* Posts by Doctor Syntax

9983 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

Doctor Syntax
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Re: Make sure the computer is on..

"All my calls from the Lads and Lasses at Microsoft Support"

I envy you. The only one that ever came my way was a missed call and I've two scripts prepared which don't even get them as far as asking me to turn on the computer.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Shouting managers

"Then you put in writing why it can't be done and/or your misgivings about why it is a supremely bad idea."

It still leaves you as the man in the middle between sales and customer in a situation which could potentially end up in court. It's still not your job to manage customers' expectations.

In fact, in the case I was thinking of someone must have done that because the product, although ricocheting between a number of software firms seemed to have been successful in its niche market. I had a couple of short testing gigs much later when a client was migrating to bigger and bigger hardware. Because the name had changed I didn't recognising it when the first of these was proposed but hanging around in the front office waiting to meet the client I could see a use screen and thought that it was laid out just the way I'd have done it. Not surprising as I had. I also found that one screen still had place-holder text in the menu produced by my home-made code generator and left unchanged for 11 years.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: I am fairly sure

"You could have read the article and realised that he was using the UNIX 'mail' application on a VT (aka dumb terminal) - likely a text only one... Some apps *did* run on VTs and offer the +/- idiom (ISTR trn did that) 'mail' most definitely did not."

The article isn't explicit about this.

All we're told is:

Server: Unstated on Linux -> Exchange on unstated (but a Windows server of some vintage)

Client: Unstated -> Outlook

Desktop: No information

In fact, at the technical level we're not even told half the story. If this is indicative of Newt's communication skills it's no wonder there were problems.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Client support, we've heard about it

"I'll be a damn sight more respectful and will INSIST on learning the tools I need to use rather than just expecting someone else to do it for me."

Again, it needs to be pointed out that the user had learned the tools he needed. He never asked for them to be changed but someone did just that.

Remember that IT exists to help the business as a whole operate. As an IT staffer you can't exist without the operational people* because they earn the money to pay your salary. They, on the other hand, may take the view that they can do without you, especially if you don't appear helpful; they can outsource your job.

*Yes, I know IT can be part of the delivery system. Been there, done that. It was an aspect of being part of the business as a whole.

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Doctor Syntax
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"Honestly- I reckon these users have to be related to one another!"

Probably not but they do train each other, especially if IT doesn't make the effort to do so themselves.

I can't imagine why they think it's a good idea but it seems to have been something that's happened for years so IT really should be aware of it and try to break the cycle by emphasising that what goes into Deleted can't be assured of coming out again.

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Doctor Syntax
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"Techie - he did everything right before going on vacation"

Making a big change just prior to going on vacation isn't doing everything right; just the opposite. Assume there will be teething troubles and make sure you'll be there to deal with them.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Shouting managers

"And this is why you always get stupid decisions in writing - it's either useful as evidence or makes the PHB think again about what they're asking you to do."

This works fine until you get to Roo's situation: it's not a PHB, it's a salesperson and it's already written down and signed before it even gets near you. And yes, I have resigned after being faced with such a situation although it did help that I'd met a former client at the station who asked did I want to come back.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Cruel and unusual

A Microsoft sales droid took the right wrong person out to lunch?

FTFY

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Doctor Syntax
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"imagine the doctor taking the piss out of his patients all day"

It's called a sample.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Remember those days when you'd go on a course...

"we all stopped doing it about fifteen years ago."

Because vendors arbitrarily changed UIs so fact the courses couldn't keep up?

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Doctor Syntax
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"The FIRST thing you do when entering a hostile users environment is make sure the computer is on , and they are logged in , or booting."

This doesn't work if the problem is related to a boot-time failure so you miss the error message.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Cruel and unusual

"Asking anyone who is used to Linux to move to Windows - and, worse still, to use Outhouse - is cruel and unusual punishment."

As far as I can make out from the article it was a Linux server that was being replaced and we're not told what the previous desktop or mail client was. It seems unlikely that they'd have swapped a Linux desktop out just because they'd swapped the server. So here we have a Windows or Mac user having their mail client swapped out. If the user had actually been, as the headline almost certainly misstates, a Linux user he'd just have fired up his existing mail client and connected it to the new server.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Client support, we've heard about it

"Other staff have just the same responsibility to learn how to continue to do their job, be reasonable, respectful, and proportionate to the problem at hand, as we do."

You need to be able to see it from the other side.

The user has been doing their job for years. They know how to do it Doing it is their job.

Suddenly an unasked for change is imposed which means they now find themselves in the position that what they've known for a long time no longer amounts to knowing how to do their job.

Their job hasn't changed.

What they know hasn't changed.

What they need to know has been arbitrarily (at least as far as they can tell) changed.

So now instead of doing their job they need to acquire a whole lot of new knowledge which takes time and doing that isn't their job, at least not as they see it.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Client support, we've heard about it

"He just didn't want to be bothered to learn anything new outside his interests."

Understandable. Time spent learning something deemed unnecessary is time not available to do what is deemed necessary.

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Australian money cops gain powers to regulate cryptocurrency

Doctor Syntax
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Re: Property is the best way to launder money in Australia

“The problem with Australians is they are very slow. They ask their lawyer, they ask their financial adviser, they ask their family, they ask everybody. The Chinese don’t ask anybody, they come off the plane, buy their unit and go.”

Easy come, easy go. If it was you you did the hard earning of the cash you're careful of it on your only purchase. If not then you can afford a few misses amongst the many.

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Defra recruiting 1,400 policy wonks to pick up the pieces after Brexit

Doctor Syntax
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Re: brexit cost

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

In this case when everything falls apart it will be blamed on the negotiating team not being true believers as real Leavers would have done a better job.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Light begins to dawn?

"As every day goes by I believe more and more that Brexit is a huge mistake"

Unfortunately some people will cling to this mindset regardless of all that has and is happening.

What's all this stuff that's happened and is happening that's supposed to show us that it isn't a huge mistake? I know there are occasional quotes that the negotiations are all going well but given that it's politicians saying that it gets discounted by almost 100% without any solid evidence to show for it.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: brexit cost

The real question is if the gov will take the saving and the opportunity of freedom to make good decisions for the country or if they will continue with what we did while in the EU/worse.

The "No true Scotsman" excuse being warmed up already.

for some die hard EU supporters they also want the same destructive goals if we leave the EU

No we don't want this. We do, however, see it as the inevitable consequence of doing this damn stupid thing in the damn stupid way we voted against.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: brexit cost

"Does government and general public has a complete understanding how to practically make this separation happen and what will it mean for UK."

Not in the least. That's why so many of them voted for it, including in areas where major employers were EU bases for non-EU corporations.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: 1400?

"What on Earth makes you think that we want to duplicate everything associated with that benighted and undemocratic monument to self perpetuating inefficiency, graft and pork barrels that is the EU?"

The answer should be starting to be clear in a couple of years' time.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: 1400?

@ John Lilburne

But this is DEFRA we're talking about so what you describe is simply Business As Usual.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Brexit

"There will be no meeting of minds on this one."

And when it's finally impossible to ignore the consequences we know what the few who will still admit to having been Leavers will say. We've already seen the "No true Scotsman" explanation being rehearsed.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Brexit

Would it be too much to ask that you STFU with the whinging and actually try and make it work?

How? If you have an answer please let the cabinet know because they don't seem to have one.

Or would you really prefer to see it all end in disaster just so you can stand in the queue at the dole office telling everyone "Well, I told them so." ?

No we wouldn't but have a nasty suspicion that that's what will happen anyway. And when it does you'll scarcely be able to find anyone who claims to have voted leave.

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FYI: Web ad fraud looks really bad. Like, really, really bad. Bigly bad

Doctor Syntax
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Re: I think most of us realize that internet ads are bollocks.

"BigCo buys online advertising to sell its product, SpecialStuff.

Googazon sells ads to BigCo, and makes much money."

I think you've missed out several steps here. Somewhere in there is an ad agency selling to BigCo. They then place the ads with a chain of several businesses before it gets to your Googazon, each taking their cut.

It's one of those that's in cahoots with your BotBuilder to increase the number of cuts they get. Of course it's in the interests of all the others in the chain to make sure this doesn't happen - or is it?

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Why am I not surprised?

"if it costs companies 10x more to advertise do you think they take that hit on profits.. or pass it on to the consumers?"

And then they find they're competing on price with vendors who don't waste the customers' money with advertising.

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Doctor Syntax
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Charles,

IIRC you've previously said you don't actually work in the ad industry. If that's so you've clearly fallen for their hype in which case you need to remember what it is they actually do for a living: they persuade people that advertising works.

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Doctor Syntax
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It could be worse

A greater percentage of ads could be being pushed in the face of potential customers and sending them elsewhere.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Pants

"What the hell did you do that for? Given that the internet has given you access to a world wide market , it'd be a coincidence if the best deal was at the local independant retailer - and also it was a carryable size item, ideal for posting."

It depends on the purchase and how you do the carrying. Yesterday I went to a local independent builders' merchant to buy some stone product. I carried it home by car. I'd dread to think what postage might be or how it might be managed (70 stones, each individually wrapped and posted?) but delivery by the vendor would have added nearly 20% to the cost.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Pants

"Now, EVERY SINGLE FUCKING WEBSITE I VISIT is covered with adverts for pants - and bras."

Try running an ad-blocker. It will make them go away.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Advertising is often overhyped...

"lets just imagine a world without coca cola ads, or mcdonalds ads."

No problem.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Advertising is often overhyped...

"They have access to a damn' sight better data than your gut instincts, or mine, or even their own."

And what data do they have on the reaction so commonly expressed here: that after being subjected to obnoxious advertising the potential customer will go elsewhere? They can show net effects of advertising but I doubt they'd even dare go looking for the negative effects.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Advertising is often overhyped...

This isn't surprising. It's an industry that specialises in hype and only sells one product: advertising.

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Doctor Syntax
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"Why do you think static banner ads fell out of favor?"

Because they didn't piss of enough potential customers. This, of course, wouldn't have been how the ad industry represented it to their clients.

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UK.gov is hiring IT bods with skills in ... Windows Vista?!

Doctor Syntax
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Re: 2003?!

"I guess the HR wonks have just cut and pasted a spec from another older job."

Alternatively HR only provided something very vague and then someone at the agency googled 'list of PC operating systems'.

Or maybe it's just a case of hiding what they're really interested in in a list of other stuff. Can't tell you what it really is. Security.

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Virtual assistant backlash imminent so buy them anyway

Doctor Syntax
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BINGO!!!!!

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Singapore court awards $2.9m over bad job reference

Doctor Syntax
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We'd just taken on a new employee (assigned to me although I didn't ask for anyone) a couple of weeks before the company announced a relocation. Not surprisingly he gave in his notice. How do you give a sensible reference for someone who has only been with you a few weeks?

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Nine months and a lot more b*llocks to go before new EU data protection rules kick in

Doctor Syntax
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Company after company is pushing "self-assessment" kits to prove how under-prepared organisations are, while others are selling various widgets, gizmos and services that claim to help them comply.

Given that so many companies have shown themselves to be unprepared to deal with what's already law and has been for a few decades not I'd have thought that anything which spurs them into activity should be considered a Good Thing.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: In all fairness

"That's the sort of woolly thinking that causes arguments and problems."

Quite. Just what company is going to admit to itself that what it's doing might not be fair.

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NotPetya ransomware attack cost us $300m – shipping giant Maersk

Doctor Syntax
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"But with this and my skills, I had no intuitive idea on how to move forward.”

So, having no intuitive (?or any other) idea of what to do he took charge.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Maersk hit by NotPetya

"Once you find those bastards, lock them into a shipping container, and have an 'at sea' accident."

They don't even need an accident. Just park it in some odd corner of a large depot and quietly delete the container's records from the system.

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: Easy to mitigate

"Did you forget - they need to be able to do work from these computers... ;)"

Did you forget? They weren't able to.

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UK govt steams ahead with £5m facial recog system amid furore over innocents' mugshots

Doctor Syntax
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"That approach was declared illegal by the High Court back in 2012 and Lord Justice Richards told the police to revise its policies, giving them a period of "months not years" to do so."

Perhaps the then Home Secretary should be hauled up for contempt of court for failing to implement this.

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Comp sci world shock: Bonn boffin proposes P≠NP proof, preps for prestige, plump prize

Doctor Syntax
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"SELECT TOP 100 FROM students ORDER BY InfluentialFriendRelationWeight, FamilyWealth DESC"

Not entirely. You've got to iterate your way through this eliminating any who are paired in the list with someone already selected.

Personally I'd go with the "if list is less than 150" approach. If it's more than 150 allocate any that don't appear on the dean's list, then sort the students on the list in DESC order of the number of occurrences. The one who appears most is obviously a trouble maker so eliminate, take any of his pairs who aren't paired with someone else and add them to the allocation until it reaches 100.

In real life, of course, my sort is probably fairly near the reverse of yours as obnoxiousness would correlate strongly with InfluentialFriendRelationWeight and FamilyWealth.

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Doctor Syntax
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"That gives one solution. Not all solutions."

The section highlighted in the article doesn't specify all possible solutions are to be provided.

We come to the familiar developer's situation: an inadequately refined requirement.

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Red Hat banishes Btrfs from RHEL

Doctor Syntax
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Re: @doctor syntax

"I can't think of any malware or virus that got its way into a system via writing to the filesystem."

And once it gets in it never does stuff like, let's say, overwrite all a user's files?

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Doctor Syntax
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Re: After so many version of Fedora that promised brtfs as the default filesystem

"This doesn't bode particularly well for the future of large scale GPL projects."

Look at any desktop Linux userland and see how many licences are already in play.

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Doctor Syntax
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"Given the way that technology is going, I suspect that the future is going to involve file systems that were designed specifically for flash storage."

I think that, in response to malware, we might have to start looking at storage in a new way. Rather than letting any old application write to whatever lump of storage to which the user has access it will need to ask a service to do the writing and the service will ensure that the application has the appropriate credentials.

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Lenovo thought PC salesfolk could sell servers and was wrong by about $500m

Doctor Syntax
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I'm sure IBM have a spare server sales team they could let Lenovo have.

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Months after breach at the 'UnBank' Ffrees, customers complain: No one told us

Doctor Syntax
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Man overboard?

"All organisations have a duty under the Data Protection Act to keep people's personal information safe and secure,"

I wonder if that carries an implication about what sort of response would be required.

Here's an analogy. A ship operator has a responsibility to keep passengers safe from falling overboard. The first line of this might be a guardrail. But if, despite this a passenger were to go over the side then one would expect some form of rescue attempt - anything from throwing a lifebelt to calling out air-sea rescue as appropriate.

So perhaps a mere "oops" to the ICO isn't sufficient response to a breach. The requirement to keep data subjects safe continues and one element of discharging that would be to alert those affected to that they could help themselves - in addition, of course, to any additional help from the company which would be appropriate.

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Creepy backdoor found in NetSarang server management software

Doctor Syntax
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Re: FTFY

"NetSarang, as well as others in the computer software industry, is taking very seriously now."

Not so much now, more like once they've been hit.

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