* Posts by tfewster

690 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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About to install the Windows 10 April 2018 Update? You might want to wait a little bit longer

tfewster
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@Updraft102 Re: PC Updated itself last night

Thank you for your detailed response. I do appreciate the thought and effort you've put into it, but I politely disagree with you.

- I'm happy you've had no problems with installs and stability. Maybe you're smarter than I am. Maybe you put more effort into configuring and troubleshooting something that should "just work". I still maintain that a real end-user could not have got as far as I did with this setup. Maybe it's a weird Lenovo N200 hardware combo. I doubt that the hardware is faulty, as it ran XP flawlessly for years. Please, recommend a basic laptop model that you can guarantee will work, and I'll try that. I really, really want this to work!

By the way, I've installed Windows from scratch a few times (dead disks and own-builds). Yes, had problems with WiFi and displays, but always got a working wired connection to download drivers.

- (May be Mint MATE specific) You don't see a problem with menu options labelled Backup (mintbackup) and Restore (Timeshift)? Or something labelled "Software Manager" that doesn't manage installed software?

(I'm sorry, I haven't actually looked into what Timeshift does yet. And I was partly wrong about the screenshot tool - it does remember the last save location)

Maybe you _do_ need to install other FOSS software to make Linux usable. So why not include that in the Mint distro? Isn't that the point of a distro?

Teamviewer installs fine on a Lenovo N100, but breaks the PPAs on an N200 installed from the same image. Hang on, that's not a hardware or a UI problem. Delete & reinstall? Same problem.

Here's a thought, why not put the backup icon on the Start menu, to prompt people every time? Rather more useful there than, say, Software Manager. Yes, it's all configurable, but why not start with useful choices? I'm torn over the Terminal icon there - I'd use it a lot, but real end-users should not need to.

Regarding online help: It doesn't help that googling "Linux Mint 18 (problem description)" seems to ignore most of the search criteria. Hey, Google, it's about the quality of the results returned, not the number or the popularity.

Mint vs. Windows 10? Poorly designed, high maintenance software vs. a horrible UI, forced upgrades and spyware? Hmm, tough choice.

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tfewster
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Re: PC Updated itself last night

I'm switching my mother from XP to Linux Mint 18. I've been a Unix sysadmin/engineer for 20+ years, but have to say that Linux Mint is crap. Maybe the least crap of the distros, maybe not as crap as Windows 10, but still crap.

- Frequently freezes, on a laptop with 3GB of RAM. No informative spinner/hourglass, it just freezes until it decides it's finished. Top and system monitor don't show anything hogging resources.

- The installed utilities are are supposed to be a carefully curated collection:

- I opened a hi-res image with the Image Viewer. It displayed the image, then hung, then rebooted the PC. No error messages. Apart from the fact that a user program shouldn't be able to crash a system, where are the logs for a "normal" user to find?

- mintbackup uses a tar file, so can't back up more than 4.3 GB. No, the option that's supposed to be there to do a "normal" backup doesn't exist. I wrote an rsync script in less time than I'd wasted on reading up on mintbackup.

- Oh, and Timeshift as a restore tool? How about something that can do backups AND restores? Both data and system?

- Software Manager + Software Sources + Synaptic Package Manager + Update Manager? Not so much "do one thing and do it well" as "do half a job and do that badly"

- Screenshot tool that exits after every screenshot, and doesn't remember preferences?

- The start menu is full of useless garbage, so you have to search/scroll for the useful stuff. Yes, you can do some customisation, but why not start from a clean point?

- Installing packages supposedly tested on Mint is very hit & miss. Sometimes an install hangs, sometimes it fails. Try a slightly different method, and it works.

- The install of Teamviewer on the PC I gave to my mum breaks the update manager. The same packages installed on a lower spec PC I kept work OK.

- Dreadful documentation, support and "knowledge" on the internet. A million forums and how-to's full of garbage.

- Installs a huge list of "foreign" ttf fonts. No, thank you, I'll install a "language pack" if I want one.

- Disabling Bluetooth was another case in point. After disabling Bluetooth startup, you eventually find that there's something called Blueberry that starts it up anyway. The Blueberry authors declined to provide a checkbox to disable it. The arrogance in their self-congratulatory post about their cleverness was astounding.

Say what you want about my (lack of) skills, but no way is Linux usable by end users.

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HPE: Hell yeah, those job cuts worked out great… for our investors

tfewster
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> Revenues of $7.5bn were up 9.7 per cent from $6.8bn a year ago

Please explain to me how job cuts improve sales? Unless they sacked the sales prevention and invoice deletion teams?

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Blood spilled from another US high school shooting has yet to dry – and video games are already being blamed

tfewster
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Most shooters die at the scene. Did that that deter anyone? Or suicide bombers?

Quite apart from the lynch-mob mentality.

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tfewster
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I play violent video games. I also have mental health problems. And work with some Americans who piss me off constantly. But I've never felt the urge to fly to the US, buy a gun and shoot them.

I'm only a sample of 1, but maybe, just maybe, it's access to guns that's the problem?

(I've never gone on a rampage with a knife either, but that's probably because I'd get my arse kicked).

Not AC, because I'm quite comfortable with who I am.

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Blighty's super-duper F-35B fighter jets are due to arrive in a few weeks

tfewster
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Re: paying over the odds for early-stage machines.

If I'm beta-testing something, I expect a big discount and a free upgrade to the finished product as compensation for my time and help

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Software development slow because 'Most of our ideas suck'

tfewster
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Re: What's missing in this commentary

The difference between good and bad ideas is whether or not they bring benefit to the customer

Be careful what you wish for:

Marketing Droid 1: "Hey, let's scrap passwords - The benefit to the customer would be less hassle when they want to use their account."

Marketing Droid 2: "And bug fixes! They delay the releases of the new shiny!"

Oh, I see Cisco and Microsoft are on that already

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Robo-callers, robo-cops, robo-runners, robo-car crashes, and more

tfewster
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Google Assistant - Why would anyone use this?/li>

- To make a Doctors or Dentist appointment, where they insist you ring on the day. Current procedure is 1) Phone at 08:30 2) Receive busy signal 3) Hang up 4) Hit "Redial" and repeat 20-40 times. That just needs automating until a humanpicks up.

Uber: The sensitivity was dialed down to reduce “false positives,” aka objects that the car shouldn’t stop for...

That's not AI - "Can I classify the object as non-dangerous?". It's not even sensible - A car will go over trash, anything big enough to hit needs action.

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Your software hates you and your devices think you're stupid

tfewster
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I blame the Tamagotchi generation

You had 2 buttons, and pressing them in various combinations produced different results. None of them documented. Apparently that was part of the "fun".

My car was designed by a Korean who had heard of lots of cool car features, but apparently never driven one (or got to test-drive his creation).

- It has many features, but little control over them. E.g Radio vs. Media volume, inability to permanently disable the sat-nav voice.

- Enabling Traffic alerts gives many, repeated alerts far from my route. It's disabled now. Strangely, I don't miss the traffic alerts from Radio Stoke (receivable all over the UK), or my local radio stations habit of cutting in to play an ad and half of the traffic report.

- Rain Sensing Front Wipers - Don't sense when they need to switch to normal speed.

- Intelligent Stop-and-Go (Engine cut-out while stationary) - More "Random" than "Intelligent".

- Setting Cruise Control is awkward and requires taking your eyes off the road.

- If Lane Departure Warning/Lane Assist is on, it will jerk the steering wheel to one side if it thinks you're not perfectly centred in a lane. It definitely keeps you alert! I can't see how to enable LDW only, so I've switched it off.

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You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion 'joke' diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed

tfewster
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Re: Wait, what?

I once got a call from an upset user, who complained that the departmental server in their office area kept showing messages about dead children. She'd had a family tragedy recently and, very understandably, the messages were distressing her.

The server console messages in question were of the form "child process nnn died". I explained what they meant and that they were were quite normal. I declined her request to rewrite the operating system, but I adjusted the display settings and affixed a label "Dumb terminal - brightness has been turned down".

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tfewster
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You can tune a file system but you can't tuna fish

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It's 2018, and a webpage can still pwn your Windows PC – and apps can escape Hyper-V

tfewster
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Re: I don't trust Microsoft with Security.

My company has been sending staff fake phishing emails as part of the training. They're very convincing, and hard to spot - much better than the usual ones you see. Even though I work in InfoSec and was aware that a training email was due, I've been close to clicking.

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IT systems still in limbo as UK.gov departments await Brexit policy - MPs

tfewster
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Re: Industry should learn from this innovative approach

It's called Agile, isn't it? You must be doing it wrong (© Steve Jobs)

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Blame everything on 'computer error' – no one will contradict you

tfewster
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Re: I'm not sure I believe you

Bad form replying to my own post, and I'm not sure if this is original, but, extrapolating from a quote attributed to Albert Einstein "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former".

"Stupidity" may also be called "denseness". Get where I'm going yet? Stupidity definitely has mass, you can feel it weighing you down.

Dark Matter: Invisible, universal and massy. It fits.

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tfewster
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Re: Dell Sales FAIL!

For a few months last year, O2 were unable to take phone bill payments from my Barclaycard. The first month I made a one-off payment, using the same card. The second month, I told them their systems were broken (they, of course, insisted there wasn't a problem and it must be Barclaycard) and wangled a credit for the month. The third month, when I rang and got the "How can I help you today?", I responded "It's more a case of how I can help you". In the ensuing stunned silence, I explained to the helldesk drone how bulk settlements were done and my scale of charges for consultancy. I settled for another free month.

I don't actually know where the problem was. Apparently the back-room boys at neither O2 nor Barclaycard had noticed that settlement files (probably millions of pounds at a time) weren't working for months. One drone admitted that he'd had several other customers with the same problem "that day" and gave me an email address to escalate. Of course, the email address and website contact were out of date. So I carpet-bombed all the addresses and complaint channels I could find until I got an answer from someone who simultaneously denied the problem and promised to look into it & get back to me.

Unfortunately my free service and entertainment ended on the fourth month, and I'm still waiting for my consultancy payment. Now what will I do with my spare time?

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tfewster
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Re: I'm not sure I believe you

It beggars belief that someone can suffer so many few separate technical idiocy problems in a single day.

TFTFFY

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Google will vet political ads to ward off Phantom Menace of fake news

tfewster
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Re: DIdn't that just violate the election laws across the world?

US corporations get government issued IDs now?

My cousin in the US is anticipating a new revenue stream: ID for hire

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BOFH: But I did log in to the portal, Dave

tfewster
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Re: We all recognise HP there...

> HP's site is and always has been tortuous

I found it to be very good at one time, I think it was the 90's. Had everything you needed, where you expected it to be, and a working search function & forums. A model for anyone to aspire to.

Then they merged with Compaq.* Or merged it with Compaqs site. Or won an award for the website and let it go to their heads. Something like that.

* My timeline may be hazy. Many real ales through the kidneys since then. Or was that the cause of my drinking?

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Typical cynical Brits: Broadband speeds up, satisfaction goes down

tfewster
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Re: The good news is that Comcast is going to enter the British ISP market...

You can have TalkTalk, so long as you take it all. That way, overall ISP ratings in both the US and the UK might improve.

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Whoa, Gartner drops a truth bomb: Blockchain is overhyped and top IT bods don't want it

tfewster
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Re: Make your mind up Gartner

...there aren't enough engineers with 30 years Blockchain experience and willing to work for minimum wage...

FTFFY

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tfewster
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Re: "Blockchain is overhyped..."

Hey, cut Gartner some slack - I think they're right on this (there's a first time for everything).

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Twitter: No big deal, but everyone needs to change their password

tfewster
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Re: FTFY

"This string is a password, right, and we have to be really careful with them. We salt and encrypt them and store them in a protected file. Ooh, look, a new iPhone is out. So, to be sure our code is working, we'll log all keystrokes for debugging purposes. Don't forget to... Wow, retina display, 10Mp camera... "

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Press F to pay respects to the Windows 10 April Update casualties

tfewster
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Re: Offline Help?

The help pages that weren't installed on AIX by default? No problem, I'll just use a second dumb terminal to check what the options mean.

And don't get me started on the man page rewrites for Linux that removed useful examples and other references, and added the snarky Authors name instead.

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tfewster
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Re: "Upgrading users should be able to ignore the viewer as before."

I won't miss the vulnerabilities in WinHlp32.exe

But what's wrong with using a browser to point to an index file on your hard disk? A few meg on an install DVD, and minor updates over the net? Search would suck, but at least it's searching a curated collection.

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if dev == woman then dont_be(asshole): Stack Overflow tries again to be more friendly to non-male non-pasty coders

tfewster
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Re: I'm a dumb coder

I'm not afraid to ask a dumb question, on the Internet or in a meeting. 9 times out of 10, it wasn't a dumb question and other people were wondering the same thing (but were afraid to ask, couldn't phrase it well or hadn't even thought of it.

Even if it was a dumb question, I usually get an answer and the audience will usually still get some useful background as it's explained another way. Even "RTFM/Google, n00b" can be a useful indicator that it's a FAQ - Not that I'm a Help Vampire, I put some effort into research and asking good questions.

1% of the time it was dumb and I don't get an answer. Risking abuse vs. learning something at those odds are a good bet.

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tfewster
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Re: Time to grow up and grow a skin

Given that most programmers are likely high on the Aspergers scale - should they be a protected minority? And therefore people complaining about their behaviour are the real haters?

Mansplaining on a tech forum helps prevent misunderstandings and makes the post more useful to others with slightly different questions or experience.

On the other hand, the documentation I write at work is a sanitised version of my own notes and intended for readers with reasonable experience in the subject matter.

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Programmers! Close the StackOverflow tabs. This AI robot will write your source code for you

tfewster
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But StackOverflow code has been widely peer reviewed. Can you say that for Bayou or your existing code library?

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Avengers: Infinity War: More Marvel-ous moolah for comic film-erverse, probably

tfewster
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Deadpool & other "firsts"

The first titles in each "line" have been good, if a little tedious in having to re-tell the backstory. The first sequels have been weak, relying on the goodwill generated. Subsequent sequels leave me wishing for the 2 hours of my life back. Pathetic plots* and dialogue. DC movies are as bad as Marvel in those respects.

Dodgy gadget-obsessed character with a dubious background and questionable mental health mistrusts squeaky-clean morally superior character and tries to take goody-goody down. But was I talking about Fatman vs. Stuporman or Captain America: Uncharacteristic Choices War?

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That's no moon... er, that's an asteroid. And it'll be your next and final home, spacefarer

tfewster
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@DropBear: self-reliance built in

No need. The owners will receive a lifetime RTB warranty

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tfewster
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Re: Will our Descendants Feel the Same Way?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_ship#Social_breakdown

But, that said, how soon can we build the B-Ark?

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Bungling cops try to use dead chap's fingers to unlock his smartmobe

tfewster
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"there is no expectation of privacy after death"

I very much doubt that is true. Though, in the US, who knows?

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Two's company, Three's unbowed: You Brits will pay more for MMS snaps

tfewster
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Re: Pure concidence...

And a continuation of the scam. Last time I looked, my telco charged 25p for an SMS and 50p for an MMS out side of the bundled SMS allowance.

Me: OK, just charge me for 2 SMS's if I send an MMS.

Telco: Oh no, we can't do that as an MMS is data!

Me: Fine, take it out of my data allowance then.

Telco: Oh no, we can't do that as it's a message!

OK, maybe I'm missing something, but I'm surprised the EU hasn't looked into this.

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Tech bribes: What's the WORST one you've ever been offered?

tfewster
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Most misdirected bribe?

I once got a free track day. Lots of fun activities, but the best was driving old Ford Cortinas on a skid-pan. At the end of the day, I strolled back to the 10 year old Cortina I'd driven there, and reflected that the hosts had completely misjudged my ability to influence purchasing policy.

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There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick

tfewster
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Ah, but the upside

is when you meet another over-40 and you can have a secret but hilarious conversation in public. Remember when you and your pre-pubescent mates had a secret language that you thought adults couldn't understand? Or pig-latin? This is even easier!

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Cutting custody snaps too costly for cash-strapped cops – UK.gov

tfewster
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Re: Ummm

They can afford new computer systems that break the law. But they can't afford a simple* fix to their existing systems that break the law.

* Other commentards have already made the suggestions that sprang to my mind. Add in a bit of testing and release management, and I can imagine the costs rising to a few K.

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Now IBM turns redundo gun on its Digital Business Group

tfewster
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Don't be ridiculous

Watson is knowledgeable and capable of learning. Your mistake is in thinking IBM manglement are human beings.

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You're a govt official. You accidentally slap personal info on the web. Quick, blame a kid!

tfewster
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Re: Unisys screwed up

Typing a URL in by hand (rather than clicking on a link in a personalised email) is "non-standard"? I take your point, but a decent lawyer should get that thrown out. Similarly, wget/curl are standard tools

If my bank left a pile of money on a table for me to take my own, I might be tempted to take a bit extra. Yes, that would be theft, but also entrapment.

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France building encrypted messaging app for politicians

tfewster
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I hope they built in a backdoor, to prove all us techies wrong. *Sits back with the popcorn*

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Intel's security light bulb moment: Chips to recruit GPUs to scan memory for software nasties

tfewster
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"So, we're going to rely on a GPU, that wasn't designed with security in mind, to exploit CPU flaws. And build in a channel to exfiltrate data"

What could possibly go wrong?

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Router ravaging, crippling code, and why not to p*ss off IT staff

tfewster
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Walk away after making sure someone disables your accounts and remote access.

>As any security professional will tell you it's not outside hacking attacks that make up the bulk of issues, but your own staff.

BS - A recent El Reg article estimated internal issues as 25% of the total, and even that was inflated by inappropriate access, e.g. users accessing celebrities records.

>Kugler pleaded guilty to one count of fraud

Strange that a fraud charge was used, as it doesn't appear that she took money. But maybe it's easier for the courts to handle than hacking charges.

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What a time to be alive: LG and Italian furniture-maker build smart sofa

tfewster
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Re: "instruct a robot to go to the fridge and bring you a beer"

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20180403

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B-Ark passengers to control most IT spend from 2019 onwards

tfewster
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Re: Not quite correct.

IIRC, Arthur Dent realised that we were the descendants of the B-Ark Golgafrinchans.

That explains a lot.

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Company insiders behind 1 in 4 data breaches – study

tfewster
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Re: Comparison

From the headline, I thought that this would be another report demonising sysadmins/DBAs, but it turns out to be a bit of a damp squi[bd] - Browsing a celebrities medical records is a data breach*, but hardly in the same class as copying the entire database.

* And more likely to get flagged than a sysadmin/DBAs** misdeeds. Certainly both ends of the scale of breaches are of concern, but misusing statistics to represent them as the same thing is just as criminal.

** Everyone has their price. Mine is about £5m, to cover the fact I'd never get another sysadmins job and to support me in a safe, secure lifestyle in a country with no extradition treaties.

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Bot-ched security: Chat system hacked to slurp hundreds of thousands of Delta Air Lines, Sears customers' bank cards

tfewster
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I get the impression the chats were snooped to siphon off the CC details, so even if they were never stored by the merchant or their partner, they'd been intercepted. The next problem for the criminals would have been to store and exfiltrate the data without being caught by Data Loss Prevention tools scanning for card-like data - not impossible, but yet another hurdle. Given the short time between the attack and detection, DLP scanning may well have been what saved this from being much worse..

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tfewster
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Re: GDPR Fines may help - But its not enough...

> independent certification

Like the independent PCI Qualified Security Assessors? The QSAs I've met are smart, paranoid bullies - it's up to you to convince them that you're handling PCI data appropriately, or no certification for YOU. Don't try to BS them, and don't lie to them - they're bulletproof and any consequences will be on you. Including possible criminal fraud charges.

Not that I've ever heard of a merchant having their ability to take cards withdrawn, but I guess their handling fees go up significantly.

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*Thunk* No worries, the UPS should spin up. Oh cool, it's in bypass mode

tfewster
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Yay, "This Damn War" has returned to life and joins the BOFH. Now we just need "DPM's Diary" to complete the unholy trio.

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US spanks EU businesses in race to detect p0wned servers

tfewster
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Re: The IP of where the attack comes from...

Who could possibly want to "joe job" Iran, North Korea, etc.? My money would be on the CIA* being behind these attacks.

- Known to be wildly out of control

- Known to attack both friendly and hostile nations

- Known to cover their tracks and lie.

- Known to have the technological capabilities.

No offence to Iran and North Korea, but I just don't see them as sophisticated state actors.

* "intelligence" in the information collection sense rather than the more common definition.

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2001: A Space Odyssey has haunted pop culture with anxiety about rogue AIs for half a century

tfewster
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Re: For more details....

> In the book version of 2001, the monolith is still transparent (to be precise, the version the ape-men encounter is transparent, in later appearances it is black).

As I recall, it was black when quiescent but displayed "pictures" to teach the ape-men. Obviously an early model plasma TV or giant Samsung Edge.

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tfewster
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Re: 2nd HAL

ISTR there were 2 more HAL 9000s back on earth, and they drove one insane by giving it the same conflicts that the shipboard machine had. But that may have been the book rather than the film.

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10Mbps for world+dog, hoots UK.gov, and here is how we're doing it

tfewster
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@d3vy

>>charge the gas company for the hours it's out of use and the number of cars / users inconvenienced"

>This is pretty much what happens now.

But why not require the utility companies to make the road usable when they're not actively working on it? i.e. metal plates over a trench? They'd lose maybe 1 hour per day in doing that, and pass the cost on to "customers", but still cheaper than the waste of fuel & time from traffic delays.

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