* Posts by Dwarf

947 posts • joined 11 Dec 2014

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Sudden Windows 10 licence downgrades to forced Xcode upgrades: The week at Microsoft

Dwarf
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@Zippy

Just because its a dumb idea doesn't mean that MS won't push it and push it and push it.

The only difference between nature and MS is that nature learns by its mistakes.

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That amazing Microsoft software quality, part 97: Windows Phone update kills Outlook, Calendar

Dwarf
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What a bunch of cowboys

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In news that will shock absolutely no one, America's cellphone networks throttle vids, strangle rival Skype

Dwarf
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Re: If only

@Gene Cash.

OK, so separate out the control channel for call establishment that probably goes back to the main skype site from the main data flow in the data channel and you just end up with a bunch of ephemeral ports between two seemingly random endpoints. You can't just block ephemeral ports since they are used by everything else too.

Now assume that the control and / or data channels are SSL encrypted, you don't hold the keys to decrypt that, so you don't know what the dynamic port ranges are for any given connection either.

So how do you propose creating rules to do that ?

Even if you could, consider the impact on the backbone infrastructure of trying to manage such a huge state table.

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Dwarf
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If only

They could make Skype a peer-to-peer technology, then implementing network rules to throttle this traffic would be far more difficult to implement on the backbone networks.

Another own goal by Microsoft ?

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Windows 10 Pro goes Home as Microsoft fires up downgrade server

Dwarf
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Microsoft Windows

The gift that just keeps on giving.

- Giving pain to it users.

Wake up everyone, open the windows, go outside, smell the roses, there are other choices that work far better.

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Watchdog slams political data slurpers' 'disturbing disregard' for voters' privacy

Dwarf
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GDPR

Get some teeth, make them pay for not following the rules.

Second point - companies get real on the real data need - don't try to collect my inside leg measurement just so I can sign up for your service. *

* I think its 16 inches ... :-)

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DXC: Everything is going to plan, too well in fact... we've chopped so many staff, our IT projects are now behind

Dwarf
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Who'd have thought this could happen

Less people results in less sales and less consultancy income.

Perhaps the broader customer impact needs considering too - when bad experiences happen, the chance to do future business decreases too. This bit of the downward curve probably hasn't bitten fully yet.

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Russian computer failure on ISS is nothing to worry about – they're just going to turn it off and on again

Dwarf
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Failure is not an option

Its a standard feature of any computer system.

For those who don't get the reference - see Failure is not an option

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Macs to Linux fans: Stop right there, Penguinista scum, that's not macOS. Go on, git outta here

Dwarf
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SecureBoot Bites Again

Wasn't this raised as a concern when SecureBoot first came out - at the will of another, the ability to install your chosen OS can be removed - the finger was pointed at MS then, but it seems that Apple is first there.

Presumably the lack of the MS cert will also stop Windows installs onto Mac too ??

So, back to the "its my hardware, I'll do what I want" position. As long as I decide which certs I want the BIOS to support - by loading them from whatever media I need, then its my choice what OS and desktop I stare at for the next couple of years of my life.

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Apple replaces boot-loop watchOS edition with unconnected complications edition

Dwarf
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Re: So easy to blame

Hmm, apply the same logic to streamlining management that resulted in DevOps,

I wonder if that could be a thing in the near future ??

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Dwarf
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Release notes

Whats the point in saying nothing in them ?

They are supposed to help customers know whats changed so they can assess if its likely to impact something that they may need to integrate with and therefore test themselves- as part of their specific risk assessment.

Saying generic rubbish is as bad as saying nothing. Apple - Please either do it right, or don't bother doing it at all.

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Heart Internet stops beating, starts Monday with big portion of FAIL

Dwarf
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Joke

Quick, break out the defibrillator

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Bean-counting outfit Sage appoints bean-counter as new CEO

Dwarf
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Re: Perhaps

@Captain

Personally I don't use any of their products - took that decision a long time ago, however of those that I know that do, the story is always the same. Forced upgrades, the push to their cloudy product and generally not a lot of added value as the current product does what they need.

Some of my customers are on the far end of a wet piece of string (in rural locations), so working locally makes a lot more sense than trying to work on-line.

As to the annual changes in thresholds etc, you would expect that this is handled as parameters in the product that could be downloaded from the vendor or simply typed into the app, rather than needing a product upgrade every time, but hey, perhaps that's because of its heritage and use of old coding frameworks that are visible when you go poking around under the hood.

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Dwarf
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Perhaps

Their poor financial results are an effect of their poor customer service and constant forced upgrades treadmill

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US Republicans bash UK for tech tax plan

Dwarf
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The irony

Stated from a country that has local taxes at the state level in addition to those at the national level.

Anyhow, companies working in any given country need to comply by the laws of those countries.

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Microsoft teaches a 10-year-old Red Dog new tricks and the Windows 10 1809 delay hits Exchange 2019

Dwarf
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There's that T word again

Really, testing is important. screw up the integration between your flagship products and people will really know how little coordination goes on inside MS HQ.

Testing isn't difficult - you know what your product spec is, you can automate testing and you can stop blowing your own feet off and further eroding what little confidence people have that you might know what you are doing.

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Microsoft to staff: We remain locked and loaded with US military – and will keep adding voice to AI ethics debate

Dwarf
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Likely outcomes

I’m. Sorry sir, the fleet of T-1000’s are all off line due to a critical update to Windows that is currently installing. Yes, I know we are in the middle of a battle, they should only be off line for a couple of hours. I’m expect that some drivers won’t work after the ‘upgrade’ so the primary weapon is unlikely to function properly, it might only take a couple of months to get that fixed by the vendor once enough users complain or that might just say it’s by design due to our obsolete hardware.

Shall I break out the bows and arrows as an alternative ?

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From today, it's OK in the US to thwart DRM to repair your stuff – if you keep the tools a secret

Dwarf
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Mine vs Yours

Its time for the companies to start to tell the difference between "mine" and "yours".

If its mine, I paid for it, I own it and I decide what I'll do with it. It may be what you expected, it may not be. For example, that hammer that you decided would be good for banging in nails, I might decide to use it to bang in screws or break bricks too.

If its yours, then you need to be fully accountable for it - replacing things that break at your cost and not expecting me to part with any money - this means both direct costs and indirect costs like the weasel words of "service charges" etc.

Who else on this forum thinks that those who repair things will continue to do so with the tools that already exist. Its not realistic to expect Aunt Mabel to understand how deep technical measures work when she only wants to change the battery - like she has done in all the other gadgets she has purchased over the years. This is partly a self-made problem. If manufacturers made the consumable parts (batteries, etc) user replaceable, then none of this would be a problem.

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Openreach hacks full-fibre broadband prices for developers... Property developers, that is

Dwarf
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More to the point, why are BT as the national telco not trying to build their business to ensure that its still relevant in 5 years time.

Trying to push the issue to everyone else is just me a short term way to reduce their costs, the problem is that over time, their user base and therefore profits will wither away.

This isn't a government issue or a developer issue, its a single company who should know what it takes to stay competitive and relevant. How many of you don't have a phone line at home or don't use it as your mobile has unlimited free minutes ?

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Got a new Surface? Have some firmware. Old Surface? La la la la la, we can't hear you

Dwarf
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Customers have long memories.

Treat them poorly and find out the hard way that they are now ex-customers.

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Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

Dwarf
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Re: Racist?

How does accurately recording the places that people claim to be from become a race thing ?

Its the same as saying "that's wet" or "that's dry", its simply a statement of fact and not at all moisturist.

Dear editor - please get a coffee and relax !

Don't forget that they are lying about where they are from anyhow - how would you compute what you are supposed to be offended at. What if they were a Dwarf claiming to be Chinese to scam an English man. Would it be OK to scam one of those Nigerian Princes in the same way ??

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Dwarf
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Facepalm

Damn

You mean that I wasted all that money on nothing ?

I'd better wait for one of those "did you sign up for X and receive bad advice" type companies to be on the radio or give me a call sometime next week, I bet they can get my money back, I have got the other guys e-mail address after all.

This remind me of one of the quote from years gone by - How gullible are you ? Send £20 for our questionnaire.

Whats more worrying if that there must be a percentage of people who are silly enough to fall for all of these schemes to make them financially viable enough for the scammers to invest their time in.

I too have received a number of these over recent months, most start with "Dear victim" which I thought was a quaint touch as it shows they definitely know loads and loads about me, so it must be genuine.

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Break out the jelly and ice cream! Microsoft's Small Basic turns 10

Dwarf
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I guess I'm not alone here, but I've never even heard of it - nice marketing MS !!

Good luck today competing against the far more portable and useful scripting and programming languages such as python and JavaScript.

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Love Microsoft Teams? Love Linux? Then you won't love this

Dwarf
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Re: "Vanishingly Small"

Its odd then that many developers work on Linux machines and just use their Windows PC to fire up a couple of Putty sessions and Chrome.to access the web based apps that they are developing.

What gets developed is what people end up using shortly, so the days of Windows continue to dwindle as more and more platforms end up back-ended on Linux.

OK, there was lock-in on the desktop things like Outlook, but with that having gone all cloudy, then whats really left - a generally a bunch of legacy apps that companies use and an office tool set that's has multiple competitors in the market, so the days of a Windows desktop won't continue.

The more that Microsoft try and limit products to their favourite OS, the more that people will get get fed up with them - you either embrace the competing products, or you put up a big wall and people get fed up with that artificial barrier and do their own thing.

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HP dangles subscription hardware at power users

Dwarf
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If something is on subscription, I expect top quality reliability and performance each day during the subscription, so you'd better be replacing the laptop with a new shiny on every 6 months if you want to pull that trick, otherwise you'll be trying to stiff me twice - once for the hardware and its eventual replacement and once for the subscription to use the thing I've already purchased.

HP - You can pick one but not both..

I will pick one - not buying anything on subscription as there is zero benefit to me and there are lots of problems - such as paying way over the top compared to what I've already got.

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RIP Paul Allen: Microsoft cofounder billionaire dies at 65 after facing third bout with cancer

Dwarf
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Paul Allen meets Pearly Gates ?

This is one of Bill's other brothers, the remaining one being SeaGates, to cope with all the additional storage requirements as the OS and products grow over time.

Seriously though, the end of another pioneer, a sad loss.

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Open-source this, open-source that, and the end of the Windows 10 Creators Update

Dwarf
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Re: Too True.....

There is nothing fancy about this, its exactly the same on Linux and MacOS.

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More than a third of Euro IT pros worry about keeping server lights on

Dwarf
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A survey from a cloud company, where the questions were probably distorted to lead people to generally agree, then by the power of statistics try and prove that everyone wants their product.

However, if that were true, then they would not need to be doing a survey, since everyone would be working flat out deploying cloudy things and they would have no spare time to waste on performing a survey, let alone servicing customer needs from those that decide to give it a try.

My observations of cloud to date :

1. Sticking the word cloud in front of a product doesn't make it any better than the same product without the word cloud in front of it. Mostly its just a marketing term.

2. There is a small set of vendors who are truly cloudy and a large number of vendors who are also-rans aiming for a slice of that pie.

3. Taking a legacy application that has no concept of scalability and resilience and dumping it into the cloud doesn't make it magically evolve into a fully resilient app.

4. The operational support impacts of not knowing when X will be fixed in the cloud makes support and workarounds far harder to perform than with on-site services. Yes, you can design around this with fully resilient and scalable applications, but many applications simply weren't designed to work like that.

5. The impact of communication costs, latency on applications and user experience, plus all the security impacts of cloud are generally not thought through before jumping into the cloud.

6. Mis-configuration in on-premise platforms will in most cases result in lower security risk than on cloudy platforms where one bad mouse click results in your storage being world readable all of a sudden, or some server having external Internet access without the appropriate controls.

7. When people transition to cloud, its not long till they have the sharp intake of breath about the real run cost and realise what they actually had.

I wonder what a survey would say about people who have already migrated and their perception on reliability, true cost and other business impacts in areas like legacy applications ?

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Microsoft yanks the document-destroying Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Dwarf
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Dear Microsoft

You need an effective test and QA function.

Hopefully you can see the damage your current approach is causing to to remaining customers and how its hardening the resolve of ex customers.not to consider MS products again. As they say, once bitten twice shy.

Oh and one other thing - don't do anything to my data on my computer without asking me in plain language first. Never assume you know best as you don't know what I use my computer for and in what manner..

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Volkswagen links arms with Microsoft for data-slurping cloud on Azure

Dwarf
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Peace and quiet

One reason to get into the car and concentrate on one single thing - driving.

When I'm out of the car I'll focus on the other things.

How will they fix the issue of there being say 4 people in the car, all wanting to listen to different music or when the passenger wants to do something meeting related and its nothing to do with the driver.

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Linux kernel 'give me root, now' security hole sighted, dubbed 'Mutagen Astronomy'

Dwarf
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WTF?

Thanks for clarifying.

The CVE-2018-14634 vulnerability relates to a local privilege escalation bug in the Linux kernel, and creates a means to obtain root (administrator) privileges on a hacked system.

Good job you explained that root is a privileged user, I expect most on this tech site won’t know that.

Please can you get some journalists who understand their reader base.

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Microsoft wants to cart your data away in a box and punt it onto Azure

Dwarf
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As the old adage says, never under estimate the bandwidth of a 40T truck

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Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond

Dwarf
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Yet more proof...

Why cloud is not a good idea in many places.

If you really, really must depend on something that is not in your house, then it must have full end to end resilience and a fully and frequently tested failover mechanism

The only problem is that to do this, suddenly you can't afford it any more

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Office 2019 lumbers to the stage once more as Microsoft promises future releases

Dwarf
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Re: Subscriptions

I agree. There are several products I use infrequently where I have a non subscription licence and the product has gone subscription based, the effect seems to be one of:

1. It stops existing customers upgrading

2. It stops new sales from recommendations from existing happy customers

3. It is not cost effective for those who use apps infrequently.

When will marketing companies wake up ?

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Still holding out on Windows 10? Microsoft tempts upgrade with virtual desktop to Azure

Dwarf
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Re: What don't they get

<blockquote<hardly matters when all the pc's at PC World are still MS Windows. the average consumer has no choice, grumble as they might.</blockquote>

@AC, your point of reference is wrong.

PC World also sells Mac's - many people moving off to Apple - go and sit on a train and look around you. Corporate drones have Windows based laptops, everyone else doesn't

Most consumers stopped buying PC's and are now on tablets, mobile phones and Mac's, most of their time is in apps like video catch-up, social media and the like - no popular Microsoft apps in those areas

The number of PC's shipped with Windows and the number of PC's still running Windows after a week or two are very different scenarios, loads of people run Linux, but just don't make a big fuss about it.

The point of the article is that MS are still struggling to get people to want Windows 10, they rammed it in every way they could think, but still very large percentages of people say no and refuse updates, dumped their computers or went and brought something else.or swapped OS's - because they saw what the best that Redmond could do is capable of and how they, as a customer are treated.

The corporate hostages are still there, but most are moving to browser based apps, so its only a matter of time before that shrinks down too. I don't recall seeing any requirements for "Microsoft compatible" in any of the tenders that have gone across my desk in the last couple of years or so.

Times are changing and will continue to do so, just like they have in years gone by. Dinosaurs went extinct when they didn't evolve and evolution selects the strongest players.

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Dwarf
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What don't they get

There is a reason that people are holding out against Windows 10 - because the don't like the lack of control over how THEIR computer works.

I'll upgrade when I want to.

I'll patch when I want to

I'll install what want to

I don't want a bunch of crap installed that you think I might want.

I don't want a subscription for anything.

Oh and all that spying on what I do, well, you can take a running jump on that too.

Its not a hard concept to get your head around.

Rolling it in glitter doesn't change what's underneath.

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Scottish brewery recovers from ransomware attack

Dwarf
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Thanks for not paying the scammers.. The scheme only works if they profit from it.

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Fallover Friday: NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank go TITSUP*

Dwarf
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Re: Its really not that difficult.

@Gordon10

I take your point about corporate systems and the way the evolve, however even breaking down the black box systems into what the black box does and its inputs and outputs will help in the understanding of the functionality of a system.

However, failing to document a system or being unable to properly support it when it goes wrong, particularly when that subsystem is business critical is completely inexcusable.

Often, when there is "that thing that nobody understands any more", grabbing a hot coffee, and having a good poke around in the system will yield a lot of information and arguably that forms the next level of decomposition of what that black box does - its actually a collection of 6 smaller black boxes or functions.

One thing's for certain, ignoring the problem isn't going to make it go away.

If it is sensitive to some form of edge case, then ensure that the upstream interfaces are specified and coded documented accordingly to prevent that edge case making it to the black box.

None of these are complex engineering challenges. and often the problems come from a predecessor taking a short cut and leaving it for the next guy to sort out the mess. I'd prefer to be the other side of the fence, doing it right and breaking down some of the perceived barriers.

I guess that's what makes me a bad fit for the new fangled "agile" make it up as you go along project delivery approach, but that fad will soon pass.

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Dwarf
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Re: Its really not that difficult.

@tfb

Your original point was about being able to understanding complex systems, not that code will contain bugs or that people will misinterpret the specification.

The good thing about having a functional diagram when these things happen, its clear where the defective component is and what needs to be done to fix it. Comprehensive testing can also help.

Failing to test adequately - particularly after a change is just inexcusable and lazy.

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Dwarf
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Re: Its really not that difficult.

It's hard to get right because we're dealing with systems which are at or beyond the ability of humans to understand them.

I disagree.

Any given system, however complex can be broken down into a number of sub-components / sub-systems of lower complexity where their expected functionality can be documented and understood.

This process can be repeated multiple times until its obvious that the system is a just a big pile of little systems all working in harmony. Understanding what each one does and how they interact makes it easy to get to the right bit when something goes wrong, similarly it makes it easier to assess the impact if you need to change something on a component for whatever reason (patch, upgrade, new functionality, etc)

Take some time to read up on architectural frameworks.

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Dwarf
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Its really not that difficult.

Resilience models are well known, understood and documented.

Monitoring tools are well known, understood and documented.

So why is this so hard for people to get right ?

Or is it the quick change to fix X that ends up breaking Y as insufficient testing was performed ?

If we're going to have to rely on Internet based services to run our lives, then at least the companies making mega profits can do the right thing and build them in a manner where they are rock solid.

Oh and give us a workable Plan-B for when you screw up, local branches, cash machines, you know that sort of complicated stuff.

Yes your profits might be a bit lower, but your customers will be able to get on with their lives when you screw up again.

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You're alone in a room with the Windows 10 out-of-the-box apps. What do you do?

Dwarf
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How can it be in anyone's interest to remove apps like this from the OS ?

When in the history of computing hasn't a system come with a basic text editor ?

These get used for any of a thousand different problems - tweaking config files, basic text manipulation, looking at log files.

Many places won't allow external software downloads either, so tying to get the Vogons in change management to approve such a change will often prove pointless.

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Deliveroo to bike food to hungry fanbois queuing to buy iPhones

Dwarf
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How will they order

Given that this is before they get their shiny new phone.

Last years brick surely can't handle such a bleeding edge requirement - otherwise they wouldn't need to replace it.

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Man cuffed for testing fruit with bum cheek pre-purchase

Dwarf
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What a fruitcake !

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Microsoft: Like the Borg, we want to absorb all the world's biz computers

Dwarf
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Testing

And how exactly would the customers applications be tested to ensure that the patches work before they nuke the entire organisation ?

How would this fit into the broader change management plans that companies have for their important stuff ?

Looks like another half baked solution.

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Do not adjust your set, er, browser: This is our new page-one design

Dwarf
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Nope, don't like it

Its now far too difficult to find any useful content.

Pictures are meaningless and now there are far more of them. If you need pictures, make them relevant to the story, not just something to break up the words. I can read more than 10 words without getting bored.

When browsing from a 4K screen and get very little content, its all whitespace, pictures and headings. The whitespace might be because I block all the adverts and other cruft from the old site.

Whats wrong with providing good content - its a tech site, we expect tech, not pictures unrelated to tech.

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Python joins movement to dump 'offensive' master, slave terms

Dwarf
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Already been fixed

Sacha Baron Cohen fixed this in “The Dictator” - call all of them Aladeen.

Its not difficult is it ?

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Microsoft's next Windows 10 release creeps closer with a cluster of builds

Dwarf
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Are they doing their build numbers in Octal ?

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Official: Google Chrome 69 kills off the World Wide Web (in URLs)

Dwarf
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RFC's

So, which Internet RFC is this complying with ?

Google don't define the standards, they are supposed to follow them and if they want to do something thats different, put in a new RFC to get those who oversee the Internet to agree if its the right thing to do.

Otherwise, the browser is simply a non-compliant piece of software and people will avoid it.

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