands down (which really surprised me), and I found I can type faster and more accurately on it than I could on any of the others. The way the phone learns and adapts the keyboard (or specifically where on each key it's most sensitive) as it learns your typing style is superb, but equally I think one of its weaknesses, since anyone picking it up for a play doesn't immediately experience it at its best.

The only niggles I've found with it are 1) on the lock screen preview, if you have multiple mailboxes configured (eg home and work), it will always display both. In all other views you can customise it, so for instance my hub only shows home email, and if I CHOOSE to I can open my work email. 2) I wish they'd get with the 21st century and let me COMPLETELY disable the download restriction for installing Blackberry updates. You can allow some app updates to crack on and download, but blackberry updates refuse if you're doing it over a mobile data signal. I've got unlimited data, so having to connect to a wireless connection just to install updates is frustrating.

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Brit smut slingers shafted by UK censors' stiff new stance

Keith Langmead

Re: Shoddy reporting or just trying to glam up something not that interesting?

Actually to be fair, I since spent time last night trying to find any article with links to definitive facts, and none of the papers or sites I found did. Everyone seems to be quoting everyone else, some link to the BBFC guidance document, but that doesn't mention that list of banned things either. The closest I found was a blog article from a lawyer, and even then he's writing based on facts told to him by someone else, who in turn was told them in a meeting regarding the rule changes!

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