* Posts by The Original Steve

512 posts • joined 24 Jun 2009

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How to stop Facebook and Apple taking over the mobile phone industry

The Original Steve
Joke

What will they think of next?

"...a platform for edge clouds that pushes cloud computing closer to devices themselves..."

That sounds amazing! Innovation at it's finest, what will they think of next?

Running clouds in actual offices in small rooms maybe? Who knows?

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New Horizons probe awakens to receive software upgrade

The Original Steve
Go

iLO

Let's hope they remember the iLO IP and credentials... Just in case!

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Homeland Security drops the hammer on Kaspersky Lab with preemptive ban

The Original Steve

Re: If they do review the source code?

I'm not saying it's easy or ideal, but it's entirely possible.

I'm not familiar with Kaspersky, but most AV's have the core product, the engine and definitions split out. Checksums for the base software matching what the DHS had from their compiled version is easy enough.

Depending on how often the engine updates, it's pretty easy to do the same. Could be as simple as a special version for us.gov, code reviewed where engine updates are done by updating from a us.gov update server, where Kaspersky ping the source for us.gov to compile. Release notes and code audit is possible, just means us.gov may have delays in the latest engine, but it's certainly possible.

Definition updates are much harder to review in a timely manner, but surely have the source for todays definitions that have been reviewed as a starting point, then when a definition updates, Kaspersky send us.gov the compiled new definition, plus source, plus change notes. Us.gov compiles and checks it matches the checksum of the public definitions, and if us.gov make the same changes that Kaspersky detail in the change record and it also matches you're certain you know the source / compiled / public releases are all the same and you know it's all clean.

That plus ad-hoc full audits would probably do it.

I'm sure that's a very crude, inefficient and basic suggestion as I'm an infrastructure guy, not a developer. But if I can come up with the above - albeit crap - solution where I'm far from qualified to come up with anything, then I'm sure the brightest and best developers in Russia and US can come up with something solid. I dare say that the development inclined pros reading El Reg can come up with a proper solution in a matter of minutes.

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Apple’s facial recognition: Well, it is more secure for the, er, sleeping user

The Original Steve

My 2 - 3 year old Lumia 950 XL (stop laughing at the back!) has Qi and face unlock.

Sammy nailed edge screens a couple of years ago.

So what's new other than wanky emojis?

And £1000! A fool and their money.. .

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Another reason to hate Excel: its Macros can help pivot attacks

The Original Steve

Appreciate this isn't great, but running without a firewall and with local admin is kind of asking for trouble these days.

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Nokia's comeback is on: The flagship 8 emerges

The Original Steve

Re: No wireless charging? No sale.

I was in total agreement with wireless charging...

Right up until my Lumia 950 XL had a USB-C port. As it can go in any way round you want, and it has fast charging I no longer bother with wireless charging.

To be fair, if I still had my previous car (where I refused to pay > £500 for inbuilt Sat Nav) then I would still need to use a holder in the car to show my phone's display for it's Sat Nav.... my holder did wireless charging which was amazing in the car and something I'd still demand if the current car didn't already have Sat Nav built in.

The advent of fast charging where wireless charging is still a trickle plus having the ability to insert a USB-C cable in without looking at the port has me thinking that wireless charging may end up similar to 3D TV - not a bad idea but the world has moved on.

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NotPetya ransomware attack cost us $300m – shipping giant Maersk

The Original Steve
Mushroom

Re: Easy to mitigate

"Did you forget: -Get rid of Windows?"

Did you forget - they need to be able to do work from these computers... ;)

18
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Horsemen of the disk-drive apocalypse will ride upon 256TB SSDs

The Original Steve

Storage tiers

I agree, but the cost for capacity SSD's are too high for SME's like us and our clients.

However using 3.5" 7200 RPM 2Tb - 4Tb drives for capacity and some decent enterprise SSD's to sit as a write cache have turned some spare Dell 730xd's into a 2 node hyperconverged SAN with performance that literally kicks the shit out of our HP Lefthand P4500 SAN which uses 15k RPM drives if memory serves.

(Literally some 730xd's, 10Gig NIC's with RDMA and Windows Server 2016 using their Storage Spaces Direct software SAN thing. It's actually incredible)

Cost 1/3 of the price for twice the performance.

Another few years when SSD will be the capacity and if you need faster you can use NVMe as the cache will be the end of spinning rust in my opinion. Certainly at scale and for new deployments.

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The Original Steve

Re: SSD is fine - while it works

I respectfully disagree.

If you're only backing up when you think your HDD is about to pack it in, then the data isn't worth backing up in the first place.

Whilst you are right that often a HDD can show signs it's on it's way out, it's far from a certain method. The analogy strikes me that I have a burglar alarm which should tell me if I'm about to be robbed, but I'd still make sure I had contents insurance regardless.

If your data is worth backing up at all, it's worth backing up regularly, regardless if you have a shiny new HDD, a mid-life SSD or if you hear noises from your old HDD. The media used shouldn't make a difference to your backup strategy.

And with the cost per gig dropping like a stone for consumer capacity drives unless you need whopping amounts of space it just makes more sense to use SSD's for anything under 500Gb these days.

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Britons ambivalent about driverless car tech, survey finds

The Original Steve

Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Oh I don't know, I've always insisted on manual transmission, but took a BMW with their wizz-bang / charge the earth "sports" gearbox and it blew me away.

I brought the car and whilst I can drop it into flappy paddle mode or use the center console stick to go ma ual I never do.

The dual turbos gets around the tradition lag on kickdowns and the sat nav is integrated with the gearbox too so incline / decline and corners are taken into account, as well as the driving mode too.

Certainly changed my mind. YMMV.

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Skype for Business is not Skype – realising that is half the battle

The Original Steve

Re: Skype for business is pretty sad

I have plenty of gripes about SfB as a fully telephony product ( see my previous comment / we use it as our phone system and I've put in place for many clients over the years), but nearly all of your points are about the headsets and hardware, not the application itself. Points 2, 3, 4 and 5 are crazy hardware which has nothing to do with the phone system itself.

Try Jabra headsets - great selection to fit your needs and certainly the ones we use have excellent call quality, range, LED status for battery and status and the noise cancellation is great in our open plan office.

Tweaking networking for decent quality is the same as any other VoIP system. Whilst we and my clients (one with over 3000 users) don't use / need QoS, I've had to use it for ShoreTel, Nortel and Cisco VoIP deployments. SfB uses G.711 by default from memory - it's industry standard and is NOT a SfB codec. My point is you'd have the same issues regardless of system used.

Having ALL conversations - IM, voice, conferences etc - stashed in a dedicated folder in Outlook, allowing access from OWA, any ActiveSync client as well as Outlook itself is actually something I think is a great feature. I know it seems backwards as first glance but remember this is a UNIFIED COMMS product. Means you have all the benefits of Exchange when dealing with your phone and IM records. So you can use Outlook searching to see your communications to someone regardless of medium used, admins can use Legal Hold and eDiscovery, you have a single address book and can raise conferences as simply as creating a normal meeting in Outlook.

I can't disagree with your points 1 and 7 - the UI leaves a lot to be desired. And SfB has lots of other issues too which we haven't touched on, but the rest of your points aren't - IMHO - really SfB specific issues.

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The Original Steve

WHY!

I liked Lync as a PBX replacement and UC system for business.

Skype wasn't bad either for free consumer stuff.

If there was great integration, a similar UI and people could move from Skype for Skype for Business then I could understand the re-brand. But Just rebranding Lync to SfB is mental considering how different SfB is from Skype.

Had some very small business clients of mine move to O365 and I pointed them to SfB. Every single one has stuck with consumer Skype as the learning curve from Skype to SfB is just too high for what they want.

Should have kept it as Lync which has some limited Skype integration IMHO.

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Got a Windows Phone 8 mobe? It's now officially obsolete. Here's why...

The Original Steve

Shame but predictable

I used to recommend Windows Phone to friends and family who want the basic features of a modern smartphone but without the complexity of Android or the cost of iOS.

Shame as I genuinely thought it was a really rather good mobile platform. Shame the app store never took off.

At least Android has become easier to use over the last few years.

Was still holding onto my 950 XL with WM10 but once that packs in I'm going to have to face reality. Sad times.

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Microsoft's cunning plan to make Bing the leading search engine: Bribery

The Original Steve

Only person

Swear I'm literally the sole user of Bing. I honestly quite like it. Must do 95% Bing, 5% Google.

One perk is that the rest of my team naturally all use Google exclusively, so when we're all "Googling" an error message or symptom of a Major Incident I'll often have at least something different, and sometimes more accurate than everyone else.

Diversity and choice is a good thing, particularly now Bing doesn't totally suck compared to Google,

5
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How good are selfies these days? Good enough to fool Samsung Galaxy S8 biometrics

The Original Steve

Windows Hello

My understanding is that Microsoft's "Windows Hello" (what a crap name) does a combo of iris and facial recognition. The phones suck as they can only do iris recognition so I'd imagine have the same problems as reported in this article, however the version used on their Surface range is not only significantly faster and more accurate than their mobile efforts, I don't believe it's been tricked / hacked / spoofed yet into unlocking a device without the owner being present.

I believe that the PC version of Windows Hello builds a 3D model of your face which it uses along with an iris scan. Due to the width restrictions of modern phones it's not possible to have an array of three cameras (one infrared plus two for the 3D face scan) thus crap on phones but excellent on laptops.

Personally I'm sticking to a 6 digit PIN on my phone and Windows Hello on my Surface.

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Kill Google AMP before it KILLS the web

The Original Steve

Re: "But was this a story about a driving licence or visa application type copy cat site?

You're still protected under the distant selling act and debit card chargeback. If they haven't honoured the contract by failing to deliver then contact your bank who issued the debit card and ask for a chargeback due to fraud.

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CLL Countdown: Doors open in 11 days, places limited

The Original Steve

Come on El Reg

Haven't you realised nobody cares?

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Less than four weeks till DevOps' finest assemble in London

The Original Steve

The penny finally drops.

Kept wondering why El Reg keeps pushing this hipster-like fad when clearly the readership and commentards couldn't give a toss.

Appears El Reg have some kind of mid/long-term sponsorship deal.

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LinkedIn U-turns on Bluetooth-enabled 'Tinder for marketers'

The Original Steve

Re: The drop was temporary

I regularly used this very reason as a means to explain why don't mind the lack of apps of Windows Mobile 10. Other than banking, maps, Plex and RadioPlayer I just pin web sites to my start screen and use that rather than the 'app', even if WM has an app. 9/10 it's faster, has all the features and less privacy invasion.

Yet it's the lack of apps that people say put them off WM...

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That apple.com link you clicked on? Yeah, it's actually Russian

The Original Steve

Edge

Shows the real address in Edge on W10.

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Samsung Galaxy S8: Slimmer bezels, a desktop mode – and yet another me-too AI pal

The Original Steve

Nice

Been using WM for the last few years and reluctantly have accepted it's game over so looking for a non- Apple device soon...

Shame it has yet another AI and no physical camera button. Also the camera still doesn't look like it can touch the high end Lumias like my 950 XL. Although they get points for a microSD slot. Is the battery removable?

But the price is very steep...

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Google mass logout riddle deepens: OAuth token fumble blamed

The Original Steve

Re: OAuth vs Kerberos

Thank you for the high level explanation.

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The Original Steve

I'm a Infrastructure guy rather than a dev, but have come across OAuth for hybrid Microsoft stuff and SfB / Exchange integration. Seemed easy enough to make it work.

At a very high level, for someone who's an admin rather than a dev, is OAuth comparable to a sort of web-friendly Kerberos? Tickets/tokens shared rather than credentials?

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AWS's S3 outage was so bad Amazon couldn't get into its own dashboard to warn the world

The Original Steve

It's been a few years since I had / used my Logitech Harmony remote, but back then the tool to configure the remote is online as you say. However, who is changing macros on their remote on a daily basis? Once it's setup you normally only need to change the config when adding a new device.

Agree with the overall sentiment, but as the Harmony remotes rely on an enormous database of known devices it sort of makes sense for it to be online. (As the database gets updated daily)

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Oh UK. You won't switch mobile providers. And now look at you! £5.8bn you've lost

The Original Steve

Never needed too

If your main / only gripe is price then you threaten to leave unless they match what you've seen / discounted the price etc. Most people I know have started to leave due to price hikes / cheaper elsewhere only for their current provided to match the price or even better it.

Those people (myself included) will be included in these stats (been with Orange / EE over a decade) yet I'm making the same savings that these guys are saying is only possible by switching.

Agree with the principle that signing up and never switching or threatening to leave will cost you, but most of the time retentions / cancellations will drop the price to keep you.

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Despite the spiel, we're still some decades from true anti-malware AI

The Original Steve

Sophos

Noticed Sophos have some anti-malware / anti-cryptolocker product, think it was called InterceptX. Asked one of their bods at IP Expo last year the question "shouldn't your AV product we already pay for do this?".

I didn't get a proper answer...

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Citrix looks like it has escaped 'not dead yet' status

The Original Steve

The last 5 - 10 years Microsoft have made Windows RemoteApp a viable, cheaper alternative to Citrix which my firm and my clients have happily embraced.

What's with the u-turn? The value of Windows, IMHO is the raft of easy to deploy, integrated technologies that come with. AD, RemoteApp, Group Policy, Hyper-V, WDS etc.

Going backwards is a silly move IMHO.

1
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National Audit Office: UK's military is buying more than it can afford

The Original Steve

Silly question...

I'm sure this must be a silly question, just as it's often mentioned as a throwaway sentence in many articles, but I need to ask it anyway:

When I buy things, both personally and in the jobs and places I've worked, I know how much the thing I'm buying is going to cost. This includes services and made to order / bespoke items and even long term arrangements / contracts.

So why does our military and government buy things at "estimated" prices and then end up paying such vast sums in addition? Surely there are suppliers who would do it at fixed prices?

Genuinely curious as the reason it always seems to happen and the cost is always to the customer - us

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China's Great Firewall to crack down on unofficial VPNs – state-approved net connections only

The Original Steve

SSL

Genuinely curious as to what is stopping someone renting a VPS with an SSL VPN on it that's hosted outside Middle Kingdom? How would it be any different than a visitor from abroad using their corporate Juniper SSL VPN or DirectAccess tunnel?

1
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Stallman's Free Software Foundation says we need a free phone OS

The Original Steve

Re: Sadly yes

Windows Mobile 10 is free believe it or not!

1
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Sysadmin chatbots: We have the technology

The Original Steve

Bollocks

Seriously, some people have far too much free time on their hands.

If you have the automation and orchestration layers as needed for this to work, then all of the examples could be one using bugger all commands anyway.

Plus a degree of complexity in administering complex systems is a good thing - helps to keep the idiots that only know how to do something, rather than the pro who knows how something works, out.

2
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Qumulo goes to La La Land, speeds up dreamboat Ryan Gosling

The Original Steve

The performance of SMB with RDMA is mighty impressive in newer Windows releases. Considerably faster than 10GB iSCSI at any rate.

0
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2016 – the year 3D XPoint came down to earth from Planet Hype

The Original Steve

Windows?

Surprised Server 2016 Storage Spaces Direct didn't get a mention.

0
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Evolved DNSChanger malware slings evil ads at PCs, hijacks routers

The Original Steve

Re: Best protection ?

Flash can be disabled in IE and Edge

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The Original Steve

DNS or DHCP?

So is this changing the DNS server IPs handed out via the routers in built DHCP? Or is it poisoning the DNS server built into the router? Or - and I guess more likely - is the virus modifying the DNS server forwarders on the routers DNS server?

For my sins I use a Windows DNS and DHCP server at home (I know - I'm a sadist) but curious if I could be impacted by having one of my DNS forwards set to the home router..?

0
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British banks chuck smartphone apps out of Windows

The Original Steve

Shame

I'm really happy with my Lumia 950 XL. Few apps I need are there (Barclays, Audible, Tado, Plex, SfB etc).

But I'm a business focused user, I have no desire for SnapChat or Tinder so wouldn't advocate it for the under 30's / blue collar guys.

If MS got their shit together with SfB and their enterprise clients on it they could revive it via marketing alongside O365. Would be marketed as a business focused device as the best client for O355 users perhaps...

Plus was a bonus that after losing mine a day before a holiday, I nipped into a EE shop and after parting with £90 and signing in I had everything back on a 650. Try doing that with an iPhone for the same money with a days notice!

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3

Living with the Pixel XL – Google's attempt at a high-end phone

The Original Steve
WTF?

Come on El Reg..

.Is this really acceptable?:

"The cutest feature of this code is..."

0
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Desktop budget wrangles: Whose device is it anyway?

The Original Steve

Re: In research...

@TRT

I could not disagree with you more.

3
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Yahoo! halts! email! forwarding! to! outside! email! addresses!

The Original Steve

Only push, not pull?

I know when I've moved my own as well as others, most modern mail platforms will "pull" content in via IMAP or POP3 from the old platform to the new shiny.

At least Outlook.com and GMail allow this. I'm assuming Yahoo! haven't disabled POP3 access - which means that people can still move off their ghastly email system to something marginally better.

Fuckers regardless though.

6
0

Security bod to MSFT: PowerShell's admin-lite scheme is an open door

The Original Steve

Explaination?

I'm a bit puzzled by the first example.

First I've heard of JEA, so probably a lack of understanding on my part...

But - it sounds a little like the PowerShell environment is locked down to a subset of "approved" cmdlets...? Is that right? If so, then if you delegate access to the "Add-Computer" cmdlet, I don't see how it's a security flaw / bug if the delegated admin attempt to connect the machine to a different domain which has a different set of GPO's applied to it. In that scenario you'd need a malicious DNS and network access to the bad domain so the machine can connect to it.

Is my understanding correct, or have I missed something important and probably obvious? :)

If I am getting it, then I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that it's a big security issue. IMHO of course!

2
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Breaking compression, one year at a time

The Original Steve

@ J. Cook

To be fair to Microsoft, I don't think their general purpose x86 server OS is trying to take on NetApp SAN's that costs 10x the price of a Windows solution.

I've had mainly good stories to tell when using Windows Storage Spaces, Scale Out File Servers, Continuously Available File Shares and DFS-R; plus the new deduplication and tiered storage features in R2.

BUT - I'm using those for small and medium sized deployments. Using a couple of JBOD shelves with two HBA's plumbed into two 2012 R2 Scale Out File Servers works really rather well as a storage pool for about 80-odd VM's.

4 x Hyper-V hosts connecting to the scale out file servers with SMB (rather than iSCSI!) over 10Gbps is running surprisingly well (in production use for nearly 8 months now).

In truth, I would suspect that a decent NetApp, EMC or HPE array would kick the crap out of it in terms of resilience, features and probably performance too. However we got change from £14k for the storage side of things (shelves, drives, HBA's and two servers). Adding another zero for traditional "enterprise" storage just couldn't be justified.

Biggest weakness with using Windows 2012 R2 as a storage backend is - as you rightly point out - SAN grade replication. Should I want to remove the JBOD shelf as the sole SPOF Microsoft don't really have a decent answer as far as I can make out.

But for nearly 10x less cost I think it's a little unfair to complain of the lack of feature parity to NetApp, HPE and EMC really.

P.S. I'd suggest looking into CAFS and possibly DFS-R in your scenario. Good luck!

0
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Microsoft disbands Band band – and there'll be no version 3

The Original Steve

One of the best features was the band worked on iOS, Android and WinPho.

8
0

BA check-in system checks out: Staff flung back to cruel '90s world of paper

The Original Steve

Re: BA FLY Software

In this particular instance the printer is USB attached. Also the issue occurs when we use site-to-site as well as a client-to-site VPN. Fraid it's not routing - it's just that the way the application tries to print is essentially, shite.

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The Original Steve

BA FLY Software

I can vouch for BA FLY being a total piece of shit. I didn't realise this is a "new" application until today's issues.

I work for a small MSP, where one of our client s a private executive charter European airline. (Think footballers, Princes etc.). Have been looking into complaints from their Cambridge FBO (mini-terminal for VIPs') where nobody can print from BA FLY to any of the standard, networked HP LaserJets.

This software requires a VPN to work and has no native ability to print to Windows printers. At all. Apparently, after 4 months of talking to "BA IT Support" (in India) we need to install some 3rd party "CUPPS" software that acts as some abstraction layer between BA FLY and the Windows Printer Subsystem.... Because it's not like Windows has an API for that sort of thing...

After months of complaining on behalf of my client, it still doesn't sodding work. Latest is that when you do print from BA FLY the job is sent to the spooler and printer queue, but just errors out. The best bit is that their "new" software sends the print jobs as SYSTEM - not as the user who is attempting the print. Now as these jobs never print, the queue gets blocked up for all other users attempting to print from exotic applications like Word and Chrome....

What do you think happens when a standard, non-admin user attempts to cancel a print job that was created by SYSTEM....? Yeah - we have a bunch of happy users! Who the hell writes software like that?!

You know it's excellent software when the "new" printer BA sent us to print off the boarding passes consisted of:

Boarding pass thermal printer with RJ-45 connector -> RJ-45 to RS-232 adapter -> RS-232 adapter to USB -> USB to desktop for check-in.

Just wow...

I can only imagine how much of a joy this new BA FLY software must be to use just by the excellent state of their integration with windows printing and cabling to thermal printers...

Sure outsourcing is totally irrelevant to the quality issues. Must be.

22
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Samsung intros super-speedy consumer SSDs, 'fastest M.2s ever'

The Original Steve

Scary

Thinking back just a few years ago.... A consumer drive today has higher IOPS than entire shelf's of disks in an enterprise SAN costing £60k.

Can't even imagine what an array with these in could run. Incredible stuff really.

4
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Electrical box fault blamed for GS2 data centre outage

The Original Steve

I don't understand

Do Claranet and their clients not have UPS's in the racks? Few ms shouldn't cause service down.

1
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Biz phones 'n' broadband bods Gamma suffer a network TITSUP

The Original Steve

Looks like they've fixed it at last. We have some very unhappy clients - even those with a HA cluster of SBC's at Gamma's end were impacted!

0
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Microsoft promises free terrible coffee every month you use Edge

The Original Steve

@franwick

"Edge is not a universal app. Yes, it is on all Win10 devices, but it's part of the OS install itself, not a UWP."

You have been misinformed. Edge is a universal / UWP app. It's just not updated or listed in the store.

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The Original Steve

Re: outlook.com is fine

Total, utter bollocks.

The search in Outlook and Gmail are both very good. Nothing between them.

Drafts are saved in Exchange, so I can start on a desktop and finish on my mobile.

You're confusing a company buying something and them using it at scale. A large college we support has 2 Chromebooks, but over 10,000 students. Your comment would include them, but 98% of their estate is traditional Windows and they aren't looking further at Chromebooks. Another large company we support flirted heavily with Google, pitching them against MS. Created a few accounts with GAFE etc. Opted to stay with on premise Exchange but got MS to toss them free O365 for hybrid stuff. Again your "figures" would included these as people buying and moving towards Google, but that's a spurious claim at best.

Like saying "over 80% of businesses have deployed Windows 10". Maybe factually correct, but all that means is 80% of businesses have deployed ONE copy of W10 for testing only to decide it's shite.

At best your information is severely outdated or you're simply talking nonsense. The last two versions of Exchange/Outlook stored drafts server side rather than client side, the last three versions (at least) do server side indexing and searching. Suggest you push your employers to invest in more modern versions of Exchange, or compare like-for-like by comparing Gmail (cloud service) with Office 365 (cloud service). Both have excellent search, server-side drafts, integration with various cloud storage providers etc. Biggest difference is around scanning the content of your emails and the user interface. Oh, and Google do that weird "Inbox" feature, although I personally don't like it.

Source - 16 years working for enterprise and education sectors directly or via a MSP deploying Exchange and O365 whilst comparing and competing with Google's offerings.

0
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Tim Cook's answer to crashing iPhone sales: More iPhones

The Original Steve

Re: Suggestion

Have you considered a smartphone from a different manufacturer.. maybe?

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