* Posts by Wensleydale Cheese

1384 posts • joined 28 Jan 2011

Brit prosecutors ask IT suppliers to fight over £3 USB cable tender

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: You can be too cheap as well

".chicken and chips for a pound"

That makes me feel old.

I can remember getting chicken and chips for a pound.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: @Christian Berger, re: stupid bills.

"Clearly somebody decided that they couldn't be assed with the hassle of getting a cheque made out, approved and signed for one penny, and so had disposed of some shrapnel in their pocket to get tick off the job."

Nope. Not allowed. It wouldn't get past the auditors.

Now someone might have filled out a chit for petty cash, got it signed, in triplicate, gone to Accounts (only open during the hours of 16:00 to 16:30 on Tuesdays) to swap the chit for the penny, but we can only speculate.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Not just restricted to governments

"I once worked at a German electronics store, and one customer had an open debt of 1 Pfennig (roughly half a cent). We sent out a letter (costing something like 70 Pfennig) to send the demand note."

It probably cost a lot more than 70 Pfennig in terms of staff time, depreciation on that IBM Golfball and other infrastructure costs.

I recall getting a refund cheque from my local authority for something like 30 pence and having to check that I hadn't gone overdrawn that quarter. "Free banking" in those days only applied as long as I didn't go overdrawn, and the charge for paying in a cheque was more than this one was worth.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge


Of course if I'm wrong and there is diversity then perhaps it's not impossible that one of your "employees" would choose to sue "yourself".

You could of course sack yourself, then sue yourself for unfair dismissal.

Then as a shareholder sue the management for damaging the share price.

Linux 4.12 kernel lands: 'Go forth and use it' quoth Linus Torvalds

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Cringe at the grammar though

"it's all just normal development, just more of it that usual.”

Seems to be a US thing, but why do so many use "that" instead of "than"?

</grumpy pedant>

(and being a pedant, I did check it against the original text)

Male escort says he gave up IT to do something more meaningful

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

"He should have stuck around in IT, there's much more opportunity to fuck people with windows 10."

No. Microsoft is the pimp who gets the real money.

You are the sex worker who gets to work long and antisocial hours and get much less money.

Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Council phone systems

"Just remembered the top of my list for phone system hell. Barnet council. ...

None of the phone options ever seem relevant to anything and which ever one you choose will still lead to another dead end."

Memories of a different Council back in the 1970s. This was an operator controlled telephone exchange. Even if you entered the system armed with an extension number, you'd get transferred around several extension before finding the person you wanted. The amazing thing was that you'd get transferred back to the first extension you reached and have to start again at least once in the process.

It was my theory that when an automated system came along, they did a full time and motion study of the manual system and sought to replicate that.

That seemed the most probable explanation at the time.

Whoa, bad trip, man: Google workers' info exposed during travel-booking software hack

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

What, no audit trail?

"However, because the SynXis CRS deletes reservation details 60 days after the hotel stay, we are not able to confirm the specific information associated with every affected reservation."

Granted, I've only worked with business-to-business accounting systems, but I would have expected some kind of audit trail to enable tracking this kind of information.

Oh my Word... Microsoft Office 365 unlatched after morning lockout

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

" So just what has been gained by going online/to cloud?"

You now need a broadband connection, with associated costs, to access your own documents.

Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Natural fibres

Women notice artificial fibres on men, and avoid it. Heck, somehow some women can tell the difference between cashmere and normal wool just by looking at it

The ability to spot a decent bit of cloth comes quite naturally to those of us brought up in a textile manufacturing environment.

I can unerringly pick out the most expensive suits from a rack without looking at the price tags. Thankfully suits are no longer mandatory at work.

"In any case, as CrazyOldCatMan observes, natural fabrics are more comfortable and breathable."

Better for outdoor activities too. It's not a coincidence that farmers in moorland areas wear woollens.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Il est formellement interdit de fumer

"Back in those days smoking in France was more or less compulsory..."

That statement, dear readers, is no exaggeration.

I bought some "Il est formellement interdit de fumer" (Smoking strictly forbidden) signs for a customer computer room. The thought never occurred to them, and this was a very large company who should have known better.

Pwned UK SME fined £60K for leaving itself vulnerable to hack attack

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

It's a start

"An ICO investigation found that Boomerang Video failed to carry out regular penetration testing on its website that should have detected errors."

At last we have an official recommendation for regular penetration testing.

I don't think I've seen one of those before, except buried somewhere in a lengthy post mortem.

HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Clickbait article or real concern?

"It matters if you can't play Black Ops 2 or Battlefield 4 on it."

MineSweeper skills could come in handy.

Google hit with record antitrust fine of €2.4bn by Europe

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Next up -Microsoft...

"Microsoft had their own anti-trust lawsuit from the EU years ago, where they had to give you a choice. However that's since expired, and now you're seeing a company ignoring the lessons it should've learnt the last time it pulled those tricks."

From July 2012, Microsoft "forgot" to offer browser choice

According to this El Reg article the browser choice was supposed to go live in March 2010, but neither version of Windows 7 I bought later that year actually contained that choice.

P.S. When the "browser ballot" finally arrived, the choices were well out of date.

WannaCrypt blamed for speed camera reboot frenzy in Australia

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

"Even the Linox (sic) system still uses a Windows operating system underneath it."

An educated guess might be that that is true in someone's office environment, and they extrapolated that to all instances of Linux.

UK parliamentary email compromised after 'sustained and determined cyber attack'

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Login failure delays

"This is why it's critically important to ensure the answers don't vary (unknown user vs bad password) and the delay in answering doesn't vary. Padding out the fail delay helps a lot."

I saw an example of this several years ago.

Invalid username / invalid password : a delay of several seconds

valid username / invalid password: no delay

It doesn't matter which way around those are, that difference in delay was telling an attacker when they had found a valid username.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Unrealistic user names

"If they at least cycled through the character set it might make sense. But random sequences of characters? Is this some clever hacking trick I have missed?"

The reason for an attack isn't always obvious.

But now they know that your server will blacklist the source IP address. If your server did it itself, they now have an idea of how long it took your server to respond to that attack.

Are you sure they haven't used that form of attack to divert your attention away from other attacks? Filling logs up with nonsense is one way of hiding a specific attack. Do you see failed logins for your accounts department in there, for example? Those could happen hours earlier or later of course, but if your attention has been diverted to the attack involving nonsense usernames, you might miss those events.

UK and Ecuador working on Assange escape mechanism

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: The worst thing in the world for Assange...

"discredit Assange as a paranoid nutjob. But given who's running the place at the moment"

Takes one to know one.

The thought just crossed my mind that they could end up the best of buddies.

There's nothing stranger than life.

Capita flogs Asset Services division for £888m

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Queen's Speech Policy Paper

"introduce a Special Administration Regime to ensure the continuing operation of the national smart meter service if the provider becomes insolvent"

Doesn't seem to be a resounding vote of confidence in Crapita. Perhaps the government knows something we don't?

We do know. What a waste - Outsourcing and how it goes wrong[1]

It describes how when industry perceives the risk for taking on a given project as too high, no suppliers come forward with a tender. The government then introduces carrots in the form of allowing the supplier to simply walk away if things don't turn out well financially. Summary: what appears to be a mediocre rate of return turns out to be quite stunning when the risk element is removed.

Lots of other interesting stuff in there as well, such as when councils outsource, and the only way the supplier can make a profit is to reduce wages, that in turn generates a larger welfare burden for the council.


Format: Paperback

ISBN: 978-0-7190-9953-3

Pages: 120 Publisher: Manchester University Press

Price: £11.99

Published Date: September 2015

Also available in digital format from a couple of places.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Smart meter bill

What could possibly will probably go wrong?

What could possibly will probably definitely go wrong?


BOFH: Putting the commitment into committee

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Wives, cars, colours

"My TIGASA list if different to my wifes. No problem, she worries about colours, I worry about the quality and usabilty."

I’d just taken delivery of my first proper long distance limo, which I'd bought to be able to do large distances around Europe and not be knackered by the time I got to where I was going.

I picked up the girlfriend and we set off for the weekend.

The car behaved immaculately, nice sound system, air con, heated leather seats, enough oomph to deal with the Autobahn etc etc.

When we got out of the car at our destination, gf pointed at a red Mondeo and said:

"Look, what a beautiful car!"

Smart burglars will ride the surf of inter-connected hackability

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Who needs to hack?

"When it comes to buying, installing, maintaining and using tech, people are dumb. When it comes to abusing it, they come out ahead every time."

How true.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Link mayhem

"needs more Javascript permissions than a nuclear bunker."

Quote stashed for reuse :-)

In the week Uber blew up, Netflix restates 'No brilliant jerks' policy

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

"> I like Sushi does that make me an arsehole?"

Two key words in that sentence trigger an awful memory...

The last time I had Sushi it gave me a sore arsehole.

A very sore arsehole.

Well, it could have been the beer in that dive of a pub afterwards, but it was a very sore arsehole nevertheless.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

"Parties are fine, but some people would rather go home to their families."

I experienced this free overtime lark in the eighties, plus they'd created a culture where you were "being antisocial" if you didn't go to the pub and maybe on to a restaurant with them after work. All out of your own pocket of course.

I would have much preferred to be spending that money on doing up my house, holidays, or heavens, actually saving up for a rainy day.

WikiLeaks doc dump reveals CIA tools for infecting air-gapped PCs

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Hacked the snack machine and stole $4K of goodies.

Not just a hackable machine, but lousy financial controls in place as well.

How many times was the thing restocked without adequate income from it?

Walmart tells developers to stay away from AWS

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Walmart understands the basics

"Sadly people started wising up to their business model of not only using taxpayer money to feed its workforce (food stamps) but to pay for their loss prevention as well (local police)."

Unfortunately, that also applies to Local Authority outsourcing. What they save by outsourcing will come back and bite them in the form of housing benefit claims from the very people they once employed.

Still, it's off that particular budget, so who cares, eh?

IBM's contractor crackdown continues: Survivors refusing pay cut have hours reduced

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Why contract these days?

"Add in the UK governments obsession with "equalising" tax payments for those who have permanent jobs"

Which is a direct response to many companies severely taking the piss by making practically every employee a "contractor" to avoid having to pay holidays, sickness, pensions and in some cases, the minimum wage.

And many of the guilty companies are those offering outsourcing services to what were once in-house to local/central government and the NHS.

When NHS and education employees were being offered this kind of employment back in 1995, no wonder that the government was concerned about "Friday to Monday" changes in employment contracts, for government itself was going to be a driving force in that direction.

'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

The problem comes when the rest of the world moves on, for example by retiring security cyphers that were in wide use at the time you implemented your software.

I don't like car analogies, but the demise of unleaded fuel meant you needed to apply some maintenance to older cars so that they'd continue to work in a post-leaded fuel world.

US voter info stored on wide-open cloud box, thanks to bungling Republican contractor

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

GDPR a bloodbath?

"Can't wait for GDPR, its going to be a bloodbath."

Perhaps a wake up call to tell a few businesses that shifting everything overseas and into the cloud isn't actually the silver bullet they think it is.

Fighter pilot shot down laptops with a flick of his copper-plated wrist

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Ooh, an AI angle...

'Placebo effect - Better results from ingestion of two sugar pills compared to one, and an even better response after a saline injection - It seems that more "treatment" tends to give a better clinical response.'

And there, just maybe, is the real key to the placebo effect.

Somebody is responding to the patient's complaint and actively giving them something for it.

Since there aren't any active ingredients in a placebo, can the whole process of dragging yourself to a doctor's surgery, being listened to, then following instructions, be reduced to a set of social interactions which have a beneficial effect?

This could be an interesting area of study, all the more so as we are being told that AI might be the future of healthcare. Will removing the social interactions we currently participate in turn out to be much more dangerous to our well-being than we anticipate?

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

"quietly beat the crap out of it with a 3 pound lump hammer!"

I had a washing machine that had frustrated many an engineer while still under warranty, but they did manage to get it working for long enough that the warranty had well and truly expired.

The next time it broke down I had a plan ready.

It still looked immaculate, so there was the danger that some enterprising soul would try to resurrect it, if I tipped it in one piece, and then suffer the same way I had.

I stripped the thing down and spread the parts around various tips, to minimise the chances of someone doing that.

No rage, instead cool calculating satisfaction that I had rid the world of such a troublesome piece of kit.

BOFH: Halon is not a rad new vape flavour

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Spot on description of "the bun"

"the geeky one will be... in some fashionable denim, pointy shoes and retro paisley shirt. And a beard - with a... 60% probability of a hair bun - because he's the edgy authentic woodsman type."

Swap the paisley for a checked lumberjack pattern (which goes with "authentic woodsman") and you have just described our Chief Windows Wallah.

Yes, he does have the hair bun.

I can just imagine him in the role described.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Expensive halon

"Water, foam, CO2, yes; but not halon, we were told it was too expensive for a demo."

We had a halon system discharge at a place I worked, but by then its effect on the ozone layer was well understood, and it was illegal to refill the system with more halon.

So in addition to the cost of replacing the shorted out kit that triggered the halon dump in the first place, there was the cost of a brand new non-halon fire prevention system.

Yeah, if you could just stop writing those Y2K compliance reports, that would be great

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Y2K38 is coming

Potentially already bust by that 25 year mortgage projection...

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

2 digit years and 2030 in LibreOffice spreadsheets

"Pfff... Many Y2K fixes just changed the window in which two digits were mapped onto four."

It's still there in spreadsheet programs if you enter years as 2 digits.

The default in the current version of LibreOffice is to treat 2 digit year inputs as values between 1930 and 2029. See Options/Preferences -> General for that setting.

(I don't have a copy of Excel handy at the moment, so sorry, I can't check that)

There are still a lot of systems which use 2 digit years in output logs or CSV equivalents. Guess what happens when you import them into spreadsheets?

I still haven't found what I'm malloc()ing for: U2 tops poll of music today's devs code to

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Distracting office noise: The phone system from hell

"ust one rogue PM will disturb a lot of people because it's too easy to tune-in"

That reminds me of the phone system from hell. The phones were grouped according to team.

If one phone went unanswered for 6 or so rings, all the phones for that team started ringing in unison. If all those phones went unanswered, the call was diverted to a secretary, who was seemingly never at her desk.

At any given time, at least one team was off in a meeting room.

Windows 10 Creators Update preview: Lovin' for Edge and pen users, nowt much else

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Clever stuff...

"So they can detect the script you would use to write down the the words you are speaking? That is amazing!"

It's quite easy according to the Microsoft world view.

Everyone is monolingual. Buy another device if you want another language.

Corollary: Unless you buy an Enterprise language, you are monolingual and will speak the language that we think you ought to, depending on geolocation.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Disappointing

"They've achieved nothing since Jobs died. Doomed."

Who? Microsoft?

Oh I see. No new ideas to nick.

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: a translucent background with blur, tinted overlay

What is it with this blur thing anyway?

I am short sighted but only need specs for distance.

When text is deliberatelty blurred, my eyes try to compensate and it sodding well hurts.

It isn't cool at all.

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

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

"Thought it was Doc Emmet Brown."

A consequence of too many speeding cameras.

He's looking for a speed less than 88 mph.

Cabinet Office minister Gummer loses seat as Tory gamble backfires

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: "Ploughs ahead with BREXIT..."

"There might very well be a revolution if she didn't plough ahead with it."

Who gave her a mandate for a "hard" Brexit instead of a "soft" one?

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: a hung Parliament

"Would that be 650 individual gallows, or, say, the whole lot swinging in the breeze under Tower Bridge?"

That mental image cannot be unseen.

It would definitely create more of a visual impact than previous lamp post suggestions.

Human-free robo-cars on Washington streets after governor said the software is 'foolproof'

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Have you ever heard of a politician...

"Have you ever heard of a politician... who wasn't technically illiterate

Be careful what you wish for."

Ah, Thatcher. Chemist turned barrister turned politician.

The "scientist" who decreed that the price of a primary source of energy, gas, should be raised to make a secondary/tertiary form of energy, electricity, more competitive.

It only made sense once the privatisation of British Gas was announced.

Efficiency of the Energy Supply Chain

In detail: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered – by online biz all day

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered

"I am not a number."

But for a telco, you always were.

DUP site crashes after UK general election

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Post of the Month!

"Hold up a mo, are you not an IT news site?

I somehow doubt the party's policies have changed in the last few days... https://web.archive.org/web/20170605100006/http://www.mydup.com/

As per title, I nominate this for Post of the Month.

Paxo trashes privacy, social media and fake news at Infosec 2017

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

"As Paxo clearly has nothing to hide I'm sure he'll be publishing all his bank details, passwords, etc. to prove that."

And his tax returns.

Ask any of the "I've nothing to hide" camp to tell the world full details of what they earn and most of them will shut up pronto.

Ex-MI5 boss: People ask, why didn't you follow all these people ... on your radar?

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

MI5: "Now we can't catch them, there's too much information to sift through!"

Problem: We can't find the needle in the haystack

Solution: Get a bigger haystack

So despite all the cash ploughed into big data, no one knows how to make it profitable

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: Big Data?

"Ponzi scheme, Bubble also come to mind."

I also suspect that much of it is like squirrelling away useful looking answers from technical IT forums.

There comes a point when most of those answers cease to be of interest, simply because the products concerned have evolved, introducing a new set of questions, or even ceased to be.

You may be able to re-use that data for other research, say linguistic analysis (thinking of AI here), but there are plenty of other sources for that.

First-day-on-the-job dev: I accidentally nuked production database, was instantly fired

Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

Re: My money

"My money ... is on the document having been written by a BOFH type of person."

My money is on a scenario such as the current sysadmin being asked to write the instructions for his successor.

Then at some point down the line someone else sees that document and asks for a copy to edit and redistribute for more general use, not realising that it contains production-specific information.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019