* Posts by Data Mangler

15 posts • joined 8 Nov 2012

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter

Data Mangler

Re: Remember

If you're interested in looking at the AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) there's a series of Youtube videos by CuriousMarc, starting with https://youtu.be/2KSahAoOLdU , doing a restoration of an actual unit. It's fascinating stuff well worth a watch for those into that kind of thing.

It's nearly 2019, and your network can get pwned through an oscilloscope

Data Mangler

Re: stuxnet/duqu

Keysight (previously Agilent/HP) recently announced a 110 GHz scope costing over a milliion. That's probably several streets of houses in some places.

Data Mangler

This will upset a lot of people

If Siglent block this hole it will upset a lot of people. These scopes are sold with a variety of bandwidths and features. The hardware is the same in each case. The backdoor is used by many as a means of hacking into the scope to obtain a free upgrade from a cheap entry-level version, although I believe Siglent have been trying to make that more difficult lately. Head over to the eevblog for more details.

Devon County Council techies: WE KNOW IT WASN'T YOU!

Data Mangler

Re: aaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddd that's why....

If you want to see Muphry's Law (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muphry%27s_law) in action, observe a commentard unable to spell Ofsted while complaining about spelling mistakes.

Is it just me, or is there a real problem here?

Data Mangler

Is it just me, or is there a real problem here?

I've just got off the phone after a very frustrating conversation with our GP's practice manager concerning privacy and security issues. The practice has two online methods of ordering prescription repeats.

1. A secure website that requires registration.

2. Just drop us an email.

I have no problems with the first, I have a big problem with the second. When I raised the issue with the practice, the response I got was: "NHS email is secure". When I informed the practice manager about the realities, including some free email providers reading emails for targetted advertising, she replied, "Yes, I know, but its' the patient's choice". I could not get her t understand that it's not an informed choice.

The NHS Privacy Policy says:

“Sending information via email to patients is permissible, provided the risks of using unencrypted email have been explained to them, they have given their consent and the information is not person-identifiable or confidential information.”

While it say nothing about patients emailing the NHS, my contention is that the NHS should not be encouraging patients to risk confidentiality by using insecure methods to request repeat prescriptions, especially when a secure method is also provided. I think pretty much all Reg readers would agree that the vast majority of people are uninformed as to the risks involved.

A side issue here is that the practice manager confirmed that there is no verification that the person sending the email request is the actual patient...

A quick trawl using a well-known search engine suggests that many GP practices in NHS England are encouraging repeat prescription requests by email. So, as the title suggests, is it just me, or is there a real problem here?

The Solar System's oldest minerals reveal the Sun's violent past

Data Mangler

Re: Highly volatile noble gases?

> volatile: (of a substance) easily evaporated at normal temperatures.

So... a gas, then.

IMHO, "highly volatile" is one of those terms that are greatly overused in the popular media.

Capita strikes again: Bug in UK-wide school info management system risks huge data breach

Data Mangler

Re: Pupil linked to wrong records.

They already do that, but this is not the problem in this case. The issue is who the parents are. For some children, of course, this is not just a software question.

Data Mangler

Spare a thought for the data managers.

While hurling well-deserved brickbats at Crapita, spare a thought for the poor sods who are going to have to sort this mess out: the schools' data managers. These downtrodden individuals have to work with SIMS (or equally appalling products like CMIS) all the time. As non-teaching staff they are treated as being the lowest of the low and, usually being term time plus some holiday working, get paid three-fifths of damn-all with pensions to match.

Summer holidays? Forget it. School management will leave it until the last moment to tell you about the assessment scheme they want you to implement for next year, so what with that and exam results analysis it leaves precious little time to squeeze in a vacation.

Some will even be forced to produce the school timetable using Nova T6, a package so evil that 'user hostile' doesn't come close to doing it justice.

Couple all of this with execrable software from practically all suppliers to schools, dealing with teaching staff who have all the IT skills of a small piece of putty, laughable local authority support and lies from Capita and you'll get some idea of how happy I am to be retired.

Maplin Electronics CEO ups stakes for steak house

Data Mangler
Coat

Perhaps he's going to bring a whole new meaning to steak and chips. Flash fried, of course.

Fewer than half GCSE computing students got a B or higher this year

Data Mangler

One of the problems facing schools is the relatively low take-up of some GCSE options in combination with serious funding issues. Teaching GCSE computer science is not a full time position for which they've been able to recruit specialist staff. Therefore what most most schools have had to do is to migrate staff from the old IT curriculum to teaching CS.

I would add that, while working as support staff in a secondary school, I've seen an experienced PE teacher teaching IT very well and an experienced IT professional being a totally useless teacher. It's not all about professional experience in the subject being taught.

Online VAT fraud: Calls for government crackdown grow louder

Data Mangler

Re: Let's talk VAT numbers..

"for example if you have less than £75,000[1] of pure profit per year you are not required to have a VAT number at all."

It's got nothing to do with profit. It's on non-VAT exempt turnover. The current UK threshold is £82,000.

See: https://www.gov.uk/vat-registration/when-to-register

Hubble spots Pluto's moons are a chaotic mess of tumbling rock

Data Mangler
Alien

Or perhaps...

It may be the egg of an enormous mutant star goat. It's time to give those telephones one last wipe before boarding the 'B' Ark.

At the third beep, the Atomic Clock will be 60 ... imprecisely

Data Mangler

After the HP-Agilent split in 1999, the healthcare divisions were the first to be sold off -- to Phillips. Components spun off as Avago. Test and measurement (the original HP) shrunk a lot, I think, and recently split off as Keysight Technologies, leaving Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis as Agilent.

Data Mangler

The caesium clocks flown around the world in 1971 were Hewlett-Packard ones, from the days when HP had a well-deserved reputation for innovation and quality. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Psst: Heard the one about the National Pupil Database? Thought not

Data Mangler
Thumb Down

Re: In my experience...

Please don't tar all schools with the same brush. While some are as you describe, most are very conscious of data protection issues and conscientious in looking after their data. As data manger at a large secondary school, I keep a *very* tight rein, I assure you.

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