* Posts by h4rm0ny

4573 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

Cheers Ireland! That sorts our Safe Harbour issues out – Dropbox

h4rm0ny
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Re: What good will it do?

Good for Dropbox. I know of two significant cases where US companies have lost out on deals because of lack of trust that the US government wont just take the data. I'm honestly starting to think that the US government wont be satisfied until they have driven all data business offshore.

In response to the OP's question about what good it will do, it's a legal commitment from the company to protect your data so you have assurance that they're not handing it over to the US government. They COULD hand it over, but just because the US government tells them to, wont mean that they aren't breaking laws in Europe to transfer that data over. It's a pretty clear statement from a company as to what they will and wont do. It's the difference between saying "we make no promises" and "we're making a promise and it will severely damage our business if you catch us breaking it and you can probably sue us for it, too".

Worst case scenario if US government plays really hard, is to take their ball and go home (to Europe). MS would find that really painful as well as it damaging relations with the US government so for them it would be an absolute last resort that I don't know they'd ever do (though they're fighting extremely hard to keep from handing over data so credit to them). A company like Dropbox? Yes - they could relocate.

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GCHQ puts out open recruitment call for 'white hat' hackers

h4rm0ny
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Re: white hat hackers ...

I don't know. I'm still working out how being employed by GCHQ would make them White Hats. I thought a White Hat was someone who hacked your systems to let you know about the flaws so you could fix them, etc. Pen. tests and all that.

But I suppose you're automatically a white hat when you're employed by the Good Guys™. When you work for Theresa May, you don't have to doubt that you're on the side of Right - you know it!

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Microsoft points PowerShell at Penguinistas

h4rm0ny
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Re: End of Days

>>"I do have an anecdote, however."

Thank you. I appreciate someone actually responding to the question asked. Yes, that is a good anecdote. I would point out, as I'm sure you're anticipating, that the scenario you're talking about is very different to the enterprise. If any of our sysadmins left a box without security updates being installed for a year, they would be in a lot of trouble. I could similarly turn off updates on a Window Server box and whilst I'm not certain whether it would sit there for two years without trouble, I think there's a reasonable chance it might. I honestly wouldn't want either connected to the Internet without regular patching.

Anyway, I appreciate the response. I'm not interested in an argument that either is absolutely best and that's not where I'm coming from. I'm just shooting down a company cuts its maintenance resource down to 2-3% by using GNU/Linux instead of Windows. I'm not even convinced in the Enterprise it is any better in that regard.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Like grep? sed? awk?

>>"It's simpler and orders of magnitude faster. Stat has loads of options to give you information on just about anything about a file."

Granted, it's significantly faster, but I was actually being kind to the GNU/Linux version by using my version. I've never said anything about comparable speed, I was responding to someone who said that Powershell had inconsistent outputs and unmemorable names. What I'm doing is pointing out what a terrible choice of attack they had made. xargs highlights like nothing else the inconsistency of the GNU/Linux versions. I'll illustrate, but first I'm going to clear something up because you're making false assumptions:

>>You might find [...] easier because you're used to it, but Linux administrators would see "find", "xargs", "stat", "sort", and "uniq" to be familiar to them.

I started out on UNIX and have worked professionally on UNIX or Linux for over a decade. I didn't even start using Windows until Windows 7. It is nothing to do with familiarity, I'm saying that the Powershell version is more intuitive and consistent. Getting back to proving that, just look at your attempt to solve the problem vs. the Powershell attempt:

DIR -Recurse | Get-Acl | Select-Object Owner | Select -Unique

find . -print0 | xargs -0 stat -c "%U" | sort | uniq

(I'm happy to use your preferred example, btw)

Each step of the Powershell one is almost self-explanatory (ACLs are permissions on Windows) and they connect via a straight-forward pipe in each case because they all use objects. In the Linux version you're now using the fiddle of xargs to deal with the fact that stat can't have output of find pushed directly to it. You have to pass the stat command as a parameter to xargs so it can use it as some sort of call back. That's not consistent nor memorable (the charges that were levelled at Powershell). You accused me of letting familiarity affect my judgement (I did not, I've actually used Bash and GNU tools far longer than I have Powershell), why don't you look at all the little things you've thrown in without much thought that trip up new people:

-0 parameter to xargs. You've thrown that in to tell xargs that the input list is terminated by nulls, not whitespace. Something which is hardly intuitive or easy to remember.

-print0 parameter to find. Otherwise it will terminate each output with a newline so you have to use a special switch to get it to terminate with nulls so that it will fit with the next item in your pipeline.

-c switch for stat followed by "%U" to format the output as just usernames. Why does a utility for getting file parameters come with its own built in formatting tool? In Powershell, you get an object output which you pass to a dedicated formatting tool. Want your output as a table? No problem - you don't have to change the previous item in the pipeline based on what the later one wants, you just pass the object array on to the Format-Table cmdlet which will have access to all attributes of the file object. It's consistent and it is more importantly the separate stages of the pipeline are discrete, not having to look forward to later stages in the pipeline.

xargs was, honestly, a terrible example to pick. Yes it is faster than my own example significantly (and about 10% faster than the Powershell one though it's harder to do a like for like comparison there so take that as unscientific). HOWEVER, it is a wonderful example of the inconsistency of the GNU/Linux version. It exists purely as a work around for the fact that you're handling everything with text and different command handle piping in different ways. Neither is true on Powershell.

>>"I have to admit though that you've come up with a unique way of solving the problem. I doubt that I would have ever thought of trying it that way."

Well the argument is about memorability and consistency, so I was trying to come up with a way that just illustrated the differences between Powershell and Bash / GNU tools and my example is a bit clearer with regards to what is actually going on. It's not faster than using stat, nor shorter in terms of characters. But it's simpler for someone to understand which is what we're comparing the environments on so it's actually fairer to GNU/Linux, imo.

Bash and the GNU tools evolved over time and never had consistent oversight of design. People just added whatever doohickey they happened to need as they needed it. Just look at how find has its own built in print tools (which use different formatting instructions to printf). find has had everything people wanted rolled into it at some point. Whereas Powershell follows the UNIX philosophy of do one thing and do it well. Perhaps more significantly, the GNU/*NIX environment grew up before OO was big. Powershell is a modern design, planned out and designed to that plan, with the opportunity to learn from all its predecessors mistakes and for a mature OS (came in with Windows 7 and integrates fully with .NET). Are you not open to the possibility that it might be better than Bash?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: End of Days

>>"First, you stated 2% out of the blue."

No, I didn't and you're now simply trying to argue that you're not wrong as it's not your fault you didn't understand what I wrote. Which wouldn't make you right even if true. The OP proposed that 90% of the of the servers (the GNU/Linux ones) accounted for only 20% of the total work. Immediately after that post is my reply asking them to justify their statement that the Linux boxes only take 2% the support work. That figure isn't out of nowhere, I did a quick multiplication in my head and realized it was between 2% and 3% and put down 2% as it really didn't matter whether the OP was claiming Linux boxes used 3% of a WIndows box's resource or 2%.

The fact that someone thought 20% of total work translates into 20% efficiency despite it coming from only 10% of their machines is not my fault because I was not their maths teacher and their ignorance isn't on my head. Then you come along and weigh in (still failing to remotely answer the actual question I asked which was about justifying such outrageous claims, btw) and completely failed to understand the point by stating that the number of machines was irrelevant. Which it plainly isn't if you're trying to compare efficiency which is what the OP was doing.

>>"Then, you stated 2.5% based on a loose association of the values "90%" and "20%" with no explanation for the math involved"

I didn't realize an explanation was necessary. I put the slightly more precise figure because it was becoming an (irrelevant to the point) thing you were hung up on. But I can explain the maths to you happily if that will help you. There are different ways you could do it but the easy to get version is to just think of how much total work there is and solve it as an equation:

Type L computers comprise 90% of the total computers.

Type W computers comprise 10% of the total computers.

Type L computers account for 20% of the resource spent.

Type W computers account for 80% of the resource spent.

0.9L = 0.2

0.1W = 0.8

L = 0.222

W = 8.000

L / W = 0.028 = 2.8%

So there you go, the OP stated that GNU/Linux boxes only take 2.8% of the administrative resource that Windows boxes do. Now that the maths has been explained to you, would you like to take a stab at justifying such an astounding claim? I mean you're joining in with this argument in trying to shoot down my posts so would you like to take a crack at the actual topic?

No-one has actually tried to support the OP's wild claims as yet, which says something by itself. The only thing in that vein posted so far is you saying "not every environment is the same", that you "don't give two furry fucks if I prefer WIndows" and a (not very) helpful link to search for "benefits of linux over windows".

Really what is the point - you take issue with me challenging the OP's hyperbolic claims but when asked for any reason why the OP would be right to make them you paste in a Google search link for advantages of Linux. This is nothing.

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h4rm0ny
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@thames

So to summarize, the Linux fan here is lecturing me because MS have provided source code instead of binaries. Kids today!

Would you also like to tell me how you are going off on this huge criticism about it not being included in the major distros when it was publically announced a few days ago? (And has even only got its first commit on github mid-April). What exactly is it you are expecting here?

You were wrong. And in your efforts to avoid admitting it, we're now at the situation where you're complaining to a Microsoft user about having to deal with source code. If this is what this generation of GNU/Linux users have come to, then it's not the community I grew up in! You realize that the target audience for this is enterprise clients and data centres who manage large numbers of boxes. They can handle looking at GitHub whilst waiting a month for the distros to roll round to including it - they're capable like that.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: End of Days

>>"Well, last time the rest of us checked, 20% of required labor is still 20%, not 2.5%. The number of systems involved ultimately doesn't enter the equation, since the discussion is about labor costs."

Go back and read what they actually wrote. If 90% of the machines (type A) only require 20% of the total labour and the remaining 10% of the machines (type B) require 80% of it, that means the former machines are way, way more efficient than just 20% the labour cost. That IS what they wrote. Check it before replying.

It's interesting how I asked the simple question of someone to support their amazing claim that Linux boxes were so much more efficient than Windows boxes to administer and so far all I have had in response is one weak joke and two people who can't multiply. I'm beginning to suspect, hard though this is to believe, that the OP can't actually back up what they say. But feel free to take a shot at it. Even if you want to take the order of magnitude higher figure you arrived at by misreading their post, I'd still love to know what you think makes GNU/Linux boxes take only 20% of the administration that Windows boxes take.

It can't be Puppet because I've used that. ;)

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h4rm0ny
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Headmaster

Re: Like grep? sed? awk?

>>"but they work to an inexplicably designed standard that ensure these must always have an entirely unmemorable name, return output in the most unexpected format possible and have at least one massive functional flaw that makes them useless in a medium-size swathe of scenarios"

Unmemorable names? Is 'ls' inherently more memorable than 'DIR', now? Is the purpose of 'cat' so much more obvious than 'Get-content'? What makes 'df' easier to remember that $disk.Size ?

Output in unexpected format? How is an array of objects unexpected? And you can always list the attributes of if you wish, as well. Now tell me where the consistency is between ls, ls -l, ls -lh, grep, grep -n, find, cat... Whereas with Powershell you can do what you want with the objects and don't have to worry about which column a particular piece of data is in in the textual output, or whether your recursive tool suddenly decides to print out a summary line at the foot of each directory which you have to figure out how to discard. The problem with your argument is that I have used GNU/Linux and Bash for over a decade so I know pretty well how bloody inconsistent it is. Powershell had the huge advantage of coming second and being designed as a core project by a centrally managed team. It is WAY more consistent than Bash and GNU tools.

The consistency of output format is one of the strengths of Powershell so it's a terrible example for you to have chosen to pick on. Everything is an object so you can just pipeline between programs and cmdlets without worrying about textual layout. Here's an example from last time this was discussed:

DIR -Recurse | Get-Acl | Select-Object Owner | Select -Unique

That gets me a unique list of file and directory owners in a hierarchy. It's actually fairly intuitive with the only non-intuitive part being "Get-Acl" which isn't that obscure once you know that ACLs are used for permissions in Windows. You call the directory command with the recurse flag so it descends the hierarchy. You pass the resulting file objects to Get-Acl for the permissions objects, and then you just select the object from there that you want (the owner). Finally you pipe it to a filter to get rid of duplicates.

Now lets see what it looks like on GNU/Linux:

find ./ -exec ls -l {} \; | awk '{print $3}' | grep . | sort | uniq

The find command will give me a recursive search through the hierarchy. I can't just pipe it to another command however, because it's just a text file name which doesn't contain the information I need, unlike the file objects in Powershell. But that's okay because find comes with a special kludge, I mean feature, which lets me call a command on each line. So I use ls -l each time to get columns of information on each path. But what I want is the owner, so I have to pass that to awk which cuts out the third column from the text output (because I happen to know that the third column will be an owner name). I then pipe it to sort and the uniq command (I could just use the -u switch on sort but that's even less intuitive than the example I've given).

Well, I say I pipe it to the sort command. Actually there's a "grep ." in there too. That's necessary because ls will return file totals just to throw a little bit more inconsistency in there.

You cannot honestly tell me that the Powershell version isn't both more consistent with its outputs and more intuitive.

>>have at least one massive functional flaw that makes them useless in a medium-size swathe of scenarios

Okay - over to you. Let's have some specific "massive functional flaws". I will look forward to this.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: End of Days

>>"Well, they can generally tell the difference between 2 and 20 for a start..."

Before criticizing others, make sure one's own comprehension is correct. They wrote 90% of the servers are GNU/Linux but only take 20% of the work. That's 2.5%, isn't it? It's unfortunate that some people's go to reaction when they see something they don't get is to assume that the other person is wrong rather than question whether they might have made a mistake.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Ha! Ha! Ha!

>>"You would think that you would find the tool if you clicked the link - and there you have it. A Linux tool, which requires Windows to use. doh!"

You really are a most stupid individual. Try actually reading the article or familiarizing yourself with what this is. It's not "a Linux tool" (that would be you). It's an addition to Windows software so that it can manage GNU/Linux configuration as well as Windows boxes. The GNU/Linux end of it is linked in the article. In fact, it is the FIRST link which you plainly missed in favour of the one at the end - skipped ahead for the conclusion in your rush to find faults, did you?

Those things in the front of your face - they're called eyes. They can do many wonderful things such as reading a whole article if you try. I suggest you give it a go. And then you can also take a crack at explaining why where El Reg links to is Microsoft's fault whilst you're at it, if you please.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: End of Days

Actually, I'm not a sysadmin at all, though I have a few I work with. And they're all GNU/Linux sysadmins. I don't actually know any Windows Sysadmins, though I'm familiar with some of the technology. OP made a claim that GNU/Linux was something like fifty times more efficient to administer. That doesn't mesh with what I've heard / read, so I asked for some support of that.

Still waiting, in fact...

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Ha! Ha! Ha!

>>"That's an appalling way to speak to someone who just got the wrong end of the stick.

You're talking about the person who titled this thread "Ha! Ha! Ha!" and thought that MS had released a tool for Linux that they'd never actually tried installing on Linux? When someone crows about someone else's idiocy they've invited others to treat them the same way they treated their victim, really.

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h4rm0ny
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>>"Huh? So OO languages aren't worthwhile on Linux?"

No, that's an entirely separate thing (and obviously they are). The thing I alluded to is that Windows is itself structured in an OO manner. There's practically nothing in it that isn't exposed as an object. GNU/Linux is very different - it's primarily text oriented. Piles of configuration files in text format, the standard tools all work via text. Etc. One of the great things about Powershell is that it has Object Pipelining. So the output of the DIR command isn't a textual list of files and directories, but an array of file objects. Of course they convert automatically to text if you output them to screen, but you can pipe them to other applications as objects which is hugely useful. The output of the ls command in GNU/Linux is text, however. If you wanted to extract, for example, a list of file sizes, you do it by knowing where in the output the bytes column is and ripping it out with awk or equivalent. Similarly, you can configure any parts of Windows as objects. For example, file permissions are actually part of the ACL model which you can query and modify as objects.

So the hugely useful object pipelining of Powershell is largely wasted in a GNU/Linux environment. That's what I was saying. It's nothing to do with OO languages not running or being useful on GNU/Linux, but that the environment itself isn't OO.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: End of Days

And your reason for supposing GNU/Linux requires only 2% the sysadmin resource that Windows does would be... what, exactly?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Ha! Ha! Ha!

It's depressing that nine people so far have modded you up for that. You're looking at the Windows end of it (this whole thing is a tool for managing GNU/Linux from Windows). Go here:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/privatecloud/archive/2014/05/19/powershell-dsc-for-linux-step-by-step.aspx

Unless Yum has become part of the install process on Windows, this is where you should be looking for the GNU/Linux end of the integration. I mean I get the general superiority complex most technical people have, but seriously what was going through your mind? That MS had released a big GNU/Linux tool without stopping to check at any point if it would install on GNU/Linux? Did you really think that somehow they had missed this critical flaw which you'd just noticed? And for all the people who reflexively upvote gibberish just because it sounds like its mocking Microsoft, shame on the lot of you.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: System Requirements

>>"One of the requirements is a Win machine to extract the file. Why not a tarball? Is the source available? Upgrade fees?"

To quote a great woman: "Did IQ's just drop sharply, while I was away?"

It's a collection of Powershell scripts hosted on GitHub and you would normally obtain them via GIT. The link is right there in the (short) article. And if you're talking about the GNU/Linux client, you can install it with a package manager (e.g. Yum) and it's Open Source under a licence that is actually more permissive than the GPLv2 (basically do anything you want so long as you include the original copyright notice).

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h4rm0ny
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MS have been selling Linux boxes for a long time. Log into Azure, select a Linux image - voila. MS have always had one single goal: they'd like your money please.

MS want Azure to be the most successful Cloud infrastructure provider. Many customers want GNU/Linux in their Cloud, therefore MS have offered it for quite a long time now. And they actually do a fine job of it.

When I saw the headline, I thought it was about porting Powershell to GNU/Linux and was all set to write a post about how the non-OO nature of GNU/Linux makes PS a lot less worthwhile than on Windows (which is OO from the ground up). But actually this is just about rolling support for them into the standard tools which makes a lot of sense.

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Snoopers' Charter queen Theresa May returns to Home Office brief

h4rm0ny
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Re: Theresa May. :(

Same here - a continuation of the coalition would have been alright by me. Conservatives as a more competent government than Labour would be (who would be pretty harmful, imho) whilst the LibDems acted as a kind of speed limiter for evil.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Jackboots and Jodhpurs anyone?

"TBH, the fate of foxes is the least of my worries for this country over the next five years."

Maybe so, but if your new boss said one of the first things they wanted to do was to let some of your office mates tear apart a living animal with dogs, it wouldn't be a good sign, would it?

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h4rm0ny
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Theresa May. :(

You know, I would actually vote for the Conservative Party if it weren't for the people in it.

Okay - that made more sense in my head.

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Ex-NSA bloke: 'I love Apple products, I just wish they were secure'

h4rm0ny
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Paris Hilton

Smug?

Why would I (as a PC user) feel smug about the state of OSX malware being amateurish? That's not praise for PCs, it's simply stating that OSX attackers are unsophisticated so far.

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So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?

h4rm0ny
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Re: Ireland / Éire

>>"Fisheries would blossom without the EU quots"

Well yes, they would. For about a year. After which catastrophic collapse from over-fishing.

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h4rm0ny
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Headmaster

Re: The UK can leave

I accept the correction without protestation, and tender my apologies. I touch-type and find that my fingers are prone to take their cue from the sounds of words rather than what I know to be correct. I don't know why.

I now hand you the mortar board in recognition of your greater deservedness. May you smite all who abuse the English language.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Harry @h4rm0ny

>>"I've no independent knowledge; is Survation believed to be ideologically biased or merely highly adaptable based on paymaster?"

Well I have heard a couple of politicians (different parties) refer to Survation in much the same tones I would use to refer to Visual Basic so I'm partly drawing it from that. Note, this wasn't in an interview or public statement, it was just casual conversation. Politicians actually can be honest when the cameras aren't on them and they know their comments wont be used to attack them next week. It was just that "after hours" sort of chatting if you know what I mean. But the other aspect is their UKIP polling was definitely way off which I saw first-hand. And not in the way pretty much everyone's was off this election, but in a really suspiciously skewed way making it look like UKIP had chances of winning seats that they were never, ever going to come close to. I was suspicious when I saw it, but reserved judgement until after the results came in. It was, imo, definitely misrepresentative.

>>"i.e. I think it's worth repeating that the idea that a majority of people definitely want out but that our national politicians are the obstacle has no compelling evidential basis."

I get your point now. I may have misread your post. Yes, I don't know any compelling evidence that people would vote to leave in a referendum. However, something like this is notoriously hard to predict. It's actually harder to predict by polling, I have been told, than a General Election. And we saw how well that went. The Tories will do their best to stage manage any referendum and time it to get the result that they want as much as they are able. I am strongly against leaving, though on principle, I have to support there being a referendum, even though it would be nerve-wracking for me.

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h4rm0ny
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>>"I hear the same argument in Norway, but I fail to see the wisdom. "And then what?" is a question that springs to mind. You increase the population by immigration, and then... Ok, you have a bigger population, now who is going to keep things running, change bedpans, and so forth, for the next generation? You have not solved the problem, only postponed it (while increasing its size)."

Life is always a game of staying just ahead of the axe. Are you suggesting we don't deal with this generation's problems because the solution doesn't also deal with the next generations? Who knows what the answer is - maybe one more generation covered will buy us a bit more time to create robot servants and exosuits or improve health after forty for much longer. Who knows.

>>"I am not familiar with the situation in the UK, but in Norway we have long since passed the point where we can sustain ourselves. Our food industry is now a drop in the ocean and we are dependent on importing food in order to survive"

Norway has a very low population density. It could easily sustain itself in terms of food if it wishes. The reason it doesn't is because it has a highly educated population and is very modern due to fortuitous oil reserves and therefore it makes far more sense to simply buy in food from abroad. That's what trade is for - so that you can focus on producing the Opera web-browser or whatever it is you do over there, and via the wonder of modern money, exchange high-value exports for cheap imported food and have enough left over for one of the highest standards of living in the world. Do NOT make out that your importing of food is some sort of dire constraint that puts you on a knife edge. You import food for the same reason I buy it at the supermarket rather than grow my own. And if immigration adds to your country's GDP (which it has done by filling jobs the educated and affluent Norwegians done want to do), then that just gives you more money to import more food.

>>"and fwiw: I will happily sacrifice our liberal social security system"

I'm going to take a wild guess here and say that you personally don't need social security. So perhaps you should pick a word other than "sacrifice".

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Harry

>>"A Survation poll"

I'm not sure any polling company qualifies as reliable, but Survation bring a new low. I saw UKIP pamphlets backed up with Survation "figures" showing the huge numbers of people planning to vote for UKIP which turned out to be grossly exaggerated to how many actually turned out. Or if in some technical / wording sleight of hand that isn't what they were actually saying, it was certainly the impression that was deliberately created. I've also heard pretty bad things about their neutrality elsewhere.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: The UK can leave

>>"h4rm0ny - I think you might be violently agreeing with the OP."

Ah, you're right. I missed that they were talking from the perspective of someone outside the UK. That probably also impacts me correcting their grammar over the "more easier" part too. :(

Apologies to the OP. I misread your post as being from the British point of view.

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h4rm0ny
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Joke

Re: Why don't we...

Tony Blair, is that you?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: "how stupid will British economic policy be if it does leave the EU?"

>>"So why are banks so different?"

I'll take a stab at this one otherwise Tim Worstall might reply with something I actually agree with and that would make me feel a little sick in my mouth.

There are two reasons that "banks" are different. Possibly three though the last is more arguable. The first and clearest distinction is that it is our money in there. I don't think anyone in living memory in the UK recalls a proper banking collapse. I'll put it succinctly: imagine going to your bank or cashpoint today and seeing a message saying "this bank cannot afford to give you your money. Your savings are lost". Literally, you cannot access your money because it no longer exists. And to those reading this who have debts, keep in mind that those wont be gone - they are assets that will be seized by the banks creditors and you'll now owe your money to some other entity.

Once you've got your head around the idea that your high-street bank simply vanishes with all your savings and what that would mean for many people, there's item number two.

Now purely investment banks don't necessarily tie into the first reason; that only ties into some of the banks. Reason number two applies to all and it is that the banks were viable businesses. What do you do when you see a viable business that is suddenly in crisis and available super-cheap? Yep, you buy it. At least you do if you have lots of money or credit. This is what the UK government did with those they bailed out (Northern Rock being an exception and an older case). The UK government is actually profiting from the RBS bailout. Effectively, they bought low and sold high. And that's because the nature of the banking crisis was not one of a business that was no longer viable, but one that had gotten itself into a crisis situation.

Now whether the bankers running those companies should have got bonuses is a whole different question and one which I imagine most people here can answer quite succinctly. But the principle of bank bailouts itself has sound underpinnings.

The third argument is the more arguable. "Too big to fail" is a dangerous phrase and as a capitalist, one that makes my skin crawl. But there is an element of truth there. The West's economy was teetering on the brink of a major slide. Worst case scenario, a catastrophic one. The banks that we're talking about, are a large part of the economy and if they collapsed it would certainly result in big repurcussions. Now I'm not going to strongly argue this one - look at Iceland. They let things collapse and have rebuilt. I'm inclined to attribute a big part of that to the fact that they have a small and very educated population which gives them strong foundations on which to rebuild. I'm not sure the UK would be so fortunate. However, there are good arguments for letting markets correct themselves and I'm kind of in favour of that generally. Otherwise there's a risk that you're merely delaying the problem and making it worse when it does happen. But I do acknowledge that there impact of their collapse would have been huge and resulted in a lot of economic suffering.

So to conclude, those are the principle reasons why the banks were different to other companies and why (imo) bail outs were justified.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: information free

>>two pages to say "we don't really know" and "it all depends".

Actually, I read it more as

1. "economists say that we'd be poorer out of the UK".

2. "but they concede that it's not a 100% certainty"

3. Therefore ignore it and leave the EU.

It's amusingly similar to climate change arguments a lá "they think a bad thing will happen", "they don't have precise and concrete predictions," "therefore ignore it".

Which is amusing because I'm actually a semi-skeptic of AGW so it's instructive to see myself from the outside for once. :D I guess it *is* possible to learn something from a Worstall article after all!

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h4rm0ny
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Headmaster

Re: The UK can leave

>>the EU, I will be glad in many ways. It will be more easier imposing barriers to nice practices like the ones that give us the "mad cows"

Incorrect. It is easier to carry out trade barriers when you're a big entity with a lot of leverage than when you're a small one. How many small countries do you recall negotiating on an equal footing with the USA, recently? Bargaining power is why the nations of the world have banded together into trade blocs. In a world where nearly everyone whose anybody has joined a gang, you want to be the only person in the prison without a group of friends.

Also - sorry - because I cannot help the grammar correction: "more easier" should be just "easier".

7
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h4rm0ny
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Re: Economist's predictions

>>"When was the last time that an economist's predictions for fifteen years in the future were correct?"

Economists make accurate predictions often (though precise is a different matter). However, for every economist there is an equal and opposite economist and they are selected by governments (and journalists) on the basis of which tells you what you want to hear.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Human rights aren't EU

>>"The Human Rights Act, the European Court of Human Rights, this is nothing to do with the EU. Or at best, something only partially. They actually come from the Council of Europe (which is not the same thing as the European Council)."

This is sophistry. They are intimately tied together and either you have a very superficial understanding of this or you are deliberately misdirecting.

The European Council and the European Union are separate bodies, which is as you have stated. But the EU court (part of the EU) is expected to accede to the Convention on Human Rights (what we're talking about) and the Treaty of Lisbon includes binding by the European Council's court. They are meant to work together and this is explicit in the treaty. Signing the European Convention on Human Rights is now a condition of membership to the EU, even though they are separate bodies. One can sign up to the act without being a member of the EU, but the reverse is not the case anymore and has not been for some time.

All of the above is verifiable fact and your attempting to portray them as distinct is dishonest. They are not the same thing, but they are tied together very closely. And UKIP (your party) has a stated goal of withdrawing from the Convention on Human Rights as well. You're posting things that are factually true but grossly misleading and stripped of context. Which is an increasing occurrence with you.

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Facebook 'fesses up to running an ideological echo chamber

h4rm0ny
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>>"Surely I can't be the only person that wants to read (as an example) articles from The Daily Mail and The Guardian?"

Not that particular combination, but I do read from both The Guardian and The Telegraph. (I also read The Economist and paid services such as Stratfor, though I find the former unbearably smug sometimes). My criteria for a news-source is less where they sit on a political spectrum, and more the quality of analysis and level of depth. However, I do suspect this is a minority case. Having what you think confirmed is a positive feed-back loop that I fear some people derive too much of their gratification from.

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No, really, that 12.9-inch MaxiPad is totally on the way now

h4rm0ny
Silver badge

This format makes sense with a stylus. A digital clipboard, a tool for rapid diagramming, a presentational tool for meetings / lectures (tablet and stylus with projector or large screen are far better than a digital whiteboard for a number of reasons not least of which that everyone at the table can write on it by either just handing the tablet round or each having their own). All these uses make a large format tablet pretty useful if it's light.

Such a tablet without stylus - no.

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NetSuite's leap over to Azure cloud - a shot to the pills for AWS?

h4rm0ny
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I know El Reg. love their photos, but do I really need to see a 650x430 face-shot of a beaten up man?

Other than that mysterious unsettling filling of my monitor, good article.

4
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Phablet for the biz fleet with easy typing: Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

h4rm0ny
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Pint

Re: NOT suitable for enterprise.

Thank you, hugely, to both you and Fungi. This has been a huge lack on WP for a long time. You've just made my day if this works as promised. I'm downloading to try it out now. And XML export format is fine by me. Obviously wont be ideal for the less technical users, but there are people around to help with that and ultimately it's actually even better as XML.

THANK YOU! :D

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h4rm0ny
Silver badge
Mushroom

NOT suitable for enterprise.

I like WP generally, but unfortunately I have found it unsuitable for enterprise use (and personal) for one simple reason: It is incapable of exporting SMS messages. There is no way, short of selecting each one individually, hitting copy and pasting it into a text editor, of getting them out. And even then it would just be raw text with no timestamps or sender information.

This is basic functionality available on even simple phones for well over a decade and easily possible on rival systems. But it cannot be done by WP. It's been raised with MS by many people but has not been addressed and the reply keeps coming back that you can "backup" your txt messages which misses the point by a staggering degree. We're not talking about restoring them to your next phone, we're talking about export. I know of one case where someone had to individually copy some thousand or so messages because they had to hand over records as part of a court case. And even without such cases, you still want to be able to have a searchable record of your messages or be sure that they are safe.

We can save emails, keep letters but as far as MS are concerned, txt messages are designed to be thrown away. It is a dumbfounding lack that basically excludes WP from consideration for many.

5
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Ex-Goldman Sachs programmer found guilty of code theft … again

h4rm0ny
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Headmaster

Re: *Whose* code? @ David Dawson

>>"irrelevant - the only definition worth considering is that in law,"

Well no, it isn't. Legal terminology is a specialized sub-set of language. We are not confined to only use definitions given by a particular country's legal system. The OP didn't say that they had been charged with "theft" in court, they called the action of taking something you didn't have a right to, to be theft. Which is in accord with the way pretty much everyone uses it.

I mean you can declare it "irrelevant" how most people use a word and insist that only legal definitions of a particular country is allowed, but you have no such authority to set those definitions above everyone else. When someone says the charge in court was "Theft" you can leap in and say it was technically "contract violation" or whatever, but that's not what anyone did.

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h4rm0ny
Silver badge

Re: *Whose* code? @ David Dawson

>>"I don't know what the definition of "theft" is where you are, but it certainly wouldn't pass muster here in the UK"

Most people's definition of theft is taking something that doesn't belong to them without permission.

--someone in the UK.

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h4rm0ny
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Stealing from Goldman-Sachs?

That's like Bilbo Baggins stealing the gold cup from Smaug.

13
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French MPs say Oui to Le Charteur des Snoopeurs

h4rm0ny
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Big Brother

Je suis Winston Smith.

27
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Word to your mother: Office 2016 preview flung at world + dog

h4rm0ny
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Pint

Re: Office 2007 is fine

No problem. And for all that I know, it's true for them, but I can't check because my version of Office isn't eight years old. Maybe Office 2007 isn't fine. ;) Anyway, cheers for posting a response. Most people wouldn't.

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h4rm0ny
Silver badge

Re: Office 2007 is fine

>>"First, this is wrong, as I'm pretty sure the numbers after "row" and "col" are variable (one entry for each combination)"

True, but modern compression techniques handle that. If you have a sequence like the following:

<row 1><col 1>{empty}</col 1></row 1>

<row 2><col 1>{empty}</col 1></row 2>

<row 3><col 1>{empty}</col 1></row 3>

...

<row 999999><col 1>{empty}</col 1></row 999999>

Then compression will pull out the like parts and just preserve the sequence of the row numbers and how they fit into it. But it will actually go further. If it recognizes a simple sequence (e.g. incrementing by 1 each time), then it will codify that sequence instead.

The people who write compression algorithms are very, very smart. Both you and I could probably write something that does what I just described. So why expect someone who does it professionally not to? It takes a modern processor almost no time at all to expand a compression technique such as I just described. Compared to image compression, it's child's play.

The OP was very wrong to suggest that this was "bloated" because they'd completely forgotten that docx is a container format that is compressed as standard.

>>"Second, compression is not an excuse for something that could be solved by a less crappy format (Keeping the XML and adding a simple rule like "Saving : Empty cells are not be saved. Loading : If a cell is not defined in the file then it's considered empty" would do the trick)"

Have you actually tried this? I just created an workbook in Excel 2013. I put data in rows 1,2,3 and 5 and saved it. I then unpacked the file using 7zip and had a look.

Within the <sheetData> element are <row> elements each with an "r" attribute which is clearly the row number. I have enties for 1,2,3 and 5 but no row element for 4. So it seems it actually does do what you suggest. Probably there is something that the OP omitted to mention such as special formatting or references or similar. Or come to think of it, they're talking about Office 2007 which is eight years old and uses the very crap version of .docx that was rushed through ISO for marketing reasons. At any rate, modern versions of .docx omit the elements where possible - I've just checked.

But that "where possible" is important. If you add custom rules as you suggest, then you can quickly reach the point that it is no longer valid XML and then you create interoperability problems for third parties. And one of the big deals with .docx unlike their old proprietary formats, is that it is a standard that is open and can be used by third parties. Having your formats be valid XML is a MAJOR boost to that. You can't just decide you don't want to represent some of the XML elements because you feel like it. And as pointed out, they have minimal effect on file size due to modern compression techniques.

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h4rm0ny
Silver badge

Re: Office 2007 is fine

>>"I checked out the XML behind a bloated xlsx and I shit you not, in 2 sheets there were a million+ rows all coded a bit like this "<row 5><col 1>{empty}</col 1></row 5>""

The thing is, that's uncompressed. Once you zip that up, it's no longer a pile of characters, it's (in simple terms) one instance of that string with an integer saying repeat one million times. So what you're going "LOL" at is very far from what is actually being passed around as an actual .docx file being passed around. Remember that a .docx file is a compressed archive.

This sort of thing also is part of the reason you can have this as Open Standard. If it was pure binary, as the old proprietary Office formats were, that would be a lot harder.

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Round Two in Sky vs Skype trademark scrap goes to Murdoch's men

h4rm0ny
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The world should not be optimized for idiots but for intelligent people.

Even if the former would be more democratic.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Someone won against Microsoft

Yes, but if someone comes along and tells you that you have to change the name of one of your most recognized brands just because, you're kind of put in the position of having to defend that. People don't invest in brand names just because they like to waste money - it can result in very material gain or loss. Let's face it, Kraft could produce generic knock-offs of most of Cadbury's line-up, but they were still willing to throw lots of money their way because that name guarantees them sales.

Anyway, this case isn't really about MS vs. Murdoch. It's really a judgement on how stupid we think people are. Confusing Skype and Sky because the first three letters are the same? I'm never letting anyone cook me Shitake Mushrooms if the verdict comes back that the humanity really has become that stupid.

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New Windows 10 will STAGGER to its feet, says Microsoft OS veep

h4rm0ny
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You can't turn Cortana off?

Surely this must be possible. It would be insane not to be able to. I'll be back on Gentoo if that's the case. But I can't believe they would do something this stupid.

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Google Password Alert could be foiled with just 7 lines of JavaScript

h4rm0ny
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How did they fix it?

It was my understanding that the Chrome extensions could only act within the DOM thus making any approach defeatable in theory. I'm envisaging this fix they've just released changing the id of the element from "browser_warning" to "browser_warning2"!

Now I'm sure that's not the case, but I am interested to know how one could actually get around this. Generate random ids for the DIV? Give the DIV no id at all? What did they actually do to fix this because if it's in the DOM there should be a way to defeat it.

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