* Posts by Robert D Bank

109 posts • joined 15 Jun 2015


From Red Planet to deep into the red: Suicidal extrovert magnet Mars One finally implodes

Robert D Bank

Where is our friend 'A Man from Mars' when we need him?

maybe they remembered to lock the door at the 'home' this time

Millennials 'horrify' their neighbours with knob-shaped lights display

Robert D Bank

obviously a Christian knob as it's a helmet rather than a skin. So what's the issue?

Seriously though, I wonder if the same 'complainer' remonstrates his kids about watching the daily news of people around the world being blown up, tortured, starved, displaced and generally fucked over in the name of imperial resource hoarding and money making arms companies.

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

Robert D Bank

Re: Self-serving loss of perspective

Back of the net Milton

It's a decade since DevOps became a 'thing' – and people still don't know what it means

Robert D Bank


as predicted, our king parasite has recently exited its host, squeezing out below the maggots scrotum, dribbling the same narcotic trail to it's new host.

What a fucking surprise. Much easier to suck on a new, full blooded living specimen than a half coagulated rotten carcass. I'd say good luck, to the new host. Keep a few bags of blood in the freezer.

You might sense a tinge of negativity here. Well WTF. Still endeavoring to deliver, and evolve, but the zombies are at the door.

Congrats to Debbie Crosbie: New CEO at IT meltdown bank TSB has unenviable task ahead

Robert D Bank

Re: Think I know what I'd rather have....

there is no legacy in the ephemeral, desired so much by the fickle.

Robert D Bank

tough call

So, she has to save at least £360m to get back to square one pre-crisis. In fact probably more due to lost customers. And they've barely sorted out the move from one bespoke system to another. Local team probably really pissed off and now expected to 'perform' even better while dealing with offshore teams that don't really give a shit.

I'd be giving that chalice a fecking good scrub if I was her...and be expecting the money up front.

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

Robert D Bank

Re: Well, who'd have thought it?

There are plenty spaces for heads on pikes on Westminster bridge.

Seriously though, what a complete cluster fuck. At the very LEAST, give yourself time before triggering Article 50 to ascertain, in detail, what the implications are.

Hard to apportion blame appropriately between the intransigent EU bureaucrats (unelected arseholes on the gravy train) and UK fucking chancers out for a vote. Let them fight it out in a lime pit somewhere.

This whole Brexit thing makes NHS IT contracts, PFI and the likes of Cr4pita, Carillion and the like look like shrinking violets by comparison in their up front audacity to rip the UK public off.

Bend over, supply your own butter and take a deep breath.

Google: Our DeepMind health slurp is completely kosher

Robert D Bank

NO...but ..but...NO.

UK.gov to roll out voter ID trials in 2019 local elections

Robert D Bank

I don't understand why they don't introduce phone voting as an option. Just a reworked a version of any telephone banking that's been around for decades would do it. You get sent a pin in the post or email and when you call in you can change it. After you've cast your vote you can call to verify it is as you chose and not been fiddled with, or even change it later up to a certain cut off time. Not 100% bullet proof obviously, still some could be coerced to vote a certain way in some households, and the deaf wouldn't be served by it. But most people including the elderly can always access a phone from anywhere.

BT, beware: Cityfibre reveals plan to shovel £2.5bn under Britain's rural streets

Robert D Bank

so, roadworks until 2025...

Your pal in IT quits. Her last words: 'Converged infrastructure...' What does it all mean? We think we can explain

Robert D Bank

Re: The new mainframe?

yep, pretty much describes a Sysplex to a T, something that's been around for what..20 something years now?

IBM won't grow, says analyst firm while eyeing flatlining share price

Robert D Bank

I'm not an IBM employee, that's just a cheap shot that takes away from anything else you have to say. At worst you might call me a Z evangelist. You could turn the same argument on yourself.

My knowledge is lacking especially about Cloud, happy to admit that, but it's an interest. And yours about zArchitecture?

Reading Wikipedia and the the definition of Cloud by NIST all the 5 essential characteristics are met by z-Architecture, especially the resource pooling and resource elasticity. And the energy and floor space efficiencies afforded by z-Architecture certainly counter the 'lots of cheap machines' argument. Interestingly cost is not in the list, although obviously is a major factor.

The cost of the architecture is a big issue I agree, and that is definitely an area IBM will have to become more competitive. Whether they succeed or not will become self evident in time. It is always better to have more players in any market.


Robert D Bank

A racked z-Server hosting cloud(s) can be an on or off premise aas like any other platform and can scale out the same way. On/off premise a just choice based on your business model. You can even have both, and a mixture of platforms.

I don't know why you think zSeries cannot host multiple VM's or containers because they can. Virtualisation in the mainframe is nothing new, it's matured over decades at physical and software level. Linux can run natively or under VM, as can zOS, at the same time if you wish using ultra-fast interconnect within the processor to talk to each other. All this with 100% pervasive encryption, include in-flight. You seem to think z-Arcitecture is out dated, but I'd say it is your understanding of it that is out of date.

Your point about a billion customers is moot as I suspect there are still relatively few companies servicing that number and it would be a challenge for any platform. And it's not just customer numbers that is relevant, it's the transaction rate that counts, along with network bandwidth, and how many applications interact to name a few.

In terms of agility that has less to do with the platform and everything to do with the company structure and culture, standards, and available talent.

I am not an architect, but I have had to suffer the whims of architects who too often work at a theoretical level and have no practical operational experience.

Robert D Bank

little bit of insight here


Robert D Bank

It is true most modern startups are not moving to mainframe because they're usually developed on a tight budget and by people that have been taught a mainframe can't do what an x86 server can do, and more, without having acres of racked servers. Once it reaches a certain point it's hard to switch to a new platform.

With increased costs for energy to run the machines and aircon etc and floor space though the cost differential is a lot closer than it was. A mainframe equivalent in size to a single rack can run zOS, Linux native, hundreds of Linux and zOS under VM, AIX and more, reliably, with unsurpassed workload management that allows it to run at 100% utilisation continuously. You now have pervasive encryption of all data including in-flight data if you choose to. Cloud is included as part of the platform as well. And all of this can be in an established and integrated Disaster Recovery process that can switch sites almost instantly. Active/Active sites are now also closer to reality.

There's still plenty you can moan about with mainframes of course, but from what I read on these pages that applies to any of the other platforms equally. None of them do everything 100% as you may like, but you have to decide what compromises you want to make and choose. Given the demise of the mainframe has been predicted for over 40 years now, and given just how much it's advanced I think it'll be quite some time before it disappears, if at all. If only one thing survives from IBM the mainframe and it's top quality tech and research people deserve to be it.

Robert D Bank

The majority of major financial institutions by far still rely on zSeries as their core platform because of its reliability, security, stability, efficiency and yes, flexibility. There's no other platform that can match it for running general workload continuously without fail. Every physical and OS layer is virtualised and has been for decades.

Most of the comments here are lazy generalisations based on no knowledge.

There are emulator versions of such as zDT and RD&T which work fine, but they're limited performance wise by the underlying x86 architecture. Better to run virtualised zOS images or zLinux under VM on zArchitecture.

That scary old system with 'do not touch' on it? Your boss very much wants you to touch it. Now what do you do?

Robert D Bank

Re: Put it all together...

from my neck of the woods Allegros were known as landcrabs. They were abominations, only surpassed by the Skoda 110's...shudder!

All aboard the Hype Cycle! What's DataOps? Well, it has no standards or frameworks. Got it?

Robert D Bank

Re: Once you've ruined DBA jobs too with this nonsense

feels like we've already been subject to AnalOps for a very long time given the pain in the arse all this hyped BS causes.

LG G7 ThinkQ: Ropey AI, but a feast for sore eyes and ears

Robert D Bank

Re: May we please stop calling them phones?


China-based hackers take an interest in Cambodia's elections

Robert D Bank

Re: What's Left To Hack In Kampuchea - Prime Minister Hun Sen Needs No Help

Many of the old guard associated with the Khmer Rouge are still very influential in Gov't there. Met some of their university aged offspring there and their sense of entitlement tells you everything you need to know. Meanwhile most people below a certain age there have no idea of the recent history and were shocked just from what they read in the brief history detailed in the guidebook we had.

Test Systems Better, IBM tells UK IT meltdown bank TSB

Robert D Bank

Re: Report Recommendations

So in effect A&E first get to meet in A&E

DeepMind Health told to explain business model, relationship to Google

Robert D Bank

the health insurance industry would pay very well for this sort of information. Actuarial bias would be a lot easier

Korea extends factory automation tax break, is accused of levying 'robot taxes' anyway

Robert D Bank

tax should simply be rated inverse to the positive overall social gain the taxable entity provides, with the definition of gain being decided by the electorate

Bot-ched security: Chat system hacked to slurp hundreds of thousands of Delta Air Lines, Sears customers' bank cards

Robert D Bank

Open Banking...

oh the pain, the PAIN ....!

How machine-learning code turns a mirror on its sexist, racist masters

Robert D Bank

the simplistic language of the present day media over the last say, 5-8 years would probably reveal a lot if fed into these algorythms, just to see the very marked change as it occurred post 9/11. Russia bad. China bad. NK bad. Syria bad. Lybia bad. Iran bad. Israel good. US good. UK good. Fucking boring but a very strong reinforcing of stereotypes going on constantly with these 'close vectors'. And not by chance either. Add any 'name' to the good or bad vector as desired. Rinse repeat. It does have an effect, especially when no balance is brought into it.

Facebook to extend bug bounty to cover data leakage, sever ties to data brokers

Robert D Bank

Horse, door, bolt. The damage has already been done. Some data 'may' become a bit stale over time, but really it won't matter, there's so many other sources.

They should be FORCED to identify who the victims are, and who the benefactors are, and at the very least all be made to compensate the victims by at least the equivalent commercial value of their information on the market over their lifetime.

If they won't comply with handing the data over just hit them with an estimate that includes the effect on victims going forward for their lifetime, including the effects on their children. That might get their attention.

Take the dashboard too literally and your brains might end up all over it

Robert D Bank

no it was originally to stop the oil splashes from the 'dash pots', which were literally pots of oil that gravity fed various things in the really old cars. It has a different meaning in the modern context.. Hence the name dashboard. But nice to be protected from horse shit as well. Unfortunately they don't protect you from DevOps/Agile shit.

How do you make those darn code monkeys do what you want? Just give 'em a little nudge

Robert D Bank

the whole thing falls on its arse when you have incompetent staff. In the rarefied Mgmt world they don't have to deal with the dickheads they've hired that have to be carried by the rest. This leaves precious little time to do the real work because you're hand holding, teaching fundamentals and fire fighting the fuckups they make. Most of the time you want them to do nothing as it's less painful. Oh yes, and I know, 'you should spend time training them and building systems that caters for the lowest common denominator so they can't makes mistakes'. Well FO, most leave quickly once they're rumbled, to be replaced by someone of equal or worse incompetence (but cheap) and the cycle starts again. In between you're having this DevPlops and all the other jizz thrown at you like it's gong to be a panacea for the stupid Mgmt decisions that created the problems in the first place, such as siloing everyone, not investing in training, constantly ratcheting down the budget

Any social media accounts to declare? US wants travelers to tell

Robert D Bank

I've been to the US once for about 6 weeks in late 90's. Most people were pretty cool and easy to get on with.

But now post 9/11 with all the paranoia, intrusive monitoring and rampant xenophobia there I would NEVER consider going there at all. This kind of crap now being asked for on VISA applications simply reinforces that. They only reason they're doing this is because they're judging people by their own standards, in a country where 55k people are shot by each other each year, where those with money are the only ones that receive justice, where the government is corrupted by money and the electoral system is being gamed from within by big money interests, and healthcare costs can bankrupt even quite wealthy people.

I have travelled most corners of the world including some places that have real, unapologetically repressive dictator governments and never had any of this intrusive scrutiny, and most people were pretty cool and easy to get on with, just like the US.

The worst thing is the US pushing this attitude out to the world, insisting on other countries following the same approach. I haven't seen any evidence that this has made the world more secure, it has just made travel a pain in the arse at any border point. And the less contact people have with each other as a result of of reduced travel, the less they understand each other, the more they mistrust each other. But maybe that's the point, it's much easier to attack the unknown 'them' than a friend. Sad.


Cambridge Analytica's daddy biz had 'routine access' to UK secrets

Robert D Bank

George Monbiot warned of this way back in March 2017:


and referenced this which in turn references events as far back as 2013. This article is a terrifying read, it really is.


Robert D Bank

Someone tell me...

What data does 'List X' status actually give access to? With outfits like CA aggregating that with all the other data given/taken unwittingly, perhaps including Equifax and myriad other leaked/stolen data and whatnot, they've probably filled a lot of gaps in the Gov't's beloved Preston database, which contains financial and phone/email records of millions over 15+ years, but also 'may include, but is not limited to, personal information such as an individual’s religion, racial or ethnic origin, political views, ... medical condition, sexual orientation, or any legally privileged, journalistic or otherwise confidential information.".


This really sucks.

So potentially all our personal data could, or has already become a commercial product. And you think the availability of that level of private information doesn't give these wankers the ability to twist anyone's arms that they or the 'client' want. FO.

Nokia transceiver bakes years of demos into superfast optical chip

Robert D Bank

I can see some real benefit here for disaster recovery sites and intra/inter-datacentre performance when it becomes available. It might become feasible to have a geographically split datacentre in an active-active configuration that could save a lot of money

Revealed: UK.gov's 'third direction' to keep tabs on spies' potentially criminal activities

Robert D Bank

Re: Third Direction

ohhhh! It was One Direction, I always thought it was 'One Dimenion'!

Another day, another meeting, another £191bn down the pan

Robert D Bank

given up

on almost any meeting involving colleagues from India because I can't understand at least 50% of what's said (or them understand me) because they speak to fast or too heavily accented, or they have a cold and sniff constantly, or they're in the street with feckin auto-ricksha horns beeping constantly or in an office with constant background noise. And if you ask a question you often have between several seconds and even minutes of silence, or nothing at all, especially if they have to own up to any mistake. For anything else it's just a faint 'yes' when you know they have no idea what they've said yes to. It feels like a large piece of life has been drained from your being.

You can be certain beyond any doubt when you get a 'series' of meeting invites hit your mailbox from a project that spans several hours/days and no clear agenda that sanity will only be preserved by diligent use of the 'X'. If you get sucked into it you'll discover it's a giant fishing expedition to pick everyone with any knowledge's brain so they can try and repackage it as their own 'brilliance' without any reference to those supplying the knowledge. It always comes undone and they then call on the same poor bastards with the knowledge to fix the resultant cockup.

There are some exceptions of course and I get on well with them, especially as they don't call meetings very often because they actually know what they're doing.

I am absolutely aghast that anyone thinks that it is productive using offshore people that have not been properly vetted. But I guess those that decide never have to work with them.

NOTE: I have reached this point after many, way too many, years of experience and it is making me ill. And most of the time I don't see it as my Indian colleagues fault, it is the moronic management that allow this to happen. They fail to see the nepotistic and fraudulent practices in recruitment in India, especially through 3rd parties. Those same moronic management also have a tendency to call a lot of meetings that they virtually have to press-gang people to attend.

Should AI get to choose a topping in a two pizza team?

Robert D Bank

Re: What is he talking about?

absolutely on the money with that...it's about money and nothing else. It's dressed up as 'delighting customers', 'making a better place to work', even 'helping the community' blah blah, but it all comes down to reducing cost and making more money.

Of course all 'customers' are complicit in the process whether they know it or not, or whether they care or not.

Robert D Bank

by nature humans will get used to AI & ML performing various functions and take their eye of it. The algorithmic learning that continues quietly could skew in unintended ways over time and gradually embed things that you really don't want. If this happens subtly over time and is not noticed then it could reach a point where it is impossible to undo it.

IBM: About those agreed voluntary redundancies ... we were just kidding

Robert D Bank

Re: So many shores.....


Serverless: Should we be scared? Maybe. Is it a silly name? Possibly

Robert D Bank


That's what I'd call it

As someone that couldn't code to save my life (and yes to lazy/stupid to learn as it's not an interest) it sounds interesting as a means to bring a great commercial idea to life, and maybe generate an income stream. In terms of the scalability, security and performance I expect Cloud providers might come to the party on that to help and bring more customers on board. You might see deals available where you get the service at a price offset by the Cloud provider taking a cut of your revenue stream. Both parties win on that score.

DevOps: Bloody hell, we've got to think about security too! Sigh. Who wants coffee?

Robert D Bank

it's all about standards..

Security is so much easier when you have really good well thought out standards that are properly enforced. If you start from a position of excellent standards then you should be able to have much more generic security that is applied by default rather than having a bespoke approach every time.

Any function that is commonly used and that presents any security risk should be very closely scrutinised and managed by only very qualified and trusted people, and as much as possible isolated from bespoke code that calls the service. Sharp focus needs to be on identifying high risk areas and investing in that specifically so other users of that code know they're protected from creating risks and can concentrate on whatever they're creating.

IBM turns panto villain as The Reg tells readers: 'It's behind you!'

Robert D Bank

Re: How long would IBM last if

This sort of shit has become so common, across the world and in almost every sector. It just gets worse, especially as bigger companies absorb smaller ones. Barely a week, or at best a month goes by without hearing about another huge bunch of poor bastards being spat out of the grinder.

There's likely to come a time soon, maybe we're very close as automation increases rapidly, where most people have nothing to lose (except debt) and fuck all to look forward to. In fact by far the majority of the worlds population is already in that position, the difference to us is it is coming to the west. Some will probably just get depressed and take enough smack, alcohol or whatever and fade away, but there WILL be a very sizeable and very angry mob with a lot free time and ingenuity to be exercised.

NHS: Thanks for the free work, Linux nerds, now face our trademark cops

Robert D Bank

NHS Brand value

given the determination to run the NHS into a wall so the inevitable privatisation becomes more palatable (forced by no choice) for the masses, the NHS brand will probably have a massive amount of value for the massive insurance or whatever corporation that will probably inherit it. Having some upstart like this having anything to do with it just wouldn't do, would it.

Causes of software development woes

Robert D Bank

Re: In all my years in software, I have leared...

bloody cards, remember them well, not fondly, for example when you have 7 tray loads to input and you drop a tray, having to resort them which often meant more than one pass, or one or more cards jam and get munched in the middle of the load or punch output.

A programmer at the time though was telling he used to program on an actual board of pins that you had to physically make wire connections between, so not to complain!

When you have that sort of back-ground you REALLY understand how critical requirements gathering is. It shouldn't be any different now. Sure there's a lot more readily available sources of information to work with and it's immeasurably faster to collate, but it doesn't substitute for laziness or lack of wholistic and critical thinking.

Recently seen some vAgilister posting some cr4p about 'don't do this, don't do that, just start!' I would love to give that prick a car without a steering wheel or breaks and say the same thing to them.

Remember those holy tech wars we used to have? Heh, good times

Robert D Bank

ooooh touchy! LOL You're probably not to far off in a lot of cases, but our stinking carcasses will be invading your hipster noses for some time yet though I'm afraid Or do you have an 'app' for that?

Robert D Bank

I enjoy mentioning Z/OS occasionally to annoy the bigots because it's always there at the top of the table for most large scale businesses collecting, processing and serving the data out to the other platforms to play with and get all 'GUI' over. Unix (of whatever collective flavours) is at the other end of the table and they enjoy a good food fight occasionally, while still getting the actual work done, without the need for attention seeking or much in the way of thanks for the last few decades.


(lob's it over the wall and saunters off)

What do we want? Consensual fun times. How do we get it? Via an app with blockchain...

Robert D Bank

needs a live feed to change the status of the consent as you go...

fit-bit to app, yeah I'm up for it, fit-bit to app, I just want to sleep. fit-bit to app, I'm hungry (for food), fit-bit to app, I need a dump, fit-bit to app, nah..to many people on this train...

No wonder Marvin the robot was miserable: AI will make the rich richer – and the poor poorer

Robert D Bank

The ultra wealthy will see immense benefits in increased income, incredible medical advances, greater unfettered control over huge populations both financially, mentally and through physical means as a result of AI combined with elimination of regulations that don't serve their purpose.

If they themselves are 'enhanced' with AI and advanced gene editing they will effectively become a new species that others cannot compete with. They likely will view those without enhancement with ever more contempt, like we view animals now. They will happily watch 'humans' depopulate at a massive rate. The fit and strong may be retained for some amusement value.

Look around, that's been the model for quite some time even without AI. It has a thin veil over it called 'democracy' in some places (if you can afford it), but I think that veil will be lifted over the next 5 years.

Missed opportunity bingo: IBM's wasted years and the $92bn cash splurge

Robert D Bank

Re: The Innovator's Dilemma

Absolutely spot on. And the problem is mavericks can rarely prosper in any large established company because they're 'not on message', and are prepared to take well calculated risks. And not forgetting that innovation rarely comes from people who have tenuous employment, they go for the safe route because they can't be targeted for that. Equally, it rarely comes from those entrenched and comfortable cadres, the magic circles within the company who control the narrative and are never to e questioned. They can be both technologists and management.

So you're 'agile', huh? I do not think it means what you think it means

Robert D Bank

Re: "Code"

sorry, but I think 'RTFM' (or the Agile fucking bible) should not apply to you at all because you've obviously OD'd on them and should keep your hands on the table. Original thought please, backed by practical experience and use cases that are quotable and proven.

Robert D Bank

Re: The main issue are those who turned it into a sort of religion...

I think the struggle is to understand how you meld all these 'potentialities' into something coherent that can safely go through Integration and QA testing before delivery. It's like having 10 balls in the air as you juggle your options. If you have many iterations of a given piece of code along with many other teams who have another 10 balls of 'potentialities' it just seems to create a huge amount of risk, especially if documentation is minimal. Sometimes you might get lucky and others you may not. I'm sure there are 'tools' around to assist with this, but even then they ultimately require competent people to manage them with honest input to them to make them work.

PS: I am not a developer. Just curious to understand this current phenomenon

Robert D Bank

Re: Agile

I think you have nailed this really well, the PM's are absolutely CRITICAL, but on their own are not enough. You still need Devs and supporting areas right through testing to implementation that are CAPABLE and willing. Reducing things to 'bits that matter' actually takes skill to identify, not just by the PM but from the techies right through to business. And this often (usually) requires a greater understanding that these 'bits that matter' may mean fuck all to someone else whose 'bits that matter', matter more to them, and then onward to the support or operations people who may or may not see either of these being 'bits that matter'. And then the management at multiple levels, and then the business at various levels then have another view of 'what matters'. It's a case of understanding connections and being able to prioritise, and make an entire organisation dynamically move behind that. Bringing all this into line is incredibly difficult in a large 'business' of whatever form (less so much with small business). So the underlying issue is it becomes what the business wants to deliver to meet a customer requirement, which the customer may not even know they require, if it's a new thing. Will it deliver value? It may in the case where some very specific customer gripes have been identified and these can be addressed. It may not if things have moved on (as they inevitably do) and some other company has come up with something even 'better' and taken fickle customers with them.

So thinking this through I can see the value of the Agile approach, with supporting DevOps. But, it needs to be kept in mind very strongly that this approach does NOT apply to everything an organisation does. Identifying where it does needs some real honesty and clear understanding by everyone in the delivery chain. And if that can be done you can build an Agile infrastructure and process around just that, in a properly focussed way without this nonsense of trying to make the whole organisation try and find Agile process where it might actually be dangerous and damaging and delivering nothing but a tick box for a managers bonus


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