* Posts by Charles Smith

278 posts • joined 7 Apr 2008


Terribly Sorry Bank reports 165% drop in profits to a pre-tax loss of £105.4m

Charles Smith

Proper testing?

I wonder how much it would have cost, other than the Boss's bonus, to have undertaken proper testing of the system before release. A safe rollback escape route would have been useful too. Probably less than £330 Million.

UK's ICO slaps £120k fines on Arron Banks' insurance biz and Leave.EU campaign

Charles Smith

A whiff of Sulphur

Here we go, the Establishment striking back against Brexit "terrorists".

Openreach names 81 lucky locations to be plugged into its super-zippy Gfast pipe

Charles Smith

Edwardian Tech

BT announces, in a fit of corporate stubbornness, a further 81 locations are going to be locked into Edwardian copper wire telephony for the long term. Meanwhile SFA is being done for the inconvenient 5% in rural locations and pseudo-rural urban areas.

Washington Post offers invalid cookie consent under EU rules – ICO

Charles Smith

Wouldn't read it anyway

I've tried the Washington Post website. I was given a free subscription. I tried it out thinking it was a newspaper with researched and unbiased reporting. I soon discovered it was mostly highly biased political opinion articles. I wouldn't use it again even if they paid me. So their cookie privacy policy is irrelevent to me.

Euro bureaucrats tie up .eu in red tape to stop Brexit Brits snatching back their web domains

Charles Smith

Excellent Idea

This is such a good idea the United Kingdom should follow suit. Ban EU based companies from representing themselves with co.uk. By this distinction we should be able to make an informed decision whether we want to give business to an Eu based company.

'World's favorite airline' favorite among hackers: British Airways site, app hacked for two weeks

Charles Smith

Good choice Alex

Alex Cruz is to be commended in his great choice in TCS as part of his mission to destroy BA. I'm sure the UK IT techicians made redundant will have a wry smile as they munch their toast this morning.

Sysadmin trained his offshore replacements, sat back, watched ex-employer's world burn

Charles Smith

Errm do you know where the document were stored..?

So, the development teams had done good work and software testing was on schedule. However to run the new system, we'd need a new fault tolerant "mainframe", so my boss and I hegotiated a good deal on price and delivery date. Shortly after the deal was signed, the Finance Director walks into my office and "sadly" announces that the IT Director (my boss) has left the company with immediate effect, but not too worry because they had a shortlist of propective candidate. A mysterious hand materialised behind his head and started to write on my office whiteboard. "... it won't be you..."

Being a professional I warned my deputy that my life expectancy in my role was limited and started to tidy my paperwork so he wouldn't be left in the lurch. Part of the tidying was to pass the mainframe contract negotiation paperwork to the FD's deputy at his request. About four weeks later the new IT Director had arrived and I was gone two weeks later. The new boy made it very plain I was not wanted and handed over a departure package.

Four months later I had a grovelling call from the IT Director; "Did I know where the contract documentation for the mainframe had gone?" This discount was worth about four times my departure package. My reply: "I gave you the keys to the files cabinet at my departure interview, but you could talk to Finance." I understand, in the absence of documentary proof, the eventual terms from the manufacturer were far less generous.

Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

Charles Smith

Imagine if Google responds by saying Android will no lnger be available in the EU countries except on a paid subscription basis. Say 5 Euro/month. That would give competitors such as Amazon and Microsoft a chance.

Tech team trapped in data centre as hypoxic gas flooded in. Again

Charles Smith


When you had halon in a room you were supposed to have a venting/extraction system to clear it after a release. I saw a novel approach to this on a seventh floor equipment room, the room had never been pressure/leak tested. We suggested to the client it was needed. On testing we discovered the halon would have vented down the adjoining lift (elevator) shaft if there'd been a release.

'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey

Charles Smith


Bah you young'uns haven't lived. You don't need gigabits, nor even megabits. We used run a financial markets trading system over a 4800 baud satellite link, including the software upgrades.

Charles Smith

Business view

I used to build trading floors, including the provision of networks. If the client specified a fibre network and I had a hybrid fibre/copper network installed, I could guess the reaction. My clients would have sued my company.

Having copper for the "final half-mile" is not a fibre circuit. The ASA has had professionals telling them they are wrong for the past decade or so. Like all bureaucracies, they get stubborn when they know they are in the wrong.

Newsworthy Brit bank TSB is looking for a head of infrastructure

Charles Smith

I could solve their infrastructure problems..

.. get rid of their Agile software development. Those bozo's rarely consider the production transaction level impact of their design/implementation on the infrastructure resources.

Grindr: Yeah, we shared your HIV status info with other companies – but we didn't charge them!

Charles Smith

Hi Grindr, meet GDPR your new all encompassing friend.

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

Charles Smith


To own a .co.uk or .uk domain you should of course be a person domiciled in the UK or a business registered in the UK. In future this will help us distinguish EU companies masquerading as a UK company. To be honest once we've left the EU, why would anyone in the UK want a .eu domain other than for nostalgia. It's a bit like wanting a .zw domain.

Assange fails to make skipped bail arrest warrant vanish

Charles Smith

If he'd turned up in court

He should have gone to court to argue his case. The judge could have then turned around and said, if you'd come here five years ago I would have said what I'm about to say now. "Bail is cancelled. You are free to go. By the way your Visa has expired, so leave the country."

Well done, UK.gov. You hit superfast broadband target (by handing almost the entire project to BT)

Charles Smith


Aside from Mr Ferguson, is there anyone who actually believes this BT/Govt propaganda?

NAO probing Capita's sickly £700m GP support gig

Charles Smith


Capita help government bodies "save" on pension commitments to Civil Servants. Capita then try to run the service using staff who've been motivated by abandonment, with leadership from process driven management. Along the line Capita extracts a profit for their shareholders on a service priced lower than the original service.

You end up with the lowest cost workforce with no loyalty to the "customer" whose motivation is meeting short term internal Capita targets. To plaster over the cracks in service Capita wheel out Relationship Managers whose task is to reduce client complaint to an acceptable level.

Small wonder that the GP private partnerships are discovering a few service gaps.

HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak and everyone's all a-tizzy

Charles Smith

In best BBCspeak establishment response : "So, we're working really hard to fix this minor normal problem which may have been due to Brexit, but the real question is ..."

Royal Bank of Scotland culls 1 in 4 branches, blames the interwebz

Charles Smith

Meanwhile here in the Sticks

In the countryside it's rapidly becoming the situation that if you want to go to a bank branch office you have to go to the County Town. Seems like Free Banking = No Banking.

Ex-cop who 'kept private copies of data' fingers Cabinet Office minister in pr0nz at work claims

Charles Smith


There seems to be an awful lot of effort to smear politicians in an attempt to weaken the UK Gov't. I'd say it's conspiracy either by Momentum or the Bilderbergers.

Dark fibre arts: Ofcom is determined to open up BT's network

Charles Smith

Leave BT alone

Ofcom should stop harassing BT about true fibre optic infrastructure. They should allow BT to wallow in its media based legacy copper infrastructure while the competitive real telecommunication companies get on with giving this country a proper fibre network.

SurfaceBook 2 battery drains even when plugged in

Charles Smith

Class Action?

Dear M$,

You sold a product with known faults. Give us our money back!

What do you mean? ... "This is your business model and you've been doing it for years with your software."


Joe Soap Public

BT hikes prices for third time in 18 months

Charles Smith

Dung heap delivery

Perhaps the POS broadband currently delivered by BT should be managed by farmers. In the B4RN project, a farmland community have optical fibre to the home delivering symmetric 1Gbps for £30 a month.

Guy Glitchy: Villagers torch Openreach effigy

Charles Smith

Smoking trousers

"... but we're working hard to find alternative ways of bringing faster broadband..."

Excuse me sir, but the seat of your trousers seems to be ablaze.

Yes, British F-35 engines must be sent to Turkey for overhaul

Charles Smith

Not a problem

The servicing of these planes engines is not a problem. Just one anti-ship missile will remove one of the White Elephants, leaving the RN reluctant to put the other one in harms way. So we won't actually need airworthy F-35Bs.

Survey: Tech workers are terrified they will be sacked for being too old

Charles Smith

Disability overcome

I was turfed out of permanent employment in the Financial Sector IT world in London as a consequence of grey hair disability at the grand old age of 52. The message from the recruitment agencies was "don't bother trying for a new job. You are too old.". So I set up my own company and within six months was charging the financial businesses twice as much per hour as they used to pay me in permanent employment, plus there were no on-call responsibilities. "You need me to work extra hours to meet a dumb deadline date? No problem. Sign here..."

You may not have noticed, but 'superfast' broadband is available to 94% of Blighty

Charles Smith

Basic Broadband

Ofcom should issue "guidance" to the Advertising Standards Agency and the telcoms companies. To the effect, in any advertising:

Up to 30 mbps should be described as "Basic Broadband"

Above 100 mbps should be described as "Premium Broadband"

Above 1 gbps should be described as "Fast Broadband"

Dildon'ts of Bluetooth: Pen test boffins sniff out Berlin's smart butt plugs

Charles Smith

In court

I can visualise the court case where the prosecuting barrister is demonstrating the hackers control device. "Members of the jury, allow me to demonstrate how the accused activated the device by pressing this button. My Lord are you all right? You look as though you're in some pain."

UK PC prices have risen 30% in a year since the EU referendum

Charles Smith

The pound has recently risen against the Dollar and Euro. I guess we'll see those price increases reversed promptly?

No? I thought not.

Users shop cold-calling telco to ICO: 'She said she was from Openreach'

Charles Smith

Praise for BT

I hate to say it, but our BT Call Protect works quite well at keeping spam calls away.

One-third of Brit IT projects on track to fail

Charles Smith

You need an agile approach....

I see loads of mention of PRINCE, but no mention of Agile. One is loads of documented ass covering while the target drifts away. The other is not so well organised.

BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'

Charles Smith

Re: Smells funny.

Fuel in the basement, generators on the roof? Fuel leak during testing? I was working in a large white riverside building at the north end of London Bridge when precisely that type of event happened. The London Fire Brigade were not impressed when traders refused to leave their diesel soaked trading desks because there were outstanding trades to be closed.

Charles Smith

Convenient excuse?

"OMG we've really Fff'd this upgrade and the Database is dying...what can we do???"

BOFH: "You see that big red button/ Press it to summon help."

Charles Smith

I can imagine the phone call...

"Look, I know we fired you just before Christmas, but it wasn't personal."

"Eff Off"

"Please come back, just for the weekend and help us get running again."

"Eff off"

"We'd pay you loads of money if you'd help. Just this once."

"Send me a Christmas card, I might help then. Meanwhile why don't you phone India."

Ofcom chisels away at BT Openreach's cold, dead hands

Charles Smith

Wrong Direction

BT executives took the crazy decision to attempt to turn a communications company into a broadcast media company. It wasn't what the customers, the British Public, wanted as a service or needs long term. As a consequence investment in new infrastructure was focused on a latency insensitive asymmetric broadcast network. It's not useful for voice communications nor the Internet of Things, just music and video downloads. The money spent on FTTC gives a short term advantage, but is a technology cul de sac. It is in effect, wasted money when BT should providing a fast symmetric low latency network. Along the way it should be bringing its neglected ducting into a good operation state.

Sadly it needs Government (OFCOM) intervention to force BT to do the right thing. Apportioning the cost of maintaining the edifice should be shared amongst the tenants, but that is just a matter of billing.

Lloyds Banking Group axing hundreds of jobs again

Charles Smith

All that "Human Capital", i.e. business knowledge leaving their control. Earlier this evening I was thinking of moving my bank accounts to Lloyds from Natwest. I think I don't I want a step into the unknown.

BT splurges £1.2bn on securing Champions League rights, Sky heads for an early bath

Charles Smith

The only problem with BT is their management actually believe their own marketing and propaganda. For example: Superfast Broadband.

Tech contractors begin mass UK.gov exodus in wake of HMRC's IR35 income tax clampdown

Charles Smith

I turn down contracts

I turn down contracts where the client wants to treat me like an employee in terms of fixed hours, sitting at their desk and consequently exposing me to IR35 nonsense. If they want me and my skills they have to pay consultancy rates and I work from my own office.

If clients expose a contractor to IR35 they should also be directly contributing to the contractor's pension pot and provide employee insurance.

BT and Virgin Media claim 'broadband' tax will cost £1.3bn

Charles Smith

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Paying more business rates increases the expenses, but reduces the amount of Corporation tax paid.

Brexploitation? Adobe gets creative with price hikes

Charles Smith

Halve their income

The great thing about the subscription model is that you can cancel at short notice. If you have users who don't use their product or only lightly use a subscription it may be worth cancelling those subscriptions.

In our case we're going to cancel the subscriptions on old PCs which we rarely use. The net effect we'll pay a lot less to the Adobe coffers. IT Managers should be sure to present an extra bill for internal services to their users showing clearly the impact of the Adobe price increase. In that way the user management can assess whether the Adobe products are value for money.

HP Ink COO: Sorry not sorry we bricked your otherwise totally fine printer cartridges

Charles Smith

Off the Christmas List

Oki my dear Brother I've removed HP from the pressie list. Must remember the Epson salts in case we overindulge.

EU ends anonymity and rules open Wi-Fi hotspots need passwords

Charles Smith

No coffee

As an old fogey with failing eyesight, but not on a pension, the UK Government has lifted my driving licence. My passport has expired, so I'm a bit "off the Grid". So if I want to have a coffee in the local Starbucks and browse my droid tablet will I be thrown out onto the pavement (sidewalk)?

BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

Charles Smith

BBC Viewers

They are probably trying to detect those people who pay the BBC tax but don't bother to watch the current mix of dire new BBC programmes and decades old repeats. Expect warning letters if you don't watch your quota.

Parliament takes axe to 2nd EU referendum petition

Charles Smith


The Gov Petition site should introduce a validation against the Poll Card detail:

Surname match

Poll Card number match

Post Code match

That way valid UK voters will be franchised and spotty nerds in Russia and the Vatican City will be locked out.

BT blames 'faulty router' for mega outage. Did they try turning it off and on again?

Charles Smith

Right tool?

Why would a woodworker's power tool cause a major Internet failure at BT?

Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking

Charles Smith

Been there, done that ...

As an IT Manager I'd negotiated a big discount on some hardware circa £85K, but almost immediately afterwards a new IT Director came in to the company. The signs were obvious, I was not invited to some meetings etc etc so I cleared my desk of personal stuff, sorted out outstanding admin issues and waited for the call. Sure enough within a week I was out with a redundancy settlement and a don't contact the staff agreement. Three months later I had a grovelling call from the new IT Director "...could I give details of the discount agreement?"

I had the pleasure of telling him that as requested, I'd mailed it to the Finance Department as I left my desk to go to the redundancy meeting. My spies told me the Finance Department denied all knowledge.

Broadband minister: Our voucher scheme for SMEs is a tremendous success

Charles Smith

I looked at using this

Pretty much all of the quotes were for old style leased lines, costing circa £450/month with a 2 - 5 year contract. The £3000 would be absorbed for "installation" costs leading to a minimum expenditure by the small business of £17,500.

It wasn't FTTP, nor did it sponsor new technology at the exchange.

Hopefully the new CEO at OpenReach will actually understand terms like latency then we might get some proper investment in the UK comms infrastructure.

So the success is the grant money has been spent, but I doubt whether UK Ltd got value for money.

UK citizens will have to pay government to spy on them

Charles Smith

Add it to the Bill

When we pay the ISP for the Internet connection we are used to seeing VAT added to the bill. The ISPs should be open and honest about this and add a line to each invoice showing the cost of the Spy Tax for each subscriber.

Note: you will of course be paying additional VAT on the Spy Tax.

Dad who shot 'snooping vid drone' out of the sky is cleared of charges

Charles Smith

Rail Gun

It sounds like an ideal application for a small rail gun with a tungsten dart. Remove the inconsiderate intrusions to our privacy.

FAA issues lithium battery warning

Charles Smith

Dreamliner + Lithium batteries?

Will the FAA demand the removal of Lithium batteries from the Boeing Dreamliner?


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