* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Microsoft cans three 'pinnacle' certifications, sparking user fury

Tom 13

Re: is normal for a server to have 50 ports open

That reminds me of the other MCSE I always think of when I hear the cert mentioned. It was 2001 and the company I was working for had just consolidated offices into one building. The pinhead in charge decided it was a good opportunity to both eliminate the aging Novell servers and upgrade from NT4 to Server 2000, but we didn't have time to convert the 95B boxes for the migration so they'd move as is. I remember the date because after we fired everything up the Help Desk was living hell. People kept losing drive mappings after logging onto the network, usually in the afternoon. The bright non-certified tech on the network team dug through technet until he found an article that exactly described our problem and gave it to the MCSE. The solution was to edit a registry entry to increase the timeout on a parameter. It seems MS knew their solution was so chatty their work-around was to turn off part of the connection. Windows 2000 would re-establish the connection, but 95 didn't have reconnect built in. But the MSCE didn't want to edit the registry because that was bad juju. So things kept on the way they were. And then the planes hit the towers. So for the first time in days the Help Desk phone stopped ringing. We had time to catch up on the back log and eagerly attacked it, not knowing what was happening out in the real world. Someone finally got to the pin head with the technet article and he overruled the MCSE. And when we all came back to work the next day the lost drive mapping issue was gone. It's not the way most Americans remember 9/11. I only realized what had happened when I got home that night and watched the news. And by that time my brother had already called my parents to tell them he and his wife were alright, although he had had a long walk home.

Tom 13

Re: MS Certs are not worth the paper they are written on.

Financially worthwhile? Perhaps.

But show me one of those and you've only got one strike left. All of the most incompetent IT support people I've met have been MCSE certified. One in particular still stands out in my mind. On a Windows 95 box in attempt to hide a dial up password from students at a high school, they put the password into the modem profile for the administrator and couldn't fathom why it wasn't showing up when they created the student profiles. Granted this was back in the days when AOL could buy Time-Warner, but it is the first thing I think of when I think of an MCSE. The only reason you don't get an automatic three strikes is I've met one ultra-competent admin who properly locked down a high school campus using NT4 and roaming profiles. I suspect he would have come to the same solution without the cert, but it means I can't dismiss some outright if they have the cert.

US gov preps sale of TOP SECRET disease research island

Tom 13

Re: It's not like

Tornadoes in Kansas, hurricanes in NYC. You pay your money and you take your chances.

Given the choice, I think I'd rather build a lab to avoid tornadoes than avoid hurricanes. Mostly you can avoid tornado destruction by building appropriately underground. That doesn't work so well with hurricanes.

NSA: NOBODY could stop Snowden – he was A SYSADMIN

Tom 13

Re: Embarrassment != Damage

Wrong. Just yesterday the Washington Post ran a story about amounts of money in the black budgets. They self-reported that they self-redacted from the raw files because of the damage it would cause to National Security. It pinpoints real weaknesses in intelligence gathering capabilities as well as where money has been spent on successes. All of this is classified for good reason. Now our adversaries have it. And loathe though you may be to admit it, for the most part our adversaries are your adversaries. They're just a little more focused on us because you aren't much of a threat to them at the moment. But if they can ever neutralize us, they'll be happy to go after you next.

Apple tops target list for litigious patent trolls

Tom 13

Re: If you pay up they will keep coming back for more

Sadly, too few people on either side of the pond keep up with their Kipling these days.

Tom 13

Re: Did Shakespeare really invent words,

It seems reasonable to believe he did. Granted you are correct about needing the time machine to prove the statement, but as I recall there is exactly one word in the EOD for which the only reference in the archives is to one of his plays. At the moment I don't recall what that word is, and am unlikely to find it with a Google search.

Tom 13

Re: Whatever happened to the English language?

1) The public school system.

2) The NEA on the 'Merkin side of the pond. I'm sure there is an equivalent on yours.

Tom 13

Re: had to cease trading because of the practice.

That's counter-productive to the patent troll. It's more like any other protection money racket: you don't want the shrooms going out of business, you just want a significant cut of their business money coming to you.

Tom 13

Re: Aiming at the cash

No, the richer companies don't necessarily make the best targets for trolling. The risk with Apple is that they have the money to fight the suit. The prime target is a small to medium sized company with a mid-range profitability. You target them with a settlement fee of about 2/3 the mean cost of defense. Since they save 1/3 of the expected cost and eliminate the measurable risk of the defense greatly exceeding the mean, they'll be more prone to settle quickly. At which point you can move to your next target.

Now, and NPE does not have to be equal to a patent troll. I could theoretically see an entity structured that way to enable people who come up with good ideas but don't have the capital to enter manufacturing to profit from their ideas. I don't know if any of the current NPEs are such companies. I would expect their behavior to be different from a patent troll. For trolls I'd see the tactic described above to be their primary and likely even only modus operandi. I'd expect legitimate entities to engage in more sales negotiations on behalf of their clients. So I think it's that behavior that needs to be targeted. I don't see that any of the proposed changes do that, although I can see their proponents believe they will.

Women in IT: ‘If you want to be taken seriously, dress like a man’

Tom 13

Re: They are in IT.

Working at the coalface in IT is the most egalitarian place in the world. You either cut it or you don't. If you do you are accepted and become part of the team. Woe onto you if you don't.

If the numbers don't work out at what you consider equitable, the problem isn't at the coalface.

Tom 13

Re: But what does a woman dress like?

heels and Ann Taylor outfits = pricey and dressy. Appropriate for a sales meeting or dog an pony show, not day to day tech stuff. Also suitable for Devs, but still looks like you are a manger, not a grunt.

I had a similar experience when I first shifted to IT support work. I've always worn what I consider business casual, button down shirt, pressed pants, but no tie. But my super wore khakis and polos. If we went to a new customer location, they'd look at my clothes and assume I was the lead when the reverse was true. You could always see the internal double take as I looked to my super for confirmation or advice. At some point the owner of the company bought polos for all of us. After that clients looked at body language instead.

3D printed guns are for wimps. Meet NASA's 3D printed ROCKET ENGINE

Tom 13

Re: will it make a cuppa tea without hogging

Yes, but only if you first both have and do not have tea when you program the computer.

Ebook judge: Guilty Apple must hire anti-antitrust watchdog to probe itself

Tom 13

Re: Still in denial

Still probably right. Which people will discover when the case gets overturned on appeal. Apple clearly read the tea leaves (or more precisely the financial reports of the book publishers) and knew what was coming. So they are playing the long game and are likely to win, precisely because you aren't prohibited from gaining a monopoly, only doing so by illegal means. So long as no conversation setting the price of the books took place, no illegal means were used, even if Jobs expected the price would eventually settle at $9.99.

Tom 13

Re: Wait what?

Yeah, I know most of the posters here still don't want to believe it, but this case, like the DoJ case against MS, was never about the consumers. It's always been about the government extending its control into another market segment, and probably to the benefit of another corporation making campaign donations.

Thought the PC market couldn't get any worse? HAH! Think again

Tom 13

Re: PC's have become fridges now

I agree with you up to the point where you went off on an unproven malware tangent. I think the systems just haven't been as targeted yet. The PC landscape is still target rich. Sure Android, using the Linux kernel is easier to secure. But I expect the manufacturers to frell it up. We've already seen signs of that. What may save the phone/fondleslab market is that the manufacturer differentiation is sufficient to provide the diversity we never had with the Windows monoculture. But as the Windows monoculture dies, the targeting will shift.

And you're back on track with your conclusion. Sad to say, I think we are the new bearded Cobol programmers. Of course, with a little luck in a few years we'll have our equivalent of the Y2K bug.

Tom 13

Re: The bounce will come when the next-gen games hit PC next year.

Historically PCs outperform consoles. Always been that way, will continue until the PC dies.

In fact, in some ways consoles are the precursor to the phone/fondleslab market. Dedicated entertainment device with lower performance and vendor lock-in, but at a lower price point with acceptable performance that made the trade off palatable. Cartridges/DVDs/DRMed software = App Store lock-in, which is nominally beneficial to the Devs who drive the market.

Not much of a PC/console gamer any more, but I was back in the day. Not much excited about what's out there these days. In fact, when I do visit friends with consoles, it's the old style games we tend to play: Rampage, Gauntlet, Mario Bros., Joust, maybe Space Invaders.

Tom 13

Re: stopped that little "merry go round" with Win 7, hmm?

Actually I'd say Vista. The only reason it rebounded with Windows 7 is that the corporate world needed support contracts and MS wouldn't extend XP any further. MS managed to recover once. Not so sure the bean counters will fall for it again. The bean counters are willing to let the status quo with Win 7 continue. It's less risky than looking at a whole new solution. But when they EOL Win 7 support, look for new solutions to emerge.

Linux is still lurking and improving. One of these days, some bold company is going to shift everything to Linux, cut their costs, and watch their profits rise. Once word leaks, it will be all over. Because that's how IBM lost the terminals attached to a mainframe/mini business way back when this PC revolution started.

Tom 13


Because laptops specs aren't set by techies. They use to be set by the marketing team and the engineers designed (or tried to given we're talking about marketing droids) to what they said. But these days not even the marketing team is setting the specs, it's the bean counters. Bean counters want to control manufacturing and inventory costs. Easiest way to do that is to make everything the same. Now I'm not sure why everybody's bean counters are reaching the same solutions. The 16:9 is obvious, that's HDTV format and therefore the media resolution. I'm not fond of the resolution myself except for tv/movies. Frankly for much of my work two (or three) 4:3s are better.

Tom 13

Re: New PCs are scary, scary fast.

But that's the fundamental problem. Home PCs reached that point about 4 years ago. Going from scary, scary fast to scary, scary, scary, scary fast doesn't help me type any faster. The PC got addicted to frequent refreshes from tech advances that DID help me type faster back when I could fill the keyboard buffer faster than the PC put letters on the screen. From here on out, for most of the market we just need replacement systems when there is a hardware failure.

And no, bloating down the OS is NOT a hardware failure. Which is part of the backlash underneath the griping about the Start Menu. We know what a stable OS looks like. We know what decent and stable hardware looks like. We also know what it costs. Claiming otherwise isn't working anymore. If you want "snazzy new and improved" you damn well better HAVE snazzy new and improved.

Microsoft: YES Windows 8.1 is finished, but NO you can't have it

Tom 13

Re: I think Microsoft will be quite humbled by this..

If you are correct, they may still be able to save the company.

Unfortunately MS has gotten so big and disconnected from their market, I suspect nothing short of bankruptcy that will humble them.

Tom 13

Re: "Lipstick on a pig" comments for a while.

Yeah. I heard both the cosmetics manufacturers and the pigs were getting lawyers lined up to sue MS for damages because of the denigration involved in comparing Windows 8 to them.

SiriusXM sued for millions in 'unpaid' music royalties

Tom 13

reap record profits from the creative contributions of artists and labels

And in that declaration we find the fundamental problem with almost everyone involved in this part of the creative commons. Not a damned one of them seems to know how to read a balance sheet. By my read, Sirius still isn't profitable:


Not losing money as fast as they use to, but not making it either.

Why Teflon Ballmer had to go: He couldn't shift crud from Windows 8, Surface

Tom 13

Re: we wouldn't be having this conversation.

I'm not so sure. This exact conversation no. But I think the gargantuan size of the bone-headed move of forcing the touch metaphor on us is covering the enormous mistake of trying to force the app change on us. If they removed the gargantuan mistake, we'd be talking about the enormous one, and probably classifying it as gargantuan.

Tom 13

Re: So called usability experts seem to have a problem


Granted, at MS they had a built-in culture point that enhanced this blindness, but that doesn't change the core problem. Part of the MS OEM licensing agreement has always been that certain features would always be present to ensure a uniform out of the box experience for all users. It ensures that whether you buy a Dell, an HP or an OEM white box you know Microsoft is your real vendor and they are just the disposable commodity seller. With that mindset already in the place for the hardware vendors, it is a small step to extend it to your customers.

Tom 13

Re: If you can fault him for anything

NO! NO! And I say again NO!!!

The concept of the single framework is EXACTLY the problem. Even Jobs didn't have such godhood delusions that he thought he could do that. Different classes of hardware have different needs. Desktop processors don't work for laptops. Laptop processors don't work for phones. In the past some of these have been close enough on the OS level that you could fudge the difference. Some of them are too different to easily accommodate. When that happens the prudent CEO separates the products into different lines. Maybe you can share some core functionality, maybe you can't. But at the production end the products necessarily have to be different.

Tom 13

Re: I'm a MSFT Fan But.....

I wouldn't even differentiate business/consumer but explorer/touch. Even some consumers are going to prefer the explorer to touch. And really it depends on the device. Yes, tablets and phones touch makes sense. Desktop, not really.

The problem is, in addition to those changes, MS thinks it has been losing out on non-OS software sales. Apps make for a less chunky revenue stream which is something they think the desperately need. Maybe they do. But marrying that shift with the UI shift and even worse insisting on cramming it down the throats of people who don't want it is a recipe for disaster.

Technically the next CEO probably faces fewer obstacles than we think he does. As others have noted, some of the fixes are straight forward from a technical perspective. The real problem is going to be building a new confidence in the company. I'd say rebuilding, but they weren't in the best of spots on that front to begin with. The Win8 fiasco shattered what little they had. And honestly, it would be easier to build confidence as an unknown than from where MS is now.

Tesla cars 'hackable' says Dell engineer

Tom 13
Black Helicopters

an attacker would be able to see everywhere the car goes.

Well then. That explains some of the profitability. Black Ops funding from the NSA so they can track your car with their data slurping.

BlackBerry in talks to spin off Messenger division

Tom 13

Re: The world is filled with Sheep

If the keypad and trackball worked, yeah. Frankly although I frequently find some of the onscreen keyboard layout choices odd, I find them more useable than the BB keypad ever was. Although even with more real estate available, sometimes the precision of the grid on the touchscreen leaves something to be desired and I find the phone detecting for the wrong keys.

NASA: Full details on our manned ASTEROID SNATCH mission

Tom 13

Re: are you blethering on about?

Actually, that's the first post here that makes sense and might move me toward supporting the project.

Early poster with the 4 downvotes (at the time of this post) is mostly right: this is a PR stunt from NASA in a desperate attempt to garner funding. Robotic missions are cheaper and safer. Adding the manned angle on generates good PR, not knowledge. Maybe you count working the PR angle as smart. I don't. And frankly, even if it only works out to a little money each year, that just gives Congress more opportunity to fuck with the plan.

But if part of the selection process is a rock big enough and stable enough to mine it into a space station, put engines on it, and possibly use stuff on it to drive the engines, yeah, that might work. It's high risk in the sense that you don't know what you'll get from a given rock, but the other parts are logical.

Tom 13

Re: they're about to reach their "debt ceiling"

Nah, that's already been breached.

How do I know?

Because the official number hasn't changed for entirely too long. You don't get any government numbers that rock solid unless somebody has been cooking the books.

Tom 13

Re: But compare with the 1-year budgets

Yeah, I'd cut the crap out of those wastes too. But just because other parts of the government are wasting money even faster doesn't mean NASA should join in the debauchery.

Tom 13

Re: 6 TIMES MORE in space than we are today.

The capability isn't completely gone. We still have the plans (yes they were unable to locate them for a while but they've been found again). We would have to spin up the manufacturing process again. But do we need to?

Part of the reason the whole thing fell apart was that it was a race and only for national prestige. If we had gone the more prudent root of putting a proper station as the midpoint between the moon and the earth we'd probably still be up there. And no, the ISS doesn't count as a proper station either. That's just a boondoggle to international cooperation chest-beating. If it were a proper mission for something important it would be sustained without risk of killing the whole program. Sure there would still be posturing and chest thumping about peripheral issues, but the core mission would never be at risk.

Tom 13

Re: making a pretty light show for the people below.

You mean HOPEFULLY making a pretty light show for the people below. There would also be a measurable chance of a Tunguska event.

Wall Street traders charged with stealing company code via email

Tom 13

Re: what crime have they committed?

Based on the article it sounds like the code acquired implemented trade secrets. The crime isn't stealing the code, it's stealing the trade secret. Which is assumed to be damaging to the company and I believe is a criminal offense, just like stealing their servers outright would be.

It's been 20 years now since I was privy to a trade secret covered by a patent. Given the time period, I assume the patent is expired and I wouldn't be liable for talking about it. It was a very, very small detail. Certainly something any competitor willing to invest in a research team would have found because it was how the patent owning company found it in the first place. But common decency prohibits me from talking about it. That company is the one that spent the money on the research, they are the ones who should benefit from it.

Tom 13

Re: Idiots

I see no evidence the first poster was expressing any sympathy for either nominal culprits or nominal victims. I read it more as "A curse on both your houses."

Yahoo! starts $1.99 'watch list' to recycle old usernames

Tom 13

Re: Disgraceful disregard for security

If they've got it marked as a dead account it can be transferred relatively safely. First up, delete all the old email. That seems pretty straight forward and like something they'd legally be required to do. That should kill anything YOU put in the account.

Next up, you're most likely going to set a new password. So you won't know what they set. Sure you could trawl around looking for alternate valid domains that might be pointing to Yahoo for a password reset. Frankly, if someone is currently using that account, they should have pointed it to a valid email address anyway.

I'd think spam would be the most serious issue with a recycled account. Frankly, I have one with a service provider we no longer use, and see no good reason why it couldn't be recycled if they follow the caveats above. Not that it would in this instance since the company has changed names, and therefore domains.

Tom 13


My friend Jen wants Jen8675309!

Botched court doc outs Google as respondent in national security flap

Tom 13

Re: Don't forget Google is still denying involvement in PRISM...

Legally they are required to.

Anything about how deep their involvement is must necessarily be pure speculation.

Tom 13

Re: shooting the paranoid fuckwits who have usurped their country from them?

We will, just as soon as we determine exactly who needs to be shot. Right now we've got about 1/3 of the country who want to shoot the commies who've invaded. We've got another 1/3 who want to shoot the conservatives. And the last 1/3 wants to shoot the other two thirds. As soon as one group has attained a majority, the purge will begin.

But fair warning: you might not like the outcome when we finally do. In fact, I'm pretty sure you'll wish we'd never started.

Tom 13

Re: Don't they have a word-search to redact documents?

That is actually insufficient for properly redacting electronic documents. After you've applied the search and replace you also have to remove the data that shows you applied the search and replace. But you need to do so in a way that keeps track of the document and all of it's changes in a forensically acceptable manner in case the document(s) in question are required at court proceedings.

So if you can find a way to easily meet both requirements, you can make a fortune on government contracts.

These things were easier when all you needed was a box full of black markers and stacks of paper.

Amazon's weekend cloud outage highlights EBS problems

Tom 13

Re: Forensic investigation?

I will grant Merriam-Webster doesn't seem to have updated their definition yet, but wiki, which is more attuned to these sorts of subtle changes has. I frequently hear "forensic" used in this new form:

the application of a broad spectrum of sciences and technologies to investigate situations after the fact, and to establish what occurred based on collected evidence.


And frankly given the size of the failure, the number of companies involved, and the sums of money exchanging hands, even your strict definition may be more apt than some (many?) of us would like.

Tom 13

Re: this issue is a failure to plan for failure

If I read other comments here correctly, no it's not. The plan for failure is that if part of the cloud service fails, you rollover to a different part of the same cloud service. But what happened was not a clean break, more of a severe brownout. Which means none of the planned triggers were tripped. And the failures needed to be detected at the cloud level, not the level of the people purchasing the service.

This one seems to be more akin to Xerox's 6 and 8 issue with their copiers. There is a subtle failure in the system that doesn't completely break the system. And you have to be looking too damn hard for any reasonable expectation of finding it. Frankly, these are the type of error I find most troublesome. If a failure breaks something cleanly, there are alarms. When it doesn't, not so much.

'Silent' staff stood by as £100m BBC IT project tanked – DG

Tom 13

Re: Silent Culture

That's another characteristic of leftist organizations. Actual intellectual activity is known to always upset the brainwashing functions. So, while it is a given that you can't brainwash everybody, if you can at least ensure everyone know expression of such activity is a career limiting move, you can at least keep the rebels quiet while you continue brainwashing those who are susceptible.

Tom 13

Re: Glib, facile, and unconstructive

I concur it's straightforward and not easy, but the problem with your example is that it is still a top-down model. Proper management requires multiple information flows in execution. You also need bottom up and across tiers, but in appropriate ways. Directives obviously have to be top down, but the information informing those directives needs to be bottom up. Across tiers tends to be for implementation purposes and to avoid the information loss inherent in bottom to up then up to bottom that would otherwise be required. So it is a little more complicated than you describe, but the weakest link is still the integrity across each communication junction.

EFF, Lessig battling copyright takedowns

Tom 13

Re: Yeah!

If the article description is accurate, "shotgun" is the wrong adjective. This is more like aimed rifle fire since it impacts one group more than others.

Dell nemesis Icahn offers Apple's Tim Cook slap-up grub in share buy bid

Tom 13

re: manages to convince Tim to buy them back.

Doesn't even need to do that. Just needs to pump the stock up to a higher price, and sell to the stooges silly enough to have bought on his rumor making.

So to the first poster, yes it is a "pump and dump" scheme, it's just one that is within the boundaries of the law.

'Congressional watchdog' reports patent trolling rising fast

Tom 13

Re: Money

Money is both fungible and liquid. It transforms and flows around obstacles, so all attempts at thwarting its collection are doomed to failure.

Full disclosure is the only real solution. Any amounts in excess of $500 which are paid/donated/collected by the public official and any immediate relatives (husband/wife, children, brothers, sisters, mother, father, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews) must be publicly reported and accessible on the interwebs. The name of the person making the donation must be publicized. Corporations would need to list sufficient information so that if it were an attempt to circumvent publicity laws the person can be identified. And no, I'm not sure how this last bit can be accomplished.

Tom 13

Re: why is this unexpected ?

I'd vote for burger flippers or fast food cashiers, at current non-unionized minimum wage. Shelf-stacking and floor sweeping have minimal customer satisfaction demands. Although I'm willing to let them start as shelf-stackers or floor sweepers and be promoted after they've proven themselves competent at the first task.

Xerox begins rolling out patches for jumbled-numbers copier glitch

Tom 13

Re: A solution for a problem

I can easily see this getting past testing. All it takes is two or three rotations of the management teams. First team put together the idea when everything was expensive. They set out testing parameters for the edge cases, ran it and everything checked. Rotate in the second team. They tweak some things to speed testing. Rotate in the third team. They tweak some things in the algorithm. Now the tweaked algorithm cause a problem the tweaked test no longer checks, but it passes the test.

And that's assuming they all respect the work that came previously. A friend came back from a convention I helped run. He noted the registration line never really cleared the whole weekend. It's a problem some friends and I solved with hard work and by spending some hard earned money years ago. But they figured we didn't know what we were doing and made a change "to improve efficiency." In this case the specifics are that they axed the paid help we brought in to assist because "they were just slowing things down." Never checked to see if the free volunteers (who do tend to be faster because of enthusiasm) could supply enough free workers to staff everything. I saw they also converted our modified bank line algorithm to a full bank line model. We'd stack registrants two or three deep at each booth, but feed from a single bank line. In theory the bank line is more efficient because the next person moves to the next aisle. That's fine as long as the walk to the booth is quick compared to the average processing time. But as the walk to the booth approaches the average, the efficiency goes away. So if you stack two or three at the booth, you don't lose down time for the walk. All critical when you are trying to hit a mean processing time of about 47 seconds a person including information confirmation, badge selection, assembly and payment. But we didn't understand their new problems so they've tossed us on the ash heap of history.

Tom 13

@David W

Well, even if we accept the myth that a manager is ever responsible for anything, I'm not sure they'd know who the manager responsible for it was.

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