* Posts by Tinslave_the_Barelegged

208 posts • joined 6 Aug 2016

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National ID cards might not mean much when up against incompetence of the UK Home Office

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: ID isn't the problem

> I've said it before, there's not any point having a

> "no ID cards!" attitude if the environment is one

> when many essentials (shelter, work, healthcare)

> require you to present ID.

Well there you have the problem. It's not the ID cards per se, it's the use that will be made of them. Remember Napoleon's accusation that Britain was a "nation of shopkeepers"? What that still means is that Britain is a nation of middlemen, with a peculiarly enlarged strata of underlings, all of whom thrive on the little bit of power that is within their domain. We even have a name for the way this group acts - job'sworths. Already, my wife had the experience of going to the bank to get change. She had her bank card, and was asked to verify it with her pin. Yet the jobsworth still asked her for additional ID. Now multiply that example by millions of others, all getting off with their little display of power, asking you for your ID when you buy bogroll.

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From here on, Red Hat's new GPLv2 software projects will have GPLv3 cure for license violators

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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> Surely it's neither GPL v2 nor GPL v3. GPL v2.1?

You mean it's the systemd of licensing?

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BOFH: Got that syncing feeling, hm? I've looked at your computer and the Outlook isn't great

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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> Lying to an IT person is never a good idea.

I was got a new boss. We were chatting soon after he arrived, and he blurted out "I've been warned never to lie to you!" I've often wondered where that came from ....* We did get on really well, though. **

(* - I didn't even have the fully-charged cattle prod on me at the time, promise.)

(** - a few years later things went pear-shaped. I was instructed by a C-suite to lie about the status of a project. I declined, kicked him out of my office & resigned a few weeks later.)

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Intel chip flaw: Math unit may spill crypto secrets to apps – modern Linux, Windows, BSDs immune

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Lever it out

Ah, we yearn for the days when you could lever out your '387 and shove a new, less buggy one in...

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First A380 flown in anger to be broken up for parts

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Only 2007?

We had an office in Bavaria and around 2005/6, I recall looking up and seeing an A380 for the first time, doing circuits and bumps at the nearby airport, Oberpfaffenhofen. St Douglas Adams immediately sprang to mind, as the huge A380 hung there the way bricks don't.

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Devuan ships second stable cut of its systemd-free Linux

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: systemd-free?

> remembering that Debian allows one to choose the init of one's choice

You're absolutely right - for now. But look at the distros which have more fully embraced systemd, such as Fedora or openSUSE. It's practically impossible to change init in those - not absolutely impossible, but practically so, and the fear is that, as Debian has not committed fully to init independence, so as each update goes by, systemd's tendrils have a chance to grasp tighter. Devuan shows that we have choice, for now. Hopefully it will encourage Debian to continue allowing that choice at a fully supported level.

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Can only be good

I installed it while still in testing a few months back when I needed a disposable (so old, and lying around) laptop to take abroad. I found it was just as configurable and stripped-down-able as one would have expected expect from a Debian-derived OS, and made the old machine quite acceptably usable. I gave that machine away at the end of the trip and have been told it is still running well, one would hope updated to release code.

Also tested on a laptop and a VM. I was unimpressed by the graphical installer of the live ISO, which it seems only allows the root disk to be ext4, ext3,or ext2, so a network ISO was needed. It took a bit of fettling to get it as I preferred, but all things considered it took perhaps a little less faffing to get it to my tastes. That perhaps says something more about my taste in desktops than Devuan devs' output. The included firefox is the ESR version, but Mozilla's downloaded binaries are much more acceptable these days than a while back.

I'm looking forward to getting this onto a Pi or two. WIth the second release, Devuan have shown that they are not a flash in the pan, and may well be here for the longer term, something that cannot always be said of "grievance" initiatives, but they have a real job to fulfill with their valid alternative. Richard joked about "Purists" and the name Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0 ASCII Stable, but these days we aren't far from having to add the word systemd into other distros who have been embraced by its tendrils.

Having gone through the systemd removal process of some Pis running Raspbian as servers, having been burnt once too often by the bizarre and unpredictable operation of systemd on otherwise solid systems, it does feel that there is at least an alternative.

I wish Devuan well.

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Don’t talk to the ATM, young man, it’s just a machine and there’s nobody inside

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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West is best

I recall working for a company in London. I had to go the West London branch, and duly got directions how to get there. Ages spent fighting various forms of public transport resulted in finding myself at the West End branch. The West London branch was two doors down from head office, where I worked.

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Britain's new F-35s arrive in UK as US.gov auditor sounds reliability warning klaxon

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: More than a 'White Elephant'

You missed the comment " other world-beating technologies". The RAF is war-planners are intent on taking on the entire planet. Unless he meant " other-world beating technologies" in which case the F35 is our last hope against the alien hordes.

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Microsoft sinks another data centre with Natick 2

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Facepalm

Remember where it is

This sounds like a dummy run for MS's Github ownership / phone strategy / Skype stewardship / chair throwing video - sinking gently beneath the waves.

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Microsoft commits: We're buying GitHub for $7.5 beeeeeeellion

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Shite

> Wonder which new and exciting way they're gonna fuck it up.

Sometimes the old ways are the best

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Whois? Whowas. So what's next for ICANN and its vast database of domain-name owners?

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Great article

> TL,DR

By the pricking of my thumbs (down) something was read without noticing the joke icon...

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Pint

Great article

Lovely journalism, El Reg. Well worth the price of subscription. Would be great if other news outlets showed the complexity of things rather than reducing complex issues to a mere dumbed-down two-sided argument.

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Foolish foodies duped into thinking Greggs salads are posh nosh

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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IT Angle

> In Glasow University Students Union you could get deep-fried pizza!

I recently flew from Glasgow (we're well north in Scotland) and while waiting for the flight ordered a panini. The waiter asked "Do yer want chips or salad wi' yer panini there?" Now here's the top tip - please learn from my mistake - NEVER ask for the salad. Some vaguely green curly strips and a wrinkled red thing that was once a tomato fill the space where nature obviously intended chips to be.

(IT angle obvious)

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Mirror mirror on sea wall, spot those airships, make Kaiser bawl

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Family memories

Interesting to note the first few comments here include memories of family members. Clearly Zeppelins must have been a huge psychological hurdle for civilians, as I thought my own family story is not fully explained. My great-grandmother, from the east end of London, kept a postcard of a Zeppelin in flames in her cupboard. As kids, we loved seeing it, but every time we pestered her to show it to us, her eyes welled up. I then discovered that in 1916, she left London with her two daughters, to move to South Africa, making the trip to Cape Town pretty much at the height of the submarine war, so pretty risky with two kids of 12 and 10. The trauma of the Zeppelin's capabilities must have left real fear. These days, when our "smart bombs" do what 500kg of high explosive do in civilian areas, our news sources dismiss these issues as "collateral damage" or other inhuman euphemisms, so not much has changed.

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Don't read this, Oracle... It's the rise of the open-source data strategies

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Groan

> Oracle will not go quietly into the night,

True, and don't forget the huge government lock-in it has "achieved". But the article is valid in spite of the criticism of some commentards, as Oracle failed to understand its Sun acquisition for MySQL, and certainly failed to understand the Free and Open Source path that My SQL offered.

But there will be many El Reg readers whose livelihoods depend on Oracle, and their jobs are almost certainly safe for years.

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Activists hate them! One weird trick Facebook uses to fool people into accepting GDPR terms

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Big-Tech vs Big-Tobacco vs Banksters

> Will that ever change...

More optimistically, let's hope so. After all, Microsoft took it on the chin when told to provide browser choice in the EU - admittedly far too late, but the direction of travel was clear.

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Being honest about data-collection isn't an option anymore is it ?

> It's almost like people don't like, or want, marketing emails.

It's the GDPR emails from companies you've never had dealings with (ie, they have your data anyway) that are especially concerning, as they are almost certainly fishing rather complying.

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Headless man found in lava’s embrace

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Hard hat?

> Hard hat?

So now we know, after last week's episode, what the Romans did for the BOFH - encourage a robust enthusiasm towards H&S. The question is, can the archaeologists tell if he was on overtime?

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Slurp up patient data for algos that will detect cancer early, says UK PM

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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> Spend the money on reality not fantasy requirements.

It's OK - they'll iron out all the fantasy with the AI projects for the magical Northern Irish high-tech border. Maybe even re-use some cold. Of course, people will get diagnosed with carrying cheese and Guinness, but even AI written by unicorns can make mistakes. Those mistakes will be corrected with the AI developed for taking down censored content by those nasty web companies. And whatever the next problem is, it will apply to that too.

Honestly, teaching politicians a new phrase is just so dangerous. Like the time when cool dudes started "pinging" messages to each other.

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EU considers baking new norms of cyber-war into security policies

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Joke

...and Microsoft?

Started boggling when I read "..and Microsoft", but then I remembered Bill Gates invented the Internet so they would understand the necessary hashtags.

(Please note icon...)

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10 social networks ignored UK government consultations

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Be interesting to see who did turn up, would it not?

> So that's "Making Britain stronger" as one of my British friends put it when they voted Leave.

Your friends thought it was the anagram round in "Countdown" - not so much global Britain as gob-all Britain.

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Tech support made the news after bomb squad and police showed up to 'defuse' leaky UPS

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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> Large batteries are Not To Be Taken Lightly.

We knew a guy in the village who worked for a big battery company. We called him Barry Nine-fingered.... (In this case, a huge glass battery bank for a lighthouse. Batteries were taken up first, then the acid. Barry made a teensy tiny little mistake connecting them up.)

Oddly, my father had a similar experience, welding his wedding ring onto his skin when using a spanner long enough to short the terminals on a battery bank. So when I work on our off-grid power supply, over 1000AHrs at 24v, I tend to be rather cautious, using short, rubber-clad spanners, and lots of adrenalin.

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: "Why the massive emergency services response?"

> They was using up all kinds of cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer's station.

Without the colour 8x10 glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, I won't believe it.

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Boffins bash out bonkers boost for batteries

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Good news, everyone!

> promises of "improved batteries" for the past 5 years,

Battery "improvement" patents - the biggest outcome of which is just another blockchain-style greed frenzy

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Whois privacy shambles becomes last-minute mad data scramble

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: why is this even an issue

> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_privacy

You kind of answered the question yourself - in my case, the domain name registrar gets an additional £6 plus VAT from me for what it seems will soon be required by law.

I paid the protection racket money because I suddenly got severely spammed, followed by phone calls, after registering a .net for a community project. I asked why I was getting this spam, having registered various domains for years without this trouble. It seems .uk addresses already have this privacy system applied to them automatically, but .net, .org etc do not.

So your point that that whole thing already has a way of dealing with GDPR is already validated. But they will lose a chunk of protection money.

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America's forgotten space station and a mission tinged with urine, we salute you

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Nice work, El Reg

These articles really are worth the price of subscription.

It's unfortunate that the advances in space flight of the 60s could not have been more collaborative than competitive. It took until the ISS for that. But we shouldn't forget these genuine pioneers (no pun intended) and their courage.

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BT bets farm on consumers: Announces one network to rule 'em all

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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So to sum up...

The new strategy amounts to "Never mind the quality, feel the width..."

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IBM bans all removable storage, for all staff, everywhere

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: It's not rocket science...

> Late 90s USB sticks?

Yeah, they did, but thinking about it you're right - it was the early 2000s.

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: It's not rocket science...

Reminds me of a time when I experienced the exact opposite. In the late 90s, the CEO of a subsidiary who had demanded something daft was ranting at me in my office about how I kept too tight a hand on tech use. In fact, he said, he knew that I had even banned the use of USB sticks. But between us, on the desk where he could see it, was a large box of USB sticks which I had just bought from my own budget, as staff always had difficulty getting them through departmental budgets, and when they needed them, helped themselves from the box.

(Bloke only lasted a few more months. He was trying to deflect some failing hairbrained scheme of his on to IT... )

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Sueballs flying over Facebook's Android app data slurping

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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I wonder if it's just the Facebook app

My wife has the same phone as I have. She loaded Instagram on hers. Since then, her battery lasts half the time mine does. I wonder what that app is doing in the background....

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You love Systemd – you just don't know it yet, wink Red Hat bods

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Logging

> If they removed logging from the systemd core

And time syncing

And name resolution

And disk mounting

And logging in

...and...

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Ahhh SystemD

> A solution that no one wants for problems no one has.

That's not strictly true - systemd introduces loads of additional problems...

I've just hit another, and the answer was classic. I'm testing OpenSUSE 15.0, and as expected it is already rock solid. But there's an odd error message about vconsole at boot, a known issue for a few years. Systemd's (Poetering's) response is that an upstream application has to change to fit in with what systemd wants to do. It's that attitude, of forcing changes all over the linux ecosphere, that is a genuine cause for concern. We thought that aggression would come from an antagonistic proprietary corporate, but no, it's come from the supposed good guy, Red Hat.

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Risky business: You'd better have a plan for tech to go wrong

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Laissez-faire versus movie-plot planning

The difficulty comes in the fact that bad things aren't always cut and dried events. In the case of an obvious disaster it is easy to invoke plans, but if an event falls between a maintenance-style event and a full-scale disaster, both invoking recovery plans and communicating with the business is a much harder, and often undocumented, process. Discussing risk on a sliding scale leaves a lot of scope for misunderstanding.

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Social networks have already violated the spirit of GDPR

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Next-gen to the rescue

As I said to my 20-something nephew a while back, it will be his generation that has to sort out these "social media" misnomer corporates. We, by which I mean most non-millennials, do not yet understand the problem that they have created, and I would include in that those who know there is a problem. The issue is so big, we can't grasp it. It will take not just technologists and economists to get a grip of the trend, but also psychologists and most importantly, philosophers. This will take 20-40 years.

And while we expect a tl;dr simple paragraph to explain the problem, we will be perpetuating it.

Help us, oh millennials, you're our only hope.

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'Computer algo' blamed for 450k UK women failing to receive breast screening invite

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Important correction

This isn't pedantic, as it should set a lot of people's minds at rest, but this issue specifically affects women under NHS England. The issue didn't affect the "British" NHS and Hunt is not the "British" Health minister. Shona Robison, the Scottish Health Minister, has issued a statement to reassure Scottish patients that the issue does not affect NHS Scotland's systems.

I realise how this comment could be construed, but please just take it as a correction of some incorrect information.

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Royal Bank of Scotland decision to axe 160+ branches linked to botched IT gig – Unite

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Yet again...

> RBS were told to sell those branches.

Really? Locally, we had so much banking competition, that the only bank for 40 miles was forced to closed by the regulator? The same in all kinds of vulnerable communities. No, RBS were simply cutting costs and maintaining bonuses, something the regulator really doesn't seem to mind

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Javid's in, Rudd's out: UK Home Sec quits over immigration targets scandal

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Diversity in action ...

> I'll give him 6 months.

Like all the recent (30 years)Home Secretaries before him, he'll be radicalised within 6 hours, and normal Home Office extremist service will resume. I wonder which Sir Humphrey at the HO is in charge with the blackmail dossiers on potential Home Secretaries.

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Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie, oi oi oi! Tech zillionaire Ray's backdoor crypto for the Feds is Clipper chip v2

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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> "That report concluded that law enforcement demands ... pose problems for human rights."

And once we realise that we lived happily without the utility of phoned that now monitor every aspect our lives, and stop buying surveillance phones, the next step will be to make non-possession of phones a crime...

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Incredible Euro space agency data leak... just as planned: 1.7bn stars in our galaxy mapped

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Real science

Real science == measure stuff

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CEO insisted his email was on server that had been offline for years

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Deleting emails

At one company for which I worked, we generally kept check on mail users whose archives were above 5GB, which seemed a reasonable figure (this was 10 years ago). Any use above that resulted in a chat with the user, to make sure that we weren't backing up and DR'ing cat videos, or, as in one case, supporting his moonlighting activities. One mail user's space approached 12GB. He was head of the compliance department. He was aware of retaining pretty much all email, the result, he said, of having been involved in a complex case where emails had been deleted, and which was a nasty enough event to have a profound effect on him. I asked him if he wanted a more robust email archival system. He said, not, he preferred to maintain it himself. I wished him well and we flagged his use as appropriate.

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UK 'wife'-carrying champion named

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Mushroom

Re: Optional

> Maybe just don't have beans the day before the event ?

Well, if both eat beans, a certain principle of Mutually Assured Destruction may help, but it's still not worth the risk

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Pirate

Optional

> with the carried person's face pointing toward the carrier's bottom.

Err, I think I'd prefer the dislocated shoulder...

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Mac fans' eyes mist over: Someone's re-created HyperCard

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Great news

Hypercard was brilliant. There were numerous studies done on how non-programmers were bale to develop really useful little stacks in very little time, but somehow that leap to what was called "end user computing" never quite materialised - development became more entrenched and specialised (except for that one block in Accounts who discovered, then "developed" everything in terrifying and broken Access - I am sure every el Reg reader knows one....)

After Jobs canned Hypercard, there was an attempt at a Windows based alternative called Supercard, if I recall, and Oracle bought and badged it as OracleCard. But it didn't have the utility of Hypercard, as they thought of Hypercard not so much as a generalised if inefficient applications environment as a database frontend. Another problem was cost - several hundred quid for a not really great product. In the Free Software world, there was a half hearted attempt with Pythoncard, which again missed the boat, this time thinking that the development environment was the key.

Hypercard's many inefficiencies, generalised nature and small but genuine barrier to entry was what gave it its power - its warts gave it its beauty. It even had a sort of pseudo object-oriented way of drag n drop working if you wanted to push definitions.

As an aside, I have often wondered what a hypercard on RaspberryPi would have done for the education space, where they have done wonders with scratch and teaching python. The understandable English of Hypertalk, almost like pseudo-code. would be more inclusive than the overt codiness even of python, opening creativity to yet more, and surely creativity was one of the things that attracts about technology in the first place.

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Sysadmin wiped two servers, left the country to escape the shame

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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> Ohhh SFT III...I set that up for a company that used to make bricks for kilns.

Making bricks - how appropriate for SFTIII. Having inherited an SFTIII installation, I found that as long as you didn't want to change anything ever, it was fine, but in a dynamic environment, it was a ball and chain on change.

Who remembers those "demonstrations" at the Networks show in Birmingham in the 90s, where Novell dropped anvils on one of a pair of running servers to show, er, gravity or something. That kind of 90s loadsamoney waste was one of the reasons I was turned off Netware and started heading towards this new NT thing, which turned out to be rather good, and cheaper too. Imagine that - MS cheaper, no doubt as Netware had to pay for demo anvils.

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User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Feeling Old...

> For not needing an explanation of TSR!

My Sidekick agrees too....

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Airbus CIO: We dumped Microsoft Office not over cost but because Google G Suite looks sweet

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Joke

> There are countless features

Countless? Not another Excel bug....?

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Office junior had one job: Tearing perforated bits off tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Re: Ah, the "good old days" ...

> I think we even experimented with re-inking an old ribbon,

Ah yes, using a ribbon until it literally fell apart. Not sure what was worse, messy fingers from ribbon re-inking or a messy mind from remembering the dreaded ESC-P codes. Those were... Hang on, no, let's never go back to the printer hell of the 80s and early 90s.

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It's Pi day: Care to stuff a brand new Raspberry one in your wallet?

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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> Well I've got a mixed estate of 8 Pis

Quite a few here too. Main RPi3 runs off a 2TB disk, serves NFS, runs a USB weather station, email (postfix, dovecot) for three domains, Nextcloud with numerous apps against postgresql (fewer resource demands than MySQL) and various other thngs previously run by an x86 server. The big thing to get over was the deep seated uncertainty about the USB disk, but actually it's been trouble free.

Another one (Pi Zero) is plugged into the telly and runs OSMC, getting the data from the main server via NFS. Control is via Kore on various tablets, phones around the house.

Another (Model B) is fitted with a Hifiberry device and is plugged into the old and wonderful sounding hifi amp directly. This one mainly runs mpd, and a web based control interface, but also does some cron jobs for the network. Also run minidlna for local streaming to tablets etc.

And another is in a data centre Somewhere In Europe running as a fallback MX, a few lowish traffic web sites, a Nextcloud instance used to share data with friends, family and other collaborators.

Another one runs in the house of a friend, who needed a nextcloud instance to get him round a short term difficulty, but the Pi turned out to be so useful a much wider range of local services are now run.

The new Pi just ordered will replace the "main server". That leaves me with an original Pi, ordered in the first wave, a Pi ZeroW, and a spare Pi3 and a Model 2, all of which are used at one stage or another to play.

The most astonishing thing about the Pi to one who does not use them in their originally intended way, for education, is that they are as capable as they are. When one runs out of grunt or otherwise hits the inevitable limitations of the nature of the device and its price point, the creativity required to get things working well is a reminder of the most satisfying times in IT. When I find myself wishing for more RAM, or disk connections, or whatever, I remind myself that we in technology are probably too conditioned to expect bigger or faster, and that very often, being disappointed when an ideal is unattainable gets in the way of what is actually achievable. Or as Miranda says, "such fun."

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WhatsApp agrees not to share user info with the Zuckerborg… for now

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
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Quandary

An elderly family member is ill and probably heading for his last few weeks. The rest of the family uses WhatsApp to stay in touch about this, and the pressure to succumb and join is severe. I found out about this last slurp, or alleged slurp, or slurp but not a slurp if the ICO thinks we're slurping,when looking to see if the Ts and Cs were at all reasonable. At a time like this, I can't expect the family members to research an alternative, like Wire, but at the same time, I just can't bring myself to gift myself to Facebook even if the utility of the present moment is overwhelming. What to do, oh, what to do...?

TL;DR - Look at all the good that can be done with WhatsApp, but the price is just too high.

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