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Stuart Burns

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Tough Banana Pi: a Raspberry Pi for colour-blind diehards

Review The Raspberry PI Model B+ is the hot new SBC (Single Board Computer) of the moment. The cheap price, low power usage, good support and ease of use make it a very good buy for DIY nerd projects and media front ends. One common complaint is lack of RAM and CPU. Now, however, there are choices for Power users – the Banana PI from …
Stuart Burns, 28 Nov 2014
Pre-teen sysadmin on the Disney show Shake it Up

Social misfits and group interviews: Yup, it's the startup interview circuit

A lot of people have either worked with or know someone who worked at a startup. Lots have good experiences while some have bad experiences – and they have the scars to prove it. Their stories are funny, odd and sometimes downright weird. I have had an on-off relationship with startups ever since I left university. One thing is …
Stuart Burns, 25 Nov 2014

Bang! You're dead. Who gets your email, iTunes and Facebook?

Two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Amazon and other international corporations have found ways* around the latter, but no one can avoid the former. In the age of Facebook and Google accounts, and with the existence of services such as iTunes where people invest considerable sums in entirely virtual goods, the …
Stuart Burns, 19 Nov 2014

YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins

Some sysadmins will go to extremes to secure a network, viewing it (wrongly) as their property. For proof, look no further than Terry Childs, the City of San Francisco sysadmin who lost his job and subsequently refused to give over the system's virtual keys to his superiors in 2008. It took just under a million dollars, several …
Stuart Burns, 19 Nov 2014
workman in high vis jacket bent over, super-imposed on cloud background

Words to put dread in a sysadmin's heart: 'We are moving our cloud from Windows to Linux'

The worldview of elastic compute, or mine at least, has historically had very little Microsoft involved in it. Recently however, I have attended several job interviews and one question that has invariably been asked is: “We are planning on moving from Windows to Linux. Have you done it before?” This situation usually arrives …
Stuart Burns, 10 Nov 2014
Cartoon of  green skeletal figure reaching out of phone

BYOD: don't let the dream turn into a nightmare

Most vendors and analysts agree: you can’t avoid BYOD (bring your own device). But despite all the excitement about letting people use whatever smartphones, tablets, convertibles or latest thingamajig they want at work, many businesses are still wary of the BYOD trend. Some organisations, by necessity, just cannot adopt BYOD …
Stuart Burns, 06 Nov 2014

Inside the EYE of the TORnado: From Navy spooks to Silk Road

Comment TOR is the most widely used system for the provision of anonymity for internet users. I'll look at how TOR came about: its beginnings in the US Navy; growth and use by both pro-democracy freedom fighters and the less savoury elements of the internet; and how the NSA may have managed to peel the onion router for the FBI to help …
Stuart Burns, 29 Oct 2014

Make life easy for yourself when you move to the cloud

So the boss has decided that the company needs a “highly scalable elastic cloud infrastructure” and in true Dilbert style, the rank-and-file IT people have to build said cloud yesterday. The most important first step is: don't do anything... Yet. An organisation’s, or at least the IT department’s, staff need to understand not …
Stuart Burns, 17 Oct 2014

Keep a beady eye on your business's cloud service shopping

If you believe the hype, it is only a question of time before every Tom, Dick and Harriet in your organisation becomes a tech decision maker who can spend your company's money, with the power to do so a mere click away. “Shadow IT”, the term emerging to describe the buying of IT and technology services without any central …
Stuart Burns, 16 Oct 2014

Got your NUDE SELFIES in the cloud? Two-factor auth's your best bet for securing them

Bill Gates in 2004 predicted the death of the password over time. “They just don’t meet the challenge for anything you really want to secure,” Gates said. Ten years on, passwords haven’t gone anywhere and as the recent nude-celeb-pics-on-iCloud proved, the medium is still not up to muster yet is in widespread use in scenarios …
Stuart Burns, 16 Sep 2014

Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything

An oscilloscope manufacturer this month slapped a hacking enthusiast's website with a DMCA take-down order after he revealed how you could unlock extra, low-cost options in one of the vendor's systems using a series of simple workarounds. Go ahead, chuckle – it’s an obscure dust-up in a lost corner of tech, but haven’t you …
Stuart Burns, 28 Aug 2014

You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

It isn't just paedophiles. It is the accountant who thinks he is worth more than the company decides to pay him, and decides to create and pay fictitious invoices. It is the card-cloning gangs buying and selling mag stripes and card dumps. It is the drug dealers who think they are smarter than the police. Or it is just the plain …
Stuart Burns, 07 Nov 2013
Maurice Moss, IT Crowd

Techies with Asperger's? Yes, we are a little different...

Shortly after being told I have Asperger's syndrome, I stood in front of 30-odd people, my work colleagues, telling them I have Asperger’s and what it means to them and to me. Some were like: "Meh, whatever!", some were busy looking their watches: "Is it lunchtime yet?" I could feel my job slowly ebbing away. It was like …
Stuart Burns, 08 Oct 2013