This is a real bother if you touch type! I learned to always check what you've typed! Eventually my brain became bilingual - a bit like driving in Europe/Britain, it takes a little while to get used to it.
Some say that working for The Register is one never-ending holiday, but On Call – our weekly reader-contributed tale of techies being asked to endure atrocious emergencies, has taken a break. This week we therefore present some shorter tales from the On Call mailbag that were sent in response to an On Call from June 2nd, …
I learned to type on a QWERTY keyboard with the Biblical method ("seek and ye shall find"). When I developed carpal tunnel, I switched to Dvorak(*) and did so touch-typing. Nearly thirty years later, I still touch-type on Dvorak, but have to look at the keyboard for QWERTY.
(*) The carpal tunnel went away and hasn't come back. However, I also switched to an ergonomic keyboard and better chair/desk at the same time (the carpal tunnel was really bad and treatments limited back then), so I don't really know if it helped. The switchover did raise my typing speed immensely, though,
AZERTY have come across lots of times, but the worst was an ergonomic keyboard during my work experience.
It was impossible, I could touchtype then but had to resort to proding as it was not in a layout I had seen before or come across since (Didn't even feel that ergonomic and this was after Microsoft had released their own ergonomic keyboard)
Be happy that Microsoft added the "show the password I just typed" button. I know I am. Especially on laptops or some server keyboards where the numeric block is mixed within the normal keys. And the Num indicator does not always reflect reality.
Without that button I often test in the username field whether it looks the way it should... Except for I, l, |, O and 0.
On my first ever day working on a programming job in the UK I entered a statement
if (i >+ 0)
Instead of >=. The same finger movements that enter >= on a German keyboard produce >+ on a British one. The worst thing was that it actually compiled and that it was almost but not quite correct.
I had similar problems with a French laptop years ago. I'd set up Linux full disk encryption successfully, but upon reboot couldn't get into the computer. It kept rejecting my password. Finally the penny dropped that it was defaulting to US keyboard layout until further into the boot sequence when it switched to French.
Similar issue years ago with a French keyboard (numbers are shifted, as I recall) which read as a US keyboard at bios level until the OS woke up and notice it was French. So the bios password worked but the keys weren't where you thought they ought to be.
Yes you are TOTALLY right! That is why there is no:
VK_OEM_1 = 186 (aka ü)
VK_OEM_2 = 191 (aka #)
VK_OEM_3 = 192 (aka ö)
VK_OEM_4 = 219 (aka ß)
VK_OEM_7 = 222 (aka ä)
(and a few others) on my German keyboard. I must imagine them! And It is not called "DE 102" layout, since it cannot have 102 keys compared to the US 101 keys...
"compared to the US 101 keys..."
Pardon me while I count ... Hmmm. Looks like this Yank's primary keyboard has 122 keys. There goes that theory.
I also have four (five?) 124 key Gateway "AnyKey" keyboards squirreled away somewhere in my piling system ...
 IBM M122 "Battleship" from 1988 ... Not for sale.
Keyboards are nationality agnostic inside, in that your OS will allow any key to be programed to be any character. The only reason keycaps have characters printed on them is because most people can't touch-type. In this context there is no such thing as an American keyboard. Nor a British, French or German keyboard. The keycaps are just a superficial representation of what the complete system is setup for.
A friend was living in a student house with an aggressive landlord who would deduct from the deposit over so much as a drawing pin in the wall. To make matters worse, the walls somehow were able to block WiFi signals quite effectively. As this Victorian building had fireplaces in every significant room, they were able to use plumb bobs to fish for Cat 5, taking each run from the router in the living room up to the chimney pots and looping over back into the bedrooms. No (visible) damage was caused because the same aggressive landlord had cheaped out on closing the fireplaces and just used screws to secure plywood over the fireplaces. It did take a few attempts of swinging the bob to reach some fireplaces because of oddly shaped flues but they got there in the end.
I don't know their specifics but, when I was renting accommodation at the same time as a student, I had a guarantor (my parents). I can see that being a viable strategy if your credit history is already a train wreck but, if not, it does open you up to more costly issues (in total) over time. Personally, I'd go with good documentation (much easier these days to record a quick 4k walk through of the property) and the threat of the Housing Ombudsman.
My daughter is at uni. and the mobile phone video of the inspection visit along with photos of key defects has been her modus operandi, along with reporting and recording defects (suck as the shower tray that leaked through the ceiling - the large amount of water damage occurring after it had been reported, landlord should of got the emergency plumber out rather than wait several weeks..(*) )
As a parent guarantor, I’m a little reassured by her approach, as currently I’m on the hook for the entire house of 6 students…
(*) Given the rents landlords charge students - in my daughters case circa x3 more than if they let the house out as a single family home, I have little time for landlords not being quick to remedy faults.
"I have little time for landlords not being quick to remedy faults."
It's not necessarily landlords. When we were first married we rented a top-floor flat & had problems getting the leaking dormer fixed because we were dealing with agents. They never did fix the major crack where the staircase block was coming away from the house. It wouldn't have been in the owners' interests to let the property deteriorate to that extent but it would put the agents to a certain amount of effort beyond the collection of rent and deducting their fee.
Exactly. Until last year I was a landlord, using a letting agent due to distance from the property. I thought having a local agent would make maintenance easier for everyone. When the last tenant left, I went down to view the house. It was in a terrible state, not as a result of tenant activity, but because of the agent not doing the job I was paying them for. The agent knew very well that my instructions were to tell me if anything needed doing, and I would get it done. However, it was obvious they hadn't actually visited the property in years (even taking into account Covid). In the unlikely event I ever become a landlord again, I will not be using agents.
"As a parent guarantor, I’m a little reassured by her approach, as currently I’m on the hook for the entire house of 6 students…"
Near where I am (US) is a uni with a large Asian student population and the parents will often purchase a home for their kids to live in while in university. The cost to make payments on a 3 bedroom home split between 3 sets of parents is less over 4-5 years than a dorm or rent. They can even make money depending on the market if the house/market appreciates significantly. Some real estate offices in the area specialize in the practice. It also get around landlord issues and the real estate offices can provide assistance with keeping the property in good nick for a monthly fee so the kids aren't sat at home missing class waiting for the plumber to fail to show up to replace the water heater.
A good few years ago there was a landlord (in the west of England) who told his student tenants that they wouldn’t be getting their deposit back.Why, because it was needed for cleaning the place they’d just handed back the keys to. They along with one of the mothers decided that they weren’t going to settle for this and took the landlord to court to recover the money. The mother said in court that the place was spotless when they students vacated the property.
How did she know? She’d helped them clean it and made sure it was done properly and wasn’t a half arsed job. The judge said he believed the mother was a very credible witness, telling the truth and that the landlord should hand back the entire deposit.
Last night on the way home I stopped at a supermarket which by chance was having some cabling done. There were a few boxes of Cat9 cable in one aisle and I asked the shop assistant was it sold per meter or per box? Oh and did he have the price for each please? He looked at me blankly until I laughed and he realised I was joking.
It seems an effective way of getting a reputation which will lose business in the long run.
With rented houses comes the little matter of leaving the garden in good order. A group of us had rented a house which was actually the property of the parents of another student* who had gone abroad for a year. One of the students was a farmer's son so at the rental he just got one of his father's farm workers sent along to sort it out.
* The student was sent down having been discovered depositing the Greek professor's bike in a lecture room. The bike was in two pieces which he'd just separated with a hacksaw. To be fair the Greek department's bikes were an ongoing problem - I don't think the staff had grasped the fact that they were no longer in Oxford.
It's worth remembering that for student lets, they are usually for a fixed term - so you are out at the end of the academic year regardless. Not paying the rent would be a bad move, as mentioned, liable to cause "annoyance" to your guarantor(s), and probably getting you a bad credit record into the bargain.
It's worth remembering that for student lets, they are usually for a fixed term - so you are out at the end of the academic year regardless.
Not in Scotland, where the SNP megabrains running the place have banned academic year lets, except in purpose-built student accommodation. Which means that if just a single one of the tenants decides to stay on they can, indefinitely. Which explains why the availability of student rentals has plummeted. Welcome to the Wacky World of Unintended Consequences.
Rent controls and other legislation intended to protect tenants frequently have the effect of reducing the supply or rented property, and driving up rents.
Legislators tend to forget that landlords are not a charity; they are in it to make money. As such, they have to recoup the cost of buying and running the building plus a bit over, otherwise it is just not worth while. When you look at the total lifecycle of a habitation, buying must always be cheaper than renting. Of course, taxes like stamp duty and CGT (especially) just put up the cost of renting.
When I was doing contract work around the country I worked out that if I could see myself 2 years ahead, then I should buy rather than rent. That would cover the overheads of the actual purchase & subsequent sale. Students are typically in it for 3 -4 years, so buying should always be the preferred choice. Yes, I know about having enough capital for a deposit etc etc etc.
Rent controls and other legislation intended to protect tenants frequently have the effect of reducing the supply or rented property, and driving up rents.
If by "driving up rents" you mean increasing the price apartments are advertised for, then yes. I much prefer going into a unit at the proper price, rather than a "starter" price that goes up by 50% after you've moved in. Less expense in frequently relocating that way.
Rent is certainly awful in places.
if I could see myself 2 years ahead, then I should buy rather than rent. That would cover the overheads of the actual purchase & subsequent sale.
I expect that's only true if you assume housing prices will hold steady or increase. Hope you are never unlucky enough to sign a mortgage at the height of a housing bubble.
I certainly never purchasing working out in areas I was renting. The property taxes, insurance, utility prices that would be included in rent, quickly matched rental prices, and that's without considering maintenance costs should the roof, HVAC system, plumbing or similar fail.
"Students are typically in it for 3 -4 years, so buying should always be the preferred choice. "
It's worth running the numbers. There's the costs to buy and sell a property and often loan fees that take time to amortize. It might make a good investment for parents and doubly so if they have kids a couple of years apart that might both attend the same university (which can foisted on them through how much/little parental subsidy they would get). That could mean 5-7 years and the kids could choose friends to share the home with that will pay rent to go towards the mortgage.
I have to agree that renting is nearly always more expensive for housing unless you are one contract for less than a few years. I changed house much more frequently when I was younger as I shifted jobs so it was good to rent at that point but a couple of friends that bought a home early, put the work into it to fix it up (they were in massive need of help, but cheap) and are now spoiling grandchildren at their very expensive home that they need to sell and downsize. A home can be a great wealth builder.
"Which explains why the availability of student rentals has plummeted."
On the other side, it might have been that student lets could command a higher rent and they deducted from the availability of housing for non-students. Or, landlords may have found that students are being funded by their parents/scholarships/loans and that meant the even for the same money, payments were more regular. I also wonder if schools might hold up grades and transcripts if the student is delinquent on housing payments even if that housing isn't operated by the school as part of a student conduct/ethics codicil. This can be the case with people in the military where a call to a person's superior for overdue rent is not something that a soldier wants to have happen.
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Deposit is not "a month's rent in advance", you are defaulting on your rental agreement if you fail to pay the final rent instalment. This game has resulted in landlords in some university cities simply demanding - and getting - the entire year's rent paid up-front.
As some one else has posted, landlords are not charities. They will either find a work around, or exit the market, tanking the supply - with the inevitable price impact.
"Deposit is not "a month's rent in advance""
It's a game of wordsmithing. Laws get passed over what a landlord can charge for things so the wording gets changed to fit the new (useless) laws. A deposit is often equal to one month's rent. It could be more if the property is furnished or has features such as a pool/spa. The first months rent is due as rent is paid in advance and not in arrears. Some place will not allow landlords to demand another month's rent initially, but you'd have to take them to court to have that enforced and if you don't have any choices, you pay what's asked.
I was once sold, along with a building, as a sitting tenant to shady property developers who immediately started harassing me to leave. They offered me £100 to move out and I laughed in their faces.
They then got 'serious' and started threatening to enter the property when I was out to remove my stuff.
Knowing the law was on my side I changed the locks, cancelled the rent DD and mocked them for several months via WhatsApp.
Eventually they paid me 3 *grand* to move out after I pointed out the illegality of their actions and the trove of threatening messages they had sent me.
Before Wi-Fi was ubiquitous, at Defcon conferences, there would be networks put together by stringing ethernet cabling out of the hotel window to somebody else's room and from there to the next room, etc. The hotels were not pleased to look up and see a spider web of network cables all over the side of the building. With modern hotels, sometimes the windows don't open so there would be no way to do that, but the older, less expensive hotels still had windows that would open. There were always reminder to participants to please refrain from hacking the hotel's systems as would often happen since they didn't bother to maintain a network for guests and another for hotel operations.
Friend of mine had the opposite experience. He and friends were in a pair of terrace houses in nottingham, and one of them got the latest thing.. 128kbps cable modem. We wired all the bedrooms in each house to a central location, and even put a link through the cellar between the houses.
The landlord didn't object, he realised he could charge more the next year for a house that was wired for ethernet....
"The landlord didn't object, he realised he could charge more the next year for a house that was wired for ethernet...."
If it's done properly it is a good upgrade. When I closed down a business and was a week late vacating, I got a reprieve from the building owner when he saw I had removed the very old 25pr phone cabling and ran new 4pr twisted to each location and dual runs of Cat5e with nice wall plates and everything terminated very nicely in the equipment room. I did all of that when prepping the building for our move. That way everything could just plug in and be ready to go. All of the wiring was run inside the interior walls not just tacked to the base boards.
My work laptop is Windows officially-the-last. I prefer my OS in English, so I set the default language to English.
Of course, I work in Luxembourg and live in France, so I set my location to France.
When I call up the Borkzilla Store, it is systematically in French. When I install a program, often the setup process is in French.
Guys, it's the location that is France, not the language.
Get your shit in order.
I have similar problems with some over-zealous location detecting websites. I'm in the UK now, but sometimes like to see various French news sites etc and go directly to the French version of the site, only for it to detect I'm in the UK and auto switch to the English version. With some sites it is impossible to wrestle it back to see the original French version.
"I have similar problems with some over-zealous location detecting websites. I'm in the UK now, but sometimes like to see various French news sites etc and go directly to the French version of the site, only for it to detect I'm in the UK and auto switch to the English version. With some sites it is impossible to wrestle it back to see the original French version."
I have quit reading ign.com in large part due to that. No, I don't want the french version, some people in France read english, or czech, or whatever. Why do some websites admins think locations are hard linked to languages ?
And Microsoft... with their weird automated translation of articles / help-stuff. I change the language to English, klick on a link, again German, auto-translated and thus completely gibberish. Yeah, I changed the browser settings so English and English [US] are preferred - and this now messes with my company's internal service webseites (like... holiday requests, travel invoicing, these things). It's a mess. And then there's browsers that try and convince me to let them (or.... google, I guess) translate foreign language websites. "Foreign" in this case is a weird non-deterministic term (or so it seems). Bah.
Another hour, and them I'm out for the weekend. ----> grab one of those on the way out
"Why do some websites admins think locations are hard linked to languages ?"
Regionalised licences. In France, they might be only licenced to sell in French. for example.
It's the same thing that prevents TV, movies, music and books from being available globally at the same price everywhere all of the time.
It's a hang-over from 14th Century thinking and it will *never* change.
A. C. Clarke wrote a short SF story in which the owner of satellites ended this crap simply by broadcasting from high orbit. We all know
how well *that* has worked.
When I was on "Detached Duty" for my employers working in Finland, I wanted to listen to Classic FM over the Internet as I had when at home in Blighty. Unfortunately, the website detected that I was not in GB, so wouldn't let me in. It asked for my Post Code, and once I had entered my home address' code, it was quite happy to let me listen. Of course, there was a 2 hour time slip, but I could live with that.
Although UK based I'm often remoted on to systems on other continents, Australasia isn't too much of a problem as at least web sites come up in a form of English but my Asian language knowledge is sadly lacking which is a pain when searching for a driver or similar and the website insists on being in the local language.
Even simple tasks are a pain when using Microsoft's remote console when keyboard layouts don't match.
Want the backslash? It may or may not even exist, never mind be usable. The number of times I've ended up pasting in one grabbed from the command prompt half a dozen times in a single command....
SHFT+CTRL+U+<unicode hex value> then maybe ENTER key.
For example. SHFT+CTRL+U+00B0 for ° (I fibbed and used ALT+0176 to enter that symbol, because windows at the moment...)
Mine's the one with an IBM codepage, ascii, and unicode roadmap in the pocket. Or is that a BART timetable from 2010?
I taught some computer science students at one point, and they were somewhat consistent as reading it "hashtag include", "hashtag ifdef", etc. I didn't like it, but I don't really have a name for that symbol which everyone can agree on. Similarly with the various brackets or braces, or for some reason the | character which always seemed to confuse people unfamiliar with the shell when I tried to describe the syntax for piping commands. You know, that vertical line. There's only one vertical line, so there shouldn't be much ambiguity by the point I'm using that descriptor instead of a shorter name.
Try using vcenter webconsole in a non-US country. It feels like three keyboard translations on top of each another. And then try to change the boot options for a linux vm in the boot menu. You can add "forgot to add virtual USB port, just add, nothing needs to be plugged in" on top, since without it - it gets even worse.
I desperation I tried using the vSphere Mobile Client to one of my ESXi servers to get at a VM that decided to not talk to it's network. No problem accessing the console. But almost all the punctuation keys failed to give the right symbols. Trying to get | (pipe) I pressed every single button on the virtual keyboard on every page, and couldn't find it. VM is set en_GB, I guess vmware only speaks American..
As I say, I favour passwords that just have lower-case letters - random - and plenty of 'em (and spaces), but here we're discussing that even that won't save you sometimes.
I also use things like A and 3 and / and only those when a system insists that even an unreasonably long password of letters isn't cryptic enough and I must use the shift key one or more times.
If you want to use a pipe in a password, which really is demanding that something goes wrong, type "pipe". Unless setting a password that cannot be typed is intentional.
Same shit, different country. Even though my laptop language is English, I still get Spanish crap being installed evwn after farting around with language packs etc.
The other problem is the American software sales dept mentality. I hate those forms that make you specify the country you are in because you get deluged by crap from the local sales bit of turf even though the client I'm working for is in a different country. I use it as a test now to see how "international" a company mentality actually is... Snowflake take note.
Same problem with a Cinnamon machine living in Germany; locale is set to UK, language is set to UK, keyboard is set to UK, but the calculator still insists that numbers have commas in them and not proper decimals.
Bad penguin, bad! No cookies for you! --->
Same problem with a Cinnamon machine living in Germany; locale is set to UK, language is set to UK, keyboard is set to UK
I've got a UK layout keyboard, my language is set to en_UK, my timezone is Europe/London, I live just 9 km east of the Greenwich Meridian and my ISP is a major UK one that various geolocation services will say is in Manchester, Bolton or London. Nevertheless
The company I used to work for had obviously acquired some IPv4 addresses that had previously been allocated to Greece, and the internet proxies used them. Occasionally, depending on what proxy I got auto-assigned to, I'd go to google.com and find it displayed in Greek.
Just had some fun and games with the MS Office Customization Tool. It will let you create a configuration that omits US English (ie. Use a specific language) however, the Deployment Tool will give a generic error and refuse to install. The simple solution is to leave the setting as “match OS”.
There's a world of a difference between finding a clever solution to a problem, and ignoring rules or instructions just to save money.
I used to work in a large R&D block where all the partition walls were part of the fireproofing, and made of asbestos cement.
It was made very clear to everyone that anyone who tried to be clever and route ordinary (non-fire-retardant) cable through any gaps, or (far worse) attempt to make a new hole in a wall, would be in very deep shit indeed.
It's not always clever to find short cuts, and insurance companies take a very dim view of it when expected to pay for the consequences.
One system I had to deal with had a tendency to die every time a thunderstorm arrived, everyone previously involved jumped to lighting strikes. But after doing some investigation there was a V11 (RS422) circuit several hundred metres between two buildings, one normally being unmanned and earthed and screened to withstand lightning. Reading V11 specs said 1km but ground plane variation max +/- 7v difference and during storms the ground planes were liable to vary a lot - hence equipment i/o stages being destroyed. Changed to Fibre Op and no further issues.
Of course that introduces risk of passing ground into different areas
Many decades ago I used to design and supply BABT approved** Barriers which protrected such large runs of cables between buildings. From memory we had V11,V15,V24 and V35 versions, complete with the correct interface sockets, but it was a very long time ago. They usually had fuses so were sacrificial by design, but they saved destroying the expensive equipment installed either end.
The lasting memory of those times were the customers who complained that the barrier had failed in a thunderstorm and wanted a free replacement...
** remember that label with the big green dot under the phone / fax /modem ? That was the mark of the BABT beast ...
This was a long time ago, the run was provided by a competitor to BT (they had rack in unmanned building so just put in run though our ducts) and as well as our equipment it was damaging theirs so I think they were glad to find cause, but you'd have thought a telecoms company would have known these sorts of issues.
Another true statement is: "You cannot communicate a ground reference faster than the speed of light."
If you are running signals a "long" distance you should also run the ground reference in the same direction in the same cable.
I used to run high-speed signals through ribbon cable grounding every other wire in the ribon. I used source termination (100 ohm resister in series with the source). The signal would divide in two at the transmitter end and send 1/2 the signal to the far end. Whereupon it was 100% reflected (making a full signal at the remote end). when the reflected signal got to the driver end it was 100% absorbed by the series resisters. This worked even though there might be multiple pulses in transit.
~2000 Luxembourg. I found a IBM Model M[?] keyboard in the spares and decided to use it.
It had a large, vertical enter key and Swiss-French or other keycaps. I used it with a US code page and touch-typed.
One day one of the other developers had to use my workstation, I found him copy/pasting a character, a semi-colon or quote maybe, as that was the only way he could generate the character.
Worked on a product which was localised into something like 14 (!) languages. The reality was that it was comprehensively tested on US/UK English, minimally on French + German, and untested on the others. We had a release where one Korean string was missing. The result was an instant crash when accessing a menu when running in Korean. Cue an emergency hotfix for Korean users only.
Mine was in a hall of residence, connecting a 24 port 10Mb hub on each staircase to a 10port 10Mb switch with two additional 100Mbit ports
Distance was *well* over 100m, and it was Cat3 (IIRC) cable with the "patch bay" being telephone oriented, so the two needed pairs soldered onto about an inch long which slotted into spring contacts.
Grounding the rest of the wires in the cable gave us reliable connections (somehow)
Yes - undoubtedly the reason... it's still a surprise to me that it worked.
The sheer distances involved and the fact that none of it was anywhere near spec... And of course the fact that one end was a hub, not a switch - with likely reflections from the dodgy (and that's generous) connections... There were a bundle of those cables with ever increasing distances (as they left the bundle to go to each switch).
Not even sure it was cat3 to be honest... it was clearly intended as telephone cable.
> long distance network cable I've been involved with went across a factory roof. It was well over 100m, so we added a small switch (PoE powered) somewhere near the middle, wrapped in a plastic bag to keep it dry.
PoE?? That's like recent!!
Well into a prior century we were contacted to run audio into the cafeteria. No available conduits (low-bid and also off-the-cuff) so over the roofs. The run was so long we could not get a single reel to cover it from the local supplier (he would not commit to a special order for one large reel). The splice for two reels wudda sat in a puddle on the roof. So I put the splice in a beer bottle. It was still working a decade later.
Japan, 2003 or so. Sun box with a USA keyboard but machine configured in Japanese. We have been given the root password to work on it, but nobody to ask how to actually type it in! We had software (including device driver) to install and configure so in frustration Ctrl-Alt-Stop (from distant memory...) then forced reboot bringing the machine to default US English so we could get on with the job.
"When the equipment was configured an admin password that included a “Z” was chosen, but as the machine connected to a QWERTY keyboard, logins failed time and again."
Naughty boys! What must we never do? We never login as admin! We only use our own peronsllay assigned admin accounts 'cos that way when we're audited we don't get bent over a barrel and f...
“I wish I could remember how we actually diagnosed the mapping issue, but that's lost somewhere in the brain cell,” he wrote.
As a far too seasoned desktop grunt (now escaped thankfuly) I would always ask users seemingly incapable of typing a password to type it into the the username box , so we can see exactly what is being entered , especially if it contains characters likely to move around the different kbd layouts , like #
(all rights to password privacy have gone by the time it gets to this stage. They can change it after if they're bothered , as long as they arnt straight back on the phone)
"(all rights to password privacy have gone by the time it gets to this stage. They can change it after if they're bothered , as long as they arnt straight back on the phone)"
If I did that at our place, I'd have to report myself to infosec for asking the user to do that. Then report them for doing it :-)
I'm only allowed to trigger a password reset for them and leave them to deal with it, or at best, show the poor dears where to click.
I think that now faulty logic has already been demonstrated at least once with an EV car fire spreading to other cars and the building.
No idea if this one was EV related or not, but it was pretty devastating for an above ground multi-story car park fire.
EDIT. Apparently it was a 16 year old car (so not EV) that had been modified to be "differently fuelled", so possibly a home/back street retrofit to cooking oil or LPG.
"Garage" is French for parking. I guess since about the early 20th century, "garage" in English meant "parking with a team of engineers on site for the maintenance that your car inevitably needs whenever it is used". "Parking garage" means "A building that you can park your car in, and that's all."
BBC radio broadcast middle-class adventures of "Paul Temple" between 1938-1968, and later, surviving episodes are often repeated. Paul Temple writes detective stories and also investigates "real" criminal plots. Paul and his wife live in a flat in London and their car lives in a garage nearby, although sometimes they park it in the street. This is unwise as then it is usually booby trap bombed or sabotaged in another way (I think this is what happens to Paul Temple, not what happens in London). Then it's back to the engineers at the garage, if any of the car is left. At least once, it was booby trap bombed IN the garage.
The article on running cable thru a BT conduit reminded me of an Abbott & Costello movie. They opened a gas station across from another but could match their prices. The discovered the other station had its petrol piped into their tanks. So, A&C dug a tunnel and tapped into the other station's supply pipe.
I seem to recall, in the mists of time (just post-y2k) I worked  for a company that was moving offices.
We'd done all the right stuff - had the new  building wired properly, set up the server/network room and put in an order to BT for the leased line and the various ISDN 30's we wanted. We even got install dates from BT.
The ISDN 30s were installed. We asked the engineer about the LL install - "not my department" was his reply. The day of the LL install came and went. We phoned BT - they insisted that the LL was installed (it wasn't) and insisted that it was installed the same day as the ISDN install.
We got our Sales rep in for a chat, pointed out to them that there *very* definately wasn't anything happening with the leased line. They left, promising to fix things. A day or so before we were supposed to move in, an engineer did come in to do the install.
The circuit *looked* active but, when we plugged stuff into it, nothing happened (I suspect that the config centre screwed up). So we raised an urgent ticket with BT.
The day of the move came (and our lease terminated on the old office - we couldn't renew it but had 30 days to clear out our remnant kit before the owner came and checked everything out). The leased line *still* didn't work.
Then I had a brainwave - we still had an ISDN 30 at the old office, connected to the old (but still active) leased line. While my manager negotiated with our old landlord for them to not switch stuff off, I got down to configuring dial-on-demand on the Cisco routers were connected to the ISDN30s at both ends.
All this while in the middle of a migraine with an extremely irritating wanna-be manager colleague  demanding to know whether I had fixed it yet? My manager finally took him away before I chocked him with a network cable.
After an hour or so's fiddling I got it working. It would add or remove channels as needed up to the 30 channel limit. In the day or so following my manager and our local head honcho sent BT a strongly worded legal letter (breach of contract was mentioned repeatedly). Cue a series of BT engineers turning up, fiddling with the link, shrugging and going away again.
About a week later, it myseriously started working  and I could dismantle the ISDN 30 dial-on-demand.
That week cost us several thousand pounds in line usage. BT eventually waived the charges when the legal letters started mentioning the Small Claims court. We were able to rip all the kit out of the old office before the landlord chucked it all in the skip.
 I say "worked". More "was employed by"..
 Not 'new' new but new to us, gutted and refurbished quite nicely.
 If he had been made manager we would all have left the next day. And we made sure that our boss knew that.
 Which is why I think it was a config centre error - someone must have reviewed the config and realised something was wrong and fixed it.
"Another reader, who we’ll call “Brad”, told us about the time he was given just the weekend to migrate data from one datacenter to another in a adjacent building. We thought and thought but couldn't really come up with a good way to do this, until one of our engineers suggested we run fibre between the two buildings – through the parking garage that linked the two?”
I'm thinking a bunch of disks and a sneakernet might have been simpler and with similar bandwidth (but not necessarily the same levels of latency)
This may be a case where data goes faster through fibre than through a disk drive head. Certainly if you mean floppies. But I think the story is poorly worded. Surely they didn't install illicit fibre for a permanent network connection? Eventually somebody would notice it there and deputy heads would roll?