* Posts by theblackhand

604 posts • joined 1 Oct 2009

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Intel redesigns flawed Atom CPUs to stave off premature chip death

theblackhand
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Re: Out of Warranty

Not sure Intel will get out of it that easily...

Most of the vendors have longer support warrenty programs for enterprise gear so HAVE to replace faulty equipment. i.e. Cisco set aside US$125million for "product replacement" (http://www.crn.com/news/networking/300083778/cisco-cfo-doesnt-anticipate-any-massive-revenue-impact-from-faulty-clock-components-company-sets-aside-125m-for-product-replacements.htm)

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Controlled remote access reviews of Optane SSD give qualified yes

theblackhand
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Re: Hmmm

While I have no doubt that there are some uses for Optane, the challange is do I get the best value out of Optane at 10x the price of an equivalent SSD or am I better off with a combination of a larger SSD/multiple SSD's and more physical memory to cache the IO as a midpoint in cost?

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IBM SoftLayer plays hardball in object storage price cuts

theblackhand
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Hmmm

Reads like "IBM joins the public cloud party late, doesn't do much for a while, so cuts prices and egts an analyst to write a paper on storage prices for some publicity".

Or am I just cynical?

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AWS v Oracle: Mark Hurd schooled on how to run a public cloud that people actually use

theblackhand
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Re: "I’m proud to say that AWS hasn’t had a regional failure in recent history"

Wouldn't a regional failure require all DC's in the region to fail before the region is considered as failed?

Yes, AWS have had failures of individual DC's but part of Mr Hamiltons argument against Oracle cloud was that relying on a single DC would always (given enough time) result in some event that leads to a failure which is why AWS aims to provide 2+1 DC's per region.

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Cloud computing is bigger than AWS and Azure

theblackhand
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Re:cloud computing

I disagree that "cloud computing" is a meaningless buzzword.

While hosting can be handled internally and externally, the major difference between hosting externally (either as a managed data centre or a fully managed service), the difference is around scalability with cloud services.

Cloud computing gives you the ability to stand up or shutdown servers/infrastructure with minimal cost penalty and with minimal leadtime - something that you tend not to be able to do in traditional hosting (or if you can, the scale is extremely limited in my experience).

The seperate question is whether you can benefit from adding/removing capacity on-demand to reduce your overall costs. Cloud computing MIGHT provide the cheapest solution in some instances, but well managed in-house/third party data centres/third party managed services may provide more cost (or business) effective solutions.

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Apple fans, Android world scramble to patch Broadcom's nasty drive-by Wi-Fi security hole

theblackhand
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Open source ARM drivers

Broadcom like the closed source driver model - no need for maintenance releases that most manufacturers would release anyway and it provides a reason for next years latest and greatest hardware which is almost the same as the old hardware but with slightly better drivers...

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Core Blimey! Azure moving from physical to virtual cores

theblackhand
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Rumours

There were rumours that early batches of Intels latest and greatest Xeons were being sucked up by a cloud provider in spite of some bugs that stopped mainstream release.

Maybe they weren't rumours after all...

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WONTFIX: No patch for Windows Server 2003 IIS critical bug – Microsoft

theblackhand
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Re: re: I think you'll find that's what we do :-)

Is bashing Windows 2003 really MS bashing at this time though? It went end-of-life 2 years ago and arguably anything relying on WebDAV should have been replaced once or twice in that 14+ year period to address existing security issues...

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Capacity shortage hits AWS UK micro instances

theblackhand
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* cough * Equinix....

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Scott McNealy: Your data is safer with marketers than governments

theblackhand
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"You're better off with your data in the hands of a marketer than a government"

While he is correct, my concerns about the government using data are based on the abuses that marketers already carry out.

How about if there was an option C where marketers and government didn't collect unnecessary data in the first place. Or exchange it between different parts of the organisations to create something even worse...

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Most of 2016's holes had fixes the day we knew about 'em. Did we patch? Did we @£$%

theblackhand
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Re: Three out of Four Adobe Reader users don't patch?

Surely today's patched Adobe Reader is tomorrow's security flaw so the statistic should be 100% of Adobe Reader users are vulnerable...

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Seagate plays disk cricket with a 12TB Enterprise Capacity drive spinner

theblackhand
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Missing the important question...

How many of these do I have to use before my data centre floats away?

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Police Scotland and Accenture were at odds over ill-fated IT project i6

theblackhand
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But but but...

They only lost a few ten's of millions of pounds in the process and it was resolved in a few years.

Given the history of government and public sector contracts, that is progress as normally they would replace the project teams three or four times before admitting that nobody really wanted to do this in the first place...

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AMD does an Italian job on Intel, unveils 32-core, 64-thread 'Naples' CPU

theblackhand
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Re: Multicore Performance Improvement for the PC ?

In a standalone server/PC, probably not unless you take special cases such as high load web servers or other tasks that are well threaded.

From a server standpoint, it's more capacity to spin up either more or bigger VM's on a single server to use al those cores. Or stick to cheaper 2 socket platforms instead of moving to 4 sockets.

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theblackhand
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Re: Competition is good & Ryzen looks great

AMD looks to have provided decent performance across the board with Ryzen which should put some pressure on Intel prices.

Happier times given the value of the pound etc...

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Trump, Brexit, and Cambridge Analytica – not quite the dystopia you're looking for

theblackhand
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Re: In the original Foundation trilogy

"What this means for democracy (regardless of what the dear professor with the lunatic opinion says) is that democracy is now purely a matter of money."

But didn't the campaigns that spent significantly less money win in both Brexit and the US Presidential election? While the help may have been donated, Trump spent around US$240m vs Clinton on US$450m (http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/09/trump-spent-about-half-of-what-clinton-did-on-his-way-to-the-presidency.html)

The spend for Brexit was around £16.4m for leavers vs £15.1m for remain (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-latest-news-investigation-eu-referendum-vote-leave-britain-stronger-in-europe-campaigns-a7596981.html) and the official campaigns spending £7m each. I would argue that remains platform (i.e. the majority of politicians supporting remain and getting media coverage as the incumbent), the campaigning before the official start by the government (£9m spent on leaflets to every UK household) and the split between the two leave campaigns may alter the effective spending of each side in favour of remain.

Based on buying an election - if you can do it with a few million pounds of spending but can't do it with US$200m, then I think the jury is still out on the ability to buy a result.

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Aah, all is well in the world. So peaceful, so– wait, where's the 2FA on IoT apps? Oh my gawd

theblackhand
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Re: Goolge can't even get their subsidiary use their own 2FA tools

While you bring up many valid concerns around using mobiles for 2FA, the real issue for IoT devices isn't whether they use 2FA.

It's the builtin accounts that aren't publicly known (yet) or the "maintenance" access with password access.

Where the password is "changeme" or "Password"....

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Did your in-flight entertainment widget suck? It's Panasonic's fault, claims software biz

theblackhand
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You didn't realise that the clicking was supposed to keep you occupied for the entire flight? Were you expecting something that was worth watching on the IFE?

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Tuesday's AWS S3-izure exposes Amazon-sized internet bottleneck

theblackhand
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Re: Have we heard the full story?

From the various things I have seen so far, the issue appears to be related to the scale of the US-EAST-1 availability zone - it's AWS's biggest. My guess is that's because of the size of the East coast business but suprised more companies haven't moved to US-EAST-2. Reddit commentards have noted that most of the AWS issues in recent years have centred around US-EAST-1.

The problem appears to have been triggered by a network issues and resulted in one of the North Virginia DCs basically going offline. The migration of workloads to the other two DC's within the availability zone then resulted in "high error rates" which I guess is overloading of network links or storage bandwidth to complete the migrations. If there were any other issues that compounded the problem (i.e. maintenance or faults/outages on inter-DC connections) then it may be a case of "n+1 or more links isn't sufficient to cope with the potential issues we see".

The post-mortem is due on Monday - should be an interesting read.

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IBM UK: Oh, remote workers. We want to be colocated with you again

theblackhand
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"highly available" - ensuring that you only shoot yourself in one foot at a time. Be patient, you can shoot yourself in the other foot next year....

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Google Chrome 56's crypto tweak 'borked thousands of computers' using Blue Coat security

theblackhand
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Re: "That these products broke is an indication of defects in their TLS implementations,"

While it may have been Googles fault for releasing a browser utilising that latest TLS release, Blue Coats ability to trip up over almost every SSL/TLS change in recent years suggests they are desperately clinging to old, flawed methods of handling SSL/TLS that keep hurting their customers.

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'First ever' SHA-1 hash collision calculated. All it took were five clever brains... and 6,610 years of processor time

theblackhand
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Re: 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 sha1 calculations

Re: "While true, the likelihood of doing this AND getting a collision is highly improbable"

Aslong as you can pad the document in addition to making required changes AND making a change results in a financial advantage for you of more thanUS$130,000, I would be reluctant to call this highly improbable.

Based on previous hashes, the discovery of collisions has lead to more weaknesses being found, and usually large collision spaces within a hash function that need to be avoided.. What costs ~US$130,000 today will likely cost less than US$10,000 within 5 year.

Does it mean we have to throw away existing SHA-1 hashes? Probably not unless the financial incentive to attack them exists.

Does it mean we need to start patching SHA-1 hash functions to address discovered weaknesses deploying SHA-2 and later hash functions now for verifying important documents or software versions? Definitely - mainly because if we don't it just doesn't happen * stares at MD5 hashes *

Someone mentioned financial websites - all current browsers already require SHA-2 hash functions on certificates since January 2017. The only real exception I am aware of is old and cruddy Java 7 (or earlier) apps that refuse to upgrade or to die.

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Different judge, different verdict? Diageo's £54m SAP legal slap could have gone another way

theblackhand
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Re: Nice to see Companies / Corporations....

In defence of Guiness pricing, the brewery doesn't get a lot - around 12% by the looks of it...

http://ale.gd/blog/2014/05/who-gets-how-much-of-your-beer/

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Java and Python have unpatched firewall-crossing FTP SNAFU

theblackhand
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Re: Classic mode FTP

Regarding SFTP, it doesn't have the control+data connection issue that FTP has, so you are correct in that it doesn't have the same compromise.

And yes, sending authentication credentials/data in plaintext via FTP when there are perfectly good alternatives that provide secure transfers isn't very wise and I'm sure auditors would love to know about it...

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theblackhand
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Classic mode FTP

One of the linked articles suggests most firewalls permit classic FTP by default. In my experience, almost no firewalls allow classic FTP through without additional rules to allow the dynamic port range and require the use of passive FTP. Classic FTP is known to be vulnerable to this type of client attack which is why firewalls force applications to use passive mode.

In addition, getting an FTP server to connect to a port less than 1023 for SMTP access shouldn't be permitted on any FTP server less than 20 years old - that was known to be a bad idea even on internal networks.

I.e. Is this an actual vulnerability or a demonstration that a poorly configured firewall doesn't protect a FTP server that could be poorly configured to allow access to other applications? A well configured firewall would only permit access to tcp/21 and restrict access from the untrusted side to the trusted side by default resulting in active connections being dropped when they attempt to establish a new connection inbound on an unknown port.

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New Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters can't transmit vital data

theblackhand
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Re: It's just RN's implementation...

And the ability to add additional USB sticks makes bandwidth upgrades a piece of cake. A quick trip to Maplins can increase bandwidth by ten- or even one hundred-fold

Bet you can't do that with your fancy in-flight data links....

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Remote unauthenticated OS re-install is a feature, not a bug, says Cisco

theblackhand
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As you say, it basically is TFTP - the SmartInstall is just marketing dribble for allowing a switch to be connected to a suitable device (either another SmartInstall-capable Cisco switch or Cisco router) and detect the model/software version to deploy similar to the process for Cisco IP phones before that was deemed a security issue and IP phones allowed the use of encryption/certificates to improve security....

From what I can tell, the SmartInstall code only works if there is no config on the device, so it needs to either be exploited when the switch is first installed or someone needs to connect to the switch (using credentials that force a change during the initial install) and delete the config/reload the switch - if you can do that, you don't need SmartInstall to change the switch config.

Is this going to be the next IoT security disaster? Nope....

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Big blues: IBM's remote-worker crackdown is company-wide, including its engineers

theblackhand
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Re: Sure, get rif of the older, more expensive workers

IBM are one step ahead of you...

They've alread got rid of most of the experienced people that have a clue in 10+ years of resource actions.

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theblackhand
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Re: So IBM has come to the same conclusion that I did about ten years ago.

Maybe IBM could make things work in the past - now they're more interested in giving the task to someone cheaper in the hope that things might work in the short term and that the customers will pay them to not break things (i.e do nothing at all with no people) in the long term.

Still, they can always bask in the glory of what they did 15+ yeas ago right? Oh - and Watson...

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This many standards is dumb: Decoding 25Gb Ethernet and beyond

theblackhand
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Re: Supply and demand

From http://www.datacenterdynamics.com/content-tracks/colo-cloud/aws-how-to-manage-mega-growth/97431.fullarticle

"A few years back, AWS made the decision to go with 25Gbps Ethernet (25GbE) at a time when the industry was moving towards 10GbE and 40GbE. Hamilton said 40GbE is essentially four lanes of 10GbE, while 25GbE future-proofed the AWS network, allowing a switch to 50GbE (2x 25GbE) which would deliver more bandwidth at lower complexity.

To drive this network, AWS now makes its own custom silicon for server network interface cards (NICs) thanks to its acquisition of Israel-based chipmaker Annapurna for $350m last year.

The new Amazon Annapurna ASIC supports 25GbE, and will enable even faster innovation, as it gives the cloud giant control over both software and hardware down to the silicon level, Hamilton said: “Every server we deploy has at least one of these in it.”"

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theblackhand
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Re: Whenever I see stuff like this I think.

2AM was the best time to find faulty token ring hardware...

* click *

* click *

* click *

* click *

.....

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theblackhand
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Supply and demand

Once upon a time...

The vendors supplied 40Gbps and there was little demand.

The cloud providers demanded 25Gbps and started building lots of servers with 25Gbps links and using 25Gbps top-of-rack switches.

On the desktop we are seeing a similar battle for 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps where support for the higher speeds over Cat5E may see them become the new standards.

And the battle was over...

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Why does it cost 20 times as much to protect Mark Zuckerberg as Tim Cook?

theblackhand
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And then there's the difficulty of finding someone who will actually protect Mr Zuckerberg rather than just videoing him being beaten and posting it on FB...

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FYI: Ticking time-bomb fault will brick Cisco gear after 18 months

theblackhand
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Having been through this before...

Last time it was a memory issue:

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/about/supplier-sustainability/memory.html

I vaguely recall it being a supplier issue (supplier initially provided components to Cisco's spec but at some point the spec changed and wasn't picked up during QA).

Or there's the long running capacitor plague - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

I know it sucks having to replace newish equipment, but there's not much more that a vendor can do (from memory Cisco replaced equipment with faulty memory as advance spares and return replaced components within two weeks for equipment covered by Smartnet and a tighter return window for non-Smartnet equipment although that might have just been because we were a large customer...)

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GitLab.com melts down after wrong directory deleted, backups fail

theblackhand
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Re: $20 Million?

Given the recovery process, it looks like the DBA is pretty competent - he may have made a huge mistake (in my experience, competent people can hugely misjudge the risk of their actions) and is fixing it. Not a perfect fix, but able to recover all but 6 hours of data and able to quantify what was missing in under a day isn't bad given the number of issues found.

It looks like the root cause was attempting to get replication working from live to staging that broke the db1 to db2 replication process - the issue may have been related to performance limits in the staging environment. There was then a period of high DB utilisation issue that may have partially contributed to the replication problem either directly or indirectly via distracting the DBA. While I can understand the thought process behind deleting the db2 replica and starting it again, there was a risk in these actions that was unfortunately realised. At which point, things started to go horribly wrong as all the back up issues were discovered.

The bit that is missing is why did all the backups fail? I suspect the backups and backup process had been tested in the past with the earlier DB versions. 9.6 is reasonably new (Sept 2016) so they may have had a working backup strategy up until at least then and arguably based on their issue tracker until mid-December 2016.

Why is this important? Read through the comments about testing backups and ensuring high availability. They probably had both until last month when they upgraded the database...

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theblackhand
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Re: Super! Great

"Many times, people only have ONE live system (all they can afford) which MUST remain up 24/7"

Is that 24/7 as in always operational or 24/7 in that if something goes wrong IT won't be in until the morning to fix it so someone will complain?

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Fear not, Europe's Privacy Shield is Trump-proof – ex-FTC bigwig

theblackhand
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Re: The problem is extrene lack of transparency...

I realise that throwing "Trump is to blame" is the latest fad but the reality is that the US has been providing laws that allow corporates to do business with foreign countries for a long time while the US government departments either suck up the data anyway or fight cases in court repeatedly until they get the results they want.

As far as the Privacy Shield goes, judge it on the success of legal action when it is found to be broken.

And if no cases ever come to court for non-Americans, we must be all safe....

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WordPress fixed god-mode zero day without disclosing the problem

theblackhand
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So...

Now you can get you Wordpress site hacked if its running old "vulnerable" versions OR the latest, greatest version. And not just a little content changing, we're talking complete site compromise.

If only there was pattern here that showed whether you should still be using Wordpress...

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Google mistakes the entire NHS for massive cyber-attacking botnet

theblackhand
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In my experience...

I've seen a number of sites getting the Google CAPTCHA message and the cause is almost always someone messing around with search engine optimisation (SEO) tools without a good understanding of what they're doing.

Having said that, it can be hard to find (which of these thousands of Google requests per minute is causing the issue).

And the annoying thing is that the culprit almost always knows they were causing the issue in spite of the any communication...

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Facebook ad biz comes under scrutiny in MPs ‘Fake News’ probe

theblackhand
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Re: The problem with the concept of "Fake News"...

As this is a tech site, I'm wondering how big an effect tech companies have had on news gathering.

- the loss of regional journalists due to advertising moving to other sources i.e. http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/how-the-rise-of-online-ads-has-prompted-a-70-per-cent-cut-in-journalist-numbers-at-big-uk-regional-dailies/

- the old media chasing clicks versus sticking with traditional journalism hasn't helped either their revenues or the quality of stories presented to their audiences. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/apr/17/fake-news-stories-clicks-fact-checking

- some of the comedy/parody news sites look factually accurate in hindsight...

The proliferation of news via new media and advertising revenue moving from old media to tech sites has resulted in less journalists, more reliance on syndicated stories so everything looks largely the same and page views/advertising money now goes to free sites relying on non-news content or sites with questionable content.

The fix? We see the result of our actions and if they are wrong, countries correct them over time via political change or less pleasant alternatives. I don't see getting Facebook to self-regulate as an answer that won't result in them accidentally forgetting to self-regulate at the next election...

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Oracle effectively doubles licence fees to run its stuff in AWS

theblackhand
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For each action...

AWS has been going after US Government business for a few years now - I wonder if that's starting to hurt some of Oracles big accounts that sat on older/slower hardware?

The question is whether AWS will provide a short term solution (a better instance to match the new pricing with SSDs with lots of RAM to offset some of the CPU hit) and a longer term migration path to another product (i.e. a AWS optimised PostgresSQL) to tempt Oracle customers away permanently? AWS don't have to do that much - a lot of the Oracle DB usage I've seen are unnecessary and Oracles pricing/salesforce would provide the customers for any alternative...

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Happy Friday: Busted Barracuda update borks corporate firewalls

theblackhand
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Re: not understanding

It's likely to be a data file updaye akin to the GeoIP databases that you can use to classify traffic.

It shouldn't be too hard to QA the data....

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I'm deadly serious about megatunnels, vows Elon Musk

theblackhand
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Is this the part of the wall that Mexico has agreed to fund?

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Northumbria Uni fined £400K after boffin's bad math gives students a near-killer caffeine high

theblackhand
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The Caffeine Diet - if it doesn't kill you it will make you thinner!

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Cutting Hewlett-Packard Labs down to size

theblackhand
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But...

...HP Labs Blue sky has been grey for a long time.

HP has given me resistors something like 15 years of development to get to "not commercially usable in the near future" in spite of the hype train pulling into the station a few times already. My understanding is the only products that have worked the way that has been stated cause degradation in the material used which reduces the number of available writes and the speed is lower than existing flash memory.

As for Helion, how could a server manufacturer look at the existing hosting/cloud environment and see the drive towards commoditisation from 2009 onwards and try to enter the market in 2014? Was the thinking that the other hosting/cloud providers weren't able to afford the wonderful HP servers to make them more profitable or was it just a scam to boost server sales for exec bonuses?

And "The Machine" - not sure it was ever more than a platform for memresistors (see above).

The problem that I see for the historical enterprise server providers is that their high margin Unix business is gone - the customer base is only just big enough to pay for the next generation or two of research and they are no longer able to really innovate. Plus they keep wanting to re-invent the high margin server ignoring how well commodity hardware performs.

The cloud providers (Google/AWS/Facebook and I suspect MS) all use custom hardware so don't need HP and co to help them. Plus they probably all do scale better than HP ever could.

Is there hope for HPE? If they start to kill off Itanium and move customers to x86 (including migrating the software...) they could keep things going and might get a few more money years out of an innovative ARM server (I.e. The bigger ARMs with the ability to tie them to a decent amount of memory in blade server type form factors with very high scale) that would make a big difference in application caching and if HP developed software solutions around that they may keep the hardware sales going a little long enough to then see the transition from x86 to ARM.

And maybe someone will notice something that will make real money in the meantime...

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Symantec carpeted over dodgy certificates, again

theblackhand
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Re: cheaper providers

This is meant as an explanation, not validation...

For certificate providers, it depends what you're doing - the cost of the certificates is often tied to the warranty/insurance offered with the certificate in the event that an end user loses money in the event of a certificate compromise.

Given the conditions required to get paid out, it's unlikely that a payout would occur, but I guess with Symantecs shenanigans payouts do occur.

My experience has been if the customer wants the insurance, the account managers/sales people I have worked with have always been happy to use them and charge their own percentage on top of that...

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Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

theblackhand
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Trollface

Re: Plausible

"I think it's kinda cute that she thinks that she has any influence on what type of Brexit there's going to be."

I don't think the leavers will complain too much when the EU collapses due to the funding crisis post-Brexit...

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

theblackhand
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Re: "huge computing power"

"And presumably if it's redirecting to voicemail, BT are still getting their coin for connecting the call through, so they still get some revenue anyway."

The "huge computing power" is actually just enough storage to ensure BT can record the calls and claim the spammer revenue.

While it doesn't require "huge computing power" at present, once they start selling the automated spamming services to allow both the call and receiver to be connected to the same system and cut out the inefficient third-party systems, the requirement to automatically provide spammers with numbers that then divert to the spam mailboxes will drive requirements through the roof...

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

theblackhand
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Re: What?

Assuming this is accurate (http://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/25084/what-is-the-force-exerted-by-the-catapult-on-aircraft-carriers):

Steam/power settings are adjusted for each a/c type and T/O weight.

The EMALS stores 484 MJ in four 121 MJ alternators spinning at 6400 rpm. It delivers up to 122 MJ over 91 m. That averages out to 300,000 lbf. EMALS more finely controls launch forces (Max Peak-to-Mean Tow Force Ratio = 1.05), allowing it to launch smaller a/c (eg, smaller UAVs) and delivering a smoother ride that reduces airframe fatigue.

Current steam catapults deliver up to 95 MJ over 94 m. Each shot consumes up to 614 kg of steam piped from the reactor (NB: not the primary coolant loop). That averages out to 230,000 lbf.

Accelerations average around 3 g's, peak around 4 g's.

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

theblackhand
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Re: WTF?

My understanding of things military indicates that the solution to these connection issues is to design a very expensive proprietary plug to address the issue.

Maybe a special USB connection with a screw in security latch that takes techs a minute to screw in/unscrew and thus avoid premature disconnection?

How many millions you say? I'll sell them to you for the low low price of US$500k a plane to cover the specialised nature of the design and manufacturing process...

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