* Posts by AndyS

904 posts • joined 23 Jun 2009

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Michael Howard: Embrace of open source is destroying 'artificial definitions' of legacy vendors

AndyS

Did he catch a bad case of biz-speak?

"Create more velocity in our revenue attainment" = "make more money"

"Jump off a cliff onto new ground" - a fine mixed metaphor indeed. My boss is keen on these, things like "we need to stop climbing the ladder to take a step back and see how far we've come."

"Boosting the quality of service by professionalising people and technology" - what does that even mean?

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Dell Corp UK makes 1.46% net profit margin on £1.556bn in sales – 'satisfactory' apparently

AndyS

Re: Very odd company

I ordered an XPS13 with Ubuntu on it. It was the oddest experience.

The computer took so long to ship that my card, linked to the paypal account I payed with, had expired. Instead of holding the shipment when the payment failed, they shipped anyway, and some Indian team were then in charge of trying to get me to pay.

I asked them several times to send me a simple, correct invoice that I could pay via paypal. Eventually, a couple of weeks after the laptop arrived, I got an invoice, without VAT.

By that point, VAT was their problem, and I couldn't be bothered helping them any more, so I paid it.

Some months later, I got another email, from a UK team, asking me to pay the full amount (which was apparently still outstanding on my account). I ignored that, and have never heard back from them.

I've no idea how much they think I owe them, or what will happen if I ever try to order another machine from them...

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I've got the key, I've got the secret. I've got the key to another person's DJI drone account: Vids, info left open to theft

AndyS

Re: So Open Source is the answer?

> Can a third party prove that there's no backdoors in the executable even if the code they give is clean of backdoors?

Assuming the software is fully open-source, it should be possible to recompile from code, and install the locally compiled binary. Assuming your compiler isn't also a DJI product, this should give you near 100% certainty.

This is how hoby-level drones currently work - Betaflight is one of the primary bits of software used for racing drones, and it is fully open source. It's trivial to compile it from source (and many people do, to make it run on unusual hardware or to disable / enable different bits of it). Although DJI's offering is more complex, it could work the same way.

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EU aren't kidding: Sky watchdog breathes life into mad air taxi ideas

AndyS

Re: Autorotate to where?

>It should be easy enough to specify a deployable paraglider or similar controlled-descent device, with independent control system and say 10 mins power supply, for use when the main flight power fails.

A full-craft paraglider, with separate power supply to keep it flying for 10 minutes?

Yeah, I suppose it would be easy to specify that. I can specify all sorts of things - like a spaceship with capacity to take 100 people to mars, and return them, with a transit time of of less than 6 months. Oh, and if something goes wrong, it will automatically return safely to Earth.

Doesn't mean there is any link to physical reality, sadly.

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Bloke gets six months for fixing up Russia's US election trolls with bank accounts, fake identities

AndyS

Re: When does the UK start sentencing people?

@Len, I agree 100%.

Despite the shit-storm that is the US political landscape, at least there are other branches trying to sort out the mess. It almost seems like, in the long run, they may make it harder to repeat the current mess.

The UK, meanwhile, is clearly being just as badly attacked, but I'm yet to see anything suggesting we've really attempted to take it seriously.

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Russian rocket goes BOOM again – this time with a crew on it

AndyS

@imanidiot, I see I misread his comment, so apologies for my tone. He wasn't creating conspiracy theories but rather questioning the official line, which looks very like a conspiracy... Since he's deleted his comment, I've removed mine too.

As an aside, it's worth looking up the pictures of the hole in the previous incident. I hadn't seen them before - it is clearly a drilled hole, not a micro-comet. Likely nothing to do with the current issue, but still more worrying than a hit from in-orbit debris.

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Anon man suing Google wants crim conviction to be forgotten

AndyS

Right to be forgotten

I find myself conflicted in these cases.

In some ways, it is unfair for a conviction to follow people forever, where the courts have stated a limit. Assuming ABC is not convicted with a life sentence, his conviction will be "spent" after a certain period. If old reports are damaging people beyond that period, I have some sympathy.

But then, the whole point of a search engine is to make data more easily available. Court records most certainly are data, and opening them up is a massive benefit to the population as a whole. If his conviction is not spent, and someone merely reported about it... well then, tough luck. That's part of the consequences.

What I don't quite understand is what Google et al are realistically meant to do in order to pre-emptively filter out results, or why they should do so at all. The responsibility surely lies with the people publishing the information, not the company organising it. The librarian isn't responsible for the content of a book you object to.

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Space station springs a leak while astronauts are asleep (but don't panic)

AndyS

Re: Small leak???

>Must be that GREAT soviet build quality we've heard all about

Are you American, by any chance? Because your stupid is showing.

Firstly, when something breaks, it is normal to try and work out why. And yes, a manufacturing fault is one option, obviously.

Secondly, the very next sentence in the article states that this is unlikely. Did you just stop reading when you came across something that seemed to confirm your slightly xenophobic stereotypes?

Thirdly, and this one is important. Why is the US relying on Russian engineering to get its astronauts into space? Maybe you should stop to ponder the inability of the US to transport its own astronauts before you take a shit on the Russians who have, by all sensible measures, won the space race.

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Chinese hotel chain warns of massive customer data theft

AndyS

Why do you guess that? Not only does the article fail to mention the Chinese government, it actually explains how the data theft happened.

Did the Talk Talk data leak implicate the UK government?

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Muslim American woman sues US border cops: Gimme back my seized iPhone's data!

AndyS

Re: When Booking-Travel now the first thing I usually do is:

> Which laughably, is literally the law in the US!

I thought the law stopped applying some time in 2016?

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Reckon you deserve a Wikipedia entry? Try getting this bot's notice

AndyS

> It’s still difficult for computers to craft long and coherent sentences automatically to do this. A group of researchers from Google Brain tried to get a neural network to do cough up new pages by summarizing snippets of information after scraping relevant webpages.

Apparently it's quite hard for human authors to do cough up coherent sentences too.

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Dear alt-right morons and other miscreants: Disrupt DEF CON, and the goons will 'ave you

AndyS

What?

Why the hell would a bunch of racists, facists, Nazis, and Trump supporters decide that this particular style of conference is something they want to disrupt?

Like, are they feeling particularly hacked off?

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Boffins build a NAZI AI – wait, let's check that... OK, it's a grammar nazi

AndyS

Re: Futile.

For the curious:

Ode to the Spell Checker

Eye halve a spelling chequer

It came with my pea sea

It plainly marques four my revue

Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word

And weight four it two say

Weather eye am wrong oar write

It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid

It nose bee fore two long

And eye can put the error rite

Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it

I am shore your pleased two no

Its letter perfect awl the weigh

My chequer tolled me sew.

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Well, well, well. Crime does pay: Ransomware creeps let off with community service

AndyS

Actually, this seems proportionate

Yes, they caused a whole lot of damage, but

1. They weren't violent, and

2. They were young, first-time offenders with a good prospect of rehabilitation.

Given those, and assuming the aim of the justice system is to prevent future crimes and rehabilitate convicted criminals, jail time seems inappropriate.

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On Android, US antitrust can go where nervous EU fears to tread

AndyS

> You Sir are a pillock, Just like the President

Leaving aside the rest of your drivel, you see the little ".co.uk" bit at the end of this site's address? Sod off. We haven't got a President.

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AndyS

I completely agree that the current state is pretty good as far as the consumer's perspective. But it's a dilemma, as it has been done that way at the cost of competition and choice. Maybe it could be better if there was real competition? Or maybe the manufacturers and carriers would completely balls it up again? I guess the latter is more likely, to be honest.

Take a political example - it's incredible what China has achieved in a single generation. Reduction in poverty, increased living standards, higher quality employment, greener energy... All through massively controlled, centralised government and almost complete lack of individual choice / human rights. It may be impressive, but I wouldn't want to be part of it.

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Cyber boffins drill into World Cup cyber honeypot used to cyber lure Israeli soldiers

AndyS

It's a conscript army, made of young kids. Even if they had army-issued mobiles, it would be nigh on impossible to stop people using their personal devices.

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AndyS

Re: What, really ?

Not only the images, but also the pixels they are made of!

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Chrome, Firefox pull very unstylish Stylish invasive browser plugin

AndyS

Re: Problem when software changes hands

ES File Explorer is a bit of a "special" case. The free edition is utter crap, laden with adware and dark pattern user interface nonsense.

The paid version is actually very good, and strips all of that out.

It's a prime example of "you get what you pay for," and I actually understand the approach to an extent, but the distance they've gone to degrade the user experience in the free version is so off-putting that I can't see them getting many sales of the paid version any more. It's a real shame.

I had the paid version before it all went south, so continue using it, but my wife has (had) the free version installed and it made my eyes bleed every time I tried to use it.

Since it is by far the best file manager I've tried (with excellent support for network drives and chromecast, very good native image viewer, and other features which I've not found elsewhere), I've continued using the paid version.

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What a flap: SIM swiped from slain stork's GPS tracker used to rack up $2,700 phone bill

AndyS

You're asking why a, presumably quite small, charity in Poland didn't have the same IT and security infrastructure in place as a commercial organisation that specialises in IT?

My guess - the £2,000 bill is the first time this has happened, and there is a step cost associated with the setup to avoid this situation. Which, being a small charity, the very few people there maybe didn't even consider.

If they handle this well, there is at least some chance that the bill will be refunded, especially as the telco could play it to the media as a charity contribution. They will also presumably now use locked-down sims, to prevent a repeat.

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Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

AndyS

Re: Similar experience in the USA

I had exactly the same experience while driving around the slums around LAX, trying desperately to refill my hire car before return.

Add in the meth-addicted "attendants" who are desperate to make the pump work (to get a "tip"), and are suitably reluctant to return your credit card until they get a cut. And the total lack of comprehension that there might be a place in the world that doesn't have Zip codes. And doesn't spend dollars. It really is a hell-hole of a country for visitors.

Still, they've found plenty of ways to make it worse since then. They hadn't even considered locking unnamed kids in cages in a desert concentration camp at that stage.

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AndyS

Once, while driving on a motorway in Eastern Europe, early in the morning on a Sunday, we came across a toll with no cash lane. Pre-paid smart card access only, and no staff. Having just been through Italy, we did the usual figure-of-eight-U-turn-somersault maneuver to try and get off the motorway. Our travelling companions, however, used a less subtle maneuver which involved reversing, quite hard, into the pole with the number plate recognition camera on it. Which promptly fell over.

Nothing ever came of it, luckily. From empirical evidence, therefore, it appears the easiest way to get out of paying motorway tolls is simply to smash the cameras. Italy sounds like the right country to test this hypothesis.

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Hot new application for blockchain: How does botnet control sound?

AndyS

Re: Something to be Terrified of and Terrorised by All Human Media Accounts/Programming Channels.

That's it. You've achieved sentience. Your comment made as much sense to me as the article.

(I have to believe you have gained sentience, because the alternative is obviously that I have lost it.)

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National ID cards might not mean much when up against incompetence of the UK Home Office

AndyS

How would ID cards prevent anything?

Introduction of an ID card would not have prevented the Windrush debacle, it would have forced it to happen sooner (presumably during enrolement in the scheme). I don't see any reason that the outcome wouldn't have been the same.

Sure, it might prevent any further ambiguities arising, but it would solve the existing, 40-50 year old ones in the same sledgehammer-meet-nut way as the current Home Office approach.

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User spent 20 minutes trying to move mouse cursor, without success

AndyS

Re: eeeww - gross

Relevant XKCD, as is tradition.

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Which? calls for compensation for users hit by Windows 10 woes

This post has been deleted by a moderator

First A380 flown in anger to be broken up for parts

AndyS

Re: Ilike the 380

> Still no fatal accidents or hull loss incidents

Not for lack of trying though. Qantas Flight 32 - damn. Wouldn't have liked to be on that one.

Kidding aside, it's got a very good record, and is a very comfortable plane to fly on.

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RoboCop-ter: Boffins build drone to pinpoint brutal thugs in crowds

AndyS

Colour me sceptical

This technology doesn't belong on a drone.

By the time a drone is qualified for police / military use, it is an expensive bit of kit, and will have at least a couple of operators monitoring it in real time. They will be much better at picking out suspicious behaviour than this AI.

This tech is interesting, but would be much more useful on fixed CCTV cameras, where it could be running 24/7 across thousands of cameras. The UK's city-wide camera systems, for example, could pick out fights outside bars automatically - that might actually be useful.

I suspect this is the new "on the internet" of patents. Do something interesting (novel analysis of a video stream)? OK, nice. Put it on a drone? Wow, where did all this cash come from?

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Facebook caught up in court battle with Amazon and pals over 'ageist job ads' that targeted young

AndyS

Re: An interesting idea...

> Potential employers/advertizers have an incentive to follow the rules because they should be interested in having a wide audience

That simply isn't true. If I run an minimum-wage sweatshop, and facebook are going to charge me £0.01 per person they show a recruitment advert too, then I'll get a much better bang for my buck if that advert is only shown to young, unemployed, relatively desperate people. If they start showing it to stable, middle income, 50+ year old parents, they'll be wasting my money.

Wide audience works well when the advert is a fixed cost per run (eg a billboard, or a newspaper advert). When it is a pay-per-view, then I want the narrowest audience possible.

Legislation exists to prevent this turning into discrimination. Facebook doesn't appear to be paying any heed to the legislation.

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Ex-staffer of UK.gov dept bags payout after boss blabbed medical info to colleagues

AndyS

> theres no context here

Yes there is. The apology, admission of guilt, and large settlement payment is the context.

The other context is the difference between "Bob has been off on a period of sick, and will begin a phased return next week" and "Bob has been suffering severe incontinence, but is improving with treatment, so please don't make him feel uncomfortable on his return next week."

The first gives everyone everything they need to know, and is a reasonably regular type of communication in any large company. The second may be well meaning, but is illegal, unethical, and leads to large settlements.

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AndyS

But it's presented as a situation where the boss was negligent or didn't care. I wonder which one it was. It would have been better journalism to have addressed that question....

Let's recap:

1. Man has illness, feels need to tell his boss, asks for strict confidentiality.

2. Boss blabs about it to 11 people while man is on holiday.

3. Employer apologises, pays compensation, reprimands manager.

Do you really need it spelled out?

Here it is then. The manager didn't need to tell all those people.

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Remember that $5,000 you spent on Tesla's Autopilot and then sued when it didn't deliver? We have good news...

AndyS

Re: Semi-autonomously =fail

> During which time the PIC thought he was doing the right thing by holding it in a stall, and the Captain recognised what was wrong about a minute after he entered the flight deck. They seem to have been addressing the problem correctly for about 1 1/2 minutes - which turned out to be too late to avoid the crash.

Slightly more complex than that. The Captain (and the senior 1st officer) very quickly assessed that they were in a stall, and with plenty of time to correct. He, and the senior 1st officer, believed they were addressing the problem, but the junior 1st officer was ignored / did not comprehend that they were stalling, and held it in a stall almost until it hit the water. Hence the confusion of the senior 1st officer, who could not comprehend why they had apparently lost control of the aircraft - he assessed the situation, reacted appropriately, but did not realise he was fighting his co-pilot.

The cause of the crash was that action, although the lack of awareness of that action from the other two pilots was a major contributing factor.

None of which is relevant to semi-self driving cars, in which the control is handed back to one person (who will individually fail to grasp the situation), rather than a team (who collectively fail to grasp the situation).

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America's comms watchdog takes on the internet era's real criminals: Pirate pastors

AndyS

Re: Playing with fire.

There was a case finished in California just last week - a few Christian bible study groups had been taking over the communal area at a retirement community four times a week to hold hundred-person-plus bible study and praise sessions. When their regular crowds made it impossible for anyone else to use the area, the homeowners association ordered them to desist. Christians sued, claiming that this order violated state non-discrimination law. Not only did the churches get the legal right to take over the communal area for their groups, they also won damages from the homeowner's association for infliction of emotional distress.

Were those hundred plus people mostly living in the retirement community? If so, I can't see anything wrong. If residents wish to use the communal spaces for communal activities, where is the problem?

If a significant number of attendees were from outside the community, of course, I could see why they would be asked to desist.

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It's hip to be Square: Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's other firm targets White Van Man

AndyS

Re: Startup finagling

That's hilarious. Talk about unscalable business practices.

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Can't pay Information Commissioner's fine? No problem! Just liquidate your firm

AndyS

The comment currently directly above (from Aqua Marina) explains why this might be higher than expected - that the ICO can prevent voluntary liquidations and call in an administrator to do a proper bankruptcy. Which would result in a) fines being paid (if the company has enough value / assets), and b) banning directors from starting another company in the near future.

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US websites block netizens in Europe: Why are they ghosting EU? It's not you, it's GDPR

AndyS

Pinterest

"...Pinterest... this week announced it would be unavailable for users in the EU "as it makes changes" in light of GDPR"

Oh please, please, pretty please?

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UK age-checking smut overlord won't be able to handle the pressure – critics

AndyS

Re: The Government* response?

The Daily Mail website also has more hypocrisy on show than a 1984 censor, but that's never bothered them before.

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North will remain North for now, say geo-magnetic boffins

AndyS

Re: Be prepared!

Exactly what I was going to comment.

Going on the current model, you could expect 200+ years of science deniers and populist idiots stating that "scientists don't agree" and "more research is required," followed by a completely avoidable, multi-generation catastrophe.

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UK consumer help bloke Martin Lewis is suing Facebook over fake ads

AndyS

Re: I hope he takes them to the cleaners

> They should either clean up their act and stop this from happening OR they are complicit on the fraud.

I suppose saying they are complicit in the fraud may be pushing it slightly, but they are certainly making money off it.

0
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How 'parasitic' Google's 'We're journalists!' court defence was stamped into oblivion

AndyS

Re: "get those taken down"

> It does in the US. We would do well to enshrine that in law too.

No, unrestrained and unrestricted freedom of speech does not exist in the US. The classic case is that Americans have no right to shout "Fire" in a crowded theatre, but there are many more restrictions, from grounds of National Security all the way down to various incitements.

Deciding what is, and what is not, allowed, is one of the core functions of Government. Using silly terms to try and demonise a government clarifying (or even making) law, in unclear cases, does nobody any favours.

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While Zuck squirmed, Reddit revealed it found and killed 944 Russian troll factory accounts

AndyS

Re: I don't believe it.

To some extent you're right, but the article was about Reddit saying they've identified and banned accounts such as this, mostly before the 2016 US election. Essentially framing it as a past, dealt-with problem. Clearly, in reality, it is an on going issue.

Separately, it may be true that combating extremism with truth is one tactic, but it's not the only one. In this case, these posts are not organic views from withing a country, open to reasonable debate. They are state-sponsored messages from a hostile country, aimed at sowing discontent and division. They are not open to debate or reason, and they are not "real" views. Banning them is the only reasonable approach. And although the one I linked to is crude and obvious, there are many who are better at it than this guy.

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AndyS

I don't believe it.

There are still, in every thread on any remotely contentious political topic, blatant Russian posts.

You know the sort. Like this one. Badly spelt, pro Russian propaganda.

That's not even getting into the aggressive, divisive nonsense spewed everywhere, sometimes supporting Trump, sometimes simply being racist.

I simply don't believe that this problem has been addressed. Maybe what they mean is that there were 944 accounts registered from the public IP addresses of the Russian government?

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No, Stephen Hawking's last paper didn't prove the existence of a multiverse

AndyS

Re: Yet again:

@ Voland's right hand

Not sure I understand what you mean. An example might make it clearer?

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AndyS

Re: Awesome

My problem with that (the concept of multiple universes), is an understanding of the word "universe."

Let's say there was another Big Bang. Wouldn't the products of both, by definition, be contained within the universe? We might need to come up with a new word, thought (star, galaxy, XXX, universe).

Of course, if both are expanding, then when the edges meet it could be fun. But there are already lots of high-energy, "fun" things happening in space.

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AndyS

Yet again:

Scientist: "We don't think X is likely."

Press: "Scientist proves X is possible!"

It's almost a cliche at this point.

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China to offer recoverable satellites-as-a-service

AndyS

> 1) We're running out of room

That's not an argument to make them recoverable, just to provide provision for a controlled suicide burn at end of life. Many larger sats do this already.

> 2) The chances of some random lump of metal landing on your head are increasing

Again, this isn't an argument for recoverable satellites. At best, it's an argument for a controlled suicide burn. But sats which are large enough to do damage can generally already do this. Micro-sats really don't need to - nothing will make it back through.

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AndyS

> About time that ALL satellites were made recoverable

Why?

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Sysadmin held a rack of servers off the ground for 15 mins, crashed ISP when he put them down

AndyS

tic-tacs have zero calories.

Nice. So, if a company is 'clever' enough, they could define a minimum outage period as that which is longer than the time to contact the help-desk and trouble-shoot the issue. They can then have as many outages as they like in a year, and still keep their official stat as 100% up-time.

Of course, only a cynic would suggest that out-sourcing the call centre to India, lowering the number of agents, and randomly dropping calls would lead to an increased allowable time...

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