* Posts by John Riddoch

325 posts • joined 12 Jan 2009

Page:

HPE server firmware update permanently bricks network adapters

John Riddoch

Re: The good news...

In the "old days", firmwares were much smaller, simpler and less prone to requiring patching. Most of the "brains" was in silicon so there wasn't the need to drop firmware as much. These days, the custom silicon is expensive, coding firmware is cheap so bugs creep out and updates are required.

Add in scaling issues - if all you had was a single large Unix server, flipping the jumper is relatively trivial. With 1000+ servers in VMWare farms/private clouds, flipping all the jumpers becomes time consuming.

To be fair, there probably are jumpers, they're just set to allow updates for the reasons above.

5
0

There's a way to dodge Fasthosts' up-to-160% domain renewal hike but you're not gonna like it

John Riddoch

Re: Price gouging.

Probably because the owners of .clinic are charging more to domain resellers.

7
0

You forgot that you hired me and now you're saying it's my fault?

John Riddoch

Re: Ah, memories.

I remember using OHPs and going really high tech with a fancy display unit which would hook up to a PC and display your screen via said OHP. It wasn't a brilliant image IIRC, but it did work and was better than having to print out onto acetates or write stuff onto them.

14
0

Sysadmin tells user CSI-style password guessing never w– wait WTF?! It's 'PASSWORD1'!

John Riddoch

Re: Conficker

For a lot of my POC stuff (mainly on VMs on my laptop) where I don't care about security but can't be bothered fixing the complexity rules, I use "Passw0rd" which meets the necessary complexity requirements. "Password1" will generally get past most rulesets as well.

4
0

From the Dept of the Bleedin' Obvious... yes, drones hurt when they hit you in the head

John Riddoch

Yup, we need a view on the risks profiles and where the cut-off weight is between "acceptable risk" and "unacceptable risk". Without this study, some random number would be plucked out of the air and made law and argued about for years. With this study, the lawmakers can say "under these rules there is only an x% chance of serious injury".

11
0

Itching to stuff iOS 11 on your iPhone? You may want to hold off for a bit

John Riddoch

To be fair to Apple

"Apple always screws up the first iteration" - never use a .0 release of anything is a common mantra in computing, that's not limited to Apple. Of course the new code is going to have bugs and the .1 release will fix most of them (and introduce some new ones, no doubt...). In general, wait a couple of days for the early adopters to find the issues, figure out what they are and figure out if the new features are worth the hassle of the new issues.

4
0

HPE slices and dices globo org chart

John Riddoch
Devil

Bloody management speak:

"we’re going to right-size end-to-end cost structures of HPE to ensure we deliver on our financial architecture”

Translation:

"jobs cuts incoming!"

6
0

Web crash and pricing errors hit Argos

John Riddoch

Re: Not necessarily

Per contract law, advertising a good at price X is considered an "invitation to treat". When you try to buy at that price, it's officially an "offer" which is generally accepted by the vendor. Where something is advertised at the wrong price, they can reject the offer to buy, the trick with online buying is at what point the offer is accepted and what conditions may be applied to the acceptance of that offer. I suspect all online traders now have something in the terms and conditions (which we all accept and never read) giving them the option of cancelling the accepted offer for a variety of reasons, thus giving themselves the weasel room to avoid sending you a 42" TV for £1.

There's a secondary issue around false advertising (bait and switch) if you intentionally advertise at price X but will only sell at price Y, but screwing up your website wouldn't be covered by that.

4
0

Check in my all-flash server-storage system? You must be mad! I'm taking it on-board

John Riddoch

Not quite so relevant for military...

The military have their own logistics for moving stuff around, including C-130s and Chinooks, so size/weight is less of a limiting factor than a "private" flyer.

Anyway, isn't everything supposed to be in the "cloud" these days? ;)

All the above said, I'm guessing there will be a niche market for these and they'll sell a handful of units, hopefully enough to recoup their R&D costs. Failing that, it'll be some expensive advertising and getting their name out & about.

2
0

Regulate, says Musk – OK, but who writes the New Robot Rules?

John Riddoch

Re: Working out what AI is thinking and why

Yup, neural networks in particular train themselves and developers may not understand how the specific neural pathways have been trained. Neural nets (and other "trained" AIs) are some of the most powerful computing resources available, but transparency isn't their strong point...

3
0

Hi Amazon, Google, Apple we might tax you on revenue rather than profit – love, Europe

John Riddoch

Re: Just change the current tax laws.

"I think you meant "that profit accrues" but that's the problem - you sell some software for 100 Euros in France and the French subsidiary internally pays it's Irish subsidiary 99.99 Euros because the company says the software IP is "owned" by the Irish subsidiary."

That's basically the issue - what is the "fair" reimbursement to the "parent" company. If I, as a UK resident, invented some cool widget which I sold through my UK company and a French subsiduary, it's entirely legitimate that some of the French profits should accrue to the UK company as the owner of the IP rights. In contrast, my accountants would recommend setting up an Irish subsiduary, "sell" the IP rights to it and funnel profits via Ireland, possibly also via some Caribbean tax haven as well. It would be legal (if done right) but doesn't make any logical business sense or reflect the true flow of money or profits and it's frankly taking the piss.

12
1

Indian call centre scammers are targeting BT customers

John Riddoch

"There is nothing for you here" in an ominous voice.

Absolutely accurate, too :)

8
0

10 minutes of silence storms iTunes charts thanks to awful Apple UI

John Riddoch

Re: Not limited to iPhones

VW Passat entertainment system isn't too bad - it'll remember which song it was on if I remove the USB drive to sync more songs to it and reconnect before starting up. Main issue is that if I try to shuffle, it only picks the first few hundred songs it finds, so I get a lot of AC/DC, Bullet for my Valentine, Black Sabbath etc, not so much ZZ Top, though....

1
0

HBO Game Of Thrones leak: Four 'techies' arrested in India

John Riddoch
Joke

Re: That was a big leak!

They'll probably get killed off in the next episode.

13
0

Red Hat banishes Btrfs from RHEL

John Riddoch

DIF/DIX

Nope, it's not better than ZFS for data protection if you have mirroring or RAID. Here's why:

While DIF/DIX will tell you at time of writing, it does sod-all after the fact, so if your data is corrupted due to any other reason, it will merely give an error (probably a SCSI read error, I'd assume). It won't even try to correct the fault.

Looking at Redhat's note on it, there are limitations on it (direct IO on XFS only - see https://access.redhat.com/solutions/41548). ZFS doesn't have those restrictions. The Redhat doc mentions it as a "new feature in the SCSI standard", so old disks won't support it. ZFS doesn't care what disks you use as long as they appear as an appropriate block/character device.

If you have ANY data corruption on ZFS, it'll detect it on read and if you have multiple data copies (mirrored, RAID-z or whatever), it'll fix it on the fly. If you only have a single copy, it'll error out and tell you which file(s) are unavailable, prompting you to recover those files.

Oracle do recommend you run a zpool scrub periodically (once a week on standard disks, once a month on enterprise level storage) to capture errors - that will also automatically fix any errors on the checksums.

ZFS does have a number of flaws (performance on a full zpool is pretty awful, for example), but it is very good at data integrity.

12
0

Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

John Riddoch

"why Blacks are such fast runners?"

Probably due to eugenics as a side effect of the slave trade. The slave traders picked the strongest "specimens" from Africa and shipped them to the Americas as slaves. The weaker of those died off through over-work, so only the strongest survived. This meant that blacks in America were from a hardy, strong stock which is well suited to various sports (basketball, sprinting, etc).

It's benefited them, but it doesn't justify slavery or what was done to them.

7
30

CMD.EXE gets first makeover in 20 years in new Windows 10 build

John Riddoch

Re: What's the point?

"Console windows are used by lots of things other than the command prompt." yup - you'll find things getting launched as "cmd.exe /s [something]". Yes, it's probably just laziness, but in many cases, it's effective and simple and simple means less likely to have bugs.

6
1

I've got a verbal govt contract for Hyperloop, claims His Muskiness

John Riddoch

I've said it before - a lot of Elon Musk's ideas are pie in the sky, but if we don't aim for that, we'll keep making small incremental steps. Something from his ideas will work in a real word setting and may revolutionise part of our lives or our planet and that has to be a good thing.

7
0

User filed fake trouble tickets to take helpful sysadmin to lunches

John Riddoch

Happened to me

While I was working at a university in the computing department, we had a student from the engineering school (which did an MSc in Information systems) come across asking to use the SPARCstations and the Oracle DB for her summer project. I set her up with logins and gave her some minimal help when she'd needed it.

Near the end of the project, I was in the lab reinstalling the servers (we gave them a clean build over summer) she thanked me for the help (which had been minimal) and asked what I liked to drink. I said whisky, half expecting a half bottle of Grants or something to appear and was rather shocked when she came back a few days later with a 70cl bottle of Balvenie :)

Given how little help I'd actually provided, I was rather shocked, but wasn't going to say no :)

16
0

School of card knocks: Russophone criminals offered online courses in credit card fraud

John Riddoch

Re: Sounds great...

That depends on whose card it is/was...

2
0

Solaris, Java have vulns that let users run riot

John Riddoch

Calendar manager has been a security screwup for at least 10 years and I remember switching it off across all our servers many moons ago. I doubt many desktop Solaris users even use CDE these days (Gnome being preferred) so it should have been switched off/uninstalled.

As for Java, yeah, the vast majority relate to "untrusted code" which basically means "code run in the browser" in the majority of cases. Another reason I don't install Java browser extensions and I haven't missed them in ages.

4
0

UK regulator set to ban ads depicting bumbling manchildren

John Riddoch
Mushroom

The regular butt of jokes

Straight white men aged 20-50 have been the "bumbling" ones in adverts for decades. Why? Because you can't show anyone else being an idiot:

- Woman? That's sexist.

- Non-white? That's racist.

- Old person? That's ageist.

- Young person? Also ageist, it's not good to make fun of kids either.

- Gay? That's homophobic.

Basically, making the man the butt of the joke minimises the chance of offending minorities, but it has led to the "competent housewife vs bumbling husband" trope which is pretty much everywhere. We're now swapping one form of political correctness for another, or trying to. Either way, someone will undoubtedly find something to be offended about.

14
3

User left unable to type passwords after 'tropical island stress therapy'

John Riddoch

Re: Government staff: need I say more?

Been a while, but when I was working at the Uni, one of the lecturers (might have been a grad student, can't remember) emailed the support staff asking "Is email working?" I replied with something like "seem to be.."

Never heard anything back from him.

14
0

O Rly? O'Reilly exits direct book sales

John Riddoch

Probably inevitable...

I've got some of their excellent books I used to learn Perl, sed, awk & vi with back when I started out. However, the web now has some decent resources available for free and sites like Linux Academy bundle up training into videos with VMs available to practice on, so the market for the books is probably shrinking. For many people, that's a good enough resource, others prefer the physical books.

Here's hoping they can continue to create good content and make money from it, however they're going about it.

2
0

Fasthosts' week to forget: 4-day virtual server summer bummer

John Riddoch

Either that, or the people at them weren't doing their jobs correctly...

1
0

What hardware? Oracle is on cloud nine, er, twelve right now – $200,000,000,000

John Riddoch

Re: A bit OT, but...

It's not a GPL issue, you had to do it on Solaris, AIX etc as well, even before Oracle on Linux was a thing.

As for "use a decent OS" - again, it's the same on Linux, Solaris, AIX.

2
1
John Riddoch

Re: A bit OT, but...

It's done that for years, still does AFAIK. I'd always assumed it meant it was sure to be linked in with the most current libraries, so optimised for the target architecture. It was a pain as you needed to have linker tools installed on servers running oracle RDBMS which is a potential security issue.

I have a suspicion it was due to something in the 90s where some OS vendor(s) broke compatibility with a patch so they had to relink, but with better lockdown on ABIs/APIs now, it shouldn't be an issue.

Oh, and you're also supposed to relink after any OS patching/upgrades.

0
0

F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen on IoT: If it uses electricity, it will go online

John Riddoch

Re: They lock down everything and you will not be able to program it.

Correct, but an end user who only cares about email, browsing the web and watching some videos will be happy their files aren't getting encrypted by ransomware and their online banking credentials stolen. Meanwhile, the hobbyists & developers will avoid those devices and stick with full blown Windows, Linux or Macs.

8
2

IBM's contractor crackdown continues: Survivors refusing pay cut have hours reduced

John Riddoch

Re: Why contract these days?

I know some companies force contractors to take 2-4 weeks off over Christmas, when things are normally quiet anyway. I suspect this is written into the contracts, so people go in with eyes open, though. Having the employer force you to take 2 weeks off without much notice is a bit off.

13
0

Fighter pilot shot down laptops with a flick of his copper-plated wrist

John Riddoch

Seen similar

My son's tablet computer kept shutting down because the sensors thought the case being folded over at the back meant it was closed so put the tablet into standby. I "fixed" this by putting the tablet in the case 180 degrees round, so the sensors & batteries didn't match up and it worked fine. It blocked the camera hole, but that wasn't really used much so not a loss.

6
0

That minutes-long power glitch? It's going to cost British Airways £80m, IAG investors told

John Riddoch
Joke

Re: Oh dear, how sad

Never mind...

1
0

DUP site crashes after UK general election

John Riddoch

The Tories sold themselves as the only way to avoid Indyref2. That probably turned out sufficient voters who don't want to split from the rest of UK. The fact Alex Salmond isn't particularly well-liked by the locals probably didn't help either.

11
2

Pop-up Android adware uses social engineering to resist deletion

John Riddoch

Re: No other options but to press "OK"

Depends how it's coded, it could handle that as a "no action". You'd probably have to open up a task list and kill it off manually.

In any case, that is horrifically bad English, so it's pretty obvious the author is not a native speaker. It would be interesting to see what a linguistic analysis of it could reveal about the author.

7
0

Ex-MI5 boss: People ask, why didn't you follow all these people ... on your radar?

John Riddoch

There were several bombs left by the IRA in public places where they warned the police in advance of the explosion so people could get out of the way. It still caused terror and awareness, but generally wasn't indiscriminate slaughter. Where they aimed to kill, it was generally targeted (generally, because there were civilian casualties), whether that be RUC, army, politicians etc.

14
7

Lloyds finally inks mega 10-year cloudy outsourcing deal with IBM

John Riddoch

GruntyMcPugh - yes. HBOS outsourced to IBM many years ago (about 15 I think) and the staff were brought back in-house again (possibly after it became LTSB). Some of those staff are still there, so they'll have been employed by a few different companies (BOS, HBOS, IBM, LTSB, Lloyds) while still doing the same job.

1
0

Dodge this: Fiat-Chrysler gets diesel-fuelled sueball from DoJ

John Riddoch

Re: Eco?

This is for "light duty vehicles", not just cars, so 3l probably isn't as excessive as you might think. Also, diesels are generally more efficient for CO2 emissions making the "eco" flag worth something. The realisation and understanding that NOx is worse than CO2 is beginning to be understood better by the general populace now, not sure how long the scientists have known.

0
0

HP Inc wireless mouse can be spoofed

John Riddoch

Re: Mad.

In my experience, travelling with a wired mouse is a pain in the rear end. Every time you unpack or pack the mouse, you have to sort out the cable and connect it. With a wireless mouse, it's just less hassle and I always prefer a wireless mouse when I'm on the go with my laptop. Batteries last for ages on a good mouse (Logitech M510 in my case, same batteries for months with regular usage) and they're standard AAs so easy enough to get hold of if they do go flat.

There is also the advantage that a cable will drag on a mouse, so you'll have less resistance on a cordless one; possibly more of a win for anyone needing precision (gamers, graphics designers)

Finally, there are enough cables across a desk; being able to remove a couple of them might be seen as worthwhile just for tidiness.

The above said, I still use a wired keyboard & mouse at my home PC :)

1
0

Do we need Windows patch legislation?

John Riddoch

Let's look at other operating systems from the same era:

Solaris 8 - released Feb 2000 - support ended March 2012

Solaris 9 - released May 2002 - support ended October 2014

AIX 5.2 - released October 2002 - support ended April 2009

HP-UX 11i - released December 2000 - support ended 2015

All seem to run to a similar end of support timeline, although AIX is considerably shorter and HP-UX is slightly longer. All in all, the XP end of support timeline isn't unreasonable, there has been plenty time and warning about migrating off of it.

16
5

Uber may face criminal charges over alleged stolen self-driving tech

John Riddoch

Re: err, wot?

Levandowski was an employee, so Uber are relying on that to force it to arbitration. It's tenuous for Uber to try and force it down that route, but it's not surprising they're trying to run the edges of the rules & law as they see fit.

0
0

Mozilla to Thunderbird: You can stay here and we may give you cash, but as a couple, it's over

John Riddoch

Re: dominate corporate email client is Outlook.

Recent versions of Outlook at least give you the option to set OOO in advance so you don't forget about it, but I can see the attraction in an automated link between them. There are, of course, issues with automating that:

1. I tend to customise the OOO message to say when I'll be back and who to contact in my absence; hard to automate that.

2. Away from office might mean working from home, or at an all day meeting where setting out of office might not be appropriate or required

Certainly seems like it would be worth exploring, even if it's not the default option to have it enabled.

4
0

FBI boss James Comey was probing Trump's team for Russia links. You're fired, says Donald

John Riddoch

I'm only surprised he didn't learn about it from Twitter...

8
0

Another ZX Spectrum modern reboot crowdfunder pops up

John Riddoch
Joke

Re: It was shit back in the day

I spy a C64 user ;)

6
0

IT error at Great Western Railway charging £10k for 63-mile journey ticket

John Riddoch

Re: Not a denial

That was my thought - there's no 1st class available, so we put a "dummy" price in of £10k. It could then fall into an IT problem because the systems didn't exclude the £10k fare and mark it as "not available".

7
0

Dark times for OmniOS – an Oracle-free open-source Solaris project

John Riddoch

Re: It was designed to fail

Sun had an odd relationship with x86 - they dropped it briefly, but then reinstated it after customers complained. Solaris 10 eventually started with fuller support for x86 from the word go, but by that time Linux had largely won the market share. Oracle also tried to limit Solaris x86 support to Oracle hardware which didn't go down well either.

Frankly, I believe that if Sun had embraced x86 properly 10+ years ago they'd have done far better and probably stalled Linux adoption, but they were too busy trying to focus on making money from SPARC (which was struggling to stay competitive against POWER).

17
0

How to breathe new life into your legacy kit now you've gone hybrid

John Riddoch

Watch your running costs

Legacy kit can have ruinous run costs; evaluate carefully how much you're actually spending in:

- hardware support

- power

- cooling

- data centre space

In some cases, those ongoing costs can make it cheaper over 2-3 years to buy something new.

2
0

US military makes first drop of Mother-of-All-Bombs on Daesh-bags

John Riddoch
Mushroom

"where's the Kaboom?"

"There was supposed to be an earth shattering Kaboom!"

12
0

Intel's buggy Puma 6 chipset earns Arris a gigabit-modem lawsuit

John Riddoch

Re: Danger for Chipzilla?

Not sure on US law, but in the UK, the contract of sale is between the consumer and the vendor. The fact the vendor is a victim of crap products from a supplier isn't part of the contract of sale.

Under UK law, the Sale of Goods act would be applicable and it sounds like the modem would fail under the premise of being "fit for a given purpose" and the buyer should return to point of sale for a full refund.

2
0

Twitter sues US govt to protect 'Department of Immigration employee' who doesn't like Trump

John Riddoch

Interesting point - does your employment contract over-rule your free speech rights? I know my work (private company) has a clause about not disparaging the company or its clients in social media which seems reasonable enough, but given how messed up things are in the US right now, it might be seen as limiting the opportunities to challenge the government.

3
0

UK gov draws driverless car test zone around M40 corridor

John Riddoch
Terminator

Re: "that buyers of driverless cars"

I suspect most people who don't have a car do so because they either can't afford one (so they wouldn't be able to afford a driverless car either) or they can't be bothered driving where they live (e.g. London, where you can get by without a car fairly easily). Add in the fact that driverless cars should ease gridlock by driving better (less having to hammer on brakes, smoother drives, no slowing down to rubber-neck, etc), I don't think it's as bad as you might be worried about.

Of course, the roads are getting busier year on year, so in 20 years time, who knows what mess they'll be in?

11
2

Creators Update gives Windows 10 a bit of an Edge, but some old annoyances remain

John Riddoch
Black Helicopters

New one on me too, although I use Windows 10 Pro hooked up to a domain (Samba on the NAS) rather than a Home version which may make a difference.

5
1

Page:

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017