* Posts by Nick Pettefar

477 posts • joined 9 Mar 2007


Apple's macOS 12 adds improved virtualization though no sign of anything like Boot Camp on M1 silicon

Nick Pettefar

Where is the fastly story that’s taken xkcd.com off the net?

Fastly error: unknown domain: www.xkcd.com.

Details: cache-dub4324-DUB

So what if I pay peanuts for my home broadband? I demand you fix it NOW!

Nick Pettefar


I love that album.

Yep, you're totally unique: That one very special user and their very special problem

Nick Pettefar

Where’s The Effing Ignition Lock!?

Saab 900. Ignition lock is by the gear lever which is locked until the key is in and turned. The look on friends’ faces when you challenge them to start the car was priceless.

Nick Pettefar

Where’s the effing handbrake!?

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?

Vegas, baby! A Register reader gambles his software will beat the manual system

Nick Pettefar

Print Union

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.

Don't be a fool, cover your tool: How IBM's mighty XT keyboard was felled by toxic atmosphere of the '80s

Nick Pettefar


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.

What happens when cancel culture meets Adolf Hitler pareidolia? Amazon decides it needs a new app icon

Nick Pettefar

Re: Adolf

But but but the BMW logo is just a circular version of the Bavarian flag. Have you never been to the Oktoberfest?

Nick Pettefar

Amazon Logo

But surely the Amazon logo IS a penis.

Or is that just me???

Happy birthday, Python, you're 30 years old this week: Easy to learn, and the right tool at the right time

Nick Pettefar

Case statements.

Has Amazon finally gone cuckoo? Bezos' behemoth turns to crowdfunding for Alexa-powered timepiece

Nick Pettefar

Cuckoo Clocks Are German You Dummkopf!


Mann oh Mann, das ist so unwissend!

UK Test and Trace chief Dido Harding tries to convince MPs that £14m for canned mobile app was money well spent

Nick Pettefar

But you’d be working for the .gov so therefore INSIDE IR35. You’d get 3s and 6d an hour If you’re lucky...

Ring, Ring, why don't you give me a call? Amazon-owned doorbells aren’t answering after large-scale outage

Nick Pettefar


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!

The Fat iPhone, 11 years on: The iPad's over a decade old and we're still not sure what it's for

Nick Pettefar

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”.

Cisco intros desktop switches, one with USB-C to power your laptop

Nick Pettefar

Re: Fibre to the desk?


Windows might have frozen – but at least my feet are toasty

Nick Pettefar


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.

Who knew that hosing a table with copious amounts of cubic metres would trip adult filters?

Nick Pettefar

http://www.waynekerrtest.com/ I remember them from when I worked at Malmesbury TMC. We used to test the new electrostatic telephone microphones with their sound bridges ( I recall).

IT Marie Kondo asks: Does this noisy PC spark joy? Alas, no. So under the desk it goes

Nick Pettefar

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.

LibreOffice rains on OpenOffice's 20th anniversary parade, tells rival project to 'do the right thing' and die

Nick Pettefar

Re: Another dick measuring contest.

Sun bought Star Office.

Not one to be outdone by Microsoft, Apple's cloud fell over too. Unlike Microsoft, it hasn't said what happened

Nick Pettefar

Oracle Downloads Site Down

Can’t download Solaris 10 x86!

Bill Gates lays out a three-point plan to rid the world of COVID-19 – and anti-vaxxer cranks aren't gonna like it

Nick Pettefar


I almost forgive Gates for Windows nowadays. Almost.

Frames per second? Windows Terminal brings back text animation with the VT100 blink

Nick Pettefar

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!

On the seventh anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, we give you 7 times he served humanity and acted as an example to others

Nick Pettefar

FanBois Approval

I‘m a fanboy and I thought the article was great.

Cornish drinkers catch a different kind of buzz as pub installs electric fence at bar

Nick Pettefar

Just read this shocking news!

Apple said to be removing charger, headphones from upcoming iPhone 12 series

Nick Pettefar

Re: There is no price...

They could include a voucher to get a discount on EarPods... Nah, too intelligent!

It is unclear why something designed to pump fuel into a car needs an ad-spewing computer strapped to it, but here we are

Nick Pettefar

Bikers Too!

I put my helmet and gloves on there. Handy.

Seminal game 'Colossal Cave Adventure' released onto GitLab

Nick Pettefar

Intel 8080SDK on a teletype. Very useful for recording your progress!

The iMac at 22: How the computer 'too odd to succeed' changed everything ... for Apple, at least

Nick Pettefar

Re: No comments about the one obvious failing so far...

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.

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

Nick Pettefar

Re: Paris...


Who's going to pay for Britain's Aunty Beeb to carry on? Broadband users, broadcaster suggests to government

Nick Pettefar

Re: April Fool

But German TV is terrible, as any German will tell you.

BT's Wi-Fi Disc ads banned because there's no evidence the things work

Nick Pettefar

Re: "Only we guarantee Wi-Fi in every room"

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.

Apple calls BS on FBI, AG: We're totally not dragging our feet in murder probe iPhone decryption. PS: No backdoors

Nick Pettefar

Re: A wise man once told me..

Well he certainly wasn’t wise enough to know the difference between your and you’re.

The immovable object versus the unstoppable force: How the tech boys club remains exclusive

Nick Pettefar

Great Idea

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.

Data cops order Ireland to delete 3.2m records after ID card wheeze ruled to be 'unlawful'

Nick Pettefar

You must be joking. I’ve never seen so much awful tack.

Philips kills dependence on its Hue hub, pointing to a Bluetooth world

Nick Pettefar


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.

A quick cup of coffee leaves production manager in fits and a cleaner in tears

Nick Pettefar

Re: So...


Doom: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins

Nick Pettefar

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.

Nick Pettefar

Re: Stanger in a strange land..

Ummm, being British does not rule you out from also being Jewish you know, Mr. Stanger.

And lo! Tim Cook becometh tech Jesus. But with more awards

Nick Pettefar

What a dick.

New era for Japan, familiar problems: Microsoft withdraws crash-tastic patches

Nick Pettefar

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.

Pi-lovers? There are two fresh OSes for your tiny computers to gobble

Nick Pettefar

Still Waiting For Solaris On The Pi

Just saying....

Want to know what an organisation is really like? Visit the restroom

Nick Pettefar

So it was OK for innocent men and boys to hear your noises but not the experienced and hardened toilet cleaner?

Do you have a Men Only toilet at home?

Heir to SMS finally excites carriers, by making Google grovel

Nick Pettefar

Re: What did you say?

I love Apple Messaging, it goes to my iPad, Macs and both my iPhones and I can answer from any device. I can send anything almost instantly and almost any size and of course for no cost. Comparing it to SMS is like comparing a telegraph to HD TV.

Wearables are now a two-horse race and Google lost very badly

Nick Pettefar

Re: I remember Watch being laughed off at launch

I still wear my series 1 Apple Watch every day.

Facial recognition software easily IDs white men, but error rates soar for black women

Nick Pettefar

You couldn’t find a photograph of a black woman to put at the top of an article about facial recognition failure rates when analysing at black women?

Uber: Ah yeah, we pay women drivers less than men. We can explain!

Nick Pettefar

If there was a Female Driver button for taxis I’d always press it. Sorry male drivers. I know I would hate to be a passenger in my car or on my bike!

What will drive our cars when the combustion engine dies?

Nick Pettefar


Stuff the cars, I want a decent electric sports/tourer motorbike. 150HP, 500 mile range range, 0-60 in 2 secs, etc.

And for a reasonable price!

Car trouble: Keyless and lockless is no match for brainless

Nick Pettefar

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.

Microsoft exec says ARM-powered Windows laptops have multi-day battery life

Nick Pettefar

Re: Does it run...

If it runs OS X I'm interested!

Best Korea fingered for hacks against Bitcoin exchanges in South

Nick Pettefar

Re: Kim Jon 'Fat-ass' 'Cartman' Un is being a pest

Umm, the US dealing with Korea "properly" didn't work very well last time, did it now?

Tech giants warp eco standards to greenwash electronics, rake in cash

Nick Pettefar

Ramble On

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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