* Posts by J. Cook

440 posts • joined 16 Jul 2007

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

J. Cook
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Re: "The occupants wear seatbelts and airbags fly out from all around, "

@werdsmith: not quite. SRS airbags (the SRS stands for "Supplemental Restraint System") are intended to work in conjunction with seatbelts. There are multiple types of airbags: my 2011 Tundra, for example, has the 'standard' ones that deploy from the steering wheel and dashboard, but also two different side-impact airbags (a 'curtain' style and one that deploys for mid-torso protection), and a knee airbag.

I'm not certain what the standards are in the UK and the EU, but the US has a federal standard (FMVSS208) that dictate what the minimum requirements are for new vehicles.

The tracked automatic seatbelts that were popular in the 90's are no longer generally used- they tend to be too difficult to maintain as they age.

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Want to kill your IT security team? Put the top hacker in charge

J. Cook
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Re: Speaking as a manager...

Jesus Horatio Christ on a bicycle, THIS.

I have deep mental scars from the last manager we had here- I don't have proper words to articulate how bad he was in this character set. (or language, for that matter. The words I *do* have would awaken the Old Ones, and that's just bad news for everyone.)

I consider myself a manager of machines, not people. (while my official job title is 'network administrator', in reality it's more like 'Systems engineer/Exchange engineer/AD engineer/Storage engineer'. Yeah, lotta hats there.) I've worked under a person who has a personality very similar to mine, and he wasn't that good of a manager, TBH.

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User left unable to type passwords after 'tropical island stress therapy'

J. Cook
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Re: @Alistair -- Da job Bag

I dunno- one with metal bits jammed into the head and with ketchup stains* on it will give people a notion to not be stupid, especially when waving it around in slightly heated conversations...

* that's how one gets that effect, anyway...

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J. Cook
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Re: Grooming habits... or lack thereof...

I used to work for a company that did business to business PC service, which also meant that we did third-party warranty calls- Those 'extended service plan' things you buy at the large retailers which are usually useless. We got one machine in that was so heavily coated in nicotine that it was a total loss- Apparently, the home user had their ashtray parked in front of the intake to the machine, and they had a two-carton per day habit. (or it was in a house full of carton/day smokers)

The warranty people refused to honor it, claiming abuse, and the customer wasn't happy with them. The poor bench tech had to scrub his bench down with bleach and the shop stank smelled like an ashtray for a week after the thing left.

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J. Cook
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Re: At Wolfetone, your MILTB...

My dear mother does something very similar. (including written notes on how to power on the mac.)

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Hey, remember that monkey selfie copyright drama a few years ago? Get this – It's just hit the US appeals courts

J. Cook
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Re: Devil's Advocate

Best expansion of the acronym EVAR.

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Ker-ching! NotPetya hackers cash out, demand 100 BTC for master decrypt key

J. Cook
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Re: This was just a test , , ,

Uh, not quite that bad. Maybe. Great Depression level? Most certainly.

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What does an enterprise cloud look like?

J. Cook
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Go

+ MANY on the 'automated backup' solution.

*goes back to the rock face to continue fighting with current backup 'solution' which is stupidly complicated for the simple act of getting backups of a friggen file server. *

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How HCI simplifies the data center

J. Cook
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Coat

Re: At first I thought it was "HCl", not "HCI"

That reminds me of a little ditty:

Charle was a chemist,

But he is no more.

He drank what he thought was H2O

but was H2SO4.

Mine's the lab coat with the 'bad chemistry puns' book in the pocket.

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Microsoft recommends you ignore Microsoft-recommended update

J. Cook
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That is almost as funny as the time Installing IE 9 utter broke the management console for Exchange 2007 and 2010. And by broke meaning 'you can open it, but you get an error message trying to close it' which meant that you had to whip open task manager and kill the underlying MMC process that it was running. Bunches of enjoyment from that technet community thread.

Oh wait, that's not funny at all.

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Disney mulls Mickey Mouse magic material to thwart pirates' 3D scans

J. Cook
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Re: @ Not also known as SC Solid DRM

"Repo! The Genetic Opera"

I saw bits of that one night- it was.... bizarre, especially not seeing the opening parts of it and having no clue what was going on until I google'd it.

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but Microsoft's 'Ms Pac-Man beating AI' is more Automatic Idiot

J. Cook
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Boffin

Re: So much wrong with this.

Correct! It was, in fact, the atari VCS (aka 2600) system and not the arcade version.

If it was the arcade version, there'd be at least one boffin wanting to know how the difficulty switches were set on the unit.

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Crouching cyber, Hidden Cobra: Crack North Korean hack team ready to strike, says US-CERT

J. Cook
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Re: Maybe this is silly, but here goes...

I've blocked countries from my web servers for less. It's a valid, if draconian, tactic.

It's possible, it's not _easy_.

It'd require a lot of concerted effort from *every* ISP that has network links that cross country borders.

You'd have an easier time herding cats whilst nailing jelly to a tree and juggling a pair of running chainsaws all at once. :)

Beer, because I'm heading out the door to get one.

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HPE hatches HPE Next – a radical overhaul plan so it won't be HPE Last

J. Cook
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Flame

I hit the trifecta on the Buzzword bingo from just El Reg's distillation of her speech alone.

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Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually

J. Cook
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FAIL

For the peeps whining about the iMac Pro to Z2 comparison, Go price out a similarly spec'd Dell Precision 5810, which is roughly the same class, spec wise, and you can get something *close* to an apples to Apple comparison. (ponder that the Vega is pre-release, AMD announced it at the same time as Apple said they'd be using it.)

Also, 1 TB SSDs are freaking expensive still, that's a good chunk of the cost.

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The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

J. Cook
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Re: > It was as though no one knew servers could multi-task !!

Pretty much this.

"You need to be the only on the box? OK!" *builds VM for app* "Here you go!"

89.9% of the time, none's the wiser, and the other 10% of the time, the vendor is basically "Oh, it's a VM. We support that too!" (It's not *quite* 100%, because there's always that ONE VENDOR who INSISTS they be the only tenant on that host/set of hosts because their code sucks that badly and they tend to be of the 'throw more hardware resources at the problem' types.)

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Trident nuke subs are hackable, thunders Wikipedia-based report

J. Cook
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XP on floppies...

Thankfully, no. It was CD-ROM only, no DVD, no USB.

XP Embedded is also different from 'normal' XP in that it's a monolithic pre-compiled image- you have to bake the drivers for your machine into the image on a developer or build system first, then you could deploy it to the device you were preparing. Windows Embedded Standard 2009 (which is the updated release of the XPe SP3) runs out in April of 2019, interestingly enough.

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Sons of IoT: Bikers hack Jeeps in auto theft spree

J. Cook
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Re: Alarms

Nope: you *have* to use the keyless entry to shut the thing up. and that was on a 2001 GM product, which we can all blame for having to pay $70+ for chip embedded keys in order to start our luxobarges.

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Ransomware realities: In your normal life, strangers don't extort you. But here you are

J. Cook
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Windows

We've been using a semi-custom GPO that blocks application execution from the usual malware sources (TEMP, appdata, etc.) that Thirdtier.net put out when cryptolocker hit mainstream (but before they started charging for it).

I've not actually tested if a ransomware can encrypt previous versions remotely; I know that at that point in time, we were using a Netapp filer for CIFS/SMB, which doesn't offer writable snapshots through the stock previous versions tab. With windows file servers? I don't know, and I'm slightly terrified to try it in anything but a completely air-gapped sandbox. Presumably, it may be a safe assumption that as long as the file server is not compromised, it should be safe? We've been focusing on preventing the stuff from executing to begin with.

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J. Cook
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Re: Snapshots

That was our saving grace when we got hit with cryptolocker two years ago. (has it really been that long?! crickey!)

Netapp's snapshotting facility is read only, and interfaces quite nicely with the Previous versions tab for windows users. and with compression and dedupe turned on, it doesn't chew up space all that much.

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J. Cook
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THIS:

Or, the users don't access the files often enough to go 'hey, this thing is corrupted, maybe I should complain about it to the IT group'.

One of our users got hit last year, and just never told anyone that their home folder had been encrypted, even after we cleaned up the workstation as the A/V alarms got everyone's attention straight away. (we have our user's home folders redirected to a network share, so that it's backed up properly. the local clients? no backups taken, and it's stressed to our users not to keep stuff on the desktop unless they are ok with it vanishing without notice or change of recovery.)

We asked them if they wanted it fixed and never heard back, but we did anyway because reasons.

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Intel gives the world a Core i9 desktop CPU to play with

J. Cook
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Re: But I don't want more cores!

As do I; Handbrake will use every drop of processor you can feed it when transcoding a 25/50 GB Blu-ray rip down to something manageable in size and in a reasonable amount of time.

My current machine (i7 6700) manages it in ~20 minutes, whereas the last machine (an old Precision 5500) was more or less real time (2 hours plus).

I figure i should get ~8 years service out of it, which is what I got from the last set of computing hardware I bought.)

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HPE's Nimble Secondary Flash Array uses... disk?

J. Cook
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Boffin

My company has the pleasure of contributing to that 23,000 plus array count.

the CS-500 we have is easily on par with the 3240 pair that it replaced, as far as performance; we've not seen any evidence of I/O performance bottlenecks. If anything, the performance issues we have are on the host side. (something about having management deciding to cram 3 nodes worth of VMs onto a single blade without listening to the grunts screaming otherwise about it.)

While I don't have any comparison of Netapp vs the CS-220s we have, we've been running a couple of our sites on them since 2012 without a major hiccup, and only once instance of (scheduled) downtime (which was to move the appliance into a different cabinet.)

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J. Cook
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Re: Data Domain competitor

It probably can; Data Domain appliances are generally fast on the ingest, but slow on the rehydration/restoration side. Empirical evidence based on dump SQL full backups to a DD-640 via a CIFS share. Same file that took 10 minutes to dump to the unit took a good 15 to restore directly back from it.

It takes me ~20 minutes with the Web GUI for both Nimble and vCenter to resurrect a machine from a cloned snapshot sitting on the nimble; most of that time is spent with the ESX host spinning it's wheels picking up the LUN; The downside is that it's a pot shot if the snapshot contains a viable machine, only because we don't have the nimble ask vCenter to quiesce the VMs on the volume. (it's on my list of 'things what need to be fixed in my copious free time')

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WannaCrypt: Roots, reasons and why scramble patching won't save you now

J. Cook
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Re: Back ups - still underrated

Part of it that no one wants to spend on on backup hardware, the media that said hardware uses, the software that the backups require, and the administrative overhead that managing backups entails.

A number of years ago, I was doing some work for a company and they balked at paying ~$700 USD for a re-built DLT drive to replace the one that had packed it in. It was on their only server, and it was their only backup method. I asked them point blank, how much their business was worth, because if they didn't have good backups, they were a server failure away from losing it all.

They paid for the tape drive.

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IBM wheels out bleedin' big 15TB tape drive

J. Cook
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Boffin

Re: Why does nobody build disk libraries?

They do make them; are your referring to something like this?

https://kintronics.com/solutions/optical-jukeboxes-and-libraries/

(first hit from google "optical jukebox" that wasn't a wikipedia link)

TL;DR - Yes, but they have the same problems. They are a bit faster for access times.

Optical jukeboxes tend to have two problems:

1) Relatively low data density compared to tape. (a BD-RW gets you what? 50 GB tops per disc?) While the discs can be crammed into a smaller volume, You need more of them to equal tape. One unit is 5 feet by 15 inched by 28 inches and only manages ~70 TB max capacity. An equally sized tape library will beat that without breathing hard. (oddly enough, they cost the same...)

2) They suffer the same problems as tape changers. In the ~8 years that I've been overseeing backups at my current employer, we've gone through four tape libraries; the first one was died from old age and 'we don't support that model anymore'-itis, second had the robotics die on it requiring a chassis replacement with unit #3, which was superseded by the fourth, which has had the controller and most of the drives on it replaced in it's 5 years of operating life. They both have a good deal of high precision moving parts which are fiddly, finicky, and sometimes downright cranky.

They do have some pluses, though: faster access time than tape, and depending on the media fed into them, better archival longevity. They also have random access capability as well, so you don't have to de-spool 3/4 of the tape to get the single 100 MB file you are after near the end of the media.

My first corporate job was with a credit union that had two optical libraries: a moderate sized one for mortgage records (about the size of a half-cabinet), and the second was this giant beast of a unit for check image storage. (it was larger than a double wardrobe) and that was in the late 90's, so that was CD-R or M-O media.

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Need the toilet? Wanna watch a video ad about erectile dysfunction?

J. Cook
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Coat

Internet connected toilets- that would really by the Internet of S#&t, then.

I'll show myself out...

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J. Cook
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Re: Backstory????

The company might be using a greywater reuse system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greywater) for the toilets, and some H&S numpty probably insisted on the stickers.

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J. Cook
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Re: STERCULIUS

... I need signs made up with this on it.

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Oh lordy, WD just SCHOOLED Seagate in running a disk drive biz

J. Cook
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Pint

All storage devices suck.

Best bet is multiple copies of data on multiple devices and media. (i.e., mirror the primary/active data set on two similar drives from different brands or different lots at least, backup copy to a third different brand)

One is none, two is one.

Is it beer o clock yet?

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J. Cook
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Boffin

Re: I'll never buy Seagate again

"dozens of IBM-supplied (HGST really?) drives for the "serious kit" "

Hitachi fabbed drives for IBM back in the "deskstar/travelstar/deathstar" days, when the drives were IBM branded as well. (similar to Lenovo fabbing the Thinkpads and other x86 hardware before they got spun off or split out)

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Peace in our time! Symantec says it can end Google cert spat

J. Cook
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Go

The last time one of our vendors tried pitching anything made by symantec to us I laughed hard enough to trigger a coughing fit.

There was also the time where one of the other IT managers was trying to give Comodo a foot in the door. After I stopped laughing, I sent him a nice, long reply that explained why I said 'hell no'.

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Drunk user blow-dried laptop after dog lifted its leg over the keyboard

J. Cook
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Re: Rubber Gloves...

When I was still a field tech, I kept a box of the things in my 'PM' kit* for cleaning up printers and computers alike. Certain parts of laser printers are sensitive to the greases and oils in skin, toner's just a pain in the butt to deal with, and the computers... ugh. Especially the ones that sat on the floor under a desk. Or worse, under a sorting table on the inbound 'dirty' line of a uniform company's laundry room. (those machines were perched on wood blocks about 18 inches off the floor, because they hosed the floor down to clean it and the cases tended to rust-weld themselves to the floor)

About the worst I'd dealt with was the full-tower server that lived in a portal office trailer (such as the type used at construction sites) that was a home to a bunch of rats, until one of them shorted themselves out on the server's power brick. The inside of it was covered in rat poop, and the server sat on a cardboard liner in the back of my truck for the ride to the shop. (I was just the pickup person for it, the shop tech had the horror of dealing with that one...)

* which also had isopropyl, Q-tips, a roll of shop towels, and a toner-safe canister vacuum in it. It was a BIG kit.

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J. Cook
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Re: Good on Jim Re dog

Cat are just as bad; I like describing them as four legged two year olds with no concept of memory at times.

(seriously. one of the cats in my house is elderly, and when he gets offended by pretty much anything, he poops on the floor instead of the litter box. He at least pees in the box, which I'm thankful for.)

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Script kiddies pwn 1000s of Windows boxes using leaked NSA hack tools

J. Cook
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Boffin

... and that is when you air-gap the machine, or put something between it and the rest of the world, like a _decent_ firewall running in whitelisting mode (block all except what I explicitly want through)

Kinda of like you should do for SCADA or other industrial control systems where application security is shite.

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Can nothing stop the Veeam tank? We hate to save you a click but: No

J. Cook
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Boffin

Not surprised here...

We've been a commvault shop for... a while (Since simpana 7 or 8, IIRC).

Veeam has been eating part of commvault's lunch for several reasons:

1) It does not require professional services or a huge amount of hand holding to install and configure. (Commvault is an extraordinarily complex 'do everything' product that works for a bunch of enterprises because they want a single system for holding backup data in a consistent manner; this comes at the expense of being ridiculously complex to setup and configure.)

2) It's straight-forward to understand how the data retention mechanism it uses operates. Commvault.... well, it's complicated, and commvault very much errs on the side of 'we are not sure, so we'll hang onto this backup called 'test' that you ran only once, regardless that you told me hold onto it for 1 week and that was 2 years ago and you never ran the job ever again and in fact the device that the job ran against is long gone.' (and then it complains about it if you manually delete the job or clear the media the job is stored on)

3) Veeam does not need a three or five day training session in order to use- you can be up and running quite fast with it. Plus, if your shop has high turnover for some reason, you won't be suffering from institutional loss of memory and have to pay for the same training over and over again as people cycle through ownership of the Backup Admin hat.

We came *very* close to jumping ship to Veeam this last year, due to a handful of communication snafus and mis-steps from the VAR that did our upgrade to v11. (and what should have been a 2 month start to finish project ended up taking the better part of 6 months...)

Just my $0.02 USD as a corporate end user.

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Apple nabs permit to experiment with self-driving iCars in Cali

J. Cook
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Joke

Re: California and Cali

Well, some of us like to refer to it as 'Commiefornia', but for a multitude of reasons unrelated to this article. :)

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Hasta la Windows Vista, baby! It's now officially dead – good riddance

J. Cook
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Mushroom

UAC...

UAC on windows 7 I can live with; even on 8.1 it's at a decent balance between a sanity check and annoyance. Vista was a 'meh' start out of the gate. (which is why most enterprises stayed the hell away from it and implemented windows 7.)

Server 2012 R2 (especially one configured as a file server): Worst. Idea. EVER.

In order to manage file permissions on a server 2012 R2 file server, I have to either go through the share interface on a client machine, OR run powershell on the console as an Administrator and try to remember the (obtuse and obscure) syntax to change the ACLs via command-line, OR I have to crank up task manager and launch an instance of File Manager As Administrator.

ON. THE. CONSOLE. OF. THE. MACHINE.

This gets absolutely stupid when you are dealing with several million files occupying 5+ TB of space, because the business users are packrats.

And don't get me started on managing permissions on the root of the drive- that way lies madness and excessive foaming around the mouth.

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J. Cook
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XP's interface (with all the eye candy turned on) did bring some machines that could run win2K acceptably to their knees.

These were ancient P3-based machines that just barely met the minimum processor and memory spec for XP, so that was not surprising.

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Schneider Electric still shipping passwords in firmware

J. Cook
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Boffin

... and that is why SCADA systems should be air gapped, or on an isolated network, with remote access via a locked down, heavily monitored terminal server with a leg on each side. (or possibly using an IP KVM for console access to the management box, which has *zero* access to the internet or the rest of the network)

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Scottrade admits server snafu blabbed 20,000 customer files to world

J. Cook
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Pint

I start a four day weekend in two hours.

Mmm.... Eggs and baccy. *drools*

Yeah, that was definately a RGE* or a CLM**.

* Resume Generating Event

** Career Limiting Move

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Mac Pro update: Apple promises another pricey thing it will no doubt abandon after a year

J. Cook
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Having had a chance to put my grimy, blood-stained claws on a trash can mac, the best thing I can say about them is that a) they are surprisingly heavy, thought with that thermal mass it's understandable; and b) the shiniest part of them was the monitor that connected to it.

Oh wait, the monitors are gone now, too. I'd like to see a return of a nicely sized, modular mac, especially if it's price competitive* with the wintel equivalents.

*I'll give 10-20% on the pricing, seeing as case design is surprisingly hard to do in such a way to make things easy to access and nice looking in the process.

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J. Cook
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Not lost...

Try 'never sent'- El Reg has been persona non grata for apple events for years and years.

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Indian Business Machines? One-third of Big Blue staff based there and Bangladesh

J. Cook
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Joke

Someone beat you to one of those jokes...

"IBM = Immense Bowel Movement."

Or possibly "Intragalactic Bowel Movements", perhaps? (see https://www.schlockmercenary.com/2000-10-02 for an explaination*)

*Danger, deep archive, productivity loss possible.

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Stop us if you've heard this one before: IBM sheds more workers – this time, tech sales

J. Cook
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Pint

Re: Incredible Boneheaded Move

I wouldn't touch lotus notes with someone else's 10 meter pole*. And the less said about Websphere, the better.

*FNARR

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PC survived lightning strike thanks to a good kicking

J. Cook
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Same here:

I had* a Vaio FXA that would occasionally BSOD. It was running XP, at least.

I traced the problem down to a fault with the video driver, which was a ATI Mobile Radeon or some such that had custom bios and firmware on it that sony wrote and then abandoned a year and a half later with exactly *one* driver update to it.

* Still have, actually- the batteries are trashed, but it'll still spool up and boot, albeit into a freeBSD image that I no longer remember the root password for. For a 'daily driver' of a laptop, it did what I wanted to pretty decently.

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US ATM fraud surges despite EMV

J. Cook
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Facepalm

It also doesn't help that a *large* portion of Americans are either too ignorant (willfully or otherwise), or have a serious cranial-rectal inversion to follow what is a stupidly simple process:

1. insert chip card into reader

2. wait for prompt to enter pin or sign (this is largely up to the merchant, and whoever configured their point of sale system) and enter pin/sign then press the enter button

3. remove card when prompted

4. PROFIT!

But then, these are the same people who, when using the magstripe, will either crawl the card through the reader too slow, or whip the thing through at Warp factor 8 which then produces a card read error.

And invariably, I get stuck behind them in line.

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Squirrel sinks teeth into SAN cabling, drives Netadmin nuts

J. Cook
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Re: Best traps

@abelsoul: There have been some studies done that suggest that cats do this in order to teach us Terrible Big Things how to Cat properly and how to hunt. :)

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User jams up PC. Literally. No, we don't know which flavour

J. Cook
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Re: I bet you try this

There was also the time that I was stuck repairing an eMachine (A terrible, low end, cheap machine that (barely) ran windows 98se, let alone XP which some ignoramus slapped on it) which had a _destroyed_ USB port.

Apparently, someone tried plugging in a USB device on the back port, and it wouldn't fit. Not content with turning the USB cable over, they just rammed the thing in, breaking the connector in such a way that it shorted the portion of the chip the circuit traces ran to.

There was exactly *two* usb ports on the entire machine to begin with- one in front, one in the back. (the one in the back was the trashed one).

Ironicly enough, the thing still had the display sticker plastered on the front of the case proudly proclaiming that would "never need to be upgraded!". (Primarily because you _couldn't_ upgrade it, and they were cheap enough that you tossed it and bought a Real Computer afterwards.)

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BOFH: Don't back up in anger

J. Cook
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Re: What goes around...

The BOFH (and the PFY) have actually changed companies at least once since then.

But it's a possibility.

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