* Posts by Alister

3265 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Migrating to Microsoft's cloud: What they won't tell you, what you need to know

Alister Silver badge

Re: Days?

We must be doing something wrong then, we only have two VDSL2 connections which offer real world speeds of 60Mb/s down and 16Mb/s up, (we are 2 miles from the exchange) and then two dedicated 20Mb/s fibre links. We are an SME, so where would we get 100Mb/s uplinks from without going bankrupt?

Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

Alister Silver badge

Re: What a load of crap

Yep, but for the emergency services it isn't efficient to use local staff based at local stations, it's much better to have centralised stations and increased response times, apparently.

Internet boffins take aim at BGP route leaks

Alister Silver badge

Re: Pedant Alert

"The four roles in question are:"

*lists five items*

Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.

Alister Silver badge

Re: "Qrator Labs", "Arrcus"

Anyway, anybody typing and using thumbs for anything but the space key, should be re-trained at it...

On a mobile or phablet?

IBM will soon become sole gatekeepers to the realm of tape – report

Alister Silver badge

It's taken me a while to respond but I wanted to check my facts before posting.

I remembered reading an article which stated that as larger and larger capacity disks are used in RAID arrays, the more likely you are to see non-recoverable read errors on some sector of the disc. If you take the manufacturer's stated figures, the incidence of URE is about 10^14.

Which means that once every 100,000,000,000,000 bits, the disk will be unable to read a sector. That figure of 10^ 14 is roughly equivalent to 12TB. So if you use drives of 12TB or more, then you will have a URE at some point.

So imagine if you have a disc failure in a RAID array using 12TB disks. The time taken to rebuild the array means that there is a significant chance of a non-recoverable read error on one of the other drives during the rebuild (BER / URE). That would be GAME OVER.

So using more, smaller drives in larger arrays in RAID 6 or better, greatly reduces the chances of a multiple failure and data loss.

Alister Silver badge

What would be the point in churning out cheap 1 TB drives versus more expensive bigger drives that have a lower cost per byte?

It's an interesting question, at the end of the day spinning rust will break, and I definitely would not be comfortable in having 16TB of data on one drive in an array, the rebuild time would be horrendous.

I for one would rather have larger arrays of smaller drives (although I'm not sure that 1TB isn't too small nowadays as you say.

But there must be a sweet spot where price-per-byte and the time taken to recover from a failure intersect, although I haven't looked into it, I would guess around 4TB.

Alister Silver badge

Spectra Logic's Digital Data Storage Outlook 2017 report predicts IBM will emerge as the sole tape drive manufacturer.

Looking at the way IBM is rapidly disappearing up its own backside, this may be wishful thinking!

It ( / they) seem to be divesting themselves of anything hardware related, in an effort to become all cloudy and edgy, and service oriented.

Ofcom fines Three £1.9m over vulnerability in emergency call handling

Alister Silver badge

Re: Because you

Ah but what if the degree was in medicine and he has become a doctor.

Ok, I know this was probably in jest or sarcasm, but I'll bite anyway.

Being a doctor doesn't make him magically able to save you over the phone, and any competent doctor would immediately say "ring 999".

Alister Silver badge

Re: Not breach of OFCOM rules?

If Three did not breach OFCOM rules then what right in law does OFCOM have to impose a penalty?

Apparently reading and comprehension have failed here.

The incident they were investigating - a failure of a fibre link - was not deemed to be in breach of OFCOM rules.

However in the process of investigating that incident, they found that Three only had one Datacentre handling all emergency traffic, with no failover, which is a breach of OFCOM requirements.

Samsung releases 49-inch desktop monitor with 32:9 aspect ratio

Alister Silver badge

Re: Optional

If you can show your applications side-by-side unsnapped doesn't the need to snap go away?

It can be a pain to have to manually resize and move all the windows to fit, compared to just maximising them on one monitor. To the best of my knowledge, you can no longer tile application windows in current versions of MS Windows.

And certain applications don't necessarily show all the content if they aren't maximised - a classic example is RDP sessions, which (depending on the resolution of the remote machine) may not show the whole desktop and taskbar unless the window is maximised.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Optional


Replacing 2 or 3 screens with one single wide one does have disadvantages though - as someone upthread already noted, you lose the ability to snap a windowed application to a single screen, which for me is one of the most useful things about multi-monitor working.

Alister Silver badge

Ever heard of Pythagoras?

He lives in Diagon Alley, doesn't he?

Didn't know he worked for Samsung though...

Misys and D+H borg, form mega-fintech titan Finastra

Alister Silver badge

“the world’s third largest fintech company,”

It appears that frank ly and A/C have this covered... :)

But, no, I can't resist...

I don't see what all the flap is about, it's all going swimmingly...

It came from space! Two-headed flatworm stuns scientists

Alister Silver badge

Re: Videos of two headed flatworm

Whenever you think you've sussed The Rules in biology, somebody discovers an organism that breaks 'em.

Ahh, that made me think of the following - sometimes referred to as the Harvard Law of Animal Behaviour:

"under strictly controlled experimental conditions of temperature, time, lighting, feeding, and training, the organism will behave as it damn well pleases."

Alister Silver badge

It's quite obvious

In zero G the worm doesn't know if it's coming or going.

Voyager 1 passes another milestone: It's now 138AU from home

Alister Silver badge

Re: Wonder When

in 2273 according to Wikipedia:


Alister Silver badge

Re: Not sure what they used...

I don't believe they used COTS microprocessors at all, instead they had custom-designed 18-bit serial processors, which may have used things like the TI 7400.

Ever wonder why those Apple iPhone updates take so damn long?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Using your customers as testing and QA

Lazy & stupid IT practice

But isn't that the whole basis of the continuous development methodology?

British Airways poised to shed 1,000 jobs to Capita

Alister Silver badge

And yet these companies still expect their employees to have a sense of loyalty and corporate pride. Amazing!

Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma

Alister Silver badge

Re: One thing for sure....

2) One of my Uncles called a fuel can a flimsy (he claimed he learned the term from the Brits in Italy during the last days of WWII ... not sure where this actually came from, he's the only person I ever heard use it).

This comes from the British issued fuel cans being made of very, very thin metal, due I suppose to rationing of materials. Most British land forces quickly adopted captured German ones (and later copied and manufactured their own), which were much more strongly built. Hence why they are still commonly called Jerry cans.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Who shits at school?

I admit my typo - 7 1/2 of course

Alister Silver badge

Re: For Your Izal Only (Sheena Easton)


I was thinking more of the texture, rather than the strength :)

Alister Silver badge

Re: Who shits at school?

The school day is only 6 hours long.

It may be now, but both my junior and secondary school days were 81/2 hours - 8:30 to 16:00.

After consuming the provided stodgy school dinners, a bowel evacuation was commonly required during the afternoon!

Alister Silver badge

Re: For Your Izal Only (Sheena Easton)

When I was a lad, at boarding school, the only loo paper provided was Izal Medicated.

I too remember (without fondness) Izal Medicated. Very similar to greaseproof paper, and completely non-absorbent.

But, 40(cough) years on, it's the smell of carbolic soap which always brings back memories of my infant school toilets - tiled in dark green, with lighter patches where the moss had taken hold...

Raspberry Pi sours thanks to mining malware

Alister Silver badge

Why does the Pi not force people to change the default password on first login like other Linux distros do?

It does.

Alister Silver badge

I hope I'm not giving too much away here, but I'd heard that the FlexiCrypt system is based on the use of hashtags:




which makes it extra secure for everybody, (except if you're a terrist)

IBM warns itself of possible outages in lab shift screw-up

Alister Silver badge

Yes, I should have included the <sarc> tag, it appears...

Alister Silver badge

"please let us know if this service interruption (some services possibly up to two weeks) could be a major impact to your product release schedules".

Well, given that:

The IT services provided by those facilities included virtual systems, control desk, software configuration management, build automation, ID build automation, appscan source vulnerability scanning, and continuous delivery with UrbanCode Deploy

I would suggest it might have an impact?

I wonder if this is a somewhat drastic method of finding out what services they need to keep... turn 'em off for two weeks, and if no-one complains, they obviously weren't required.

I fought Ohm's Law and the law won: Drone crash takes out power to Silicon Valley homes

Alister Silver badge

a PGE spokesman reassuring everyone on the news that Californians had "the best electricity in the world"

Every Volt hand built by craftsmen.

You know this net neutrality thing? Well, people really love it

Alister Silver badge

Re: Net Neutrality is about politics

If you want control over your connection, use YOUR OWN router. Using your own modem would be a good idea too.

And what if the ISP doesn't allow third-party routers / modems to be connected? This is quite common.

And to forestall your next idea, what if there is only one ISP in your area, so you can't change?

We're not saying we're living in a simulation but someone's simulated the universe in a computer

Alister Silver badge

Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

Warning, may contain nuts

Shoebox-sized satellites made by civs win trip on NASA's newest rocket

Alister Silver badge


What a tit! Uber CEO hijacks his staff breast-pump room to meditate

Alister Silver badge

Our meditation rooms have very nice porcelain fittings, with wooden seats, and hot and cold running water available...

NHS Digital stopped short of advising against paying off WannaCrypt

Alister Silver badge

Re: Virtualisation Of OS

You can implement any version of OS as a guest, on say a Linux base build, take an image regularly, only operate the PC using the guest OS, such that any issues means that you can immediately restore good known image.

Any zero day, or unpatched exploit should be less of an issue as you just restore the good known image. So any old OS can be supported indefinitely, running the proprietary software.

The problem may be that whilst you can emulate software in a virtual environment, it is not so easy to emulate custom hardware in a VM. This is not the case for all of NHS's problems by any means, but may be a reason for sticking with real hardware in some cases.

Drones over London caused aviation chaos, pilots' reports reveal

Alister Silver badge

> "two white, orb shaped objects, with no lights or visible markings

> Otherwise known as balloons.

> Swamp Gas

The Light from Venus

Info commish: One year to go and businesses still not ready for GDPR

Alister Silver badge

And if the breach is down to having to use weak encryption because the Government wants to snoop on everybody all the time?

An interesting point, but the fact is the majority of the data breaches that have happened are not down to encryption failures, they are down to easily preventable exploits like SQL injection, which should have been a solved problem years ago.

EU ministers approve anti-hate speech video rules

Alister Silver badge

European Union ministers have approved new rules for video that will oblige Facebook, Google, Twitter and others to remove hate speech and sexually explicit videos online or face stiff fines.

Because of course, American companies, in America, are going to care about what some bunch of other countries want to do. How do the EU propose to enforce these fines?

PAH! Four decades of Star Wars: No lightsabers, no palm-sized video calls

Alister Silver badge

Leia was of course not the only visible holographic projection in the film - the game that See-Threepio and Chewbacca play uses the same technology, albeit a desktop version, if I'm not mistaken.

Mouse sperm kept frozen in SPAAAAACE yields healthy pups

Alister Silver badge

Re: Mouse sperm creates pups?

Oh dear, an AC with a complete sense of humour bypass.

IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

Alister Silver badge

Re: I hate Vivaldi because of BT

I'm not sure if it was BT or O2, who I recently had the pleasure of listening to for an hour.

But what drove me mad was that despite the hold music being a pleasant piece of Chopin, I think, every time the "your call is important to us, please hold" message came on, it restarted the music from the beginning.

How bloody annoying that is!

Project Gollum: Because NHS Caring means NHS Sharing

Alister Silver badge

Re: Am I the only one appalled that an attack like WannaCry can happen to the NHS?

The bottom line is I had a much needed Doctors appointment cancelled last week. And part of me feels like I should feel sorry for them and take part in the public anger against hackers. But another part of me feels annoyed I lost that appointment because someone didn't know how to do back-ups.

I think you are making an unwarranted assumption. The actual number of systems affected by the ransomware was quite small, and most were simply shut down as a precaution, and to limit the spread of the infection, which was absolutely the right thing to do at the time.

This was obviously a difficult decision, but in balancing the ability to honour appointments for a day against the likely impact of a ransomware infection, the answer is clear. There is no indication that GP surgeries do not have sufficient valid backups available.

Alister Silver badge

P2P rules!

Make the patient database into a torrent, and share it with everybody, that way there will always be at least one copy no matter what ransomware hits us.

You can just imagine some poor GP posting "86.2% please seed!"

Quick, better lock down that CISO role. Salaries have apparently hit €1m

Alister Silver badge

evidence that the startling rise of cyber attacks year-on-year has caused boardrooms to recognise the dangers of hacking for companies' bottom lines, reputation, customer retention and employee confidence.

Except at Talk Talk...

Telecoms fail in UK takes down passport scanners in Australia

Alister Silver badge

a major telecom failure in the UK

I can't help thinking that if there were a "major telecoms failure" it might have impacted other things, which were noticeable. I'm not aware of anything else that fell over last night?

IBM CEO Ginni flouts £75 travel crackdown, rides Big Blue chopper

Alister Silver badge

Re: Nice, a Eurocopter Dauphin

But she's got the wrong one!

The registration says CFO, and she's CEO...

Windows Server's footprint shrunk to reduce Azure bills

Alister Silver badge

Re: Windows can fit onto 32GB

Good for you. My MS-DOS 6 can fit into 10MB...


WannaCrypt: Roots, reasons and why scramble patching won't save you now

Alister Silver badge

Watch your backup

We have spent the week fundamentally changing the way we manage our office networks, in order that we have some protection against Cryptolocker, WannaCry and other ransomware attacks.

Should we have done this before? YES

Could we have done this before? NO.

It's only due to the widespread publicity garnered by the WannaCry attack that our Directors and PHBs have been stung into releasing the necessary funding to allow us to do it.

Luckily, we've long had a plan ready to implement.

So our backups are now on a separate LAN, with no direct routing, and no SMB connectivity.

We've also restricted SMB between individual hosts on the LAN, and moved all non-essential hosts (directors' phones, laptops, tablets etc), to a separate WiFi network, with no access to the corporate LAN.

It makes life harder to do certain things, but it does mean that even if the boss's secretary clicks on an attachment, or a link in an email, we are probably going to survive it.

I'm feeling a lot more comfortable at the end of this week, than I was at the start of it.

Julian Assange wins at hide-and-seek game against Sweden

Alister Silver badge

Re: So, are the Swedes going to pay

The MPS has had a guard on the Ecuadorian Embassy door for some time and racked up considerable cost to the British Taxpayer. We did this because there was an arrest warrant for Assange (TM).

No, we did this because he had committed a crime in the UK, of failing to answer his bail conditions.

Now that they have just dropped the case, we are left with the bill. Shouldn't the Swedes pay the cost of this?

No, Assange should pay it, he's still wanted for the charge of failing to answer his bail.

Alister Silver badge

Re: he gurning twat is still a criminal


I'm not in favour of him being given a one-way ticket to the land of the free!.

However, he has never offered to pay back those loyal supporters who mistakenly stood bail for him, and he's never paid the money he promised to Chelsea Manning, and he seems to think he is above the law.

I am therefore quite in favour of him having to face the consequences of his actions in jumping bail.

Alister Silver badge

@ Voland's right hand

You misunderstood the passage you quoted:

Where bail is granted by the police and the defendant fails to surrender, the police may charge him as long as the charge is laid within six months of him failing to surrender, or three months of him surrendering to custody, being arrested or being brought before the court for the offence for which he is bailed, whichever is sooner - ss. 6(11) - (14) of the Bail Act 1976.

He was charged with it almost immediately, so there is no statute of limitations.

Also, whilst quoting, you conveniently forgot this bit:

Where a defendant has been bailed by the court and fails to surrender, the court may try him for that offence at any point after he has been brought before the court for that offence, irrespective of the length of time since he failed to surrender - s. 6(10) of the Bail Act 1976.

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