WW 790: Chub-Smuggling

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The problem for businesses with upgrading isn’t necessarily the users or the IT not wanting change - I am usually one of the first to try new versions of Windows when they come out, to check them for compatibility, before rolling them out.

The big problem is the software, a lot of it is tied to a specific version of Windows and either there are no upgrades or the upgrades cost serious money. Also, the existing software just works. That is why we don’t like change.

We aren’t talking office packages or the simple, every day stuff. We are talking about fluid flow calculators, lab equipment monitoring, production line monitoring, data capture software for terminals (tablets and fixed, industrial terminals on the production floor), scales etc.

We have a 50 tonne scale, it uses an Access 2003 OCX add-in to allow the weight to be read. Do you know how difficult it is, today, to get Access 2003 installed, securely, on a machine and still have it work? The problem is, there is no newer software for the scale, we need to buy a new scale, that means digging out the old one, putting in a new one (> $100,000) and re-concreting the yard around it… Just so we can have a newer version of the underlying operating system. A new one would probably have a separate head (standard in the last decade or so), so that the head could be swapped out, when it is “too old” to be supported by newer software.

Lab equipment and production lines are the same, the newer version of the software is contingent on replacing perfectly working equipment with new equipment for 6 or 7 figures, just because a $100 piece of software has changed.

The equipment has an expected lifespan of 20 years, if well maintained, the software for the control processes is fixed on a version of Windows and, if you are very lucky, that version of Windows will be supported for 10 years, if you didn’t build the new production facility towards the end of the lifetime of the supported Windows version… That means, for at least half the life of the equipment, the control software is running on old, unsupported versions of Windows. That is a major headache and requires more and more equipment to be segregated from the rest of the network, let alone the Internet.

The underlying operating system changing (not the UI, that is irrelevant, but the underlying support for the software that runs on it) is a major problem for businesses that has nothing to do with users, they often don’t know or care what version of Windows runs, they can open their email program and their ERP software and as long as those remain relatively stable, they really don’t care about the rest - tabs in Windows Explorer? Most don’t even know what Windows Explorer is, let alone have a concept of “drives”.

Heck, many call the terminal server the ERP and finance software runs on the ERP system, they can’t tell the difference between their desktop and the desktop on the TS, where they have to then start the ERP software.

A good example from yesterday: “I can’t email a PDF from the finance software.” Well, the finance software can’t create emails anyway, it can only print PDFs, which are opened in Adobe Reader. So, it was the default settings in Adobe reader that were the problem, Adobe had changed the default from opening the email application and attaching the PDF to asking the user to log on to Adobe services to upload the file and generate a link, before opening the mail program. The user was confused by Adobe Reader and was wondering why entering their Windows username and password weren’t working “in the finance software”.



We had thousands of critical and important wintel apps, all that needed regression testing for every change to Windows (both PCs and any wintel backends).

This was a full-time job for the teams. All patches were assessed for criticality, if they needed to be rolled out the apps+server teams would impact assess and test.

The same happens in the other teams of course (UNIX, storage, networks etc.) but wintel always seemed to be a pain point. Outages were usually as a result of a change.

So it’s a bit more than people not liking change.


We had one head of IT whose attitude was “it’s a firewall, it doesn’t need updating.” Because, in his mind, it was a turnkey device whose job was to filter packets. The OS it ran and the concept that there could be bugs in the IP stack etc. was just beyond his comprehension… Although he called switches “hubs”, so you can probably guess his IT vintage!


I gotta say - as show titles go, this one takes the cake for double-entendre’s.

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I work for a VAR. We sell software that is sometimes used in lab environments that need validation. I can tell you, that the second the environment is validated, no changes occur. In some cases, that means no patches, no upgrades, etc. If the vendor requests a patch, it takes an act of God to get it done, because it means re-validation.


Would you blush if you were asked to explain the meaning of the title to someone? :wink: It can’t be too much worse that the Australian name for a man’s bikini swimsuit. Or the banana version of the same used elsewhere in the world.

Also why are you getting up in arms over someone fish smuggling? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

But yes, I agree with you, it’s both a very accurate title and yet one that can keep a dirty mind occupied for at least a few minutes :smiley:

Not up in arms at all - found it very funny, especially the discussion in which it occurred.

Perhaps my intention to be ironic was unclear. Anyway, as I stated, I agree with you and I too found it funny.

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Text! It’s such a fun medium for nuance. :slight_smile:

It’s all good.

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