back to article Pager hack faxed things up properly, again, and again, and again

Ah, dear reader, how nice to meet you once again at the water-cooler analog The Register likes to call Who, Me? where we admit our past errors without fear of judgement. OK, maybe a little judgement. For your consideration this week, meet "Jack" who spent some time in the 1990s working for a large insurance broker – the type …

  1. 45RPM Silver badge

    Whatever happened to Wang? I seem to remember - although the passage of time has not been kind to my memory, and I can’t find any hard evidence of this - that they were very proud of their customer support. So much so that in the early eighties they ran a series of adverts (for which I can no longer find any proof) claiming that “Wang Cares”

    Probably just a false memory. But still. A fond one.

    As to pagers and fax machines, I don’t know what happened to mine either - but I’m fairly sure that I can still put my hands on a fax modem (and what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language’).

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      “Wang Cares”

      Probably just a false memory.

      If so, it's a shared false memory because I remember the general amusement that ensued.

      1. BackToTheFuture

        Well we know why they dropped that particular slogan:

      2. Ken Shabby

        My Wang never goes down!

    2. Press any key

      Were they taken over by Wayne Kerr?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I thought it was his brother Juan who did that.

    3. Korev Silver badge

      Whatever happened to Wang?

      To take your question rather more literally than perhaps you meant, DDG just found a website with this beautiful phrase:

      OK, gang — here it is, without apologies: A place to give and get information on the unkillable Wang® VS™, a line of computers that has persisted for over 32 years in this confused world of unix and client/server experiments.

    4. Snapshot

      I worked for Wang from 1985 to 1994 so can answer both questions.

      The company founder, Dr An Wang, put too many of his cronies in positions they weren't up to. He also wanted his older son, Fred, to take over but Fred wasn't interested. As a result, the company missed the switch to open systems. There was also insufficient marketing input to R&D which was happily making solutions for questions that hadn't been asked. So sales dwindled until the company went into Chapter 11 from which it never really recovered. UK staff levels dwindled from a peak of 1250 to 250 when I left. The UK decline wasn't helped by the appointment of a marketing manager who wanted telesales to be low volume, high margin when the whole industry shifted to high volume, low margin but his previous experience had been selling advertising.....

      The US support operation was named Wang Cares and we had to explain to them very gently why they couldn't call it that here. It didn't stop one of our customers referring to the hardware as Wang Kit.....

      1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

        "There was also insufficient marketing input to R&D..."

        Wow, that's a first! Usually it's the opposite complaint.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge


          From what I've been told, there are a series of alternative routes.

          Ideally marketing hear what users need/customers want (not the same thing of course), feed it back to development, who try to provide this.

          More often marketing imagine what the customers might want/ or/and hear about the latest new shiny and ask development for this.

          Sometimes development/ C Suite come up with what they imagine the next new essential thing will be and tell marketing to get on with it. This IMHO appears to be the Microsoft way- ever since they nearly got burnt failing to spot the internet's importance.

          FOSS appears to be a different route altogether. With the devs creating what they want to, which may or may not be what users want. And if it's not what some other devs want they may create a fork- irrespective of whether the public users want that.

      2. l8gravely

        Waccc'ing on the Wang

        When I got to my UNI in the mid-late 80s, we have a Wang system for people to write papers on, located in the WACCC. So people used to go WACCC on the Wang....

      3. TeeCee Gold badge

        Going without marketing: making solutions to questions that hadn't been asked.

        Going with marketing: making solutions to questions that have been asked, but nobody really gives a rat's arse about the answer.

    5. Ozan

      My machine's modem can't do fax. Maybe I can fake it but I don't know.

    6. rafff

      what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language

      At one point I had the job of writing modem firmware. It ran on an embedded 6502 and I wrote it in C with the Hayes commands interpreted by Flex, all cross-compiled from my 486DX2.

      The fun part was that when it came to testing against as many different existing modems as we could lay our hands on (interoperability yer know), I found that not one of those modems met the CCITT specs; every single one of them was buggy. No wonder dial-up comms were unreliable

      1. Bill Gray

        Re: what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language

        I'd almost completely forgotten about Hayes modem commands until a few years ago, when the scam/telemarketing calls on our landline became a near-hourly menace. (In the US, telcos profit from these and are disinclined to stop them. I don't know if that's an issue elsewhere.)

        To my surprise, I found that I still had an old PCI 56K hardware modem, with the ability (among other things) to scan Caller ID data. Combine with a bit of C code, a check against the NoMoRobo database, and those calls got one ring and then were disconnected. (I played with having them responded to with a fax tone, but that didn't seem to help.)

        It seems to me that having a PC (or, say, Raspberry Pi) be able to interface with phones, either landline or cellular, ought to be a straightforward thing, not requiring one to have kept some obsolete kit for ~20 years. Perhaps it is, and I didn't find the "current" solution. Admittedly, once I found one that worked, I didn't look much further.

        1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

          Re: what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language

          My favorite off-label modem use: as a primitive speed-dialer.

          1987. We badly, badly wanted tickets to the upcoming Pink Floyd concert. In those pre-Internet days [1], the way to get them was by phone. Problem: world+dog wanted the same thing we did, so getting through was a matter of blind luck. So we all sat at our phones, dialing and dialing and dialing.

          Unlike my friends, I had a computer -- my first, an Amiga 1000 -- and so, an optimization was available. I got into the terminal program and used the modem to dial the ticket company's voice line [2], prepared to pick up the phone and then type <space> to make the modem hang up, should I actually get through. I got a busy signal of course, but then it was a simple matter of "a/" (which meant "redial the last number"), wait for busy, <space>, repeat. For at least a couple of hours.

          That shortened the retry interval a lot, vs manual dialing -- and so, I figured, greatly improved my chances. Even so, it wasn't me who finally got through, but one of the others who, all that time, had been redialing the hard way.

          Not only didn't I ever connect, but in all those hundreds(?) of attempts, I only once or twice got a normal busy signal. The rest of the time it was fast busy, which meant upstream network congestion -- that's how swamped the system was.

          [1] Yes, I know. I'd even heard tales of it. But as far as the general public were concerned, including my long-out-of-university self, it might as well not have existed.

          [2] I can't recall whether that was still BASS (Best Available Seating Service) or whether they were already Ticketmaster by that point.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language

            "I can't recall whether that was still BASS (Best Available Seating Service) or whether they were already Ticketmaster by that point."

            Jerry Seltzer's BASS was "Bay Area Seating Service", from 1970. The Aussie BASS "Best Available Seating Service", later called Ticketek, came later ('79?) and was derived from the Yank version. Yes, the Jerry Seltzer of Rollerderby fame.

            Ticketmaster started in '83, and had a licensing agreement with BASS ... they never actually took over BASS.

            The Bay Area BASS was bought out by Advantix (of Los Angeles) in late '97.

            Source: I did computer & comms work for all of the above. Dates from memory. Have a beer for the reminisce.

            1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

              Re: what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language

              The BASS I'm referring to wasn't either of those. It operated in (at least) Southern Ontario, and perhaps more widely in Canada, but I wouldn't know about that.

              I had no idea there were other BASSes, so thanks for that.

      2. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language

        The thing I never understood was how the modem in my PowerBook, way back in the day when a hot PowerBook was packing a 33MHz 68030, was capable of 14.4kbps as a fax but only 2.4kbps as a modem. Which made it fine for plaintext email and telnet but not a lot else.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language

          In the days when they supplied a fax at 14.4k BT would only approve 300baud modems

          Coincidentally they would also lease you a very expensive ISDN line

      3. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward

        Re: what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language


        Another acronym obscured by the dust of years...

        ITU sounds so flat, whereby CCITT sounds robust and well-rounded.

        1. Snapshot

          Re: what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language

          Officially it was the International Consultative Committee for Telephony and Telegraphy but in French which accounts for the order.

          But, according to a friend who was European Support Manager at Hayes and on the committee, it was the Cosy Club for International Talk and Travel.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: what fun it was writing configuration scripts in the Hayes ‘language

            "Cosy Club for International Talk and Travel."

            We always called it "Coffee Club for International Talk and Travel" (Silly Con Valley field engineers in general).

    7. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Wang in the Late 1970s

      A techie friend of mine had gotten a trade-show giveaway which she showed me. It was a button (with a pin on the back, with which you attached said button to a piece of clothing), which read, "My Wang is Always Up."

  2. b0llchit Silver badge

    Tech divorce

    Isn't technology a major cause for divorce?

    That must mean that the supervisor was not a tech person. Doesn't it? Well? Sure I'm Wang-on right.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Tech divorce

      He probably wasn't a Wang King because his date would not have appreciated it.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    Last pager I saw...

    The last time I had one of these doohickies on my belt was 1998, and was never so happy when I took it off for the last time, and left it on the owners desk, that 25th anniversary will be coming around soon! And as for FAX, I put them in the same hopper as printers... The devil's devices! To put it nicely ;-}

    1. mtp

      Re: Last pager I saw...

      We had "the phone of doom". When a machine was on a long term test someone was given this phone overnight, the closer to work you lived the more often you had to take it. If the machine went wrong the phone rang and you had to go in to fix it and start it up again.

      Always a stressful night (and unpaid) but luckily I lived a hour away so only had it rarely and doom never struck me.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Last pager I saw...

        The British health service still relies on faxes, pagers and 'phones of doom'... Although it tends to be the poor junior doctor left in charge of A&E that calls you for help or immediate emergency assistance.

        It boggles the mind how some things just won't die.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Last pager I saw...

          If the old kit won't die, I'd be inclined to ask: How reliable is the modern replacement stuff?

          1. ArrZarr Silver badge

            Re: Last pager I saw...

            The comment you're responding to was more about process than kit, but then given it's the NHS, they'll still be using pagers, faxes and phones of doom for a good long while yet.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Last pager I saw...

          We still use a "phone of doom" for our on-call rota. Really it's a second line on the manager's desk phone that gets forwarded to our individual mobiles.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Last pager I saw...

      Faxes are/were vaguely useful (if only for sending customer drawings through about 6 times to blur the details, then claiming this is what we recieved when we screwed something up)

      Printers should burn in hell.. along with the creators of their device drivers.

      Flames..... for obvious reasons

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Last pager I saw...

        Faxes were useful when companies actually had customer service departments. A fax couldn't be ignored in the way that an email could, and you didn't have to sit on hold for two hours to tell them of your dissatisfaction with their crap service.

        But then they discovered fax direct to PC, which was easier to ignore than a sheet of paper, followed in short order by getting rid of fax numbers and indeed contact details (and customer service depts) altogether, or hiding them behind lots of obfuscation and dark patterns. I miss those days.

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Re: A fax couldn't be ignored in the way that an email [or phone call] could

          Exactly! Once I had a cable TV installation crew break a transom window in my flat (the guy got shocked and flew from the ladder into the window) They said they would get in touch to fix it and I tried contacting the company several times being told over and over that they would "look into it".

          I got fed up and one morning faxed the company's CEO complaining about it and had a (his?) secretary call me that same afternoon scheduling a glazier's visit the next day.

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Re: A fax couldn't be ignored in the way that an email [or phone call] could

            The other day we got a picture of, I think it was British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, looking into potholes.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Last pager I saw...

          Years before (90s), having been abused by SNCF, the french railway doom, I discovered SNCF had 0 fax number advertised on the yellow pages.

          Given the corrupt nature of SNCF, back then, it was easy to understand why !

        3. H in The Hague

          Re: Last pager I saw...

          "getting rid of fax numbers and indeed contact details (and customer service depts) altogether, or hiding them behind lots of obfuscation and dark patterns"

          Which for me, as a customer, is a cue to not consider them as a potential supplier, or consider taking my business elsewhere if they're an existing supplier.

          Fortunately I'm in the lucky position of mostly dealing with small, committed suppliers.

    3. Martin

      Re: Last pager I saw...

      One day, many years ago, I left my pager in my car. The car was broken into and the pager and one or two other items were stolen, including an early mobile phone. I called the police and gave them a list of the items, and also told them the number to activate the pager. Two hours later, I got a call from the police. They'd apprehended some suspicious lads, and one of them was carrying a little black item.

      "So what's that then?" says Mr Plod.

      "Ah", says lad, "that's a pager, and it's mine."

      "Oh really?" says the cop. Rings the number I'd given him and asks for a test message to be sent. Pager vibrates....

      The phrase "caught bang to rights" springs to mind. Unfortunately, they had already offloaded the mobile phone and other items and denied any knowledge of them :(

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Last pager I saw...

        Getting your pager back doesn't sound like a plus either. :-(

    4. usbac

      Re: Last pager I saw...

      I had one of the f***ing things back in the early 2000's for a while.

      One day I was at a customer's site trying to fix a broken Windows server. The entire company of about 100 people was dead in the water without this server. Needless to say there was a lot of pressure to get the thing up and running. The owners were pacing back and forth behind me, hoping to get it fixed fast.

      My pager started going off repeatedly. By about the 6th time it went off (in less than 10 minutes), I calmly got up and headed for the front door of the office. The owners started to panic, thinking that I'm leaving, but I calmly opened the front door, and tossed my pager into the middle of a busy 4-lane street, then came back and sat down again at the server console. One of the owners broke down into hysterical laughter.

      When I got back to the office I explained that my pager had an accident. I said that it "accidentally flew off of my belt and into a busy street" They got the message, and I didn't get another one.

    5. Pete Sdev

      Re: Last pager I saw...

      There's the old adage "if it's not broke, don't fix it". Old tech is still used in some places because it still performs the task originally specced, bugs have been worked out, limitations learnt, workarounds developed, etc. New systems take ages to properly bed in, something you want to avoid in say an A & E department.

      There's also sometimes curious external factors. Legally, a fax of a signed document is as valid as the original. There was a couple of decades before a modern equivalent was legislated for (digital signatures) - a scan of a document sent by email whilst being physically equivalent to a facsimile isn't legally.

      Then there's a security aspect, and emergency protocols that haven't been updated. In the beginning of the corona pandemic, German health authorities were receiving data via fax...

      1. JohnTill123

        Re: Last pager I saw...

        "if it's not broke, don't fix it".

        Yeah, that's just fine. Until you have to move files from a 1994 Win95 PC to a brand new (2020) Win10 PC for an accountancy practice, and you realize the ONLY medium that's usable is a 3.5" disc, using a USB external floppy drive on the Win10 box. For 26 years worth of data.

        Darn straight they did my taxes for free that year!

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Last pager I saw...

          "and you realize the ONLY medium that's usable is a 3.5" disc, using a USB external floppy drive on the Win10 box."

          I'd have pulled the hard-drive out of the Win95 box and installed it into an external HDD case, and then plugged that into the Win10 box. That's assuming the Win95 machine didn't have ethernet of some description ... or ethernet couldn't be added fairly painlessly.

          1. Dafyd Colquhoun

            Re: Last pager I saw...

            There are spectrum analysers from last millenium that can only write to 3.5" floppies, and do so in a proprietary binary format. The converter software was designed for Win95 and won't run under 64 b windows. My colleague uses a Win XP VM, but I found the software worked fine under WINE in a Debian VM. USB floppy drives are finally useful for something.

            That's what happens when a cheap manager buys test equipment that was end-of-life 25 years ago. And it's still in use now.

      2. Dafyd Colquhoun

        Re: Last pager I saw...

        Pager messages get through when SMS get backed up. I worked for a power company and one of the managers was being chewed out about not responding to a major storm. He had a work phone, so they used SMS for him. Us plebs on call played pass the parcel with a pager. While getting chewed out the storm alert/call in arrived. After that all the people that needed to respond got pagers.

        At one stage I had two phones of doom for volunteer emergency services (one for a leadership position and one as duty officer) and a pager (for the power company). Don't miss being on call, but the double time on a Sunday for storm was quite nice.

        Technically illegal in some countries to monitor pagers, but I've -- heard from a friend -- that certain software is available and can be fed with a scanner or SDR and messages flow in pure text. With private contact info for all sorts of people. So I've heard.

  4. mtp

    Fax related

    A little tangental to the topic I admit but this mention of fax machines dug up a dusty memory of a TV program called "The Secret Life of Machines" and their very simple fax machine.

    Here it is if anyone wants to reminisce.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Fax related

      Yes! Tim Hunkin is actually making new content on YouTube.

      Sadly, his partner-in-crime, Rex Garrod, died a few years back of Alzheimer's.

      1. usbac

        Re: Fax related

        I watched two episodes of Secret Life Of Machines last night, as a matter of fact. I was sad thinking about Rex, as I watched. I'm glad to see Tim still making videos. The Secret Life Of Components is entertaining to watch. Watching Tim hold metal part together bare handed while he welds them was a hoot!

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Fax related

        It's nice to see his new episodes are dedicated to people who helped him, including Rex

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: Fax related

          Saddest thing ever:

          Tim: Yes this room is full. There's a lifetime of stuff here. Actually two lifetimes - this (indicates rack of component drawers) was Rex's.

          As a fellow hoarder of "interesting stuff", I felt his pain.

          1. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Re: Fax related

            yes that just made me cry again

  5. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    Retry count

    "... try again. And again. And again. And again. And they'll keep on doing that, relentlessly, until someone tells them to stop."

    Hmm, maybe. Given wrong numbers are a thing, it's not a sensible default. The last time I tended a fax machine, perhaps 2009, it would only retry a small number of times. I don't remember exactly, but it was like three or five times, and the call report wasn't endless. Maybe Jack could have adjusted a setting or something? Tell it to stop before it starts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Retry count

      The ones we had at my employer kept trying. I know this because we used that to stop sales people from using the spare desks we kept for experiments and to host contractors - they had a profound ability to ignore the signs that stated they were reserved.

      As soon as one of these guys landed (recognisable because they wore suits and ties) and failed to ask for permission we'd work out who they were and what their contact number was, at which point one of the fax machines was put on duty. Of course with a proper fax in it (white sheets are harder to explain away as a "mistake"), but they dutifully kept at it. Pro tip at the time was to kill off the speaker, because hearing the angry rant emanate from the machine was a bit of a giveaway :).

      Some, however, were always allowed on account of having the decency to ask if we didn't mind. Courtesy got a long way with our lot.

      And beer :).

    2. Timo

      Re: Retry count

      Back when cell phones only made voice calls my mobile phone number must have been fat fingered into a fax distribution list somewhere, and I would periodically get those calls with the beep. It was infuriating.

      At some point I realized it wasn't going to stop retrying until it had gone through successfully. I hurriedly forwarded the call to the office fax machine and managed to catch it after a few attempts. I believe it was a travel agent or some other spam fax. An angry phone call later to the contact info on the fax and it was more or less sorted out.

      It felt like the Star Trek movie where they got vger to finally transmit it's info and stop destroying the universe.

      1. NXM Silver badge

        Re: Retry count

        My faxophone seemed to be a magnet for Nigerian princes who needed my help to get their money out of the defense budget.

        But the worst fax incident was when I used to work at home with a shared fax/voice line, and a supplier set their system to send invoices ... at half past three in the morning. After a few times of not getting to the machine quickly enough to receive the fax, I found out who it was. They got a proper bollocking the next day.

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Retry count

        V'ger cheated, though. It knew it was obsolete hardware and it wanted an upgrade......

  6. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    not much of a "who me" but marriage was involved

    Back in the day I worked at a so called post 1992 university otherwise known as an ex Polytechnic. I had got myself promoted from desktop to a being a sys admin for the core administration systems. There was a plan to roll out oe of those hideous reporting packages to the departments. It was my job to do the installation so I could be reminded that not everything revolved around a handful of Sun boxes and a DEC Alpha.

    I went to one of the designated departments and started to install it on the departmental admins PC. The PC was rather elderly and in need of some TLC which I did. Said admin was so pleased with my work as the local desktop support team were less than helpful that she insisted on buying me lunch. 22 years later we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: not much of a "who me" but marriage was involved

      That's very nice. But this is an IT forum. We don't care about your marriage. What happened to that elderly PC? More importantly, is that reporting package still running?

      1. cmdrklarg

        Re: not much of a "who me" but marriage was involved

        Speak for yourself. I find it nice to hear about one of us nerds finding a significant other through their technical prowess.

        1. BenDwire Silver badge

          Re: not much of a "who me" but marriage was involved

          Absolutely. Our jobs are so often thankless, but it's nice to see that silver linings can and do exist.

          I raise a beer as a salute to you both

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: not much of a "who me" but marriage was involved

          The AC comment was a joke.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: not much of a "who me" but marriage was involved

            The number of upvotes suggests that most realised that :)

            1. Martin

              Re: not much of a "who me" but marriage was involved

              But, unfortunately, the downvotes indicate that the reputation of techies being a bunch of sad bastards with no sense of humour is not totally unfounded...

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: not much of a "who me" but marriage was involved

                Or perhaps it's downvotes from old bastards who are tired of stereotypes that were not true even back in the day being perpetuated ad nauseum.

                Face it, that kind of "joke" was old and tired back when you were walking your pet dinosaur.

      2. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

        Re: not much of a "who me" but marriage was involved

        I persuaded her manager to get her a new PC.

        As to the reporting software - I have absolutely no idea but I hope not. :-)

  7. Press any key

    Redirected misdial

    I had an occasion when somebody had misdialled their fax and was trying to fax my phone at work.

    After I had answered and listened to the telltale noises a few times I redirected my phone to the office fax machine.

    A few minutes later the usually silent machine dutyfully started printing an purchase order that appeared to be to a builders mechants on the other side of the country.

    The PO went in the floor bound round filer and I was able to remove the redirect from my phone.

  8. Ace2 Silver badge

    Twist at the end

    I thought for sure that Jack’s intervention would have ruined the boss’s date, so she married Jack instead. I guess not everything can be a Lifetime movie.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Twist at the end

      I was expecting a lot of wasted paper - check - repurposed as wedding confetti - nope. Probably just as well, as paper confetti is frowned on now, even when it is professionally appropriate.

      And if it's thermal fax paper, that's got some nasty additives. Referring to Wikipedia, it's liable to be "bisphenol A" (BPA) or "bisphenol S" (BPS).

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "perpetually pinging pager"

    Removable batteries were a thing back then. I had a box of dead AAs that could be slotted in for plausible deniability.

  10. 080

    The new pager

    When pagers were introduced at our power station for shift engineers they were not much loved or cared for.

    At the end of a 2/10 shift the group of engineers retired to the local pub for a wet or two as usual then off home a lot more relaxed.

    A little later the night shift received a call from the pub, "One of your old guys has left his hearing aid here' which turned out to be his pager.

  11. GrumpyKiwi

    Wang got me my job

    Place I am currently working for replaced their Wang VS (6000?) about 10 years back as the operator was about to retire and there was no-one left in NZ who claimed any knowledge of how to administer one*. So instead we got a green fields Windows/VMWare rollout and for me a job offer to look after all the new kit at the end of the install (which I grabbed with both hands as a 10 minute commute to work is really hard to say no to).

    The Wang itself got flogged off on TradeMe a couple of years later with the sales title of "Buy some Wang" for a couple of hundred NZ pesos.

    * There were still a couple of crusty old blokes at various locations but they were either also close to retirement or had cushy jobs and no intention of moving.

    1. breakfast Silver badge

      Re: Wang got me my job

      The age of the Wangmasters is over.

  12. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward

    Ahhh Pagers

    Do you still get these in this day and age?

    1. breakfast Silver badge

      Re: Ahhh Pagers

      Yes, but these days they have a lot of additional functionality, like taking pictures, using Twitter and even the occasional phone call.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahhh Pagers

        Don't forget the ability to send and reply to pages instead of receive-only.

    2. gryphon

      Re: Ahhh Pagers

      Think the RNLI still use them.

    3. Great Southern Land

      Re: Ahhh Pagers

      >>> Ahhh Pagers

      >>> Do you still get these in this day and age?

      Yes, the NSW State Emergency Services and NSW Rural Fire Service (both volunteer organisations) use them for callouts. They use a separate network to the phones and SMS and hence are seen as being slightly more reliable. We also get the callout messages on SMS.

  13. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Pagers in the 1990s

    During the 1990s, I had written a program in my (DOS-based) communications program's scripting language to call my numeric-only pager with a code if my landline got an incoming call while I was out. The code was "99" followed by the time stamp.

  14. jake Silver badge

    Many moons ago ...

    ... Dr. Wang told a roomful of Silly Con Valley luminaries and hangers-on that he got over the locker-room derived humo(u)r of his name during his first year at Harvard, but we should feel free to snicker at it if we liked. In his opinion, it said more about the person doing the snickering than the owner of the name. He further said this applied to any name.

    Smart man, Dr. Wang.

  15. Groo The Wanderer

    I'd have to the manager in question was just a victim of good old fashioned Karma! He wants to stealthily get rid of the support staff on the cheap, so he pays the price. But good.

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