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* Posts by Mike Pellatt

337 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

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UK.gov's use of black box algorithms to decide stuff needs watching

Mike Pellatt

UK.gov deciding stuff needs watching

There, FTFY.

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UK chancellor puts finger in air, promises 15 MEELLION full fibre connections by 2025

Mike Pellatt

Market conditions

Because 100% Business Rates Relief for Fibre Infrastructure for 5 years from 1 April 2017 is creating just the right market conditions for encouraging long-term investment with a 20+-year payback, isn't it ?

Idiot.

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

Mike Pellatt

Re: Well isn't that just great

.....as we saw for example with roaming charges and more recently with environmental legislation.

To say nothing of getting Microsoft to cough up the necessary docs to properly interoperate with AD. Which neither the US government nor the UK government managed to achieve.

Not that that gov.UK could be arsed to do anything about it

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Mike Pellatt

(The EU) is run by a civil service, with a toothless and loud parliament.

Whereas the UK is....

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I got 257 problems, and they're all open source: Report shines light on Wild West of software

Mike Pellatt

Re: False positive problem with Black Duck

So their quality of code analysis and interpretation clearly matches that carried out by SCO before launching their "Linux stole all our code" farce.

Quelle surprise. No technical capability whatsoever there.....

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Capita cost-cutting on NHS England contract 'put patients at risk' – spending watchdog

Mike Pellatt

Re: Hate for Capita

Only way things will improve is if the public sector .... starts to police contract awards effectively.

But, as someone up there somewhere said, the set of skills needed to be effective on the client side of a contract of this nature, and the set of skills needed to effectively manage the job in-house have a pretty massive overlap.

Add into that, as I keep banging on, you can transfer financial risk (at least in the short term) from the public sector to the private sector, but the risk of service failure will always fall to the public sector. Along with the concomitant costs....

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Measure for measure: Why network surveys don't count what counts

Mike Pellatt

It's not "terrible coverage" that you're suffering from. It's the Laws of Physics, Jim.

In this case, radio propagation. The idea that coverage can be achieved in every single cubic centimetre of a city is Total Bollocks (tm) (1). With far fewer massive solid objects to reflect the waves and cause multipathing, you could perhaps get closer to that in rural areas. But there, of course, there aren't enough base stations and the issues become signal strength and line of sight rather than multipathing.

(1) Ob. Peter Cochrane - unless we'd put fibre into every home with NTEs that were also pico-cells.

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Microsoft's most popular SQL Server product of all time runs on Linux

Mike Pellatt

Re: Funny error messages

My favourite, from 80's Unix, obvs.

$ make "Maggie resign"

Don't know how to make Maggie resign

Stop.

Clearly, make hadn't been told about the Community Charge :-)

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Sir Clive Sinclair dragged into ZX Spectrum reboot battle

Mike Pellatt

Re: I don't have a crystal ball but...

Yes.

When I read "....has descended into a horrible, stinking mess that sullies the Spectrum legacy" I couldn't help but think "more than it did to itself back in the day"

Black watch, anyone ?? Just for starters.

IC12 ? Take a Plessey IC amp, stick a heatsink on it, and uprate it from 5W to 12W. Quality engineering, that was.

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Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain

Mike Pellatt

Re: The most amazing engineering

Indeed. I used to be a Surrey County Councillor.

We had to pause at every full council meeting as the 11am flight went over County Hall in Kingston.

No-one ever complained

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

Mike Pellatt

Re: What rolls downstairs, alone or in pairs ?

Have 100 upvotes for Ren & Stimpy

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Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help

Mike Pellatt

Re: My Dad...

My Dad (RIP) was worse on a touchscreen than a kbd/mouse, unfortunately.

He appeared utterly incapable of just tapping the screen without touching it for ages and sliding his finger across, thus generating an entirely different gesture from the one intended.

Also, I couldn't remote in with teamviewer to clear the mess up/show him what he needed to do. Still, on the upside, he was doing he banking online until he reached 95 years old or so. Was even persuaded to give up the paper statements.

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O2 wolfs down entire 4G spectrum as pals fiddle with their shiny 5G band

Mike Pellatt

Re: All money raised from the auction to be paid to HM Treasury.

Can you say "UK Gov doesn't do hypothecation" ??

I knew you could.

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Brit MPs chide UK.gov: You're acting like EU data adequacy prep is easy

Mike Pellatt

"Ceasing to be a member" is easy. "Defining what that means" is something else entirely.

Oh, come on. Have you been on a desert island for the last 2 years? We know exactly what it means.

"Brexit means Brexit"

Easy peasy.

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Rant launches Eric Raymond's next project: open-source the UPS

Mike Pellatt

Re: server based UPS

DEC-10 KI10 processor, even better. Absolutely massive transformer in each 38" rack (each processor was 2 of them plus a 3rd for console, DECTapes, paper tape reader/punch, hundreds of blinkenlights) full wave rectification, even bigger caps for smoothing. 8VDC or so fed to series stabilisers down to 5VDC for the TTL along each row. The series stabiliser power transistors were in their own airflow up the end of the row.

Aircon and humidifier failures totally swamped any power issues (if any, this was South Kensington :-) )

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Mike Pellatt

fairly reliable system.....As long as you can get fuel for the damn thing

And as long as you don't end up running the system in an environment filled with dust (that wasn't in the design spec), you lose access to it, and the air filters get blocked.

See 9/11.

TBF, you did say "fairly reliable". That was an extreme event.

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Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals

Mike Pellatt

Re: Sad Really...

But woe betide you if you have an address that's hard to find (esp by the cowboys they use for Prime delivery)

Told them at least 10 times how to find us. One guy who did a superb job finding us all by himself then spent 10 minutes talking to Amazon Control Central and told me our place was now on their geolocation and there would be no further difficulties.

Hahahaha

So bad, I default to delivery to the nearest pickup point (a 5 mile drive away) as it's easier on my blood pressure. No use for anything other than small items, of course.

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Mike Pellatt

2335 outlets ??

Apart from the repeated leveraged buyouts, the increasingly LQT, and the painful greetings on entering the store, whilst I studiously avoided eye contact, that's your problem right there.

Over 2000 stores ?? How could that ever, ever be justifiable for the stuff they sell ? According to Wikipedia, even Currys only has 295 superstores and 73 high street stores.

Oh, hang on, Wikipedia says only 218 stores. Still crazy high if you compare to Currys.

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‘Dead weight’ Dell would destroy VMware’s value, says big investor

Mike Pellatt

Re: Meh

I'm not really sure why they'd pursue this strategy (turning public again)

Cashing in, (or rather, out) obvs.

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Buffer overflow in Unix mailer Exim imperils 400,000 email servers

Mike Pellatt

Re: There are alternatives...

Depends on your use case. If you need to do some serious conditional processing based on headers, postfix just doesn't deliver (sic). As an exim guy needing to do this in an existing postfix installation, I tried, believe me. I really did try. Swapping MTAs in a live environment is not for the faint-hearted.

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IT peeps, be warned: You'll soon be a museum exhibit

Mike Pellatt

Re: Museum piece

PDP/8 ??

Had 3 or 4 of those hooked up to our Dec10 at Imperial. And a few PDP/11s too.

Intersil 6100, PDP/8 on a chip, used that to build a 100x100 pixel imaging device. Never did get it following the bubble chamber tracks (neutrino experiment from SLAC, more tracks than you could imagine. The HPD had fun with those)

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Oh dear, Capita: MPs put future UK.gov outsourcing in the spotlight

Mike Pellatt

Re: Keep Calm and Carillion

A properly-resourced client ?? Can't have that else we couldn't keep billing for non-existent tagged offenders or wait until the last minute for it to be found out that we can't actually deliver security for the Olympics (OK, they were G4S, not Crapita or Carillion, but the principle's the same)

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Mike Pellatt

Re: Commercial Confidentiality? This is public work.

Absolutely.

It's a total disgrace.

There's a list of FoI requests that our little rail travellers' association have put to DafT to which their first response is "We think that's commercially confidential, so we'll have to check with Southeastern before we answer it"

Basic stuff like "did the operator meet this or that condition of their contract, and if not what sanctions were imposed ?"

It's OUR money, and the service is critical to millions of people getting to and from work. But, hey, can't have transparency in providing that service, can we ?

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Next; tech; meltdown..? Mandatory; semicolons; in; JavaScript; mulled;

Mike Pellatt

ObColonsInProgramsReference (OK, it's not semicolons. But it still makes me giggle. And so true).

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Mike Pellatt

Re: ...programmers, aware that every additional character offers another chance to make an error...

Of course, the dream language of special characters that mean a lot is APL.

Yabut... invert a matrix with a single operator. That's class. (Not touched the language since 1974. Still remember that. Awesome.)

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Mike Pellatt

Re: Tabs v spaces

Yeah, well, that was because no-one uses punch cards any more.

Really, once they went the way of the dodo, the Proper Thing to do was absolutely to treat any amount of contiguous whitespace equally. I have that etched into my brain thanks to 'C', which is probably one of the reasons I grapple with Python.

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Uncle Sam's treatment of Huawei is world-class hypocrisy – consumers will pay the price

Mike Pellatt

Re: The US Government Is Racist and Untrustworthy

The US simply ignored the WTO rulings.

Not wishing to hijack this thread.... but...... can we put that up in 50ft flashing neon lights for those who think that the UK reverting to trading with everyone under WTO rules is a Good Idea ? Rules are useless if enforcement fails..

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Worcestershire's airborne electronics warfare wonderland

Mike Pellatt

Re: Book recommendation: Most secret war

And the TV series "The Secret War". narrated by William Woollard. It was that series, broadcast in early 1977, that spawned said book (1978). Available on DVD.

It was also this book and TV series that brought the story of Enigma, Colossus et al into broader public knowledge, notwithstanding Winterbotham's earlier book (1974). RV Jones was much more accurate, too (having been at the centre of it all)

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Brazil says it has bagged Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean for £84m

Mike Pellatt

She formed the operational base for the Olympic security operation and air exclusion zone enforcement, moored at Greenwich.

Took a visit whilst she was there. Apparently there was just a few inches under the keel at low tide.

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Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Mike Pellatt

Intel has been the Gold standard in processors.....

That was a joke, right ??

Going right back to the original 80386 which had a pretty serious Virtual 8086 mode bug (it broke the EMM emulators, needed a motherboard fix), onto the Famous FP bug - "it's not a problem, it only happens every few million instruction executions...."

All Intel have offered that's a "gold standard" is backwards compatibilty, and the only time they tried to drop that (at least in the hardware - Itanium), it didn't end well and let AMD in to define the 64-bit x86 architecture.

Although, to be fair, the Itanium issues were more about the the difficulties with VLIW architecture.

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One more credit insurer abandons Maplin Electronics

Mike Pellatt

As a enthusiast then student of electronics in the 80's, I can tell you that there has never been a better time than now for a kid to get in to electronics.

As a enthusiast then student of electronics in the late 60's and 70's, I wholeheartedly agree. I in the 70's we still had GW Smith (Soho), HL Smith (Edgware Road) (got all my Denco coils for the superhet I built from them), Home Radio (Mitcham) and still loads of ex-WD 19 sets out there. But though the kit was easily available, the information, as you say, wasn't - the "maker movement" has changed all that, powered by the internet, without which it wouldn't have happened.

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National Cyber Security Centre boss: For the love of $DEITY, use 2FA on your emails, peeps

Mike Pellatt

Re: Not the point ....

(your mail) can be read any mail router or network it passes through.

Not if the communicating MTAs are both using enforced or opportunistic encryption. At that point it's primarily your data-at-rest within the MTAs where you're at risk if the content itself isn't encrypted.

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Official Secrets Act alert went off after embassy hired local tech support

Mike Pellatt

Re: Many Years Ago

The early PDP-11's were all core store. On the Unibus along with the peripherals.

My 3rd year project was programming one, as the peripheral processor on a PDP15/76, to get a GT-11 display accessible from the '15. That was fun. I sort-of did it. Enough to not disturb my getting a Desmond, anyways.

18-bit word length on the '15 mapped into the 16-bit word length on the '11. Or the other way round. I forget. It wasn't pretty.

Under (then) Dr. Bob Spence, IC, 1976

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New phishing campaign uses 30-year-old Microsoft mess as bait

Mike Pellatt

Re: ActiveX developed in naive times?

They weren't more naive times.

They were times exactly like today.

Every security professional said "FFS, don't do ActiveX. It'll be a disaster waiting to happen"

Microsoft said "Our customers want it. We're doing it"

I remember this very, very well. Especially when the sierra-hotel-one-tango subsequently hit the fan.

Rinse and repeat.

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Mike Pellatt

Re: Now you are blaming the victim.

I was going to say exactly that, but you beat me to it by an hour or two :-)

Try getting a job in construction without one of these

https://www.cscs.uk.com/

Or turning up without PPE.

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Security pros' advice to consumers: 'We dunno, try 152 things'

Mike Pellatt

Re: Don't open unexpected attachments

Especially if you constantly email company documents that demand permission to run macros when they are opened.

You mean like the spreadsheet Microsoft Licensing emailed for completion to verify license compliance ?? And then wondered why I hadn't done anything with it ??

Because no-one would send malware pretending to be from Microsoft, would they ?

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NHS: Remember those patient records we didn't deliver? Well, we found another 162,000

Mike Pellatt

Yep, it's definitely Still Broken.

Moved from North-West Kent to East Devon at beginning of July. Registered with local GP within a couple of weeks.

Old GP practice sent records off pretty much straight away.

New practice still to receive them. They're stuck with the 3rd party who does the transfer, apparently.

's alright though, since for my father in his nursing home (who has the same problem, compounded by his practice in SouthWest London closing at the same time he moved) I was able to correct them on the errors/missing info in his care plan.

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Mike Pellatt

Re: Support your NHS

The latter stuff is where the NHS falls down massively, mainly as those skills and people are not 'clinical' so are paid like a typist.

So, so, so very true. But try paying people who aren't "actually delivering patient care" a decent wage, or see the spend on that going up, and watch the howls of complaint from certain newspapers and every politician bar none about "wasted money on NHS bureaucracy"

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Calm down, Elon. Deep learning won't make AI generally intelligent

Mike Pellatt

Re: @AC - The problem all too often is the MSM

Based on when and where you were arrested ? That's scary to me!

It's exactly how it works at the moment. See "Ferguson".

So what's so bad about automating it ?

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Thomas the Tank Engine lobotomised by fat (remote) controller

Mike Pellatt

Re: Ummm, Tim 99...

Used under very close supervision, though. Here's an original training video. Complete with Ford Transit being driven like a shot from The Sweeney :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BMop6GA2iI

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You forgot that you hired me and now you're saying it's my fault?

Mike Pellatt

Re: Sweet Spot

a bit of public speaking training should be in every professional or degree course

Isn't it ? if not then the world is going backwards. Because it sure was in my elec eng degree in '73-'76. Along with "associated studies" in a mostly-vain attempt to make engineers "well-rounded"

Then again, I suppose Imperial's always been ahead of the curve. I see the Pimlico Project is still going after over 40 years. Sinclair Goodlad led the way.

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Equifax's disastrous Struts patching blunder: THOUSANDS of other orgs did it too

Mike Pellatt

I've looked after a (very) small engineering firm whose (sole) CNC machine tool is controlled by a Windows 95 PC. No way would that ever go near the internet. Sourced bits for all of it to have some hardware spares, except the multi-port serial card, the sight of which took me back to SCO Unix and green screen days :-)

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Google to kill Symantec certs in Chrome 66, due in early 2018

Mike Pellatt

Indeed - it is exactly their job to do this.

And it's not the first time. In fact, Firefox acted much faster than Google over the StartCom/WoSign shenanigans, but Google have done the same with them.

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Mike Pellatt
Facepalm

Re: Norton / Symantec is not slow

I think it was Norton who welcomed the advent of the dual-core processor.

Because, they said, now one core could be dedicated to running antivirus without slowing down the "real" work being done on the other core.

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UK.gov unveils six areas to pilot full-fat fibre, and London ain't on the list

Mike Pellatt

Re: Scrap HS2

And spend twice as much, with 10x the disruption, upgrading the existing infrastructure to fail to meet the increasing demand for rail travel. Great idea.

HS2 has been totally mis-sold. It's absolutely necessary, but not for the reasons generally articulated.

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Mike Pellatt

Re: London not on the list

3rd rail involves substations and track paralleling huts at frequent intervals, so the supply infrastructure for 600V DC is much, much more expensive than overhead 25KV AC (40 times as much current for the same power transfer). And H&S, at least until the current round of DafT madness, has banned new 3rd rail installations - at least those with exposed top conductors.

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Connect at mine free Wi-Fi! I would knew what I is do! I is cafe boss!

Mike Pellatt
Mushroom

Re: This is the reality of life

If it took < 8 minutes for an unprotected system to be whacked on the Internet 10 years ago...

It took <8 seconds on unpatched Windows 2000.

You had to have an offline copy of the SP and install it first, otherwise you were SOL.

I sooooo remember that :-)

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