* Posts by Rob Daglish

424 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Dec 2007


Thames Water to datacenters: Cut water use or we will

Rob Daglish

Re: someone please explain

I was told a story by a shift manager at Sellafield of a time when their water treatment /pumping station which supplied the cooling systems on site with freshwater from Wastwater was being taken offline for maintenance. As you can probably imagine, they do lots of testing to make sure they know exactly what's in that water before using it in the non-radioactive side of the cooling systems.

They finally get some temporary pumps hooked up, and some specialist filter systems which were looked for all the world like road tankers, and start doing some analysis on the water going in and out of the filters.

Turns out that the lake water going in was so pure that it was cleaner than after it had been prossesed in the new filters, and so in a remarkable display of common sense, they did away with the temporary filters!

False negative stretched routine software installation into four days of frustration

Rob Daglish

Re: Noisy installers suck.

Capita used to have a lovely progress bar on one of their SIMS updates (I'm thinking W95/W98 days here), well before the days of SOLUS and the joy that inflicted upon the world.

It would get up to 67%, then drop back to 33%. It eventually finished at around 127% IIRC. I have no memory of what happened if the install failed, so it was obviously one of their more stable and reliable updates!

That old box of tech junk you should probably throw out saves a warehouse

Rob Daglish

Re: The boss chucked mine out

I've pointed people this way in vain many times. PAT Testing is a lovely little deception (scam) when you get down to it - someone who has been on a course so they are deemed "Competent" but knows in reality F/A about what they are doing, being paid on how many devices they test, so they will test everything in sight, regardless of whether it's sensible or reasonable to do so. One guy I'm aware of recorded a series of items as their component parts rather than as a whole so it went in as three tests instead of the one it should have been... around 400 times.

Rob Daglish

Re: The boss chucked mine out

Ah, our council PAT drone used to come around, disconnect the plug from the dimmer pack and test from there, then fail everything as the plugs went into the loft space and split. We used to then claim our time for going up and testing both fixtures and the cable as separate items like they should have been in the first place before we would use anything again. Same guy failed a Double Insulated baby PA amp for not having an earth...

IT phone home: How to run up a $20K bill in two days and get away with it by blaming Cisco

Rob Daglish

Re: The good old days :)

Oh good grief, I remember those 3Com units...

I seem to remember there was a limit of 8 devices that could use the internet through them, no matter what subnet mask you used.

I had a colleague who slightly earlier than that had a BBC Model B connected to two modems in the office. He'd dial in on one from his house (local call) and ring a far off city to make an internet connection (national call), so our employer got the bill for it. Mind you, I don't think there was anyone outside our team that would have been smart enough to figure that one out!

We also had a shedload of Cisco 801 routers at the time which were supposed to dial an 0820 number, which meant schools weren't charged for the calls between 8AM and 6PM Monday to Friday. However, it wasn't unknown for BT to screw it up so you couldn't call them (ISDN line had to be registered with the ISP/BT to be able to dial the 0820) and someone would put the normal 0845 number in to test it, and forget to take it out again - saw some lovely multi-thousand pound bills generated that way. In reference to GJC's comment above, I think most companies round here invested in a time switch on the router rather than actually fixing all the things that caused dial-outs...

What's up with IT, Doc? Rabbit hole reveals cause of outage

Rob Daglish

It isn't guidance, but larger house builders are allowed to sign off their own work and it isn't always quite to spec... A late friend (one of the best sparkies I ever met) had a real bee in his bonnet about it - his personal favourite was a brand new build where cables ran from the point of mains entry at the front of the house to the consumer unit, laid loosely through the holes in the metal frames of the walls.

As he said, it wasn't immediately dangerous, but as the walls flexed there was the possibility that the metal would wear through the insulation of the cable (single layer, not T&E) and make the entire house frame live...

User was told three times 'Do Not Reboot This PC' – then unplugged it anyway

Rob Daglish

I loved working on those printers. Because the other side of not switching them off ever was that there was always a supply of melted wax inside them, and Xerox training was to power the machine off when you arrived onsite, then wait 40-50 minutes for it to cool and solidify so the wax didn't splash around and ruin the gearbox when you moved the printer from whatever recess it was usually installed in so you could actually fix it...

Given that the four wax blocks were different shapes and sizes, and were numbered 1-4 as were the slots on the printer, it was always surprising how many waxes ended up in the wrong slots!

Rob Daglish

Re: Snotty Service Manager

Having had to deal with a number of car manufacturer's various OBD systems (Ford ETIS, Mazda whatever it was, Rover's T4, Vauxhall, Suzuki, Fiat, VW/Audi...) they are all pretty horrible, and given that they mostly have the same issues, I'd be surprised if software for $farm_equipment_manufacturer was much different.

I'd have loved it if you could download all new updates/patches to be applied to customer vehicles at the start of the week/day/when they are released, but the systems are designed in such a way that you can't generally do that - you need to have the vehicle connected, send the VIN back to manufacturer, manufacturer will then determine what software they want to push and then allow you to download it to the laptop to push into the vehicle, and then delete it once successfully installed.

I suspect it's a stupid way of making sure people don't install software on the wrong vehicle, but it's been designed by someone who's never been at the end of a dialup modem/GPRS connection instead of only a LAN port away from that update...

Openreach offers more wholesale fiber discounts, rivals call foul

Rob Daglish

Re: Know who your rivals actually are

It's the plural version of behaviour according to the OED, and I'm fairly certain they'd have checked before putting non-words in there...

My psychology text books have used "behaviours" quite a bit in the last 12 months when discussing learning and development in animals.

Mind you, that maybe makes your point ;)

Rob Daglish

Re: Admission

I remember going to our local telephone exchange as a Cub Scout, which dates it to 1987-90ish.

We got shown the underground room where giant bundles of copper cables which were bigger than our arms entered the building. We then all got given (and I still have it somewhere) a two inch long strand of fibre in a laminated card with some British Telecom branding on, and were told that this was going to be the future as we were one of the first areas to implement this new technology, which was going to revolutionize telephones and sending data (no WWW then!)

The next stop was upstairs where the Stowger switches were clattering away, and I feel a little bit nostalgic about that now...

Corporate execs: Get back, get back, to the office where you once belonged

Rob Daglish

Re: Work habits are like eating habits

This. Totally this. A sales office is a really noisy place to try and work, and as all of my calls are on Teams/Zoom, I try to just schedule them for the days I'm not in the office and can hear myself talk, as I'm fed up of complaints from customers about the background noise.

Rob Daglish

Re: "when you have...problems, putting people inside of rooms is absolutely critical"

"when you have...problems, putting people inside of rooms is absolutely critical" - yes. Particularly if you can lock them in the room while other people get on with whatever the issue...

Rob Daglish

Re: pretending they like to work in the office

One of my colleagues has recently moved into a newly-converted building somewhere around Manchester. It has a number of common areas like the perennial gym, but also spaces for people to WFH in so they don't have to sit in their own flat all day. I'm wondering if we'll see that sort of thing become more common in future?

BBC is still struggling with the digital switch, says watchdog

Rob Daglish

Re: Too many "heads in the sand" technophobes run the BBC

What comes next is "repeat, ad infinitum" in my experience.

They spent ages going through the process when my Great-Aunt's house was empty, so I thought I'd ring them and let them know the house was empty and they were wasting their time and money chasing an empty house, but it fell on deaf ears and the cycle just continued round and round again.

Server broke because it was invisibly designed to break

Rob Daglish

Re: I've been dispatched as the tech enough times that I disagree.

> they were sending out glorified geek squad kids, who had no qualms dragging a repair out for weeks and shutting a business down in the process.

Well yes... but given the levels of pay some of these providers have, you can make more money stacking shelves in Tesco, driving a bus, or a hundred and one other things, so where are the smart people going to go? Not IT it seems!

Rob Daglish

Indeed. HP & Lenovo both emphasize in their warranty provider training (or did when I last re-did my exams) that you aren't there to randomly swap parts, but should diagnose the issue and be able to support your diagnosis before ordering any part...

Rob Daglish

Re: Audi electrics, oof

Audi electrics are still crap.

I've got a 2 month old Q7 that fails to even try and start the engine a couple of times a week, the first time being after we'd had it three days. Dealer can't find anything wrong, but has so far suggested that:

1) We aren't pushing the start button hard enough

2) We aren't pushing the start button long enough

3) We aren't pushing the brake pedal hard enough

4) It might be because the car is suffering in the recent cold weather

Unfortunately, every time it goes in for a week or so, we need to use two cars to go anywhere as we can't get 3 kids seats and two adults in the back of the courtesy cars (An A6 and an A3 so far)

And to top it off, they've managed to put two six inch long scratches down the side of the car when they last had it.

I don't think I'll be buying another Audi anytime soon...

Rob Daglish

Re: had a printer with the same fault

As a "temporary" job, I spent about four years working for a company that handled a fair bit of warranty work for some very large Server and Desktop manufacturers, along with at least three printer manufacturers. Their field engineers were generally paid around £19k, and staff turnover was very high, and as a result most of them, at least as far as printers were concerned, were purely component swappers - all diagnostics were undertaken under direction from technical "specialists", ie. the call centre staff in Romania reading the service manual for whatever equipment you happened to be working on at the time.

Rob Daglish

Re: Fix was to bend the contacts a little.

If it's like our dehumidifier it will fill a tank with water, and you want it to stop when the tank is full or you'll have a dehumidifier sitting in the middle of a puddle, so maybe not bypassing the switch would be a better idea?

'What's the point of me being in my office, just because they want to see me in the office?'

Rob Daglish

Re: Contract clauses

I see the point you're trying to make, but I start work later and finish earlier when WFH... Well, to be more accurate, I actually start and fi ish when I'm contracted to.

When I'm going to the office, I have to use the train, and in order to actually get on the train and stand a chance of being in the office before I'm due to start work, I actually end up getting to the office around 45-60 minutes before I'm due to start. Again, travelling home, to fit in with the train, I'm usually stuck for 30-45 minutes waiting for a train I can actually get on without being in someone's armpit. So instead of doing more when WFH, I'm at work over an hour extra every time I go to the office.

Unfortunately for my employer, I'm actually no use for that extra time, as everyone I need to speak to doesn't share my belief in being at work on time and rocks up around 10AM!

'I wonder what this cable does': How to tell thicknet from a thickhead

Rob Daglish

Re: colour me sceptical

Used to do some tech'ing at a Theatre, and in the FoH cab which help the EQs, effects and assorted sound processing equipment, something had a two pin euro plug which someone had inserted into a 4-gang extension with the aid of a screwdriver, then withdrawn the screwdriver so the safety shutter now held the plug in place. For some reason, this was never given a fail sticker by the PAT monkey who failed pretty much every other electrical item in the building! (including failing class 2 earthless equipment for not having earth connectors... Sometimes, the phrase "competent person" isn't really that accurate)

Rob Daglish

Re: "I'm not sure the loose cannon needed to be body shamed like that"

A colleague went on a Canon laser printer course around 1994, and was told at the time that around 80% of laser engines in service at that time were re-badged Canon ones, including a number of HPs...

Rob Daglish

Re: "I'm not sure the loose cannon needed to be body shamed like that"

I'm sure Canon used to make a combined laptop/printer, although probably a few years after this...

<Google tippy-tappy/>Ah - the BubbleNote:


Is the Apple car real? These patents suggest yes

Rob Daglish

Re: Apple car

Polestar have one in the Trafford Centre. Just beside John Lewis.

Admittedly, it's more of a showroom than a workshop, but there's obviously a way to get the vehicles in there.

Come to think of it, Tesla had nicked one of the car parks too last time I was there

A character catastrophe for a joker working his last day

Rob Daglish

Re: I'd say that ....

Is it allowed to say we miss the Moderatrix?

Rob Daglish

Re: Nothing so severe

I thought cruel and unusual punishments went out with the Geneva Convention?

Chip shortages hit hard at Yamaha's musical instrument business

Rob Daglish

Re: Do like Yamaha pianos

We bought a brand new Yamaha B3 (an acoustic upright) with a silent touch system, and the guys in the shop were saying they were having lots of issues getting digital pianos, and they'd waited 6 months for the one we bought, with no idea when they'd get another. It seems that most major brands were suffering chip shortages or labour slow downs due to covid. Apparently Kawai have stopped building some models to try and get caught up!

We've got a photocopier and it can copy anything

Rob Daglish

Re: Don't know if it's just that my coffee hasn't kicked in yet...

I live in the North of England, and I remember a group of teenagers locally getting lifted because they'd scanned both sides of a fiver, printed it on an Epson Stylus ink jet, stuck the two faces together, and passed them off in a local garage for sweets, drinks and fags...

They got away with it on more than one occasion, so someone wasn't being too fussy about the quality of the notes tendered.

My memory is a blank on whether there was an inside person

Dell and Ubuntu certify latest model of XPS 13 ultrabook

Rob Daglish

Re: "When you hold down the Fn key..."

The Track pad really is the Achilles Heel of the ThinkPad range - I've seen plenty where they are either too sensitive, not sensitive enough, and then there are those that interpret every click as left or right, no matter what you do with them.

This includes my current one, which cost my employer just shy of £4K... Still, I never use it without a mouse and keyboard plugged in so it doesn't make much difference!

This is the military – you can't just delete your history like you're 15

Rob Daglish

Re: I got that beat

Found?? Found??!

I once fixed a laptop for an employee at a company I used to do some work for. It was the usual late 00's full of toolbars/diallers from pr0n sites, so I tidied it up and took it back.

He was very happy to have his laptop back, even more so when he found out I hadn't had to wipe it - and proceeded to proudly show me the videos of him, his girlfriend and a few of his mates. His GF was a teacher in a local school that I also looked after, and I wasn't able to look her in the face afterwards... I'm not sure if she ever found out he was showing people the videos, but they're now happily married, so I wouldn't like to guess!

Rob Daglish

Re: Only Once...

It's not true. Judging by what was going on in the early 00's, it was quite a few people on every shift at our local nuclear licensed site. I'm surprised the whole county wasn't buried under green coloured CDs!

Pentester says he broke into datacenter via hidden route running behind toilets

Rob Daglish

Re: The Security Was Possibly Via a Screwdriver

Not sure why railway types get so shirty about people having these T keys, pretty much every coach driver I've ever met has at least one because they're used to lock all kinds of panels and lockers shut on coaches and buses... I think they sometimes forget it's a common solution to a common problem!

12-year-old revives Unity desktop, develops software repo client, builds gaming environment for Ubuntu...

Rob Daglish

Re: What is there to say?

Good intentions? I'd heard it was lawyers and at weekends the younger demons went ice skating down them...

You need to RTFM, but feel free to use your brain too

Rob Daglish

Ah... I experienced something similar with my Mrs one day. We'd been away somewhere she wasn't familiar with, so I was navigating while she drove. After a certain point on our way home, she went "Oh, I know where I am now!" so I duly stopped navigating. After she carried straight on past the junction we needed, I asked why she wasn't going the normal way home, to which she replied "oh, i know where I am, I just don't know how to get home from here!"

SpaceX: 5G expansion could kill US Starlink broadband

Rob Daglish

Re: Don't Forget

I do agree to a point, but at the speed openleach are moving, a medium term Starlink subscription might not be the worst thing I've ever done, and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that.

Know the difference between a bin and /bin unless you want a new doorstop

Rob Daglish

No. *I* was teaching myself what all the commands on schools newfangled 286 running DOS were. Format was very helpful, and told me I needed to append a drive letter to the command. I didn't k ow what it was going to do when I typed format c:, and apparently I wasn't that smart to figure out destroying all the data on drive c: meant the machine would be somewhat unusable until all the software was reinstalled...

To his credit, the head teacher used it as a learning experience for me rather than just tell me off, and had he not I probably wouldn't be doing IT today RIP Mr Hedley.

Rob Daglish

Re: Surprised that you weren't commenting on the limey use of "the boot"

What on earth is "swimming apparel", unless you mean dookers?

(You wear them when going for a dook, you see?)

Whatever you do, don't show initiative if you value your job

Rob Daglish

Re: "So was James truly the guilty party?"

Given Sage's implementation of "Cloud Drive" I wouldn't bet on it being fixed anytime soon...

Rob Daglish

Re: "So was James truly the guilty party?"

Ohhhhh yes. I worked for a County Council supporting school IT, and even now I still want to punch the developers of "Talking Write Away" and "Number Box". TWA was a word processor which had different coloured levels which exposed varying amounts of tools to the kids. Except some levels just wouldn't print... and you could forget all about being able to save to network drives, c:\ it is!

Linux Mint adopts Timeshift from overworked original developer

Rob Daglish

I'm taking a journey to my nearest city, Carlisle, today. I won't use my car and do it simply and easily in 50 minutes, I'll take a taxi ride to the nearest station, wait for the train, and then catch a bus at the other end to get where I want to go, which shouldn't take any more than around 3 hours and cost around twice what taking the car does...

I get your point that there are multiple ways of achieving the same goal, but sometimes ease and convenience win out and most of the computer users I meet would struggle to master one tool to the extent needed, never mind getting to grips with 6.

Making life easier for them does not stop you doing it your way, unless the problem is you feel a bit redundant if people don't need your expertise?

Rob Daglish

Exactly what I wanted to say, thank you. I regret I can upvote this comment only once...

Beware the fury of a database developer torn from tables and SQL

Rob Daglish

Re: "...an internal translation dictionary..."

Yes, it did say don't use this word. Except it was in Dutch...

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout

Rob Daglish

Re: Full names please.......

My Mrs used to do something similar - girl she was at school with was christened Jenny, my Mrs was christened Jennifer, and they very definitely ignored the name that wasn't their own!

Not to dis your diskette, but there are some unexpected sector holes

Rob Daglish

Re: Closest I've seen...

Optical mice and glass sheets on top of the desk were always good fun...

Rob Daglish

Re: Closest I've seen...

My favourite one was the user who insisted her email would disappear overnight. She had her machine re-imaged on multiple occasions, but it was still happening, and our helpdesk were stumped.

Eventually I agreed to visit one evening and then again the following morning. I sent a test email around 5PM, and it showed in her inbox. Visited the following morning, and she proudly pointed to the fact the email was no longer there. Which it wasn't, as Outlook had helpfully moved it from the "Today" category, which was expanded, to the "Yesterday" category, which wasn't...

In fairness to the hell-desk, it was a new feature which was only introduced when the machine was updated with a new version of office, and their machines wouldn't get done until at least a year later, but it's a good

Buying a USB adapter: Pennies. Knowing where to stick it: Priceless

Rob Daglish

Re: Lost dog pictures

Ohhhh... another job I loved as a PFY - the ribbon cable making press - pretty much every machine I ever built had cables made to exactly the right length just so I could play around with the press...

The time you solved that months-long problem in 3 seconds

Rob Daglish

Re: Fuck that

Not a busy man, no...

My grandad always gave that sort of work to the laziest person he managed, as he reasoned that they would find the quickest, easiest way to do it and get back to doing nothing!

Electric Vehicle DC charging tripped by a wireless hack

Rob Daglish

Re: Yes another possibility...

You've obviously never been in a car with my wife! She has this strange inability to park in an empty car park, seemingly paralysed by the number of choices. If there are one or two cars in there, she will park next to them to the extent you can't open the door because you're that damned close!

Client demo in 30 minutes. Just what could go wrong?

Rob Daglish

Re: It was BT for me

We had one of the earliest ADSL lines out into a school I worked at, and that would be late 99 or early 2000 from memory as I only worked there for a year.

After that, I moved back to the local County Council, supporting the Regional Broadband Consortium, who eventually ended up with a telco licence and putting naked DSL, then EFM into schools. As there was no dial tone, we regularly lost service when someone stole our pairs as there was no tone…

UK internet pioneer Cliff Stanford has died

Rob Daglish

I had someone who left demon because of those numbers. They were very religious, and most of the local access numbers ended "666", so it was a bit too much like devil-worship for them. If memory serves, they ended up going to FreeServe (remember them?) and that really was dealing with the devil...