I lost it miss, honest

Once again Labour Policy not properly costed ?

Labour yet another poorly thought out or costed policy. This time it was to 30 bored kids on a field in Hamilton, forced to sit their by their union hack teachers all getting the news about laptops for kids.

Nice sounding policy but I have a few questions. The answers will probably need Labour to form an expert panel since they don’t seem to have them.

I have worked in IT for many years. The hardware (laptop is this case) is often the cheapest part, but what about software?

Is Labour committing to pour taxpayer dollars into Microsoft or Apple’s prodigious cash coffers?

What about open source?

Maintenance is always a huge cost, and average life of any laptop is three years tops, is this a commitment long term?

Who funds upgrades?

What about middle class ? Miss out again ?

Up to what decile school would be supplied?

What about hidden costs, would kids be allowed to take these laptops home ?

If so there are obvious problems with that plan. After their flat screen TV and Sky decoder the laptop will be the most valuable item in the house.

Are we going to see a massive glut of state funded laptops appearing on Trademe? Imagine the chaos in class…”I lost it miss, honest”

If they are not allowed to go home then Labour has made schools more attractive for burglars with 30+ laptops per classroom.

Who will fund the necessary increase in security?

Will they still end up on Trademe after the thieves have been?

Lots of questions, not many answers.


Tech Tuesday – Well Huuuullo

Microsoft has discovered Cloud Computing. Once again instead of leading the pack they are a long way behind.

This is proof positive that Google has been reaming their ass for years and years and finally the vaseline ran out.

Except with this new revelation about the Cloud they even screw that up.

The Cloud Wants Smart Devices: Not much in this except demonstrating Ballmer’s belief in the “Internet of Things,” where the cloud helps connect devices to undestand gestures, bringing together voice, touch, speech, all in one.

It’s the future of the smart device that appears to have had had such an influence on Windows Phone 7 Series. He pointed to the mistakes Microsoft made with Windows Mobile. It was too focused on voice. The future of Windows is in the cloud. That goes for the Windows operating system and Windows Phone 7 Series.

A lot of people will say Microsoft is not in the game anymore. That notion can’t be supported when you see Microsoft discussing realistic, intelligent views about the market and backing it with how the cloud applies to its products and services.

Still, Microsoft is as guilty as anyone for hyping the cloud and further obfuscating what is meant by cloud computing.

Really, Steve. Did you actually say “cloud in a box?”

Tech Tuesday – Whose idea was Windows 7?

You may have seen the Microsoft ad for Windows 7. Well here is a remake of it. Actually I’m not sure it is a remake, maybe it is a semi-official version as yet unreleased.

What is going on at Waikato DHB?

I have received some correspondence about a massive snow job at Waikato DHB. On Thursday NZPA reported that a major computer virus outbreak had essentially shutdown all of the DHB’s 3000 plus computers. On Friday it was  reported that the DHB was now restarting all their PC’s after the incident, so far I haven’t heard how it all went.

My correspondent is a Senior IT person and is livid at what has gone on. The explanations given by spokes people at the DHB are laughable in the face of even basic knowledge of major IT systems. Anyway here is their take on issue, I couldn’t have written it better myself and I think a few judicious OIA requests may go in after the dust settles.

The problem with this incident in the Waikato is that it’s an identical incident to that of the MOH last year and must be indicative of a truly bizarre display of barrel scraping IT Management skills.  Despite what is said in the last part of the first article this is in no way caused by a lack of complex passwords nor will implementing them actually help prevent further outbreaks of similar worm or malware type attacks.
The point of infection must have been introduced by some numpty on an infected USB key and given that it was during some “systems upgrade” in the early hours of the morning, that person was in IT.  However the root cause which they’ll be trying hard to hide is that some utter utter fool allowed 3000+ PC’s to not have installed two very simple antivirus and Microsoft operating system patches that have been available for over 15 months.
“Retard” in the Paul Henry sense does not even begin to describe the managers responsible for letting this happen.  As if the MOH cluster f*ck this time last year wasn’t enough of a paint-by-numbers example of what not to do they’ve reproduced it perfectly at WDHB.  Those responsible at MOH got given the arse as soon as it was tidied up and I will expect the same again here.
But the loss to the public and the greater Waikato region is that grandma’s hip op is going to have to wait another month or so to happen and Uncle Jimmy’s hernia op may get cancelled due to the cost of the cleanup of this coming from somewhere.  MOH’s episode got buried in PR spin and legal threats to staff to never speak of it again.  I’d rather this one get a bit more visibility.
Also don’t read much into the “Microsoft called into help” bit, they’re not to blame, they’re there to help as part of the unique opportunity for them to negotiate new licensing and support terms for the next decade at exorbitant prices.  WDHB will be paying whatever MS ask for just so they can try and pass the blame by throwing the word Microsoft together with worm or security exploit in the media for the public to join the dots to for a diversion.
Like the MOH debacle I’d say they’re in lockdown facing disciplinary action if they comment on anything.  They must host their own website (as it’s utterly dead) so at this stage all we can go on is what is in the initial news report unless their comms team starts answering media enquiries.
From this  you can assume that A) they have an XP desktop environment which had conficker patches release by MS in Oct 08 and the major AV companies in Nov 08, that B) the benefits of their “Connected Health Network for Waikato project” haven’t quite played out as the small satellite health offices would have expected and that C) Alan Grainer will be having quite a different Christmas holiday than planned.
Maybe worth finding out how the average health clinic in Huntly is getting on with their PC’s if they’re part of the DHB WAN.  They’ll be waaaay down the priority list yet probably able to do nothing today if the infection was not stopped at the local DHB HQ subnets.
The CIO seems to have previously been a Programme Manager at Unisys and a variety of other roles so theoretically should know his arse from his elbow.  Although there’s a coincidentally unfortunate linking of him to Alan Hesketh CIO at the MOH here on page 12\13 of this.  I’d say they’ll certainly be on the phone together  sharing tips on things other than leadership today, perhaps virus cleaning, PR strategy and CV updating.
Anyway my rage is aimed at criminal incompetence in letting their site be so vulnerable, the process of infection and how it is actually translated to the public via the media.  Picking out statements from the Stuff and Herald articles so far:
“Waikato District Health Board has been crippled by a computer worm which has seen every PC in the organisation shut down”
Ok so over 3000+ PC’s are either infected or at risk of infection.   This means that identical to the MOH debacle in Dec last year, they have for some reason, either through oversight or genius leadership choice, not deployed a basic Windows update that was available in October 2008.  This patch was one that was flagged by MS and all  major vendors at the time as a must have due to possible exploit, not to mention the first 6 months of this year where we had Conficker paranoia frenzy in the media.  Even my grandmother was asking if her phone needing patching to prevent “these conficky worms”.
This patch is easily centrally deployable and took us all of 15 mins through automated policy at windows startup to get on every PC in a large PC environment with hundreds of PCs.  With a few weeks of network scans double checking every PC in the place to ensure they successfully received and installed it.  It’s a regular standard part of IT, this is not unusual, this is not hard, this does not cost additional taxpayer money, it is core operational work.
“Ms Gill said DHB technicians were working on a computer upgrade overnight when things started to go awry.”
Go awry???  Upgrading your HRIS system and then noticing your clever use of an infected USB key has spread a malicious worm throughout your 3000 PC network is not what I’d term “going awry”.  Thats what I’d term as brown trouser material and I’d have serious thoughts about a sudden new life of sustainable living in the Urewera’s…

“We brought in Microsoft and have been working with them through the night.”

Really! Bringing them in is of no real use for fixing this.  Any vendor like Gen-i, Datacom or Axon could assist just as well and likely better given that there isn’t a huge MS presence on the ground and each of those have sizeable presences in the Tron.  All Microsoft are involved for is as a PR stunt. Being able to hint at the ” Don’t worry we’ve called in the pro’s”, “its a microsoft security hole so we called them to sort it etc etc” type connotations.

All MS are going to do is sign them up to a long term and expensive support agreement as a pre-requisite to take part in this shambles.  Some form of OIA to MOH should show up the various MS deals that were signed there during and after that shambles as they did the exact same thing.  It’s not MS’s fault and they’ll accept no blame but they’ll put on a helpful display for it and make out like a bandit at the WHDB for a long time to come for this.

Conficka has been identified as the culprit.

Well yes and no.   A stingray was the culprit but Steve Irwin giving it a hug was more the reason.

“It reconstitutes itself as fast as you can fix it. It’s particularly virulent,” Ms Gill said.

It’s malicious SW, that’s what it does, that’s not new, that’s not unexpected.  You don’t clean a virus and then not expect it to return.  You have to patch the hole it came through then you clean it.  And the second problem with all this is the

“small pamphlet explaining the problem had been printed off-site “and people are running around distributing them” at the hospitals, Ms Gill said.”

Fantastic result if you are unable to clean and connect a small set of PC’s and a printer to manage this task then the liklihood of things being operational by days end is lets just say optimistic….

“Ms Gill said the shutdown would probably result in an “even more robust password system” being introduced.”

Huh??  Brain explosion here.  If I try and think this through they’re suggesting that the virus itself is cracking their authentication so they should increase the complexity of the passwords to make that task more difficult for the virus.  Not, that perhaps they should ensure the equipment is patched to prevent the hole the virus used to propagate in the first place or address the no brainer requirement that the Antivirus SW should be up to date so as to be able to clean the virus from any location it has spread to…..

“It has millions of computers now under it control in more than 200 countries, according to the New York Times”

I’m assuming the Herald etc added this as that’s somewhat ridiculous.  I would not be surprised if my porn surfing cousins PC became infected by conficker, I would however be concerned if my own home PC did and I am in a state of bubbling rage that any large government organisation could be in the situation that the WDHB finds itself.

I have been an IT Manager for quite a while and lurk in the public sector currently.  There’s good and there’s bad, but there’s always several key things that you know will get you fired (and so they should!).   Not mitigating risk by not patching your gear, be it pc’s, servers whatever, is one of these.  It requires several levels of decision making and process failure and I am very sick of it being made out by the organisations concerned as “just one of those things” and an accepted part of IT.  Heads should roll and sector wide audits need to happen.  Audit NZ gets involved in the financial aspects of our organisations, why isn’t DIA (which seems to house the all-of-govt IT initiatives now) tasked with preventing these events and pinpointing the failures when they do so that accountability is upheld.
If it goes like the MOH there’ll be a further series of bollocks press releases creatively interpreting the situation.  Like the MOH debacle I’d say they’re in lockdown facing disciplinary action if they comment on anything.
Agent “X” in the public sector

Nathans Dodgy Directors appear in court

Dodgy Nathans Finance director John Hotchin and two of his co-directors have appeared in the Auckland District Court today on criminal charges relating to the failed finance company.

Hotchin is the brother of Hanover Finance founder Mark and faces three charges under the Securities Act.

His co-directors, Donald Young and Kenneth Moses (known as Roger) face six charges each.

I know a fair bit about this crowd and their nice little money-go-round between Nathans Finance and the parent company VTL Group. I just wish i had taken photos with my cellphone of the whiteboard diagrams I saw in their board room on numerous ocassions.

I am sure the Serious fraud Office though have pieced it all together and so whatever is coming their way they richly deserve it.

A bit of Tory Charity

This isn’t my thing, but I have been asked to promote the gig raising funds for the Auckland City Mission.

The Mashup Mafia are proud to announce that Low Rollers will host it’s second annual Christmas charity appeal for the Auckland City Mission on Thursday 18th of December at Auckland’s leading night life venue The Carpark Bar. So after the remarkable contribution put forward by the Auckland drum & bass community last year, we’re back to do it again – except this time, on a much much much larger scale!!

My ISP Orcon are giving away some bar tabs too!

Conflicts of Interest

An interesting couple of emails arrived today. The first contained minutes of a Capital and Coast DHB board meeting of 4 April 2007. Along with that is the Declarations of Conflict from November 2007 and March 2008. There are some significant differences in those documents.

Minute item 7255 makes for some interesting reading in light of Ken Douglas’ vehement attacks on HBDHB, his “forcing” of the investigation panel to change the report and his insistence on not one but two meetings with the investigation panel.

A letter from Ken Douglas was tabled providing a more detailed account of his involvement in Healthcare of New Zealand Holdings Limited as a Non Executive Director. The letter was filed with the correspondence.

The Chair advised that following the Auckland DHB’s court decision she had indicated that the board would review its Conflicts of Interest policy. All Board, DSAC and CPHAC have a routine ‘Conflicts of Interest’ item on their agenda. The Conflict of Interest policy is in the C&C DHB Governance Handbook for Board and Committee members. All Board and Committee members are aware of their obligations to declare any possible conflicts of interest. From now on HAC will have this as standing agenda item also.

The Minister has ordered the Auditor General to carry out a special review of interest matters with regard to DHBs.

Very interesting that minute. In February 2005 Ken Douglas had no declarations of conflict of interest and just two short months later now all of a sudden has conflicts. The following month his partner is working at Healthcare NZ and then in March 2007 as per the minute above Mr Douglas provides additional information about Healthcare NZ.

Now the questions.
Why was a more detailed account necessary?
If it was inadequate, why wasn’t the Capital and Coast District Health Board sacked back in April last year?
If ubn-declared conflicts were the reason to sack the board then why hasn’t CCDHB suffered the same fate as HBDHB?

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Even the Grumpy Old Guys have had a gutsful of Cunliffe

This message may seriously harm somebody’s health |

The universe is full of oddities and coincidences. They often leave us wondering about crop circles, Stonehenge, black holes and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board. In almost every case, there is no rational explanation.

How are we, for example, to explain the Lotto phenomenon? It’s said that there is an unusual occurrence of high-rolling Lotto winners who bought their tickets from Peter Dunkerley’s pharmacy in Hawke’s Bay. Mr Dunkerley was also a member of the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, sacked by Health Minister David Cunliffe. This is a very strange collision of circumstances, and one that would need serious public money to investigate. Perhaps Dunkerley is less a pharmacist and more of an alchemist…

Cunliffe is working overtime to earn an unhealthy reputation as New Zealand’s leading surgeon specialising in character assassination, while alienating DHB members he’s never met, rather than doing what he’s paid for: chief guardian of people’s health. Evidently shocked by the public negative response to his sacking of the democratically elected board, and facing widespread opposition to the so-called independent report into conflicts of interest, Health Czar Cunliffe has threatened to reveal more serious evidence of conflicts of interest among board members. Not that anyone can sue him, because he can say anything that springs to mind, under Parliamentary privilege rules. Surely he must be trying to help somebody – but who could it be?

Folks, we have not heard the last of this scandal let me tell you that for free. The Grumpy Old Guys aren’t slow in coming forward also.

But let’s return to other oddities and coincidences that are obscured in the vast wilderness of a report that most people will find boring and bewildering, even before they get beyond the Contents section.

Instead, ponder this:

Isn’t it interesting that Mr Chris Clarke, the current but nowadays ever-so-slightly remote CEO of Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, is claimed to have once worked in Helen Clark’s office?

Isn’t it curious that former Health Minister Annette King’s husband was once deputy CEO of the same board, and even odder that when he left, he joined the board of Peter Hausmann’s healthcare company, Healthcare New Zealand Limited? Yet more curious is the fact that Mr Hausmann was Annette King’s government appointee to… the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

And did you guess that Mr Hausmann’s company made a failed bid for a $50 million contract with… the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board?

Getting suspicious? Get over it – this was just an unusual collision of happy chances, poorly handled by… the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

Getting the idea that there are two alternatives to a real life: setting fire to your genitals or standing as a candidate in the next Hawke’s Bay District Health Board elections? Good. Right decision. Keep away from public service, but do try to stay fit and well for as long as possible.

Ouch, setting fire to your genitals or standing for a Health Board!!! But wait there is more, as they say in the tacky middle of the night advertisements.

What is certain, though, is that if Cunliffe truly managed to read and digest all 80,000 words of the “DHB damning” report within a few hours of its release (without a scintilla of previous knowledge) he’s a genius and deserves to be in charge of the entire nation, plus Australia. We’ll be reading every single word of the report, and we predict that not one will help any patient anywhere in New Zealand.

What’s also now beyond any doubt is that the bloated system of 21 DHBs for only 4 million people is utterly unworkable and unaffordable, wide open to serious corruption, and serves no patient in this country.

The national DHB debacle was personally created by Helen Clark. It should be thrown into the dustbin of history – along with her and all the other idiots who have wasted taxpayers’ money on a healthcare system they touted as democratically-accountable to local people but is evidently subject to the whim of a puny dictator.

Phew!….they really are Grumpy Old Guys, but surprisingly accurate in their portrayal of the players.

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Hawke's Bay united against Labour and Cunliffe

Mayors: We stand by sacked board – Hawkes Bay Today – 2008-03-18 17:00:00.0 – localnews

The Hawke’s Bay District Health Board scandal rumbles on. Labour thought they could “Ingram” this report, they thought wrong.

Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott said the Minister of Health was “fundamentally wrong for dismissing the board”.

She said Mr Cunliffe got what he expected from the report into conflict-of-interest claims on the board, but that won’t stop her council from pushing for a judicial review of the board’s sacking.

“Nothing has changed. His reasons [for sacking the board] are still so slight they don’t even come on the radar.

“We believe this board is no worse than any other DHB in NZ and better in many criteria.

“Let’s face it – the minister got what he expected from the report, the second report, and so did we. I am not surprised.”

The next step will be for the mayors to wait for the Health Minister to reply and then a judicial review could be held mid-2008.

The government will want a judicial review like I want cancer, right in the middle of the election year. The government hasn’t fared so well in judicial reviews so far losing all of them.

HBDHB scandal

The Hawke’s Bay District Health Board corruption scandal is now being covered in the Herald, in depth and also the SST. Labour’s whitewash isn’t going to wash and that is why the Air New Zealand Slave Labour scandal got an airing. Here is a round up of HBDHB stories.

Fran O’Sullivan: Hausmann’s punt for vindication – 16 Mar 2008 – Public healthcare news – NZ Herald

Healthcare of New Zealand’s chief executive Peter Hausmann took a big punt by going public on Thursday claiming he would be vindicated by an inquiry into the management of his conflicts of interest on the former Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

Two days before the inquiry team’s final report was due to be delivered to Health Minister David Cunliffe, Hausmann effectively said he could stay silent no longer while his reputation continued to be attacked in Parliament.

Lawyers usually counsel against claiming victory until judges or, in this case the Director-General of Health’s review panel, release their findings.

But Hausmann was confident enough after all the toing and froing between his lawyers, Russell McVeagh, and the review team, to claim that the final report would vindicate and explain his position.

At issue now is whether Hausmann’s comments may have set the scene for a legal challenge to the inquiry team’s report.

Quite how that reconciles with the draft report which said “There were significant barriers to a vendor other than Healthcare New Zealand succeeding with the proposal. Healthcare New Zealand and Peter Hausmann, on the other hand, knew what was required as it had seen the February 2005 board paper, which set out what the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board wanted’?” is beyond every commentator except Peter Hausmann, Annette King, Ray Lind and David Cunliffe.

Fran O’Sullivan: Contracts challenged – 16 Mar 2008 – Public healthcare news – NZ Herald

Hausmann is now on full attack against the former board;

Former Hawke’s Bay District Health Board member Peter Hausmann has challenged the interests of other former board members in the management of health board commercial contracts.

Hausmann – who is at the centre of an inquiry into the management of his own conflicts of interest at the health board – this week went public claiming the final report which is expected to be released tomorrow would vindicate him.

The ONLY way he knows the report will “vindicate him” is if he has seen it, leading to questions as to whether the minister has also seen it.

District Health Board members go to police – Sunday Star-Times – National News

Two District Health Board members have gone to the police to ask them to investigate the case.

TWO MEMBERS of the sacked Hawke’s Bay District Health Board have asked police to investigate the Peter Hausmann conflict of interest case, saying they believe the review panel findings, due out tomorrow, have been “hijacked for political expediency”.

Diana Kirton and Helen Walker lodged a complaint with Hastings police on Friday, and say the move was endorsed by other former board members. They also want police to investigate the actions of health board managers around the contracts with companies Hausmann is involved in. Kirton and Walker say they gave police evidence recovered after computer files were sent to London for forensic examination. That “supports our view that board contracts were seriously compromised”.

Hausmann rather predictably considering he has two government ministers and the husband of one of them in his pocket, laughed off the complaint.

Board games in Hawkes Bay health – Sunday Star-Times – National News
A useful timeline and cast of characters is listed in the SST by Anthony Hubbard. Just reading that un-biased litany of conflict should raise hackles.

The Hive: Baygate
The Hive reports that the SST has an article on page A3 from Ruth Laugesen which asks;

Ruth Laugesen reports Annette King saying “she and her husband Ray Lind will be cleared of wrong doing” by tomorrow’s report.

How does she know this? And why have there been such radical changes to this report between first draft and the final version? This is a very bad look. All the major characters talking in advance with great confidence about being vindicated.

Lastly there is fellow blogger Inventory1 at Keeping Stock who has his own questions;

I have a few questions of my own.

* How would he know that the report “vindicates him”?
* Has he or his legal team already seen the report?
* Given the snide comments that he has made in the House about “smoking guns” and who they are pointed at, has David Cunliffe already seen the report?
* How can a report, which in its first draft was so criticial of Hausmann’s involvement – “There were significant barriers to a vendor other than Healthcare New Zealand succeeding with the proposal. Healthcare New Zealand and Peter Hausmann, on the other hand, knew what was required as it had seen the February 2005 board paper, which set out what the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board wanted.” (as per Hansard, 13/3/08) – change so much in its final form, that Hausmann now claims to be exonerated?
* Has the review team also considered submissions from the Board, and was any weight given to them?

Something very rotten has been happening at the HBDHB, but I bet the report that comes out tomorrow has King, Lind and Hausmann smelling of roses.

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