* Posts by Ken Hagan

6578 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

"Unless, for example, you are a college. Teaching computer related courses. Courses like "System Administration 101""

Too true. Over in the Chemistry department, the course on Explosives is a real blast and in the Microbiology department they have an end-of-course Ebola-snorting contest. It may be possible to teach this more dangerous content merely as book-work, but why would you do that when there is a far more effective Darwinian method of spotting the failing students?

Privacy, security fears about ID cards? UK.gov's digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: @ Velv

"Among other things, the government wants a better idea of who's (legally) living in the UK and, more generally, who you all are. Just because."

They should stop throwing away the records they've got, then.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: There is no advantage in universal ID

"There is an obvious advantage in using universal ID as an indexing mechanism to collate and organize the data the government has on you."

You are assuming that the different government departments that wish to collate and organize the data have used similar standards of verification. They haven't. Mixing these data sets will produce a big pile of poo, not a database.

There will be a few months of complete chaos, during which the government will be unable to perform any functions whatsoever, except issuing re-assurances to the House that the project is on schedule and will be a great success, and then every department will go back to using their old system. Afterwards, the only evidence that this was even attempted will be the non-refundable fees in the bank accounts of various large consultancy companies.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: @ toilet duk

If everyone is required to carry an ID card, can I suggest that we all carry Ms Rudd's?

I doubt this would actually be a problem, since it will all be computerised and so the only requirement will be that it is a card, not that the picture or name corresponds to the person presenting it (which the "AI" won't be "I" enough to figure out).

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Here we go again...

"Then everyone moves onto the next project to fuck that up too."

There's your problem right there. Unless serial failure has an impact on the career of the idiot(s) responsible, there is no reason not to glug down whatever kool-aid is on offer this week.

Something similar appears to be affecting senior management, where incompetence is increasingly rewarded with "another go" somewhere else.

Meanwhile out in the Real World, people who consistency fuck up eventually end up unable to get another job.

UK Supreme Court considers whether spy court should be immune to legal probes

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Any chance

True, but it replaced a system that was for the one, so it was a considerable widening of scope in its day.

It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Chrome

Because G paid lots of crapware devs to bundle it, and those malware pushers pre-ticked the "install Chrome" box.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Next step, do the same for Windows

I think you will find that a surprisingly high number of Win32 apps have some underlying dependence on the kernel being Windowsy rather than Linuxy. There are *many* services in Windows that are used explicitly by apps, and there are IOCTLs that are used for rare but essential functions, and there is the whole issue of legal filenames and cases sensitivity.

Now you could create some sort of sandbox, with a limited view of the underlying OS, but the end-user experience might be no better than running Windows in a VM.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: The passing of an age

It wasn't an opinion. It is a fact that too many corporate apps are stick on IE and the reason they are still stuck is because there is no "next time you buy" in these organisations.

And the next 7nm laptop processor will be designed by In, er, AM, um, Qualcomm: The 64-bit Arm Snapdragon 8CX

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Linux workstation?

See Waseem's comments above. I'd be very surprised if you could boot any mainstream Linux distro on this unless you are a kernel builder who has signed a slew of NDAs. Eventually, yes, if it lasts long enough in the market, but not now and probably not in 2019 either.

Waymo's revolutionary driverless robo-taxi service launches in America... with drivers

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Substitute "placed" for "sat" and I think you'll have no trouble parsing the expressions. They might not be how you'd choose to express the sentiments, but they aren't some 21st century abomination unto Om.

Qualcomm lifts lid on 7nm Arm-based octo-core Snapdragon 855 chip for next year's expensive 5G Androids

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Only if they put appropriate drivers into the public domain. Otherwise you'll be using frame buffer 2d graphics and end up running your browser on one of the 4 tiny cores.

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Whereas we Brits (*) are contractually obliged to slag off the home team.

(Whingeing Poms, I believe is the preferred expression.)

Take my advice and stop using Rubik's Cubes to prove your intelligence

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: 1970s?

Since the AD chronology was devised in 525, we either have to accept that decades, centuries and millenia begin and end at 5, 25 or 525 years past the obvious numerical boundary (*), or we have to take a deep breath and conclude that the choice of epoch is completely retrospective and, being numerate, we may as well pick the sensible one. So ... There was a year zero, just like there was a year minus one. People at the time didn't call it that, but they didn't call year one by that name either, or even year five hundred and twenty four.

(* Actually, I'm rather tempted by this. Its principal merit is that it would really annoy certain people.)

OneDrive is broken: Microsoft's cloudy storage drops from the sky for EU users

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Classic!

From https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Broken%20Arrow:

"When you're aiming for a clean break/no splash, and instead, whether by distraction or an imminent sneeze, your log breaks off and sends the staff crawling back inside, only to disturb you for the rest of the day and cause immense discomfort and multiple re-wipes."

Microsoft in a nutshell, then.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

"It does annoy me how the recent trend by web developers to change useful error messages to something akin to 'Ooops something went wrong!'"

It is annoying, but it is not surprising. As you fling more and more parts of your system outside your control, there comes a point where it is impossible for the software itself to figure out even whether something has gone wrong, let alone what. All that each part of the software can possibly know is that it farmed the task out to somebody else and it seems to be taking longer than expected. Worse, the only part of the software that can report back to the user is the front end, so the only reasonable message is some variation on "I sent your top-level request off to be processed and it is somewhere along a chain of handlers longer than I'd like to admit (and quite possibly longer than I'm aware of) so ... um ... fingers crossed then!".

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Ah the Cloud

"Not ***THE*** cloud. Unless you live on Planet Cloud which just has a single blanket coverage."

Well I'm reading this on theregister.co.uk so ...

Microsoft readies the swatter as more bugs wriggle out of the Windows 10 woodwork

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: I can hardly believe another MS issue

"MS deprecated WMP some time ago, from their perspective they can hardly be blamed for not including it in any tests."

If they are shipping it, they should test it. If they don't want to test it, they shouldn't ship it.

As others have already implied, there are better and equally free media players out there. It would not detract from the usefulness of Windows if they pulled WMP, or a number of other applets to be honest. (Like, nearly all of the Metro craplets that are still cluttering up the new Start Menu.)

Euro consumer groups: We think Android tracking is illegal

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: There is no real option to turn off Location History once it has been enabled;

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/08/google_tracks_i.html

Oz opposition caves, offers encryption backdoor compromise

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

"We only want to read it, not interfere with it."

But if privacy is the thing, then reading it is interference.

[Warning, yes I expect you realise that, but this verbal moving of the goalposts may accurately reflect the intellectual bankruptcy of the Oz Government nonetheless. ... So we need to ready to jump on it as soon as they trot it out.]

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Ca$h...

"The only trick I probably missed was in not getting solar panels when the cost v feed-in rebate was good."

That's probably a good thing, for your conscience. The rebate was paid by the leccy companies and almost certainly financed by raising prices for all those who didn't have a convenient roof to put some subsidised panels on. A shameful case of robbing the poor to make the quiche-eating classes feel good about themselves.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Smart meters do not save energy

Smart meters only enable surge pricing if the changes in price can be communicated in real-time to the meter. If the increase doesn't get through, the supplier loses out. If the relaxation back to the normal value doesn't get through, the customer is defrauded.

Since this is an obvious possibility to anyone technically minded, I would hope that a court would take the view that the company simply could not prove that ANY of their leccy had been supplied at anything other than the lowest price offered during the billing period in question and therefore ALL bills to all customers should be recalculated accordingly.

Oh, I wish it could be Black Friday every day-aayyy, when the wallets start jingling but it's still a week till we're paiii-iid

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Meanwhile in western France...

"You'd think it would be Vendredi Noir, mais non c'est Black Friday"

Black Friday is a disgusting Anglo-Saxon custom and merely to say the words "Vendredi Noir" would defile the language, so it remains untranslated.

Big data at sea: How the Royal Navy charts the world's oceans

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: I knew that

"the point of the United States Army Corps of Engineers"

I always assumed that the point was "We have to have a corps of engineers anyway, because civilian engineers refuse to work in war zones, and we need to keep them trained, so they might as well practice on civilian jobs and save Uncle Sam money.".

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: One argument in YAML's favour: a good DIFF

Doesn't JSON allow you to put a comma after the final entry in a list, precisely to avoid this problem? Quite a few languages allow this, for this reason, in at least some contexts.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

"but hey, there's no such thing as bad publicity, right ?"

I dunno. The only thing I know about datree.io are that they are a bunch of clueless morons who know jack-shit about IT and shouldn't be trusted within a bargepole's length of a computer keyboard. Is that bad publicity?

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Makes me pine for the days of XML...

"XML is the go-to structure for highly complex formats that have to be communicated between systems, and it works exceedingly well for that, provided the data definition was designed well in the first place."

Glurk! The effort that you spent shoe-horning your highly complex data definition into an XML format could have been spent with a parser generator, yielding a much more readable language that solves your particular problem (in an easily extensible way, since we can all read grammars, right?). XML is an attempt to create a format that can represent all such complex data formats at once. It is, therefore, always overkill and always less readable (both by humans and by machines) than a properly designed language.

Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: So we've gone from six to five

"I don't know how expensive one of those balances are, but I'm pretty sure we're not going to be building a whole lot more in any case."

On the contrary, I'd expect that in just a few years we'll have quite a number more. It's only technology.

Oracle's JEDI mind-meld doesn't work on Uncle Sam's auditors: These are not the govt droids you are looking for

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

I'm torn, here.

On the one hand, it is funny watching the DoD become as clueless as our own beloved MoD on the subject of large IT projects.

On the other hand, I don't think I want to live in a world where the only competently run military machines are the ones in Russia and China.

Where to implant my employee microchip? I have the ideal location

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Poor Reliability.. better idea

If the prophets Pratchett and Gaiman are to be believed, its coz of "ineffability" and even the devil doesn't know why. It's the most logical explanation I've heard on the subject.

Bloke fined £460 after his drone screwed up police chopper search for missing woman

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: “Oh look, there's a drone”

"Sure, finding a drone in your flight path is a bother but it's really not that big a deal. "

I imagine that getting a Phantom caught up in your own rotor might be fatal and anyone flying directly underneath a Police helicopter just for shits and giggles is clearly an idiot, so the risk of such an accident might seem quite high if you were the pilot.

If at first or second you don't succeed, you may be Microsoft: Hold off installing re-released Windows Oct Update

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Mission Impossible

If Bill Gates were still running the show, this wouldn't be happening. It speaks volumes (mostly about the people he left in charge) that people still associate him with the company.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

"And it cost nothing...Did you buy Windows 7, well ever since then its been a free give away. All the computers in the house are regularly upgraded, ..."

If you've actually bought a new computer in the last year or two then you have bought Windows 10, but you weren't paying attention and so they could charge whatever they liked as long as it was bundled with the hardware.

If you've been more careful and consistently upgraded existing machines that came with Win7 a long time ago, then you've probably broken the terms of the Win7 licence, because OEM licences are tied to whatever hardware they were bundled with.

If you bought Win7 Pro all those years ago, you're legal, but you've paid far more than it and all its successors put together are actually worth.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

-- What does "in the 2019 timeframe" mean that they couldn't have said with "in 2019"?

It means the press release was shat out by a fully qualified telephone sanitisation operative. It's kinda helpful in a way. You can tell just by skimming that you needn't pay any attention to anything else the idiot says.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Just where are the software developers in MS?

"the development method du jour, Agile"

Agile is not a development method. It is a method for selling training courses.

To achieve this, it needs to contain some obvious common sense, such as "try testing as soon as you have something to test, if not earlier", and some other stuff to catch your attention, such as "don't make any plans for version 2 coz you'd only need that if version 1 doesn't bomb in the marketplace". Obviously, with more than half a century of programming experience to draw on, there is very little overlap between the two categories.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

"I think it's an extremely laboured reference to the Titanic."

It's an exceedingly bad one, or at least one step removed from being one.

Itanium -> Itanic is a reasonable step and Itanic is only one letter removed from Titanic.

Win10-ic, however, is not an abbreviation for Wintenium and has very few letters in common with Titanic.

Win10-ic -> Itanic works quite well, but you need to accept the latter as a real word rather than a joke in its own right.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Technical debt

I'm old enough to remember when major new features in Windows were so disruptive that MS had to throw them all away and start again. Even second time around, the result was Vista, so ghod alone knows how bad it was when they killed it first time.

The difference is, that first round of development is now being done "live, on customer systems", because some moron decided that this was the modern way of working.

Yikes. UK military looking into building 'fully autonomous' killer drone tech – report

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Before we worry too much...

"The fear is that drone warfare makes the idea of waging a war more palatable to the politicians and hence make armed conflicts more likely to happen."

Easily fixed. You make sure that you win the war and then prosecute the losers for crimes against humanity. Of course, you probably need some of these weapons of your own to ensure that you win and are in a position to prosecute.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: MoD insists there will always be a human at the wheel

Launching an autonomous drone is just a more elaborate version of launching a self-guided missile. Legal and moral responsibility for what the weapon does is assigned to whoever touched it last. I'm therefore unable to see why this will "encourage and lower the threshold for the use of lethal force".

On the otjher hand, since the enemy probably don't share our scruples, it is important for us to know the limitations and capabilities of these weapons, so developing our own is pretty much a moral obligation on our part.

Why do people find it so hard to distinguish between knowing how to do something bad and doing something bad? They won't appear to have a problem with the opposite case: knowing how to do something good and failing to do it (when appropriate) is labelled "negligence" and considered bad.

If Shadow Home Sec Diane Abbott can be reeled in by phishers, truly no one is safe

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: I doubt she'll ever be Home Secretary, but...

"Austerity is a political choice, the "contribution" as you put it began during the 2010 con-dem regime, and was not needed, has damaged our economy and has been jettisoned every time it was useful to the .gov to do so. Austerity and the 2008 Fiscal Crash, are not related."

I call bollocks on that one. The reason we didn't *start* paying back until 2010 was because Gordon didn't want to. He was, in fact, the first example of a politician jettisoning austerity because it was politically useful to do so. It didn't mean the money wasn't due.

On the so-called profit, I would ask what was the opportunity cost of investing umpteen squillion in a bank, only to get umpteen squillion and one back a decade later. I would also ask whether the UK banking sector has had a good decade. Yes, they've bought back their shares (at the government's chosen price) but they've clearly not invested a dime in their IT systems in the last decade and one or two of them might now fail simply because they don't appear to be able to function 24/7.

On the wider point of printing your own money, this *might* be true if we were the only country in the whole world. We aren't. The amount you can buy with a fiat currency depends just as much on how much other nations value it, unless you are 90+% self-sufficient in everything. Hardly any countries can make that claim nowadays, and the ones that can (Hello, Mr Kim) aren't worth living in.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: I doubt she'll ever be Home Secretary, but...

"When we bailed out the banks to the tune of several trillion, no-body knocked on your door and asked for a contribution."

Wot? Who is this "you" you are talking about. Almost everyone I know has been labouring under an austerity regime for the past decade as a "contribution" to the bail-out repayment fund.

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: It's not a compass.

A surveying point in the home harbour, probably made of concrete, is difficult for the enemy to block or interfere with.

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

"A GPS signal could be spoofed or blocked for instance. When you're thinking about nuclear submarines, it usually best to consider the worst."

Actually, when you are thinking about submarines, you probably don't want to be using a GPS in your navigation system. A blocked signal is "what happens", not "the worst", because sea-water is basically impenetrable to EM waves.

And if you are thinking about ballistic missile subs, I hope you've factored into your thoughts the near-certain fact that in just a few years the enemy will be able to track those with one of their mass-produced robotic drones and so their locations while out on patrol will cease to be "totally undetectable" (as they have been for the last half-century or more) and instead be "posted on the internet, by the enemy, just because they can, for shits and giggles".

Windows 10 Pro goes Home as Microsoft fires up downgrade server

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Just install Linux (joking aside)

"I haven't got around to trying VirtualBox yet."

More importantly, based on your comment, you haven't got around to trying to put Linux on the host PC and Windows in the VM. Hypervisors have mechanisms these days to let you expose the UEFI magic to a VM, so the Windows licence key can be used by the virtualised system and you get to use Linux on the big screen. Also, since your monitor appears to be so big that a 1920x1080 screen is "tiny", you might be interested in virtualising a second monitor on that VM.

If there are apps on both Windows and Linux that you feel you have to use at higher resolutions, I'm a bit stuck and you are probably right. Also, if there are fancy games you need to run in the VM, that probably isn't going to work either. But for basic desktop productivity, putting the badly behaved OS in a sandbox (where it is trivial to reset or back-up) is the way to go.

In a commercial setting, where there *ought* to be someone in-house who can research and support this configuration, it is fast becoming the only responsible way to deploy Windows within an organisation. Microsoft have managed half a dozen borkages via Windows Update in as many months. Is it really sensible to run your business on an OS which can only managed "one nine" of uptime?

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Really the Home versions of Windows are evil and the price difference etc Home / Pro is evil

"I paid £2.36 for a win10 Pro licence off ebay. "

And that, in a nutshell, is why Microsoft configure Windows to check with the licence servers every month.

Dell upping its margins again: Precision 5530 laptop will sting you for $13m. Yep, six zeroes

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Maybe it's a personalised model

Does it have a name on the back? Like, oh I don't know, Jeff Fairburn?

UK.gov to roll out voter ID trials in 2019 local elections

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: We don't want YOU to vote.

@Rusty 1: I think Pen-y-gors is older than you. Old enough to remember the Poll Tax and the significant drop in voter registration at the following election. IOW, the Tories actually have form on this one.

Woke Linus Torvalds rolls his first 4.20, mulls Linux 5.0 effort for 2019

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: just mewling quims.

We probably never saw the first and second drafts. Now he's withholding the third one, too.

Mything the point: The AI renaissance is simply expensive hardware and PR thrown at an old idea

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

"We do not have AI. And we won't until we work out the inference problem."

We won't know we've got it until someone can nail down a definition of intelligence. I've never seen one that was any better than "Well, you know ... intell igence, yeah?".

Ken Hagan
Gold badge

Re: Quite.

"In fact, can you, as an adult, explain how you recognise an everyday object such as a cup?"

I can mention the size, the impermeability, the concavity and the handle. Yes, this leaves a lot of wiggle room, but we could have a reasoned discussion about whether and why it was a good or bad explanation. Your average AI just wouldn't understand the question because it is just a machine that tends to "relax" into forms that resemble what it was designed to "know".

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018