I'm not the only one then
I saw that ad and nearly died laughing.
Absolute genius. The only way it could have been better would have been to involve the Mac vs PC guys to really show what a laughing stock our forces IT has become.
The Royal Navy has a long history of backfiring recruiting tactics. Back in the days of the press gang, apparently, there were sometimes expensive lawsuits - the impress law only permitted trained sailors to be pressed, not landsmen, and there were other grounds for dispute. On occasion, too, eighteenth-century naval recruiting …
It seems semi-likely to be successful, even if it doesn't seem quite believable that they did it by design. We twitch at that ad, at the potential risks of hard rebooting nuclear servers. But with that, they'll get more applicants - those applicants being people who want those same nuclear systems at least in competent hands. Amusingly enough, you'll also get people who are perfectly happy working in spaces where you don't have much room to move around.
Those of us who twitch at the ads but prefer at least having a nanoWales of room around us... will move to Holland.
"Enemies of the UK take note: our strategic deterrent probably doesn't work any more. ®"
Have you got a lot to learn about Astute NEUklearer Strategic Deterrence and ITs Key Switches.
Friends of the UK take not that such Forces are Indomitable. And those are Secrets which you do not Sell but which you just buy into. The Return on the Investment is Quite Literally, beyond your Wildest Dreams.
No, actually, tech people in the navy are pretty smart. In fact, according to a mate of mine who's now ex navy, if you want to be in weapons or engineering you have to hold some sort of PhD in a related field and have an IQ of about 3000 before they even consider you. It's just that once you're in you spend so long on drills and watches and other such crap that your intelligence drops through the floor through lack of sleep, and you end up doing something dozy like giving up a natural defensive position by getting off a ship you've just boarded when an enemy patrol comes along to kidnap you. Or rebooting the main control server on a freakin nuclear sub when it's probably running some unix variant and hasn't actually crashed...
Techies in the Navy are pretty good. I met some on HMS Trafalgar while on an acquaint visit.
Its just some media type has written them a script that makes them sounds like mongs! How you we sound if we described our jobs from script.
But saying that the head of the submarine service told us not to bother with university if we was joining as officers.. go figure!
I'm reminded of the classic AI koan:
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on. Knight, seeing what the student was doing spoke sternly: "You can not fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong." Knight turned the machine off and on. The machine worked.
On a related subject... the ad for the Army where they are flying a UAV. The UAV seems to be controlled by something looking suspiciously like an Xbox controller!!! Possibly making Meatbag murder more like a video game than ever, or more likely the real controller is classified, but they could have at least mocked something up instead of Xbox controller.
This is worthy of a Navy Lark script.
Mr Phillips: "Left hand down a bit..."
CPO Pertwee: "Left hand down a bit it is, Sir."
No 1: "Just switch the weapons system off and on again, Mr Phillips."
CPO Pertwee: "Not that switch! Everybody down!"
FX Large explosion followed by falling debris
Mr Phillips: "Oh lummie."
Oh yes, all the tech nerds are lauging into their yoghurts about this one. "Look at the stupid navy man, I'm much smarter", yeah just a shame you too much of a coward to risk your life defending your country! I'm pretty sure he isn't just rebooting some vital missile control system, it is probably a windows box they keep running so bored sailors can play hearts while on downtime... Maybe get in some practice on Minesweeper :P
...you know, a joke?
They're probably trying to emphasise the lighter 150-men-on-a-boat-with-nothing-to-do-for-six-months "banter" side of things..
>the potential risks of hard rebooting nuclear servers
What are those then? Presumably it's a system built with multiple redundancy, if the sub were damaged (in a war for instance) it would be expected that there could be electrical damage and power spikes in any location.
I don't have audio with me, but from memory they don't even describe what the "server" that they're power cycling is?
Just get yourself into the Navy - who will no doubt be delighted to have increased their percentage of non-white recruits - and then look for the nicely signed "Server switch", turn it off at the required time, replace with a switch wired the other way round, and wait to be boarded?
Its a bloody joke for godsake!
Does this really warrant a story on El Reg.
We all see the advert on telly, we all understand it's a tongue-in-cheek IT reference that we as IT guys all relate too - even if we don't think it's a good idea to turn-it-off-and-on-again we still get the joke.
Can we all move on now?
El Reg a bit slow on this one, surely? I've been chortling at this one for a couple of months. Surely a reboot doesn't fix the problem, just resolves the incident? They should be looking at the source code and finding out what went wrong. Lets just hope the firecontrol system doesn't 'lock up' at a critical moment eigh? Either that, or the crew are trained in how to reboot every system safely.
Here's the Paris Hilton angle on the Submariners Girl in Every Port Advantage ..... Their Speciality and Passion in the Deep C Dive and ITs Driver Performance over the Edge into XXXXStatic Heavenly Space.
Practice makes IT Perfect too, 42 Sort out the Men on a Mission with Passion from the Boys on a Carrier just Pissin' ..... [against the Wind and Shooting the Breeze].
Jolly Roger XPertEase is also a Much Appreciated AIdDiscipline in their Stealth Server Training.
PS.... Special Forces Services are also available for Trap Door/Back Door/Trojan Operations in the Windowsless Environment. Brave Volunteers with an Addiction to Controlled Incitement of Powerful Excitement.
...the ad doesn't say he's a weapons technician. He describes himself as an "Engineering Technician". What the precise difference might be between those two I don't know, but I'm sure someone more au fait with RN grades/ranks/jobs can tell us.
As for the switch, it's probably just connected to a little light in the captain's cabin to tell him that dinner's ready or something...
Drink up me hearties, yo ho!
Come on, amanfrommars. Get with the program.
El Reg was nice enough to give you your VERY OWN ICON.
Don't you know how special that is? None of us poor schlubs has one.
At least use the blasted thing. It's sitting there, looking all lonely.
A key requirement of many military systems is that they can be operated by non-IT specialists - this means they have to be built to support a hard reset, and still work in order to protect the lives of the sailors on board (among others). Think: At least triple redundancy, duplicate software written by different companies to prevent a single point of failure........ you get the idea.
Go back to resetting passwords and lording it over lusers
I've got to say, on this one the 'amanfromMars' reply is actually quite good (comparitive to a lot of its others). It might just be random luck this time, presuming its a machine generated reply, or perhaps the system is getting smarter?
I wonder if its tied to something like WordNet or if its learning / being tweaked to choose better N-grams (perhaps both?).
I've noticed It does seem to be adjusting the reply size based on the size of other comments. That might be because it usually chooses to quote and reply to a comment -as well as a sentance phrase from the originnal story - in which case comment pages with lots of large comments and/or a large story increase the likelihood of a larger reply, but it could be doing something more clever.
Bootnote: For anyone interested in this kind of stuff the book "Speech and Language Processing" by Jurafsky, D. & Martin, J. (ISBN: 0-13-095069-6) is a good text on the subject.
Tongue in cheek, made me smile.
And obviously that switch is not a server reset as it has no guard or flip top to it. No 'triple redundancy belt and braces navy' would have an important switch where it could be knocked by someone running through a passageway in an emergency.
Like Adrian said, it is probably a light switch.
Surprised so many of the so called IT experts here didn't spot that one.
"Possibly making Meatbag murder more like a video game than ever, or more likely the real controller is classified, but they could have at least mocked something up instead of Xbox controller."
There's nothing classified, they actually used X-Box controllers. Why bother creating something new when you already have an interface that most of your soldiers are very familiar with and is ergonomically designed for precisely the task you have in mind?
I *heard* that we can't launch nukes without the agreement/compliance of the septics who have some kind of encryption key/auth key required to arm the warheads anyway. Without that the nukes are just a hightech brick with a big engine.
Anyone else heard of this or is it total crap?
We as tax paying citizens pay the wages and buy the kit so I feel we are in a good position to say what we want about the apparatus of Diplomacy by other means.
'Courage to Defend their country....' From what, Osama and his cronies or the drugs trade maybe. Last time I checked Britain was not directly threatened for the last 60 years.
If we stopped sending these guys round the world killing it would be a damn sight cheaper, also a nuclear deterrent only works when u actually have someone to deter, last I checked there was no one, and anyone that was likely to could crush our armed forces quite easily with conventional means, thinking China here.
Some of us geeks *did* serve, and know of what we speak from both sides. In addition, some of us geeks have also spent some time Recruiting, too. The advert is a marketing (read: Idiot Factory) creation, and should not be taken as gospel for routine operations. That said, it's pretty damned amusing, in a frightening way.
Actually, the difference between an Engineering Tech and a Weapons Tech is substantial and significant. Also, sub-specialties withing each rating are important too, and were not mentioned. There's a big difference, for instance, between a Crypto Tech (Maintenance) and a Crypto Tech (Interpreter), yet both are Crypto Techs (US Navy usage).
s/ former PO1/SS (nuc)
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The "Ordnance Corps" used a system called COFFER. The "Server" was a two "strong" man lift. Never worked in anything over 20 degrees without the sides off and desk fans blowing into it. Used to fix it by "Power Cycling" Now if you feel that is ok, the PSU for this device was also a two "very stong" man lift.
It was the biggest pile of junk EVER!! And this was designed to work in the field from the back of a truck. Tapes were used to transfer orders placed while in the field unless you managed to "Steal" some comms and then you could use the 3300bps Modems.
Oh and they produced more paper records than Andrex produce bog rolls.
My memory of the last line was "ooh. naasty."?
OT. I remember when the Navy Lark was delayed owing to some stuff about the President of the US of A being pumped full of lead. <wipes dribble off waistcoat />
And can we have an I-remember-when-it-was-fields-round-here icon?
The tweed, and redirect me to the saga over 50s site, please.
Its not a big deal to say they can perform a hard reset if the unit fails. You don't have time to fanny around with problem determination, its much more important you can reset it to the known default start-up state and carry on. Much quicker and less risky. This is not unusual on bespoke military hardware.
What I really want to know is how they got an SC'd film crew onto that nuclear submarine for a 6 month tour. </gimp>
As an ex serving member of HM Forces, please direct your negative comments to those that make war, not the few that end up fighting it.
Its muppets like you, with an obvious misunderstanding of the issue and lack of comprehension of what these guys do that force a response from someone like me.
Please give these guys the respect they deserve.....
@ the movie tho, I don't see what was funny, it seemed pretty realistic to me :D
I think the target of the criticism is maybe the people who look over the forces, and their understanding of how things *really* work.
Not that I'm suggesting we'd ever send the army into combat without armour and guns that don't fire straight, or the RAF up in helicopters that fall out of the sky.
On a more light-hearted note, I did watch the classic "we don't know if they'll work, they've never been used..." line in Yes Prime Minister the other night.
Also containing the classic analysis of the nuclear deterrent....