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Comment: ask yourself *why* and do the right thing (Score 4, Insightful) 294

by flinkflonk (#46777461) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

This is known as the change process in ITIL, and it does have a remedy. The remedy is pre-approved changes (standard changes), which should include patching the OS with patches approved by the vendor. It's meant for exactly this situation, and if your change process doesn't have them it's just a paper wall.
The ITIL change process is all about reducing risk. If there is a risk with patching your OS (there is, especially since you mention Windows, it's not that unheard of that a Windows patch makes your whole network inoperative) you have to weigh it against the risk of not patching it (meaning you leave known security holes in).
So, my advice is to get OS patches for your OSes pre-approved by the CAB, that is, when a vendor releases a set of patches you are allowed to patch your systems in the way and the order of that pre-approved change. Of course it's paper-pushing, but use it to your advantage and push some paper yourself. If a server gets compromised and you have the papers (changelog) to prove that you followed procedure, blame will be placed somewhere else. And things will be done differently from there on, since it has been proven that the procedure didn't work, and everybody wins.
Or you could go find another job (like some other posters recommended) where you are the sole *cowboy*-admin and nothing gets done properly. Your choice really.

Comment: Oh don't get me started... (Score 2) 480

OpenOffice derivatives (nobody uses the original from that stupid database company anymore, right? RIGHT?) nowadays have quite evolved compared to the ancient version they were using in Freiburg. No wonder they wanted to replace it, because at the time of 3.2.1 it really wasn't that compatible. Nowadays I can even open Visio files quite fine in LibreOffice Draw.
The real culprit though is the evil file format from hell which got through the standardization process like George W. Bush got through his elections - not by being better but by heavy lobbying and in some cases in court. In some countries (like mine) the standardization committee mostly worked after the "agree with the (MS-cult) committee leader or leave the committee" principle. That never works out right, at least not for the users. Hell, they got a passus in there where they can insert binary blobs of (proprietary) old Word stuff that nobody who only knows the standards document even can *try* to render.
The ones who suffer under decisions like these are the users. They are the ones who have to learn a totally new user interface every other year, they have to battle incompatibilities that Microsoft in their infinite wisdom forced on them with no way back, they have to do the old print-retype-routine just because Word doesn't want to have anything to do with Word from two years ago.
And why does Microsoft change their user interface so often? I guess it's a mixture of "because we can" and "ooh, flashing lights". It certainly doesn't help the user *at all*. Wonder why eg. doorknobs all look and work about the same? Why shouldn't the way you set the font in your document be like that? And still following that analogy, whoever heard of doorknobs that move about the surface of the door just because some program decides it would fit better in another position? Or a door that doesn't open sideways at the hinge but now, in the new version, falls flat on the floor (and good luck to you if you happen to stand in front of it)? Yes, that's how Office is degrading from version to version, and I *mean* degrading.

Besides, I'm still pissed that our government (no, I'm not from the US) had the chance when they decided official documents had to follow an open standard, and Microsoft's isn't. Then they fired the head of that department and put the two words "or OOXML" in all the appropriate places. Way to go wasting our tax money.

Fun fact: while I am typing this, on a Mac, that "Microsoft Updater" popped up totally ignoring all UI guidelines and Excel begins one of its swap eating frenzies. Had to abort both to be able to finish typing this :/ Before you ask, I am forced to use Excel because there are people at my place of work who use every little aspect of Excel and I am glad it even works in the Mac version ('cause often I have to use LibreOffice because Excel can't read Excel files, go figure). And I don't exit it at the end of the working day because it loads half of Windows (or something like that), it's monstrous even if it works.
Of course this use of Excel is stupid, I have pointed it out to others, but the same people see LibreOffice (or any piece of open source software) as the spawn of evil and go pray to their Microsoft gods. Whenever I have to write some documents myself, from scratch, I use LibreOffice because it just works.

Comment: uh... (Score 1) 878

by flinkflonk (#40592059) Attached to: Does Grammar Matter Anymore?

I weren't no good at grammer and speling niether.

I'm a linguistically confused guy who grew up with a language with grammar (German) and moved to a country with a language where context is everything (Norwegian). Go ahead, criticize my English grammar (which btw. is borrowed/stolen from each and every one of the European languages... well, except finnish and hungarian).

Fun fact: for quite some versions, the Norwegian spellchecker in Microsoft products was written/maintained in Finland, and the quality was as you'd expect :)

Comment: Re:The old ads ARE great! (Score 1) 196

by flinkflonk (#38843821) Attached to: For Sinclair Fans, The ZX81 Lives On

Ewwwww, another Clipper survivor!

I remember that my executable* (that didn't do that much, mostly a preference system and menu) was so big I had to use overlays to make it run on a particular machine with only 512k (my development machine was slower, but it had 640k, all the memory you'll ever need :D). Parts of it were a separate program written in Turbo Pascal which I exec'd directly from another overlay, and another Clipper program I had included a small text editor written in C and linked directly into the executable.

Yes, I am an old fart, do you really have to ask?

* first versions written with Summer 85, and I jumped off the Clipper train shortly before 5.0 came out. Read the gritty details about Clipper version confusion (Summer 87 released in December 87, whoa!) on wikipedia :)

Comment: Re:Dynamic zone (Score 1) 359

by flinkflonk (#37367618) Attached to: Regarding timezones: I would rather live ...

Or just move to the south pole where you can easily change timezones whenever you want.....

Unless you need to interract with other people still on a 24 hours/day diet. Been there, done both (south pole and the 28 hour attempt): it wasn't such a hot success.

Well, you can say much about the south pole, but saying it's hot isn't one of it.

Comment: That ought to put things into perspective... (Score 1) 147

by flinkflonk (#37233282) Attached to: I am preparing for Hurricane Irene ...

Of course 69% (at the time) say it won't touch them. I also guess that quite a lot of the other 31% are jokers. Face it, people, slashdot is an international phenomenon, not restricted to the US east cost.

What's next, "I'm preparing for total traffic breakdown in Beijing..." poll?

Comment: Re:You're approaching it all wrong. (Score 1) 619

by flinkflonk (#36381306) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Other People's Email?

Actually these disclaimers are worth exactly as much as the paper they are (not) written on. You can't make people correct your mistakes, simple as that. In my limited understanding of legalspeak you "don't have a contract" and as such are not obliged to do anything the sender of said email wants you to do.

Speaking of which, shrink-wrap licenses are illegal in most of the world outside the US (and maybe even there, what do I know), since you can't agree to a (one-sided) contract you haven't seen yet.

If they force you to comply you just send them a bill. Don't ask if they want to pay a bill, they didn't ask you if you want to delete mail not meant for you, right? Either they back out of the (non-)contract and you can post their misdirected email on any website you like, or they pay, acknowledging that they had a contract with you. Win-win :)

Anyway, I think the fun *really* starts with spam containing legal disclaimers.

I think I don't need to tell you that I am not a lawyer since it is so obvious, so at least you're getting away without *that* disclaimer :)

Comment: Everybody has it wrong... (Score 1) 585

by flinkflonk (#36208672) Attached to: The world will end ...

The rapture happened long ago. In fact, the book of revelation has so many references to Rome at the time it was written, and how *that* world would end. And I think we all agree Rome isn't "in this world" anymore.

So all these people predicting the rapture are actually trying to mislead us, which in itself is one of the capital sins (reference to the occupation of politician totally intended :P), and are not to be listened to or followed.

So don't worry, be happy, you can't change anything anyway at this point of time.

Comment: Re:Regional Issue? (Score 1) 194

by flinkflonk (#35967650) Attached to: iPhone 3G and iOS4 Lack Chemistry

We have a 3G, not a 3Gs you insensitive clod! We can't upgrade to 4.3 because Steve said no.

Seriously, my 3G is at 4.2.1 and will stay there forever. iTunes (which I *do* use, because I have both music from CDs, podcasts and my calendar on that phone) upgraded my phone to 4.0 without asking much - well, ok, it threatened that I wouldn't get any security updates for it if I insisted on keeping on using 3.1.3.

So my iPhone 3G is now a Windows98 PC force-upgraded to XP, or have you seen any security fixes for 98 around lately? *That* is what those not having upgraded to 4.x are missing, mostly, because all the new-fangled stuff needs a 3Gs or 4, so you won't see much of that anyway. And, as I said, since 4.3 we don't even get those security updates. Actually I'd be very surprised if the 3G gets a Locationgate fix.

Which is exactly why my next phone will *not* be a fscking iPhone. Thanks for the (slightly rotten) fish and so on, but Android is looking better every day.

In other news, I hear Apple is making more than half its revenue with the iPhone and iPad product lines. If stuff like this isn't fixed I'd be very surprised if their rise continues.

Don't be irreplaceable, if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.