Where is the fastly story that’s taken xkcd.com off the net?
Fastly error: unknown domain: www.xkcd.com.
477 posts • joined 9 Mar 2007
I had the same thing at Southampton airport. Got the keys to a VW something. Loaded up, got in, started it up, oops - no handbrake! Tried everything but nope! Went back and got a car with a handbrake. WTF!? Why can manufacturers mess around with stuff like that? Of what possible use is it to remove the handbrake?
I worked for a well known large high-value print company in the late 80s. They were developing a serial scanning system fitted to the output of a mechanical serial printer mechanism using number wheels to ensure that the printer always printed a different serial number; sometimes the next higher up wheel didn’t rotate because it had dried ink jamming it and the printed high-value “items” were printed with repeated serial numbers. Things like lottery tickets, travel cheques, etc. You can imagine the problems and financial losses involved...
Anyway, when our high-speed number scanning system detected a problem with he printed serial number it did what, can you imagine? Yes, it sounded a klaxon and flashed a light. Although it was fitted onto the printer it was not allowed to connect to the printer wiring and was forbidden from switching off or halting the printer. Union rules! Someone was paid to be in attendance and when the alarm sounded they would (eventually) put down their redtop/knitting and walk over to the printer and stop it. Then management had to bring in teams of people to sort through the printed items to eliminate the duplicates. Did I mention the printer was high-speed? In the time it took for the worker to switch the machine off, hundreds, maybe thousands of items had spewed out from the printer. Literally boxes full. All of this was Special work.
(The scanning system was cutting edge because of the high-speed paper flow causing the paper to actually fly and causing perturbations in the scanned surface.)
We made the klaxon very very loud.
I worked for Mars for a while in the mid-90s and was called down to the chocolate consistency testing room to look at their erratic PC.
It was a venerable IBM XT with 5 1/4 floppies and the flackery keyboard.
They complained that the floppies only worked once or twice and had to keep making new ones.
I typed on the keyboard and instead of the clack it was a sickly sort of crunch. It turned out to be full of bits of chocolate accumulated over years of testing.
When I opened the XT’s case it was jam-packed full of dust and hair and chocolate, so much that it pushed against the slot of the inserted floppy and contaminated it.
I cleaned it all out and suggested a keyboard condom.
The chocolate consistency testing machine was quite fascinating to watch though.
I use the WUUK doorbell thingy and I love not having to check the doors for parcels and the external letterbox (Irish rental house!) each morning and afternoon. Now I know if someone approaches the house up the drive. And yes, we also have a “normal” doorbell for them to have a go at if they want. WUUK is an Indiegogo thingy. It’s missing an upstairs repeater but it rings on all my iDevs so it’s mostly forgiven. There’s a free cloud storage but you can also just use an SD card. Also it’s CHEAP!
I have a keyboard on it so it’s like a small laptop. I use it at work as my personal computer either on guest WiFi or 3/4G. I’ve successfully used this over five different contracts. No need to get permission to visit certain websites or access personal e-mail as I have my own little computer with me on my desk. Never had a problem with managers complaining about my “iPad”.
I worked at NCR in “New Wigan” near Utrecht in the early 90s where they were testing the new WaveLAN WiFi cards. I was writing test software. They were getting figures for MTBF and needed to heat stress the cards in situ. They could fit four of them into an NCR PC and had I think four PCs full of cards in an open fire-safe running 24/7 with my software checking for failures (Pascal and assembler I think). Anyway, one night a cleaner must have been fed up of the noise and swung the fire-safe’s door shut. Next morning we discovered all the plastic in a pool at the bottom of the fire-safe. The cards had kept running for an impressive amount of time before the components started falling out of the PCBs when the solder melted.
I remember when Sun refurbished a floor in the Munich offices circa 2001. They made it Open Office (pun deeply intended) with an A/C system for the whole open floor. The input and sensor was in the ceiling in one corner. They then built an exec’s office right there, enclosing the sensor. The result was the whole A/C system was broken.
I also remember in 1983 working at Square-D in Swindon. We had to start work at 7:30am! We clocked in and then took a coffee into the “soak test” room where all the PLCs (with Ladder Logic and Stack-Core memory) were left for a week after we had repaired them for a snooze.
My first contract was for DEC at DEC Park in Reading (UK). Part of a small team to modify a VT220 work in Arabic (and French)! You would press one of the far right function keys and the cursor would jump to the right and start moving left and you could nest English or French inside the Arabic as much as you wanted. Unfortunately to save costs they’d used the last address line, which they didn’t need for the existing small software, to do something else other than address memory. We needed the full address range for the Arabic additions so had to do a double read or write to get into the other half of RAM. No memory for tables so everything was ifs and elses. Good old PL/M-51. It was all rather enjoyable. We had an arab consultant who would wander over every now and then and diss all our efforts. Such larks!
I had several of the original iMacs. Very nice and a great sound from the Bose speakers. I picked one up on Freecycle! If I had another one I might Raspberry Pi it.
Microsoft DO make good mice. (Not much else though.) The new portable one that clicks into an arch shape looks very interesting. The old little wedge one was great but only had vertical scroll of course. Apple I think wins the current Mice Wars with their Magic Mouse 2 (Dark version of course). I’m currently using one of them on my iPad.
I worked on WaveLan at NCR in Nieuwegein, Utrecht, Holland, back in the early 90s. That was fun and interesting. The very first WiFi boards I believe. The customer was Barclays Bank, I think, who wanted networking in their stone buildings without having to drill holes. I wrote software to test them to get the MTBF statistics. Pascal and assembler on NCR PCs.
I think that’s a very good idea. I am fed up of working in all male teams. We have twenty-five team members and only one, in India, is female. That’s ridiculous. When I did IT at Leicester Poly in the early 80s, we had two women out of sixty students and they both dropped out. Pah! It seems to me to be the parents and teachers that are mostly to blame. My 7-year old daughter is going to be an engineer or similar, I hope. She has a doll, some pink stuff but several construction sets which she loves, two railway sets, model dinosaurs, cars, aeroplanes, guns and is learning to code. Come on you parents, get your daughters sorted out.
I set up a RPi based IOT light system going through a SonOff and Apple HomeKit. It generally worked fine either through the screen or via voice and I impressed all our visitors. Then we had a brownout, the mains (240V) was wavering between 55 and 95 for hours while the power people were sorting it out. This destroyed the SonOff and I had no control over the light. I was glad that I had just IOT’d one light and not the whole house.
Back in the 90s I had four kids and worked at the Beeb in Cardiff. My teacher dad was looking for PCs for hs RE department but they had 0 IT budget. My boss said I could help myself to the old PCs in the BBC “obsolete” room. After finding my way through the labyrinthine building across the road from the HQ I found a large room absolutely stuffed with previous generation and earlier tech. From 386 PCs to Laser printers requiring powdered toner to some quite good two-year old machines. I kitted my dad’s RE department out so the kids could now learn RE using the latest interactive digital CDs and could also print stuff out; they were the envy of the school! I also took some of the good PCs for myself too and made a networked PC gaming room at home using BNC Coax Ethernet. I fondly remember being thrashed by sometimes all four kids at Doom and then later on Age Of Empires. Happy times.
Having lived and worked in Japan I can tell you that their local calendar system is just mental - no-one in their right mind uses it. The emperor’s first task should be to persuade the Japanese to bring their calendar system into the 21st century. Seriously it’s so bad that normal business people can’t cope, never mind the customers.
I rented a VW Golf and couldn't take the handbrake off because it didn't have a lever. The rental people didn't know how it worked either. I eventually gave up and changed to a car that had a normal handbrake.
I rented a Vauxhall that I couldn't turn the indicators off - it was ether left on or right on with no central off position.
There should be a law/regulation/standard for car controls. Indicator stalk here, wipers here, light switch there, handbrake lever down there, etc.
Car manufacturers are idiots.
Mind you BMW have decided to replace the High/Low lights switch on their motorbikes with a combined flash switch which is equally bonkers - I think they're sulking after finally converting to a proper indicator switch, even if it doesn't have any movement at all and feels like you're pressing something solid.
I thought they used heat to melt the glue and therefore make it very easy to disassemble the parts for recycling. Apple also have a robot for disassembling. It's just hard for us to do if we want to replace parts inside. They always want us to buy new anyway... Thankfully it is fairly easy to change the batteries on iPhones. But, why does my iPhone 6 run so slowly nowadays compared to my iPhone SE? Also my Mac Mini (2.53GHz CPU) is really slow. I am almost certain that Apple deliberately cause older models to run slowly so that the newer models appear to run much faster and make you glad you spent all that money replacing your perfectly good hardware. Grumble mumble moan.......
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