back to article Evil computers sense you’re in a hurry and mess with your head

Error 51: Consult service manual. Error 51? Is that supposed to be a joke? I mean, it sounds like a bad pun on “Area 51”. Oh, those wacky error-message coders on the firmware development team, they kill me, they really do. Let’s try again. Print. Error 51: Consult service manual. Come on, come on, don’t give me that. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flanders & Swann: The Gas Man Cometh.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Well done!

      It was my first thought but I couldn't remember who sang it or what it was called. Brightened my day it did, listening to that again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ended up listening to the whole At the Drop of a Hat album.

        There's also At the Drop of Another Hat in playlist form. Hadn't heard 'em for ages until I went to look up the link.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Looking at the long list on the right, there's hours of classy, proper smut-free (mostly) humour. I'll have to introduce the young 'uns to it.

    2. Alistair Dabbs
      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Flanders & Swann

        That is awesome. A modern take on Madeira M'Dear. Can't upvote you hard enough because I'd not seen it before.

  2. Tony S

    The innate hostility of inanimate objects. They'll get you every time.

    By the way, don't think for one second that church people are any easier to work with than anyone else. They change their minds just as often, question prices, specifications and delay payments like a master; and if you don't deliver, they can be surprisingly nasty for a group that profess to turn the other cheek (I'd rather deal with HMRC!). Anyone that has had to deal with church wardens will know that they can be total jobsworths as well.

    1. skeptical i


      Agree, Tony, with your assessment, but you forgot (a) expectation of free stuff/ service because they're a "charity" that "does good works", (b) indignation of biblical proportions when asked to put half down with balance due on delivery (because they're a "charity" that "does good work" and therefore can be trusted, not like our other, presumably dishonest, customers), and (c) a "let go and let god" attitude toward paying that balance long after the merch is printed and been collecting dust. There are honest and useful church-managing customers out there, but sadly not in my experience.

  3. Shadow Systems

    Computers are afraid of me...

    If they piss me off too badly I calmly pull a very large, rusty, jagged crosshead screwdriver from the junk drawer & brandish it with a smile while cooing sweetly "I wonder how much damage I can do to you with this before the police can get here to stop the carnage?"

    Miraculously the machine starts to work again out of utter abject terror over the thought of a Blind Tech armed with a screwdriver & an attitude.

    Come to think of it, I should try that on the next "Workman" to show up. "If it's not Completely Fixed before you try to leave, they'll never find your corpse. MUH Hahahahahaha!"


    <Looks off screen Stage Left>

    Oh look who's here! It's the Workman to fix the toilet!

    *Races to the front door, screwdriver in hand, cackling in maniacal glee*

    1. Alister

      Re: Computers are afraid of me...

      We have a 2.5 lb Lump Hammer hanging up on the server racks in our comms room: it is very rare we have any problems from those servers who can see it.

      A friend of mine got so exasperated with a desktop PC that he opened the 2nd floor office window and chucked the system box out of it. Having trudged downstairs, retrieved it, cleaned off the soil and grass and plugged it back in, it worked perfectly. It still has a dented corner as a reminder.

      Sometimes, physical abuse is all these computers understand...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Computers are afraid of me...

        Like a child - often all they want is a ride in the car. Seems to work wonders for the PCs that have arrived for repair with no longer a sign of their solid fault.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Computers are afraid of me...

          An intermittent fault never shows itself in the presence of someone qualified to fix it. If that isn't a law already, I hereby claim it.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Computers are afraid of me...

            "An intermittent fault never shows itself in the presence of someone qualified to fix it. If that isn't a law already, I hereby claim it."

            Oh, absolutely yes! I tell customers to only to pretend to phone for a service engineer but make sure it's within sight/earshot of the offending lump of metal/plastic/silicon. The though of a monkey with a screwdriver (me!) turning up will very likely shock it into working again :-)

      2. harmjschoonhoven

        Re: Computers are afraid of me...

        On wednesday 12 May 1937 the BBC had three cameras and one mobile video unit connected by 8 miles of balanced cable ready to broadcast the coronation of King George VI.

        The Marconi-EMI equipment had all just been delivered and set-up the day before, with the television vans only just completed in time for the event. On the day of the coronation it nearly all worked perfectly first time with no problems reported from any of the three camera positions or the engineers being relayed the pictures back at Alexandra Palace. The problem that did arise nearly cost the entire transmission however. Just as the royal procession was nearing the first camera position a dryjoint in the vision relay circuitry in the control truck shorted out and the picture transmission stopped. Bernard Greenhead, who had been responsible for much of the equipment (including its installation and operation on the great day), took a guess at which panel would be the cause of the problem. Giving the offending relay rack a sharp kick with his shoe, the circuit was re-established and with barely three minutes to spare, picture transmission commenced.

        From: R.C. Alexander, The Life and Works of Alan Dower Blumlein.

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: Computers are afraid of me...

          Thanks for the reminder about the Coronation kick. I first heard anecdote in April this year at the IEEE Milestone unveiling for Blumlein at Abbey Road.

      3. Skipweasel

        Re: Computers are afraid of me...

        "Hello, IT. Have you tried smashing it to pieces with a hammer and putting it back together again?"

      4. meataxe

        Re: Computers are afraid of me...

        We had a hammer called "Service Pack Zero" at my first job, it was the only piece of equipment in that server room that worked to spec!

        1. pyroweasel

          Re: Computers are afraid of me...

          Oblig XKCD reference: I keep a print-out of this where 'they' can all see it...

    2. Mark 85

      Re: Computers are afraid of me...

      I find that if I threaten to turn them into a boat anchor, they will toe the line and work properly. I've only actually tossed one into the lake (ok.. it's actually the pond out back) but they know that I mean business and will follow through. My dad used to say "you have to be smarter than the machine".. I say "you have to be meaner than the machine".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Computers are afraid of me...

      Not being actively engaged with looking after hardware anymore, I don't tend to come across this sort of thing very often, although I have occasionally threatened to 'repair' or to convert into a pocket calculator bits of electronica that have played up in my presence over the years, which usually seems to do the trick.

      However, my current bete noir are the evil twins Outlook and Excel. And they're software, so I can't threaten to dis-assemble them, kick them, or otherwise visit any kind of unpleasantness upon them which will actually hurt them. I swear the bastards know that the last time I fired up a hex editor was back in the tail end of the Amiga's Golden Age, and that despite my possession of a coding tool, that they're perfectly safe from my fairly basic T-SQL coding, useful only for trying to pull out mailing lists or data for management to ponder over.

      Outlook bides its time, and then suddenly, generally when I'm really busy, hides a random folder, although I did catch it doing this when I had a slow afternoon last week. Closing Outlook and restarting it did the trick that time, I reckon Outlook was bored as well that day and didn't really have its heart in it, usually a call to the IT bods is required (I'm part of a team that handles software developed in-house and multimedia stuff, and am the helpdesk admin for the team).

      Excel's main trick (aside from every new version making what used to be trivial tasks more of a performance than they used to be before) is to claim that perfectly good .CSV files are various forms of unreadable. Note, please, that this includes .CSV files that it created only a few minutes earlier. Notto mention that as soon as one goes to save the files, ther'es the usual "don't you really want to save that out as a .xlsx?" dance. No, I dashed well do not (I'm trying to cut down on the swearing). Not to mention it's refusal to show me all the files in a folder unless I ASK to see all the files in a folder. Sure, I wont; want to knwo about.PDF's whilst weilding a spreadsheet, but it could at least show me all the files openable by a spreadsheet without having to specify type, but no.

      Recently, however, the Terrible Twins have been joined by a newcomer, Jira. Jira isn't the worst example of why trying to use common or garden internet browsers as a tool to access software you need to use isn't the best idea anybody ever had, but it does add to this helldeskers daily misery. Issue comes into my queue. Blink at subject header, then start scrolling through email to find out what on earth it's about. Oh, THAT. Easy. Amend subject line to something more indicative of what the issue is about, open SQL editor, type, ponder, look something up, type, test, correct typo, run, save file Yes, in .csv because that's what the folks out there need for the software they used to send marketing out with. attach file with note to user. Click on button in JIRA to attach file and send response, and resolve issue. And all is well, yes?

      No, because an hour later, a slightly aggrieved email comes into the already resolved issue, wondering why they haven't received their data. Eh? But I did the durned thing within ten minutes of it arriving! Ah. It's Jira Roulette again. For some peculiar reason, Jira started not sending some communications back to users if there was an attachment, well, attached. Note 'some'. Seems to be random.

      Click on button to send response to user, expecting to be able to immediately type into teh box and..

      . no, I canNOT type into the text box, because it's suddenly and mysteriously disappeared off the bottom of the screen. Scroll down and click the wretched thing again. Tell user that I did indeed deal with their request promptly, but JIRA let us down, and will immediately send again by direct email (I've started doing this by default with urgent stuff - saves grief all round). . Swear under breath (again) at the sheer idiocy of web browsers being used as a means to access vital everyday software, espcially given how few applications programmers seem to have a clue about good human interface design principles (and I am not sure, but I have my doubts as to whether stuff that web browsers can handle is a good medium in which to create such interfaces even if the programmer DOES know about good interface design)

      And the worst of it, is I can't threaten any member of this unholy trinity (Outlook, Excel or Jira) with a screwdriver, kick or sharp wallop. (sob).

    4. dmacleo

      Re: Computers are afraid of me...

      I've literally taken a shotgun to a dell C600 that pissed me off.

    5. Richard Taylor 2

      Re: Computers are afraid of me...

      I have always taken my lead from Crowley in Good Omens (sorry obligatory nod to PTerry and in this case Neil)

      “He had heard about talking to plants in the early seventies, on Radio Four, and thought it was an excellent idea. Although talking is perhaps the wrong word for what Crowley did.

      What he did was put the fear of God into them.

      More precisely, the fear of Crowley.

      In addition to which, every couple of months Crowley would pick out a plant that was growing too slowly, or succumbing to leaf-wilt or browning, or just didn't look quite as good as the others, and he would carry it around to all the other plants. "Say goodbye to your friend," he'd say to them. "He just couldn't cut it. . . "

      Then he would leave the flat with the offending plant, and return an hour or so later with a large, empty flower pot, which he would leave somewhere conspicuously around the flat.

      The plants were the most luxurious, verdant, and beautiful in London. Also the most terrified.”

  4. Alister

    But you can probably restore a church window without your hammer freezing up

    Umm, possibly not, if you're "slaving over stained glass in a damp Gothic stone hut in a provincial village" In the middle of winter!!

  5. GrumpenKraut

    Alternative printer undoing

    Unplug it. Put in midst of room. Use 2 kilogram hammer, long handle. Notice how fucking tough ABS is. Keep going. Still keep going. Stop when height of printer is reduced from 20 cm to about 5. Notice you are covered in sweat. Realize that you left the toner cartridge in and it was near full. Marvel that the cartridge is NOT broken. Keep finding little morsels of ABS for month to come. Learn that the very week at which hammer time happened the maker admitted the model of printer has a problem and would send replacement parts free of charge.

    Silently weep.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: Alternative printer undoing

      @GrumpenKraut and all hammer wielding technicians

      Please, please remember your safety specs. Not joking - had a near miss a couple or three decades ago. Plastic breaks in surprising ways.

      PS: Those orange plastic hammers with the head filled with lead shot you get with push together rack based shelving are very satisfying to use...

      1. GrumpenKraut

        Re: Alternative printer undoing

        > Please, please remember your safety specs.

        Always do, had (computed unrelated) to replace specs after sharpish stones got embedded in the glass, together with a nice case of cheek and ear bleeding. In another case, small pieces of molten metal spoiled the glasses (again, no computers were involved, rather big cpacitors).

        Happer hammer times with goggles!

        More stories of computer decommisions with rage and serious tools, anyone?

        1. Queasy Rider

          Re: Alternative printer undoing

          Safety specs, fer shur. Almost blinded myself once disposing of a cd-r. Tried to fold it in half to stuff it the trash. The little bugger resisted mightily (they are really tough) and when it finally succumbed, shattered explosively. Learned a valuable lesson that day, even blank cd's can be very dangerous. Fortunately nobody was standing nearby or my insurance might have been paying for eye surgery.

          1. Aslan

            Re: Alternative printer undoing

            Usually the writable part of the CD-R is a foil film on the top of the CD. Place the film side down and scrape it along the asphalt with your foot. A few short feet should scrap all the foil off. I believe that renders it unreadable.

    2. Mpeler

      Re: Alternative printer undoing

      @ GrumpenKraut

      That sounds like metele:

      For continued fun, it can be downloaded:

      (cheaper than doing it for real, but maybe a little less satisfying (sadistfying?))...

  6. tony2heads

    I get the

    lp0 on fire code when the printer is really annoyed

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge

    So, networking then

    You've got a Mac, haven't you? Every new major OS version manages to make networking a little more shitty. If you 'upgraded' it to Yosemite, my condolences, it's the pinnacle of networking shittiness.

    Until once more upgrade time comes around again and we, Apple's flock, are herded once more this time to the top of the mighty heights of El Capitan where we will find that it gives up discovering SMB clients on the same network four times quicker, the WiFi drops out twice as fast, and Bonjour barfs three times as much data across the local network as before.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, networking then

      You've got a Mac, haven't you? Every new major OS version manages to make networking a little more shitty. If you 'upgraded' it to Yosemite, my condolences, it's the pinnacle of networking shittiness.

      Especially when it comes to mounting network resources. I have yet to work out how to make it connect to an NFS host because it doesn't matter what I try, it either screws up on authentication or on simply getting to the resource, and SMB use as "Guest" appears to be pretty much screwed as well because it seems to insist on a printing resource in its request (at least that's what it looked like in the error log before I gave up and used a USB stick instead).

      For something that is *nix/BSD derived it seems to have pretty well strayed from its noble roots by now. Shame.

      Ironically, printing it does really well, but only after I removed a WiFi repeater - the Epson printer I have really, REALLY doesn't like that thing to the point of nuking the print queue if it senses it (the Mac simply refuses to recognise the printer or reconnect if it's in range).

      1. Hugh McIntyre

        Re: So, networking then

        NFS works with MacOS as a client, but I agree that it can be a bit of an adventure, although some of the problems can also be because of Linux being a problematic NFS server, probably more picky than Solaris.

        One of the unexpected tricks is that you need to set "resvport" as a mount option on recent MacOS, and can try NFSv4 versus v3 or other debug tricks if that fails.

        It does work in the end, but may need some googling :(

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So, networking then

          NFS works with MacOS as a client, but I agree that it can be a bit of an adventure, although some of the problems can also be because of Linux being a problematic NFS server, probably more picky than Solaris.

          One of the unexpected tricks is that you need to set "resvport" as a mount option on recent MacOS, and can try NFSv4 versus v3 or other debug tricks if that fails.

          Thanks for that, I'll try that next time I have to engage in that fight. It's *very* irritating..

  8. GrumpenKraut

    The Oatmeal about printers

    Printers from Hell

    1. Unicornpiss

      Re: The Oatmeal about printers

      I was going to suggest that link, but you beat me to it. The Oatmeal rant pretty well sums it up.

      But I will mention a special kind of masochism that occasionally makes me decide to try printing an envelope on my usually well-behaved color laser. Generally after several tries with the address or return information printing in some bizarro location on the envelope, I manage to get it right... only to find that the printer has had enough and is now misfeeding every subsequent attempt. Several threats and picking destroyed envelopes out of the printer's innards later, I give up and address it by hand.

      1. GrumpenKraut

        Re: The Oatmeal about printers

        Handy rule is handy:

        Things that you might be able to do with your printer: single sided print in standard size from the standard feed.

        What never ever possibly works: Anything else.

  9. Blofeld's Cat

    Leaded glass

    "Can you imagine what it must be like to earn a decent living1 being paid to conserve art2, by the honest toil of your own hands, using your unique craft and completed at your own pace3, for clients who will always, without exception, be overjoyed with the results4 every time?"

    Speaking as someone who repairs stained glass (amongst other things) may I politely point out that you have a somewhat rosy impression of what is involved, Alistair.

    It's just like fixing other things, with the added delights of using materials that will cut, burn or poison you, given the slightest opportunity.

    1 "I didn't realise there would be a charge, we are a charity you know..."

    2 Plus a lot of mass produced Victorian tat.

    3 "Could you just move the scaffolding, I have a wedding in a couple of hours..."

    4 I've heard of this...

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Leaded glass

      I will never work for a charity again. I did it twice, never got paid from either charity. When I pushed for payment, I received the "we're a charity, you know" treatment, despite having agreed on a contract before we started. When it got nasty, I left them alone: I would have come out worse off.

      1. Shadow Systems

        @Alistair Dabbs, re Charities.

        Been There, Done That, Signed The Contracts, Got Screwed Anyway.

        The first time I worked for a month to fix a bunch of old computers so they 1) worked at all, 2) all had the same OS & security, & 3) formed an actual working intranet to allow them to use a central database server for keeping track of their stuff, hours, tax records, etc. When it came time to present them the bill they handed it back with a pseudo-confused whine about "We thought this was for free? We're a charity, we can't afford to pay this!" Show them a copy of the contract they signed, complete with the "If you fail to pay" clause, & ended up getting paid less than half the agreed upon price because "nobody's got that kind of cash!" (Really? Minimum wage for a month of 40 hour weeks is too expensive but you've just purchased new cellphones for all the Officers? Hmmmm...) Took the money, told them not to call me again when it broke, & left.

        Second time I put into the contract a "Failure to pay the full amount" clause, made them sign that particular section twice, and got started on revamping their machines/network. Two weeks as a rush job, get it done with time to spare, and get massive kudos about doing such a good job. Comes time to get paid & they "thought the contract was just a taxes thing. We can't pay that!" Show them the signed section that says in no uncertain terms that I Will Be Paid In Full, and ask again for my money. After months of wrangling & spinning my wheels to get nowhere, I politely told the Charity's head muckity muck "Either I get paid or I'll see you in Court. I've got a signed contract assuring me that you will pay me. Any claims to the contrary are full of shit." They cut me a cheque, I take it to the bank, & it bounces higher than a Greatful Dead fan in the dope pit. I had to file the lawsuit to convince them I meant business, THAT got them to pay me in full (and in Cash), to which I gave them a receipt, withdrew the case, & told them to go fuck themselves.

        When charity case #3 learned I wanted to be paid half in advance & half after completion, they balked & asked if we could make payment arrangements. I relented, agreed to $x per week for $# weeks, and took my first payment to get started. I finished the task quickly enough, but that first bit o' dosh was the *only* bit I ever got out of them. They "conveniently" filed for bankruptcy before the first month was out, leaving me in the lurch.

        Charities may do nice things for some folks, but in my personal experience they can Kiss My Fuzzy Ass if I'll ever do any more work for one. It's not worth the headaches to browbeat them to get paid. And like you said, the PR nightmare it causes "OMG! Why are you being mean to that Charity? You meanie!" isn't worth the stress you feel in resisting the urge to take $Charity out into the lawn to beat them like a pinata until money is forthcoming...


        Why do they do it? If they don't have the money to pay for the work then why not SAY SO in the beginning, so we can decide up front if we're willing to work for free? If I've just put in a month's worth of 8~10 hour days to fix your stuff, that's time I could have spent with a PAYING customer so I could afford to pay my own bills. You know, the ones I'm legally obligated to pay no matter how much I whine about being broke? Yeah. Either pay us what you owe us or tell us up front you want us to do it for free. Screwing us out of what you owe us is a REAL great way to get it spaffed on the various Social Media about what a bunch of shitty folks you REALLY are, facade of goodness be damned.

        1. Cpt Blue Bear

          Re: @Alistair Dabbs, re Charities.

          I got that "we thought you might do it as a donation" BS from our local mainstream conservative party a few years back. I expressed surprise as I thought they were the party for of all business great and small, free enterprise, etc. I added that I was reasonably sure I saw a poster to that effect around the time of the previous state election. I further asked if their receptionist worked for free or if the alleged office manager I was speaking to (turned out she was the daughter of one of the higher ups) donated her time. Finally I asked if the owner of the rather fine and prominent building they occupied donated the rent (this would turn into a bit of a scandal over undeclared party funding when said landlord decided he'd rather have the cash). She had the good grace to look embarrassed, but not sufficient write me a cheque.

          It took nine months to get a bill for just over a grand paid and I learnt why the bloke who passed me the job did so...

          By contrast, the Freemason's Foundation and the Transport Workers' Union not only paid on time but said thank you.

        2. Sarah Balfour

          Re: @Alistair Dabbs, re Charities.

          Many of the larger 'charities' have CEOs & directors being paid at least 6 figures. If I give to charity these days, it won't to be one of the massive ones, because I'm convinced that my 'donation' will end up in the CEO's bank account. The CEO of CRUK (a 'charity' for which I have zero time, I'm convinced it's a quango these days) took home a similar salary to most top wank… er bankers last year. Why the fuck should I fund that…?!

          You could always send a demand straight to the CEO - find out his annual salary and demand a decent percentage.

          Talking of people being paid for doing next to fuck all, the local ice cream van has switched to playing the MOTD theme. Prior to that it was The Birdie Song. I fucking HATE football!

      2. Teiwaz

        Re: Leaded glass & Linux


        I volunteered my time to do PC maintenance for a small charity that dealt with job-seeker training, and for an organisation that subsisted on donated PCs, they had an odd attitude of 'if it's not worth any money, it must not be worth having.'.

        I've had printers be reluctant to behave, due reports, interviews right back to 3rd year project, anything urgent. I really wish I'd held onto that old juki dot-matrix, the output looked crap, but it was reliable for 20 years.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leaded glass

        I will never work for a charity again.

        I'd go further: I even actively avoid people with charity ideas. There are three types of people involved in this activity at a level that could fund a contract, and of those three, you are likely to only ever meet two. Both of these are worth avoiding like a extra virulent combination of plague and ebola.

        Type one is the celeb or rich person who has decided to do something good with their money, either because they are actually fairly nice people, or are seeking absolution from their conscience, public opinion or prosecution. As ordinary IT pleb you will not come across many of those.

        Type two is the rosy-tinted glasses equipped individual who genuinely seeks to make the world a better place. They cook up ideas that range from naïve to unrealistic, have no idea how the real world works and tend to expect you to share in this view. Avoid. Not only will they expect you to work for free, they will also try to make you join "the cause". Failure in either will instead get you branded as The Evil Enemy. Note: I'm talking about the echelons that get to take decisions and have access to possible funding, not about the good souls who do the drudge work (you may have just dodged becoming one).

        Type three is the type I come across most. This is the type that sees charity as a vehicle to get things cheap and obtain funds without any obligation to do something sensible with them. Their aim is simply enrichment. They too require you to be cheap or even free, because anything you don't earn is there for them to pocket. There is another associated type here, which sets up a charity with the aim of having the charity fund their own work at a non-discounted rate, a sort once-removed leads engine. I was once asked to set up something like that, and I declined.

        I prefer dealing with a simple money making business with a P&L. Not interested in the guilt trip, and if I do charity I make that choice myself. Charity and business just do not mix IMHO.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Church people

    You'd expect church ( or equivalent for other religions) to be, by and large good and holy individuals.

    It doesn't seem to work that way, when the chips are down.

    Some years ago I needed to arrange for some kids to be escorted from a church primary school to and from an off-site learning base, a short distance away, for reading lessons. Paid, though not extravagantly, including waiting time while the kids were in lessons.

    It was hard to recruit the escorts for that school, they called me and said that they couldn't find anyone and the kids would have to do without the help. So I suggested that as it would be an act of charity to get these two kids to their special class that they could ask one of the church regulars. Both an act of kindness and a small supplement to their pensions.

    The head actually laughed out loud. He said they'd fight over who was going to do the flowers, but none of them would even consider doing this good deed.

    1. Unicornpiss

      Re: Church people

      Having worked as a restaurant manager many years ago, I'd have to also say that "church people" are overall the very worst tippers too.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Church people

        Nooo, that would be Canadians! What's the difference between a canoe and a canuk? Canoes tip.

        1. Dr_N

          Re: Church people

          I think you'll find that globally it's the British who have the reputation for being poor/non tippers.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Church people

            "I think you'll find that globally it's the British who have the reputation for being poor/non tippers."

            I agree, but that's mainly because we don't have a culture of tipping in restaurants etc. at least outside of London. On the whole, people get paid to do a job and are not effectively self-employed waiters/waitresses who absolutely require tips to earn a living. I remember being quite shocked the first time I used a London restaurant where the prices seemed quite reasonable only to find there was a compulsory 20% "service charge". My reaction was WF? Why does an expensive meal cost more to bring to the table than a cheap meal?

        2. Dan Paul

          Re: Church people

          Canadians think they don't need to tip because in Canada, they add the 20% gratuity on to the bill BEFORE it is presented. When I were a lad and worked in restaurants around the area of the Western NY and Canada border, we used to add the tip on the Canucks bill because we knew they wouldn't give a tip anyway.

    2. Disko

      Re: Church people

      I expect church people to be selfrighteous and condescending, dismissive of facts, hostile towards people with different preferences or lifestyles, cheap, unable to listen or explain matters in any logical fashion, dodgy, hedgy, shady, antisocial, rude, bigoted and prejudiced, and unsafe to be around children, the elderly, newborns, civil servants, the lbgt community, wildlife, educational institutions, technology, cities, cinemas, books, art or anything else that you might value - ultimately they want to appropriate everything and anything, you included. To be fair, they have rarely let down my expectations.

      1. Disko

        Re: Church people

        Having said all that, is there a printer god?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Church people

          "Having said all that, is there a printer god?"

          St Augistine of Hippo... is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes

  11. Wommit

    Sound like a normal day to me.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " “What do you mean you can’t find the printer?” I scream, pointing to the far corner of the room. “Look, it’s over there, dickhead!”"

    There is a birthday card that uses almost those very words. Sent it to a friend after her printer gave her the hide&seek treatment.

    1. Kubla Cant

      What do you mean you can’t find the printer?

      It was an act of evil genius to invent the wireless network printer.

      Usually, a recalcitrant printer would grudgingly get on with it when you used the cable that tethered it to your computer to send threats direct to its interface. Now they just sit in the corner sipping on mains power and only receiving the messages they want to hear. I suspect they spend most of their time posting snide messages about their owners on social media sites only accessible to printers.

  13. Doctor_Wibble

    The Machines Have Already Won

    Every time this sort of story comes up it just adds to the stack of evidence that we puny humans are already the underdog - remember this next time you are in a queue at the supermarket, and especially at the self-service till which has to be the biggest 'ha ha you lost' slap in the face ever.

    Of all the acts of conspiracy that have taken place every single flipping time I have an appointment to make or a deadline to meet, only a tiny proportion were committed by people.

    Oh, and trying to use a printer by plugging it in? How quaint! It has to be by wi-fi because they have to cripple (in advance of final removal) the standard useable-by-everything network (or USB) port otherwise that would put 20p on the price, never mind the fact that I then have to get a wi-fi box to plug into my network or get wi-fi cards for everything. If I'm doing anything important enough to print I'm doing it at a desk, not swanning about on a fckn tablet which somehow also means I have to print via someone else's server out on the fckn internet in order for the pages to appear here. That's what it sounded like it meant, anyway. How the fck is that not Them rubbing our noses in it again?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Machines Have Already Won

      "Of all the acts of conspiracy that have taken place every single flipping time I have an appointment to make or a deadline to meet, only a tiny proportion were committed by people."

      A supermarket manned check-out does not support that conclusion - unless bar code scanner is having problems. It is usually people who cause the hold-ups.

      1. changing their mind about a product.

      2. slowly packing their bags before searching for their purse and then finding

      a) the exact change

      b) a credit card that works

      c) their discount card

      d) money off vouchers - usually out of date or inapplicable

      e) their car park token for validation

      f) they are entitled to a free newspaper - but not sure which they want

      h) they haven't asked for their free coffee cup

      3. blocking the checkout while they

      a) re-pack their bags

      b) ask for more free bags

      c) re-organise their purse

      d) suddenly remember they need their car park token validated

      e) debate with their partner or a passing neighbour where to go next

      Recently I had been stood in a slow checkout queue for a few minutes when an irate women demanded my place in it. She had apparently left her trolley in the aisle before the checkout while she went to get more things. I relinquished my place after explaining her trolley appeared abandoned - a not unusual occurrence when queues get long. The floor manager then opened an adjacent till for me and the people behind me - and I waltzed through while the woman was still waiting in the other queue.

      1. Doctor_Wibble

        Re: The Machines Have Already Won

        All fair points and I've seen plenty of these but I think anyone stopping at the supermarket on the way to an important appointment when they are that short of time are just asking for trouble.

        Plus a couple of those are part of the machine conspiracy anyway - cards not working for no reason, vouchers not being accepted - and token validation is just machine's-work-by-proxy in any case. They just want you to think it's your fault in order to create an atmosphere of gratitude when they generously accept your offering.

      2. Ben Tasker

        Re: The Machines Have Already Won

        Recently I had been stood in a slow checkout queue for a few minutes when an irate women demanded my place in it. She had apparently left her trolley in the aisle before the checkout while she went to get more things.

        When in a weird mood, I've been known to become exceptionally helpful and help tidy the supermarket up a bit by moving any apparently abandoned trollies into one place. Especially ones near checkouts, after all that's your route out if there's a fire......

        I say weird mood, the wife tends to phrase it more like "being a cunt". Tomatas/Tomatoes IMO

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: The Machines Have Already Won

          When in a weird mood, I've been known to become exceptionally helpful and help tidy the supermarket up a bit by moving any apparently abandoned trollies into one place. Especially ones near checkouts, after all that's your route out if there's a fire......

          I say weird mood, the wife tends to phrase it more like "being a cunt".

          There's a couple of rarely used parking spots at our supermarket often used by people exiting the car park to save a couple of hundred yards of travel to the end of the row and back down again. Sometimes I park there, much to the annoyance of the person in the car behind me. It exceptionally convenient for me when it's time to leave :-)

      3. Disko

        Re: The Machines Have Already Won

        Always give any abandoned trollies a good firm shove to send them reeling in the direction of the nearest stack of canned beans, or whatever else looks like it could fall over easily, then quick as a flash duck behind another customer, sneak out of the shop and buy whatever you need elsewhere.

      4. GrumpenKraut

        Re: The Machines Have Already Won

        You certainly forgot you shovel, didn't you?

      5. Pedigree-Pete

        Re: The Machines Have Already Won

        Upvote for the store manager. They put up with a lot, from below & above.

  14. deadlockvictim

    Printing theses and dissertations

    I'm well used to these buggers' finicky ways. After many, many poor performances from ink-jets, I have only used laser printers since the late 1990s.

    Rules to be obeyed when dissertations are to be printed off:

    a. Have at least 2 laser printers and access to a third;

    b. Have at least 2 computers that can print the thing and access to a third;

    c. Have enough paper for at least 1 extra print-out;

    d. Have enough time for printing. Order pizza if necesary.

    e. Have a copy of dissertation online and on USB stick.

    The magic word is 'redundancy'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Printing theses and dissertations

      Single point of failure: the electricity supply.

      1. deadlockvictim

        Re: Printing theses and dissertations

        Oddly enough, this has never given up on me. the worst that I've had is a tripping of the switch. I lost the page being printed. I forgot about the computer type.

        If you are a mac user, be sure to know other mac users.

        If you are a *nix user, you probably have several computers lying around and, if not, certainly have the parts to build one and can do so faster most people can re-install software. Besides, if nothing else, you install some flavour of Unix onto your spouse's old PowerBook and use that just as easily. I never cease to be amazed at how *nix people can make old machines perfectly usable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Printing theses and dissertations

      "a. Have at least 2 laser printers and access to a third;

      b. Have at least 2 computers that can print the thing and access to a third;"

      All being different models - and not the exact same O/S and update level.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Printing theses and dissertations

        "All being different models - and not the exact same O/S and update level."

        I once visited a council department at Swansea which had a cluster of 4 large Laserjets, but the staff were actually using Laserjet 4's which were so heavily used they had turned deep brown.

        It turned out the head of department insisted the entire cluster of 4 large printers had to be reserved for her exclusive use in case she needed to print off a report in a hurry. Of course her computer was the single point of failure - just as well she hadn't spotted that.

        Immediate memo to self: Never, ever work in local government.

      2. Tony Haines

        Re: Printing theses and dissertations

        "All being different models - and not the exact same O/S and update level."

        Given Microsoft's attitude to WYSIWYG[1] that's optimistic, to say the least. I once saw a student try to print a patch - a single page in the middle of a long document, transferred from one machine to another. The OS was the same, Office was the same, the printer was ... a subtly different model in the same line[2].

        The document paginated differently. Not ideal to have deleted and duplicated text.

        That was a long time ago, but only last year my boss found that a Word document - which it was essential fit onto two pages - ran on to a third on his home computer.

        [1] I think they heard about it, and decided they want no part of it.

        [2] It probably had an 'e' after the number, or something like that.

      3. Allan George Dyer

        Re: Printing theses and dissertations

        "All being different models - and not the exact same O/S and update level."

        But then you get caught by the "it only prints correctly from THIS version" bug. If it's a long document, the problem will occur on a page in the middle (you know, the one with the complicated diagram) subtly changing it so that it is complete nonsense, but you don't notice until after the document is delivered...

        And the page numbering on the table of contents is messed up.

        They've got us. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't change anything

    The problem itself often gets resolved very quickly. However in the meantime one of your diagnostic changes has introduced a new error that keeps you chasing your tail.

    This is often down to you noticing something looks wrong - so you do a "quick fix" while you are there. You don't test the change because 1) it's an obvious fix - and 2) you're too busy chasing the other problem.

    Occam's Razor long ago proved to be false in most problem situations. Surprisingly often there are at least two unrelated problems which produce apparently the same symptoms. As I explain to customers - "near enough" is rarely good enough - especially for IT.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Don't change anything

      "This is often down to you noticing something looks wrong - so you do a "quick fix" while you are there. You don't test the change because 1) it's an obvious fix - and 2) you're too busy chasing the other problem."

      Did that once at a customer site. They were getting out of memory errors. This was in the days of MS-DOS and the config.sys file had some exceptionally large numbers in the FILES= and BUFFERS= lines. I reduced them to more sane values and the problem went away. 20 miles down the road and the phone rings. Go back, their accounts package doesn't work anymore. Shit!

      Went back, re-wrote the config.sys as a menu so they could re-boot between the two programs with relevant FILES= and BUFFERS= lines as applicable, which wasn't too much of an imposition when MSDOS booted in seconds and didn't do multitasking anyway. But I could have done without that return trip at 3pm in Scotland with a 3 hour drive home.

  16. Wensleydale Cheese

    That Go West video

    I got this:

    "Vous devez mettre à jour la version de votre Adobe Flash Player pour regarder cette vidéo.

    Téléchargez-le sur Adobe"

    a) Quite why I got that in French beats me. I live in a German speaking area.

    b) Yes I do understand French, and that's telling me to go to Adobe's site and grab the latest version

    c) I have consigned Flash to a Linux instance running in a VM. I got a shiny new version of Flash just yesterday. Is there another one up the spout already?

    Checks updates to see if yet another Flash update has arrived.

    Nope, but some kernel patches to apply. Another reboot on the way then.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: That Go West video

      I don't know why, but this video has been pulled from YouTube and Vimeo. I quickly found a dodgy alternative. I'm glad you enjoyed the experience.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: That Go West video

      a) It went west.

  17. frank ly

    "I could no longer ... , piss in my own toilet ..."

    The bathroom washbasin is a multifunction device.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I could no longer ... , piss in my own toilet ..."

      I thought that was what a bidet was for?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Shadow Systems

      @Frank Ly, re wash basin.

      It might be a multi function device, but don't try to multi task those two functions while using it.

      Urine a lot of trouble if you doodoo.

      *Runs away*

  18. vonBureck

    You just broke the Internet

    You do realise that anyone who tries to google "error 51" will now be directed to this rant and get trapped in an endless loop until all their little machineries go mad and the world ends in chaos and disorder? A dastardly scheme, Mr. Dabbs, mutual assured destruction indeed (see icon).

  19. glen waverley

    Priceless ...

    "while my toilet remains out of order, use the old printer to shit in"

    (Now I'm not sure that is coffee spatter on the keyboard, despite what I have always assumed.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Priceless ...

      Priceless ...

      "while my toilet remains out of order, use the old printer to shit in"

      Hmm, not everything even makes it to the printer...

      1. swampdog

        Re: Priceless ...

        I have still got a w2003 server doing printer duties.

  20. Wensleydale Cheese

    Or, indeed, you ought to be be able to complete the job handsomely without having a team of deadheads dancing forever around behind you, barking orders, changing their minds every two fucking seconds and insisting that you must shave five days from your deadline because “God needs the window finished by Friday”.

    After dealing with Parish Councils, vicars and church wardens, most of whom think they know your job better than you do, he's probably going to find dealing with the City crowd a piece of cake.

    It won't be God who needs the window finished by Friday, but there will be a posh wedding or Harvest Festival or some other Important Event governing your deadline. The City bods might pay late, but they do eventually pay.

  21. Bill M

    Ah, the old 'Error 51: Consult service manual.'

    Ah, the old 'Error 51: Consult service manual.'

    That usually happens after the poor printer has been flashing "low toner" messages at you for a few weeks, but you think you have a special printer that can print with no toner left.

    I checked in the service manual and it says "Error 51: Printer sulking. Common cause is Mr Dabbs not changing the empty toner cartridge".

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Ah, the old 'Error 51: Consult service manual.'

      This is possible. I found a trick online that disables my printer's toner-out countdown, and I have not needed to change my toner carts for nearly two years.

  22. Sgt_Oddball


    Let any mechanical device know you are in a hurry.

    Thats a law thats as old as the hills Mr dabs...

    Also I'd love to see you attempt to dismantle the printers at my old work... Hp late 90s laser jets. More metal in em than the seven bridge. Though my new works got an a3 printer that doesn't print because the scanner in it won't play ball any more. I mean really.. The bit that gets used the least and doesn't matter much if it doesn't work has killed it.

    Maybe dabs is right. There's a war going on and we're losing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never...

      "The bit that gets used the least and doesn't matter much if it doesn't work has killed it."

      Also: won't let you print a black text document because it suddenly considers one of the colour cartridges you have rarely used has to be replaced - NOW!

      1. skeptical i
        Thumb Down

        Re: Never...

        Then there are the print+scan+fax+copy machines that will not even allow an outbound fax if any one of the toner cartridges is "empty". While I accept that the sole purpose of these devices is to ensure a steady stream of ink cartridge sales, refusal to perform a task that requires no ink whatsoever (we only got receipts for outgoing faxes if we pressed the "print receipt" button) is just spiteful.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheap components

    I only buy equipment from large branded companies with a proven track record of support and maintenance capabilty.

    Cheap IT breaks and is false economy.

    An example of this is hearing a bloke saying he bought 2 cheap inkjet printers a year because he used them so much they wore out that fast, whereas he should have buying a substantial laserjet with warranty. False economy.

    Similarly how many people use tat model hubs, cheap mice, knock off PCs, home brand displays, special offer wifi repeaters, cables from asda, unbranded SD cards, only to have frequent 'IT issues'.

    Cutting corners does not mean you will always end up with tat, and buying more expensive gear does not guarantee reliability - but is sure as hell stacks the odds in your favour.

    And invest in resilience and redundancy. Have a plan B - like knowing of a local printers who can run off copies from an email or USB drive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cheap components

      Needed a powerful PC for a job at work. Company insists have to buy an expensive branded one because of repairs policy etc. A year later need an identical one to help meet the workload. Also needed for redundancy - as IT support now say it will take at least two weeks for any repairs by that manufacturer.

      Do some enquiries. The supplier cannot guarantee which type of motherboard the manufacturer uses to meet the nominal overall spec in any of their models - and anyway my particular model is now discontinued.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cheap components

        So you didn't buy from a supplier with reliabilty and maintenance? You didnt buy with adequate warranty? You didnt invest in resilience or a plan B?

        My point was that if you are a professional relying on IT for your job you shouldnt cut corners.

        If you were a driver for your income you'd buy a decent car with warranty, and a courtesy car when broke, and have good quality insurance for damage and theft.

        Yet when buying IT for something as critical as your job people spend 20 quid on a hub rather than several hundred quid on a branded one with reliabilty and support in order to save a few quid.

        If you are going to go cheap and least buy two of them and have a spare for when it goes titsup.

        1. Kubla Cant

          Re: Cheap components

          @AC So you didn't buy from a supplier with reliabilty and maintenance? You didnt buy with adequate warranty? You didnt invest in resilience or a plan B?

          Thank you for injecting a note of seriousness, even sententiousness, into an otherwise intolerably light-hearted discussion. BTW, your perfect world is impaired by a missing apostrophe.

  24. clayusmcret


    Ever since I got my Tandy 286, I've said that the CSD chip was a real thing. The CSD or "Critical Stress Detector" ALWAYS kicks in the higher your level of stress or the more importantly you need the computer to work correctly the first time. Guaranteed.

  25. Chris G


    The belief that inanimate objects are acting against you: I for one have always doffed my hat to our mechanical/electronic overlords!

    Just before taking out a very large spanner and a dead blow mallet,neither are guaranteed to fix anything much but the joy in applying them is matchless.

    In terms of peripherals I will put Epson at or near the top of the resistential heap, when they are working they do a good job but more temperamental than a Broadway leading lady.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Resistentialism

      I've just noticed that I made a very similar post to yours two hours later, but without being aware of it. Right down to Epson...but I really was messed about by an Epson printer last week.

      There is some worrying telepathy going around here. That or you're me in an alternative universe which is two hours ahead, but somehow posting to the same Register.

    2. Sgt_Oddball

      Re: Resistentialism

      I would agree but we've got an old Epsom all in one jobbie and it's working alright (turns out the trick to make it work is an Epsom business tool to fix the ip address and stop it wandering off to a different subnet because of..... Reasons, once done it's been solid ever since bar the usual thirst for ink (ink for the ink God?))

  26. Unicornpiss


    I've also noticed that cars can sense when you're in a bad mood and will pick that time to run like shit, fail to start, make some weird noise you've never heard before, or act up in some other way that can't be reproduced. When you're in a good mood and no hurry the car runs smoother and everything works perfectly.

    The universe has a horrible sense of humor.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    True Story

    I was working with some new gear and the setup was having none of it. You know the drill, servers won't join a domain, new users aren't recognized, software won't install correctly, networks are seen and then not seen ( yes, Windows Server) that kind of consistent, frustrating shite. It had been days and this one server was of particular trouble. Now, I'm not a woowoomeister, but this actually happened. I sat there glaring at the uncooperative server and imagined me taking it outside into the parking lot and beating it to a crumbled mess with a sledgehammer. Within seconds it stopped giving me fits and did everything I told it to - without changing a damn thing. Things that did not work before, just started to work using the exact same process that previously would not work. It has been a good little server ever since.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Chris G

      Re: Paul Jennings

      According to Widdlydiddlia Resistentialism, it was the Spectator 1948, there is also a link to Vincent Benet a prophetic poem if ever there was one.

      The Rise of the Machines is well under way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Paul Jennings

        See above, that's why I've deleted my post.

  29. Peter X

    Eddie Izzard

    Eddie Izzard did a sketch about this.

    My mum's computer (yeah, I'm tech-support) runs Ubuntu and she has a wireless HP inkjet and that randomly decides it won't print... can't remember the error message, but it implies it can't see the printer, which therefore implies a networking problem... but you can *always* get to the printers own web interface thus proving that isn't the issue. When I try to investigate it will either start working, or CUPS will crash and I'll restart and then it'll probably work. Bloody thing.

    Also, cars.

    Driving a long one day, notice a yellow "EPC" light on the dash board. But it's yellow, so it can't be super serious can it? I get home, check the manual and it just says the engine management system has spotted a problem and you should take the car to a dealer. Doesn't say you can't drive or anything though. So that same night I had to go somewhere, so I drove. The car drove completely fine, but the EPC light is still on. Later that evening, I return to the car, switch on... and there's another light on. Didn't know what it was until I got home, but it was the emissions light. Still a yellow light though... not red... so not serious.

    Anyway, at this point I'm concerned I'll damage the cat if I drive it any more so I make enquires with "people who know"... and they ask me "do the drake lights work?". Which struck me as a surprising question. Surely this was engine related? Anyway, the brake lights were not working because the little switch under the brake peddle that tells the engine management that the car is braking had broken which in turn led to it just flagging up a bunch of other non-related issues.

    It's just all crap to make up for the fact that for the most part, modern kit is electronically and mechanically, far more reliable than ever before. So obscure software issues is the new growth area in annoying people!

    1. Mark York 3 Silver badge

      Re: Eddie Izzard

      They charge you at least $100 to plug in the OBDC reader here, even with the fault code & going to another cheaper garage with the first quote a friend got charged again "Just to check the issue Sir".

      I wish I could charge a $100 just to pick up a basic piece of diagnostic equipment, turned me scope on apply probe to circuit board "That will be $100+tax.....Oh the fault.....I don't know I'll have to look into it!"

      I ended up buying a OBDC reader that was on a special deal, transient engine warning messages fly up all the time, even due to the amount of fuel in the tank & the general temperature (these can clear themselves or after removing the filler cap for a few minutes or filling up, remembering to turn the ratcheting cap fully 3 times, then watch it disappear 2 miles down the road) causing a headless chicken panic struck reaction from the wife to drive into the nearest dealership to ripped off even when she knows I have the reader & home is 3 minutes away..

      These days I can read them, clear the error & see if it comes back immediately.

      Last night the truck decided to warn me in red letters that the battery charging system needs attention, I think this happened once before with the wife driving into a valley of cooler air (she was designated driver) & I'm hoping the same is true today that it was some kind of temperature related\belt slipping issue (& I have been meaning to change the belt for 2 years now).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eddie Izzard

      "But it's yellow, so it can't be super serious can it?"

      My Mini-Moke was a minimalist car in all respects. Instrumentation was a speedometer dial with an odometer and two warning lights - one red, one yellow.

      For weeks it was plagued with the warning light indicating that the dynamo wasn't generating enough voltage unless you revved fairly hard. Fiddled with Adjusted the settings of the electromechanical device that regulated the voltage - to no avail. Finally changed it and then the dynamo. No difference.

      The penny finally dropped. When I bought it second-hand it was purple with flower-power decals - so I had it resprayed "The Prisoner" white. When refitting the speedometer unit the garage had put the two warning bulbs behind their opposite bezels. It was actually telling me it needed the oil topping up.

  30. thx1138v2

    ah, the joys of printed manuals

    Error 42: See appendix C of operator's manual page 6 item 13

    Operator's Manual Appendix C, page 6, item 13: See "endless loop" Programmer's manual Appendix FF page 13 item 6

    Programmer's manual Appendix FF page 13 item 6: See Error 42.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ah, the joys of printed manuals

      Definition of recursion: see recursion

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: ah, the joys of printed manuals

      Better yet, see Section C, Page 45 in a none-clickable, non-searchable PDF so "my" page is actually page 297 in the PDF reader.

  31. johnwerneken

    lol me too

    yesterday it was the disappearance of windows defender from my win 8.1 (6.3.9600) partition. last week it was two failed win 10 build 10166 updates followed by a failed iso install, which at least gave an error message...some genius had posted the answer, which was that .net 3.5 needed to be uninstalled. grrr.

    All the fookin craptraptions seem to belong to the same Union...

  32. JustWondering

    Two words

    Percussive maintenance.

    1. Potemkine Silver badge

      Re: Two words

      'Hardware' is the part you can kick ^^

  33. Stephen 1


    No self-respecting tech-head should need a printer anymore.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Dinosaur

      Oddly enough even tech heads need to interface with the wider world, and paper and ink is that interface. Unfortunately, the printer manufacturers have got us by the balls.

      T'was not me that downvoted by the way.

  34. TRT Silver badge

    You've heard of...

    the criticality detector, right? That chip that's in all electronic appliances (computers have more than one) that detects the level of criticality of a particular task and triggers a malfunction whenever the level exceeds preset limits.

  35. Yugguy

    If the definition of insanity

    Is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results, then I think you may have finally lost it.

  36. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Pah! Kids these days ...

    Chain printers used to eat people. Whole.

  37. Dave 125


    He's probably giving that church work up for extra money. Churches are invariably short of funds so you'll drive 500 miles a day and pour 60 hours of BS&T into the job, only to be paid wages a Chinese sweat shop worker would turn down, whereas that poncy City tw@t isn't going to give a monkey's about giving you 30K of that 50 million he's just made by sending Greece even further up the swanee.

  38. nilfs2

    "Innovation" turned into "over-complication"

    Have you noticed that most innovation on IT makes no difference more than making things more complicated and resources demanding? MS Office is an example, you do the same things on a spreadsheet on Office 2013 that you have done since, say, Office 97? The difference is that Office became a lot more resource intensive. Same with printers, we used to have a basic printer with a tiny driver that made the job, now we have printers with a load off crap on and a driver that is bigger and takes longer to install than the OS you are running it on.

  39. Potemkine Silver badge

    Sadly true

    Objects are mean.

  40. Simon B

    "Then I calmly unplug the Ethernet switch from the mains… and kick the fucking thing out of my office, down the fucking hall, through the fucking kitchen and into the fucking garage for fucking refuckingcycling." Had me laughing, love it. Brilliant bit of writing, thorougly enjoyed and I so do the swearing at equipment :D

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