back to article The Ministry of Silly Printing: But I don't want my golf club correspondence to say 'UNCLASSIFIED' at the bottom

A reader takes us back to a bygone era, when Blighty's brass inhabited wood-panelled offices, and the air was thick with pipe smoke and WW2 anecdotes. Welcome to On Call. Our story takes place in the 1980s as the era of officers that served in the Second World War was coming to an end and computerisation was slithering into …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

    Company wants you to answer e-mails or you to receive calls on your mobile in your time...

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

      We are lucky, my employer says, unless we are on call (2 people on the team in rota), you should turn off your company phone when you leave the office.

      I have mine set to switch to do not disturb mode at 16:30 and goes back to normal at 08:00 the next day.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

        I have mine set to switch to do not disturb mode at 16:30 and goes back to normal at 08:00 the next day.

        I hope you set it back to normal the next working day. Or are you so important you are on call during office hours in the weekend?

      2. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

        Re: Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

        You get a company phone?? Posh.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

          You will be lucky to get anything last a Samsung Galaxy J series price of crap.

          iPhone 13 Pro’s for c-suite types only !!!

      3. Chairman of the Bored

        Re: Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

        An enlightened boss!

        I've got a great one right now. His attitude is that holidays and weekends are purely for rest and recreation. While some long days are inevitable, when they happen the program managers get their asses chewed out for improper resource management.

    2. Tom 7

      Re: Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

      One boss gave me a company phone and then asked me why I didnt answer it, so I explained that we hadn't discussed being on call let alone the massive salary increase it would warrant.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

      I used to like the feature in Skype that allowed you to forward calls to a mobile within office hours (set in Outlook), so I could wander round the building and have calls forwarded to my personal mobile, knowing that I wouldn't be disturbed out of hours.

      We've now been migrated to Teams (with a new number!). Does it have that option? Does it heck. Can't even get it to reopen at the last used 'page' or even size! No, I don't want it opening full screen on a chat from last month!

      1. Soruk
        Boffin

        Re: Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

        I forward my work phone into a VoIP-in number on my own voip box. On there I have rules that permit calls when on call and during office hours. Out of hours calls route to a dedicated voicemail box with a suitable outgoing message. The big exception is when I am on leave, the calls go to a message telling the caller I'm on leave and to contact my manager if it's important, before dropping the call (no voicemail).

    4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

      I learned a long time ago never to allow your personal phone number, or email address, to be revealed to your workplace. Things are probably a bit better with GDPR now, but in a previous job, I've had phone calls from a line manager to try and rake me over the coals when I'm stood at the bar in my local pub, very much well after work hours.

      I was young and naïve back then. More recently, I have straight up told my employer that they are not having my personal number for any reason, beyond those that are absolutely necessary (i.e. HR and emergency contact), simply because I will not allow it to "escape into the wild" of the wider company. I am contactable by them only during the hours for which I am contracted. I don't get "on call" payments, and any overtime that a client might want has to be charged and paid to me, with prior arrangement. Like so many others I'm sure, I've been stung too many times.

      Work is transactional. They pay me for a fixed number of hours a week, and all the others are mine.

  2. EVP
    Facepalm

    Reality always wins

    “The officer had had a letter typed out for his golf club and didn't want "UNCLASSIFIED" on the bottom of the page.”

    When reading the piece, I was determined to comment sarcastically something like “haha, they complained about UNCLASSIFIED being printed on birthday party invitations” until I reached the line above. I was being a bit naive - reality always wins!

  3. Wanting more

    Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

    I remember being called to the big boss's office by his secretary who was having trouble re-formatting a document. Turned out it was the boss's Amateur Opera Society newsletter and as I was helping her the boss walks in and asks what I was doing etc. At least he had the decency to look sheepish after.

    1. EVP

      Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

      “At least he had the decency to look sheepish after.”

      Must have been many years ago. Nowadays you’d get asked that why isn’t it done yet.

      1. Wanting more

        Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

        Yep at least 20 years ago. The same era we used to get a memo (not an email!) about not using the computing facilities for personal use.

        1. EVP
          Big Brother

          Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

          Mmmmyeah... where's your TPS report?*

          * Don't we all miss the golden days of memos/reports/whatnot?**

          ** They did go nowhere... just different media.

        2. Soruk
          Joke

          Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

          All is well and good until the boss asks you to play his Magic Flute.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

        Was going to say. Being the CEOs technical butler is pretty par for the course these days.

        In fact it's as old as the hills.

        If anyone who isn't the tech butler for a CEO wants to know what it's like. Watch some Jeeves & Wooster. It's exactly like that.

        You'd be surprised how often a CEO will ask a senior techie to attend and listen in on conference calls for their opinion, help with non-tech related decision making and just offer an opinion in general on matters that are completely unrelated to your actual responsibilities.

        It's so common in fact that I include a clause in all of my contracts that states that any advice or opinions given outside the duties and responsibilities described in the scope of the contract should not be treated as an acknowledgement of additional duties and that I am not responsible for any actions take in the course of listening to these opinions.

        I'm freelance, I currently work with 3 CEOs, all of them use me as a leaning post if they some pragmatic thinking.

        It's usually a decent combo as techies tend to be pragmatists and CEOs tend to like running into gunfights with knives. If you combine the two, you tend to end up with one person that runs into gunfights armed with the right weapon. James Bond is a lot better when Q tools him up and clues him up first. Know what I mean?

        I'm cool with it, so long as they don't hold me responsible for the outcome. Responsibility for that costs a lot more money...and comes with a title.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

          Was going to say. Being the CEOs technical butler is pretty par for the course these days.

          In fact it's as old as the hills.

          If anyone who isn't the tech butler for a CEO wants to know what it's like. Watch some Jeeves & Wooster. It's exactly like that.

          You'd be surprised how often a CEO will ask a senior techie to attend and listen in on conference calls for their opinion, help with non-tech related decision making and just offer an opinion in general on matters that are completely unrelated to your actual responsibilities.

          I'm going to wager a guess that it's because we have some pretty well trained bullshit detectors. :D

    2. Aladdin Sane
      Coat

      Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

      Were they using aria(l)?

      Just leaving, don't mind me.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

        Or were they using aria2 to download opera videos?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Joke

          Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

          Surprised the boss didn't slip you a tenor to look the other way.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

            Might just be part of "doing business, keeping the boss happy" if the boss is a Soprano.

          2. veti Silver badge

            Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

            That would be a bass act.

      2. Spanners Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

        Were they using aria(l)?

        As this was military, perhaps they used Aerial. The one on the radio they had me carry on my back around then must have been 3 metres.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Amateur Opera Society Newsletter

      Was it running on an Alto?

  4. Roger Greenwood

    Back in the early 90's

    When DOS and UNIX ruled, we wanted to upgrade our CAD system (among other things) but that also meant an upgrade to the computers which would require the use of a new fangled "windows" operating system.

    One of the managers at the time couldn't quite get his head around this. "Windows!" he shouted, "what the f***k is windows?". He pointed to the glazed hole in the wall "that's a f*****g window!".

    It was a simpler time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back in the early 90's

      In GUIs were the windows always called windows? Did any early GUIs call them 'frames' or 'areas' etc. or maybe some long complex term - scalable-application-frame-working-space-region?

      Anon - because maybe everyone else knows

      1. egbert

        Re: Back in the early 90's

        My recollection was that they were always called windows. I worked with windows based interfaces on Apollo (remember them?), Mac and DOS plus TopView. They always called them windows.

        Also, the XEROX Alto User Manual from September 1979 calls them windows.

        I remember when MS came out with MS Windows 1.0 everyone thinking they had a real cheek calling it that.

        1. Skiron
          Joke

          Re: Back in the early 90's

          Be careful - XEROX never produced anything original...

          I'll get my coat...

          1. TimMaher Silver badge
            Coat

            Wrong icon.

            FTFY————>

        2. Anonymous Custard
          Headmaster

          Re: Back in the early 90's

          Weren't they generically called WIMP systems? Windows, Icons, Mouse and Pointer?

          You can of course add your own pun in at this point...

          Edited to add - scrolling down further, I see others have the same memory (or a shared delusion perhaps).

          1. tip pc Silver badge

            Re: Back in the early 90's

            "WIMP systems? Windows, Icons, Mouse and Pointer?"

            Windows

            Icons

            Menus

            Pointer

            God I feel old writing that

          2. Allan George Dyer
            Boffin

            Re: Back in the early 90's

            Yep, I met GEM first, and people were very excited about these WIMP systems. They just seemed to make everything slower (has anything changed?). I think it was a couple of years before GUI became the popular term.

            Don't forget that DOS had line-drawing characters in the character set, so the screen could be divided into areas of interest, but it was very much the programmer's decision. WIMP gave you the freedom of being able to waste time rearranging and resizing your windows.

            The line-drawing characters could also be printed, the joy of discovering that i) the default line spacing leaves gaps in your neat boxes or ii) the printer has a totally different set of characters for those hex values.

            1. JimC

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              Oh gosh yes, and early laser printers had limited character sets which applications couldn't necessarilly manage. I had to acquire a rudimentary knowledge of assembler in order to be able to create .com files to send codes to printer ports at low level in order to embed commands in the batch files that loaded applications so the printer was set correctly for the application. Before shared printers which would have stuffed that sort of thing royally.

              1. rototype

                Re: Back in the early 90's

                Been there, embedding control codes in a text based application to get it to produce prettier output (never did get anything for that) but I remember spending many hours sending strings of codes to the printer to see what actually did anything. This was an old wide carriage Anadex printer that no-one supported I got it for £25 from army surplus in the 80s). Still, I managed to get it working on an old CP/M version of Wordstar well enough to use it to write up my reports for college and have all the usual text enhancements (Bold, Italic, Underscore Narrow and Double Width, never managed double height though).

                Even managed to get it to print basic graphics (72 x 75DPI) - enough for small items but nothing big.

            2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

              Re: They just seemed to make everything slower

              Maybe that's why the term GUI became popular. GUI as in syrup.

            3. rototype

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              Anyone remember BeoWorks? I remember V1.0 came on 4 floppy disks (720K as I recall) and would run on an XT. Very limited (as if M$ Windows wasn't at the time) but V2.0 was a lot better, although it did take more space up it was nowhere near the amount Windows used by then. Major problem was application compatibility - if you wanted anything other than what came with it you were out of luck, having said that the Office type package that it was based around was pretty reasonable.

              1. WhereAmI?

                Re: Back in the early 90's

                Tried it, nuked it for the very reasons you state.

          3. Shalghar Bronze badge

            Re: Back in the early 90's

            WIMP..... Anyone here remembering RiscOS ?

            Archimedes, RiscPC nowadays reincarnated as RiscOsOpen to the raspberry.

            *WimpMode> X720 Y576 C16M LTRGB

            For actual reference concerning BBC BASIC VI+ / RiscOs on Raspberry see

            https://www.riscosopen.org/wiki/documentation/show/Extended%20Framebuffer%20Format%20Specification

        3. Trollslayer

          Re: Back in the early 90's

          Are you sure that it wasn't jealousy that they hadn't thought of it first??

        4. BenDwire Silver badge

          Re: Back in the early 90's

          Apollo machines were great bits of kit, and I had the use of a couple of them in the late 80's while designing some custom chippery (a dual UART, would you believe!)

          The next GUI experience for me was the GEM desktop on PC, which was surprisingly good back in the day. Of course Windows came along all too quickly, but I was still fortunate to run UNIX engineering workstations for the bulk of my work.

          Now retired, I happily run Linux in a Windows-free environment!

          1. trindflo Bronze badge

            Re: Back in the early 90's

            Apollo was a great machine, but the token ring network could be finicky.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              Obligatory https://dilbert.com/strip/1996-05-02

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              I'm told the token would fall out on the floor if the cables were disconnected improperly.

          2. EVP

            Re: Back in the early 90's

            DRACULA... I say no more. Except people had more humour back in the old days.

          3. Tom 7

            Re: Back in the early 90's

            I had the honour of working of fuckingexpensivebitsofkit before the PC came out. Our CAD system for chip layout cost $300,000 a seat and had a massive colour screen at eye level and four button puck on a large tablet and an OS that allowed you to write gestures and attach them to commands, so a Z clockwise on the red button would zoom in the the area of the Z you wrote on the screen and a Z on the red button anticlockwise would zoom out in the opposite way. So long as the gesture was unique in the way it traversed over the 3*3 imaginary grid that the gesture covered then away you went. It was the most productive WIMP interface I've ever used and I have tried emulating it on other machines but no-one else seems to grok it. It does work well as a 4*4 grid in javascript on a two button mouse where you can get over a 100 unique and non-easily confused gestures.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Back in the early 90's

        I think Framework from Ashton-Tate was the only one to use the term frames, and that was a DOS application.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Back in the early 90's

          Framework.

          Now that's a name that I haven't heard in a long time.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Back in the early 90's

            Along with Ashton-Tate.

            1. TheProf
              Joke

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              "Along with Ashton-Tate."

              I liked their 'Resurrection Shuffle' song.

              Eh? Nothing wrong with my memory pal!

              1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                Re: Back in the early 90's

                Didn't Samantha's husband Derwood/Dilwood/Derrin work there?

                1. veti Silver badge

                  Re: Back in the early 90's

                  McMann & Tate. This I know because I once had a massive crush on Elizabeth Montgomery.

                  1. TheProf

                    Elizabeth Montgomery

                    I would recommend this. It took me a while to figure out it was EM because she has dark hair in it.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_(The_Twilight_Zone)

              2. David 132 Silver badge

                Re: Back in the early 90's

                No need to apologize, you are clearly a Prof of refined musical taste.

                And now I have AGD's Resurrection Shuffle stuck in my head!

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Back in the early 90's

                @TheProf

                Er, it was Ashton Gardener and Dyke, and I think also by Tom Jones who murdered the record. And how come I can remember buying the fucking record, but I can barely remember what I ate yesterday? Indeed, nowadays, the only thing I can reliably remember is that I will have forgotten something

                1. First Light

                  Re: Back in the early 90's

                  Bless! We're all getting there . . .

                2. itzman

                  Re: Back in the early 90's

                  yesterdays memories are in RAM. last centuries are on disk.

                  old age reboots every might...

            2. Down not across

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              Along with dBASE.

              To think I used to run dBase II on CP/M machine, on floppies. And now we have clustered instaces hooked up to massive SANs with SSDs and tons of cache (or running on ExaData or something).

              Ashton-Tate (or was it bought out by Borland then already, can't recall) did cock it up with dBase IV and hence dBase III was the last "usable" version.

              1. MJI Silver badge

                Re: Back in the early 90's

                I remember dBase2.

                But been with the products of Nantucket since. Originally needed a dev environemtn in a hurry so got Clipper, then the 32bit Windows version.

                Big mission critical systems running on DBFs is fun.

                It is a good job index corruption and daily reindexes have been a thing of the past for the last 25 years.

                But it is still quick, reliable and maintainable.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Back in the early 90's

            Did you study T102, by any chance?

        2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: Back in the early 90's

          I've worked on that in middle school...

          https://winworldpc.com/product/framework/iii

      3. Totally not a Cylon
        Boffin

        Re: Back in the early 90's

        I seem to recall the term was always 'window' because:

        the visible area within the frame was a 'window' onto a larger display area hence the scroll bars to move the window around in the display area.

        Essential when you're using a VGA monitor at 640x480.....

        Which reminds me of Oak graphics cards; set the DIP switches right and get VGA displayed on a CGA monitor, a bit psychedelic but usable....

        1. Tom 7

          Re: Back in the early 90's

          I used to be able to remember Pi to 50 places but now I forget I put one in the oven!

          1. Potty Professor
            Boffin

            Pi to lots of DP.

            When I was 11, and still at Junior School, I astonished the teacher (Mr. Isbester) by giving him the first 10 decimal places of Pi. He asked me to repeat it more slowly so that he could write it on the board (and later on a piece of paper for his own records, I expect). From that moment on, he referred to me as "Prof.", and that became my nickname throughout my whole educational career until I finished my MSc.

        2. Tom 7

          Re: Back in the early 90's

          Ah the joy of writing code for Mandlebrots on 640*480 in 16 colours! Then zooming in on areas that would take several hours to calculate on a 287! Barely even makes the GPU wake up now!

          1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

            Re: Back in the early 90's

            Hours? Try days on a z80! (CPC6128)

            1. Allan George Dyer

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              I realised the department's new laser printer had the fastest CPU, so I wrote Mandelbrot in PostScript. It looked nice... eventually.

      4. hj

        Re: Back in the early 90's

        Isn't that why we call them "window managers"?

        1. Mark 85

          Re: Back in the early 90's

          Isn't that why we call them "window managers"?

          I think you misspelled "manglers".

      5. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Back in the early 90's

        This is an excellent question, actually, and it sent me on a little digging. No definitive answers, but some interesting leads.

        The 1968 Stanford oN-Line System (NLS) had a primitive form of windowing (vertically-splitting a text display to show two documents simultaneously), which is referred to as a “scanning window” once (only) during the demo, at this point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nm47PFALc8&t=3668s

        I had thought the IBM TN3270 (from 1971) used “windows” to describe its ability to scroll smaller areas of the screen, but the earliest control-code documentation I can find fort that terminal calls these parts of the screen “scrolling regions”, not windows.

        The use of “Windows” within Microsoft as a product name came from outside, specifically Scott A. McGregor, who had written the windowing libraries of Xerox PARC’s Cedar development system and called it the “Cedar Viewers Windows Package”. McGregor brought that term “Windows” with him to Microsoft when he became product lead on Microsoft’s “Interface Manager” - a thing that started as a kind of function library to enable DOS applications to perform graphical output on a shared single display, and eventually grew into a complete shell, by which time McGregor’s name had become the product’s official name too.

        It was McGregor’s decision that Windows 1.0 should have non-overlapping windows - his Cedar project is notable for not using overlapping views, as you can see from here: http://toastytech.com/guis/cedar.html

      6. KBeee

        Re: Back in the early 90's

        I remember early GUI's being called WIMPs. I think it was Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointer

        1. Martin Gregorie

          Re: Back in the early 90's

          ... and I thought the WIMP acronym came from Xerox PARC, along with the first graphical windowing scheme, as opposed to partitioning a text screen into separately scrollable areas and using text-only pop-up boxes as Word For DOS did.

          FWIW, the first graphical windowing system I saw was an ICL PERQ, which sported a portrait-orirnted black and white screen. That was at an internal Future Technology presentation run by the BBC in 1980. The PERQ was nice, but I was totally blown away by the NTSC(?) Sound Surround system - capable of driving up to 8 channels, so it could provide any soundscape from stereo to a full 3D experience with nice features like varying the ambiance as you used the control that shifted your audio position in a concert hall toward or away from the orchestra. It completely blew the socks off Stereo FM as well as making the Sony surround sound system an obvious also-ran. Sounded wonderful on headphones too.

          The second graphical system I remember seeing was a Xerox Alto system in 1984, followed by getting my hands on an Apple Lisa later the same year.

          1. GlenP Silver badge

            Re: Back in the early 90's

            FWIW, the first graphical windowing system I saw was an ICL PERQ

            Touted at the time as creating a "paperless office", 40+ years later we're still waiting.

            1. Eric Olson
              Coat

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              We're *thisclose* to getting rid the office... finally!

              Or did you mean the paper bit?

            2. Ken G Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              I bought an ICL OPD (corporate Sinclair Spectrum) mistakenly thinking it was the same as a PC.

              1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: Back in the early 90's

                ITYM Sinclair QL, not Spectrum.

              2. Yes Me Silver badge
                WTF?

                Re: Back in the early 90's

                You actually mean you gave ICL money and they gave you an actual One Per Desk? Amazing! I didn't think anyone ever did that. (Apparently some did, though, if I'm to believe Wikipedia.)

                Where I worked the ICL rep was desparate to give us some for free but couldn't find a single taker. Everybody wanted a Mac by then.

            3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              Touted at the time as creating a "paperless office", 40+ years later we're still waiting.

              My home office is paperless at the moment. Bloody printer's gone and died, immediately after forking out £250 on new toner cartridges. Cost to repair > cost to replace and will the old cartridges fit the new printer?(*)

              (*) Rhetorical question of course.

              1. Tom 7

                Re: Back in the early 90's

                I encourage everyone to work in something like Zim Desktop Wiki - I've written something similar that uses CK editor and stores documents in a DB along with proper security.

                Once people start working in (basically) free flowing HTML in documents no longer than one subject they seem to get used to it quite quickly and realise that they can write one document for PC/Tablet and Phone and no-one has to print it.

                1. jgard

                  Re: Back in the early 90's

                  You should try Markdown. It satisfies all those requirements, is hugely popular, VERY easy to use, and is supported by a massive ecosystem of open source software. The best bit is that it does all the formatting for you, enabling the creation of beautiful looking docs with trivial effort.

            4. Tom 7

              Re: Back in the early 90's

              Paperless office is easy. Stop people writing paper shaped docs and then they dont need to print them.

      7. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Back in the early 90's

        WIMP interface

        Windows Icons Mouse Pointer.

        X called them windows. They did have a frame around them and a title bar, but from the time I started with Unix, they were called windows.

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Back in the early 90's

        Even the Amiga called them windows.

        I just checked a manual to be sure. I do need to clean up the office sometime. I haven't booted the Amiga in years so I don't need the manuals on the shelf beside me. Or the PC and Amiga floppy disks either.

      9. veti Silver badge

        Re: Back in the early 90's

        Microsoft has always been a follower, not a leader, in jargon. All their products to this day have the most maddeningly generic names imaginable. Think Word, Teams etc.

        "Windows" was a generic industry term before Microsoft began turning it into a trademark. Interestingly, this doesn't affect the validity of the trademark.

      10. Brad Ackerman
        Holmes

        Re: Back in the early 90's

        Emacs still calls them frames, and the thing most applications call a tab is what Emacs calls a window.

    2. Mark 85

      Re: Back in the early 90's

      It was a simpler time.

      Indeed, it was. It was a fun time in many ways before Bill decided to take over the world and "own' all the PC's and servers and either buy a software company and let it die or kill off anything not that was not his.

      His killing off WordPerfect was a pure evil stroke of genius or madness.

    3. Bob Scrantzen

      Re: Back in the early 90's

      Our HQ Manageress was responsible for the main accountancy, HR, Wordprocessing, etc UNIX system.

      She was sold an upgrade by some Snake Oil Salesman for £50k ish.

      Us Windows hardware and Software Engineers were involved and consulted at a late stage, once the deal was almost done.

      "Will it interface with Excel, vBasic, MS Access etc?"

      "Oh Yes! Said Mr Snake Oil."

      But those modules were an extra £20k and we never got them.

      However, we did get a shiny new UNIX system where all the Permissions had been left open.

      We could read everything (for those of us who knew how to change directory)

      Memos, salaries etc

      Interesting stuff.

      But then a bombshell between our Accountant and Managing Director.

      Our stupid Accountant wanted to close our London HQ and relocate to a small Industrial Estate in Shropshire.

      I was aghast, my colleagues were aghast.

      Our customers mostly within the M25.

      We all had young families, schools, mortgages in SW London.

      We went to our MD, at his home, with permission, for a Special Meeting.

      Him and his wife were very hospitable anyway. We knew them well.

      "How do you know the relocation plan?"

      "Can't say, but it's a very bad idea for the Company and our Customers"

      It was all kiboshed and our wanker accountant left soon after.

      Phew.

  5. TonyJ

    Visited...

    ...an ex-high ranking military officer on a particular site.

    His office was inside a much higher security rated section of the site so you had to go through extra rounds of searches etc to be allowed in even if you had the right clearance.

    I think it was about 5 or 6 months after the smoking ban had come in and during our entire meeting he sat puffing away on a pipe.

    At the end, I said something like "Errr... you do know that is illegal now, right?" and pointing at the pipe.

    He took a good three or four puffs on it and said "Yep!"

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Visited...

      Good to be above the law...

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Visited...

      To be fair, people didn't really take the smoking ban seriously back then like they do now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Visited...

        Back then there were not so many snowflakes around.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Visited...

          And if they complained above health and safety they would be sent to lick the lead paint off the asbestos

          We didn't have any of this passive smoking nonsense, we had tuberculosis and rickets

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Visited...

            And we were thankful for it.

            1. EVP

              Re: Visited...

              Lucky you. We couldn't afford even rickets.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Visited...

                Rickets!? Luxury! We had to make do with catching Marburg Virus from licking the fur of illegally imported orangutans.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Visited...

          See? I was right.

        3. jgard

          Re: Visited...

          I think you meant to say there were more selfish, entitled t**ts like you around.

          1. ICL1900-G3

            Re: Visited...@jgard

            Next time you're in Cornwall, let me buy you a beer.

        4. TonyJ

          Re: Visited...

          "...Back then there were not so many snowflakes around..."

          Which is one of the reasons the ban was brought in. Smokers were (are) incredibly selfish. The argument was always "well if you don't like it go to a <venue> that doesn't allow smoking. It's our right to smoke and no one forces you to be with us"

          Which completely missed the point - even at the time of the ban the vast majority of people didn't smoke and yet if went to a bar, we came back and both us and our clothes stank. Smokers won't realise this because you also stink (sorry to break it to you but on the whole your breath is utterly vile, not to mention the smoke has killed your own senses of smell and taste. And no, that mint you sucked doesn't work. Nor does that Lynx deodorant you bathed in, even though you think it did.

          My own mum would sit in the smoking area of cafes etc or on the top deck of a bus right until I was old enough to sit elsewhere and give her the same ultimatum - sit with me smoke free or sit alone and smoke. I just wish we'd had the same choices of venues to be able to use the same arguments but we simply didn't.

          Well except for one cafe. It opened a few years before the ban but didn't allow smoking. It was packed every day it was open to the point people would queue to eat there - showing if the choice was there' we'd take it.

          But yeah sure - we're a bunch of snowflakes. Yet... we ain't the ones who bitch/bitched about the ban and we weren't the ones who got in such a huff about it that we stopped using pubs and clubs.

          It's H&S gone mad I tell you There are no need for guards on moving machines, or to not send 8 year olds down mines or up chimneys...and don't get me started on PPE. Snowflakes can work with two less fingers or toes, surely! It'll make a man out of them...

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Visited...

            The solution didn't have to be so drastic - ban smoking inside altogether.

            Allowing pubs, etc, to setup indoor smoking areas ( with specified levels of ventilation ) would have solved the problem of whole pubs stinking of fags, as well as the very convenient second hand smoke problem. The ventilation technology was available at the time.

            However it was obviously meant to be a social engineering measure - force people into quitting. Whether its moral for a government to do such a thing is one question, but it seems as though it worked at least.

            1. the Jim bloke
              Holmes

              Re: Visited...

              If it wasnt drastic - it wouldnt have happened.

              There would have been all sorts of half-arsed pretend implementations, and it would have been unenforceable. Keep it simple, and get it done.

              As for the fairness or necessity of it, customers can vote with their feet if they dont like a venues rules and conditions, but the staff/employees dont get much choice.

              As long as you're not working for Uber or Amazon or any of the other tech-bros, your employer is not supposed to put your life or health at risk. That can be pushing large aluminium staircases around an airfield in a lightning storm, or breathing toxic chemicals... they certainly wont pay you any extra for doing it.

              1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                Re: Visited...

                The enforcement could have been as stiff. Adequate ventilation could have made it perfectly safe.

                Staffs second hand smoking was just an excuse. Ventilation meant that didn't have to be an issue.

                1. TonyJ

                  Re: Visited...

                  See - for non smokers the whole ban is a non-argument. Smokers on the other hand are arguing 15 years later of the unfairness and how it could have been done differently.

                  But non smokers are the snowflakes... sure....

                  Of course the end game was and is to cut smoking right down and anything that aids that is a good thing.

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

                    1. TonyJ

                      Re: Visited...

                      Not sure who that was aimed at but if it was me then a bit of reading shows I was responding to the original accusation of snowflakery.

                      Anyway once you drop into the use of "are you retarded", you've lost any credibility.

                      Also, after a quick flick through of your post history here, I think there's a bridge somewhere that you really ought to be under.

  6. GlenP Silver badge

    Way Back...

    I was a Civil Servant (briefly) in the mid 80s when we were just getting word processing facilities and had just bought a DEC LN-03 Laser printer. Great, we could type up and print our own letters, then we had to send them to the typing pool who retyped them on (IIRC) IBM Selectric typewriters and returned them to us for signing.

    One of my colleagues had spent some time on secondment at the MoD, one job he did was photocopier guard. He had to check the security rating on everything being copied and check the person had the necessary clearance. There was plenty of scope for arguments with high ranking officers and their secretaries* but if they didn't comply he didn't unlock the copier.

    *As in, "I'm sorry Ma'am but if the Rear Admiral wants that Top Secret document copying the Rear Admiral will have to bring it himself!"

    1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Way Back...

      Must have been an "interesting" copier if you could run TS through it...

    2. jmch Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Way Back...

      "we could type up and print our own letters, then we had to send them to the typing pool who retyped them on (IIRC) IBM Selectric typewriters and returned them to us for signing."

      ????

      The middle part of that process seems entirely redundant!

      1. navidier
        Facepalm

        Re: Way Back...

        "we could type up and print our own letters, then we had to send them to the typing pool who retyped them on (IIRC) IBM Selectric typewriters and returned them to us for signing."

        > ????

        > The middle part of that process seems entirely redundant!

        Yes, but ... unions. At least that was the explanation at the AAEC in the 80s. The secretaries couldn't allow us to give them a draft paper in electronic form. We had to give them our hard-copy so that they could type it into the system themselves.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Way Back...

          A place I worked at until recently, would insist on printing out received invoices, so they could stamp them with a rubber stamp & then scan back into our storage system.

          1. Not previously required

            Re: Way Back...

            Why are you writing this in the past tense? I receive a large number of stupid forms to complete and return that are still formatted in ways that only make sense if you print, write in pen, scan back. One company required a "wet signed" document (singed in ink). It looked identical to the scanned signature I use, apart from the embedded "Electronically signed" text I include in the latter. For the other filth, I delight in reformatting them, breaking the character limits and saying what I want to say without the restrictions. (Of course I bin anything I don't want to complete at all)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Way Back...

        Before we had access to text editors or word processors letter production went

        Hand write first draft this would be so covered in scribble and changes nobody but the author could understand it

        hand write second draft much better, but then you'd realize the paragraph order didn't work

        hand write 3rd draft with reordered paragraphs

        Proof read 3rd draft and make amendments

        If you were lucky that went to the typists

        If you weren't you hand wrote the 4th draft

        being able to produce electronic drafts that were reworked rather than started fro scratch every time, and were readable was a godsend and saved me hours every week. A soon as the typists got word processor software we worked out how to copy and paste between a text editor and a word processing document and were soon agitating to get the full product (and a PC). Typing pools remained for about another decade in most organisations as the standards of presentation required even for internal documents was incredibly high. Since then t report writers have got more skilled with the tools and there has been acceptance that their output is 'good enough'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Way Back...

          > hand write second draft much better, but then you'd realize the paragraph order didn't work

          > hand write 3rd draft with reordered paragraphs

          Noob. If the paragraphs needed re-ordering I simply cut up the original and stuck them down in the new order. (Remember to write on one side of the paper only!)

          I have to admit though, it made you much more disciplined in what you wrote, and made paragraphs much more self-contained.

          Not separated out like I've done here!

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Way Back...

            "stuck them down in the new order"

            Don't stick them, staple them. Easier to rearrange again. Downside: punctured fingers.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Way Back...

              Why are you stapling your fingers?

              Oh, removing them... you just need a 'bogey picker' or 'Dracula's dentures'

              (still have one in my desk tidy, along with a dwindling number of paper clips, some odd screws from someone unknown, some of those twisty wire things for use as temporary cable ties..)

      3. GlenP Silver badge

        Re: Way Back...

        The middle part of that process seems entirely redundant!

        It was, but that's how it was in those days! Unions, job protection and demarcation, etc. all played a part.

      4. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

        Re: Way Back...

        " The middle part of that process seems entirely redundant! "

        You obviously never worked for the civil servioce or local government in the day ?

        I was with a local council for a couple of years (89/90/91?) and all letters and memo's had to go through the typing pool, and were logged/recorded, given task numbers, etc. You could either dictate a letter through the telephone based "dictaphone" thing, or hand in a scribbled handwritten note. What came back as a draft was usually full of spelling mistakes (especially for technical terms) or just didn't make sense. So it was a 2 or 3 or more step iterative process to get it right (could take 2 or 3 days).

        Being in a technical department we had a couple of standlone PC's for technical/analysis work (strictly non admin stuff) along with dot matrix printers (almost certainly FX80's, though memory is a bit hazy now), and somehow we got a hooky copy of Wordstar installed. That was useful for wirting and printing a few notes, but one day a colleague wrote a (external) letter on it, and handed the dot matrix draft to the typing pool for official typing and recording. I can't remember the exact sequence of events after that, but the upshot was that it was NOT for engineers to type and print anything, whether for internal or external dissemination as that was a skill reserved for the typing pool......

        I had moved on long before email and general desktop PC's became the norm.

        1. Potty Professor
          Facepalm

          Re: Way Back...

          I worked with a Senior Development Engineer in the Electrical Engineering sector. We had Dictaphones to dictate our letters, specifications, requisitions, etc., and they were left at the end of the day with the Typing Pool for typing up in the morning. One such specification he dictated concerned a tram controller, in which there were several "Notches" to supply different amounts of DC power to the motors. He dictated that the equipment should pass 1000 Amps on the first notch. When the typescript came back next afternoon, it stated that the equipment should pass 1000 Amps on the first of March.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Way Back...

            Send three'n'fourpence, we're going to a dance :-)

            1. David 132 Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Way Back...

              I very much doubt that the young'uns around here will have heard that before, or even understand the context (quite apart from the pre-decimalisation currency bit)...

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: Way Back...

                Yeah, but the young'uns have grown up with search engines :-)

                1. JQJ
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: Way Back...

                  As have us foreigners!

          2. Aussie Doc
            Joke

            Re: Way Back...

            I was always taught to use a dictaphone.

            That way you didn't break your nails.

            Boom, tish and all that.

        2. EVP

          Re: Way Back...

          FX80... makes me to shed a tear, or two, for good 'ol times. Thanks.

        3. rototype

          Re: Way Back...

          A place I used to work had early PCs with printers that anyone could use (it was quite a technical department) - we also had the secretaries/typists who would do your typing for you. The general rule was if you wanted to compose something on the PC you did the whole process, start to finish and printed it yourself OR you got the secretaries to do it from hand written drafts. This was done to stop the secretaries being used just to correct the formatting (and occasionaly spelling) and printing it, which was demeaning to them.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Way Back...

        At a recent job if I, a lowly peasant in the despised R+D department, wanted to get some components from the main stores the procedure was:

        1) Fire up the R+D copy of the aged MRP system to look up the part numbers by searching the (mis-spelled) descriptions.

        2) Using said part numbers, fill out a requisition form.

        3) Print req, and have it countersigned by an R+D manager.

        4) Trudge over to the main building, and deposit the req in the Purchasing Dept in-tray. Remember to stamp it with the official stamp with today's date. (Yes, the req did have the date on. But no extra stamp, no processing.)

        6) Wait a few days until Purchasing had taken req, and typed all the information into the Production MRP system. They would then issue a req to Stores by printing off a form (containing the same information as the first one) and putting it into the Stores in-tray.

        7) Wait until Stores had received the form, picked the parts and then delivered them to one of the approved locations for signed-out parts.

        8) Start going round the three or four approved delivery locations (all in different buildings) to see if the parts had been delivered.

        9) Lose patience and email the One Good Guy in Stores to ask where the parts were. Receive email within 1hr stating that they "had been misplaced", but were now in the location in the R+D building, and with my name on too.

        This was in 2017...

        1. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: Way Back...

          OK, the way I streamlined this for an urgent/important item in the public service in the 1980s was:-

          1) Find the part number.

          2) Handwrite part number on a piece of paper.

          3) Trudge over to Stores/Purchasing.

          4) Look slightly shifty until the clerk asked what you wanted.

          5) Hand the clerk the paper and TWO MARS BARS.

          6) Wait a couple of minutes, until clerk came back with item.

          7) Under no circumstances discuss any paperwork, on the understanding that said items would go into a general black hole budget.

          8) Return to base, and take price of Mars Bars from Petty Cash surplus.

          1. Anonymous Custard
            Headmaster

            Re: Way Back...

            Reinforces the best lesson I ever learned in (postgraduate) academia, that has also served me extremely well since getting a job in the real world.

            Always make sure to treat well/respectfully and get on the good side of secretaries, storesmen, technicians and generally the kind of support minions who most managers would either overlook or treat like dirt.

            People always used to be amazed how quickly I could get stuff done, and with how little fuss and issue, but it was simply due to being friendly and respectful to them, having a chat or suchlike sometimes and generally treating them like proper human beings.

            Managers and professors of course always think they are important and run the place, but in reality it was always these overlooked heroes who actually did and could make things run like clockwork (or like treacle if you got on their wrong side).

            1. Old Used Programmer

              Re: Way Back...

              I used variations on that. Got to be on good terms with the supervisor of the keypunch section. Result: keyed AND verified programs back before most people could get them even looked at.

              When the company converted to a key-disk system, if I wrote the program for a given key input form, I'd deliver it, then ask the supervisor to have it tried out and get back to me if any changes were needed. Everyone else would deliver and more or less indicate it was done and not to expect changes.

              If it was at the end of the day, I'd submit jobs for running overnight and give them a LOWER than normal priority. After the operators got used to that, if I really needed something run right away (which was rare), they'd run it immediately and top priority. I had gotten a reputation for not asking favors unless I seriously needed them, and making it plain when something could be run "whenever".

              It was also good to get in the good graces of the (IBM mainframe) shop CE. You could find out about pending hardware changes, often before anyone but those deciding found out.

            2. Glenturret Single Malt

              Re: Way Back...

              Glassblowers!

            3. MrBanana

              Re: Way Back...

              Always look after secretaries, and those that seem in a lowly position but that actually wield the real power. I always made a point of speaking to the receptionists, and bringing them back a small gift from when I often went travelling abroad. If possible, they would always book the company's chauffeured Merc to get me to the airport, despite me being just a tech guy, and low on the totem pole. For the self important sales director, who wouldn't give them the time of day - except to be obnoxious, it would most likely be a sweaty minicab as the Merc was somehow, often "unavailable".

            4. cmdrklarg

              Re: Way Back...

              I found that being respectful and kind to everyone is a good way to get ahead.

          2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Way Back...Somewhere around Wiltshire\Oxford.....

            A well known supplier of schools machines, based out of Didcot had a service centre that had a wall of PC's requiring repair. I was seconded there for two weeks to see out the end of my contract.

            The half a dozen or so staff in that area had a three sided work bench. So select a machine for repair, the first step required diagnostic software & AV unless it was a obvious DOA\non-booting issue, write out a little chitty for stores to deliver a "power supply".

            Then pick a second machine while awaiting the required parts (Which came out on a trolley twice a day for all the techs). Repeat & onto a third.

            Soooo by lunchtime or just after having cherry picked three DOA machines, received\fitted the parts & restoring to function & a quick SW check\AV completed, put them on the "Out Rack" pick up another three machines & have them ready by the end of day & put them on the "Out Rack" so far so good - Right?

            Remember that wall of PC's?

            Wrong for whatever arcane reasoning, the techs could only output three machines a day, so your three afternoon PC's became tomorrows, I had to share a "log in" with one of the techs & they almost received a bollocking because they were doing twice as many machines per day that they were permitted.

            Meanwhile some years earlier, at the Joint European Torus project, Swindon "North Star" College scored a very nice almost new cutting edge CNC machine, when it was discovered slightly (surface) rusting covered in a plastic sheet near open "hanger" doors.

            The way the stores\bureaucracy operated there was to sign out tools or equipment, say a Fluke 79 DVM to a tech, but the stores had no procedure of returning it back to the pool of tools & equipment & would refuse vocally to accept it back. Frequent breakages or losses of Flukes weren't even challenged.

            Thus my engineering tutor on a field trip noted the CNC & passed comment on it's function & neglect........

            "Ohhh that, we needed to shave a few mm of the height of the torus, so we bought it, stuck it on a pallet, rigged up a long power cable & drove it around the torus on a forklift, job done! we have no other need for it now......Why you want it?"

      6. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Way Back...

        "????

        The middle part of that process seems entirely redundant!"

        Ah, you're new to the Public Sector, aren't you?

        That was exactly my experience in local government in 1999.

      7. Daedalus

        Re: Way Back...

        The chances are that most people there used basic typewriters that only did the kind of fonts we now recognize as Courier etc. IBM Selectrics could do much more elegant fonts with those interchangeable typeface spheroids and they did proportional spacing as well, making for a much nicer looking letter.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Way Back...

          Courier was a font for standard sized grids as used on PC screens and dot matrix printers.

          I don't know what the font is on my pre war typewriter, but it is proportionally spaced.

      8. Dog11
        WTF?

        Re: Way Back...

        Not necessarily redundant (unless you were going to spring for hardware and training for the typing pool). Otherwise letters would go to the typing pool as illegible scrawls. Though a good typist who knew the terminology and the authors could often fake it, improving grammar in the process.

        1. MrBanana

          Re: Way Back...

          My wife did some temp work at a solicitors and found that they aren't all as clever as they make out. One was particularity stupid and she would correct the grammar to fix their mistakes. After a couple of "you've not typed this up correctly as I dictated" exchanges, and having to re-apply the grammar error, she gave up.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Way Back...

      "Great, we could type up and print our own letters, then we had to send them to the typing pool who retyped them"

      We had the same experience with witness statements which couldn't be on plain stationery (II|RC there were 4 different pre-printed variants to cope with single and multi-page statements). This was referred to as "sending them to have typing errors inserted".

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I had a brush with a bunch of senior lawyers

    Luxembourg.

    In a high-level meeting to define the specs of an application that was supposed to revolutionize the internal document management system of the company, I was busy explaining how the access rights worked to the database and its documents when one of the bigwigs interrupted me, asking about the access to the documents.

    I re-explained how the user creating the document was responsible for the document (at application level) and could delegate reponsibility to other people. After ten minutes of additional explanations my colleague took over and, being Luxembourghish, gave an explanation in that language. I still didn't understand what the problem was.

    After the meeting, it struck me : the bigwigs didn't want to have to touch the computer, but they wanted all their documents to be under their name whilst the secretaries did all the work.

    I never did get to know what happened to that project, but I didn't have anything to do with it after that meeting. I still believe I got lucky on that.

    1. pavel.petrman

      Re: I had a brush with a bunch of senior lawyers

      You remind me of a story where there was a database (a very old sybase, if I recall correctly, with data stored as flat text files, even the system internal data including passwords), two secretaries and an on-call database man summoned to sort out some weird user account problem. Said database man needed to analyse the problem and ask many questions, and so he got one of the secretaires to sit next to him when he sifted through the files. Having done wis preliminary checks he proceeded to open the account data file. The secretary was still sitting next to him, looking at the screen. As soon as he opened the file, she muttered some unpleasant vocabulary about female anatomy. When the database man inquired what was wrong, the lady exploded: "one is supposed to keep one's face, isn't one? That is why I have my husband's name as a password. And that other bitch thinks she can use her lover's?"

      1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

        Re: I had a brush with a bunch of senior lawyers

        And were the passwords the same?

  8. ColinPa

    "personal printing"

    We had a brand new printer to replace an old, basic one. The new one had all the mod cons, icons, and flashing lights.

    Someone had a paper jam in the new one, and was not brave enough fix it.

    Fools rush in ... etc. I opening it up and fixed it. It was clearly "personal printing" for school kids. The paper was about 1 inch deep in the output tray - so not the acceptable one or two sheets.

    I stood by as he then took the printed output, and put it back >into< the paper drawer of the printer ("the other way up") to print another page on the back.

    I asked what he was doing - and he said "saving paper - I am printing on both sides".

    "Have you tried using the 'duplex' facility that comes with this printer?" I asked, pointing to one of the icons.

    Shortly after that each printer had a one page, large print guide explaining what the "intuitive icons" meant. For example "To print duplex .. press this one...", "to shrink two A4 pages per one page of A4 .. press this one".

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "personal printing"

      "intuitive icons"

      Multilingual: equally incomprehensible in all languages.

    2. Marcelo Rodrigues
      FAIL

      Re: "personal printing"

      "Shortly after that each printer had a one page, large print guide explaining what the "intuitive icons" meant."

      The only intuitive interface is the tit. Everything else is learned.

      1. David Neil

        Re: "personal printing"

        And even that can need a bit of time and coaxing for newly dropped sprogs.

  9. tip pc Silver badge

    An MP today would lose their seat for that

    An MP using parliamentary assets for non parliamentary work would be thrown into jail for that today!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

      > An MP using parliamentary assets for non parliamentary work would be thrown into jail for that today!!

      As in "Go To Jail. Do NOT pass Go. Do NOT collect £6m from the British Virgin Islands."?

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

      You seem to be saying that as if throwing them into jail would be a bad thing?

      A few more being locked up as examples to the rest of them might clean up our paliaments just a bit, no?

      1. MrReynolds2U

        Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

        It didn't hurt Geoffrey Archer much. Pretty sure he came out with a new book while doing Porridge.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

          My niece used to hate Jeffery Archer with a vengeance.

          She used to work next door to the Archer's country seat and, whenever he had *another* scandal, the media would turn up in their droves, causing havoc and blocking access to the building. As a sideline to the business, they also ran the Rupert Brooke museum and tearoom, which lost money, not only because no-one could get near the place but also because the media were too tight fisted to buy anything from them

    3. DJO Silver badge

      Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

      Don't be daft, if we prosecuted MPs every time they broke the rules there would be none left, well maybe 3 or 4.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Optimist.

      2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

        You say that like it would be a bad thing?!?

      3. Aladdin Sane

        Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

        Misattributed:

        Skinner: "Half the Tories opposite are crooks."

        Speaker: "Please retract that unparliamentary language."

        Skinner: "OK, half the Tories opposite are not crooks."

        1. Anonymous Custard
          Trollface

          Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

          So by this thinking, the House of Lords must be a prison?

          At least that seems to be where most of these crooks end up once they get caught too many times to stay in the commons?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

        Only if they were new to the job.

    4. DJV Silver badge

      Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

      “We put all our politicians in prison as soon as they’re elected. Don’t you?”

      “Why?”

      “It saves time.”

      Terry Pratchett - The Last Continent

      It's a pity we don't do this...

    5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: An MP today would lose their seat for that

      You forgot the sarcasm icon!

  10. disgruntled yank

    personal documents

    Once, working on a government contract, I had to help retrieve a document from backup. For reasons I no longer recall, it was necessary to take a look at the file, which I found to be part of a novel: the beginning of a chapter, set as I recall on a sailboat in some Californian harbor. We did support an office specializing in admiralty and aviation torts, known locally as Splash and Crash, but even there I don't think it could have counted as work product.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do as I say, not as I do...

    We used to get regular communications warning us against using the then-recently networked printers for personal stuff.

    Obviously, it was OK for senior managers to print out reams of stuff about car and holiday prices.

    It was also entertaining to see them run out of their office to snatch the results if they saw you heading over to collect your own work,

    1. BenDwire Silver badge

      Re: Do as I say, not as I do...

      When running my own business, I used to let people print their own stuff, as long as it was only a few pages now and again. One of my engineers used to run his resident's association and wanted to print lots, so we came to the arrangement where he paid the 0.7p per page our contract charged us, and all was well in the world.

      When the colour laser printer arrived this was extended to all and sundry who liked to print their photos.

      Happy staff are so much more productive.

      1. swm

        Re: Do as I say, not as I do...

        At Xerox they had to run millions of copies through a machine under test. If you were a friend you could get 1000s of copies off of the test machine. They didn't care what was printed.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    different controlling authorities on the one site

    The story about the pipe-smoking senior officer reminded me of a visit to a substation. One upon a time it was owned by the state transmission company. During the 90s it was transfered to the local distribution company, but for some reason the "crib room" (tea room) locks were not changed. I was employed by the transmission company at the time and was doing testing at the substation, and the distribution guys suggested we open up the crib room since we had keys.

    Oh boy. It was a step back in time by 20 years. The "wall paper" was most definitely not appropriate for a modern workforce.

    Turns out the distribution site audits had never picked it up because nobody had the key. The transmission people never looked at it because they'd flicked on the substation. To their credit, after some brief reminiscing the room was stripped back, cleaned up and arrangements made to change over the lock to the standard substation keys.

    1. Dave559

      Re: different controlling authorities on the one site

      As that web page and/or oft reposted usenet post about the importance of correct punctuation and typesetting used to remind us, I’m sure there’s a punchline about Powergenitalia in that situation somewhere…

    2. Tom 7

      Re: different controlling authorities on the one site

      Wallpaper? In the 80s a friend of mine was pissed off with the page 3s stuck to the office walls and after the lads refusing to take them down stuck up large posters of naked men. It was delightfully effective and possibly the first time I heard mansplaining (though it was a long time before it got that name) as to why it was ok for there to be half naked women on the walls but not half naked men. It even got brought up at a union meeting where the old guard couldnt understand the laughter. They got woke in the end though - again a long time before someone thought up an ugly word for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: different controlling authorities on the one site

        Saw a similar situation in the late 80s. The union was brought in and there was a threat of strike action if the posters of half-naked men weren't removed.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: different controlling authorities on the one site

          So which half did they remove?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shared printers

    In my last role, I was one of a small team that tended to get all the out of hours calls which no one knew what to do about and also those from staff members saying, "please can you go and check my desk for.." - mobile phone, keys, train tickets etc.

    One time a fellow team member was called in the evening by a friendly colleague who we all liked but was in in a management level a little above ours. She had left some paperwork on a printer - please could he get it and put it on her desk. We were all quite envious to learn of her £180K redundancy package.

    We never got anything close to that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shared printers

      Paris, late 90s.

      I was at the ground floor printer for some trouble shooting, the printer HR would use.

      HR staff were the quite friendly and family kind type, all smiling and all.

      I spotted a document called "numerology analysis of candidate Mrs X", and went on to read all the BS.

      I never looked at HR people the same way as before, after this, more like a dangerous cult :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shared printers

        I never looked at HR people the same way as before, after this, more like a dangerous cult :)

        Even today French companies insist on a handwritten "letter of motivation" with every job application. It must be handwritten because it gets sent for handwriting analysis. It wouldn't surprise me if they still have phrenology departments in some HR teams.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Shared printers

          There's at least one company here, that likes to set MENSA type questions with patterns, numerical sequences (&/or hypothetical sales scenarios) for call centre/WFH IT Support roles. You are given something like 15 minutes to solve these 50 questions which works out to 18 seconds to read/process & answer, before processing to the next round of MENSA type puzzles.

          1. Tom 7

            Re: Shared printers

            Many of the jobs I went for used IQ tests which used to amuse me as I can normally walk them. Several of my Dad's university colleagues used to try and get me into Mensa but never quite understood that as they were all racist I didnt want to have anything to do with their eugenics club. I am aware that not everyone in Mensa at the time (70s) may have been like that but pretty much everyone I knew in Mensa at the time seemed to be like that.

            However the ability to walk the tests was often entertaining when the person interviewing you would get round to reading the result halfway through the interview and swear or stop speaking or look pop eyed at you.

          2. Caver_Dave Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: Shared printers

            I once had to do one of those for a job offering twice what I was currently on. I apparently had 2 hours to complete as much as I could. When the secretary came in to ask if I wanted a drink 30 minutes in I said that I had finished, I handed over the papers and she left. (I never did get the drink!) At the appointed 2 hours after the start of the test, I was called into the IT Managers Office for my shortest interview ever. "Don't sit down, you will be bored here, goodbye!"

            1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

              Re: Shared printers

              I've had interviews like that.

              But...... I need the money! Food. Costs. Money.

              It resulted in 7 years on the dole. There was a non-existent window between "you're not qualified, bugger off" and "you're too qualified, bugger off". Eventually wrangled my way into local government for ten years. Which of course adds additional crippling to the "you're not qualified" front.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Shared printers

                I once had a colleague who was told it was mandatory to do a certain course, but was then told he couldn't do that course because he hadn't done another (basic) course as a prerequisite... he was then told he couldn't do the basic course because he had too much practical experience (~5 years)! Took a lot of toing and froing, but HR were finally persuaded to pencil in a 'pass equivalent' against the basic course.

                I actually had to do that same basic course after 3 or 4 years practical experience and just coasted though it... up until the point where I had to do a fault-finding practical and couldn't find the problem, so I called over the instructor who said 'you've found it''... turned out their 'fault' was to flick down one of the little used switches on the tester and I had unconsciously reset it as part of my normal routine

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Shared printers

          " It must be handwritten because it gets sent for handwriting analysis."

          It makes a big difference when you have to be prepared to stand over your conclusions in the face of cross-examination.

          Due to the organisation of the forensic lab my boss was also a questioned documents examiner. They kept strictly to comparing texts to say whether they had been written by the same hand. In terms of characteristics of the writer they weren't even prepared to say what the gender might be.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Shared printers

            "In terms of characteristics of the writer they weren't even prepared to say what the gender might be."

            Well of course they can't, because that is what is inside somebody's head. You have to physically interact with them to determine somebody's gender.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Shared printers

              Said document examiner, like me was a biologist so he was head of a forensic science biology department. The medical examiners would have sorted that out before the exhibits even arrived in the lab.

        3. adam 40 Silver badge

          Re: Shared printers

          It wouldn't surprise me if they still have phrenology departments in some HR teams.

          A few years ago I was designing software at Scientific Generics on contract (which ran and ran on for 7 years). Their main business was consulting on all sorts of scientific and technical stuff, part of which was to do a lot of innovation and win business.

          After my 5th year, HR got around to using Psychometric testing to weed out the crazies. And it worked well, the people they were hiring were more stable types, and compared with the incumbents, frankly, quite boring.

          After I had left I heard that SG weren't doing so well. HR had done such a good job, they had weeded out all the creative types needed to keep a cutting edge consultancy in business.

          One of my favourite recollections was drinking wine on a Friday afternoon 'meeting' with one guy and we came up with the musical lolly for Chupa Chups (well, initially it would have made a fart sound!)

          1. Stephen May

            Re: Shared printers

            You didn't happen to work on the software for the Turftrax tracking system? That was developed by Scientific Generics and we took it out into the field and got it working, back when I worked for them.

          2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Re: Shared printers

            They had that in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" - the film - IIRC the eccentric father has invented a candy whistle and there is a jolly song about "Toot Sweets".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shared printers

      I was called in one day to the Finance department. Some issues with their cheque printer.

      Which was an even then very old DEC LA120 dot-matrix.

      Normally above^wbelow my pay-grade, but CHEQUES.

      After a bit of fiddling, away it printed.

      One cheque for the office supplies company.

      One cheque for the computer supply company.

      One very large cheque under the maiden name of the chief procurement officer's wife. "for Services".

      Double-dipping indeed.

  14. Tim99 Silver badge

    A more civilized age?

    As a (20 year old) junior civil servant, I was tasked with taking an important item to another establishment. I was chauffeured to the nearby railway station by a very pretty WRAC corporal (about 30+) driving the regulation two-tone green Humber Staff car. I (of course) sat in the back, very much Jack-the-Lad. My illusions were shattered when she gave me 4 pennies in an envelope to call from the public phone box (with the number written on the envelope), for when I was ready to be picked up; and insisted on seeing my travel warrant before she let me catch the train. It was just like being 10 again…

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: A more civilized age?

      Ah, travel warrants. I remember the days when you could just roll up at Heathrow, get on a BA shuttle with no ID check or anything, and when the flight attendants came round to check/sell tickets you just handed over the travel warrant. Indeed, simpler times.

      1. Tom 7

        Re: A more civilized age?

        Used to get them with BT and get first class travel. I used to delight in sitting on the train with some pompous oaf convinced that I was trying it on (t-shirt and jeans and a copy of the gruniad) would get really pissed off when the inspector would say "Thank you Sir" as he handed back the warrant. I had to do a some week long courses with involved daily travel and would amuse myself by doing the Times crossword (just write gibberish in) in about 3 minutes and then leave the paper on the seat and go for a slash and return to find it folded differently. The Friday evening returns trips from London were often filled with drunk city traders who saved me from applying for any work there, I can imagine working for them must have been extremely unpleasant.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wood Panelled Offices

    Nigel, in the article is obviously a few, but not many, years older than me. In was in my early 20's around the same time, and yes, although I never worked for the MoD, there were plenty of bigwigs, who had obviously seen military service, now resident in wood panelled offices of numerous companies. And they all had the rather prim middle aged (female) PA guarding their door. The PA who always looked at the geeky 20'ish computer nerd as being her son, or nephew or whatever. Whereas the bigwig wouldn't know which way round a floppy disc should be inserted, the secretaries took care of everything and could mostly see where the future was heading. They were generally lovely ladies, but in one company we supported, she had a reputation for being a bit of a battle axe. I can't recall now what I had to fix, but from then on, each time she logged a call, she asked specifically for me to be sent to fix it.

    I then moved into PABX systems, and again, the telephone operators were mostly middle aged ladies (although there were a few younger lovelies !) and it often fell to me to take them from the concept of a "plug board" with adjacent, well thumbed Roladex for the little used numbers, to a PC or terminal based system. Often the first time they had ever seen a computer in any shape or form. Again, the ladies often seemed to regard the geeky one as being their own son and would often strike up conversations about their own kids and how to inspire them into a role in this new fangled world of computery things.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Wood Panelled Offices

      My mother nudged me into computers by teaching me how to flowchart. Even let me use her genuine IBM template.

    2. Hero Protagonist
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Wood Panelled Offices

      And presumably tried to set you up with their daughters?

    3. Tom 7

      Re: Wood Panelled Offices

      My only experience with secretaries was though the ones that worked for my dad and his colleagues at his uni. They were the most amazingly talented and knowledgeable and organised people I have ever come across. My Dad made it to Head of Dept and when in using uni facilities (pool and gym etc) as some family were allowed I'd end up hanging around his or another's office waiting for a lift home where I got to see how people with Double Firsts from Oxbridge were manipulated and cajoled and basically nudged into not making utter twats of themselves. Hearing a letter being dictated in anger and then half an hour later hearing the polite version the secretary had moulded it into while giving the signatory the impression it was all their idea was something to behold.

      The PC has a lot to answer for - possibly the destruction of education and industry in the UK by letting people like my Dad write their own correspondence!

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Wood Panelled Offices

        It shouldn't surprise us. Go back far enough and "secretary" was about as far as a woman could go in business, so that's where the cream of the country's female intellect ended up. Similar effects probably apply to "teacher" or "nurse". The point is that really intelligent women are not a new phenomenon. What has changed is where they end up.

      2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: Wood Panelled Offices

        Take a cloth bag containing Scrabble tiles. Roll it gently around in your hands. That soft clacking sound was the exact sound of the Uni Electronics dept (SEES Bangor) secretary typing on her VT100 terminal. The text just flowed accross the screen. There must have been one of those 9600baud links for that one, 1200baud wouldn't have kept up!

        1. WonkoTheSane
          Alien

          Re: Wood Panelled Offices

          Next, pull tiles out of the bag to learn what the Great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything says.

  16. Contrex

    A pedant writes: 'Air Marshal' (RAF rank) has exactly one letter 'l'.

  17. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Shhhhhhchop!

    Nobody thought to offer them a guillotine?

  18. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Happy

    Ahhhh

    this brings back the memories.

    The bad ones

    <<hides until the PTSD calms down a bit.

    We needed some consumable parts (not that we ate them) , to be exact, we needed 10 of them to get a job out.

    So we filled out the paperwork, then filed it with the suitable department.

    Then the bean counters got hold of it and decided in their wisdom , to cut the order in half because of the cost.

    And thus the wheels of government turned and the parts duely arrived

    "FIVE!" was the shout that went up, and thus tempers were frayed, and I learned a suitable lesson in diplomacy from my line manager who went to see the beancounters.

    "You lot get down there and *^*&%ing well explain to rear admiral Sir Talbot Smyth-Thomson why his multi-million pound project is sitting in our workshop with only 1/2 the ^&%*ing bits on it we need to make it work"

    Strangely the paperwork was done in about 5 minutes and the parts obtained later that day..... and the beancounters never changed another order again..

    1. Potty Professor
      Boffin

      Re: Ahhhh

      A very long time ago, I was a Development Engineer on a very Hush-Hush project for a certain wavy arm of the Armed Forces. We were developing a power control system to connect the alternators to the motors (Variable Frequency, Variable Voltage), and we needed a very special electric motor to test our product. We asked several large electrical engineering firms to quote for this item, the best (not necessarily the cheapest) quote we received was a quarter of a million quid. My requisition signing limit was £1000, my immediate superior could sign for £5000, and the Chief Engineer could sign for £10,000. As I was the junior in rank, and therefor the most expendable, I signed the requisition. The brown stuff hit the rotating ventilation equipment with a vengeance, why was I, a mere Engineer, allowed to spend so much of the company's money? Our Chief Engineer replied that, without this motor, the Navy's shiny new destroyer would be just a floating hotel. We got our motor tut suite. But then we broke it, and the company had to fork out even more dosh to get it shipped back to the manufacturers for repair, and we had to wait an extraordinary long time to get it back, during which little or no further development could be done.

  19. Tom 7

    That reminds me of the day

    when I went to our line printer to pick something of mine up and found a very hefty document labelled Top Secret with the name of the person in charge of really top secret stuff and being a bit of an arse whenever possible. This was at BTRL where they designed exchanges and then had to add bits for the boys in black to be able to trace and eavesdrop on conversations or early modem stuff making the exchanges ten times more complicated than necessary. This stuff is of course seriously high level secret and I was rather amused to find it had been carelessly printed on a printer almost anyone had access too. So in the interests of keeping it secret I snaffled it and after spending more time than was actually necessary to locate the office of the author I meandered around the building and delivered it to their desk - the person had indeed left their door unlocked. It was late in the day but I chortled quietly back to my office via the longest route possible smelling the fear that seemed to be strongest around the lift shafts as every last printer in the place was being trashed to find the lost document.

    1. WonkoTheSane

      Re: That reminds me of the day

      A true PFY would've slowly wandered across to said person's immediate superior's office, said they can't find them, and asked if the document the PFY had found on a publicly accessible printer important at all?

  20. Sparkus

    I note with no small amount of wonder......

    That Uniplex appears to be 'alive'.

    http://www.uniplex.com

  21. Conundrum1885

    Classified

    Apparently, even having a copy by ACCIDENT of a "Top Secret!" document can have your clearance suspended or revoked.

    As happened to someone who was tasked with wiping and testing solid state hard drives prior to shredding or redeployment.

    Seems right in the middle of the first stage, he came across a drive with the "MoD Top Secret SCI" red warning label.

    Three options:

    1) Continue with the forensic wipe on the isolated machine, then put the drive aside and deal with it later

    2) Report it in case there was a screwup somewhere to see how this could happen.

    3) Stop what he was doing, and IMMEDIATELY call the base commander on the hot phone to ask what to do.

    As he had only been in the job a few months and had a Secret clearance, he chose option 1).

    Big mistake! Drive threw an error message and got put aside in the "Shred" pile.

    Had just got to the last drive when some folks in dark glasses and black suits turned up and upon noticing the drive

    very politely requested he follow them while they picked it up and put it in the padlocked box brought with them

    along with the bootable drive and BIOS chip from the isolated machine.

    After three hours of debriefing he was informed that he really should have chosen option 3)

    Cue three months 'gardening leave' while they checked and rechecked to see how the heck this could happen

    and as it turned out it had been a genuine mistake. The drive had simply not been labeled correctly.

    SCI data had never actually been stored on it because the drive had failed the initial self test.

    Last I heard he was still working there, but being a lot more careful and checking everything twice.

    Think he got his TS though, on the grounds that the experience alone made him more qualified than most.

  22. Down not across

    For those unfamiliar with the beast, Uniplex provided an integrated suite of office tools, including word processor, spreadsheet, and calendar applications. Quite some time before Microsoft Office became the behemoth it is today.

    Digital Equipment had the ALL-IN-1 on VMS

  23. hayzoos

    Baby pics

    I was summoned by the office manager to help sort out a printing problem. I was in the middle of some production work at the time, so I replied as soon as I finish this. She said now would be better (because her boss would be returning). She was trying to print some pictures of her infant daughter on some sample photo paper the office supply had left. It was printing only half aligning the cut middle at the top of the page. After checking and trying a few different settings we managed to get it as expected (of course with some very strange combination of settings) after about half an hour. As we loaded the photo paper to see the final product and hit print her boss (and my boss' boss) had returned and seemed a bit perturbed at our non-productive work. She grabbed the page and all was well as she kept the photo of her grand baby, then said time to get back to work.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UNCLASSIFIED labels

    Not so long ago I worked for a place where the security officers were long on strict compliance and short on common sense.

    They interpreted a media classification edict from on high to mean that every single written article in our spaces needed some sort of classification stamp ... Specifically including textbooks, blank notepads, post-its etc. We just barely won a battle to avoid stamping individual pages in notebooks.

    The guys in the office spend an inordinate amount of time stamping everything in sight. The put "SECRET WORKING PAPERS" on their foreheads. The clocks were stamped UNCLASSIFIED. As was the coffee machine, potted plant, window shade we were forbidden from ever opening, light switches, etc.

    But the best pare is when I went to the restroom and saw that every commode and urinal had a sign over it that read, "UNCLASSIFIED. This vessel is not authorized for storage of classified defense information. Report and spillage to a duly authorized security officer for cleanup."

    Anon because you never know where these pennies might turn up again

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UNCLASSIFIED labels

      Had something similar when the company went for ISO9001.

      All documentation had to be up to date, but I pointed out that as a fault desk we regularly came across kit that was not up to the latest spec as customers are naturally reluctant to shell out on upgrades for kit that works

      I ended up going through a couple of cupboard's worth of documentation, binning most of the up to date 'uncontrolled if printed' irrelevant ones (like company vehicle maintenance) and keeping a lot of the 'out of date' stuff we actually needed to do our daily work (and which was not always available electronically due to age). I gave up stamping them with a big red 'controlled' stamp when the ink ran out and just put a red line through each page and filed them in big red folders labelled 'uncontrolled'

  25. Bob Scrantzen

    ISO9000/9001 was a pain with the Inspectors demanding Calibration on our High Precision Machines.

    Only me and a Senior (female) Secretary were prepared to do it and the company processes and departments,

    Goods In/Out, Complaints etc etc.

    In addition to our Normal Jobs

    I ran the Service Centre and decreed that most test equipment was Calibration Not Required.

    We tested our machines to a certain standard (with power meters that had to be calibrated and the PAT Testing)

    But general multimeters, feeler/block gauges, Verniers and micrometers were Outside the System.

    The Inspectors, used to inspecting Military and Aerospace places, were initially sceptical but had to accept my explanation of our operation.

    ------------------

    The Millennium Bug / Y2k was a different matter for our Corporate Customers

    I had to fill in a Declaration for hammers, pliers, cables...

    Hundreds of bloody non-affected products that their purchasing compuuter said we were responsible for.

    1. Shalghar Bronze badge

      ISO 9000 ad other signs of uselessness

      Quite frankly i never saw any benefit in ISO 9000 ff.

      I never encountered a single "Inspector" of that "certification" smoke and mirror parasitism who actually understood anything apart from paperworks shown to him/her.

      As far as i have experienced, the papertrail must seem genuine, some test stickers must be visible on the respective equipment but the actual products, processes or methods fictitionally "documented" in said papertrail are totally irrelevant and need not adhere to reality.

      There is not even a single incident i can remember where more than "where are the environmental rules kept" or "how do you fill out the test certificates" was ever asked from anyone.

      After 20 years of regular visits, those ISO "certifiers" still have not figured out that we do not have any system of collecting ideas or any system of improving or at least monitoring processes.

      Not that we dont do that, we just cannot be motivated to fill out useless paperworks. We have the documentation from the previous machine and only need to compare it to the addendum and modifications for the actual one. Why fill out another silly form to document, where the changes have been documented when everything linked to a machine number is in its respective folder (including prior versions when something was changed) ?

      Same goes for what is so misleadingly called "quality control".

      We do the mandatory tests, some more intense testing on prototypes and thats all.

      The ISO guys get their pile of irrelevant cosmetic papers and have so far been happy with that.

      They stay in their world of paper unicorns and silly rules, we stay in reality. Those two worlds have nothing in common.

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