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* Posts by Commswonk

1319 posts • joined 3 Sep 2015

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BT to 'sunset' Apache CloudStack cloud, customer demand went AWOL

Commswonk
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Quite so; let's strip out some of the excess verbiage...

As part of that process, we focus our efforts on areas where we see the strongest customer demand and as the same time secure the best return on investments"

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Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate

Commswonk
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Thank goodness I'm retired...

Prior to retirement I often had to investigate why "something" wasn't working properly. Now I would have to report that A complete and comprehensive root cause analysis is still in progress.

While, I must assume, keeping a straight face throughout.

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Pencil manufacturers rejoice: Oz government doesn't like e-voting

Commswonk
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With our system, the choice is between two virtually identical flavours of bland incompetence..

I fail to see how the adjective "bland" belongs in the above, unless of course you are referring to somewhere other than the UK.

And I have tried... really hard.

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Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

Commswonk
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@ Jay 2: I now await the examples of rage from users on Twitter who have based their entire existence on O2 infrastructure... If it's that important, have some sort of backup you need help. Urgently.

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NHS supplier that holds 40 million UK patient records: AWS is our new cloud-based platform

Commswonk
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Re: Red flag

When I see hyperbolic statements like this in relation to security issues, I get very, very suspicious that the security is flawed.

With all sorts of people having "legitimate" access to the records I'm not certain that any flaws in the inherent security will actually matter that much. The greatest vulnerability will be end users, and will be down to stupidity rather than malice.(Hanlon's Razor)

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Commswonk
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Re: Just a minute there

Clinicians working in any location with any third-party technology will be able to view and share vital patient information safely and ethically

More bullshit. The upshot of the above is that individual patients' data can finish up <Deity> knows where with no protection whatsoever. Will all this "third-party technology" be properly and securely tracked? Not that that would prevent the leaking of patient data, of course.

Dreadful idea... <shudder>

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Commswonk
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Bullshit Alert

"This will also allow new solution providers with interesting technologies such as artificial intelligence to overcome the traditional barriers to market entry, leveraging the interoperability at the heart of our new architecture," he said.

I'm not sure I want my records stored by a company that can put out garbage like that.

Where's the mind bleach?

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UKFast mulls putting IPO on ice due to six little letters: BREXIT

Commswonk
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Re: Not that straightforward...

I'm not greatly surprised at the downvotes I attracted with my earlier post.

Just remember your downvotes when your job is outsourced to somewhere cheaper overseas or some other change disadvantageous to your current employment takes place.

Never mind; you can always console yourselves with the knowledge that the change was "good for the business".

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Commswonk
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Not that straightforward...

From the article: ...not giving businesses the predictability they always say they crave

While that statement is undoubtedly true, I had a conversation with another family member who holds a managerial role in a UK distributor for an EU manufacturer. (Just to be clear the family member is not at "board" level; neither is the UK business FTSE 100 or 250 IIRC)

Said person repeated the "certainty" mantra and I asked in response about what certainties the business (or UK businesses in general) would provide in return for the greater certainty of a future trading status with the EU. The answer was revealing; it amounted to "none whatsoever", and "it doesn't work that way".

So if said family member's comments were generally accurate the conclusion I was unable to avoid was that "business" wants handing conditions that suit it while not recognising any need for any sort of quid pro quo.

Sorry British Business; it isn't all about you.

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'Massage parlour' location looks like Amazon stealth-testing secret new wireless network

Commswonk
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A New Euphemism?

I rather like the idea of "Houses of ill Repute" being called "fulfilment centres", seeing as the article used the term.

On second thoughts, if some reports are correct at Ama*on Fulfilment Centres it's the employees who get screwed, not the customers.

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Euro consumer groups: We think Android tracking is illegal

Commswonk
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Pedantry Alert

The complaint also tickles the fuse of a long-ticking time bomb buried in GDPR that has not yet detonated.

Fuses in bombs are fuzes.

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The antisocial network: 'Facebook has a black people problem,' claims staffer in exit salvo

Commswonk
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Re: "strategic partner manager for global influencers"

I would have been ashamed of having such a job, and would not tell anyone.

Have an upvote. :)

It looks to me he was part of the problem called "Facebook" - the very idea you "influence" people.

Take Facebook out of the equation completely, and simply think "advertising industry"; see The Hidden Persuaders.

"Influencing" people is, I regret to say, all around us, and any hope of that changing is forlorn. The sad and worrying things are that too many poeple fail to see it for what it is.

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Commswonk
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Re: Global underepresented influencer strategic partner manager voice

To quote the article correctly: strategic partner manager for global influencers, where he focused on underrepresented voices.

To quote the great Dorothy Parker: What fresh hell is this?

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Uber fined £385k by ICO for THAT hack of 57m customers' deets

Commswonk
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Re: Couldn't happen to a nicer company

Anything that makes Uber execs bleed is music to my ears.

Would that that were true, but it isn't. The fine will ultimately be paid by its customers; the taxi passengers. That is the big failing of fines for corporate misconduct - the company pays from its source of income, because that is the only money that it actually has. Even if it has £££ in the bank, that money came from those who bought its services or products.

Unfortunately.

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Mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world

Commswonk
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We won't get universal coverage until Ofcom gets rid of the rules banning towers from being taller the the average dutchman.

You've got a bit of a "thing" about taller masts, haven't you? Pity it's wrong though...

Apart from making frequency reuse a bit of a problem, just because the signal from a cell site goes further from a tall mast it does not follow that the signal from the mobile will necessarily be strong enough to work.

Having taller masts would be likely to cause more problems than it would solve.

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UK's national Airwave terminal procurement framework awarded to Motorola and Sepura

Commswonk
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Re: government allergy to ownership

They should have bought it instead, this saving around £300m

Part of me wants to agree with you, but I think you have overlooked the fact that it wouldn't just be a case of CapEx; the Home Office would have had to take over all the Airwave personnel and pay for ongoing support of the network until such time as the ESN actually comes to fruition... if of course that actually happens.

I suspect that Motorola taking it over may be the least worst option, albeit a costly one.

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Commswonk
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Re: Greedy Government

...already earmarked to go to MoD

IIRC the above should have read "already earmarked to go back to MoD"

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Commswonk
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Re: It has to be said

NB the HO wheeze which sold off Airwave was dodgy...

Unless my memory has completely let me down the HO never owned Airwave to start with, so I'd be interested to know the basis of your assertion. It was built by O2 using Motorola equipment for the fixed sites with (at the time) portable / mobile terminals being available from Motorola. Sepura, Nokia & Cleartone. The fixed network has had a succession of owners but - as stated above - I don't think the Home Office was ever one of them.

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Joe Public wants NHS to spend its cash on cancer, mental health, not digital services

Commswonk
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Re: What ranking did "free and unlimited" parking achieve?

Common perception, and multiple localised newspaper/radio reports all have it the the MAIN thing people want from their NHS is free and unlimited parking when they get there.

Of course it is, because they can use the free car park all day while they bugger off to work in a car share. I'm afraid to say that the only thing that prevents this is to make it the most expensive available option.

Bloody tough on the (out)patients and their visitors though. Needless to say the problem is solvable but it requires a bit of imagination on the part of the hospital authorities to make it work, and if our local hospital is in any way typical that imagination is woefully lacking; whoever designed the car park put the disabled parking spaces on a slope with insufficient space between adjacent vehicles to open the doors fully to allow a wheelchair - bound patient to get out or into a car without a major struggle. Anyone else here tried pushing a wheelchair up a slope? Or worse still, across a slope?

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TalkTalk hackhack duoduo thrownthrown in the coolercooler: 'Talented' pair sentenced for ransacking ISP

Commswonk
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Re: "legacy" issues

...meanwhile young kids who found the IT equivalent of a wallet bulging with cash on the pavement & nobody around to see you pick it up...

It matters not whether anyone sees you pick up said bulging wallet or not, it is still "theft by finding" if you do not report the find with the intention of if being returned to its rightful owner.

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Britain may not be able to fend off a determined cyber-attack, MPs warn

Commswonk
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Re: Carp

Why do we elect such pillocks to form goverments and opposition?

(Rogue apostrophe deleted!)

Because only pillocks stand for election in the first place. However as neither Severn Trent nor Centrica are actually "political" bodies I'm not sure that politicians can be held responsible for their shortcomings in the cybersecurity department.

In a way it's a failure of modern capitalism; in days of old all that was necessary to maintain security was to lock the doors at night. Now, with almost everything being IT based, that approach is no longer sufficient, and with effective cybersecurity being a cost to business with no apparent corresponding return to bulk up the bottom line it should be no great surprise to discover that electronic security simply doesn't feature in the business plan.

It doesn't seem to have occurred to them that a major cyber attack has the capacity to do far more damage to the bottom line than a bit of sensible investment would have done.

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Commswonk
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They wouldn't have to invest so heavily in "cyber" security if they hadn't systematically pushed the utility companies into using the Internet for their critical infrastructure.

"They" being who, exactly? I greatly doubt if any pushing was required; the various corporate beancounters will have insisted on it anyway, with internet connections being a whole lot cheaper than Private Wires.

That aside, you are perfectly correct in pointing out that PWs would have been a far more secure way of providing the necessary network(s).

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Finally a platform for train puns: IBM Halt station derailed

Commswonk
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Well going by that list, most of Wales and the Highlands of Scotland should have their rail services discontinued as well...

Reading that list brought back memories of this from Flanders & Swann:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6OHD2uCpfU

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Commswonk
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Re: I was think more along the lines of ...

IBM no - platformed.

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Brits shun country life over phone not-spot fears

Commswonk
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Re: As it happens...

An AC wrote:...living up in the hilly bit of north Northumberland, I find that coverage is generally good (home broadband is approx 85 meg down / 20 meg up) and the village gets 4G.

AIUI you have Northumberland County Council to thank for that. I believe that the CC provided money up front for BT to provide FTTC in a lot of places that probably struggled to get ADSL; quite small places (for some undefined value of "small") have good broadband, much of it benefitting the transient population occupying all the holiday lets in the area. (OK I admit it; Mrs Commswonk & I, along with Chien Commswonk are in that category; we love the area.)

As an aside I recall a snippet on You & Yours one day highlighting that something had gone horribly wrong with FTTC in Rothbury and that the speeds consumers were getting were utterly dreadful. I suspect that uptake of the service completely outstripped what had been planned for, meaning that additional fibres had to be run in from Alnwick, but I would be interested to know any further details if you have any.

Can't really comment on the phone coverage as my mobile only gets used for "emergencies".

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Alexa, cough up those always-on Echo audio recordings, says double-murder trial judge

Commswonk
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Re: Sounds about right

If the rozzers get a court order I have no problem with any recordings being handed over.

You and I might think that, but of course as one of the "tech giants" Amazon has to preserve and protect its status of being above the reach of the law.

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Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

Commswonk
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Re: Marketurds vs Reality

@ Milton: Thanks for some really well-written posts here today

I'd very much like to second that.

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'My entire company is without comms': Gamma's Horizon cloud PBX goes DOWN

Commswonk
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"My entire company is without comms."

Did your mother never tell you never put all your eggs in one basket?

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We definitely don't need more towers, says new Vodafone boss scraping around for €8bn savings

Commswonk
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Re: no more Towers?

That's Voda out of the 5G race around where I live...

Not necessarily; it's perhaps simply a case of "towers" not being the best way of providing a 5G network. As has been stated (almost) times without number path losses at SHF are such that a conventional "tower based" system is not the right way; 5G will need lots of "little sites" with aerials on lamp - posts and the like.

Towers are so yesterday

</sarcasm>

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Cheeky cheesemaker fails to copyright how things taste

Commswonk
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Yes, try real Dutch cheese, start with Limburger cheese!

Or perhaps finish with it. Seeing nobody else has posted this link I will:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3KBuQHHKx0

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Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

Commswonk
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Re: Quantum navigation

I'd get my coat, but I can't find it.

That's cos you lent it to some chap called Heisenberg, and he in turn passed it some Schrödinger fellow because he wanted to see if it was both raining and not raining at the same time.

Or something...

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Skimming cash off UK police budget for tech projects probably not the best idea, say MPs

Commswonk
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From Whose Perspective..?

From the article: Slicing police funding to inject cash into national programmes – a big chunk of which is funnelled into tech – might not be an effective use of public cash,

and

the Home Office may not be making the best use of its budget and needs to figure out how to improve delivery of broad projects.

From the Police perspective it's dreadful; the Home Office top - slicing budgets with Chief Constables having to manage on what's left.

From the taxpayers' perspective it's dreadful because their money is being spent, notionally on policing, but the service they get from the police when they are really needed is diminishing.

From the Home Office perspective it's ideal; other peoples' money to spend, plenty of meetings to hold and no real accountability because the likelihood of serious chastisement when nothing comes from it is vanishingly small.

It's because of the last point that there is no real incentive for the Home Office to "figure out how to improve delivery of broad projects".

Having said that it is perhaps unfair to single out the Home Office for criticism; it is hardly the only department of government with a record of burning through millions with little or nothing to show for it at the end, or for what does result not fulfilling the intended purpose.

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Windows XP? Pfff! Parts of the Royal Navy are running Win ME

Commswonk
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Angel

@ gerdesj:You should see what I've done to my U/F heating. I nearly cooked the dog.

OT from the point of the article but never mind...

Some friends of ours had a major refit of their home after an equally major flood a few years ago, and that major refit included underfloor heating. In this case the ground* - to - room interface was some very nice tiles. The effect was to nearly cook anyone who entered the room, particularly in what used to be called "stockinged feet". (Curiously their dog didn't seem to mind.)

I had a quick look around and discovered that (a) there didn't appear to be a room stat, (b) what might loosely be called the "control system" was at the back of a cupboard at ankle height, (c) the "back of the cupboard" was actually the outer leaf of the wall, and (d) it was noticeably draughty in there.

Needless to say I was unable to keep the diagnosis to myself, and I advised them about what to tell their installer, including the results of a quick on - line search for a suitable wireless thermostat, etc. I suspect their installer was a bit hacked off about someone else telling what was required, but he did it anyway, and the result was a properly controlled temperature.

It's quite amazing how non - technical friends will interpret "basic engineering principles" as a branch of black magic and general wizardry, and it would have been inappropriate to dismiss the whole thing as "Simples".

We wizards need all the adulation we can get.

*Yes it really was the ground; it is a very old house.

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Townsfolk left deeply unsatisfied by Bury St Edmunds' 'twig' of a Christmas tree

Commswonk
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Bah Humbug

That is all.

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If Shadow Home Sec Diane Abbott can be reeled in by phishers, truly no one is safe

Commswonk
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Alert

Re: I doubt she'll ever be Home Secretary, but...

ms Abbott is now a Labour grandee, and part of their intellectual talent pool

Their what?

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Commswonk
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Devil

Surely it's not important to have a home secretary who can spot phishing emails, it is important to have one who understands it can be bloody hard to spot phishing emails.

It may or may not be "bloody hard", but to balance that an email is an email and the recipient can take the time to study it and look for the clues before deciding whether to respond to it or simply delete it.

I would argue that it is the scam phone calls that are the greater risk; the recipient has to think and respond in real time, which is a rather greater challenge. My own solution is to assume that if I don't know the caller then there is a very real chance of it being a scam, and I have a few ways of dealing with them to prove their legitimacy or (more likely) lack of it.

And just in case the scammers are reading this I am not going to reveal what they are, but I doubt if the differ all that much from other El Reg readers' methods.

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European Union divided over tax on digital tech giants as some member states refuse free money

Commswonk
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Re: Life's not fair

I think you answered your own question when you wrote you have a UK resident clicking through.

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Lucky, lucky, Westminster residents: Who better to look after your housing benefits than Capita?

Commswonk
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Angel

Re: Fewer Things Better

Fewer things better......if I read that the correct way that means...

Thank you for reminding me of Director of Better in W1A; one of the funniest things I have heard broadcast in the last few years.

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British fixed broadband is cheap … and, er, fairly nasty – global survey

Commswonk
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Facepalm

What Bargain Is That Then?

From the article: Brit consumers get a broadband bargain, but pay for it with poorer performance than other European countries.

At what I am paying per month it certainly doesn't feel much like a bargain.

As for performance... well I was getting some symptoms of seriously slow speed both down and up today, and speed checks carried out with a variety of different speed testers gave wildly differing results, although one or two confirmed utterly dismal upload speeds, one or two others did not.

Needless to say I have no idea which to believe.

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Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity

Commswonk
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Re: The name 'Tesla' has been hijacked

@ Phil O'Sophical: And why Rolls Royce decided not to produce the Silver Mist, since the German market was important for them.

I doubt if there will ever be a car called Golden Shower, either.

Mine's waterproof...

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Worldwide Web wizard Tim Berners-Lee sticks wellington boot into Worldwide Web's giants: Time to break 'em up?

Commswonk
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From the Article...

Is Sir Tim right? Or has he just entered the grumpy old man phase of life?

If the second of the above sentences is the case, I would very much like to welcome him into the fold and assure him that he will find that he is in excellent company.

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Concerns over cops' crap computer kit: UK MPs call for cash, capacity, command

Commswonk
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way too many forces in the UK something like 40 odd

Be careful what you wish for; the (previously eight) Scottish forces were merged to form Police Scotland and it didn't go well. Things might have improved now; then again they may not.

It isn't as easy as one might think or wish.

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Commswonk
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Yet More Hogwash...

But the loudest recommendation from the MPs was stronger national leadership from the Home Office on technology.

"Ministers need to take ultimate responsibility for the failure of this crucial public service to properly upgrade its technology to deal with the threats of the 21st century," the report said.

A "Department" cannot provide leadership any more than a "building" can. Leadership can only come from people and I simply cannot see how a politician with a PPE to his or her name can ever provide anything that even vaguely resembles leadership. A similar comment must also apply to the senior levels of the civil service where classicists hold sway. On top of that a politician is in place solely on the basis of patronage, and is fully aware that that patronage can be withdrawn on a whim at any time by the leader of the day, and of course, by the electorate every now and then. The civil servant - other than those at the very top - will be looking for the next career move no more than 2 years ahead.

The above inevitably results in the employment of consultants, who (unsurprisingly) have their own agenda.

Anyone expecting the police and the occupants of the Home Office and their consultants to be focussing on the same agenda is living in cloud - cuckoo land.

There is also another unfortunate observation to make; the more that is spent on technology for the police the worse the detection / conviction rates become. I know perfectly well that correlation is not causation but I'd really like to know why this certainly seems to be the case.

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Britain's rail ticket-booking systems go TITSUP*

Commswonk
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@ Korev: Almost disappointed that didn't squeeze an "Off the rails" pun in...

What would have been the point(s)?

Anyway it's the ticketing platform that is at fault.

Er, sorry...

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

Commswonk
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Minor Edit Required...

From the article: Goldman Sachs are very experienced infrastructure investors. What they are looking at is the potential, longer-term value. Therefore they have concluded that represents the right value based on its future.” ®

The middle sentence might be better written as What they are looking for is a fat profit. The company was not called a vampire squid for no reason...

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UK Home Office admits £200m Emergency Services Network savings 'delayed'

Commswonk
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Re: Omnishambles

Had the Home Office had some people with a bit of common sense they would have bought Airwave and then they'd have however many years they would have liked for ~£800M not three for £1.1Bn

Part of me wants to agree with you, but your conclusion appears to need (at least) two assumptions to be true, which they aren't.

Firstly, buying Airwave means taking over the ownership of the base stations and the Switched Management Infrastructure (SwMI) that controls them. Such a purchase would not include the network connections (Ground Based Network) that joins them all together. Those circuits are leased from circuit providers (e.g. BT) so continuing use of the overall system would require ongoing line leasing costs.

Secondly, neither the base sites nor the SwMI look after themselves; they need people (quite a few of them!) who can attend a site in the event of any problem that cannot be sorted out remotely, including replacement of equipment that has gone faulty and requires repair on a bench somewhere. The response time required in the event of a fault that has taken a site (or part therof) out of service is fairly short (hours not days or weeks) and all those people are a recurring cost that has to be met if the service is to continue.

Much as we might wish it to be true, it is simply wrong to assume that there would be a cost saving of "system lease cost" minus "purchase price" there for the taking, because sadly there isn't.

I am not trying to defend the charges that Motorola will present to the Home Office (or more correctly us taxpayers); all I am saying is that your underlying assumptions are untrue and thus your idea, as it stands, doesn't work.

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Commswonk
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Re: Not unexpected

"Not unexpected"... since IIRC the contract was placed without a firm specification in place and without the technology (mainly but not exclusively software) not existing either. AFAIK there has not even been a public or semi - public proof of concept demonstration yet; had there been I am certain that we would have heard it trumpeted from the heavens.

Given there has been no hint of EE finding itself penalised for the accumulated delays it seems fair to assume that there are no milestones in the contract that had to be reached by specified deadlines.

At the end of all this (if there ever is an end) I can all too easily envisage the much - claimed savings never actually materialising, particularly given the eye - watering sums being charged to extend Airwave in the meantime.

My worst fear (OK it isn't really as I am retired) is that the emergency services will be forced to adopt a shoddy system that doesn't really meet their requirements while at the same time saving nothing. Given that the choice is between that and the Home Office & senior politicians having to admit that they goofed mightily which seems the more likely?

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Brace yourself, Britain: Health minister shares 'vision' for NHS 'tech revolution'

Commswonk
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"Health minister shares 'vision'..."

Is it really a "vision" or is he following the voices in his head?

I think we ought to be told.

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UK defence secretary ponders £50m hit to terminate Capita recruiting contract

Commswonk
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Re: Am I Missing Something?

Just remember this is a government contract and nothing like those in the real world.

This is what happens when process becomes more important than outcome.

Awarding a contract is always seen as the endpoint, when (in this case) the proper goal is effective recruitment.

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Emergency Services Network delays to cost public purse £1.1bn, Home Office reveals

Commswonk
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Re: Push to talk!

Hopefully they are not, replaceable batteries are not a good thing. (etc)

I think "Duh" is appropriate here. Have you ever worked with (say) TETRA equipment with replaceable batteries? They are not too hot to handle when removed from a fast charger, and the radio terminal is out of action for a few tens of seconds while the change is made. (Better to switch off first, and switch on again after the change has been made, given all the handshaking required.)

Do you really want Police Officers to be stuck out somewhere with a dead radio? Dead simply because the battery didn't last the full shift, and they can't change the battery. In addition, even if it does last a full (perhaps busy) shift it will not be available for the next shift because it has to sit in an office somewhere charging up.

Do you really want to incur the costs associated with having to have a heap of spare radios to allow half to be "out" while the rest are charging? Or is every officer going to have to carry two just in case one conks out with a discharged battery.

Trust me; replaceable abtteries are not a hazard.

I don't think you have thought this through...

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