* Posts by Mark Dempster

86 posts • joined 6 Feb 2008

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Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

Mark Dempster

Re: 2 years?

>I'm still not convinced that Brexit should take 2 years. We hold all the cards.<

The only way that we hold all the cards is if it's a game where the object is to get rid of them

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Ransomware brutes smacked 1 in 3 NHS trusts last year

Mark Dempster

It's not that easy...

At my own workplace I've had to recover from 2 ransomware attacks over the last few months. Both arrived as an email apparently from a trusted source that the users dealt with regularly, so had no reason to be suspicious of. I scanned the attachment later with 3 different AV packages, and none found a problem.

Very glad that my backups were working well at the time...

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Bank robber reveals identity – by using his debit card during crime

Mark Dempster

Re: Why don't I just mosey on down and rob the bank @ x 7

>There's a certain amount of truth in that, but I don't think you should be too complacent. The US has about the same, maybe slightly more doctors per capita than the UK. And in which developed country has the Red Cross recently described the state health service as suffering a "humanitarian crisis"? I live near one the hospitals particularly singled out for criticism, and my other half works in the NHS, and I know for a fact the situation is really, really bad. I'd rather become ill in the US than in Worcestershire.<

There is definitely a crisis in the NHS, brought about by the last 6 years of government deliberately running it into the ground in order that they can propose rescuing it by full privatisation. However, for the time being the health service is still free at the point of access. Did you know that the most common cause of bankruptcy in the states is medical bills? Even a heart attack can easily cost $1m.

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Could YOU survive a zombie apocalypse? Uni eggheads say you'd last just 100 days

Mark Dempster

Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

>I'm not a biologist (or fan of zombie fiction). But it seems to me that zombies can only walk and there are a large number of inhabited islands on the planet.

Just so long as someone remembers to close the channel tunnel, I don't think we'd be troubled. Though having to become self-sufficient might be a bit of a shock to some.<

Ah, but it seems likely that zombies don't breath. Which means they could potentially walk across the seabed in order to get to other islands, etc. Maybe also infecting fish; you could be attacked by a zombie cod while fishing for food...

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Christmas Eve ERP migration derailed by silly spreadsheet sort

Mark Dempster

Re: Ah, Excel sorting

>Most spreadsheets (including Excel) allow you to modify the format of a column (/row/cell) to allow it to keep the leading zero. It's up to the user to pick the appropriate format themselves.<

But that's only temporary formatting. Try saving it as a CSV, ready to import into something else - then decide you need to edit a little more. When you open that CSV in Excel the leading zeros are all gone

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Support chap's Sonic Screwdriver fixes PC as user fumes in disbelief

Mark Dempster

It's the EM field!

Many years ago, in the early days of PCs in the workplace, I worked for the local County Council.

There was one young guy in the office who, after finishing whatever he was doing on the one PC (a genuine green-screen IBM AT!) would always push himself away from the computer desk, & ride his chair as far as he could towards his own desk.

One day I found myself stood right behind the machine as he did so, and quickly pulled the monitor power lead out of the socket on the PC; he noticed the screen go blank as he was rolling away, and expressed his surprise.

\I moved around to the front of the machine & pretended to investigate the problem without success, before the penny dropped that I'd read about this sort of thing happening. I explained to him that a PC monitor creates a strong electromagnetic field around itself when it's working, and that it can extend out from the equipment by up to 2 or 3 feet. By moving away from the PC so quickly while fully-immersed in the field, he'd actually pulled it away from the computer and broken it! If we were really lucky it might still be enveloping him while sat on the chair...

For the next 10 minutes or so I had him flinging himself and chair at the PC at various speeds and angles in the hope that the EM field would be hurled from him back into the monitor - which it eventually was, when I slipped the cable back in...

He still believed what I'd told him years later, probably still does.... ;-)

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Blue sky basic income thinking is b****cks

Mark Dempster

Not a well thought-out article. All the tax avoidance measures that are claimed will prevent UBI working are already happening in the current system. That needs to be clamped down on, whether we stay as we are, move to UBI or anything else.

As others have pointed out, UBI is meant to provide the income required for a basic standard of living; many people will choose to work as well to top up that income, but possibly only for a few hours a month. There will be a lot more job sharing than we currently have as a result.

And under UBI what's wrong with people not working if that's what they choose? Everyone gets the same base income, and if you choose to work as well you have a better standard of living. Seems quite logical to me.

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Meet Hyper.is – the terminal written in HTML, JS and CSS

Mark Dempster

Re: Dumb terminal

>What exactly is wrong with my VT220 ?<

Porn looks rubbish on it. It's also probably rather dirty after all these years - bit of a health risk!

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Ransomware scum offer free decryption if you infect two mates

Mark Dempster

Re: @MyBackDoor

>I am constantly bleating this horn and next to nobody is listening : the only valid backup system for Joe User is the optical disk. Use DVDs or BluRay, I don't care, but write your data on something that cannot be changed afterwards.<

You have a point, but if the ransomware has been sitting on your system for a while before activating its payload, then your recent backups will also be infected. For many companies, the last week's (or other time period) data is the most important of all, and yet it's too risky to restore.

That does depend on the nature of the backup, of course. But even if you only backup your documents it's quite feasible for one of them to have a macrothat triggers a ransomware download.

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ESA to try tank-to-tank fuel switch on sat that wasn't designed to do it

Mark Dempster

Re: Here's hoping it works

>The main difference being that while NASA would make a film sending Bruce Willis up to it, ESA would make a film with Benedict Cumberbatch thinking how to solve it from the ground<

Actually they made that film (Space Cowboys) which starred Clint Eastwood & several other well-known pensionable actors. Utter rubbish if you look at it with an even slightly critical eye, but quite enjoyable otherwise

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90 per cent of the UK's NHS is STILL relying on Windows XP

Mark Dempster

Re: Maybe they should consider going over to Linux?

>Long time support in Linux is 5 years, but again, you do not get the same hassle you get with Windows upgrades, where half the printers in the office (for example) are no longer supported after the upgrade ....<

Probably becasue half the printers in the office never have a linux driver unless you're prepared to write your own,anyway

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Mark Dempster

Re: Extended support?

>And people wonder why the NHS is in so much debt.

It's in debt because people expect it to provide more treatment than it can do on the budget it's given by this Tory government. You know, the one that says it's given an extra £10bn, although noone can find more than £4bn in the accounts. And that is funded by a further £22bn of 'efficiency' - cuts, in other words. So the £10bn extra is actually £17.5bn less. And those cuts more than account for any so-called 'debt'.

So it has very little to do with continuing to use XP. Which they can't afford to replace anyway.

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UK Parliament waves through 'porn-blocking' Digital Economy Bill

Mark Dempster

Re: Stazi

Nobody but TORY MPs

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Microsoft ❤️ Linux? Microsoft ❤️ running its Windows' SQL Server software on Linux

Mark Dempster

Re: Should work well

Well, the FIRST version of SQL Server was a rebadged Sybase - I ran that on OS/2 & the NT 3.1 a long, long time ago - but they rewrote it from scratch soon afterwards

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Capita STILL hasn't delivered usable Army recruitment IT system

Mark Dempster

Re: So long as Capita provides continuing Financial Support to the Tories ...

>So how does that explain the fat, easy money years they enjoyed under the governance of Blair and Brown?<

It's fairly easy to argue that Blair was really in the wrong party, and successfully transformed the Labour party into a 'softer' version of the Tories - so their policies continued. Corbyn is struggling to put that right due to resistance from MPs parachuted into position by Blair.

I think Brown's heart was in the right place, but once in the top job he had his hands too full dealing with the world crash to make any impact on anything else.

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Chinese 'nauts blast off for month-long space station scouting mission

Mark Dempster

UK

>@esme - well official UK government policy is that our space programme is strictly an unmanned one. So we're just not in that race at all (rightly or wrongly - discuss!)<

That used to be the case, but the UK actually paid for Tim Peake - so he became the first Brit who didn't need to change nationality to go into space

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Basic income after automation? That’s not how capitalism works

Mark Dempster

Universal Basic Income

I think a few people are missing the point about basic income. The idea is that it's set at a level that means no-one HAS to work if they don't want to; their basic needs are covered. Much like (in theory, if not in practice) unemployment benefit, etc. It also removes the need for the welfare system as it is now, as we all get it (I imagine the severely .disabled might need additional help, but it does come down to what level the UBI is set at)

A certain proportion of the population will still want to work, to top up their income so that they can have whatever luxuries they'd like. Or just for their own personal satisfaction. Increasingly, though, full-time employment won't be needed (or, indeed, available) - so larger numbers of people might work a few hours each.

It's getting toward the nirvana promised in Star Trek, without all the whizzing around space. It's a great idea in theory, but might be very difficult to transition to. The countries that are planning to experiment with it will be very much worth watching.

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Mark Dempster

Re: Automation hasn't happened so quickly as now and not everyone's cut out to be a rocket scientist

Unemployment is only under 5% if you:

1. Sanction large numbers of welfare claimants for very dubious reasons, thus taking them off the unemployment statistics

2. Force people to go self-employed, with no guarantee of any income

3. Force others onto zero hour contracts - where they may have earned NOTHING this week, but aren't allowed to claim benefits. They may have a clause in that contract that forbids them from working elsewhere, as it limits their availability for work. And if they resign from the job they have 'made themselves unemployed' and so can't claim anything either

THIS is why food banks are everywhere these days. In what is supposedly the 5th richest nation in the world.

Not to mention all the long-term sick who have to be assessed on a regular basis for their ability to work. Do you have any idea how many people (it's in the thousands) have died within weeks of being pronounced fit to work?

But no, you carry on believing that we have near full employment if that makes you feel better...

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UK will build new nuclear bomb subs, says Defence Secretary

Mark Dempster

I think you need to do a bit more reading up on the subject. Each of the current class of submarine carries 92 independently-targetted warheads - seems to negate your 'we dont even have that many nukes so what use are they really' comment...

There's no way that ANY defensive missile system or jet fighter will take out an ICBM - they travel way too high & too fast - I think you're assuming they're something closer to cruise missiles. And the individual warheads would be even harder to target.

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Sage advice: Avoid the Windows 10 Anniversary Update – it knackers our accounting app

Mark Dempster

Re: "operating system updates end up disabling the framework"

Sage isn't an MS product. It's well-enough established in the UK that you'd think one of them would have tested it, though...

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'Geek gene' denied: If you find computer science hard, it's your fault (or your teacher's)

Mark Dempster

That pianist also omitted to say that having long fingers is a clear advantage. Without them your ability to play some chords is quite restricted.

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Windows Server 2016: Leg up or lock in?

Mark Dempster

Re: Running a Windows Server?

How big is your environment? Because I don't really see a viable alternative to Active Directory & GroupPolicy for managing anything really big. Netware's NDS (or whatever the latest name for it is) would have been capable at one time, but no longer has any vendor support that I can see. Open Directory is a toy in comparison. Seriously, what else is there?

And moving your Exchange or whatever to Azure may move the boxes out of your building, but they're still running on Windows.

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Non-doms pay 10 times more in income tax than average taxpayer group

Mark Dempster

Re: Pretty meaningless metric

They're not going to take their company away just because they're made to pay more personal income tax; they exist to make money, and if there's money here they will exploit it.

And as others have said, what's unfair about them contributing a percentage of the money they earn in this country back into it? We do.

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Beardy Branson bangs birds on Boeing

Mark Dempster

Re: Prelude to Space

No, in the early days of the space race (when the UK was still involved) we did tend to launch from Australia. Lots of empty space in the middle. Same reason we tested our nukes there....

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Sick of Southern Rail? There's a crowdfunding site for that

Mark Dempster

Re: Political Slant

And any PLC has a legal duty to the shareholders to return as much profit as possible to the shareholders. The CEO could be jailed in extreme circumstances for not doing so. Which is why there is no investment & services are run into the ground despite ever-rising ticket prices.

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Mark Dempster

Re: Political Slant

The unions are the only protection some people have against being treated like Sports Direct zero-hour victims, so think again.

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Mark Dempster

Re: Privatise the railways ?

Err... they ARE privatised. That'[s the problem. Renationalisation, so that service takes precedence over profit, is the answer.

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Stop lights, sunsets, junctions are tough work for Google's robo-cars

Mark Dempster

Re: Roundabouts...

There are quite a few roundabouts in Gloucestershire that have traffic lights on them. The worst ones are those that have lights immediately after the exit - so that if they turn red, only one car can come off the roundabout onto the desired road. Anyone else wanting to come off at that junction has no choice but to stop while on the roundabout, immediately jamming it for everyone else.

I'd like to have a word with whatever idiot came up with that idea...

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Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

Mark Dempster

Re: OK Jeremy--renationalization--what then?

Plenty of evidence, actually, yes. As will always be the case with a private company whose reisone d'etre is to return profit to its shareholders.

Evidence that nationalisation will work can be found in the privatised railways that failed & had to be temprarily renationalised before being sold off again - performance & satisfaction went up, and much more money was returned to the treasury. It's a win/win.

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Mark Dempster

It was made clear at the time that there were spaces in 1st class - but Corbyn chose not to upgrade (because most people can't afford to, and the taxpayer is paying for it).

There were clearly no seats available, despite Virgin's claims, because Corbyn joined several other people already sitting on the floor.

45 minutes into the journey a family did get an upgrade to 1st class, enabling Corbyn to take one of their seats.

All of this is easily verifiable, as other commuters have corroborated it. It also tallies with what Corbyn said at the time.

The dodgy part comes when you watch the video footage that Virgin released. Look closely at things like camera number, carriage ID, time, etc & you'll see that the footage has not been presented in the right order or from the relevant times in all cases. Put simply, it's faked.

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Mark Dempster

Re: Stop whining...

He reserved a seat on the previous train, but missed it becasue he was talking to the public

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Mark Dempster

Re: The 'two wrongs make a right' argument.

It was made clear at the time that there were spaces in 1st class - but Corbyn chose not to upgrade (because most people can't afford to, and the taxpayer is paying for it).

There were clearly no seats available, despite Virgin's claims, because Corbyn joined several other people already sitting on the floor.

45 minutes into the journey a family did get an upgrade to 1st class, enabling Corbyn to take one of their seats.

All of this is easily verifiable, as other commuters have corroborated it. It also tallies with what Corbyn said at the time.

The dodgy part comes when you watch the video footage that Virgin released. Look closely at things like camera number, carriage ID, time, etc & you'll see that the footage has not been presented in the right order or from the relevant times in all cases. Put simply, it's faked.

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Mark Dempster

Re: The 'two wrongs make a right' argument.

He did reserve a seat, but missed his train while talking to the public & had to get this one.

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Mark Dempster

Re: Cant see where he lied

The other way around, it now seems.

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Mark Dempster

Re: Cant see where he lied

The brick thing has also been comprehensively debunked. There is NO evidence that Corbyn supporters were involved, and the broken window wasn't even in the MP's (Angela Eagle) office - it was in a stairwell shared with 7 other offices. Most likely either plain vandalism or a botched break-in.

But then, Eagle does have a lot of form for lying recently... most notably for claiming to have experienced homophobic abuse at her constituency meeting, which it's been proved she hadn't even attended.

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Mark Dempster

Re: Cant see where he lied

It was made clear at the time that there were spaces in 1st class - but Corbyn chose not to upgrade (because most people can't afford to, and the taxpayer is paying for it).

There were clearly no seats available, despite Virgin's claims, because Corbyn joined several other people already sitting on the floor.

45 minutes into the journey a family did get an upgrade to 1st class, enabling Corbyn to take one of their seats.

All of this is easily verifiable, as other commuters have corroborated it. It also tallies with what Corbyn said at the time.

The dodgy part comes when you watch the video footage that Virgin released. Look closely at things like camera number, carriage ID, time, etc & you'll see that the footage has not been presented in the right order or from the relevant times in all cases. Put simply, it's faked.

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My headset is reading my mind and talking behind my back

Mark Dempster

Yellow 'sunglasses'

Yellow lenses actually do work, as our eyes perceive greater levels of contrast. They're often used by people shooting in poor light. It's also why we have yellow streetlights (and other countries have yellow headlights).

Not sure that they can be classed as sunglasses, though.

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An anniversary to remember: The world's only air-to-air nuke was fired on 19 July, 1957

Mark Dempster

Re: just goes to show how little ...

There may be a link, but probably not a strong one. The main cause of the rise in deaths from cancer is that we're not dying from something else first as much as we used to.

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Mark Dempster

Re: just goes to show how little ...

Quite a few in Japan in 1945... and more than you'd expect during the fire-fighting operation at Chernobyl. A few crew members on the first USSR nuclear sub. Probably a lot more cases than that, but I'm about to go to lunch so you can google them yourself.

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F-35 targeting system laser will be 'almost impossible' to use in UK

Mark Dempster

Re: MS has hardly been able to give away 10

Actually, it WAS available to Win7 users. Nothing earlier, though

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Salesforce bins all Android phones bar Nexii and Galaxies

Mark Dempster

Re: This is probably about the OS

I don't think there ever was a PC standard set; clone vendors just tried to make their products as similar as possible while making them cheaper/superior in some way. Reviews of early PCs always included tests of IBM-compatibility, such as whether Lotus 123 ran without problems.

IBM did try to introduce a standard later, the MCA (Micro-Channel Architecture) on the PS/2 range. They charged too much for the licensing though, so nobody really bought into it - even though it was great for the day.

I think I'm showing my age...

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Windows 7's grip on the enterprise desktop is loosening

Mark Dempster

Mac presence

With a claim like that, I'm guessing yoiu're based in the US? In the UK (and Europe as a whole, I think) Apple have a very small installed base compared to Windows; I don't think I've seen one in a business that's not in the creative sector(and even THAT is due to inertia - with the same software available for Windows it really is a case of user attitude rather than necessity)

OSX just doesn't play nicely with the software you want to use in business. If there was an attempt to offer a substantially better AD implementation then maybe it would stand a chance, but Apple just aren't interested in the business sector - which is why they haven't mad a proper server in years (a Mac Mini with attached storage is NOT a server)

And Macs DO NOT last longer, either; I'd say in my own company we have slightly more hardware failures on the Macs than we do PCs; but we have 6-7 times more PCs! Add to that the need for creative teams to always be on very reent releases of software, and the replacement cycle is also much shorter

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Norks uses ballistic missile to launch silent 'satellite'

Mark Dempster

Re: Iran, North Korea. Can you blame them?

I completely agree. I'm also curious as to what sanctions we can impose on a nation that we have virtually no contact with?

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So, was it really the Commies that caused the early 20th Century inequality collapse?

Mark Dempster

Re: Post-war 90/10 story

You're forgetting that a HUGE amount of money was spent straight after the war (by a Labour government) on nationalising industries, creating the welfare state, setting up the NHS, etc. And while none of these systems is perfect, you won't find a better health & welfare system that's free at the point of access anywhere in the world.

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Just WHY is the FBI so sure North Korea hacked Sony? NSA: *BLUSH*

Mark Dempster

Re: @Dan Paul

>Yes I have seen the Imitation Game. It's a film isn't it. A work of entertainment ?<

Yes, it was. And rather a good one as it happens, but that's not relevant here. What IS relevant is that the decision to allow many attacks to take place anyway DID happen; probably the worst example being the firebombing of Coventry,

Not that it means that that's what happened in the Sony case, but you can't just dismiss the other guy's poinit because he mentioned the film rather than the wartime government policy

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UKIP website TAKES A KIP, but for why?

Mark Dempster

Re: They arent a serious party..

>I would infer from the view you express that you're a UKIP supporter or at the very least sympathetic to them. You therefore probably agree with Nigel Farrage's recently expressed view that people working in the NHS should be tested to ensure that they speak English well.<

Well I'm certainly not a UKIP supporter; for the record, my political views are rather to the left of any of the mainstream parties. However the ability to speak English to a reasonable level of proficiency seems like a basic requirement in any role where miscommunication can have major consequences. What's racist about that?

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Microsoft fires legal salvo at phone 'tech support' scammers

Mark Dempster

Re: But what does the scammers EULA say?

If ANY software company had to accept responsibility for bugs in theire products - particularly financial responsibility - then pretty soon you'd find there weren't any software companies around any more....

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TALE OF FAIL: Microsoft offers blow-by-blow Azure outage account

Mark Dempster

Re: All this flighting???

So Amazon have never had an outage? Or they have, but not told you what happened?

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UK.gov biz dept: Yoof APPRENTICE? Get a degree while YOU'RE HIRED

Mark Dempster

Re: Who cares?!

>Does IT actually want people with degrees anyway? I don't think so.<

Sounds like someone who doesn't have one....;-)

Seriously, IT degrees will only ever produce a graduate with out-of-date skills. However it does produce people with skills in critical thinking, research abillities, etc, that ARE an asset to the business and who can easily update their skills on the job.

Personally I got my academic qualifications (2 HNDs & a BSc) on a day-release basis from my employers (local government & NHS) which I found to be a good way of formalising my practical experience. That was quite a few years ago though, when the public sector offered perks like that to offset the lower-than-private-sector salaries.

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Labour vows: We'll pause one-dole-to-rule-them-all for drastic fix-up if elected in 2015

Mark Dempster

>It'd be cheaper, fairer, faster, and all round better, if we just abolish all benefits other than OAP, and give people larger tax free allowances - that way all work pays, and not working ceases to be a lifestyle choice.

People could then buy their own short term unemployment insurance from the private sector (as those of us with any assets must) to cover any transient unemployment.<

And presumably workhouses / prisons for those who chose to buy food instead of such insurance, etc.... you're obviously someone who's never been under financial pressure. I'm all in favour of stopping those who chose not to work from claiming benefits, but I'm a staunch supporter of the welfare state for those in genuine need. Unfortunately, those people often don't get enough help.

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