* Posts by Alan Brown

9276 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

OK, this time it's for real: The last available IPv4 address block has gone

Alan Brown
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Re: Selling this to management will be hard.

"We still have many servers deployed where we turned IPv6 off to stability reasons and those servers are going to be around for years."

If you still have iron that old kicking around in mission-critical positions and it isn't in a heavily isolated quarantine leg, then your business is unstable.

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Alan Brown
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Re: IPv6 on the Internet and IPv4 inside

" in large enterprises there's simply no business case for such a migration."

I can think of one.

Rental of IPv4 space is about to get $very expensive (what, did you think you _own_ those addresses? Read your contract with APNIC and friends again)

Rental of IPv6 is much cheaper.

It's called encouraging migration.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Compatibility

"all the various realworld use cases for which NAT has been found to be the solution. "

Such as?

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Alan Brown
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Re: Compatibility

"Computationally, strcmp is, and always has been, the wrong way to do this. What if I decide to throw some leading zeroes into an octet, i.e. 010 instead of 10?"

If you use Vixie BIND (which is what 99% of the planet uses) then it decides you're using octal and what you think is 10 is now 8

And if you complain, all the cheerleaders will come out of the woodwork and tell you that's how it's supposed to work.

And if you point out that the RFC says that all octets are always decimal, and the software is supposed to be RFC compliant, so either the software or the RFC needs changing, they'll mailbomb you.

Excuse me for being bitter, but that's what happened when I threw a leading zero into my octet.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Compatibility

" really old code written ONLY for IPv4 would need to be updated "

Really old code like emule, (started circa 2002) whose authors have repeatedly said IPv6 will never be adopted so they don't see why they need to support it.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Compatibility

"cretins who designed IP6 had given some thought to making it backward compatible"

They did. It's flat out impossible. IPv6 is 128 bit address space. IPv4 is 32-bit address space. You can address IPv4 from IPv6 but not the other way around.

In 1995 there was a meeting held with the objective of getting IPv6 deployed before the next "killer app" drove up Internet usage and made changeover harder. That same year in another room in the same conference centre at the same conference _at the same time_ there was a BoF meeting on html standards and the world wide web. Damn that Berners-Lee fellow!

The ironic thing is that IPv4 was originally going to be 128bit addressing, but Vint Cerf was browbeaten into reducing it to 32 bits because V4 was a kludge expected to only be needed for 5 years at most until the "real" internet protocol was developed.

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Alan Brown
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Re: @boxplayer - "Nobody uses it..."

"How did we ever manage to migrate from IPX to TCP?"

"We" didn't.

TCP/IP IPv4 was the hacky kludge we implemented whilst the Internet protocols were being developed. That turned out to be IPX and was unroutable. (IPX = "Internet Protocol Exchange" aka IPv5)

Anyone using IPX was in an island of their own or a couple of isolated offices until they accepted the inevitable and switched to TCP/IP.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Time to claw some back

"they were assigned before IANA existed"

Yup, and the guy who assigned them (Jon Postel) has been dead over 20 years.

And there have been some highly questionable acquisitions of some of those blocks (Such as how OSF1's block ended up in the hands of av8 software, via OSF1's tech contact apparently just walking off with it when OSF1 effectively ceased to exist)

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Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help

Alan Brown
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On a more serious note, on a dos fs once you exceed 512 files in the root directory, the chances of catastrophic loss start skyrocketing.

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Boeing CEO takes aim at Musk’s Starman-in-a-Tesla stunt

Alan Brown
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Re: Probably very close to a zero sum game

"Part of the business case will be the launch cost and that just got slashed. But there could also be some other cost savings brought on by the new capabilities. "

That's _exactly_ what's happening.

Most of the cost isn't the launch mass in any case. It's that high launch costs drive high payload costs by engineering the shit out of the payload and building hundreds of prototypes of _everything_. (the actual unit costs of the flight spares are only a small percentage of any mission cost) If you can afford increased risk then you can build fewer prototypes, which means massively decreased overall bottom line figures.

Those same high costs add even more complexity by causing "everything including the kitchen sink" to be thrown onto a mission, especially if it happens to be going outside earth orbit (eg: Mars). Mission creep is a very real danger. Cheaper launches mean that you can afford to have more, cheaper launches. On the other hand you can also afford to stick on hitchhikers for interplanetary missions like a dozen beagles (don't laugh, the concept was sound, but quality british funding arrived far too late to be of any use, so the probe went with "string and sticky-tape" prototype level hardware because there was no time left to make space-rated stuff before launch.)

For GEO communications birds, bigger is most definitely better. It means bigger, more foccusable antenna arrays, bigger more powerful transmitters (and more of them), bigger fuel tanks for stationkeeping and longer life on orbit. Every single increase in launch mass capacity since the 1980s has been enthusiastically taken up by the big boys very quickly.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Not a zero sum game...

"the car industry might be worried about Tesla, for example, because (very roughly) someone in the market for a new (pricey) car is only going to buy one "

At the price point of Teslas, that isn't the case.

If they were the same price as a Ford Fiesta it would be a much different story and the automotive market would be turned on its ear.

That won't happen for a long while. The availability of lithium isn't the problem (That's a byproduct of potash product from brine lakes and can easily be extracted from seawater if demand is high enough - and even if te price tripled wouldn't make a big difference to the end-unit price). The sticking point at the moment is the availability of cobalt, which to an approximation is mostly (60-70%) coming out of the Congo and tied up in supply contracts decades into the future.

The breakthrough would be a battery chemistry which doesn't need cobalt or a hitherto-unknown source of large volumes of the metal at prices which break the current supply strangleholds. Perhaps the new underwater mines off Papua New Guinea may save the day but even with improved efficiency being forced on makers it would take a tenfold increase in supply volumes to make up the shortfalls.

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Alan Brown
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> Hell, I was there in person

Were they playing the Thunderbirds theme over the PA?

(If not, Elon should have done it)

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Alan Brown
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"With the recent investment in Reaction Engines Limited, this may stand a chance of becoming a reality"

History shows that it's more likely they bought it to shut it down.

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'Dear Mr F*ckingjoking': UK PM Theresa May's mass marketing missive misses mark

Alan Brown
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Re: Democracy

"Includes the right not to vote"

True, but in general not voting effectively increases the extremist vote - and if you're in the UK, where the marginal and swing seats decide the entire country, your vote is more important that you probably realise.

Voter turnout is low in national elections and abysmal in local body ones (Next month remember!) which is how extreme policies at council levels are getting through. Extremists invariably vote no matter what.

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Alan Brown
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"Virgin Media certainly do - I sent seven 'return to sender' items back to them that way as they refused to stop sending marketing material - not had any from them for well over two years now....."

This is Eeeevil and I like it, as like you I've been unable to get them to stop even when hitting them with a DPA section 11 notice - the argument they use is that they target the address but not the name, so there's no section11 requirement to comply with.

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Alan Brown
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"I will not vote in someone that I deem inadequate for the job"

Then spoil your ballot. Parties take note of that.

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Alan Brown
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"I sometimes wonder what nastiness I could post through their door and stay on the right side of the law...."

glitter

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Alan Brown
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"Everything else is letterbox-spam and unaddressed "

Which you can opt out of - discussion about that in Monday's story about Royalmail getting spanked for spamming (you'd think they could have sent a letter...)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Dear valued donor...

"Although, it's very unlikely there's a Feckoff Street, in Cocksville getting my spam."

I'd say 69 Cock Lane gets a lot of mail.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Dear valued donor...

"It says quite a lot about the attitude of the developer that they use an insult as the name placeholder."

Back in the 1980s, a certain UK bank sent out a large mailmerge (which failed) to high end customers which started with the salutation "Dear Rich Bastard"

Understandably their attempt to sell a premium product didn't work out so well.

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German sauna drags punters to court over naked truth

Alan Brown
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Re: Badewelt

In that part of germany, BDSM is likely to mean "Bible Discussions and Study Meetings"

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Alan Brown
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Re: Stamp it out.

"And a tall cold one for your efforts"

... because - GERMANY! :)

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Alan Brown
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Re: how big...

"I've managed friskyness in a portalooo before "

Having seen one end up on its side due to friskiness of the occupants, that's not something I'd take the risk on. (Hint, when that happens, what was "below decks" doesn't stay there)

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Alan Brown
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you can avoid the embarrasment of "other" or "same" by just using "appropriate"

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Airbus plans beds in passenger plane cargo holds

Alan Brown
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Re: Glossing a commercial turd

"as a UK passport holder I find LHR pretty good nowadays. Not true for all the other people though, they face big queues"

This is a direct consequence of the number of immigration stations on duty.

LHR has far fewer than Schipol as one f'instance.

"Customer service? We've heard of it."

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Alan Brown
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Re: Glossing a commercial turd

"The A380neo is like a gun held to the head of the entire aviation industry"

Unfortunately not.

The killer factor of the 747 turned out to be unrefueled range, NOT capacity. Big Twins have eating its advantage from the bottom up because of ETOPS. The 777 in particular has been cannibalising 747 sales for the last 20 years.

None of this was known when the A380 was first developed and introduced as ETOPS wasn't even around at that point and had only just been introduced respectively.

The remaining market segments for Big Quads are much smaller. Boeing saw this coming and Airbus didn't.

ETOPS was a long time coming because high power piston engined aircraft were spectacularly unreliable. More often than not a transcontinental flight arrived with fewer engines operating than it left with. It took 40 years of long haul jet operations to convince authorities that turbines were better.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Glossing a commercial turd

"That is the exact driver here. I do not see a way of surviving a direct London-Sydney without with."

I can't see that being viable on a big twin.

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Penis pothole protester: Cambridge's 'Wanksy' art shows feted

Alan Brown
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"spend a certain amount to remove the offending artwork, or spend what is likely a similar amount on removing that section of road and replacing it with fresh tarmac."

Or just tarmac over the offending road knob and pothole.

Problem solved.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Hills Road

"I've had to put a set of cheap wheels on my car after I lost one (and some suspension) in a hole that wasnt there the week before"

You can claim damage costs from your council - and oif they try to weasel out of it by claiming "noone had reported it", a small claims filing will change that tune very quickly.

One council had to pay out almost £1million for ONE pothole incident.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Hills Road

" The councils probably don't get any money from central government to fix them in the first place"

Virtually all potholes are a result of failure to do minor work like cleaning drains. They're a symptom that your council's been corner cutting for a long time.

Around these parts (not a million miles from Cock Lane) I filmed a drains contractor driving down the road, stopping at each one for 60-90 seconds, not bothering to get out and inspect, let alone clean 'em, then drive on to the next one. He noticed he was being filmed, got out of his truck and started being pretty aggressive (including demands to not be filmed etc), but also denied working under contract for the council. Unfortunately for him the logs showed that the company he was working for signed off the drains as cleaned, they were still blocked+flooding the next day and the youtube videos of his (lack of) work plus denials ended up in the hands of local councillors.

We (councillors and a couple of council auditors) suspected that particular rort was going on for a while, but it was nice to actually document it. Not that it mattered as the council refuses to do anything about the dodgy contractor - too many family hands in the cookie jar (and yes, this is in the SE of the UK)

On the subject of Cock Lane - the Crusader's work resulted in the council there closing the road to do resurfacing, estimating it to be closed for 4-6 days at a cost of about £50k. It actually took closer to 6 months and £350k because the roadbed was so badly damaged due to lack of drainage that it had to be completely rebuilt from scratch in a lot of places. Whilst rebuilding the lane the council also found that 3/4 of the roadside gullies had been paved over - which meant that water had built up, soaked into the roadbed and effectively destroyed it. So yes, the Cock Lane Crusader had a bloody good point.

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Alan Brown
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Re: "a semi at 69 Cock Lane"

"Better than a detached "

I'm not so sure about that. At least you can leave it in the bathroom cabinet if you think it's going to get you into trouble: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byDiILrNbM4

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European Space Agency squirts a code update at Mars Express orbiter

Alan Brown
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Re: Quality Control

"It's not as if they have say ~10'000 users / satellites to test it on."

No, but they do have a couple of flight spares and engineering samples.

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You. FCC. Get out there and do something about these mystery bogus cell towers, huff bigwigs

Alan Brown
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Re: Spies, foreign and domestic, could also...

> more like "AirBNB Guest".

For shits and giggles, name a P-t-P hotspot "Free Wifi" on an aircraft and by the end of the flight you'll see that every other phone on board has picked up that name.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Foreign governments ?

"Most phones will give you no indication that this is happening."

This is prevalent enough that there are a couple of apps to warn you when connected to an unencrypted network.

Of course in some countries, 2G networks were unencrypted by law so that spooks could snoop - and so could everyone else.

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NAND chips are going to stay too pricey for flash to slit disk's throat...

Alan Brown
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Re: Cost per GB per IOP

"you also don't put archival workloads on SSD unless you are criminally bad at budget management."

That entirely depends on what kind of flash you're using. One size definitely does not fit all and what you call archival, others might call nearline.

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'Disappearing' data under ZFS on Linux sparks small swift tweak

Alan Brown
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Re: @disgustedoftunbridgewells

"ZFS as a filesystem has been out of beta for years already"

Yes, and these point sub releases ARE betas at best. Nobody declares these things stable for production until they've been out for quite a while.

The actual versions being used on production systems are 0.7.5 or older. Everything newer is testing - and precisely because of these kinds of issues.

If you use bleeding edge, expect to bleed occasionally.

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£12k fine slapped on Postman Pat and his 300,000 spam emails

Alan Brown
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"Unfortunately I can't see what the ICO can do about unaddressed junk mail delivered by RM. "

It's the opt out database they maintain that's the issue - the fact that it expires after two years and the fact that having opted out, your wishes are being ignored.

the ICO subsumed Postwatch some years ago. They also handle postal regulation roles (which make make this somewhat easier than when the delivery side was handled by Postwatch)

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Alan Brown
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Re: Junk confusions

"There's no need to re-register for the MPS"

There used to be, but the requirement to renew was made illegal in 2004.

"so the Royal Mail should follow suit."

That should have happened in 2004 too, but Royal Mail claim they found a loophole.

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Alan Brown
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"Instead, you need to opt out from their Door to Door junk every 98 weeks. It's a chore, but it usually works quite well."

(Parrot mode)

If you disagree with the fact that you have to keep optiong out of the Royal Mail's unaddressed mail "service" (ie, their junkmail leaflets), or that finding the optout on their website is akin to stumbling on a filing cabinet in an unlit disused lavatory with a "beware of the leopard sign" out front., then you should be rattling the ICO's cage about it.

The more people who complain about this, the more likely it is that the ICO will actully DO something to force the issue

And the more people who complain about posties ignoring the optouts and delivering leaflets anyway, the more likely it is that the ICO will start snapping on rubber gloves (yeah right).

One or two complaints they can ignore, but when they start getting dozens it's a lot harder.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Their reply was that they are required by law to deliver the spam

"Except that they tell posties to ignore the 'no junk mail' notices and threaten disciplinary action if they don't deliver the leaflets,"

If you have proof of that, the ICO would love to hear from you.

That kind of evidence is what turns small fines for breaches into VERY LARGE ones.

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Alan Brown
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"Their reply was that they are required by law to deliver the spam."

Not if you've opted out. Again, talk to Aimee Smith at the ICO.

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Alan Brown
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" I wonder if the ICO would be interested if I sent it on to them every time the postie 'forgets' we've opted out - along with the numerous emails promising a full investigation and the postie getting a 'hats on interview' with the delivery office manager..."

Actually, they would - The case officer investigating is Aimee Smith.

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Alan Brown
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They could have (gasp) sent them a postal mail leaflet instead,

No fine for that.

The Royal Mail's own unaddressed mail opt out "service" expires after 18 months. The ICO is looking into that (I suspect it's not legal to do that anymore), and the fact that posties frequently ignore it anyway (which is illegal, but enforcement is virtually impossible)

There's probably an IT angle on why they lose the optouts (maybe even a story for El Reg)

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Lib Dems, UKIP's websites go TITSUP* on UK local election launch day

Alan Brown
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Re: NationBuilder, eh?

"the current ICO limit is £500K and few companies get hit with even a quarter of that. I think TalkTalk's £400k was the biggest so far. I wouldn't be at all surprised if most GDPR punishments were the usual £20k - £50k smack on the wrist."

One of the things driving GDPR is the fact that "some" governments (not mentioning any in particular) would abolish fines, whilst others have a "within living memory" history of governments who kept large files on anything and everything about their citizens.

The driving force behind GDPR is to ensure that 'smacks on the wrist' go away and that punishments are more-or-less the same across Europe. Brexit won't change that, as in order to continue trading with the EU, the UK will be required to abide by GDPR rules and post-Brexit won't get to play silly buggers with rule interpretations anymore like it used to (nor will it be able to ram unpopular shit through Brussels over everyone's objections, then enthusiastically implement it as home whilst blaming Brussels)

The current chocolate teapot status and Whitehall handcuffing of the ICO is going away, by order of the EU.

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Alan Brown
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Re: NationBuilder, eh?

"I don't know why there is such unbridled optimism that the GDPR will magically fix all IT security issues."

The GDPR itself won't fix anything.

However it is a VERY BIG STICK to beat miscreants with, when they fuck things up.

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My PC makes ‘negative energy waves’, said user, then demanded fix

Alan Brown
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"What? Have to clear two patches of desktop to use a mouse on?"

I did this for a while. Mainly because of a cat.

Said moggie would decide he needed attention by sitting on whatever rodent I happened to be using.

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Alan Brown
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Re: A solution

14 thumbs up over the weekend.

On a more expensive note in the UK and a reminder of how woo factors can affect us all: many local councils have taken to switching off street lights for part of the night (1am-4am) - most being flourescents on minor streets.

A quick calculation shows that the power savings is about 40p/year (at most), whilst the lamps are about £8 apiece and replacement cost is about £50 each (labour charge).

The average life of a flourescent tube is 8000 hours (when run 8 hours per day) or 1500 cycles. If you run them 4 hours per cycle then this shortens down to about 4000 hours - the cycle limit is due to the filaments in the ends of the things and electronic starters don't make much difference.

So in order to save a few hundred thousand pounds in electricity charges, councils are spending millions with lighting contractors instead (It's not an issue if they're LEDs of course, but led lamps can be dimmed down to 10% brightness/power consumption and instantly perk up if there's movement detected underneath).

Nice scam if you can sign up for it.

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Alan Brown
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Re: qotw

"anti-static spray for record players (snake oil stuff - an atomiser filled with distilled water made up with about 5% IPA)"

Snake oil is an understatement. Records work like ice skates - the stylus pressure momentarily liquifies the vinyl as it passes over it and any moisture on the record prevents this happening, resulting in the surface _ripping_ when inspecting under a microscope.

The only reliable way of "antistatic"ing was to use a negative air ioniser and a good old carbon brush (none of which which particularly well, but any form of charge on the record would pull dust from the air into the groves and then it'd get pressed into the liquified vinyl mentioned above). If you want to clean your records properly (a bloody good idea before first play), then getting hold of a Keith Monks Record cleaning machine was a good move (NOT snake oil)

Records get a huge charge just from being taken out of their sleeve. About the only way to keep it under control apart from the ioniser was to control humidity around 75-80%, but then you run into mould problems. :(

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Alan Brown
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Re: qotw

"Eventually, we learned that the cabinet was open at the bottom and had been sitting directly over the incoming mains to the plant; all disks were blank. "

Interesting BOFH excuse, but floppies were notorious for losing their contents without a mains cable in sight. Some brands (noted for their marketing claims of never forgetting) were particularly bad for bit rot.

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Alan Brown
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Megaphone

Re: qotw

"extremely expensive speaker cables versus...clothes hangers"

My "extremely expensive speaker cable" was 8mm^2 electrical cable.

The coathangers melted.

Yes, I was listening to Motorhead.

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