* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

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

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Re: This is just another proof...

that unbridled Capitalism has MBAs have managed to create an environment in which the company's own management is also the company's worst enemy

"It's also another proof that our governments are either criminal or criminally stupid."

Governments appoint MBAs to run companies? Some businesses have been run well, some run badly since businesses existed. Good businesses have fallen prey to bad management. What's it to do with government?

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"You might recall a recent story about Lloyds outsourcing to IBM.


However, there's also https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/06/20/ibm_xeon_only_discount/

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How does IBM keep winning outsourcing contracts if things are that bad?


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Re: Abuse, plain and simple.

"End result? Contractor still looking for a new contract"

End result, if they've any wit, contractor still supporting ex-IBM customer and divvying up IBM's slice between them. Sort of having your cake and eating it.

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Re: “be forced to reduce their CLAIMED hours by 15 per cent.”

Might as well just say "Anybody who can get a job elsewhere, please do so."

Or this:

“In the last seven months I've pretty much worked constantly with five of my former clients, who have hired me directly to do the same work they can no longer find anybody at IBM to do.”

Non-compete clauses? IBM is repudiating its own contracts so it might have a hard time enforcing them.

Stack Clash flaws blow local root holes in loads of top Linux programs

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Re: Security 101: If they're sitting at the computer...

"But at least you can be reasonably assured that this particular hole will be patched when all the libraries go over their code with a fine toothed comb."

That's already been done.

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Email from my email provider yesterday to say they were going to reboot last night because of that. Laptop has just been updated this morning. I'll reboot as soon as I've posted this.

Done and dusted.

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

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

NSA had NFI about opsec: 2016 audit found laughably bad security

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And yet one of its jobs, as with GCHQ here, is to help secure national IT infrastructure. Is this a case of the cobbler's children or is it equally poor at its assigned task? And if NSA is that bad what of GCHQ?

I suppose they're both too busy spying on us.

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Re: Can't wait till ISIS recruits infiltrate the NSA....

They haven't?

Microsoft's new Surface laptop defeats teardown – with glue

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Re: Nonsense

"What are you going to replace?"

The battery.

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Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

"The only time a user has to repair a laptop is if it fails after the 3 year warranty period but before it so outdated as to be no longer useful"

Never mind repair - what about replacing a battery?

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Re: Recycling also difficult

"I do not see how this can get a CE label"

No problem so long as you don't mind it being a China Export label.

2 kool 4 komputing: Teens' interest in GCSE course totally bombs

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Re: Lets be realistic

"When I was at school we all had to do woodwork and metalwork - subjects for working class kids that were supposed to start working with our hands to make stuff."

I have a certain degree of sympathy with this point of view. Yes we had that sort of class and school and I discovered that basically I wasn't much good at it.

And yet an attitude that if you want stuff you can make it is important. I acquired it not so much from school as from my dad. Right now I'm sitting in the house that he built; not had built but built himself (OK, over the years I mixed a fair bit of mortar, concrete and Thistle by hand). Because he'd grown up with that attitude and also had the aptitude to go with it. Roll forward to post-grad times and, after a week's introductory FORTRAN (the first day of it missed because SWMBO and self hadn't got back from a week's field work) I discovered that if I wanted a program I could and did write it myself; I'd finally discovered an aptitude to go with the attitude. I eventually built a second career out of that.

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"Schools should focus on teaching pupils a good grounding in Maths, the 3 Primary Sciences & English."

Actually the computing could be woven into those.

Back in the blimey-is-it-nearly-60-years-ago days at school the physics lab had a couple of spectroscopes with diffraction gratings. Working out how to get the 2nd order image of the sodium doublet and at least the first order of the neon that was present in the sodium lamb was a grounding for serious experimental work in later life. Now imagine if such kit (assuming schools still have such things) were combined with a stepper motor, a sensor and an RPi to automatically acquire spectra. That's how computing skills could be acquired along with ordinary lessons.

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"Someone thinks that page description markup has to do with CS"

Of course it does. Rory Cellan-Jones says it's "coding" so it must be right.

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"I know that I can get a team of 4 brilliant developers from the Philippines for the cost of 1 contractor from the UK. I also know that I dont need to be in the same room, building or country as they are for them to work well."

You've missed an important point. You think they don't need to be in the same room etc. In fact there's a lot to be said for developers - we used to call them analyst/programmers - being able to talk to the people who were doing the work your S/W would be helping them with. That way you would find out what was actually needed. You could maybe fast-prototype something and get feedback.

Your 1 contractor in the UK, if carefully selected, working with the end user will be worth the money. The actual cost might work out closer than you thought and you'd likely get better value for money via a better product.

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"or work for the government"

Oi. I did that in science for some years and I can tell you pay and prospects were crap. You did not get to "skim off the top" in science in the Civils Service.

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Black Helicopters

HTTPS is where it's at.


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"My son did GCSE computing and scored A, but then promptly dumped it for science at A Levels."

The way pay has always been in science, and the way it seems to be going in IT, both seems to be mugs' games these days.

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"Woohoo! Skills shortage == more pay for us oldies."

You think so? Just do as you're told & train your Indian replacement.

Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

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Re: Past!

"Might be for the best if yer driving..."

So stop driving.

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Re: Alternatively...

"which was the right road for Weymouth town centre"

I had the same trouble with Weymouth town centre. I quickly decided it probably wasn't worth the effort.

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Re: That said ..

"Audi drivers are driving using the Force."

Audi drivers think they are the Force.

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It would be a distinct improvement if it stops HGVs using satnavs intended for cars.

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My backup GPS is both a map and an AtoZ of the area that I'm travelling to.

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Re: What a load of crap

"it's much better to have centralised stations and increased response times"

Like this? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-39614096

Brit uni blabs students' confidential information to 298 undergrads

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Re: Spreadsheet != Database

"Talking about saving money, my senior managers have lots of cash for constant moving around of departments and the associated building works that come with it, 4 years in a row I've had to move offices."

Just moving around? Real managers would have had at least 3 reorganisations in that time?

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So often I get asked, "How quickly can you get a breakdown of historic research income by quarter separated by the gender ratio within the lab and gender of the lead investigator?" that when I reply "Two days, including testing, once I've finished this epic piece of coding I'll get straight onto it for you." I get "I could do that in Excel in, like, an hour".

It depends on how well you know your way round the schema. If all they want is a one-off you should be able to do it from a good SQL database in less time than Excel. It depends on your priorities and those you work with. They need to realise that if you're doing application coding and one-off queries.then the application coding is going to be delayed by a lot longer than the time you actually spend on the on-offs. However they might be OK with that.

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Re: 3. Someone - with access - exports data, and emails it to 2

"Even if people are aware of what they're doing is wrong or against protocol, they will still do it, because they don't want (short term) hassle - usually from the recipient(s)."

It's a matter of attitude. My last client before retiring took security very seriously because they provided secure services to clients. Irrespective of the inconvenience staff would observe secure protocols. As yet most businesses can get away without that. Gradually, as consequences get more serious and more widely realised things will improve. It'll just take bigger fines and more class actions before it happens.

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Re: Spreadsheet != Database

"We have a student DB, but it's unwieldy, slow and crap. To get any changes made to it, you have to get the developer in to do a analysis, then the design, then the development, etc before it can be finally added and used."

I wonder why anybody does analysis and design. Could it be to try to prevent this sort of thing?

By letting - yes, there's an element of permission there, even if only be default - short-cuts to be taken your student DB is prevented from being improved. And so your management paints itself further into a corner so that, assuming you're in Europe, one day you find that you didn't really save money, all you did was postpone it until it was drained away in a big fine.

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"This sounds like a process design fault"

It sounds even more like lack of process.

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"Hope it doesn't have macros"

In this case a macro that downloaded ransomeware might have been just what you'd hope for. It might be extreme but it'd protect the data.

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Re: Spreadsheet != Database

When all you've got is Excel everything looks like a spreadsheet.

And some people just don't get anything else.

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They've less than a year to sort themselves out. Maybe they're one of these SMBs that hasn't heard about GDPR yet.

Jaguar Land Rover ropes in Gorillaz to help it lure 5,000 'electronic wizards'

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From the Beeb's version:

"Jaguar Land Rover has indicated half of all new models will be available in an electric version by the end of the decade, necessitating new skills among its staff."

Sounds OK for a lot of those 4x4. School run and supermarket should fit in the range of a daily charge.

Hotheaded Brussels civil servants issued with cool warning: Leak

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Re: Start of 2 year exit negotiations?

"2 and a half months ago, most of which has been wasted by Theresa Mayhems ill-advised and ill-fated snap GE."

From her PoV certainly ill-advised. If it hastens her departure I certainly wouldn't call it wasted.

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I was with you until you got to the scotch egg.

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"You are not advised to drink alcohol, and to eat light meals"

So you're not actually advised not to drink alcohol.

And if you don't eat light meals do you go without or do you eat heavy meals?

Backdoor backlash: European Parliament wants better privacy

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Re: Unintended consequences


Dammit! Things.

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Re: Big Banks

Not just banks. Any business that relies on VPNs to connect branches and/or home workers also relies on end-to-end encryption.

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Re: Excellent

" I believe it will be ignored overall."

If it gets through into EU law then it can't be ignored. That's a pretty big if, however.

I'd like to see the EU Parliament get this through in less than 2 years. Her Ladyship won't like it but then I think her tenure won't stretch anything like so far ahead.

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Re: Sorry but ElReg is wrong...

"Their approach is to introduce soft/ malware on the suspects device, being able to monitor before encryption happens."

That's a distinction without a difference. It simply means that they're granting themselves the right to break the system as a whole rather than the encrypted component of it. Same effect.

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Re: Unintended consequences

"So how do you intercept something that has encryption you can' t break legally or otherwise?"

Different thongs. You can intercept it. You'll get encrypted data. That's your problem unless, of course, you can launch a MIM attack against it.

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Re: Unintended consequences

"So in order to own a website, you have to register with a certification authority? That's a step backward for privacy, right there."

Maybe someone should invent an open certification authority. What would it be called? How about LetsEncrypt.org? I wonder when someone will get round to it.

Migrating to Microsoft's cloud: What they won't tell you, what you need to know

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"Don’t even start a cloud project until you’re happy with your internet speeds."

Speeds in the plural seems to be the operative word here. You're not going to do this without redundant connections are you?

Oh the irony: Government Digital Services can't pay staff because of tech problems

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Re: Logic

"By not paying the staff they don't have to sort the IR35 issues."

A faulty payroll system won't bother the contractors. They get paid against invoice and if that payment system fails theirs always the Small Claims Court (never let the outstanding sum exceed the SCC limit) and bailiffs.

BOFH: Halon is not a rad new vape flavour

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Re: CRTs

"he was an apprentice"

The mind boggles at the thought of the present day equivalent of Rediffusion having apprentices.

ICO fines Morrisons for emailing customers who didn't want to be emailed

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Temporary email addresses for firms you don't expect to deal with again is the best answer. Those you do have to deal with more regularly get their own address and if they spam it gets dropped and their spam bounces. Except one business I'm saving for their next AGM....

You'll soon be buying bulgur wheat salad* from Amazon, after it swallowed Whole Foods

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Re: Have you ever or would you eat bulgur wheat?


Thanks for the link. Our Simon has a rival.

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