* Posts by Nick Pettefar

495 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Mar 2007


The wild world of non-C operating systems

Nick Pettefar

Re: Jupiter ACE

The Jupiter Ace was the one that caught fire.

Are we springing into a Y2K-class nightmare?

Nick Pettefar


Born on the 10th of October…

Open source maintainer threatens to throw in the towel if companies won't ante up

Nick Pettefar


I always wonder about PuTTY which everyone seems to use but no-one pays for.

A proposal to beat below-the-belt selfies: Crowdsourced machine learning using victims' image stashes

Nick Pettefar

“But by the next day, it was overwhelmed by the flood of dongs — and Bressler hit pause in order to conduct analysis. She told Futurism that the next step is to continue training the filter on existing libraries of dick pics to make sure nothing else slips through the cracks.”

Developer creates ‘Quite OK Image Format’ – but it performs better than just OK

Nick Pettefar

Re: Pronouncing...

“gigantic” is what you get up to at a concert, Shirley?

Fans of original gangster editors, look away now: It's Tilde, a text editor that doesn't work like it's 1976

Nick Pettefar

Does it have a vi mode?

Gnu Nano releases version 6.0 of text editor, can now hide UI frippery

Nick Pettefar

Does it have a vi mode?

A lightbulb moment comes too late to save a mainframe engineer's blushes

Nick Pettefar

Re: I had a somewhat similar problem

In my yoof I had a fallow period so decided to fix bikes to make a few bob. I was called by a posh solicitor who'd bought a trail bike for his son and it had stopped working. He'd replaced the coil and spark plug and HT lead and battery and then seen my advert in the local paper. I came round, switched on the ignition, checked the fuel tap, checked it was in neutral, put the choke on, flipped the kill switch to run and kick started it. He looked at me totally amazed. And then we realised what I'd done and he went bright red. I did more work for him and he was always referred to as the Off Switch man.

Sharing is caring, except when it's your internet connection

Nick Pettefar

Data Bus

If you want free WiFi around here, albeit not 24/6, go down the road to where the buses wait for their next run…

Raspberry Pi looks to set up African retail channel to make buying a mini computer there as easy as Pi

Nick Pettefar

When users complained to me about the server being slower than their PC I mollified them by comparing a sports car to a bus.

Don't touch that dial – the new guy just closed the application that no one is meant to close

Nick Pettefar


Too many terminals on your screen?

My boss shut down the Berlin home server instead of the test box under his desk. My how we laughed. This wasn’t at Sun.

Revealed: How to steal money from victims' contactless Apple Pay wallets

Nick Pettefar

I didn't know that Apple made Android phones!

"The protocol is meant to protect against attackers using unmodified devices, and Visa believes that rooting an Android smartphone is a difficult process, which requires high technical expertise."

So I’ve scripted a life-saving routine. Pah. What really matters is the icon I give it

Nick Pettefar

Re: Try living in a building...

I lived in a house in Ireland for three years form 2012 where the address didn’t have any numbers at all. There were no postcodes and three of the houses in the street had the same name. The postman just had to know.

A similar kind of situation when I lived in Japan where there are very few street names and when the postman went on holiday, your post was usually kept until they returned and could deliver it.

Apple debuts iPhone 13 with 1TB option, two iPad models, Series 7 Watch

Nick Pettefar

I found two things amusing in the Apple Show Thing:

1) Using a motorcyclist to demonstrate their iPhone - didn’t they just tell us not to do that?

2) Tracking your sleep with your Apple Watch - it only has an 18-hour life, when do we get to charge it?

Off yer bike: Apple warns motorcycles could shake iPhone cameras out of focus forever

Nick Pettefar

My iPhone 12Pro is still working despite my BMW R nineT‘s vibrations. Maybe the leather case dampens those good vibrations? Fingers crossed.

Vaccine dreams: A trip to Oxford to see a biscuit tin, some bed pans and ChAdOx1 nCov-19

Nick Pettefar

“ the university's vaccine worked safely and would be made available cheaply across the world”

How’s that coming along then?

Arms not long enough to reach the plug socket? Room-wide wireless charging is on the way

Nick Pettefar

“Plug Socket” is an imbecile phrase/description. Are there any non-plug sockets pray?

Nick Pettefar

`the differences in power are tremendous, FYI…

South Korea says 2022 moonshot on track, will test interplanetary internet and search for water

Nick Pettefar


History repeating…

Scalpel! Superglue! This mouse won't fix its own ball

Nick Pettefar

Re: Ball crud

I have a nice collection of Sun mouse mats.

Our Friends Electric: A pair of alternative options for getting around town

Nick Pettefar

Re: The door

But but but the Reliants had reverse gears.

Urban myth?

Facebook granted patent for 'artificial reality' baseball cap. Repeat, an 'artificial reality' baseball cap

Nick Pettefar

Talking Through Your Hat

I can’t quite see how it will fit onto my fez though.

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...