* Posts by usbac

116 posts • joined 4 Oct 2010

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Amazon Key door-entry flaw: No easy fix to stop rogue couriers burgling your place unseen

usbac

"What I would suggest to Amazon is to incorporate local storage to cache video, and log lock activity, until the [Wi-Fi] signal is restored. It's not a perfect fix – a bad guy can just continue DoS'ing until the storage fills up or cycles through – but it would increase the complexity to exploitation significantly."

Why wouldn't the thief just take the obvious looking camera with them? I mean if you are set up the jam the wireless, you would be expecting to see a camera mounted somewhere pointing at the door, right?

These "security researchers" make a suggestion like this, but really didn't think it through, did they. I hope they aren't going to be doing our next security audit!!!

3
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Essex drone snapper dealt with by police for steamy train photos

usbac

"Only our team of highly trained authorised pilots and specialist-approved contractors are permitted to fly drones near the railway. It's just too dangerous for anyone else to fly a drone near the railway and you could face a penalty of up to £2,500."

So, in other words: We need to protect our cushy revenue sharing agreement we have with the ''approved contractors''.

I get it!

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20

Support team discovers 'official' vendor paper doesn't rob you blind

usbac

Re: The story is ...

@ Mike Dimmick

"They decided to encode the product price in the reduction barcode as well as the product code."

Not a good idea for another reason. It would have taken me about 30 seconds to figure out how to get big discounts on stuff from that store. Print my own bar-code labels!

I write code for printing bar-codes as part of my job. I can actually read several symbologies just by looking at them (sad isn't it).

7
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Beach, please... Billionaire VC finally opens way to waves

usbac

Have an upvote.

I think that's where the "up to $20 million" part of the article comes from. It mentions that the fine would be $4.1M per year.

10
0

Vibrating walls shafted servers at a time the SUN couldn't shine

usbac

Re: Wind!!!

@ JamesPond

Being the military, I would think they have ways of dealing with an "inconvenient building"!

6
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IT fraudster facing four years' bird time for $10k blackmail

usbac

Re: Why did he do it though? Pure dicketry?

A similar situation, but in reverse, happened to me recently.

The company I work for purchased another smaller company that was having financial difficulties, and about to go bankrupt. Apparently, this deal was in the works for months. The first I hear about it is when the executives come to me and ask me to get the domain moved over to us, and to get the phone numbers ported.

About this time I find out that they just received their second disconnect notice for their phones. Here in the US, once a number is disconnected, you lose the phone number forever, and it can't be ported. They knew about this deal for months, but didn't tell me about any of it until way late. Fortunately, our VOIP provider was able to get the porting request through in less than 24 hours, and we were able to keep the numbers.

The domain was a bigger problem. This company didn't have any in house IT staff, and relied on a small IT service firm that was local to them. When they had this firm register the domain for them, the owner of the IT service firm registered it to himself. Not the best way to handle things, but not a big problem. At least that was what I thought. It turns out that while the company was having financial problems, they failed to pay the IT firm. About $13K to be exact.

At this point I figure there is going to be lawyers and lawsuits involved to get the domain name back. And, I would kind of understand the IT contractor wanting to get paid before handing over the domain name. So I decide to take a shot at resolving this myself. I called the owner of this IT firm (Jay), and presented it as IT guy to IT guy just trying to solve the problem. It turns out that Jay is a very professional and honest guy. His response was "no problem, how can I help?" He was very helpful getting the domain registered to us. Frankly, even though I consider myself a very ethical person, I'm not sure I would have been so cooperative when someone owed me $13K! I, many years ago ran my own IT contracting company, and people stiffing me was one of the reasons I don't anymore.

After getting everything worked out, I go to our CEO to update him on where everything is. He was very worried earlier when I told him the domain was registered to the IT contractor that was owed a lot of money. When I explained that Jay was very cooperative, our CEO was surprised. He made a comment about not many people that honest around anymore. He told me to give Jay his email address and have Jay send him the outstanding invoices. He said he would tell accounting to pay Jay what he is owed.

Our CEO is a very good guy. That's why I still work here. I could make a lot more money elsewhere, but one needs to look at the big picture. When you work for someone that respects you, and trusts you, it makes a big difference. This is the same guy that took a sizable personal pay cut to avoid having to layoff anyone during the recession.

This whole story is a good example of why doing the right thing should always the way to go.

28
0

Connect at mine free Wi-Fi! I would knew what I is do! I is cafe boss!

usbac

Re: Just another attempt

I agree, I don't understand the fuss. When you send any data out onto "The Internet", it is by definition insecure. I don't see why using public Wi-Fi, secured or not, is less secure than using the internet from home.

Once the packet leaves your house, it can be intercepted. Period. Whether you send that packet from your own router/access point doesn't really matter.

If you are connecting to a server or share on your own private network with your own Wi-Fi, then of course you want the Wi-Fi to be secured. Otherwise, outside of your network, it really doesn't matter if the Wi-Fi is encrypted. As others have pointed out the hotel owner could be packet sniffing.

3
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US government: We can jail you indefinitely for not decrypting your data

usbac

Does the govnernment even read their own briefs?

It points out that in other cases, people have been held for contempt of court for nearly seven years, and cites the appeals court verdict that "no temporal limitation on the amount of time that a contemnor can be confined for civil contempt when it is undisputed that the contemnor has the ability to comply with the underlying order."

How is it "undisputed" if he says he can't remember the password? How can the authorities prove that he could remember the password if he wanted to, and thus claim that his ability is "undisputed"?

Also, how can they have hashes for encrypted files? If the files are encrypted, the hashes would also be garbage. This sounds like law enforcement using buzzwords to bullshit a judge. Somehow I don't think the supreme court justices are going to fall for that.

This case could set some very dangerous precedents. This is getting into the though crimes idea.

106
1

Private sub captain changes story, now says reporter died, was 'buried at sea' – torso found

usbac

Re: Personally

I've been in several private submarines. Atlantis Submarines operate tours in several tropical areas. Granted they are corporate owned, but they are not "publicly", as in government owned.

I highly recommend taking a tour in one. I can't dive due to some medical reasons, so it makes for a very fun way to see the underwater world.

2
0

DJI's Spark drones to be bricked by September 1 unless firmware updated

usbac

It's a shame

The technology in DJI's drones is very impressive. I was considering the purchase of an Inspire for aerial photography, but wouldn't touch anything from DJI after this.

I have this strange, possibly old fashioned idea that if I pay money for something, it's mine. Disabling a product after purchase is on very shaky legal ground. I will have to ask my lawyer about this the next time I see him.

I'm sure here in the US this would be grounds for a class action lawsuit. Even if the EULA grants them the authority to do this, I don't think a court will side with them. It would be hard to get 12 regular people off of the street to agree that a corporation (especially a foreign one) can disable an expensive toy without refunding the purchase price.

I would love to see the FTC demand that DJI buy back every bricked drone at the retail price.

10
1

Sputtering bit-blasters! IBM's just claimed densest tape ever record

usbac

Re: Long live tape !

@Lee D

I really don't understand all of the down-votes. They must all be from Millennials that have never tried to recover a server from a tape!

I've been working in IT for about 25 years now. I can count the number of times I have SUCCESSFULLY restored data from a tape on two hands with fingers left over! The number of times I've tried to recover data from a tape probably numbers in the hundreds (I used to work for an IT consulting company).

On one occasion, we had three backups of a server. Each one ran a successful verify pass. Not one of the three would run a complete restore. Not one! The WORN concept is so very true.

People that are relying on tape are fooling themselves. At my current employer, we don't use tape at all. We have other solutions for offline storage (removable hard drives in a fireproof safe, along with offsite backups that are also offline).

I've been burned way too many times by tape failures to ever rely on it again. It seems like as the density increases, an already unreliable medium is only getting worse.

0
11

User filed fake trouble tickets to take helpful sysadmin to lunches

usbac

Re: Has a customer ever apologised to you?

@phuzz,

Years ago I worked in IT for one of the larger hotel/casinos here. Because of the design of the place, the shortcut to the other side of the casino was through the kitchen complex.

People might be surprised to know that large hotels and casinos try to make most food items in house. We had a large bakery within the kitchen complex. Our bakery manager had an old PC that was a total piece of crap. She had been trying to get a new PC for over a year. I was fairly new at my job there, and was just trying to take good care of our users. I've always looked at the job of IT being a kind of internal customer service. So, I went to the director of food and beverage, who for some reason I seemed to get along with very well*, and asked for a new PC for the bakery manager. He approved the purchase, and I ordered her a nice new PC.

The hallways of the kitchen complex there were usually lined with bakery carts (about 5 feet tall with a dozen or more shelves) each loaded with pastries. After getting her new PC, the bakery manager told me to help myself to what's on the bakery carts any time I happen to be taking the short cut through the kitchens. I must have gained 20 pounds while working there!

* I always took very good care of the food and beverage department. Mostly because the director was a really nice guy and always appreciated what the IT department did for him. He started with the company as a line cook, and worked his way up to be the director. He knew what it was like to work hard. He would also comp dinners for my wife and myself at the high end restaurants regularly too,

17
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SQL Server 2017's first rc lands and – yes! – it runs on Linux

usbac

I see this as a good thing, and actually have a use for it.

My long term goal is to get Windows completely out of our enterprise. Getting all of our desktops on Linux isn't completely viable yet. We are getting close, but I can't quite make it happen. Windows 10 Spyware Edition has accelerated this move, however.

Where we can get rid of Windows is in the data center. We've been able to get most of our servers over to Linux. We do however have some legacy systems that require SQL Server for their back end. With SQL Server available for Linux, we can get almost all of our Windows servers migrated.

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The curious case of a Tesla smash, Autopilot blamed, and the driver's next-day U-turn

usbac

@wolfetone

In every airplane I have ever flown, applying a certain amount pressure (it varies a little by aircraft) to flight controls, disengages the autopilot. You can make course/altitude/climb rate/decent rate/etc changes without disengaging the autopilot, but you have to use either the autopilot controls, or in same cases (course changes) you can do it from the Nav gear.

0
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Security robot falls into pond after failing to spot stairs or water

usbac

My Roomba can't detect our stairs. We had to put one of the little beacon thingies at the top of the stairs. It's a very normal set of stairs, but Roomba took a tumble down the stairs twice before we installed the beacon. So much for AI.

It looks like this thing was about as good at it as my Roomba...

1
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Stop this crazy crusade! Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon scold FCC over net neutrality

usbac

The fix is already in

Everyone is just wasting a bunch of time and money trying to stop this. It's obvious to anyone that Pai is in the pocket of the large telcos. He's not going to go against the wishes of his corporate masters. They paid a lot of money to get his "support", he can't disappoint them...

Since when has any elected official (and especially appointed ones) done anything good for consumers, and acted against their corporate masters?

14
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Blunder down under: self-driving Aussie cars still being thwarted by kangaroos

usbac

Re: Obvious solution

@schmerg

"There used to be stories of roos travelling at high speed "crossing the road" and happening to land on top of a car and caving in the roof. A modern car roof should be able to withstand that I'd guess, but I'm guessing a collision with the windscreen would still be serious enough."

You just don't want to be driving a convertible! Especially true with the top down.

4
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Florida Man to be fined $1.25 per robocall... all 96 million of them

usbac

Notice that the complaints weren't investigated by the FCC until it started to effect companies with deep pockets (or perhaps, expensive lobbyists).

Our complaints never get addressed! Our government only exits to serve their corporate masters now.

33
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Bankrupt school ITT pleads 'don't let Microsoft wipe our cloud data!'

usbac

Re: Other media options are available.

@stephanh

This reminds me of something that happened years ago (late 80's I think, I was about 14 at the time). My mother worked for an organization that was an offshoot of our county government. They were starting a large project to build a geographic information system (GIS) of all of the land parcels in the county. The project was quite a thing in the 80's, as they needed to purchase a mainframe, and some very high-end graphic workstations.

They contacted the government of the largest city in the county $BigCity and offered to share the database if they would contribute money or manpower to the project. They declined, not very politely.

About two years go by, and after finding their own funding, the project was finished. Along comes lawyers for $BigCity using a law that since tax payers money was used to create the database, they claimed they were entitled to a copy of the database. Lots of legal wrangling ensued, and it ended up with the lawyers for my mom's organization saying that in fact they did need to give them a copy of the database.

About that time, mom's boss and his wife were over for dinner, and they are complaining about losing the issue. Me, being kind of a smart-ass teenage geek, I suggest they hex dump the database on many boxes of green bar paper, using the worst old printer ribbon they could find. This would meet the legal requirement that they give them the database, I argued?

It turns out that is what they did! Mom's boss invited me over to watch box after box print. We all stood around laughing our asses off as it printed. They even grabbed an old ribbon out of the trash. I was there when John called the city to tell them their copy of the database was ready, just come and pick it up...

9
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DJI: Register your drones or no more cool flying vids for you

usbac

Re: Disposable email address

I'm a law abiding citizen, and a licensed pilot. I would still use a fake email and address. The reason: IT"S NONE OF DJI'S FUCKING BUSINESS!!!

Simple as that!

4
2

UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

usbac

Re: Surprises?

@Blotto

When we converted to VOIP, we set up physical IP phones, and put them and the VOIP servers on their own network segment firewalled off from the corporate network. We're talking about a separate physical network, not VLANS! The VOIP trunks have their own path to the internet.

The firewall between networks only allows for an HTTPS connection originating from the corporate LAN to the VOIP servers for administration. And that's only allowed from two workstations.

All of the IP phones are POE, and the POE switches are powered by an enterprise class 17KVA UPS.

If our data network goes down, we still have phones!

4
0

IP Freely? Mr IP Freely? VoIP-for-suits firm battens down hatches after PBX data breach

usbac

Re: Soo... I was the one that reported this.

Agreed!

We do business with Sangoma, and have nothing but high praise.

1
0

WD unveils grown-up USB stick in My Passport slab form

usbac

Re: Sigh....

The first hard drive I ever installed was a Shugart 5MB MFM drive. I remember having to burn a custom EPROM to tell the controller card how control the drive. The controller had about 40 ICs on it.

This was installed in an IBM XT where we removed one floppy driver to install the HUGE 5MB drive!

That was around 1983/1984?

0
0

WikiLeaks exposes CIA anti-forensics tool that makes Uncle Sam seem fluent in enemy tongues

usbac

Re: Obscure comments

As a developer myself, I wish I could up-vote you 100 times!

4
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FYI anyone who codes outside work: GitHub has a contract to stop bosses snatching it all

usbac

Re: 'Murica

Sharks won't work. They are not cannibals!

1
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usbac

Re: Interesting, but..

@ Flocke Kroes

I had a similar situation once. I worked for a small local IT consulting company. We got purchased by a larger company out of California. My boss (the former owner) came around with a stack of contracts for each of us to sign for the new company. One of the things included was a non-compete contract.

I told my manager I would not sign it. He responded "but, you have to". I told him "fire me, I'm not signing it". It turned out that he just told the new owners that I had signed everything.

About a year later we had a very unpleasant and adversarial parting of ways. There were several large customers that approached me and wanted to retain my services, so I started my own business. Cue the legal threats from the parent company. Fortunately for me, my grandfather was a lawyer. He sent them a letter demanding they produce the claimed non-compete agreement (knowing damn well that they didn't have it). Of course they couldn't.

Once they discovered that they didn't have the non-compete, they started making legal threats against my customers, claiming they had the non existing non-compete agreement. These customers were big enough that they weren't going to back down. Also, my grandfather threatened to sue them for making false claims and attempting to damage my business (along with slander, defamation, etc.).

My leaving the company was not out of malice (nor my idea). If they didn't treat their employees like shit, none of this would have happened. The former owner was a very nice guy and we worked together well for many years. We were even friends outside of work. The new owner was a complete dick. In the end, about a year later, they were out of business. I ended up taking on several more of their customers.

1
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Barrister fined after idiot husband slings unencrypted client data onto the internet

usbac

Re: Indeed

@ Pascal Monett

I used to do a lot of IT work for lawyers. It always amazed me that lawyers that charge clients $300-$500 per hour, were cheap SOB's when it comes to paying for IT support. The only clients I ever got stiffed by were lawyers. Good luck collecting from them!

They have the attitude that their time is worth X, and no one else's time it worth anything.

14
1

Fire brigade called to free man's bits from titanium ring's grip

usbac

Re: I keep seeing these

Yes, but (from the linked article):

"Your jeweler won’t be able to help you if you have stainless steel, cobalt chrome or titanium. These super hard metals are much harder than gold and platinum and that very hardness causes some to say they are a dangerous choice for rings."

So, an angle grinder is still about the only option.

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usbac

Re: Unusual

I wouldn't reconsider that choice.

I really wish I had chosen to be a fireman instead of working in IT. If I were a fireman, I would have been retired years ago (at 45) making about $20K a year more than I do now!

Running into a burning building, or fixing someone's virus infected Windows nightmare, a tough choice? I know a guy that's a fireman. He actually feels bad for IT people. He says he wouldn't trade jobs with me!

It's too late for me now.

Bruce

5
0

Microsoft wants you to plan a new generation of legacy systems

usbac

Re: @Duncan Macdonald Factory automation

@Arctic Fox

I understand completely. I just a few weeks ago loaded two new/referb PCs with Win XP for the wife. Both were for their HPLCs. Their software won't work on Windows 7 or above due to special hardware and drivers. Both HPLCs work totally fine, and would be over $80K each to replace.

Both are networked to be able to print to network printers and to offload data, but they were told not to browse the internet from these PCs. Not much of a problem since they only have IE6, and most of the internet in inaccessible anyway.

They also have several GC/MS's that are XP only. They are in the neighborhood of $120K each to replace. Many of these device live on for decades past the end of support for their Windows OS. It's too bad all of the instrument manufacturers don't make a Linux version of the software. It would be easier to support.

2
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College fires IT admin, loses access to Google email, successfully sues IT admin for $250,000

usbac

Re: "African American"

I used to work with a very intelligent young IT guy. He was about 20-21. He had just moved to the US from South Africa. He was about as pale-while as you can get.

When he started applying for financial aid to go to college, he noted his race on the financial aid form as "African-American"*. Later, when he was interviewed, they said "you are not African-American, you are white". They even went so far as to try to prosecute him for falsifying documents.

My lawyer grandfather got involved. He really hated all of this politically-correct bullshit, and told the school that he would love to try this case in court. He said he would like to see them prove that he isn't African-American. He wanted to get it into the local newspaper. Sadly, they just wanted to brush it under the rug.

* You see, in the US, if you belong to certain race groups, you get preferential treatment for financial aid for college. Apparently, racism and discrimination is okay as long as it goes along with the politically correct agenda.

2
0
usbac

Re: Article Headline a bit misleading...

My grandfather was a lawyer, and he told me several times that default judgements are usually easy to get set aside. Any decent lawyer will do this. Especially if the case was tried out of the defendant's area.

In the US, plaintiffs usually have to file the case in the defendant's jurisdiction. In this case, there may have been a clause in the employment agreement between the admin and the school that allowed them to sue in the school's jurisdiction. These kinds of clauses can also be ruled invalid (state employment law may have rules that override this).

I've won default judgements, and never was able to collect. No one wants to enforce them. Try to get the police to enforce a default judgement.

1
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Mr Angry pays taxman with five wheelbarrows worth of loose change

usbac

I have to agree. My first thought was that the guy is a bit of an ass.

However, as anyone that has been on the receiving end of any kind of bureaucracy knows, it's easy to get very worked up when dealing government dickheads. Rational thought goes out the door when trying to deal with some of these people.

12
1

Don't pay up to decrypt – cure found for CryptXXX ransomware, again

usbac

A solution to the idiots that pay the ransom

Make it illegal to pay the ransom. Something along the lines of "accessory to a criminal act". Business should face imprisonment for paying.

If the money source dries up, the criminals will move on to something else.

7
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Europe trials air-traffic-control-over-IP-and-satellite

usbac

Re: Am I missing something here?

@ An0n C0w4rd

I agree completely. As a pilot and an IT person, I shutter to think about how many times I've clicked "next" through various "wizards" without even reading the dialog.

Now consider the same kind of situation in an aviation context. When operating in busy airspace, especially when IFR, maintaining your instrument scan, running checklists, and keeping aircraft control, the idea if just pressing the okay/acknowledge button would be easy to do without comprehending the instruction. Most non-pilots may not know that many ATC instructions require a full repeat of the instructions given by ATC. With a verbal read-back, you have to at least think about the instruction.

I also agree to the above comment about situational awareness. I have on two occasions been given instructions from controllers that put me on a collision path with another aircraft. Both times each of us realized it in time to change course, due to hearing the instruction to the other aircraft. This cross-check will be lost.

This sound like a disaster in the making.

1
1

This is your captain speaking ... or is it?

usbac

I don't think even the worst terrorists are that truly cruel!

0
0

Facebook's internet drone crash-landed after wing 'deformed' in flight

usbac

Re: Recurrent theme?

@AC

I was going to make a similar comment. The problem is bad autopilot code. Every pilot is trained from day one that you don't correct glideslope with pitch. Whoever wrote the autopilot code should have had at least a basic understanding of how to fly a plane!!

It's a problem that plagues the whole software industry. I've worked in IT for about 25 years now, and lost count of how many times I've wondered if the people that wrote a piece of software have any knowledge of what the people that use the software actually do.

It's funny, I'm a software developer and a pilot. I'm also not current, for the exact same reason, too poor!

4
0

Bluetooth-enabled safe lock popped after attackers win PINs

usbac

@d3vy

I agree to all of the above. Especially the remote start.

With remote start, I don't have to tromp through a foot of snow to get to the car, start it, turn on all of the defrost settings, and then leave the car running in the driveway with the keys in it. I also don't track all of that snow back into the house on my return. On my SUV the remote start is smart enough to read the outside temperature, and then decide to turn on max AC or max heat/defrost.

At first I thought remote start was just a gimmick, but now I love it!

2
0

Trend Micro AV nukes innocent Sharepoint code, admins despair

usbac

Re: Killed SharePoint?

It shows their anti-virus works. It detected the "SharePoint" virus, and cleaned it!

Problem solved.

8
1

Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

usbac

Re: Well...

Using TAB is fine and great until you get to a web form like my banks. Somehow, some idiot web designer laid out the form such that you have to press TAB FIVE f**ing times to get from the username to the password box!!

I somehow think their web designer is the reach for the mouse type.

16
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Imagine every mistake you can make with a new software rollout...

usbac

Re: SO VERY TRUE!

It really can be done right.

Several years ago, we needed to replace our primary system (ERP/Accounting/etc.). We researched vendors extensively. Once the top three vendors were chosen, we involved each department lead in the demos.

Once the vendor was chosen, we had the software company send technical people, not sales people, for a week of training/gap analysis. During these sessions, EVERY SINGLE employee that would ever need to use the system attended the meetings and ere allowed to ask any questions they wanted. The software company wasn't terribly thrilled about all of this, but if they wanted to make a six-figure deal on software, they didn't have a choice.

The result of all of this was that three days after deployment, almost all of our staff was working productively. The up front costs of doing things this way paid off big in the end. The senior management of our company is very supportive of the IT department, and their support helped make for such a successful project. Ti's really too bad management at other companies just doesn't get it.

We run our company with about 50% of the staff that other similar companies in the same industry would have. We do this through very good systems and good management of these systems. Fortunately for us, ownership of the company knows this. That's why they support IT so much. They see the value, not just the cost.

7
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Veeam kicks Symantec's ass over unpatentable patents

usbac

Patentable?

If all of these patents were shot down by the USPTO, why in the hell were they issued in the first place?

It looks like they approve anything applied for, and then wait for the courts to sort them out?

10
0

Hell Desk's 800 number was perfect for horrible heavy-breathing harassment calls

usbac

Slightly off topic, but...

Many years ago I worked the graveyard shift at one of our local network affiliate TV stations. I was there to record programming that came down from the satellites late at night for airing the next day.

It was a very boring job, so me being the very curious sort, started exploring the station. I decided to check out the news set. I thought it would be cool to see what it would be like to be a news anchor on the set.

Sitting at the desk, I noticed there was a phone just below the top of the desk. Now, this being the era of Centrex phone systems, all extensions actually had outside numbers attached. Someone had the forethought to turn the ringer off on this phone. Being the helpful sort that I am, I decided that someone might want to call them sometime, and that they wouldn't know about it, so I should be helpful and turn the ringer back on. I also jotted down the phone number for that extension.

Several nights later (and, remember I was very young at the time) I'm at home eating dinner and watching the 6:00 news, and decided this was the time! I grabbed the phone and dialed the number. It was hysterical!!! Both news anchors were sitting there and all of a sudden, ring, ring, ring... They both looked at each other with this horrified look of what do we do? Finally one of them sheepishly answered the phone. I started "I would like to order a large pepperoni pizza with..."

You should have seen the look! I so wished that I had the VCR running. Thank god no caller ID in those days. I think some people suspected it was me, but no one was sure.

The stupid stuff we do in our youth.

19
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The new FCC privacy rules are here, and nobody is happy

usbac

Re: Partisan lines?

It's really simple:

BOTH parties are power crazed, bought-and-paid-for sleezebags that don't give a flying fuck about ANY of the people that elected them!

The republicans would sell us all out to big business, and watch cheerfully while we are being anally-raped by the mega-corps, all the while sending our jobs overseas.

And, the democrats would take most (or better yet, all) of our income and hand it out to people that don't want to work. After all, someone has to pay for the free housing, free groceries, free health care, free internet, free cell phone, etc.

Neither party has the best interests of working middle class people in mind. We desperately need a viable third party. But, the one thing both the republican party, and democratic party can agree on, is that they can't allow a third party to get established. And, they both work very hard to keep it that way. Notice that none of the other parties were allowed into the debates!

0
2

Casino cops are coming if we can't move all this cash in a hurry

usbac

Unfortunately I don't think so. Having worked IT for a very large casino myself, I can tell you that they pay shit, treat you like something worse than shit, and expect you to live there 24/7. If you have the "nerve" to go home to sleep a few hours every few days, "you are not a team player".

After 26 years in IT, that was the very worst job I have ever had. To see the pallets of cash coming in every day, then to get paid crap and treated like property, you want to get out of this hell on about your second day there!.

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WTF ... makes mobile phone batteries explode?

usbac

Re: Dense energy storage can be dangerous...

Just remember what happens when a phaser overloads!! Very bad news.

10
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You shrunk the database into a .gz and the app won't work? Sigh

usbac

Re: Replace tape

@ Zippy's Sausage Factory

This is a little bit off-topic, but still relates to tapes...

Way back in the mid 80's I was in school in Los Angeles to be a recording engineer. Our school had a very high end recording studio. Some of us that had earned the trust of our professor were allowed access to the studio on off hours. We had friends with bands that wanted to record demos to send in to record companies (those were the days).

The problem was that reels of 2-inch tape were very expensive for us poor students. A reel of good quality tape could be as much as $200-300. Our professor told us where to get really good tape for cheap. He explained that the high-end recording studios sell reels of "used" tape for really cheap. The reason is that when well known bands come in to record an album, they run many takes of the same song. Since they are paying thousands of dollars per hour to use the studio, they just keep grabbing new reels of tape. When the project is over, the studio bulk erases the tape, and sells them off cheap.

A friend and fellow student had some friends of his that wanted to record a few demos. So, he went and bought a few reels of this used tape. We arrange to use the studio ofter class one afternoon. His friends aren't quite there yet, so we start getting things ready in the control room. I take one of the reels and start loading it up on our 24-track deck. I notice that a bunch of the VU meters twitch as I'm winding the tape onto the take-up reel. We both look at each other, and realize this tape wasn't erased. So, we quickly re-patch the console for playback instead of recording.

We start listening to the tracks, and make a rough mix. As we are listening we're thinking we've never heard this song before, and are trying to figure out who is the band. About this time Richard's friends show up. They come into the control room and say "Cool.. The Bangles... where did you get this?" It turns out we had an un-released song.

There was one mostly usable take on the tape. We quickly unloaded the tape and put it away. I don't know what Richard ever did with the tape. These days, we could have done a decent mix-down, and posted it on the net. We were both too honest do anything unscrupulous with the tape. It would be quite an artifact to have these days, however.

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Ad-blocking ‘plateaus’, claims hopeful ad industry

usbac

Is it really smart doing these surveys?

I'm just wondering what the effect is of polling thousands of users (especially no-techie users) and asking them if they use an ad blocker? How many of these people think "Hmm, what is an ad blocker? (a quick Google search later) ...hey, this is cool, no more annoying ads... (ad blocker installed)"

I would think these polls would be very risky to ad companies.

5
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'I found the intern curled up on the data centre floor moaning'

usbac

Re: Laura's Tale

Many years ago I had a phone number that was very close to the office number for one of our local District Court judges. I would get phone calls all the time from lawyers. I had great fun with that.

A lot of the calls would be asking if a hearing or trial could be postponed. I would reply "so what date works for you?". Then, whatever the date, I would pause and rustle some papers, and answer "Okay, that date will work fine for his honor..." With all of the "failure to appear" rules, I wonder how it worked for them? God I hate lawyers!!

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How to make the move from ISDN to SIP

usbac

I agree completely. If you do SIP, you have to do it right. We run a retail call center. We moved from a PRI to SIP a year and a half ago. We have an actual fiber Internet connection running QoS with about 15% of our bandwidth reserved for VoIP. We have very few problems with call quality. As a matter of fact, I think when we do have poor call quality, it's on the other end.

The point about getting sales calls for VoIP that have very poor call quality is so true. Before the move to SIP, our at the time phone provider was trying to sell us their SIP service. We had a conference call scheduled with one of their sales guys, and one of their tech people. The problem was that that we couldn't hear either person because they were breaking up so badly! We told them to get lost right then and there.

That experience made us stay away from SIP for several years. If a major telco can't even make a sales conference call without call quality issues, what should we expect from SIP service?

We are with a provider that has good tech support, and has had fairly good service, at a great price. We are saving about $1500-$2000 per month in usage compared to the PRI we once had.

Add to that the savings of not making our $1100 per month lease payment on our phone system. We went with FreePBX/Asterisk, and bought our phones outright. We used an older Dell server we had as a spare (you don't need much server - you can run 10 phones on a Raspberry PI). In all we spent about $6000 for the new system (36 phones + 48-port POE switch). Full ROI in less than three months.

If done right, SIP can be great.

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