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* Posts by Dr Who

357 posts • joined 25 Oct 2007

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Oracle cuts ribbon on distributed ledger service

Dr Who

The fog has lifted

"for building prototypes for documentation processes in 12-week sprints"

I see. At last it's all perfectly clear.

5
0

Dudes. Blockchain. In a phone. It's gonna smash the 'commoditization of humanity' or something

Dr Who

Like many Reg readers I've been around a while and have seen my fair share of hype cycles, but the one surrounding blockchain is the biggest and the worst yet. Never in the field of tech has so much bollocks been spouted by so many. I have it on good authority that things ending in gasm are supposed to get smaller with time, but hypegasms just seem to get bigger and bigger.

PS Mildly bitter as I seem to have managed to miss my ride on the gravy train of pretty much every single tech hype cycle.

54
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'Coding' cockup blamed for NHS cough-up of confidential info against patients' wishes

Dr Who

Online Opt-Out

To opt you out, the NHS first has to know what data it is holding on you. I will offer you even better odds than England losing on penalties that the NHS hasn't got the foggiest what data it holds on you, where it is, or what it is being used for.

9
1

Amid 'idiotic blockchain phase,' EY and Microsoft tout smart contracts

Dr Who

Exactly. We are left guessing what EY's five qualifying questions are and there are some key details missing from the article regarding voting nodes and who controls them, but almost certainly this should be handled by a conventional database. Nothing is gained in this scenario from using blockchain - except of course a shed load of PR column inches.

5
0

Accountants HATE them: Microsoft's Xbox harnesses blockchain to pay games publishers

Dr Who

Classic case of a problem that could (and should) be addressed by a conventional database. The only reason to use blockchain is where two or more parties who don't trust each other need to agree on a version of the truth. Traditionally this problem is solved by using a trusted intermediary such as a bank or land registry. With the blockchain the issue is resolved by having multiple nodes a majority of which must agree to validate a transaction AND where no single party controls a majority of the voting nodes.

In this case all the nodes belong to Microsoft and the blockchain is simply being used as a database to allow developers to view their royalties and how they were calculated. Should've been a normal database.

On the issue of GDPR it is prefectly valid to store data that is encrypted with someone's public key within the blockchain so that, in this case, a developer could only view the details of their own royalties. Transparency in the context of the blockchain is the ability for all nodes to view and agree on the integrity of the chain. It does not mean revealing private data that is not actually part of the chain's proof of integrity.

22
1

Ex-CEO on TalkTalk mega breach: It woz 'old shed' legacy tech wot done it

Dr Who

The digital deficit is coming to get us

Banks, telcos, healthcare you name it are all reaching the tipping point where a head in the sand approach to legacy tech has finally come home to roost, as we the illuminati all knew it would. Now that the costs of doing nothing are beginning to outweigh the costs of doing something, we should finally start seeing some action on all those things we've all been telling "them" about for all that time.

Trouble is, before things get better they will get worse. There is going to be soooo much pain as the band aids are slowly peeled off to reveal the festering decay beneath.

16
1

VMware declares energy-guzzling blockchains 'immoral'

Dr Who

Save the best to last

"We've known for a long time that installing and patching our software is painful ..."

" ... but this is one of the first times we've really felt that pain ourselves. ...The challenge of upgrading every quarter at scale is immense."

That is very funny, except if you're a long standing on prem VMware customers.

6
0

Zuckerberg gets a night off: Much-hyped Euro grilling was all smoke, absolutely no heat

Dr Who

Playground bullies

This bodes well for GDPR - not. The smaller you are the harder they'll hit you.

9
1

Openreach consults on shift of 16 MEEELLION phone lines to VoIP by 2025

Dr Who

In countries where they've already pretty much completed this (Switzerland for example) the biggest headache has been elderly customers. It takes a lot to convince them that :

- If they haven't got it yet, they will need broadband.

- They will keep the same number (they never believe that bit - how can it possibly move to the internet?)

- No that favourite telephone they've had for the last thirty years definitely won't work any more1 but the new ones are very nice

- The anxiety attacks they are having about possible disruption to what is often their main link to the outside world will pass in time

These are all serious and genuine concerns, and the answer has been to deploy very expensive teams of support staff to go and visit this segment of customers to help reassure them and handhold them through the transition. Warning, costs will go up as well as up.

1) without some additional non-standard equipment at at significant additional supply and setup cost.

11
0

Whoa, Gartner drops a truth bomb: Blockchain is overhyped and top IT bods don't want it

Dr Who

Most blockchain use cases can be achieved with conventional databases. It is specifically where issues of agreeing a version of the truth (attaining trust) between multiple parties, without the use of an intermediary such as a bank or a land registry, where blockchain comes into its own.

This video of a talk by Gideon Greenspan, who is a blockchain architect, brilliantly debunks all of the hype and explains very clearly exactly where blockchain is better than a traditional database, and where it is not. I've never heard a more lucid, less BS explanation and no I have nothing to do with his company.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK5Fz3w-H4o

20
1

TSB outage, day 5: What do you mean you can't log in? Our systems are up and running. Up and running, we say!

Dr Who

Yes, but did he make the error pacifically to piss people like you and me off?

26
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IETF: GDPR compliance means caring about what's in your logfiles

Dr Who

Given the level of understanding and quality of questioning we saw from US law makers when failing spectacularly to bring Facebook to heel, I'm not too worried about this.

"So, why do you keep logs on your computing device?. Do you burn them to provide sustainable energy to run it? Or is it more to hold the device down in case it gets windy?"

"No sir, it's so we can track visitors."

"Ah I see, so each visitor leaves a stick or a log as a kind of thank you gift. Very good. By the way, my grandson has a computing device. Do you think he would be pleased if I left a log on it?"

"Yes sir, I'm sure he would."

"Thank you. You are free to leave".

13
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Guess who's still most moaned about UK ISP... Rhymes with BorkBork

Dr Who

Re: Zen

HashMeToo as they say these days. It's not just about speed, it's worth paying a bit extra to Zen for the service you get when it goes wrong (even when the bit that's gone wrong is a copper connection a few hundred metres up the road).

2
1

GCHQ boss calls out Russia for 'industrial scale disinformation'

Dr Who

"satellite office in Bude, Cornwall"

Hmmm. Maybe time for a career change. "The Russians are cracking our nuclear launch systems!" "Who gives a shit dude ... surf's up. Oh, and pass me a roach."

8
1

British government to ink deal for yet another immigration database

Dr Who

Too many chiefs?

500 x Immigration Technology Portfolio project delivery managers on £1000 day rate

5 x junior developers on £150 day rate

20
0

1.5 BEEELLION sensitive files found exposed online dwarf Panama Papers leak

Dr Who

Re: Just goes to prove

To be fined you have fist to be prosecuted, as is the case now. The fact that the level of fines will be bigger does not mean that the level of prosecutions will be higher.

The new rights revealing the data held, the authorisation thereof and the right to be forgotten do not imply that the thousands of businesses who currently don't know what data they hold on you will suddenly know. Maybe some large enterprises have got a grip on this but the majority of SMEs have not.

I'd maintain my position that the new rights and fines will not substantially improve the situation in the real world. We may see some spectacular headline events with the likes of Facebook et al, but lower down the food chain not a lot will change.

11
3
Dr Who

Just goes to prove

DPA, PCI DSS, GDPR blah blah blah. These all amount to nothing when the expertise is not there to implement them (and there is a good argument that PCI DSS amounts to nothing even when it is implemented properly). GDPR in spite of the heavy fines will not magically make businesses who've never even taken data protection measures under existing legislation become compliant.

The accountancy micro-business I use is very good at accountancy but I have no faith whatsoever that the copies of my passport and other identity paperwork I am obliged by law to supply them with are secure. Multiply that up by the thousands of accountancy firms, solicitors etc... who have had copies of your identity paperwork and rather than hindering the fraudsters it becomes an invaluable stash of material to promote the fraudsters' success, as admirably demonstrated by this article.

GDPR has primarily been a gravy train for FUDster consultants and will not go very far at all towards improving the protection and usage of our personal data.

12
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Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg has flunky tell UK MPs: Nope, he's sending someone else

Dr Who

Rule Britannia!

Thank god we're leaving the EU. Once we return to being a small isolated island on the edge of a huge economic zone, instead of being a leading member of that huge economic zone, it'll be back to the glory days of the Empire.

No longer will Putin be able to poison people on our soil and then give us the bird. When our defence secretary says "go away and shut up" they'll take us seriously instead of laughing their pants off - oh yes indeedy.

And as to upstart heads of global tech giants, the only question they'll be asking when we summon them to Westminster is "how fast should I run?". You just watch, once we're out it'll be like Sampson growing his hair back. People will take notice again -you just wait and see.

62
31

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

Dr Who

Re: Feeling Old...

device=himem.sys

device=emm386.exe noems

dos=high,umb

devicehigh=ansi.sys

files=40

buffers=20

Happy days spent crafting config.sys

11
0

BOFH: Give me a lever long enough and a fool, I mean a fulcrum and ....

Dr Who

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

18
0

F-35B Block 4 software upgrades will cost Britain £345m

Dr Who

Re: and Pigs might fly a.k.a F-35

What? The Jensen Interceptor can go faster than sound? That's not what my Supercars Top Trumps said.

1
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MailChimp 'working' to stop hackers flinging malware-laced spam from accounts

Dr Who

So, I integrate my in house systems with the Mailchimp API. My in house system security is a pile of shite and we get compromised, giving the attacker full control over my Mailchimp account without needing to log on to Mailchimp directly (so the 2FA thing is actually irrelevant).

4
0

Defra to MPs: There's no way Brexit IT can be as crap as rural payments

Dr Who

Re: With the rise of the city farm...

So an IT system to cover it might therefore be abbreviated to CRAPIT, the first version of which might reasonably be entitled CRAPIT_A. What could possibly go wrong?

33
0

Suspected drug dealer who refused to poo for 46 DAYS released... on bail

Dr Who

Guilty

The guy is obviously a pro. Getting arrested and chucked in a cell would scare the shit out of me.

19
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123 Reg suffers deja vu: Websites restored from August 2017 backups amid storage meltdown

Dr Who

Re: It is safer to presume

Agree with Jason. @adnim, at some point you have to trust others with stuff that you don't want to or can't do. Most self employed people will relatively blindly trust an accountant to compile and file all the correct returns and keep them out of trouble with HMRC. If you've ever bought a house, did you make sure you fully understood every last legal technicality of the conveyancing process, or did you trust a solicitor to ensure that the property was legally yours and unencumbered at the end of the process. There are many things that need to be entrusted to others, including rock solid backups if you're not technically minded. The art is choosing good suppliers.

9
0

So the suits swanned off to GDPR events leaving you at the coalface? It's really more IT's problem

Dr Who

B2B vs B2C

Much of the advice, scare mongering and FUD about GDPR focuses on consumer data. One thing I can't find a clear answer on is the impact of GDPR on B2B businesses. Say you run outsourced IT support for other companies. On your help desk system you hold personally identifiable information on all the employees of each of your customers. Do you need to get explicit consent from each of those employees to hold their data? Do your customers' employees have the right to be forgotten with respect to your help desk system?

Has anyone seen an authoritative legal opinion on this specific issue?

4
1

RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics

Dr Who

Re: Well at least

One dreads to think what "sticky" in a bad way might be. Ann Summers perhaps?

6
1

Smartphones to be inescapable, even at 40,000 feet

Dr Who

900 is barely a gaggle. If you want a proper swarm you have to go the way of Elon who plans to put 12,000 satellites into low earth orbit. How can there be room? Thinks of the space debris? How can you launch rockets through that kind of gauntlet? So may questions.

6
0

Hey, you. App dev. You like secure software? Let's learn from Tinder, Facebook's blunders

Dr Who

Inevitable

Tinder plugs hole

5
0

Crunch time: Maplin in talks to sell the business

Dr Who

Re: PWC is managing the process, we are told.

What are you talking about? Maplin would never have had any assets to strip. They have basically no cash, large debts and crippling store rental commitments. There is the stock, but that's basically worthless if you try and sell it in bulk. The only reason you'd buy Maplin is for the dividends, and as dividends can only be paid out of profit, there won't have been many of those in the last twenty years.

Montagu bought Maplin for £244 million and sold for £85 million to Rutland who will be lucky to achive a token tenner for a sale. I don't think either Montagu or Rutland will be congratulating themselves on their spectacular corporate raiding skills.

22
1

Electronic Frontier Foundation chap John Perry Barlow has died

Dr Who

A rock star scientist in the fullest sense. RIP.

9
0

Wileyfox goes TITSUP*: Smartmobe maker calls in the administrators

Dr Who

Tragic. I'm still using my original Swift. It's been a brilliant phone.

Has anyone got any recommendations for similar handsets i.e. a solid Android phone with regular software updates for those who don't need a penis extension with super high definition video and a gazillion megapixel camera?

14
0

Morrisons launches bizarre Yorkshire Pudding pizza thing

Dr Who
Pint

Re: How else?

CTRL-F "post pub" found Mycho. My thoughts exactly although amazed it wasn't the first comment on the list! RIP the legendary Lester. My first pint will be raised to him this evening.

7
0

Just can't catch a break, can ya, Capita? Shares tumble 40% amid yet another profit warning

Dr Who

Schadenfreude

I'm not going to beat around the bush here. It's about fucking time that these subbie bashing, small business destroying, undercutting, tax payer and pensioner robbing, corrupt and criminally negligent outsourcing wankers got their comeuppance. Not just Capita, all of them. They are all from the same mould and they have been getting away with it for far too long.

In our industry, the big consultancy/outsourcers are like supermarkets are to the farmers. If they can buy it cheaper abroad they will, or if not they'll squeeze the domestic suppliers until their pips squeak. Employees, the supply chain and ultimately the customer are there to be milked dry for the benefit of the share holders and senior management, who are generally long gone when the shit hits the fan.

Don't get me wrong, I am not remotely anti-business, it's just that these companies are not viable businesses, they are organised criminals.

83
0

NHS outages KO Welsh GP services and Manchester A&E

Dr Who

Re: I wonder how an NHSbuntu/NHoS based system would have handled it?

That's the trouble with too much caffeine. It addles the brain with the result that extreme sarcasm goes straight over your head.

0
2

All aboard the Vomit Comet: Not the last train to Essex, but a modded 727 for weightless flight

Dr Who

Re: Rubber duck

That's a big ten four.

5
0

BOFH: Buttock And Departmental Defence ... As A Service

Dr Who

Re: And nobody checked

Only because they couldn't be arsed.

53
0

MPs sceptical of plan for IT to save the day after UK quits customs union

Dr Who

Problem solved

With neural networks doing some deep learning to which we apply some AI algorithims this is no problem.

We simply scan in the new EU/UK trade agreement and the computer can then execute a billion trade transactions with itself and by the morning it will outperform even the greatest living customs officer. Particularly when chasing a bloke from Luton who's just smuggled in a van load of cheap fags from Bulgaria. Or opening a container door to check that what's in it matches the bill of lading.

4
0

Yahooooo! says! its! email! is! scrahoooo-ed!

Dr Who

The question is, does this raise the spectre of a total meltdown?

8
0

CSS and Javascript on GOV.UK page take early Christmas holiday

Dr Who

The site lost its CSS and JS ...

to reveal an old fashioned honest-to-goodness HTML web page. So the legal aid registration is borked but it gives you a powerful sense of nostaligia. It happened to me the other day on the BBC website and the emotional effect was quite surprising, a bit like a smell or a tune that reminds you of a moment long ago. Ahh - them were the days - simpler times!

14
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Sigh. It's not quite Star Trek's Data, but it'll do: AI helps boffins clock second Solar System

Dr Who

We could still be the biggest system you bastards.

Cheers,

Pluto.

41
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Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires

Dr Who

Re: "Not an uncommon story", you mean.

Yes, but why ruin a good story with the truth?

13
0

Games-mart Steam halts Bitcoin payments

Dr Who

Re: Let's see

Exactly. Most people, including even many esteemed Reg readers, are confused about what bitcoin mining is. Bitcoins are issued to miners by the system as a reward for so called work done. The work done in this case is the processing of transactions into new blocks in the chain. When the number of bitcoins reaches the arbitrary limit of 21 million no more bit coins will be issued. At the point the only incentive to mine will be to obtain transaction processing fees from bitcoin users.

To control the rate of bitcoin production, the difficulty of the work to be done is increased or decreased by changing the min and max allowable values of the hash of the block, requiring the miner to experiment with different values of a nonce until they arrive at an acceptable hash value.

Being able to tune the difficulty of the work to be done also avoids the scenario of transaction processing consuming every processor on the internet. That can never happen.

1
2

Nationwide UK web bank and app take unscheduled nap

Dr Who

Won’t let make online payments, rather annoying and [an] inconvenience as our electric is about to run out! Then we will be buggered,

That's really unfortunate. First your power is going to go off and then someone is going to have anal sex with you. Really bad luck that is.

7
0

Logicalis lands mega air traffic computer deal. Yes, that Logicalis

Dr Who

What ...

could possibly go wrong? Not like it's safety critical or anything.

4
0

Black Horse Down, we repeat... yes, Lloyds Bank, again

Dr Who

In the interests of diversity

Crappy Old Chips Knackered Under Pressure

4
0

How did someone hijack your Gmail? Phishing, keylogger or password reuse, we're guessing

Dr Who

Re: VPN and Juice

A VPN won't do anything to solve this particular problem. Phishing, key logging and reuse of passwords from compromised sites will all still work.

9
0

BOFH: But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

Dr Who

Very good. But did you write that on a smartphone whilst packed into a railway carriage sardine style?

7
0

'The Queen' is showing Geneva how to be polite on public transport

Dr Who

Yes you have been to a few what? If it's third world markets then that's fine. If it's Asdas then get yourself to the doctor. You may well have picked up an amoeba or something.

6
0

HMRC boss defends shift to AWS, says they got 50% knocked off

Dr Who

Re: Of course not

This is a crucial point. US judges can order US companies to release data even though it is held on servers entirely outside the US and have done so in the past (search for Microsoft Dublin).

- 50% savings are good

- Outsourced infrastructure good

- UK tax payer data at the mercy of the US Trumptatorship - sad. Very, very sad.

Also, is this just IaaS, or are HMRC locking themselves in to the entire proprietary Amazon application stack, in which case two suppliers just narrowed down to one. Bend over the barrel HMRC .... this is going to hurt. That 50% was just an introductory offer.

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