* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16449 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

2009 IBM: Teleworking will save the WORLD! 2017 IBM: Get back to the office or else

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Bringing people together into larger and larger conurbations is not a good idea. It means longer commutes on average. It's unsustainable. Governments should be giving tax concessions or other encouragement to forms of distributed working, be it working from home, smaller local offices or whatever. They probably will but years later than they should.

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Projected move: Central London to King's Langley. Questionnaire sent round to see who would stay with the company. 80% said they would. Oops, King's Langley suddenly turned out ot be too expensive.

Actual move: Central London to Leeds. Hardly anyone stayed. Those who didn't included most of the top team whose idea it was and rumour had it that one of them still got a relocation package.

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Re: It's Like The Tide...

Step 9 - optional, after as long as long interval as it takes to discover 8 wasn't working, bring it back in house.

Step 10 - GOTO 1.

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Re: You answered your own question

"Would have been better to turn the Watson engine to analysing the performance of the staff and contractors and cutting accordingly."

Maybe they did and the answers were too embarrassing to reveal.

Kids these days will never understand the value of money

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Re: Exception proves the rule?

"My 11 year old has a debit card but spurns it in favour of cold hard cash."

and keeps what they spend it on hidden from you.

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Re: Don't agree

"I buy 9 toilet rolls from Ebay"

Make sure you tick the "New" box.

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Re: Do you want your receipt?...

"Is it just me that finds the question strange?"

No. At one time the issuing of a receipt ensured that the transaction had been rung into the cash register and was a check against staff pocketing the cash. Now with most transactions not involving cash I suppose the accountants are looking at the fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a penny that the paper costs them.

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Re: I don't agree with the premise.

"they won't have the luxury of living within their means until they're well into their late twenties or early thirties, by which time being in debt will be a fixed part of their existence."

I'm afraid that was my experience into well into my 40s.

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Re: Cashless society

"There are some real pitfalls to not having cash:

- if the Gov't decides to 'bail in' some of your money (as happened in Cyprus) then you have no way to avoid it."

And the pitfall to having cash: the government decides to demonetize it as happened in India. Whatever you do the government will find a way to screw you.

"those who can't cope with technology such as the elderly"

Ageism. The Politically Mandatory ism.

Bloke, 27, arrested, tech gear seized by cops over UK Sports Direct hack

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"a phone number had been left on the site"

Just a phone number? No name and address? However did they trace him?

Co-op Bank up for sale while customers still feel effects of its creaking IT

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Re: Jumped ship last November

"I admire those of you still loyal to Co-op Bank"

Loyalty has nothing to do with it. It's just the wasteland that the rest of the banking industry offers that makes the options look no better.

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Re: Not available?

"Probably better to take the £125 switching cash from TSB now, given that's who they are likely to merge with."

No way! It was the attitude of a now TSB branch that made me quit Lloyds; I'm not going back to either of the current manifestations of that lot.

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Re: Not available?

"Perhaps it is time to move your accounts to somewhere else but where?"

But where indeed.

In my preferred location HSBC closed their branch. I moved (after 40 years or so with Midland, Northern, HSBC) to Lloyds. They closed their branch. I moved to the Co-op, not because they had a branch there but because they had a branch with more convenient opening hours inside a store. They closed that. YBS, who are the only financial business still open there, took over a building society that had a current account so I expected them to roll out that to the whole network; now they're closing the current accounts instead.

We hear about the so-called challenger banks. If they want to do some serious challenging they really should look at where the existing banks are wide open to challenge: customer service in places where customers live.

Munich may dump Linux for Windows

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Re: I guess the support team got fed up hearing...

"I think these issues are just in the mind of some politicians....Are the Munich employees total idiots?"

It's politics.

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Re: The thing about Linux Desktop

"For instance with KDE they still haven't figured out a way to install program icons properly into the menu due a lack of standard way to do so. Not all programs that exist in Linux support KDE and so on. Making this a rather big problem."

Who's "they"? In general if the application exists in the distro it will have menu entries complete with icons installed. In addition 3rd party packages available as .debs will also install in the menu. Something you download as a tarball, maybe not. In any event I end up shuffling things around in the menu to suit myself, something that Windows seems to move away from with every successive release.

BTW there is a standard way to do it: https://www.freedesktop.org/

Gnome, like KDE, comes with a set of default applications. These are usually tied to the Gnome libraries. If they're deeply integrated into Gnome, Evolution for example, it's likely that you won't install them without bringing in the whole of Gnome with it even if it's not your default desktop. In general this isn't necessary although some extra libraries might be needed, I even run galculator as my preferred calculator.

I'm with you on systemd - when I found I couldn't get Wacom working with it I went to Devuan although I have concerns about their chances in the long run as systemd insinuates itself further into the Linux ecosystem.

As I said in another post, FreeBSD seem to see themselves as primarily a server OS which is why they might not be quite the ideal desktop. Nevertheless I'd have gone with it as desktop OS if Wacom had been better implemented.

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Re: The thing about Linux Desktop

"We're in the process of setting up a new company, but we too have this Linux vs FreeBSD debate"

I get the impression that the FreeBSD folks see themselves as primarily a server OS and the desktop stuff as a bolted-on extra they're not quite sure about.

FreeBSD on the server and Linux on the desktop might be the way to go. The one point I'd make about the server choice is whether you need commercial support; I haven't looked at what's available on the BSD side whilst the commercially supported Linux distros are well known.

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Re: @ Korev

"Outlook and Exchange are what keeps businesses dependent on Windows - only when you break that can you truly expect Linux to have a chance."

Munich use Kolab as a back end. I'm not sure how it compares point to point with Exchange but the relevant issue would be how well it suits their workflow. AIUI they worked pretty closely with the Kolab developers and for all I know still do so that's not likely to be an issue.

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Re: @ Korev

"make sure that for once they actually get a designer to design the UI"

UIs have been going downhill for years, thanks to UX designers. Have you seen Windows recently?

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Re: Replacing Linux with Windows, based on *cost*?

"Standard Windows 10 + WSUS would probably save a lot of time and money. They just need to test the patches, before they roll them out."

AIUI big Windows shops maintain their own standard image and re-image any new PCs based on this. It's probably not as much work as rolling their own distro.

These days there are also tools such as Puppet to help with maintaining standard Linux configurations in a large shop. It would be the sort of approach to adopt if starting from scratch now.

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Re: Replacing Linux with Windows, based on *cost*?

There is a cost to being different. Everyone who joins has to have "some" training.

Probably because these days they've been used to Android.

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Re: "when webmail is fine for what most people need their mail to do? "

"We are talking about *offices* here...Mozilla too - they're removing older cypher suites"

And you think that might be a bad thing for office users?

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Re: Linux desktops are pretty piss poor

It would appear that you're referring to the UI. Unlike Windows you have a choice. If you don't like the standard Ubuntu interface (they got to W8-style before MS) then you have KDE, Gnome, XFCE or whatever a few clicks away. I don't know what the default Fedora is these days but again you have a choice. With W10 you have W10.

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Re: it's not Linux, it's Office

"I've setup some Linux desktops in a primary school in 2008... even indentation icons are hidden on LO"

I take it that if you set up the desktops you also set up LO. In that case why did you hide the formatting toolbar? That's where the indentation icons live.

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Re: The thing about Linux Desktop

"People don't like change and moving from Windows to Linux is a kick in the nuts."

About like the kick in the nuts that Windows inflicts on its users every version. KDE 3 > 4 was less of a change than the usual MS infliction, easy to set up how I prefer and I've been able to keep that through successive upgrades. The Office application menus have been similarly stable. I like stability of the UI. That's an advantage of using Linux and its applications. Who wants stuff that keeps getting broken?

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Re: The thing about Linux Desktop

"Businesses don't care that you can choose from 3 desktop environment and a gazillion window managers, all with different features broken or missing. They need one, to standardize on."

Agreed. It's astonishing that they seem to go with Windows: a different UI with every version, all with something broken. They finally get multiple workspaces but at the expense of all the suckage of the rest of W10.

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Re: The thing about Linux Desktop

This just doesn't make sense.

KDE in appearance and functionality is pretty similar to a classic Windows except - oh, they've finally got multiple workspaces working on Windows now. Most distros are a good deal easier to manage than Windows - maybe Gentoo is different.

I've also tried FreeBSD. I'd like to switch to it - no systemd. It ran KDE as a UI I agree with you about the split personality, it needs something like synaptic to ease management of software management; having to flip between a web-site to search for software and command line to install it is just plain daft, however a GUI wrapper round it wouldn't have been impossible. In the end it fell down because I needed it to work with a Wacom tablet and the integration of that seems to have fallen by the wayside and I ended up running Devuan.

However good luck with W10, it seems to fit with your hair shirt approach.

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Re: Highly suspcious of cost argument.

"There is a reason why MS is the biggest software company in the world."

Lock in.

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Re: The company I work for went through this

It was that the apps were deplorable - whatever stock control system was in use routinely lost transactions between the factory floor and head office (so stock control was a joke and traceability worse) and I'm sure the standard "the source is on GitHub logic was invoked."

You're sure? Do you know?

There are good commercial ERP systems available to run on Unix-type back ends; I was using them years ago. The software houses behind them would also make custom changes. Again, I've been involved with just that sort of change. Given that a branch of HMG was the customer for that it's very likely that you've handled the end product.

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Re: daft

"Is there in house support from IT to support Linux based systems? No?"

In Munich's case, yes. Because that's what they've been supporting for years.

There seems to be this strange tunnel vision than in house IT support only exists for Windows. Maybe Windows needs more in house support.

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Re: @ Korev

"Call it a workflow client that uses e-mail as a transport, then, as that's more accurately what it is."

A fact that has enabled malware operators to incorporate it so easily into their own workflow. It's a strength and a weakness.

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Re: @ Korev

"Calendars, task tracking, contacts...

That is NOT email (except for email contacts, of course). The fact that MS decided to lump it in with their own email client still does not make it email."

It's not, it's largely PIM (personal information manager) stuff which includes email. Outlook is a PIM rather than just an email client. Thunderbird, or its equivalent within Seamonkey, is purely an email client with added RSS reader and NTP client. However, the Lightning plug-in adds calendars and task tracking.

A lot of the other stuff that's attributed to Outlook seems to be more a function of the back-end servers, Exchange and others. There are Open Source servers in this area but they're less well-known than the more visible desktop applications and somewhat fragmented. I wish the Document Foundation and Mozilla would get together and get on with transferring the projects Mozilla don't want so that they'd be better supported, LibreOffice would have a PIM element and there'd be a better integrated back-end infrastructure.

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Re: Replacing Linux with Windows, based on *cost*?

"Good lord. What more can a mail client do than fetch,read,archive, compose and send e-mail"

I remember a "development manager" who spent his days developing a Sudoku solver in VBA in Outlook. You can't do that with Thunderbird.

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Re: Replacing Linux with Windows, based on *cost*?

"In a more traditional environment the business users can self help with a simple Google search or visiting a forum."

The users who do that before turning to IT are the ones who are likely to having their stories told here in On Call.

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Re: Replacing Linux with Windows, based on *cost*?

"Linux is still sufficiently different that it is unfamiliar to 99 per cent of the population."

And familiar to 100% of Munich's users because that's what they use.

From my point of view I hate being asked to sort out family and friend's PC because they're Windows and I'm less familiar with that. It cuts both ways. (The solution with family and friends is to convert them to Linux and they don't seem to have problems adapting.)

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Re: Replacing Linux with Windows, based on *cost*?

"Is Linux, for offices, really all that hard to setup and maintain, compared to Windows?"

I doubt it. Install from your preferred distro and you get a full stack from kernel to office applications put together as a whole. In Munich's case they went to a lot of trouble to customise their own distro. That might have been a mistake if they then have to redo some of the work that's already been done by the original packagers.

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Re: Replacing Linux with Windows, based on *cost*?

"But I still struggle with configuring X,"

Why are you even trying that? My experience is that you install whatever Unix or Linux variant you choose and it just installs X properly configured. The one exception to that was trying to get MythTV to work with a TV set that misreported its resolution. Misreported to the extent that it claimed the dimensions and aspect ratio of a simple PDA and the configuration adjustment needed was carried out on the VGA connector with a pair of wire clippers.

"persuading network interfaces to stay on the network"

DHCP seems to do that unless you go for static IP addresses in which case the same things have to be configured for any OS.

"and whatever Voodoo is necessary to authenticate over LDAP because I'm not a full-time sysadmin."

I'd have the same problem with Windows and AD because I'm not a Windows sysadmin.

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Re: Replacing Linux with Windows, based on *cost*?

"Also I suspect that Linux is falling behind in some respects. I cannot honestly think of a decent mail client for Linux these days; there's almost no momentum behind Thunderbird and Evolution."

Falling behind what? I'm not sure I'd want "momentum" behind a lot of stuff I use. "Momentum" usually means that what worked yesterday breaks today.

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Re: Replacing Linux with Windows, based on *cost*?

"Licensing makes up a small part of the TCO. Once you take into account roll out costs, maintenance, support and training over the lifetime of the machine, the cost of the licence usually works out to be a small part of the TCO."

They've absorbed the costs of roll out of their existing Linux systems. They're going to have to absorb a whole lot of extra costs now. Maintenance is going to include ongoing licence costs and extended unavailability of every PC whilst it receives each Windows upgrade.

"Given that most people are familiar with Windows"

Remember that Munich's users are now familiar with their Linux systems and applications. They're going to have to retrain them. They can reasonably expect more tickets after a back-migration.

New PayPal T&Cs prevents sellers trash-talking PayPal

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Re: To those who force Paypal on the rest of us...

"Paypal hoards all cardholder details indefinitely in most areas."

And what do all the other companies to whom you give card details do? What do you choose - many or one?

Oracle refuses to let Java copyright battle die – another appeal filed in war against Google

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Re: Trolling

"Oracle are just behaving like a patent troll."

No, this is much worse. A patent troll has to get something past the USPTO. If this were to establish copyright trolling on APIs even that slight barrier would be removed.

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Re: Its like watching

"Would be nice if they could both lose."

Have you considered the cost to software development if Google were to lose? Copyright on APIs? Patent trolls would be as nothing compared to the copyright trolls it would let loose.

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Maybe Google can get SCO Oracle declared a vexatious litigant.

Talking to Tintri's Alexa speechbot might not actually be all that crazy

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With Alexa, we are using an Amazon SDK to create a "skill" that lives in AWS.

Alexa, fix the broken link to AWS.

GDPR: Do not resist! Unless you want a visit from the data police

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Re: Impact of TISA?

I'm not familiar with the agreement but it would appear the two would be mutually incompatible, especially if or, as I think we mostly expect, when the Privacy Figleaf gets torn down. I think the implication would be that it would have to go the courts to sort out the implications.

Brexit could further harm woeful rural payments system

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Why should anyone need subsidies in the wonderful post-Brexit world? After all, the grass is greener there.

Soz telcos you're 'low priority' post-Brexit, says leaked gov doc

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I wonder if they're ranked in order of likelihood of employees having voted Leave. Presumably those at the bottom of the list will be milked to subsidise those at the top.

Scottish court issues damages to couple over distress caused by neighbour's use of CCTV

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Re: CCTV coverage, where is the line drawn?

"Unfortunately the police didn't say it in writing about suggesting CCTV"

Maybe if you asked them nicely?

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Re: CCTV coverage, where is the line drawn?

"Do I install the system and hope nobody complains?"

Was the police advice given in writing? It would make it easier to deal with complaints.

Alleged HPE fraud man Peter Sage once ran dodgy pharma biz

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The gift that keeps giving. Rather like some suplhur-containing compounds found in plants.

Openreach reshuffles top brass, brings in BT bods to make biz more independent of BT

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"I have never understood why national infrastructure such as telephone are not owned by the state."

It used to be. After serious under-investment by many successive governments it was privatised so that it would be able to use private sector money to catch up. Now do you understand?

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