back to article Blighty's Post Office computer system goes titsup

The Post Office's computer system has crashed, crippling services at branches nationwide, Royal Mail has admitted. It is understood that all of the UK's 11,800 post offices are affected. The fault, which started just after midday and is ongoing, walloped all post office services that rely on computers. Cash machines and …


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  1. Test Man


    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. irish donkey

    hmmm this is the system

    Which was sooooo good Postmasters and Postmistress have been sent to jail because it never makes a mistake?

  3. g e

    Ten quid

    It's 'No space left on device'


    1. Richard 120

      Re: Ten quid

      You say it as a joke, but I've seen it happen, it was about 6 months after a go-live and the DB server went bang.

      There was no archive policy and they simply hadn't designed in any cleanup process.

      The solution - bigger disks, worked for a bit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ten quid

      Ten quid says they forgot to wind it up.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leap year glitch

    I heard a rumour this was a leap year glitch. Friend of mine was trying to post a parcel and the lady told him she couldn't process it. Computers were down as it was a leap year.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: Leap year glitch

      If only there had been some research on methods to detect leap years.

      1. John_C

        Re: Re: Leap year glitch

        Yeah, that's really likely. Leap year issues always show up on the 1st of March in the middle of the day. Sheesh..........

        I heard a rumour it was due to sunspot activity. Any advance on that? Government cuts? Rabid otters chewing cables? The list is endless.

        1. Is it me?

          Re: Re: Re: Leap year glitch

          I understand they have brought in Dirk Gentley to investigate.

          It is understood the White Rabbit will stand down as shadow CTO.

          1. KBKarma

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Leap year glitch

            It'll end up being solved by him following a pizza delivery truck and eating the right tin of spam in the right supermarket. Mark my words.

            (yes, I just made an account to respond to this)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: Leap year glitch

          OK...just a thought.

          If the system wasn't leap year aware, then it would have successfully rolled over from 28/2/2012 to 1/3/2012. Except it was actually the 29th.

          The only option would be to wait until a suitable time on the real 1st of March, now displayed 2nd March, to wind the clocks back.

          Correct me if I am wrong, the PO is rather busy overnight, sorting parcels etc. and first thing in the morning paying out pensions and other benefits. Noon would perhaps be about the best time of day for disruption?

          1. anon01789

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Leap year glitch

            the research to find a workable solution would take 4.09333333 years to complete and implament if the resaults where not lost on the way

          2. The Original Cactus

            Re: Noon would perhaps be about the best time of day for disruption?

            That makes sense to me. All the post offices near me are closed at lunchtime.

            Joke icon because that's what PO opening hours are.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Leap year glitch

        Software by Casio? To my astonishment yesterday, it seems my cheapo g-shock doesn't do leap years.

  5. AndrueC Silver badge

    If there was any reason for me to use the Post Office I might be annoyed about this. Luckily I haven't had to go to a Post Office for several years. It's even cheaper to have a courier come and pick a parcel up these days to say nothing of never having to stand in a queue.

    Fail because that pretty much sums up the PO.

    1. Is it me?

      Lucky you

      Every time I use a courier it goes wrong, never had a problem with the Post Office though

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lucky you

        ....and the courier won't do the funky check-n-send passport thing or the myriad of other very useful but not strictly post related services that the Post Office provide.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Re: Lucky you

          I renewed my passport without going into a Post Office. So what other useful service do they perform?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            >what other useful service do they perform?

            They kindly lighten my parcels so that I won't hurt myself when I receive them. Sometimes they even manage to judiciously lose one so as to prevent me becoming overly excited upon receipt of said parcel. They also inspect them, one assumes to make sure they don't contain anything that could harm me upon opening them.

            The Post Office and its workers really are wonderful.

        2. Neil Lewis

          Re: Re: Lucky you

          Funky check-n-send passport thing? The PO seem to get their checks wrong as often as not. I wouldn't trust the PO staff any further than I could throw them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Post Office staff are useless

      I recently submitted a postal redirection form which included my recently deceased father (they have a special box for that) along with a continuation sheet because there were more names than would fit.

      The staff weren't happy having the living and the dead on the same form (it was an offence against nature or something) and tried to make me use a second form. So I asked how much that would cost and (after much muttering) was told twice as much. So I submitted the single form.

      The confirmation arrived missing my name from the continuation sheet. So I rang them up and added my name.

      Then a bill for a further £45 arrived because I now had two different surnames on the redirection. They'd managed to misspell my surname while adding it to a redirection that already had the same surname repeated six times.

      Really, how hard is it?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know a bank has had problems issuing online credit card statements that have transactions up to the 28th

  7. @brykins

    As a postman, I can only smile...this'll mean a light day for us on Saturday if no-one can post any parcels today :-)

  8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    They've got a computer !!

    I always assumed it was done by an infinite number of trained monkeys

    - at least that explains the teeth marks and faint smell of bananas

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They've got a computer !!

      The last I heard was that the PO systems are run as a "service" on IBM mainframes by HP in Dublin and that last year they "ratified" their staffing structure and offered alternative "external" placements to the major sysprogs.

  9. TRT Silver badge

    Well, so long as...

    they don't have to order any spare parts to fix it.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Just admit

    That you installed the Windows 8 preview onto the wrong computer thus causing it to backfire! ;-)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Question... they use Windows?

    1. Andrew Waite

      Re: Question...

      Real question: Do they have people capable of handling the systems they've got?

      Good people can build good, stable Win environments. Monkeys can build shoddy 'nix environments.

      People more important than tech.

      *Disclaimer* I'm a beardy 'nix bloke....

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Your Packet is at the Router

    I heard it was their network wasn't delivering packets to the IP address, it was just dropped a note that the packet was at the router, but when the NIC inquired, was told that it was in the TCP Segment.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this the system.......

    That MS were blowing their trumpet about ?

    Yep would seem so:

    Haha, should have gone 'nix

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this the system.......

      As much as I agree re: *nix, from what I read from that MS PR blurb, all they did was replace Lotus Notes with Outlook.

      Which, to be fair, I would do too. Notes was a horrible system. Though I would at least allow Thunderbird access via IMAP.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Sir Wiggum

        Please be a little more sensitive. For some people Notes still IS a horrible system.

    2. twaffler

      Re: Is this the system.......

      I don't think you actually read the article you've linked to, at least I hope not. If you genuinely believe that the replacement of Lotus Notes by Exchange for Royal Mail's internal email system back in 2010 directly lead to the problems with the Post Office's system today then that's a bit worrying.

      Hint: corporate email/office application and EPOSS systems tend not to share the same infrastructure, for fairly obvious reasons.

    3. JohnG

      Re: Is this the system.......

      Actually, no. The defective Post Office system is called Horizon Online, developed and run by Fujitsu. As far as I can tell, the article you linked to was all about email and related office applications for Royal Mail Group.

  15. David 45

    Viewing platform, this way

    MY Post Office delivery people must think that my parcels are so interesting as to place them on display for public viewing - usually on the doorstep in full sight of any light-fingered passer-by. To hide it or leave with a neighbour and leave a note in the event of me not being at home seems to be too much trouble. They don't seem to have a moment to spare these days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Viewing platform, this way

      My local sorting office has a different ruse. They save the effort of carrying the parcel or ringing the bell by only taking out the red "we tried to deliver" card, pre written at the sorting office complete with poor guess at the time they'd be at my door. The manager persists in denying that's the case in spite of the fact I've collected the parcel from the depot 5 minutes after the card arrived and while the postman is still on the round.

      Another time saving ruse is to dump all of the post for the four flats (separate doors) in my building through one door, usually mine, allowing me to do the final distribution. The fifteen or twenty seconds saved on the round must allow for them to hit a few randomly set targets, a few more staff cuts and a more generous bonus for the tosser at the top.

      1. irish donkey

        Re: Re: Viewing platform, this way

        Once chased him in the car...stopped him in his van and demanded he give me my parcel.

        Guess what he didn't have it.

        Not happy

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dyslexia rules KO

    We have the worlds only dyslexic postman, delivers all the letters but not necessarily to the right houses :-(

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Messed up database update?

    Can't get into my totally unconnected Barclaycard account at the moment. Some database provider cocked up an update for them all?

  18. Winkypop Silver badge

    A posties lot is not a happy one...

    Blame the dick-wads from head office for delivery issues and cut-backs.

  19. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Just like my local council, then.

    Four weeks ago I tried to pay a leftover council tax bill. "We've closed out cashdesks!" Ok, go to bank. "That's not a bank giro slip, we can't use that!". Grrr. Ok, put in envelope, post into letterbox at Town Hall.

    Two weeks later: oi! you've not paid. Yes I have, I posted you a cheque. We don't take cheques. Grrr. Ok, went online, cancelled cheque, made electronic payment, saved copy of payment receipt.

    Today, council sends summons. WTF?? I paid this two weeks ago. Storm into Town Hall. Look, (waves reciept) I've paid! Oooh, but it's not on our computer yet. But it's gone out of my bank account! Yes, but it's not on our system yet. WTF??? When they used to have cash desks I would pay over the counter and it would be on the system the instant they pressed RETURN, now, in the interests of cost saving, they've got an electronic payment system where payments don't actually appear on their system at all!


    And I was on the management group that told them not to do this because this would happen.


    1. Chimp

      There is only one solution...

      Just drop me a note to be out of town when you go postal.

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