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Comment Re:Echoes my experience (Score 1) 217

At the time when I saw the DUL blacklist problem was when ISDN and plain dail-up was still common for companies (ADSL wasn't widespread yet, and SDSL was generally too expensive). So blocking email because the sender IP was marked as dial-up was pretty stupid.

Comment Re:Echoes my experience (Score 1) 217

Good to know that they still have problems.
Back when I had the problem it was sporadic and I could never recreate the problem my self. I'm tempted to block emails from but unfortunately there is one person with an address there that I have to talk to occasionally.

Comment Echoes my experience (Score 5, Interesting) 217

I've been running my own mailserver since 2003, and I have seen my share of problems.
1: mailservers blocking mail based on spamhaus DUL. You can delist your IP. But still, blocking exclusively on that?
2: accepting emails and then discarding them silently. No trace of them. No bounce. Recipient did not have it in their spam folder or anything. This was several years ago, so perhaps it's better now. But discarding emails after promising to deliver them without any possibility for the recipient to control it: bad idea.
3: Various greylisting email servers. Not really a problem as my MTA will retry and the email is only delayed for a few minutes.
4: rejecting emails sent over IPv6 but happily accepting them over IPv4. It turned out to be a problem with their parsing of SPF records, and apparently fixed now. But I did find out that there is no reasonable way to contact the gmail team.
5: rejects emails due to FBLW15, whatever that means. It seems you can get whitelisted, but it appears that a lot of hosts are being hit by it for no reason.
6: office365 bouncing emails due to "protection" with no explanation given, and direction to contact the recipient by other means to get whitelisted. This was for a the official email address listen on a company website. I decided that my email wasn't important enough. Their loss.

Bottom line: If you run your own email server then expect to occasionally do some manual whitelisting etc. And expect some email servers to be uncooperative and/or RFC-clueless.

Comment Re:Moral of the story: (Score 2) 147

The content plugin support has always been a mixed blessing. It was sometimes useful as a stop-gap until the browsers supported some new form of content (eg. SVG, MathML, ...). With the removal of plugin support and acceleration of the death of plugins it means that new content forms will have to be implemented in all browsers, which seems wasteful to me.

On the other hand, with the current feature set of html5+javascript+canvas+webgl you can make quite good interfaces. In the odd (but not completely rare) cases where it isn't enough you can go for a stand-alone program, like java webstart, stand-alone flash player, etc.

So what we lose is the ability to display new content forms inside a web page which (imho) is not a big loss nowadays.

For the legacy sites (java applets for configuration or secure "VPN" access, flash for ditto) the backward compatibility has never been great: random applets required exactly JVM 1.4.x.x, flash only worked with FF version x, silverlight only worked with IE, etc. so I don't think the impact is worse than what would already happen. I hope that the developers of such solutions go for html5 replacements primarily, and if that doesn't work then downloadable stand-alone binaries (or even better: open source).

Comment Re:Here's how we do it (Score 1) 318

It sounds like you are doing it right. I wish you'd tell your story more places.

Whether remote work is accepted or not does depend on culture. Some of it may be due to the particular country culture. Eg. if the companies in a country generally have deep hierarchies and generally view the employees as peons and the employees in return do as little as possible then remote work is unlikely to be accepted. But while the overall country culture has an impact the company culture has more impact.

My story:
After getting tired commuting to my first job (45 minutes each way), I changed jobs and moved to the city where the new company was. I had 10 minutes walking distance.
Then that company moved offices (IT boom, more employees, etc.) 36km away. I went to my manager and essentially said: remote work or else! It wasn't a problem because he was in the same boat as me (living in the same city). So we settled on two days remote work per week, tuesdays and thursdays as a general rule. I think I was the first employee ever to have regular remote work. It worked so well that gradually more and more employees were allowed to work some days at home. It wasn't a requirement that people worked at home. Some preferred to come in each day (even those with a longer commute) for various reasons (wanting to keep home and work separate, home being a circus with 3 children, ...).
So that worked fairly well for 14 years. In all that time I think there was only one who didn't pull his weight (eventually sacked).

The important things for making it work was:
  - people know that you are working at home. Regular home-working days help.
  - people know how to contact you and being available. I was sometimes praised for answering emails quicker than most people answered skype mesages.
  - general respect and trust among colleagues.
  - technical side must be OK. Internet, email, IM, and occasional conference calls. (*1)

Then after those 14 years this happened: bought by another company which had a mix of US, UK, AU and IN offices. And heavy-handed implementation of that abomination of agile that is SAFe. As per the SAFe instructor home work was impossible because, well, it said so in the book and the superficial guides to SAFe and SCRUM. Never mind that the work-from-home was in my contract and changing that would require the usual notice period. I could see where that was heading, and didn't have the energy handle it, so I quit.

Since then I have been a contractor for primarily a US business. 100% remote work. It is accepted that I'm in a completely different timezone. Occasionally there are conference calls at my local time at eg. 22 in the evening but they are few. I miss having colleagues but the freedom makes it worth it (it may not be for all, though).

Note 1:
On the technical side I have some observations:
  - Decent and stable internet access is a requirement.
  - Remote access must be available. It must be platform-agnostic. Cisco-VPN (binary blob in kernel) doesn't cut it. SSL-VPN is marginally better.
  - Email must work (so if your IT department doesn't know how to make SMTP, IMAP and LDAP work then whack them with a cluebat)
  - Conference calls must use local bridges. There are plenty of companies offering global conference calls and all the ones I have tried are shit. They all compress the sound too much and when someone is calling in via a GSM connection then the double compression has all the usual issues (sounding like being in a barrel, comfort noise, ...)
  - Platform-agnostic IM is a requirement.
  - Platform-agnostic voice/chat client is desirable. No, MS "skype for business" doesn't cut it.

I remember at the start (around 2000) the remote access wasn't available, so I set up a cronjob on my office workstation that checked for emails and made a remote X connection back to my home. The system administrator raised his eyebrows when he one day saw a direct connection to/from the outside. Fun times :-)

Comment Re:Men are a minority (Score 1) 209

Reference: "Why to sexes" by Vigen A. Geodakian (

The usefulness of many fertile males (with weak a weak Y chromosome) may be that they make the population adapt to changing environments faster. The males are the outlies, and natural selection of those make the population adapt more quickly, even when the males don't help with rearing the offspring.

Comment No, it has already been done (Score 4, Funny) 772

The Doctor should never be a woman. We have seen how that turns out in the spoof "Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death", where the female Doctor notices the sonic screwdriver has "three settings".

Comment Re:Declared underweight? (Score 1) 361

Yes, my point is that you have to bribe so many people that you probably end up paying more in bribes than you save by reporting lower weight.

Regarding the term for the entity responsible for loading containers onto the ship: It is typically the stevedore.
In some harbors the roles are overlapping or mixed. Eg when I worked at the Århus Harbor the company was both terminal operator, responsible for the container yard and the stevedore. The crane operators were employed by the port authority. The tally company was a separate company who worked closely with the Customs, but sometimes Customs made random inspections by themselves. The trucking companies who moved containers to/from port were separate companies typically hired by the line agents. If stuffing/stripping of the containers were done at the harbor that was separate companies for that.

So I think bribing is unlikely to have happened in the incident. It is more likely to be a series of oversights combined with unexpectedly low structural integrity of the ship and perhaps a really bad wave.

Comment Re:Declared underweight? (Score 1) 361

True, if the distribution is skewed but still in balance then the captain can only see that the ships sits lower in water than expected. But the shippers and crane operators don't control where in the ship the containers are placed. So they would have bribe bribe the bay planners too. It varies who the bay planners are but for larger ocean crossing ships they are typically employed by the shipping line.

So let's recap: If you want to get overweight containers across the ocean you have to bribe:
    - persons at the terminal operations
    - persons at the stevedore
    - bay planners
    - crane operators
    - the captain
    - customs at the destination port

Comment Re:Declared underweight? (Score 1) 361

If the imbalance is so great that it endangers the ship then yes, the captain will order the containers reweighed and reloaded. The owners of the ship will likely agree because a: they risk loosing ship, and b: the cost of reloading the ship will usually get stuck on the container shippers as per contact.

Comment Re:Declared underweight? (Score 1) 361

Then they would also have to bribe the captain, because the ship can detect imbalance when adjusting the ballast tanks. And bribe the crane operators at the destination port. And since it is usually country-to-country transport they may have to bribe the customs at the final destination.

Comment Re:Container weight? Probably not? (Score 2) 361

> Do they actually use software to place containers?

Yes. It is called bay planning software. For larger ocean-crossing ships the process is largely automated, taking into account weight, container type (normal or reefer), dimensions, rules for dangerous goods, etc. For smaller ships (typically feeder ships) the software also has to take into account at which harbor each container will get off in order to minimize the number lifts (rearranging containers to get them out). The software also has to take into account at which order the containers will arrive at the quay, which depends on on which order they are stacked in the terminal yard, which depends on which order they arrived at the terminal.

It is non-trivial logistics software, and some of the optimization problems are hard.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe