back to article Render crashing PCs back to their component silicon: They deserve it

My computer crashed every five minutes this morning. Please can you check what's wrong with it when you get home? This text message does not surprise me in the least. Mrs Dabbsy's computer never goes wrong when I'm nearby. It waits until I'm out of the house. As soon as it knows I'm safely on a train heading off somewhere, it …

  1. Franco Silver badge

    If I had a fiver for every time I'd heard variations of "whilst you're here I'll show you this problem. Oh it's not doing it now. I bet it'll happen again 10 minutes after you leave" I could retire. And then only hear it from my family and friends.....

    1. macjules Silver badge
      Happy

      Upon my tombstone à la Spike Milligan I shall have inscribed "See? I TOLD you it would crash 5 minutes after I died".

    2. Efros

      I tell my family I threaten the PC with a screwdriver and that I'm not afraid to use it.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        I go a bit further... I tell the computer that if doesn't stop acting up, I'll turn it into a boat anchor. I then show it a picture of a very deep lake. They usually get the message as I only have to tell them once.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Happy

          A very long time ago, when I was a student (1989) I was in one of the computer rooms, and someone asked me for help - her screen kept switching off.

          It was a super-duper VAX/VMS workstation, with a huge screen, and she was reading some large document in a way that meant she was rarely touching the keys/mouse.

          Basically, the screen saver was kicking in.

          I walked over and said "ahhhh, the prblem with these machines is that they enjoy messing with you. You have to be stern - shout at them - show them who's boss."

          She looked at me as if I was mental, so I turned to the monitor, pointing my finger up close in an agressive way, and shouted "I'm fed up with you playing around like this. If you don't switch back on now, I'm throwing you out of the window. LOOK AT ME. I'm serious." (I'm paraphrasing, I don't remember my exact words!)

          At this point, I thumped the desk 'in anger' close by the mouse, causing the mouse to move slightly, which in turn woke up the screen. I turned to her and said 'It won't misbehave again' and calmly walked away!

    3. Novex
      Happy

      I find other people's computers like me, and behave themselves most of the time when I'm around just to annoy their users who don't 'show them enough love, man'.

      As for some of my own PCs: give them half a chance and they'll misbehave like naughty children just to piss me off, while smiling sweetly and wondering what they've done wrong, the little buggers! I love them all dearly, of course...

    4. energystar
      Windows

      Make Them to have a plan B, then C&D...

      On another HW, FW, Software. Then go to sleep. Count "clouds" to help you in the sleeping process.

      [Damn Firmware!..]

    5. energystar
      Windows

      The Exodus, recounted.

      "...I could retire. And then only hear it from my family and friends....."

      The Exodus, recounted. Already done, at this side of the Pond. Living from my huge surplus, as MS support.

    6. energystar
      Holmes

      "...Bastards, the lot of them."

      What could I say, Dabbs?

      Don't trust bastardized technologies. Specially when trying to impress. Cheer up. Learn about codependency.

      1. LaeMing
        Devil

        Re: "...Bastards, the lot of them."

        Speak softly.

        And carry a 23" shifting spanner.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "...Bastards, the lot of them."

          The odd thing about this article is:

          Dabbsy is saying that his Windows, malware-infested, bloatware-ridden machine has intermittent crashes.

          He then seems to think that replacing it with a newer one of the same is not going to end up in the same situation. Really??

          Here's a nickel - get yourself a real computer.

    7. Marshalltown

      Electrons

      I used to get a complaint every morning from the office manager. Some wasn't working, would mnot access, would not .... Of course, I would ask her to move out her chair, sit down and have her explain to me what she was doing, and things would be shiny. That would drive her bats ... screaming rage. She would ask what I did "different." I would tell her, 1) I had a cup of coffee before entering the office and 2) I was always polite and said "good morning" to the electrons. It was obvious that it paid off, since they never gave me trouble. She never did have a coronary, but some of the facial hues ... bright pink to deep blueish purple... wow!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cars are like that too. Intermittent fault the shit out of you until the moment they are presented to a mechanic; upon which they run perfectly. Worst example of this I ever had was a car just conked out...in rush hour; on the fast/inside lane of a roundabout junction on the North Circular. Three hours of providing commuters with an object of pity/humour/schadenfreude/abuse later, the RAC turned up. It did -of course- start first time. Motherfucker. It still had the dents when I sold it.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      It still had the dents when I sold it.

      a John Cleese moment?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like a main relay. Had this issue in an old Honda, would randomly cut out, fail to proceed, then 10 minutes later everything was perfect again. It was only when I had replaced it and had it up for sale that someone suggested I resolder the main relay solder joints - did that and it ran perfectly.

      My own intermittent fault is that my car sounds like a washing machine on spin sometimes. Of course, when a mechanic is driving it it becomes silent. Then when I'm ferrying some relatives about they are either terrified or laughing at the ridiculous noise. (Not brake discs, tyres nor wheel bearings at this point).

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Years ago i had this with disc brakes.

        Suddenly, in traffic, the car couldn't be stopped. When it was checked by the RAC man at the side of the road where it had drifted to a halt, no problem to be found.

        A week later, same thing.I let it rest then drove home very carefully

        I had it checked by the garage.

        Some of you will know the reason. Pity the RAC dick didn't. (Brakes binding and getting too hot ).

        1. cd

          Brake fluid is hygroscopic. If changed regularly (depending on moisture level in your climate) you will never have brake problems, nearly all of them arise from corrosion. No garage I've heard of does this, probably because there's no money in it compared to selling new rotors, calipers, bearings, etc.

          In the US, enough brake fluid to run through twice costs about $8, a veterinary syringe to use for bleeding another $3; the process takes perhaps 40 minutes. The old fluid can be recycled with motor oil. About a week beforehand, spray penetrant on all the bleeder nuts so they'll loosen nicely, don't get any on the rotor or pads.

          And don't forget the clutch, much easier to bleed than replace the slave cylinder.

        2. BitMangler

          @Terry 6

          >Some of you will know the reason. Pity the RAC dick didn't. (Brakes binding and getting too hot ).

          More likely old brake fluid. The stuff is hydrophilic, and will absorb water vapor from the atmosphere over time. Heat it up enough in use, and the water in the fluid will vaporize creating bubbles in the lines or wheel cylinders. The temporary result is either a very spongy and low brake pedal, or one that goes straight to the floor. The solution is to replace all of the brake fluid. and either replace the calipers, or take them apart and inspect the cylinder bores for rust. Rust on the cylinder walls will cause can cause the piston to not retract (leading to the brakes being "stuck on'"), or simply to leak. Both conditions are dangerous.

          1. art guerrilla

            ...and don't forget that 10 point safety check before every trip !

            seriously, GREAT, succinct advice for the shade-tree mechanics in the studio audience; but how many have the tools, know-how, or -most importantly, especially if saddled with rugrats- the time to do such necessary maintenance of their car ?

            ...AND the spousal unit's car, AND the kid's bikes, AND the lawnmower, AND the refrig, AND the washer/dryer, AND the AC, AND the broken light fixture by the porch, AND the water heater, AND the culvert that is silted up, AND the dog's crate which is broken, AND -*sigh*- the stupid 'puter on the blink, AND any of another hundred never ending things which we *should* do, but don't have the time, energy, or know-how to do so ?

            sure, i used to change my oil/filter, but for not much more than the cost of the syn-oil, the local oil-change place can do it while i work, a short walk away from there...(not to mention i don't have to lug the spent oil to the local recycle place, AND they plug the slow leaking tire i've been meaning to fix for the last couple weeks, but can't find my stupid $5 tire plug kit, AND they replace the burnt-out turn signal light it would have taken me another month or so to get to, etc)

            time, it all comes down to precious, precious time...

            i bet dollars to donut holes, 90% of our studio audience would LOVE to trade off some pay for time off, IF they had the choice...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        John Cleese, you say?

        @sirwiggum - dunno...the car only ever did it once...on a one-off important mission to London, naturally (I seem to recall it was a job interview and that was back before the days of mobile phones, so of course that did put a crimp in my day). Possibly something in the fuel line that cleared itself. For your own fault...cooling fan? That's intermittent and can sound quite alarming if the bearings are on their way out.

      3. cd

        Try turning off the AC and see if it goes away. Compressor near the end sounds like that.

      4. Montreal Sean

        Car sounds like washing machine on spin?

        If it isn't brakes or bearings, it might be your clutch slipping.

        Does the sound happen more at low revs when you try to accelerate? Then disappear when you try the same at high revs?

    3. Baldy50

      Man after my own heart

      Priceless! That's all.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Terminator

    كَثيب ? Kull Wahad with Fatwa on the side!

    Is it just me or does this week's mugshot of Dabbsy of Star-abia look more pouting than usual? Also, that expansive hair must be a real pain to keep lice-free in a Palmerya.

    Thumpers ahoy!!

  4. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Happy

    You forgot printers

    Compared to printers, computers are the soul of reliability. A computer may die randomly when you have a deadline or are geographically or temporally removed from any possibility of support. but printers are ornery all day long, every day, yet still manage to deliver the coup de grace at the 11th hour on tax day, or when you have an important paper or project due.

    And don't get me started on the joys of printing envelopes. Envelopes are for printers what catnip mice are for cats. I rather violently discarded my old inkjet printer (never another inkjet!!) in favor of a color laser some years ago. Still, even though overall it is much more reliable, it will wait until I have the address and return perfectly centered on an envelope to begin jamming constantly with a sound like a dyspeptic wood chipper.

    Here is a classic from someone who understands: Why printers were sent from hell

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You forgot printers

      Yes, the little (or big) shites.

      Mind has been nagging me that the black cart was empty for months (it wasnt).

      Then, at the beginning of summer, it started nagging me that the clock wasnt set (it had been, but now suddenly wasnt).

      I ignored it until this Monday, when I accidentally hit "Yes" instead of "No" to the clock nag, and had to go through setting the correct date and time.

      As soon as I did this, it REFUSED to print another character - until the black cart was changed.

      Just as I was trying to print out the weekend's order list and address labels.

      It makes me wonder if the carts have a kill date built into the control chip.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You forgot printers

        "It makes me wonder if the carts have a kill date built into the control chip."

        Some printers seem to like running cleaning cycles at regular intervals. If the clock gets reset they don't know the cycle is due - then the clock is set, they promptly clean the heads and run out of ink.

        Once upon a time printer firmware was written by people who understood printers. Now it seems to be written by foreign subcontractors to specs written by the marketing department. I have seen printers do things which have made me speculate on precisely which method the programmer got wrong at which point.

      2. AustinTX

        Re: You forgot printers

        Yes, all joking aside, some printer cartridges literally, actually DO have expiration dates built in. There's a whole community of folks working out ways to circumvent this. Printer mfgrs are/were actually pressing to make this sort of thing illegal too. The reason for the expiration? Benevolent, kind-hearted printer mfgrs simply want to ensure you have "the best possible experience" heh. Also, when the inkjet cartridge is officially "empty" there's still hundreds of pages worth of ink throughout the capillary tunnels within it. If petrol cost the same as printer ink, a fill-up would cost half a million dollars. What is printer ink? Dirty water.

        1. Adam 1

          Re: You forgot printers

          > What is printer ink?

          Unicorn tears.

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Re: You forgot printers

        One phrase to inspire groans and terror: Canon BJ-10 Portable Bubble Jet

        This little gem had a very easily broken part of the plastic casing - the paper controller mount - that would quickly render the whole unit inoperable, despite touted as a portable printer. I used to have a pile of broken BJ-10s in my office in the early 90's, all waiting for a replacement casing. Best ever printer manufacturer: GCC - you could reset the drum controller so that it never wore down.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: You forgot printers

      I too, migrated from ever clogged printheads and dried out print cartridges of occasionally used inkjets, to the world of colour laser.

      All was well for about a MONTH until I noticed red dot patterns across the page.

      Contacted $Laser_Printer_Manufacturer, after getting through a few contact people got a reply that a courier would pick it up. "OK", I said, "I can bring it into work and they can pick it up from there".

      Then got contacted again "Sorry but we actually need an engineer to look at it, we'll be in contact in due course to organise one".

      2 days later, in work, someone gets shown to my desk. "Here to see about a printer...?"

      "Erm, it's at home" I sheepishly say. Organise (as in, convincing support that it is a home printer and that I don't actually live at work, and no I can't run my printer off the corporate network) a week later for them to revisit my home, where I can demonstrate the red dot patterns.

      Sure enough, perfect prints for the hour or so he stayed. I showed him the "If it does it again it may be the magenta cartridge". On a month old printer???

      And sure enough, when I was printing ebay post labels the next day, the red dot pattern was back.

  5. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Dune

    I just last week I started listening to my Dune audio book.. Paul still thinks Usul is another planet.

    It all works fine until I take a holiday! Maybe I should work my holiday, and take the rest of the year off?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dune

      ....I don't understand?

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Dune

        A novel by Frank Herbert. If you have not read it, do so: Dune

      2. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: Dune

        Some of the references in the article are to the film Dune - Fremen, spice (melange), blue eyes, the worms, Paul Atredies, etc.

        Take the time to read the book or watch the film, Its a good film (given its age) and the Command and Conquer set of games started out based on it, given that the first game was Dune so Tiberium.= Spice. Spent many an evening in my yoof cursing the worm that just ate my harvester.

        1. BoldMan

          Re: Dune

          Don't watch the godawful film, read the fucking book!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dune

            "Don't watch the godawful film, read the fucking book!"

            And don't read too many of the increasingly godawful sequels. I gave up at about Buggies of Dune, or was it Yet Another Misunderstood Sociology Textbook of Dune?

            1. Steve Knox

              Re: Dune

              But if you don't read some of the sequels, you won't get the B-52s reference...

              1. Novex

                Re: Dune

                But if you don't read some of the sequels, you won't get the B-52s reference...

                Actually, there's enough in the original to get a gist of a reference to that specific B-52s' song that Dabbsy linked too.

                +1 for reading the first book. Watch Lynch's film as well though, for all it's oddness it's still a valiant attempt to put the book on the big screen. I wouldn't bother with the Brian Herbert sequel books though. They're not a patch on the original or any of FH's five follow-ups.

                1. CliveS
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: Dune

                  "Watch Lynch's film as well though, for all it's oddness it's still a valiant attempt to put the book on the big screen."

                  Then watch Jodorowsky's Dune to a) realise how tame Lynch's version was and b) what a huge debt the SF movie industry owes to a film that was never made.But be careful if tempted to watch El Topo...

              2. wayne 8

                Re: Dune

                Or do a search with "private idaho and dune novel"

            2. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Re: Dune

              "And don't read too many of the increasingly godawful sequels."

              - Anything after Heretics of Dune aren't sequels, they're milking the series. Meh, some of them are Ok, but all of them together are not worth one of the original.

              1. Number6

                Re: Dune

                - Anything after Heretics of Dune aren't sequels, they're milking the series. Meh, some of them are Ok, but all of them together are not worth one of the original.

                To be fair, the stuff written by his son is pretty good in its own right and fills in some of the background nicely.

                1. CliveS
                  Thumb Down

                  Re: Dune

                  "To be fair, the stuff written by his son is pretty good in its own right and fills in some of the background nicely."

                  I would be more than a little hesitant to describe the stuff written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

                  as "pretty good" to be honest. Pretty dire might be an understatement. Contradictory of his father's original material for sure. And contradictory of his own material.

                  For me the Dune novels not written by Frank Herbert are like the Star Wars prequels, poor copies which I wish were figments of a deranged imagination

          2. Number6

            Re: Dune

            The film was dire, the book is good. There is also a Dune mini-series available (see Amazon) that I can recommend, which sticks to the storyline in the book and doesn't piss around with stupid weirding modules and rain. The mini-series covers from the start of Dune to the end of Children of Dune.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dune

            There was a Dune mini-series that was closer to the book than the feature film

    2. Richard 26
      Pint

      Re: Dune

      "I just last week I started listening to my Dune audio book.. Paul still thinks Usul is another planet."

      I must see if I can find a copy of Doon somewhere - "you are Paul Maud'Dib but we will call you Asshol", priceless.

      1. CliveS

        Re: Dune

        Doon. Arrukus. Dessert Planet.

        "you are Paul Maud'Dib but we will call you Asshol"

        That'd be Pall Agamemnides aka Assol aka Mauve'Bib. Possibly the Kumquat Haagendaaz foretold by the prophecies of the Boni Maroni's Missionaria Phonibalonica. Survived being tested with the Kareem Jabbar by a Revved Up Mother.

        Must read Doon again.

        1. Jeffrey Nonken

          Re: Dune

          Steak for dinner sometime soon. Boffo!

    3. energystar
      Pirate

      Worms follow you down The Tube...

      "...An over-exposure to the spice, perhaps[?]"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While fixing the problem other usually reliable things mysteriously go wrong - like tank traps in your path. The USB CD or floppy reader doesn't want to work. The login to download a tool no longer works - so you have to re-register.. Then you find your broadband has decided to go TITSUP halfway through the download.

    You can always tell when you are starting to win - the obstacles become less and less subtle. Like the power-on button breaking or even a power failure.

    Finally you discover that the reason the obvious fix didn't work - is that little change you made during the first stage of diagnostics. Even worse if it is one of the minor distractions of "That looks wrong - I'll tidy that while I'm here. So simple there's no need to test it".

  7. TRT Silver badge

    If you look in the hardware block logic diagram of any IT device...

    You'll note the absence of a particular chip which can be found on the motherboard. The undocumented component is known as the Criticality of User Need Threshold Supervisor circuit. It is vital for the smooth operation of the device that this circuit is operating correctly. The purpose of this supervisor is to monitor just how critical the operation of the device is at any particular moment. It does this through the use of a low level psychic proximity field, which will pick up on the anxiety of any human operator in the vicinity (it's for this reason that many data centres are located in the middle of, say, a swamp where no human in their right mind would ever venture). It was originally intended to prevent catastrophic failure of vital IT, much as the infinite improbability field was intended to prevent system failures on board the Starship Titanic, however a small slip up in the logic circuit which has never been satisfactorily resolved creates the effect of a NOT gate on the output. In short, the more vital it is that the computer works correctly, the more like it is that the CUNTS not going to work. It's an interesting fact that 99.99999% of both users and technicians are unaware of the existence of the chip, but due to the tiny amount of residual back-leakage from the psychic field, it often surprises the 0.00001% of people who do know about the device that the affected user is able to pinpoint the root cause of the defect when reporting an issue. "The cunts not working again.", they will say, and of course they are right. "I'm going to get a new computer because this cunts so unreliable." Is often the sensible resolution to the issue. The user's slight mistrust of their new system will be sufficient to prevent them trusting their new acquisition with anything vital for quite some time. However as soon as their familiarity with what is initially an ultra-reliable computer starts to breed contempt, manifesting as a failure to perform such practices as hourly backups, providing multiple levels of redundancy and superstitious rituals, such as always kissing the index finger whilst saying a silent prayer to Tyche before using that blessed finger to depress the startup button, then the CUNTS going to fail again, just like the last one.

    1. Small Furry Animal
      Pint

      Re: If you look in the hardware block logic diagram of any IT device...

      @TRT, Brilliant!

      Beer! ...and I wish I could make it more than one

  8. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

    Idaho

    Use the machine until it dies, it kills itself or you kill it when it threatens you, then create a new version to serve you. Damn clever, these Tleilaxu.

  9. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Windows getting its own back on you?

    eh Mr Dabbs?

    Well, using Orifice is IMHO just asking to be shafted where it really hurts.

    Time to wean the Mrs onto A Penguin or Fruity system?

    you know, just to keep the marriage alive if you know what I mean - nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Windows getting its own back on you?

      Her naughty computer is a Mac. Linux is out of the question due to compatibility issues with the Word and Excel files she is sent. Don't tell me there are Word-compatible applications on Linux - I've head it all before, they are not fully compatible. They send the formatting crazy, reflow the text, tear tables apart and balk at docx files.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows getting its own back on you?

        and balk at docx files.

        That's correct behaviour. ANYTHING should balk at .docx files, that's why Microsoft made them.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Windows getting its own back on you?

        "Don't tell me there are Word-compatible applications on Linux - I've head it all before, they are not fully compatible. They send the formatting crazy, reflow the text, tear tables apart and balk at docx files."

        IOW you were running Word. Perfectly possible with Wine.

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Windows getting its own back on you?

        Uninstall Krapersky. Really, all most antivirii seem to do is install some crashy kernel module and set up a local proxy which allows SSL connections to be easily compromised.

  10. Putters
    Devil

    I've said it before, I'll say it again

    Artificial Intelligence is in its infancy, but Artificial Bloody Mindedness was perfected years ago ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've said it before, I'll say it again

      I think it is more Artificial Stupidity on the part of the anti-virus (and other) software

      1. Putters

        Re: I've said it before, I'll say it again

        Sorry - not stupidity, that's accidental. This is deliberate and malign !

    2. Arctic fox
      Happy

      @Putters "Artificial Bloody Mindedness was perfected years ago ..."

      So true and so profound, a subset of Murpy's Law I believe?

  11. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Hmm. Looks like Aleister Dabbs must have used the wrong incantation a couple of weeks ago...

  12. Floydian Slip
    Black Helicopters

    and those updates too

    Empathise fully, as well as that "vital/critical" new install that requires a reboot when on-site and hourly billing - so you re-boot and MS decides there's eventy hundred updates to install and it's oh so slow.

    All whilst the client asks "I'm not going to be billed for this, am I"?

    Because you can't say - "well, you should have let the Criticality of User Need Threshold Supervisor circuit install the updates rather than just clicking the "postpone" message" can you and you can't slope off for a crafty pint/drink/smoke becasue that just doesn't look good although having to retrieve an "essential tool" from the car works a bit better

  13. Ralph B

    I have blue eyes

    Would they be blue eyes of death?

  14. I am the liquor Silver badge

    Don't forget to put Still by Geto Boys on your iPod for when you take the old computer out into the field.

  15. Potemkine Silver badge

    My mama always said...

    ... that Things are malicious.

    There must be Gremlins in them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My mama always said...

      In this case, it is probably a worm.

  16. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    " like the way your bank waits until you are abroad...."

    My bank seems determined to sabotage my holidays , or maroon me somewhere - every time they get a whisper I'm out of the country they decide to freeze my money , presumably in the hope that I wont make it back and they can keep it.

    When i eventually get back , after living rough for days , clutching several IOUs , now owing favours to criminals and loan sharks and stagger sunburned into the bank asking what the bejeesus are they playing at? I get the reply:

    "Security. Its for your own good sir"

    1. lpcollier

      Re: " like the way your bank waits until you are abroad...."

      Time to get a new bank. I had an issue like this a few years ago. I went on an extended trip abroad, and had to phone my credit card company at least five times to have the card unlocked, only to have a locked again a few days later due to "unusual activity". They claimed that it was impossible to flag my holiday on their automated security system, or to set it up so that human intervention was required before blocking the card. Time for a new bank.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: " like the way your bank waits until you are abroad...."

        @LPCollier

        Was it HSBC/First Direct by any chance??

        EVERY time I told them I was going abroad they would block my cards, I got stuck in France, Portugal, Russia and Hong Kong - then I forgot to tell them I was going away (Dubai), and everything was fine, even though I drew right up to the cards credit limit one night (£3k doesnt last long in Dubai).

        So I stopped telling them.

        The next year I spent 6 months in China, using the cards and making large cash withdrawals in 3 different provinces (and Hong Kong), and never had a single issue with either of my cards.

        (Cash for my wifes visa, because the UK embassy only take cash, and lots of it; and cash to buy my wife off of her family in the first place).

        BTW, Dont let those Mastercard and Visa signs in the shops fool you; they only accept cards issued by a mainland Chinese bank.

    2. kain preacher

      Re: " like the way your bank waits until you are abroad...."

      Here in the US you don;t even have to leave the country for that to happen. Just cross state lines and use your bank card at a gas station.

  17. 2Nick3
    Paris Hilton

    They're as sneaky as a Bene Gesserit's G-string.

    Sheer genius, that.

    What is Paris listening to? Why, some Toto, of course!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah bless..

    >I think it has something to do with Kaspersky?

    You still use computers that require antivirus? Ah bless..

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Ah bless..

      I wonder how an antivirus for a Mentat would look like.

      "Ah, Dr. Kaspersky? I have been expecting you..."

      "Certainly Mentat. Now, this won't hurt a bit (unpacks gear)...."

  19. MrT

    "...taking it out to a lonely field at dawn and kicking the shit out of it..."

    Love the Office Space reference \m/... Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta

    1. lawndart

      Re: "...taking it out to a lonely field at dawn and kicking the shit out of it..."

      More effective than a gom jabbar, less hassle with the fallout from using the family atomics.

      1. John F***ing Stepp

        You get that look. . .

        Me

        Tieing a hard drive to a tree and preparing to empty a 1911 at it.

        My Wife

        "What the hell?"

        Me

        "Help me find the shovel; still have to dig a shallow grave". . .

  20. PrivateCitizen

    photo

    Ignoring the article, whoever took that stock photo should be shot.

    There is no way that anyone would have punched through anything with their fist in that position....

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: photo

      It was an accident.

      Je was just doing morning stretching exercises, and the laptop ran into her outstreched fist, gireviously hurting itself.

      Always in a hurry, those laptops.

      Yes, it happened at the local police station. Why?

  21. Efros

    Rinse and Repeat

    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

    All the while rhythmically smashing the recalcitrant PC into ever smaller pieces with a 15lb mash hammer.

  22. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Dune?

    Riots and comedy are but symptoms of the times, profoundly revealing. They betray the psychological tone, the deep uncertainties... And the striving for something better, plus the fear that nothing would come of it all.

    "Appendix II: The Religion of Dune"

    - Admit it Dabbsy, all those Dune references were merely a preamble so you could declare a Butlerian Jihad at the end.

  23. Mark York 3 Silver badge
    Devil

    The Sleeper Has Awoken.

    Up for 36 hours straight & about to leave for the airport from home & my aged TC4200 decides its going to invoke the BIOS HDD password (from no where) & then freeze (this after fighting a bloody pain in the ass printer to get travel docs printed out earlier).

    Thank Oh mighty Shai-huludKeeper of balance, that I had a almost as old T60 prepped with Windows 10 that was almost ready to go (once data transferred from somewhere else & a 1GB stick dropped in).

    The sleeper has awoken & is going downstairs for breakfast!

  24. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Terminator

    Its in CNC

    machines too ,no not the command and conquer games but the things us metal bashers use.

    It does a very complex operation when you press the start button and take various inputs such as the stress level of the operator, the anger level of the production manager, the number of times the customer has rung up and been fobbed off with excuses by the owner, then produces a malfunction in proportion to these inputs, which yours truely has to go and sort out.

    Its no use trying to transfer the job to another working machine because all the machine communicate via a secret network and the breakdowns then spread as the stress level rises, until finally, yours truely goes outside , breaks another branch off the tree in the parking area, and runs back inside shouting "work your ****ing thing or I'll give you a damn good thrashing!"

    The site manager has wondered why that tree seems to be getting smaller over the years........

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Its in CNC

      We solved that issue by moving 1 machine to our Shuzhou, China plant. We now tell the rest in a very friendly and not at all menacing tone: That Yazda? It failed to meet tolerances, so we moved it to China. In the unairconditioned part of the plant. Running the non critical jobs. I'm sure Xi will get around to cleaning it sometime next month... Now here's a shiny new facemill for you.

      The systems are now behaving. A bit of "frequency response measurements" helps too (ie. Whacking it with a hammer)

  25. AndGregor
    Coffee/keyboard

    Project Manglement

    The equation is also applicable to how many overseers there are on a single email chain where you are forced to provide a technical explanation to a simple issue and proposed fix.

    The overall number of CC'ed participants in a 'project line', don't ask me, is directly proportional to the chances of something going awry in the first place and inversely proportional to the time it will take to fix any issue.

    I pine for the good old days when project managers were promoted from a solid technical background and their face didn't blue screen when presented with understanding the difference between client and server.

    I would happily jockey a Maker through the agile workspace screaming Muad'Dib most every day of the week, if nothing but to end the suffering sooner.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We had the Photoshop one over a decade ago...

    It was linked to the networks Admin software. If they activated it while Adobe software was open, it crashed the entire Mac (hard locked).

    I assume it was to do with the render engine, and it not playing ball with the remote desktop software. :/

  27. Midnight

    "Private Idaho?"

    *sigh*

    It is by puns alone I set my jokes in motion.

    It is by the brew of coffee that wits acquire speed, the wits acquire groans, the groans become a warning.

    It is by puns alone I set my jokes in motion.

  28. JustNiz

    >> This weekend, I will be transferring its data to a new model before celebrating the old one's obsolescence by taking it out to a lonely field at dawn and kicking the shit out of it.

    Does it really not even slightly occur to you to simply avoid buying another computer with Microsoft Windows on it, which is the actual root cause of all your (and most other people's) computer problems?

  29. Filippo

    Switching setting

    Your cogitator has a temperamental machine-spirit, and your wife probably angered it by not performing the proper technoarcane rituals.

  30. davenewman
    WTF?

    The music! The hairdos

    The article is fine, but the embedded music video is a horror show in its own.

  31. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Some equipment has an EIV detector fitted.

    An EIV detector is a special piece of kit that can be remotely triggered causing problems that mean you HAVE to call in support at shitloads for a call-out. The EIV detector then senses the Engineer In Vicinity and the machine returns to functioning normally until the company charging for the engineer need some cashflow. The support company only needs people who can drive and carry the EIV transmitter with them so no real training needed.

    Sometimes the EIV detectors fail to reset and the machine will perform faultlessly until the engineer drives round the corner out of sight and will not answer the phone until it counts as a complete new call-out.

  32. Kiwi
    Linux

    You wish!

    "...piss about for an extra five minutes during startup or relaunch..."

    You're dreaming!

    Configuring updates. Please wait.

    ...and wait... ...and wait... ...and wait... ...and wait... ...and wait... ...and wait...

    Number of times I had a customer there to see something on their machine or to pick it up and we got that happening... Even more odd was Win 7 that would do this sometimes despite a) not having had an internet connection for a few days and b) having been turned on and off several times in those days - why suddenly decide to install updates so late in the piece?

    And FFS MS! Linux/BSD/OSX etc have for many years done updates in quiet little background task that stays out of the way except maybe to change an icon colour to let you know there's updates available. When you tell it to, you can ignore it unless and until it says a restart is needed, which you can ignore unless and until you want to restart (it won't do any more than change an icon in most environments I've experienced but I don't have OSX experience in this regard). The update process does everything, so that when you stop using a program (or your machine) the old code is unloaded and when you next start the program/machine the new code is loaded. None of this often 45+mins doing update crap when the machine is shutting down and an equal amount of faffing around when the machine starts when all you want is to unwind by killing shit in a virtual world (rather in the real world which can get dicey legally, though maybe if we went after the person who thought this updates-when-restarting stuff was a good idea when mostly people choose "Restart" because they want to try a quick fix for an issue, not a 1.5hr minimum festival-of-fucking-around waiting for something that should take less than 5 minutes!

    </POR>

  33. vmistery

    "300 million miles away"

    Which comet (or other space dwelling object) were you visiting?!

  34. Captain Badmouth
    Paris Hilton

    Laser printer toner

    I have a Dell colour laser which, like every other printer (HP I'm looking at you in particular) has a sneaky way of making you change your toner/ink. Most inkjet chips can be reset to get all the ink out, although the last time I looked hp's couldn't. My old Brother mono laser has a mechanical fungle which rotates with every print -this is easily reset to continue until toner exhaustion. The Dell colour laser time-out is gotten around by going into setup on the network connection and changing the toner cart type from Dell to generic (or whatever it's called, can't remember now) and lo and behold the cart is no longer empty. This is the strange bit though, when it thinks it has a Dell cart it will show you an ink level remaining on the interface and will not print until you change the cart that is "empty". When you change to generic cart, that display just shows a ? and it carries on printing, but, weeks or months later, it will announce that the cart is empty (and it is).

    As for Dune, I wonder if Sting ever regrets appearing in that turkey?

    Paris : Doesn't have to turn on the red light...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Laser printer toner

      > As for Dune, I wonder if Sting ever regrets appearing in that turkey?

      I remember that he said that we would never again play someone who will use violence to reach his goals (i.e Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen).

      Note that Sting was a bit on the old side to play that particular nasty brat. Even if he carried good genetic material and managed to entertain a harem at 15, it was time to release the water (or some saying like that).

    2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Laser printer toner

      I use my printer so infrequently that the toner carts are past their "expiration" date. Seriously, it's fucking dry powder in a sealed cartridge! How dies it expire? It's like the expiration date on bottled water--is it expected to revert into hydrogen and oxygen?! The printer (Canon) will grudgingly ignore this and print if I acknowledge the 'error' on the display, and quality is the same as ever, despite the printer admonishing me that "quality may be compromised", but really this shouldn't ever be an issue with a laser printer. Assholes. I'm going to use the toner until I get the last few grains out of it.

      I hope the manager or developer that included that 'error' message is using a condom past its expiration date and a voice continually booms down telling him "quality may be compromised" as he attempts to proceed.

  35. Sherrie Ludwig

    I threaten to reprogram mine with a fire-axe.

  36. PenGun

    Windose

    Obviously a big problem for the poor user. Most of you probably deserve the pain, but really they are your friends. Putting windows on a computer is about the same as turning your dear friend into a sex doll.

    No wonder they hate you.

  37. BugabooSue
    Unhappy

    My favourite things to die on me were the last three Vauxhalls I owned. All three were fuel-injected petrol. All suffered from the slow-running solenoid gumming up with carbon and cutting out at intersections, right-turns, etc. - you know, just when they could get you killed. Final straw was the engine-management system turning off the engine in my Vectra while in the outside lane of the M25 when going up the big hill near Polhill (near Sevenoaks) at 70mph overtaking a stream of lorries.

    Having to turn the ignition off and on again, at speed, in the dark, was a sphincter-clenching moment!!! It did it again a couple of days later.

    Traded the car in a couple of weeks after that. Got a Toyota now, which has also had serious computer faults like the latter one - steering-assist, brakes, throttle, etc., recalls, but it has never quit on me. 10 years on, still going strong.

    Frankly, I prefer my 1977 Bonneville T140V (had from new). No advanced electronics. No computers. No critical breakdowns (yes, really! I've always looked after it!!).

    Computers will be the death of me... lol

    As for Dune - loved Frank Herbert, but that 'Heart Plug' thing messed with my head. Never could see it in the same light after that. The book was OK, but the film portrayal... <puke!>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My data point

      Mira Moderna, the one with the automagic (tm) controller that in the event of a slight battery mAlFffFunCtion promptly lost power and stalled in traffic.

      Turn everything off, go to get the jump pack and it would of course work fine. For days.

      I had to resort to leaving a solar panel on it which worked until mid October then the accursed thing finally gave up one early Monday morning resulting in a frantic run (3.8m) to work.

      The blister mark on the back of the battery was most impressive, when it got swapped out.

      Wonder how many perfectly good cars get trashed because all the diagnostics say the problem is the (expen$ive) ECU not the relatively cheap normally-very-reliable lead acid?

  38. Jeffrey Nonken
    Unhappy

    Somebody please teach that woman how to punch... just as soon as her bones heal. Thank you.

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