* Posts by Peter2

877 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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Trumping free trade: Say 'King of Bankruptcy' Ross does end up in charge of US commerce

Peter2
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If China does do that, then unused or underutilised mines, refineries etc are going to go back to work.

I think Tim Worstall pointed out that China did actually do this with rare metals, with the result that a mine re-opened in Australia(?) which then reduced the commodity value for those metals to a point below that they had before cranking the prices up. (obviously his economics lessons must have sunk in to some extent!)

Any viable business is going to directly employ fewer people due to higher use of automation, yes. However somebody builds the robots and somebody else programs them, plus repair and service jobs. Let's be honest, the substantial majority of the people reading this are in IT? Our industry stands to benefit as the programming and service jobs are IT jobs.

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Deadly Tesla smash probe: No recall needed, says Uncle Sam

Peter2
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Re: Persuit of perfection vs. incremental improvement

"It was said a long time ago that when America sneezes, the UK catches a cold - unfortunately it's true in this case, we have caught "lawyeritis", and now have to suffer our own home-grown sleaze-bags."

The UK really, really doesn't have "lawyeritis". There have been studies about this, and the case of the person being burnt with hot coffee which is the leading case about it in the UK.

That particular case had a set of coffee bought from McDonalds drive through in one of those paperboard cups. The Coffee in question was ~200 degrees Celsius and melted the glue holding the cup together, dropping that coffee over the driver causing severe burns to 16% of the persons body and requiring hospitalisation and plastic surgery. The doctors weren't sure she's survive. (5% burns can be fatal)

McDonalds got fined because they knew there was a problem from frequent reports, but hadn't addressed it.

In general frivolous cases do not exist in the UK and there have been several reports on the legal system desperately trying to find some justification for the view that we might have a problem, but eventually concluding that we don't actually have much of a problem with what your calling "lawyeritis" and even the headline grabbing cases on the subject often substantially and materially misrepresent the facts.

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'Exploding e-cig cost me 7 teeth, burned my face – and broke my sink!'

Peter2
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Re: So...

The problem is that people:-

1) Buy the cheapest batteries from china. I have personally cut the wrapper on a cheap Chinese "protected cell" battery of a supposedly decent manufacture and discovered a second hand unprotected industrial cell inside. Not good.

2) Buy cheap Chinese battery transformers, which are actually just step down transformers with a nice "status" light. Dissembling a couple bundled with something else was interesting, and dissuaded me from using lithium batteries or chargers from a Chinese manufacturer given that it seems that protection circuitry might be entirely missing, yet still "CE" marked.

3) People who basically home make very high draw devices. They do so without reference to the safety guidelines (such as no sealed battery compartments) and then ignorantly do things like sticking a wire in the vent on the battery and soldering it on. Pointing out that this is fucking dangerous as it's covered the vent preventing the battery cell from becoming a terrorist cell and going "BANG" in contravention of the standard safety guidelines for lithium batteries tends to attract a cloud of abuse and cries of "we haven't had any problems so far..." To boast about how cheaply they've built their device they then tend to incorporate the cheapest batteries and chargers from eBay, see points 1 & 2 above.

The result is that yep, your going to see things like this occasionally. It's more of an issue with shoddily made devices than anything, most of the communities playing around with these things have had things go "BANG" a decade ago and then started paying a lot more attention to safety. See Candle Power Forums and some of their LED torces for good examples and plenty of safety resources. :)

So, is this putting you off vaping? Buy a decent factory device made to electrical safety standards and chill, as it won't be a problem with a device meeting the requisite electrical safety standards. This message brought to you by somebody who has never smoked or vaped, just for transparency purposes.

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Windows 10 networking bug derails Microsoft's own IPv6 rollout

Peter2
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Re: Remembering IP's

On normal size internal (IPV4) networks it's common practice to assign a static range for things like servers and infrastructure such as UPS's, switches ,printers and copiers. I know the internal IP's of most of my equipment, since it's all done logically. Servers are 0-10, network infrastructure (managed switches, UPS's) are 11-19, network printers are 20-40, 60-99 is space left intentionally blank and 100-240 is DHCP. 253 & 254 are the firewall and modems, respectively.

Admittedly, I'm an SME so my offices tend to be smaller, but I can remember the addresses of all of my critical infrastructure at each office since I generally have to remember two digits for the equipment (ie, 20 for the copier), and two digits for the office. (ie, 10.0.1.20 for copier 1 at head office, 10.0.2.20 for copier 1 at branch office 1, etc)

Impossible to remember IP's, heh. What are you, a home user?

IPv6 is despised by most people who have had to use it because it's fucking awful to use compared to IPv4, and this is why the migration is so slow. In a sane world, the answer would be to address at least some of the problems and come up with something usable.

Simply adding an extra two fields to IPv4 (eg, 254.254.254.254.254.254 as IPv4E) would have solved the space problems fairly indefinitely, and we'd have finished with the rollout years ago because it wouldn't have tried to implement an unwanted agenda to networking that nobody really understands or particularly cares about, your entire skillset would have been carried across and everybody who wanted to memorise IP's would go from remembering "ten, zero, four, twenty" to ten, three zero's, four, twenty". Instead you go from "ten, zero, four, twenty" to "2a00:1450:400f:802::200e",

Given that there are still companies out there running on WinNT boxes which get the job done, precisely why anybody expected companies to dump perfectly working newish IPv4 infrastructure to replace it with hideously expensive IPv6 firewalls etc is a bit of a mystery to me.

Especially given that any management recognises that human resistance is a serious issue, precisely why IPv6 appears to have been designed specifically to antagonise the admins responsible for forcing through the requisite equipment purchases for an IPv6 rollout against bitter opposition from management and finance is something of a mystery to me. Coming up with something that would cause more resistance and less enthusiasm from IT staff would surely require considerable amounts of deliberate effort.

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Trump inauguration DDoS protest is 'illegal', warn securobods

Peter2
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Re: @ OliP

Honestly, I think Trump wants the existing political establishment screaming at him to keep the "why bother voting, all politicians are the same" crowd onside with the impression that he's different, worth voting for and that the existing political establishment hates him.

Only an idiot would assume that a billionaire spends his time on Twitter etc or could keep in the media the way he is doing by chance, so he certainly has a PR agency with deliberate instructions to keep him in the media. This won him the election, and he shows no sign of firing his PR people. So, he's twitter account is going to keep up with outspoken comments etc which keep him in the news and keep his supporters onside.

Even more impressively, he's managed to dupe his opponents to promote him being an evil Hitlerish dictator. The positive of this for him is twofold. Firstly, people who believe everything they see in the media actually believe this, and if he changes tack in two years to "look at what I'm actually doing" then he's going to make the media look absurdly stupid and more biased than they manage on their own. By doing this he stands to win some percentage of the opposition over come voting time while keeping his existing support base. Secondly, whatever he does is going to look sweetly reasonable compared to the fears that have been whipped up in the media.

I'm not convinced he's an idiot. That he could end up with a second term with a larger majority than he has at the moment seems far from unlikely.

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Britain collects new naval tanker a mere 18 months late

Peter2
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Re: Fiber optic?

TEMPEST is for reading the emissions from a computer monitor. The AEGIS incident took place a few years ago. IIRC the antique computers on-board crashed when trying to track oodles of targets generated via Electronic Warfare AKA jamming. I'm not sure how scrapping copper cables in favour of fibre optics is relevant to this form of attack. Scrapping computers with less processing power than a Casio wristwatch is surely the appropriate answer?

Getting the US Navy to panic isin't the same as getting NATO to panic; the ships using the Samson/Aster missiles (basically every navy in Europe) are highly unlikely to suffer the same problems since they run on hardware developed during the lifetimes of the crews.

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Dodgy Dutch developer built backdoors into thousands of sites

Peter2
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I'm not a professional coder, just an ops person. However, I have discovered on a live production website post handover that the original developer had put in a few unrequested easter eggs, such as comments viewable in the outputted HTML source that he was the developer (and contact *dev* via details if you need work done) , which was somewhat fair enough.

I was inclined to leave those since the bloke had done a good job up until I noticed that the dev was essentially getting all of the customer details put through the system copied to him. This could quite legitimately have been a development thing as he hadn't got access to our systems and may have just set up a test system identical to our internal system while he was developing the system.

However, equally it could have been deliberate. Obviously, it took no more than a few seconds to delete the lines of code in question but I do wonder how many companies even bother to look through code that's been developed for them.

Trust nobody, check everything. You'll be surprised what you discover on occasion.

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BT installs phone 'spam filter', says it'll strain out mass cold-callers

Peter2
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Re: A Typical Scam Call I Get

The problem with THAT is that whilst they're rotating through callerIDs that are mostly invalid anyway, sometimes they belong to real companies.

Mmm.

The issue there is that the Telco's are breaking the rules and being allowed to. Basically on a PABX you can arbitrarily set any Caller ID, but that caller ID has to belong to you, and be from that Telco's network. The Telco knows who you are because they have the accounting information.

The ultimate solution to this is to say to the telephone companies that are allowing companies to fraudulently provide caller ID that their access to the telephone network is being cut off in 30 days if they don't present their plan to comply with the rules.

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Oh ALIS, don't keep us waiting: F-35 jet's software 'delayed'

Peter2
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Re: >Germans tanks were 5 times better

So the war could have been shortened by dropping battalions of management consultants and marketing executives to persuade the Germans to take a customer focussed agile manufacturing process - where the military changes their mind all the time and the kit is delivered late, obsolete and in much smaller numbers?

The war was shortened this way. Both the Panther and Tiger arrived about two years too late to swing the war, were hopelessly and chronically unreliable (very important when your retreating constantly as breaking down means you lose the tank) and delivered in relatively tiny numbers compared to somewhat crap tanks the allies fielded which had the virtues of being cheap, reliable and capable of being delivered in truly immense numbers.

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Peter2
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Re: >Germans tanks were 5 times better

"Musta sucked big time gang-rushing Tigers, using flammable petrol/gasoline-burning M4s mounting short 75s..."

The Germans called the Sherman the Tommy Cooker, and the British crews of the sherman called it the Ronson, an advert for a popular lighter which was advertised with the catchphrase "lights first time, every time". Rushing a Tiger was only really a problem if you were American though as a British troop of 4 shermans had a Sherman Firefly attached, armed with a 17 pound gun that could punch holes through the front of a King Tiger at a mile. US forces were offered the Firefly and turned it down since such a heavy gun was "not invented here" and also "unnecessary". Oops.

re. the tank production figures. Germany did not, strangely enough, really fully go to a war economy until fairly late in the game, 43?

Germany really had no reason to go all out until around 1943. Look at it from their point of view. They had beaten and conquered everybody other than Britain by 1941, and by the start of 1942 were they were sitting outside Moscow stopped as much by the weather as by the Russians. By modern Russian figures up to 40% of the tanks facing the Germans at Moscow were British, supplied via the artic convoys. The Germans are choking off those convoys with surface ships and the Luftwaffe.

If your in charge of Germany, are you panicking about your tank production at this point? That Russia is outproducing America(!) in tanks despite the loss of large areas of industry that you've captured doesn't become obvious midway through the year, at which point you simply place bigger orders for your own tanks. That there is need for desperate and drastic measures doesn't become obvious until later on.

Ok. Problem admitted, let's ramp up production. You've also got a problem mein Furher. Britain is hellbent on blockading you and is merrily sinking your freighters from Norway and Sweeden left right and centre. Russia was supplying a lot of your iron that was getting through to you, but you've now attacked them and they are using that Iron to build tanks with and aren't interested in selling it to you. The British are also putting massive diplomatic pressure on overland sources of supply to Nazi Germany such as Turkey with dire threats about "AFTER THE WAR!". Where does the additional material come from?

Add to this the bombing offenses steaily bombing infrastructure flat into 1943 and the position becomes hopeless. Oh yes, and your critically low on fuel as the best sources are in the Middle East, and Britain is has more troops facing Rommel than it has in the UK and appears quite determined to keep Rommel away from the oil. Italy is complaining that they haven't even got enough fuel for their Battleships to go and sink the convoys carrying fuel from Egypt past their coast. The Luftwaffe are complaining that they are running out of fuel for their fighters, and the 25% of your petrol stocks are being generated by turning coal into fuel by the Fischer–Tropsch process.

When the American's add an extra 50% (by bomb weight dropped) to the RAF's efforts to systematically bomb german oil flat then the result is dire. Luftwaffe Field Marshal Erhard Milch, referring to the consequences of the Oil Campaign, claimed that "The British left us with deep and bleeding wounds, but the Americans stabbed us in the heart." and Albert Speer, writing in his memoir, said that "It meant the end of German armaments production."

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Peter2
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Re: old military wisdom has it ...

I think his comment about Germanys last trip to Russia is more to do with the equipment issues than the uniforms. As in the Germans turned out 2500 Tiger tanks of all marks, 6k Panthers and 8.5k Panzer 4's.

The Russians meanwhile turned out 85,000 T34's and the western allies chipped in 50,000 Shermans, exclusive of heavy tanks, tank destroyers etc which puts the figures at Germany having ~17,000 tanks vs 135,000 fielded by the allies. Even if you accepted that the Germans tanks were 5 times better than ours in WW2, that'd still only account for 17k * 5 = 85k of our tanks, which leaves 50k tanks left to run over their shattered remains. Which is pretty much what happened during WW2.

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Peter2
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Re: National security

To be fair, the one advantage of IE is that it's installed on everything and comes with a handy set of group policies which lets you force settings on users stopping them from doing things. Chrome was designed around the users and so doesn't give much in the way of central control although it's a "better" web browser than MSIE.

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Customer: BT admitted it had 'mis-sold' me fibre broadband

Peter2
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Re: What are customers moaning about?

Line rental is about £8. Did that include the care plan for maintenance though? For anything other than BT basic (we'll fix it at some point, honest...) you end up paying another £5 p/m or so.

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US Navy runs into snags with aircraft carrier's electric plane-slingshot

Peter2
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Re: > The Falkland's task force didn't lose a carrier,

Atlantic Conveyor was ferrying RAF harriers down to the taskforce, yes. Those harriers had to take off vertically with just enough fuel to hop across to Hermes. It wasn't a carrier and it didn't have a single Harrier on it when it was lost.

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Peter2
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Um, uh. There's a bit of a difference between a 20k ton carrier which was designed as a cruiser (and so carried it's own Sea Wolf missiles etc in place of more aircraft) and a 70k ton carrier which is designed only as a carrier.

A few other points worth mentioning.

1) In the Falklands the taskforce didn't have Airborne Early Warning equipment (flying things scanning for the opposition with RADAR) which wasn't expected to be needed in their designed role of flying lots of anti sub helicopters against the Russians. This was rectified immediately after the falkland's.

2) The Falkland's task force didn't lose a carrier, and the operation wouldn't have been possible without the carriers.

3) Larger numbers of drones from smaller ships mean smaller drones, with less range and payload.

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Peter2
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Re: Schadenfreude?

The Type 45 is the most advanced air defence destroyer in the world, and the type 23 frigate is arguably the best thing afloat for tracking subs. The Astute class sub being the best thing for tracking subs that doesn't always float.

The problem is that we only have 6 of the type 45 and double that of type 23's, about half of which are going to be available allowing for scheduled refits and working up from refits (crew training etc). This however is plenty enough for a carrier battle group, even if it doesn't leave enough for much else. The Royal Fleet Auxiliaries provide plenty of Replenishment At Sea capacity for such a carrier battle group.

It's very arguable however that people may be more inclined to shoot at our carriers than America's, on the basis that sinking one of America's super carriers simply ensures that 11 others, plus a dozen or so fleet carrier sized helicopter carriers (with harriers onboard) are going to be paying them a visit, and sinking 50% of our navy is likely to leave politicians wondering if it's worth losing the other half. We certainly have the ability to field a carrier battlegroup though.

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Peter2
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Re: EMALS

That was certainly Lewis's view.

I feel "never attribute to malice what may be attributed to incompetence" explains the situation just as well.

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Peter2
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EMALS

Wasn't the deal with EMALS that the USA Navy would sell it to us for a fixed fee of something like $200 million, and do any required remedial work on the installation at their expense, recognising that we'd basically be operating a bleeding edge system shared with their new supercarrier that hadn't had all of the bugs eliminated?

This made sense for the US navy as they'd then be able to:-

1) Get free testing for their EMALS system their new carrier has.

2) Gain an extra couple of fleet carriers for a closely allied nation that they'd be able to cross deck on.

3) kill off the F35B variant, screwing the US Marine Corps ability to operate their America class ships as mini carriers.

IIRC the extra £1.9 billion bill came from BAE having said "yeah, we could stick an EMCAT in this spare space I guess?" without doing any design work for the additional cabling, deck reinforcement etc. They got away with this up until the point that Cameron said "We'd like take that offered EMCAT fitment option please", at which point it was discovered that it required so much redesigning and refitting it'd have been cheaper to build a new carrier from scratch.

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You have the right to be informed: Write to UK.gov, save El Reg

Peter2
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Re: This article convinced me to support the Act.

Having taken a cursory look, it appears that no other regulators have even applied for accreditation and the situation is that:-

1) If ElReg is not signed up to an independent regulator with a complaints procedure then there is no other way of redressing grievances but court, in which case ElReg pays all costs for justifiable court cases as there was no alternative provided to litigation.

2) If ElReg is signed up to an independent regulator with a complaints procedure then any court cases brought are entirely at the cost of the person bringing the case.

If you feel that Impress is not a viable or sensible regulator then why do you not simply get together with the other tech publications and fund a regulator with for tech publications that your happy with?

To a casually uninterested observer such as myself, the information the press is putting out regarding press regulation appears inaccurate enough to justify the need for what appears to me to be fairly soft regulation compared to the rather more stringent regulation that many of your readers have to comply with.

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Peter2
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Re: Except the new regulator must be approved

Well, under section 2 on this page:-

http://pressrecognitionpanel.org.uk/guidance-for-applicants/

The procedure is that the name of an applicant is published and 20 days later a request for information is made publicly under the "calls for information" section of their website.

As Impress is the only body listed on there, it would appear reasonable to infer that so far only Impress has applied.

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Peter2
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Re: Picks up the phone...

I'm an IT Manager for a Solicitors, and so passingly familiar with what can and can't be done with legal costs.

You wouldn't be able to actually get away with billing £10m per hour, as the costs would be assessed under section 70 of the 1974 Solicitors act. Courts will then eliminate costs they think are undue, and if the bill is reduced by more than 20% then the firm that raised the bill pays the court costs for the courts time looking at the bill.

Since courts do in divorce cases happily and more or less habitually eliminate £50 costs for an assistant spending 3 hours sorting and indexing a thousand pages worth of loose documents (~£16 per hour) for the court bundles that the courts demand, i'm not entirely sure how you think that anybody is going to get away with charging £10 million per hour.

To put that into perspective, the firm at the bottom of the legal 100 (the top 100 UK law firms) billed £21 million for the year, with 150 Solicitors/lawyers which equates to a total billable amount of £11k per month per solicitor/lawyer. And that's the 100th largest and best paid firm. The rest of firms tend to earn somewhat less, obviously.

Bringing a case along these lines would take be about an hour talking to the client, two hours putting together a legal case/bundle and then about 4 hours of the solicitor being in court/travelling. That'd probably cost something like £400 at anything but a London firm, where you pay about 5x the amount because it's London.

On a fixed fee basis at most firms, £400 for 7 hours work is about £64 per hour. With the Solicitors wages being about ~£30 per hour including PAYE etc, and considering certain fixed expenses such as an office, support staff (reception, IT, etc) to pay from that how much profit do you think is actually made? It might not be as big as you think, assuming that your legal information is sourced from watching TV or films.

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Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

Peter2
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Re: "opinion pieces don't need to be balanced"

"I am no fan of Apple, but to state that something was invented by the State because everyone involved went to state-funded school is a kindergarten-level of thinking that has no place in reasoned argument."

It's actually "Intellectual Yet Idiot" level thinking. Google it. Your right that arguments of this sort of calibre have no place in reasoned argument, but the presence of this sort of quality thinking being shoved down peoples throats by media is why a hell of a lot of people are "fed up with experts".

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

Peter2
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Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

The sort of people who would only last 100 days are the sort of people who phone helpdesks to say the computers aren't turned on.

Personally, living in Britain I'd take:-

1) Camping equipment, tent, gas cooker + hexi burners etc

2) A supply of canned goods

3) an angle grinder

4) length of rope, bucket, shovel and water purifying tablets.

To the nearest fortifiable keep, Martello tower or thousand year old norman church with a church tower fortifiable to let the local norman priest survive against his flock trying to do him in.

The camping equipment and supply of canned goods is to ensure a food supply of warm food for a few weeks. The rest is to blow through the iron bars stopping people falling down the well that's inevitably in the basement/dungeon of this sort of place - at which point the rest is obvious. (shovel in case there's a lot of coins and dirt at the bottom)

And that's food and water for at least a few weeks while everybody else kills each other off. Given more time I might also include a large number of cans of compressed air etc which you could stick in the tent and have open at a low level to provide a primitive NBC overpressure system, where because air is flowing out of the tent it can't flow in, reducing your chances of catching the plague in case it's airborne. And "nice to have" things such as a supply of paving slabs to drop from the tower against zombies trying to imitate a battering ram on the door.

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My fortnight eating Blighty's own human fart-powder

Peter2
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Re: Hipsters discover SlimFast...

And 150 years before that in the Napoleonic wars the Sick & Hurt board introduced Portable Soup for the Royal Navy which was conceptually similar. A form of meat and veg soup boiled until all the water had evaporated leaving a solid mass cut into portion sized lumps, and resurrected back into soup by taking the resulting portion sized lump months or years later and dropping it into boiling water and stirring.

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NIST requests ideas for crypto that can survive quantum computers

Peter2
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Re: NIST requests ideas for crypto that can survive quantum computers

That's the thing. This sort of code would be unbreakable against pretty much anything code breaking wise from decryption from interception in transit. What it doesn't guard against is compromise of the hardware/endpoint or the user. A small bit of thermite over the circuit board with an anti tamper device would probably be the solution to that, although it'd require military type R&D and severly paranoid users with an acceptence of their office/house being burnt down if their computer gets compromised.

I'm not convinced that using a one time pad twice as suggested above is a good idea, since as soon as one code is cracked you'd then have the next pad, which would give you the next pad, etc. I think physical transfer of keys would be the way to go if you needed to be paranoid enough to implement this.

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Peter2
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Re: NIST requests ideas for crypto that can survive quantum computers

Depends. That's moving from one threat class to another.

If the threat your trying to defend against is interception and remote decryption through quantum computing then one time pads work perfectly well and it would be feasible to have software wipe keys that have been used.

Against local attacks with physical access to the device, or the infamous $5 spanner attack with physical access to the user popularised by XKCD, then you really haven't got much security regardless.

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Peter2
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NIST requests ideas for crypto that can survive quantum computers

I have a somewhat foolproof solution for point to point communications, using a digital one time pad communicated physically via USB or external HDD.

It wouldn't work for any random website for blatantly obvious reasons, but between two known entities it'd be fine. For instance, between home and business and between you and bank would work perfectly well.

The biggest problem is that 1 megabyte worth of data would require 1 megabyte worth of unique one time key pads, but with multiple terabyte sized external HDD's that's not THAT much of a limitation since transferring 2GB a day would take 1024 days, or 2.8 years to go through. High levels of data transfer such as 250GB a day would still take ~8 days to go through 2TB's worth.

It'd be theoretically unbreakable if done correctly.

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Chinese boffins: We're testing an 'impossible' EM Drive IN SPAAAACE

Peter2
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Re: Many Bothans died to bring us this plot device

The scientific process basically just means that you try something and document it, and say "look, I did this like this and it worked!"

Anybody doubting that can run their own test.

You can then accept the results of that test, and then assume that if it worked that way once, it will do again. Then you can make guesses about why that happened, eliminate the guesses until you have a reasonable conclusion and then make things based on that evidence.

Anybody saying "I don't believe..." should be a priest, not a scientist. The scientific process is not massively more than a formalised term for "trial and error".

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

Peter2
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Re: RE: But if you store them in the tube

My view is that if it still works with several screws left over then it was over engineered.

I rarely feel the urge to take things apart again to put the additional screws back.

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Don't pay up to decrypt – cure found for CryptXXX ransomware, again

Peter2
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Re: It's fun, because they never learn

If your backing up data that you can't restore from then I'd personally say you have copies, not backups.

In the old days we used to do backups every day for two weeks on removable media, and then retire one of those bits of removable media as a long term archive copy. It was best practice in 1997, but in 2017 it's ok to keep a single online copy and pray. (Ok, ransoms. What if they demanded more than your company could pay or if they refused to give you the decryption key after paying?!)

The master of the Tao of Backups (http://www.taobackup.com) would despair. (ie; 3. Separation)

I'd be interested to see how online backups score on their backup test, I suspect "not well" is a reasonable answer!

http://www.taobackup.com/audit.html

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Did webcam 'performer' offer support chap payment in kind?

Peter2
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Re: Only that

I saw an old, somewhat rusted sign up on a wall at a more or less disused ex military airfield retained for Air Cadets to do gliding at about 20 years ago over what used was probably one the officers mess. It stated:-

ladies of negotiable virtue are not permitted on the premises.

-by order <the base CO>.

That took a few seconds to sink in at the age of ~14! I would think that Terry Pratchet probably saw a similar sign somewhere and popularised it.

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Ham-fisted: Chap's radio app killed remotely after posting bad review

Peter2
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Re: In principle...

The company disabled only their own software, nothing else. It's still a fantastically stupid thing to do, not just because of bad PR but also because you could construe this as fraud

In the UK this would be illegal under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. (ss 1, 3 Unauthorised modification - Denial of access.) There have been convictions for it, some of which have even made the press.

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Windows 10 market share growth just barely has a pulse

Peter2
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Re: I wonder where XP is currently

XP? That's modern. I have an old 2k box running our voicemail system. Amazing how solid it is, the uptime is pretty impressive.

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Peter2
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Re: Let me guess...

Mmmm. There is nothing out there than can match outlooks ability to share calendars and mailboxes in a team working environment. yet, that's the killer.

An outlook replacement has to meet these tests:-

1) A boss should be able to delegate read only access for his PA to read (but not send from) the boss's email account.

2) The boss should be able to delegate full access to his calendar for his PA, who can book in appointments for him.

3) The process for all steps above should meet the following simple requirements:-

3A The entire process should take less than 30 seconds from the users account. IT should not need to be involved.

3B) It should not require the boss to divulge his password to his PA. (Giving your password to anybody else results in misconduct proceedings or dismissal at a lot of workplaces.)

3C) It should be extremely user friendly, and not require any IT knowledge or training beyond being told where it is on the menu. If the user has to know the server address etc, this is an immediate failure. IT should know this, the user should not have to care.

3D) It should be achievable without training or support for a user with an IQ in the low average range, because the average user is of average intelligence and we also have (a depressing number of) below average users as well as utterly fucking hopeless users that we still have to support. We don't want to speak to them constantly because the software sucks.

When there is a stable open source program released that duplicates the core delegation and calendar functionality in outlook 1997 outlined above and passes the simple user acceptance shown above then Outlook and exchange will start slowly vanishing.

When exchange is gone then so are the windows servers running it, and at that point Libreoffice will take the place of the rest of the office suite. When that happens, windows is no longer required on the desktop or server and the following year will be the year of *nix on the desktop.

Nothing out there at the moment is good enough.

If I went to *nix at the moment, the users would have my severed head within a year and my successor would be reimplementing outlook/exchange.

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Sysadmin told to spend 20+ hours changing user names, for no reason

Peter2
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Re: Two questions...

The GPO script linked to the Staff Laptops OU parses the computer name, finds the bit after the hyphen and then:

Isn't this just reinventing a roaming profile (or a redirected profile with offline folders & files enabled)with the exception of not uploading changes on connection to the network automatically, or is your script doing other things you haven't mentioned?

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Peter2
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Re: Two questions...

- Especially good for printers

To be fair, with printers I go for a meaningful location identifier rather than an asset number such as Vulture Central, Floor 1, Printer 3, shortened down to "VC-F1P3".

A large sticker let's the users know which printer is which, and users just delete their printers and add the nearest one if they relocate between desks/department areas.

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Peter2
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Re: Two questions...

I really don't get why people name devices after the owners. One of my predecessors did this on my existing network and it was a total nightmare. Every time you picked up a "spare" computer you'd end up with duplicate names on the network causing no end of hassle.

Personally, I just name the devices with their asset numbers and get the users to read me the asset number off of the label if I need it for some reason. If I need to know who's using which device then you can always pull the login records, or look at the asset register if you need to know who's got a laptop they take off site.

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For God's sake, stop trying to make Microsoft Bob a thing. It's over

Peter2
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Re: But...

Of course, rapidly changing your view between something projected on the glass and at things many meters away all day is somehow not going to cause eyestrain despite people reviewing the demo versions commenting on discomfort or headaches. As anybody who has read the mandatory HSE posters stuck up in UK workplaces knows, this is a symptom of the eyestrain incurred through using Visual Display Units.

Like 3D monitors I think this is a pretty basic issue with the technology that's probably not actually resolvable.

It will be interesting seeing how companies using these in the UK manage to get on with the VDU regulations already in force. "Not well" is going to be my guess, but the good news is that employment protection for the workers is already in place.

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

Peter2
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The problem with this is that there isn't a lack of taxes being paid, or money spent.

The problem is merely that the people in charge wish to spend the money on vote buying or big impressive projects to get promotions. They start said big project, realise they have ignored every bit of best practice and basic procedure out there and then get promoted out of that position before the entire mess falls apart under the weight of it's own mismanagement.

The solution is to promote people on merit, ie. actually delivering completed and usable projects rather than for brownnosing skills. We might then see a reduction in multi billion pound projects failing.

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Peter2
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When I was working in IT in the NHS there were many machines running expensive things like MRI scanners or X-Ray machines that only ran on XP, but the companies concerned had gone out of business.

Hell, we had a case where a company making AED's had gone down and another manufacturer was doing firmware updates for them, but couldn't write a replacement program to transfer the firmware because they couldn't work around the security measures on the AED preventing unauthorised tampering with the firmware. Solution? Keep an XP laptop in the cupboard with the original transfer software for the occasional updates.

I'd imagine that most trusts with ~200 separate sites have at least one machine in this category that nobody wants to replace because it's absurd replacing a newish MRI machine just because the OS is XP. Who cares? It's only wired to the MRI and a printer.

So if you say "90%" the NHS is STILL relying on XP then it's technically correct if you go by NHS trusts, rather than NHS sites, or NHS users. You could also say "NHS doesn't want to waste money replacing near new, perfectly working MRI machine." but that'd get you a less sensational headline.

To put it into perspective, the business I work for is in the same situation. We have a voicemail system which runs on an application on Win2k. I'm the only person who knows or cares because it's only accessed by the users through their phones (by a bank of modems wired from the telephone system to the server in question) 100% of the staff use it daily, and we don't have any replacement plans for it other than "wouldn't it be nice..." as the business doesn't want to spend money replacing a perfectly adequate system just for the sake of it.

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HMS Illustrious sets sail for scrapyard after last-ditch bid fails

Peter2
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Re: Shame

Why dig up anything. Making a navalized Super Tucano is a trivial engineering task. It fits the spec you describe (slightly smaller range, but still more than F35 model B).

When loaded with weapons the Super Tucano has a 550km range, compared to the F35 range of 865 km, and the Sea Hornets range of 2,382 km. That's more than a slight difference.

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Peter2
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Re: Shame

Frankly, I think the question should be asked as to if it would make sense to dig up the designs for the last generation of prop driven aircraft and build a modern version. I don't think the idea is totally crazy.

The Sea Hornet (a metal version of the famous "wooden wonder/timber terror" Mosquito) has a real world demonstrated range of 2,382 km with a full warload, or 4,184 km carrying external fuel tanks instead of bombs. It missed WW2 by a whisker but flew from WW2 carriers one half the size of our new carrier.

The F35B's combat range is 865 km on internal fuel and weapons, and the maximum theoretical range is 1,670 km. Presumably this is with external fuel tanks and internal weapons, but is not confirmed and it's not been said if this is real world achievable or not.

The Sea Hornet might actually be the better aircraft, being considerably cheaper and having a better range and payload. It's also half the size, so you can fit twice the number onboard a carrier. It has a proven service history, it doesn't suffer from problems like melting holes through the decks of ships it lands on, and they have a proven ability to deploy from light fleet carriers. (ahem, "helicopter/commando carriers" which we operate but can't carry jets.)

Personally I think the idea should be seriously considered, it's not a totally crazy idea, just an cheapish aircraft twice the size of a Reaper drone. (and it might be worth building them with the remote control stuff stolen from a Reaper drone if we're worried about prop planes not being survivable in a modern battle)

And if BAE goes nuts about the idea then just dig up the original Mosquito plans from the national archives and get in touch with a furniture maker/woodworkers for a comparative quote!

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I was a robot and this is what I learned

Peter2
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Re: Picture paints 1000 words

Frankly, the design for the Dalek is better than a lot of the stuff out of DARPA for a military bot for CQB. It doesn't require any advanced technology and is easily buildable with existing technology. Just give it a semi automatic shotgun instead of the laser and half an inch of armour. Bullets won't penetrate that, and if used for room clearance then it'd be used at such a close range that using an anti tank missile on it would either take out the person firing it when the warhead went off, or it'd fail to arm in time due to the safeties in the rocket.

Thanks to building codes making things friendly for the disabled, it'd have pretty clear access to the building as long as you give it a manipulator arm good enough to press buttons in a lift. Then just roll in with the "EXTERMINATE" effect tied to the gun firing. Would be a nasty bit of psyops as well, imagine hearing EXTERMINATE! <BANG, BANG, BANG> repeatedly and slowly moving towards you.

I can't imagine the BBC being particularly happy with the licensing for this, but if a working example visited their offices I'm sure they'd reconsider their position. Quickly.

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Standards body warned SMS 2FA is insecure and nobody listened

Peter2
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Re: "the statement has had virtually no impact some six months after its announcement"

If the problem is scammers getting numbers transferred then surely the mobile phone companies need to send an SMS and snail mail to the original details of the account holder notifying of this, with a 7 day gap between making the request and taking action.

That'd pretty much eliminate that problem, surely?

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What's in Hammond's box? Autumn fallout for Britain's tech SMBs

Peter2
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Re: Let's stop the rot now.

You do realise that comments like that on this forum are tantamount to heresy, don't you? The fact that what you say is intuitively correct as well is neither here nor there; FTTP is the True Religion.

Well, that depends on which group of people are involved.

You've got the IT Professionals, the vast majority of whom will agree with the simple economic reality, a fair few of which "know" this already because they've already done FTTP, had (or know of) management exclaiming words to the effect of "HOW F******* MUCH?!?!" when they've presented a bill, regardless if they eventually paid it or not. These people are going to nod silently before moving on.

You've got the enthusiasts who may not have considered it this way before who might find an alternate (sane) view interesting as it lets them change their worldview to fit the facts.

And you've got the unthinking zealots who aren't interested in listening or learning and want to adapt the facts to fit their worldview, rather than their worldview to fit the facts. These people can't rationally refute the facts so they'll have a hissy fit or temper tantrum like a five year old. There aren't many of these people, it just seems that way because of how loudly they scream.

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Peter2
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Re: Let's stop the rot now.

I'm not a retiree, but an IT professional who has had a quote for an FTTP installation.

The preference for FTTC over FTTP has much to do with the financial reality of the costs of running fibre directly to a building that doesn't already have it. The costs are eye wateringly painful even for a business, and having tailed the engineer doing the survey around and having a chat, I'm not convinced that the quote was massively padded considering the work that had to be done. It's hardly a trivial or cheap job for Openreach.

Yes, In an ideal world everybody would magically have FTTP tomorrow without digging up every single road in the country or that costing anything to do, and that FTTP would cost the same as VDSL.

In the real world, if it costs at least several thousand to do a FTTP deployment that's near the cabinet and the ROI on putting the fiber in is >10 years then the speed of installations is going to tend to make a glacier look fast moving. Want it to happen faster? Persuade everybody on your street to pay an extra ~£50 per month for the next ~5 years for their internet connection, and I'm sure the rollout would speed up to at least glacial speeds.

But when there is a combination of people not wanting to pay for the extra speed, and a fair percentage of the country is still at speeds which could have been achieved 20 years ago with an ISDN line (and would be quite happy to get FTTC speeds...) then politicians are going to prioritise getting everybody VDSL speeds over a rapid FTTP rollout that on a national scale would have a yearly price tag similar to either our education budget, or the interest payments on the national debt to be done in any reasonable time period.

TLDR? It's an economic issue, not a technical one.

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HMS Queen Lizzie to carry American jets and sail in support of US foreign policy

Peter2
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Re: U.S. has used Harriers...

"Your translation is correct, but we should recall that the Harrier was (whilst clever and impressive) always a solution searching for a problem."

Actually, this isin't correct.

The Harrier was built to fit in with RN concept for fighting the likely war, against the Russian North Sea fleet. As it almost entirely consisted of submarines, the RN was designed to fight this threat.

After scrapping the post WW2 fleet carriers without replacement the RN intended to leave the high profile carrier battlegroup work to the USN's supercarriers, and concentrate on the unglamorous, yet essential job of finding and sinking submarines. The RN's flagships were the light carriers/command cruisers which were intended to operate large and powerful airgroups.... of ASW helicopters.

The air threat was soviet TU-95's, which did maritime patrol and could circle around the outside of a ASW frigates missile range broadcasting it's locations for something else to sink. Enter the Harrier. Stick a few of these onboard the command cruisers, and you gained the ability to either shoot down the maritime patrol aircraft, or simply scare them into staying well away from where they thought the RN was. Either effectively eliminated the threat from maritime patrol aircraft.

This was fine up until the Falklands war, at which point carriers were demanded. The ASW helicopters were offloaded and every Harrier the RN had was loaded up, closely followed by all of the RAF's harriers. These were then used to act as a fighter screen for the RN taskforce, without AEW as none existed at this point. After this experiance of using the "Command Cruisers" in an actual war the RN stripped out the air defence missiles on the basis that carrying more aircraft would be more useful.

The Harrier was never meant to be used as an air superiority aircraft, although the upgraded version with AMRAAM would probably have acquitted itself reasonably well in this role when combined with the AEW support (albeit helicopter based) that the taskforce lacked at the Falklands.

So yeah, the Harrier wasn't fairly describable as a solution looking for a problem. It was however misunderstood and misused. The F35(B) should be a significant improvement, although I think that the decision to decommision the harrier fleet before a replacement was operational was absurd.

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Exclusive: Team Trump's net neutrality guru talks to El Reg

Peter2
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Re: Very mixed metaphor

I think that BT, Virgin & Talk Talk are all based in the UK, unfortunately.

Although there is always that rendition thing our government supports, so I suppose it's passingly possible.

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Brexit means Brexit: What the heck does that mean...

Peter2
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Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

Firstly, the Richmond election was in London which (IIRC) was pretty much the most pro remain area in the country. Even if you accept that this was fought entirely on the EU issue, the result wouldn't be a surprise, would it?

Secondly, that the Lib Dems won it when Labour and the Conservatives didn't put up a candidate is hardly surprising, unless you thought they were going to lose to the Monster Raving Looney party.

Thirdly, The distinction between "soft" and "hard" BREXIT exists only in the media who are unable to grasp any facts that researchers paid the minimum wage can't find in 30 minutes and break down into facts that can be explained to MBA management types in under 5 minutes. This means that any nuance has to be eliminated, and only black/white is presented. The level of debate about the EU has about reached the level you'd expect from toddlers and the press are breathlessly "discovering" things that everybody else looking at the issues discovered a decade ago.

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Microsoft refuses to join the Zero Outage brigade, Google and AWS keep mum

Peter2
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But why would they be interested in joining?

People without the experience are interested in joining to gain experience from other people and avoid the problems they have had. If your a large player and have already figured out more than the group, then it's in your interest not to co-operate. The competition then discovers the problems the hard way, costing them money and reputation in downtime, plus time spent figuring out how to prevent that problem.

You ONLY join something like this if your expecting some gain out of it, and in this case the PR gain from joining isn't worth the expense of handing the competition your experience and procedures because these are as much of an asset as money is. This sort of stuff for an operations place is the same as source code is to a software house, you don't give it to your competition to have a look.

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