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Comment: Prepare to leave the country (Score 1) 117

Exposing IT malfeasance can be _very_ dangerous, especially if you have a professional relationship with the company whose behavior you wish to expose. It leave you vulnerable not only to termination, but to vindictive lawsuits, "SLAPP" or "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation", blacklisting, and even criminal activity. There have been some very famous cases of this, especially by governments for politically sensitive issues. The currently infamous case is Edward Snowden, but I've certainly seen it in the professional IT world. I've even had a manager try to call me and poison recommendations made by other staff in his office for a former employee. It was a fascinating case, since we did other business with that company.

Comment: Re:I Read it on the IntardWebz.... (Score 1) 130

Oh, my. I can see where British IT can have its own special influence on any sampling of customer service policies. I'm afraid the movie "Brazil" is particularly meaningful to those of us who've worked with British Telecom as partners or as clients.

Comment: Re:I Read it on the IntardWebz.... (Score 1) 130

I'm sorry for the typos, my hands are acting up. I'm afraid that "Once it hits the Tier 2 or Tier 3, they're not going to bounce it back down to Tier 1 to walk through all the the irrelevant support questions again" was what I meant to say.

I'm a bit surprised you've encountered Tier 2 or Tier 3 who bounce it back. The approach I tend to use, and which I encourage others to use, is that "when it hits Tier 2, bring the Tier 1 staffperson over and train them", or have them help rewrite the scripted responses to get a script that covers the edge cases. And ideally, if it hits Tier 3, they do the same thing with the tier 2 staff.

I'll also note that I'm working with smaller groups than Comcast's customer support center, but the technique works very well for improving the responses, and spreading knowledge downstream and upstream about common problems and their workable solutions. The cross-training is invaluable.

Comment: Re:NetworkManager (Score 3, Informative) 164

by Antique Geekmeister (#48659171) Attached to: NetworkManager 1.0 Released After Ten Years Development

> All you have to know about the NetworkManager abortion is that you can disable the service and remove the packag

It's unfortunately built into most installers toolkits, so it's difficult to avoid completel, and more tools have unnecessary dependencies on it. So deleting it can lead to re-installing it

With RHEL based sysysstems, at least, the simplest way to block it is to put "NM_CONTROLLED=no" in the "/etc/sysconfig/network. That helps ensure it stays disabled, until, and unless you specifically select it for any network port..

Comment: Re:I Read it on the IntardWebz.... (Score 1) 130

> What they do is help a customer get more help and final resolution to issues that they typical tier 1 and 2 tech support can't help with.

Since the Tier 1 and Tier 2 guys are are typically useless, this is, in fact, fast tracking support calls. Once it hists the Tier 1 or Tier 2, they're not going to bounce it back down to Tier 1 to walk through all the menus of irrelvavant support questions again.

I'm afraid the idea. that starting out with the Tier 3 support personnel is not fast tracking such a support call is disingenuous.

Comment: Re:Amateurs (Score 1) 246

> It does not cost anything to simply refrain from some of the most blatant lies. They lie because that's simply the kind of failed human beings that they are, even though it actually hurts their chances of success.

I'm afraid that deception doesn't have to be _good_ to be profitable, or to aid in survival. It only has to be _good enough_. And the blatant lies can be most effective on the most vulnerable people, the least educated, and the least likely to stop halfway through the "support call".

Comment: Re:Wait, People still allow SMB on large scale net (Score 1) 177

by Antique Geekmeister (#48641117) Attached to: Hackers Used Nasty "SMB Worm" Attack Toolkit Against Sony

> Just because apparently several companies are stupid and use unsuitable security practices doesn't mean it's not really bad security

It's more than "several", I'm afraid. It's extremely common place. A significant portion of my annual salary comes from helping teach and implement improved security practices. And a large part of that income comes from explaining the trade-offs, time and risk and resources.

> I mean we all refuse to do support for people who put their malware ridden gaming rig into their main LAN, why do companies get away with that?

I'm forced to applaud your optimism. But I'm also forced to pity your naivete. The use of VPN's from home and transfer of laptops into and out of the corporate networks are, themselves, a huge attack vector for environments that consider themselves to have implemented basic firewall and anti-virus tools. "Refusing to do support" for these personnel is basically "refusing to collect a paycheck" for most IT personnel.

Comment: Re:Amateurs (Score 1) 246

> They 'Microsoft' people have to be the most transparent, obvious, and pathetic scams out there, which is saying a lot.

It costs time and money to _execute_ a more sophisticated attack. And the low investment in these calls means it can be executed in a a low cost clal center which is basically a sweat shop of employees who will, in their turn be ripped off by their employers. Also, the poor quality of the scam helps focus the scam on those easiest to victimize.

I'm afraid that, in that sense, it's much like timeshare in Florida, the "US Airways" scam for "you've wone a free vacation", and the "please help me get a place to sleep tonight" begging scam.

Comment: Re:Wait, People still allow SMB on large scale net (Score 1) 177

by Antique Geekmeister (#48640427) Attached to: Hackers Used Nasty "SMB Worm" Attack Toolkit Against Sony

> It does, but you loose some of the features people take for granted.

Excuse me, but so what? This is not a "taken for granted" usage of the protocol.

> I seriously wonder how this could spread, after all you don't just have a large Ethernet domain in your international company.

Oh, my dear lord. I'm assuming you've never worked in a large environment. _Of course_ they have a single large or several large domains (in the Microsoft Active Directory sense) for unified email authenticatoin, and potentially for payroll management and corporate ID's. While the particular systems may be somewhat independent, they are _inevitably_ chained together by various poorly secured portals and gateways in a large environment.

If instead you meant "you don't have a large Ethernet domain", again, you clearly haven't dealt with the kind of large environment I have, where the admins leave things open "because we're not a target" or because "if they're inside our network, we're doomed anyway".

> SMB is one of the first things to go.

I'm afraid it's built into every Windows machine. Go looking around for the hidden "C$" share on every windows box, which is critical to the use of "Powershell" for systems administration. Unless you've been extremely cautious about firewalling things in your core switches and quite strict about treating all individual Windows systems as potentially hostile, it's enabled on all of them.

Comment: Re:Sure... (Score 1) 341

I suspect you are too young to appreciate the difference in weather prediction in the last 20 years, much less the last 50. Understanding of global weather patterns, satellite monitoring, and the ability to gather data from across an entire state and from offshore have profoundly improved storm prediction and especially flood prediction. And the information about mountain snowfall and rainfall is critical to flood reporting and planning.

Even the daily weather reporting, with subtle temperature differences across a single city, is a profound improvement over my lifetime. The monitors simply didn't exist, with available communications and recording tools, to handle all the data. "Looking at the sky" is not enough to predict the size and timing of tropical storms, and certainly not enough to predict flooding anywhere near so effectively and usefully as it is now. If you farm, or if you transport cargo by ship or plain, these are _vital_ factors for every day productivity and safety.

If you feel inclined to scoff, ask an old farmer or pilot or captain about the difference.

Comment: Re:Sure... (Score 1) 341

> Nonsense. It only doesn't sit well with the fictional, cartoon-grade MBA types that IT people like to conjure up as straw men

And the personnel reviewing the bid I made for a security enhancement last week. They were very clear about it, and we were both very clear on the lost productivity of a "secure" system that would consistently lock employees out of email during off-hours and calling on after hours staff they did not have to do the work.

Comment: Re:Sure... (Score 1) 341

> Well, let me know when we actually get to the weather-predicting stage

Considering that "the weather predicting stage" has existed throughout human history, with the prediction of the seasons and planting nad harvest and migration times based on both astronomy and local environments, I'd say we've been at the "weather predicting stage" for all of human history. Given the evolution in the last century both explaining and predicting weather well enough to provide a daily prediction, I'd say we've been gotten considerably better at it.

Modeling paged and segmented memories is tricky business. -- P.J. Denning