* Posts by John Brown (no body)

11824 posts • joined 21 May 2010

UK libraries dumped 11% of computers since 2010-11... everybody has one anyway, right?

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: British Government Library Plans A Disgrace

"The library in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, where my parents reside, it is hard to find out when the library is actually open. And it's facilities are minimal."

Maybe it's a regional or local council spending thing. Our main library and the local branch library is pretty much as you describe (but not open till 9pm, that's for sure!)

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: What support?

It does make one wonder how many of the "missing" library computers relate to now non-existent libraries as opposed to being actively removed from libraries.

As for GDPR compliance and hacking protection, the librarians, paid or voluntary don't do that. The PCs are usually installed an managed by the local or county council IT department.

Public disgrace: 82% of EU govt websites stalked by Google adtech cookies – report

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: The four great lies.


"Only a small number of users were affected"

"Data security is our number one priority"

"Lessons have been/will be learned"

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: GDPR is a cookie own-goal

""We value your privacy blabla". Bollocks, no you don't.

Of course they value your privacy. They value it at the level of access (or not) they will give to their site if you don't pay them with your valuable privacy. This is why they use the word "value" instead of "respect".

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Public sector bodies now have the opportunity to lead by example

Leading by example? Like the Police databases illegally containing DNA, fingerprints and photos of unconvicted people because it's "too difficult" to remove them?

College student with 'visions of writing super-cool scripts' almost wipes out faculty's entire system

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: It never happened

"I mean, a higher up who understood what what happen, total fantasy."

The story sounds to my like the PFY screwed up and his boss was the BOFH. "Higher up" is relative and doesn't always mean the PHB.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

"Redirect My Documents etc. Hide the C/D/E drives. Map a home drive to hold their crap. Do this early before they start filling the local drive with pish."

Ideally, so early that it was all pout in place when networking was introduced. In the real world, networks often grew organically as PCs were added. It might even be that the business grew enough that it became possible to standardise on make/model of PC, but all the network magic was set up back when networks specialists were expensive to hire and even more expensive to contract in. Or the company grew and bought other companies or was itself bought and each part of the various mergers over time all do things in their own way and no one knows how it all works, but it does, so don't "fix" it. If you do, it'll break or it will cost a lot. Or worse, both.

Only last year I was dealing with a large org with a fleet of 4,500 PCs and they were still doing imaging from a boot device (they had recently upgraded to USB sticks from DVDs), not over the network. There was a plan in place as they were about to upgrade everyone to Win10 and bought the relevant licences for network deployment.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

"I almost pulled the wrong drive out of a raid 5 array once on an on-site many years ago. You learn a lot from almost mistakes."

Arriving at a customers site at 7:30pm (yes, it was that urgent, out of hours rate) to replace a drive in a three drive array, there was only the security guy left on site. It was so important that no one with any authority bothered to stay behind to make sure everything went to plan. But someone had kindly pulled a the faulty drive out for me. Except the LEDs indicating activity or fault were to the LEFT of the drive, not the RIGHT.

I left a written note, countersigned by the security guy, telling them that without username/password or knowledge of their system I was unable to even touch their system without further authority in case of any data loss etc No way in hell was I putting the good drive back in and swapping the bad drive out in the hope that it might be alright.

When they called my boss in the morning, screaming and ranting, he told them in no uncertain terms that they were in the wrong and he'd be happy to terminate contract once they'd paid for the call out. Apparently it all went very quiet, before they agreed I would come out again and work with their IT guy to swap out the HDD once he had brought the degraded system back up.

Personally, I still to this day think there was something else going on with their system, something catastrophic, and we were being set up to fail and end up paying for data recovery or some such because theoretically it should have been a simple case of replacing the good drive and bringing the system back up with the RAID in a degraded state, at which point replacing the bad drive would instigate a rebuild. Or the IT guy had screwed up and was trying to cover his arse.

Oh, and once the bill was paid my boss cancelled the co tract with them.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Drive mirroring.

"Yeah, you know the old one. Replace the dud drive in a mirror set and accidentally mirror the new drive onto the existing data..."

Coming from a DOS/Windows background, experimenting with new installs just involved disabling the primary master "C" drive in the BIOS so the installer would see the other drive as a "C" and do the install. Fine, no issue. Then I started playing with FreeBSD. Moral of the story: Never assume an OS will honour the BIOS config settings and ignore "disabled" drives.

Luckily this was my own system and I did have a backup of my data.

What made a super high-tech home in Victorian England? Hydroelectric witchery, for starters

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Cragside, worth multiple visits

"Tip: At £19 per adult it’s pricey. If you are an Aussie National Trust member you get free entry under reciprocal rights. Minimum membership time applies."

Ditto for National Trust Scotland members and other too.

(I'll also mention, for anyone local enough to be on a day trip or staying self catering, there is an excellent, award winning butchers in Rothbury. Apart from the usual selection of meats being good quality, thay can also sell you zebra steaks, wild boar, ostrich, reindeer etc. (I still can't get my wife to try that last though. Probably because I insist on calling them Bambi Burgers - all the more for meeeeeee!))

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Archimedes

"So it both raises water and generates power?"

No, it's only used to generate power as the water flows down. It's never used to raise water, which was the original purpose of an Archimedes screw.


John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: More Armstrongery

"Wasn't the first railway on Teeside, (Stockton-Darlington), rather than Tyneside."

Yes, but built by the Geordie George Stevenson. Speaking of which, engineering geeks visiting the area might also like to visit the George Stephenson Railway Museum in New York, North Tyneside to see Killingworth Billy, the 3rd oldest surviving steam engine (older than Rocket!), and a trip over to Wylam where he was born

Geordie beer is shite too

Piss off! (And anyway, Newcastle Brown is now brewed by John Smiths in Tadcaster, Yorkshire so naturally the quality has dropped sharply.)

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Interesting

"(for harry potter Blackadder fans)"

You need to carry on a bit further North and West, past Coldstream to find the river Blackadder.

Click here to see the New Zealand livestream mass-murder vid! This is the internet Facebook, YouTube, Twitter built!

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: "to put blame on the technology"

"the media will have no choice but to mention it."

The media could choose NOT to report on the trial, other than the final verdict. We don't really need an hour by hour, blow by blow account of the trial. Anyone genuinely interested can look at the transcripts after it's all over. Despite what the media may think, and many have taken on board as a *need*, most news can wait a while. The media have made a rod for their own back with a perceived need to be first, even when they get it wrong because the speed of "publishing" meant they missed important facts.

The need to be "first" has reached such dizzying heights that we now get news stories about what some politician is going to say in a speech/announcement up to 24 hours in advance of the event.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: It's a two-sided sword

"That said, it didn't really surprise me that somebody would stream a shooting. In fact, it surprised me that it took so long. The technology has been here for years. All it took was for someone to go all the way to the end."

There are many more documented cases of "live" criminal acts on the likes of Periscope too.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: sad day

"Coming from Australia, a country that did not exist before immigration"

Not forgetting the ultimate hippocracy in that he himself was an immigrant to NZ having emigrated from OZ.

Welcome. You're now in a timeline in which US presidential hopeful Beto was a member of a legendary hacker crew

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

"I agree with you there. Just a few minutes ago, I was reading a post from someone who wouldn't vote for a Democrat. I was thinking when I read it, "Gee Bob, don't you look at POLICIES? Gotta use THINK instead of FEEL..."

Bob would vote for a Goat if it was standing against a Dem. Screw policies. Colour is all important whether it be Blue, Red or Orange!

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Nice

"Meh, he's still a DEMO[C,N}RAT and deserves to lose whatever election he runs in"

For someone who claims to be so clever, that's a pretty sad indictment of your thought processes.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Nice

"willing to elect anyone with a good haircut who toes the company line."

Yes, if that really is him in the photo, then he's gone for the standard "look". Business shirt, open neck, no tie and sleeves rolled up. Just like they all do when they want to show they just like the "common people". With his pedigree of punk and hacking, I'd think he might try just a little harder to not look quite so much like a cookie cutter establishment pol.

Blighty's most trusted brand? Yeah, you wish, judge tells Post Office in Horizon IT system ruling

John Brown (no body) Silver badge


But he also vowed to appeal against the judgment, alleging there were "areas around the interpretation of our contracts where the judge's conclusions differ from what we expected from a legal standpoint".

Hey mate! You're a fucking CEO, The judge is, well, a judge. I know who's legal opinion carries more weight. Hint, it's not that of a CEO.

Mayors having a right 'mare in Florida: Acting mayor arrested weeks after boss also arrested

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: What, no impeachment?

Not really, no. In most countries, and I'm assuming in the US too, only the head of state has any level of immunity. (and maybe close friends where the head of state can either influence the judicial process or just have the relevant people shot to make it go away.

'Naut trio successfully dock at ISS after Soyuz rocket goes all the way

John Brown (no body) Silver badge


"There was a bit too much separation going on, Shirley?"

They'll go to guidance counselling and get back together in no time.

How many Reg columnists does it take to turn off a lightbulb?

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Long way around the barn!

"the only place in the hotel that was air conditioned was the bar"

To be fair, aircon can be an expensive addition considering the limited use it will get in the UK. Especially in the north west like Stockport. Offering free umbrellas would be a more cost effective and useful add-on for hotels.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Long way around the barn!

"I get power is expensive,"

It's all part the Big Green Machine. By forcing off power to unoccupied rooms, they increase their green credentials. It might even be in the building specs for new builds or when old builds or being upgraded/re-wired.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Significant difference

...and Reaction Engines move a step closer to a possible space plane power plant. Although it's looking more like it might be a Boeing space place going up to the "wheel in space" rather than a PanAm </Blue Da nube> :-)

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Fiat Lux

"Though I did once have to turn the telly off at the wall on walking into a hotel room."

Speaking of SF coming true, just wait till you end up in a cheap hotel partially subsidised by the advertisers with a mandated, hard wired, armoured TV that automatically comes on to show you ads.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: mars and marathon

"Marathon bars - thank you. None of those millenial snickers things."

I must admit, I agree with you too a point. But millennial? It;s been Snickers for almost 30 years now you old fart! :-)

Note. I'm still not sure what a millennial is. Some people say it's those who became adults at the millennial, others say it's those born since then. If the former, then millennials are in their mid to late 30's now, which doesn't feel quite right.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: What is it with hotels?

"I actually now prefer the minimalism of Travelodge, "

Back when I was the "troubleshooter", I was usually in hotels at least four nights per week, sometimes 5 if I had to be a long way from home by 9am Monday. I preferred the Travelodge chains and their clones because it was quite rare I'd be in the same one two nights in a row. I might forget which town I'm in when I first wake up in the morning, but everything in the room is where I expect to find it. Likewise, it might not be top notch, but you know what to expect and it'll be clean, unlike booking some random independent hotel which looks lovely in the brochure or on the website and then you find Basil Fawlty's brother runs it.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Long way around the barn!

"(its the cornering, low centre of gravity; that and the decoying us with sunglasses and some Bio Oil)"

Clever toddler. Not only a disguise, but smeared in oil so you can't grab him/her. S/he'll go far! Excellent planning skills and brilliant execution.

Brit prisoners to be kept on the straight and narrow with JavaScript and CSS

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: It's been done before...

"How does that square up with the fact every single job I have ever applied for has a nice little section that asks "Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence" or words to that effect (sometimes they add "In the last 5 years"). And these are your run of the mill tech jobs, nothing special or security sensitive."

Depending on the crime and the sentence, you may not have to declare past convictions. The rehabilitation of offenders Act defines when convictions are "spent" and you no longer have to declare them. They may or may not show up in criminal records checks (enhanced or standard), depending on why the check is being done. (I've worked with people in this situation)

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: It's been done before...

"but how many people have computers at home these days?"

Pretty much anyone who left school in the last 10 years will have the basics of using a computer already in their skillset, like reading and writing. And even many who left school up to 20 years ago may well have had at least some exposure to using computers at school

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: of the 70 offenders who had taken part in the programme, none had gone on to reoffend

But on a more serious note, they really want this scheme to succeed so the inmates chosen are very strongly vetted for suitability. I wonder if the vetting has more to do with the lack of re-offending than the subject matter of the course? Would using the exact same methods of selection and training but for, say, machine operators, or woodworking etc give the same re-offending rate?

A relative who used to to do prison education said it was very poorly funded, and with little to no follow up. This course sounds very, very different to the run of the mill prison education

All good, leave it with you...? Chap is roped into tech support role for clueless customer

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: What about the social tech support requests

"I usually say "I'm an office admin assistant". Which ain't no lie as I'm a sysadmin, assist my users and am based in an office."

Nice one! Field service engineer here, and I'm very civil to people. I think I'll starting telling people I'm a civil engineer :-)

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: I have ended up helping the field engineers that are proudly billiing me...

I don't remember all the discussions but I do recall the engineer saying "Thank you, I really had no idea any of these tools existed. This will be very useful on some of my other sites"

Training, or the lack thereof, is rife in the industry, although I'm surprised it's the same with IBM (not the IBM of yore though). One of the vendors I deal with only offer online video "training". You can't touch their stuff until you pass their exams. And if you employer won't stump up for some kit to play with, then the first you see of the kit in real life is when you roll up to a customers site to fix something.

(it's possible they offer proper training too, but I'm not aware of it and no way is my employer going to spend real money on proper training.)

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: "While you're here, could you just..."

"Plus had anyone gotten electrocuted at any point in the future you'd likely be held criminally liable - no PAT test, no current testing qualifications, no calibrated test kit, no public liability insurance etc."

Once went to a site to quote for replacing a broken network cable from one end of an office to another. Had a look and quoted then £300. They gasped. I pointed out that we don't run network cables under carpets that people walk on and we would be installing and routing trunking up and down walls and through the ceiling void. We'd also not be going anywhere near the old cable as it ran parallel to a main cable that was so worn you could almost see the copper showing through the coloured wires (the outer was already gone in places.) and we'd not even be able to start the job until that mains cable was removed what with it being it being a safety hazard and all. This was a fairly large company. The owner had his own helicopter. At least we figured out how he could afford it. Bloody penny pinchers.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: "While you're here, could you just..."

It's really sad how many people take pride in not understanding "technology". Especially sad when it's something in the *user* manual and they are the *users*.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Have you ever ended up being roped into doing more tech support than you’d bargained for?

"director of a Russian bank...our company loaned her a PC."

This is how the rich stay rich. They never spend money they don't absolutely have to.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: What?

"That shit happened to me five times a day, for five days a week, for seven and a half years as a field service engineer."

Ditto, and, of course, it's my job. But only of it's actually covered by the contract. Hardware only, and if it's a PC we supplied, we'll install the OEM generic image of the OS if they insist on it when an HDD is replaced. 99 times out of a 100, that's a pointless exercise for them and me. Luckily for me, these days we primarily deal with larger customers who have IT departments and network installable images for which I, as an external contractor, am rarely given credentials for.

And, from the article "Do the words “just in case“ also fill you with foreboding?"

In my case, the words I dread most are "While you are here...". Having said that, if it's something I can deal with, it's on contract and I have the parts, great, I'll book the job, do it, and save myself a trip for tomorrow and up my ob count for the day with little effort.

Bombs Huawei... Smartphone exploded in my daughter's pocket, seriously burning her, claims dad in lawsuit

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Original charger (or at least a good one)?

"Most people plug their junk into any old power source they can find."

Ouch! Is that one of the more niche channels on PornHub? Or do you subscribe to Torturers'R'Us?

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: "Well, that, at least is the claim."

"Big assumption in this case. Not wanting to trivialise it but, in the absence of any other similar incidents, I'm inclined to be a little sceptical on this claim: the US legal system more or less invites this kind of suit."

Likewise, but I was more concerned about the description of the injuries and the supposition that the claim is likely be only $25,000. Either the injury is very, very minor or there's a comma and group of 3 zeros mission from the figure.

Yes! Pack your bags! Blossoming planetary system strikingly similar to ours found by boffins

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: reflection

"Of course, that wouldn't explain their perception of it being 470 LY away though."

Easy! Light obviously travels more slowly through dark matter!

Forget that rare-earth element crunch – we can now just extract them from industrial waste

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Buy ethical, buy Canadian bioleached REE

"Canada has neodymium, praseodymium, lithium, zirconium, beryllium, niobium and tantalum"

Was it just me that "heard" that part of the comment in a sing-song "element song" voice?

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: mildly radioactive?

Could we then use biotechnology both for refining uranium ore, and isotope separation? Enrichment? That'd be good for a laugh."

We probably don't want to be breeding bacteria capable of withstanding hard radiation. It might mutate. The last thing this world needs is trillions of microscopic bacteria with assorted superpowers.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: So that's why my iPad is getting slower

"My first reaction was this doesn't affect single-storey buildings"

Bugger! I should have scrolled down and realised I'd already been gazumped!

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: So that's why my iPad is getting slower

And considering the shite that most people end up storing in that little dark cupboard under the apple and pears, there might well be a mining opportunity there.

Can't do it the US way? Then we'll do it Huawei – and roll our own mobile operating system

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Dirty minds

"I think it can largely be taken as read that anything the US (or any of the 5-eyes for that matter) is accusing others of, they only thought of because they are already doing it themselves!"

Of all the 5-eyes, only the US seem to be having a problem with and are accusing Huawei. Threats to reduce intelligence sharing are not likely to have any effect, since the US seem to rather reluctant to share their intelligence on Huawei. The other 5-eyes are not being given this vital information and after investigating, don't seem to be able to find it for themselves. The obvious conclusion is that the US are not sharing or don't actually have the proof. Either option is pretty damning.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Open source

"Bet it doesn't use 8-inch floppies..."

Nah, too big for a phone, won't fit in a pocket. But it might be thin enough to satisfy the current fad.

Facebook blames 'server config change' for 14-hour outage. Someone run that through the universal liar translator

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

"Then again, in many ways, FB is more secretive than the NSA."

Yes, its their new "Privacy First" regime. Their privacy, obviously, hence the minimal PR over the outage.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

"but I get the feeling it was something I said."

Maybe some people don't have unlimited data or near constant access to free WiFi?

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

"I'm no fan of Facebook, but moaning about a free "service" being down is a bit much? "

It was also a 14 hour outage for the paying customers, ie the advertisers.

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