Discus Systems PLC - IT Support Company in Birmingham West midlands
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 11th Jul 2012

13:30 - Following previous updates, our tests now show that all our 2G and 3G services have been fully restored for affected customers. If any customers are still having problems we recommend they turn their phone off and on again.Once again, we are sorry.

11:00 - Following the previous update that our 2G network service has now been restored, our 3G service has been restoring gradually. We expect full service to return this afternoon. In the meantime customers who were affected should still be able to make and receive calls (and may wish to try switching their mobile phones off and on as service returns). We are sorry again for the inconvenience this has caused some customers. We continue to deploy all possible resources, and will do so until full service is restored.

10:00 - We can confirm that our 2G network service has now been restored. Customers who were affected should now be able to make and receive calls.Our 3G service is starting to restore and customers should expect to see a gradual return of data services as the day progresses.Customers affected may wish to try switching their mobile phones off and on as service returns.We are sorry again for the inconvenience this has caused some customers and can provide reassurance that we continue to deploy all possible resources, and will do so until full service is restored.

05:40 - We're continuing to drive the recovery of this issue with our support teams and vendors. We're working to restore service as quickly as possible. Unfortunately we're unable to confirm any timescales for service restoration at this time. We'll let you know as soon as we can. We apologise once again for any inconvenience this incident is causing.

03:25 - We're still working with our support teams and vendors trying to restore service as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused whiile this recovery work is in progress. We'll provide further updates as soon as we can.

01:00 - We can confirm that the problem with our mobile service is due to a fault with one of our network systems, which has meant some mobile phone numbers are not registering correctly on our network. As a result, some customers are having difficulty making or receiving calls, sending texts or using data. We, and our central supplier, have deployed all possible resources and are working through the night to restore service as soon as possible. We apologise again to customers affected and will provide further updates as soon as we can

23:00 - Our engineers and vendors are continuing to deal with the problem as a priority and we hope to restore full service as soon as possible.

19:00 - We continue to manage the problem on our network that is affecting some of our customers. Customers may still be having difficulty making and receiving calls, sending texts or using data.We are sorry for any inconvenience. Our engineers are dealing with the problem as a priority and we hope to restore full service as soon as possible.

16:45 - We're currently seeing a problem on our network affecting some of our customers.As a result, you may have difficulty making or receiving calls, sending texts or using data.Our engineers are dealing with the problem as a priority and we hope to restore full service as soon as possible.

 02 have reported that their network is currently down for most of the UK.

According to their service status page the problem was reported around 1:30pm today.

There is no official fix time for the 02 network being down but we would imagine this would be during this evening. 

According to o2 the problem is to do with the HLR and the central register failing. This means that some customers are working fine yet their neighbour isn't.

Making calls and using data
We are currently seeing a problem on our network affecting some of our customers. Those customers affected will have difficulty making or receiving calls, sending texts or using data. Our Engineers are dealing with the problem as a priority and we hope to restore full service as soon as possible.

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 11th Jul 2012




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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 10th Jul 2012

Recently, I had to reinstall OS X from scratch. I was trying to install windows 7, and boot camp would not give me more than 5GB due to “unmovable files”. Anyway, after many attempts around this (google doesn’t have much in terms of solutions that work), I decided to do what most people say: Do what Apple / Boot Camp is asking you to do… reinstall the OS. So, that’s what I’m doing…

I boot off the snow leopard DVD, start up Disk Utility, and repartition my drive to one large partition (as strongly recommended when using GPT), and try to start the installation. The install button is grayed out! The message right above it states: “Mac OS X cannot startup from this disk”. Some google searches suggested this is because the MBR is somehow messed up (or the installer thinks it is). Several suggestions later (like, resize the partition so something smaller, then save, and immediately resize back to full) don’t seem to work (still getting the same error). So, I figured, since the MBR was messed up, maybe changing the partition type would wipe it out completely. For me, the solution was just that! I changed the partition to MBR via the Options button on the Partition tab. Of course OS X won’t install on MBR, if you don’t believe me try going back to the install screen after creating the new partition. Once the partition is saved, try the installer again (you will see a message that OS X can’t be installed on an MBR partition and it must be repartitioned as GPT in Disk Utility). So, then, change it back to GPT and Apply! Note: Once you create an MBR partition, everything will be grayed out (even the – (minus) and + (plus) buttons.) Don’t panic, just select 1 Partition from the pre-configured configurations pull-down (right above the partition display). Then, go into Options, select GPT, OK, and apply. Now, when you go to the install screen, it won’t complain.

Have fun installing OS X!

Source: mac os x cannot startup from this disk

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 10th Jul 2012

Talking Points - The Week - 30th June 2012

The Nat West fiasco

The systems meltdown at RBS has revealed rank incompetence. But the breakdown of trust with customers will take longer to repair

"Just as the first duty of a state is to defend its people , the first duty of a bank is to provide a means whereby customers can get hold of their own money" said The Times. RBS gas failed abysmally. The systems meltdown at its Nat West arm lasted six days and threatened to affect some 16.9 million British customers across the RBS group. Stories of hardship are legion. The glitch left millions with no access to cash . Holiday makers were stranded, wages went unpaid and would-be house buyers were left homeless. One customer spent the weekend in jail because his bail money hadn't cleared; and there were fears that a Scottish child receiving cancer treatment in Mexico would be taken off life support because of missing payments. RBS has promised that customers will be compensated. But with fines for unpaid bills and mortgages and the credit ratings of many unfairly tarnished, "it will be a complicated and costly mess to unpick"

Despite some of them more lurid theories initially circulation, Nat West wasn't a victim of cyber attack. The cause of the meltdown - the worst of its kind since banks were computerised in the 1960's - was a routine software upgrade that backfired horribly. RBS chief Stephen Hester is now "grovelling", said Brian Groom in the FT. As well he might. This event may not be "in the same league" as the massive bust that led to the bank's 2008 rescue by the taxpayer, "but it was about as bad as it gets, short of losing its clients' money". It is astonishing that RBS allowed untested software changes to be applied to live accounts. But perhaps even more disturbing than the initial glitch was "the lack of a clear plan for dealing with the consequences". Some have branded the chaos a toxic le3gacy of Fred Goodwin's cost cutting. But Hester must shoulder the full blame for "catastrophic communications breakdown". which exposed bewildered customers to "public relations twaddle of the worst kind", said Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail. "The effort that NatWest made to detoxify the brand and disassociate itself from its Scottish parent is now as dust".
Angry customers should remember they have "the ultimate power" if only they choose to exercise it, said Allister Heath in City AM. They should "vote with their feet". That said, the entire banking industry has taken yet another reputational hit. Perhaps the only positive outcome of the fiasco is that it highlights the unsung heroes in IT de3partments elsewhere, who routinely deploy their skills "to save us from disaster", said Rhodri Marsden in The Independent. They should be regarded as the "fifth emergency service". "If that's not an image to change the minds of kids who think a career in IT is boring, I don't know what is."

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 9th Jul 2012

It’s there every minute of the day buzzing and pinging, plaintively begging for your attention – just the mention of it can raise your blood pressure and heart rate! It’s time to take control and organize yourself so that email fits in with your schedule rather than your schedule fitting in with your email.

Email technology has completely changed the way we communicate, its ubiquitous and intrusive and the availability and proximity of email devices make it difficult to resist, but if we stop to answer every email as soon as it appears our attention will never be properly focused on the other routine tasks we have to carry out.

A study conducted by Microsoft suggests that is can take 15 minutes to refocus on the job in hand after an interruption. Basex, an IT research company estimated that the average information worker loses 2.1 hours of productivity every day due to interruptions and distractions. If you stop what you are doing to respond to emails every few minutes there will almost certainly be a corresponding and negative impact on your general productivity and by default, the general prosperity of your business

A whole industry has grown up centered around the management of email, with blogs, software tools and add-ins for email clients designed to manage the way we handle email and associated tasks. But there is a simpler way:

Resist the urge to constantly check your email

For a start, try turning off the notification in your email client, combine this with a set time at which emails are dealt with - perhaps check your inbox every hour or just before a break. Unless you are in a front - line support capacity or responding to price fluctuations on the stock market or some such occupation it is unlikely that reducing your attention to email in this way will have any noticeable negative effect on your business or job. Try it and you may be surprised at how much more you can get done.

Try setting aside certain periods during the day to read and respond to email. This should allow you to focus better on other more pressing tasks and will improve the general quality of you work and any email responses. Without the regular interruption of the dreaded ‘new message’ window you will become more immersed and in control of the more important work of the day.

There is usually no need to respond immediately

Even if you have to check your email frequently as part of your job you can regain some degree of control by delaying your response - wait for a set designated time to send the reply. Whatever change you decide to make remember that you may need to manage you recipient’s expectations, if they are accustomed to an instant response it may take some time for them to become accustomed to the change.

If you are needed urgently – you will be found!

Changing the way you deal with emails may be something that you will need a lot of convincing to consider - bear in mind when something is really bitingly urgent people will usually find a way to contact you whether by phone or instant message or text. The important thing is to regain control of your time so that you can manage it better. You may find that reducing your interaction with email will result in a more efficient use of your time and a general improvement in your productivity.

Terry Biddulph
Managaing Director
Discus Systems plc

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 9th Jul 2012



Reported  by  BBC  8th July 2012


Giggs to captain Team GB at London 2012 Olympics
Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs has been named as Great Britain captain for the Olympics.

Coach Stuart Pearce said a number of players were capable of the role, but Giggs was the "standout captain" in his 18-man London 2012 squad.

"He's got the respect of all the members of the group," said Pearce, whose side face Senegal at Old Trafford in their opening game on 26 July.

Casey Stoney has been named the Team GB women's captain by manager Hope Powell.

Giggs, 38, told BBC Sport: "It's a tremendous honour to be captain."

Ryan Giggs in numbers
Born: Cardiff, 29 November 1973

Man Utd debut: 2 March 1991 v Everton

Man Utd appearances: 909

Man Utd goals: 163

Wales caps: 64
The Welshman, one of three over-age players in the squad, will lead out Team GB for the first time when they face Brazil at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium on 20 July in a warm-up game.

Giggs's trophy-laden career at United includes 12 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues.

"I looked at the squad and I thought there are some good candidates there," said Pearce, who provoked controversy by not picking David Beckham in the Team GB party.

"Aaron Ramsey captains Wales, Micah Richards has captained Manchester City at times, Craig Bellamy for the experience he's had and one or two others within the camp as well.

"But I think Ryan is the standout captain amongst the group.

"It was the easiest decision of my managerial career. He has been one of the best professionals of the last 20 years."

Pearce told BBC Sport that he will encourage Giggs to have a say on coaching matters involving Team GB at the Olympics.

"He has the mentality to become a good coach," added the former Manchester City boss. "I told him the door's open if he wants to come into any coaching meetings."

Use accessible player and disable flyout menusBeckham's Olympics omission explained by Stuart Pearce
Giggs, who retired from international football in 2007, did not experience tournament football for Wales because of their failure to reach either the World Cup or European Championship finals during his long career.

"You read about the players that have been involved in the past, like Argentina's Lionel Messi and Brazil's Ronaldo," added Giggs.

"This is an experience a lot of players have loved and a better experience if you win it.

"This time round Neymar has been picked for Brazil, who we'll be playing in a pre-tournament friendly.

"I've not seen much of him, but the Brazilian lads at our place [Manchester United] rave on about him.

"Brazil, Spain and Uruguay have picked marquee players. They've taken it seriously and want to win it like us."

After facing Senegal, Team GB meet United Arab Emirates at Wembley on 29 July and complete their group fixtures against Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on 1 August.

Men's Olympic football - recent winners
Beijing 2008: Argentina

Athens 2004: Argentina

Sydney 2000: Cameroon

Atlanta 1996: Nigeria

Barcelona 1992: Spain
Pearce also revealed that Daniel Sturridge, 22, will be assessed early next week to see whether he is fit enough to take part in the Olympics.

The Chelsea striker fell ill with viral meningitis last weekend meaning he was absent from Team GB's preparation camp at Loughborough University and will miss training sessions in Spain next week.

"If he is fully fit, he will stay with us," Pearce said. "If we think there are any doubts in any shape or form, we will call someone else to replace him.

"July 25 is the latest we can make that decision."

For the women's squad, 30-year-old Lincoln defender Stoney is the England skipper and has won 103 caps for her country.

Stoney will lead out her team-mates in a friendly match against Sweden at the Riverside Stadium on Friday 20 July, before they face New Zealand, Cameroon and Brazil.


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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 9th Jul 2012

By Dave Lee

Technology reporter, BBC News

Several high-profile websites and services suffered over the weekend thanks to the leap second and huge storms.

An extra second added to the world clock saw the likes of Reddit and Foursquare fall over.

Hours earlier, a lightning storm on the American east coast left millions without power, and disrupted a major cloud storage data centre.

Netflix and Instagram were among the services affected.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) - the company's cloud computing servers - was in part taken out by the storm, as was its back-up generator.

Amazon's service is used by hundreds of companies as a way of cheaply hosting content online.

"We will share more details on this event in the coming days," Amazon said in a statement.

Every second counts

As websites recovered from the storm-related disruption, more trouble was on the way for web users thanks to the leap second - an extra second added to the world clock to compensate for irregularities in the earth's rotation.

On 30 June, at 23:59:60 (00:59:60 BST), the extra second was added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

The slight change meant several high-profile sites which rely heavily on synchronised operations were disrupted.

Computing expert Prof Alan Woodward, from the University of Surrey, explained that the leap second can knock services out-of-sync and lead to missing data.

"Across the global internet, a lot can happen in that second," he said.

The Reddit team updated users about the disruption via its Twitter feed Among the affected sites was social news aggregator Reddit, which had also been hit by the storm-related problems.

"You ever wish you had an extra second or two? This is not one of those times," the site tweeted.

"We are having some Java/Cassandra issues related to the leap second at 5pm PST," it had confirmed earlier.

"We're working as quickly as we can to restore service."

The site was back up again by 4:40am on Sunday morning.

Other sites knocked out included Foursquare, LinkedIn and Gawker, as well as another Reddit-like site, StumbleUpon.

Other reports suggested that airline booking systems were also disrupted.

In a blog post written last year, Google explained how it planned to avoid the leap second issue by using a tactic it called a "leap smear".

This involved incrementally adding tiny fractions of time - a couple of milliseconds - gradually over the course of a day.

"This meant that when it became time to add an extra second at midnight, our clocks had already taken this into account, by skewing the time over the course of the day," explained Christopher Pascoe, the company's site reliability engineer.

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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 2nd Jul 2012

The fiasco at RBS is something that should alarm us all, says Misha Glenny. A routine computer glitch caused near paralysis at the bank and misery to customers. It also highlighted how vulnerable our reliance on web and computer networks has left us. It's not just banks; these days, much of our infrastructure is controlled by computer systems. A similar breakdown elsewhere- could stop food reaching shops and water running out of the taps. This isn't scaremongering. In 2007, when Estonia's networks came under attack, ATMs stopped working, as did much of the country's administration. In the same year, British police uncovered an al-Qa'eda plot to blow up the UK's main internet hub. How can we protect ourselves? As a first step, the Government must force firms - who tend to keep quiet about cyber attacks to safeguard their reputations - to report them, to get a scale of the risk. We must also work out strategies for coping with the collapse of a key network; sooner or later, it will happen.

Misha Glenny, The Daily Telegraph

From The Week



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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 2nd Jul 2012


By Richi Jennings
June 30, 2012 10:44 AM EDT

Here's your iPhone 5 release date and feature rumor watch for the end of June 2012. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to confound market-watchers by launching the new shiny pomaceous device earlier than expected. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers work out when, what, and why.



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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 27th Jun 2012

The picture shows below just how far we've come over the last 25 years...  at the top of the image we have 5.25 disks, then 3.5" inch floppy disks, midi disks, CDs, USB pen disks and now SD cards...

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