* Posts by Martin

1389 posts • joined 17 Jan 2008

Page:

Nuclear power is the climate superhero too nervous to wear its cape

Martin
FAIL

Downvoted for your use of the oh-so-clever-and-funny bureaucrazy - not once but twice.

Keep your cables tidy. You never know when someone might need some wine

Martin
Happy

Re: My girlfriend did it

Back in the very early eighties, a new multiprocessor system was being demonstrated at a trade fair in Germany. It was literally the prototype - the only one that was working in the world.

The boss managed to spill his beer into it.

Every card was removed from the rack, and carefully rinsed with water and dried. The backplane was also carefully washed and dried. It was all put back together, with fingers crossed and a prayer or two offered up to the gods of technology. Power was applied....

It sprang into life, like it had never been away.

Psst … Want to buy a used IBM Selectric? No questions asked

Martin
Happy

In one of my early jobs, our company built a box and modification that converted a Brother electric typewriter to a parallel printer. Which meant that you could get, for a fairly reasonable price, a letter-quality parallel printer (rather than a dot-matrix not-quite-so-letter quality).

(For those who are interested...yhe electric typewriter keyboard was basically an array of push switches on a grid - the hardware was a ribbon cable soldered to the grid, and the hardware was a little multiprocessor that took the parallel printer input and converted it to signals which simulated a key being pressed. It was quite a fun job - writing the microprocessor code and working in parallel with the hardware guy debugging his hardware. Worked very nicely, albeit a bit slow!)

Weird Flex, but OK: Now you can officially turn these PCs, Macs into Chromebooks

Martin
Happy

Re: Wait... what? Now you can officially turn Macs into Chromebooks!?!

Particularly when you see the amount you can get on eBay for your Pre-2014 MacBook...you might well end up in profit !

The perfect crime – undone by the perfect email backups

Martin
Happy

Re: No doubt it's easy to do if you know how...

Should have thought of that! Thanks. I'll bear it in mind for the future. Have an upvote,

Martin
WTF?

Re: "Delete" = "Hide"

First programmed a computer when I was at school, in 1969, in Basic, Algol and Fortran. Started work in 1976. Worked in real-time software development and infrastructure development and support on early message switching systems, theatre lighting, POS systems, and market data systems, using Assembler, C, Python, running on CP/M, UNIX and Linux. I've written software for bespoke real-time microprocessor systems, debugging the software in partnership with the engineer debugging his hardware. I've worked on infrastructure development for complex networks of dozens of machines. Retired in 2015.

Still use computers every day (Chromebooks and Linux boxes, no Windows), still writing occasional bash scripts.

No, I don't think I'm new to computers. But I don't know everything about them, and I don't know easily how to type Greek characters.

Martin
Happy

Re: "Delete" = "Hide"

OK, I'm impressed that you can type Greek characters. No doubt it's easy to do if you know how, but still, I'm impressed!

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

Martin
Happy

Even in the early nineties, you may be sure there would have been many large image files on busy servers, which would have taken some time to download.

https://dilbert.com/strip/1995-07-26

Sick of Windows but can't afford a Mac? Consult our cynic's guide to desktop Linux

Martin
FAIL

Re: Humorously Scare People Away

Well, my wife, my daughter and I have used ChromeOS for ten years on something like fifteen different machines and never seen a problem.

You've had one problem on one machine - granted, a particularly annoying problem - and as far as you are concerned, ChromeOS is broken. Hmmm....

Martin
WTF?

Re: Humorously Scare People Away

Well, my wife, my daughter and I have been using Chromebooks (and hence, ChromeOS) for about ten years as our main systems. I'm typing this on a £200 Chromebook. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times any of them have broken.

The worst that happens is they occasionally slow right down if you've got too many tabs open, and then you have to restart them. That takes all of thirty seconds. I'd hardly call that broken.

Martin
Happy

Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

But am I the only person who habitually reinstalls their Linux, MacOS, and Windows home laptops pretty much monthly? By choice and preference?

Looks pretty clearly like the answer to that question is yes.

When management went nuclear on an innocent software engineer

Martin
Happy

Re: Don’t know about you

I actually saw something like that happen. I was working at a manufacturing factory which had loads of little automatic trolleys on the ground which carried stuff from one place to the next along invisible magnetic rails. It was quite fun to watch them trucking along at about walking pace, either empty or carrying boxes. (And occasionally, they'd get confused and all end up in a pile against the wall - but that's a different story.)

Anyway, a bunch of potential graduate employees were being shown round before their interviews. One of them thought it would be fun to step onto one of the empty trolleys and off the other side, rather than walk round them like most sensible human beings. No harm was done - the trolleys could easily cope with that. But his action was noted, and I don't think his interview lasted very long....

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth

Martin
Happy

Re: almost whoops

...if you remember the parties ... you weren't there.

What, like the current incumbent of No 10 Downing Street?

Martin
Headmaster

Re: Sparkies...

I've met the gambit of them...

I think you mean "I've met the gamut of them..."

gamut - full range

gambit - chess opening

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’

Martin
Happy

Re: 41 hours of latency sounds bad...

In my first job, we had overnight batch runs, but there were frequent errors with the cards at the start and the end of each batch job not being set up correctly. I wrote a clever trick (can't remember how it worked now) which meant that the start/end card errors were reduced by 90%.

Which meant that a lot more high priority jobs ran correctly far more often.

Which meant that my low priority jobs frequently didn't get time to run overnight - which meant I often had to wait 36 hours for my job to be returned.

Talk about being punished for doing the right thing...

September 16, 1992, was not a good day to be overly enthusiastic about your job

Martin
Happy

Re: my early bird antics cost them over 40k

I don't know if it can be attributed to the currency dealers, but I certainly remember the week. I'd just started working for a bank, developing and supporting trading floor IT systems. My main memory is all the currency dealers knocking off at midday on the Friday, and going down to the pub, where they spent the afternoon drinking champagne.

Confirmation dialog Groundhog Day: I click OK and it keeps coming back

Martin
Happy

Re: Effect as a verb

Or even word...

Martin
Headmaster

Re: Effect as a verb

In the UK, there is no difference between inquiry and enquiry. I just checked in the Oxford English Dictionary - and if that's not definitive, I don't know what is.

If you look up "enquire, enquiry" it says "see inquire, inquiry". And when you look up "inquire" it says "inquire, en-".

They are just two different spellings of exactly the same work.

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout

Martin
Unhappy

Re: Just unplugging the cable....

...might not of ripped the cables apart...

NO! You mean

...might not HAVE ripped the cables apart...

Please, please, please don't do this. It literally hurts me every time I see it.

An international incident or just some finger trouble at the console?

Martin

Re: Typing is not a good idea.

And never write them down.

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

Martin

Re: I bow before such experience

The point about soft sectoring is that you could pretty well define your own number of sectors per track on your floppy disk. One of the early general operating systems for office desktop computers was CP/M - and every version of CP/M did their soft sectoring differently.

At the time, I worked at a startup, where one of the services we supplied was the ability to take a disk which had data on it using one version of CP/M and transfer the files to another disc which could used on another version of CP/M. The only time we were ever defeated was when someone wanted us to transfer data to a CP/M system which used hard-sectored floppies.

Once IBM PCs and their clones came along, it all became a single standard. One of the few things MS-DOS did right compared to CP/M.

An early crack at network management with an unfortunate logfile

Martin
Happy

Re: A perfectly natural mistake …

Yes, US people not knowing UK slang can cause endless amusement. This is from Peter Bradshaw's review of The Last Airbender.

At the cinema showing I attended, the British crowd reacted derisively at key dialogue moments. One wise old lady says solemnly to a young man: "I could tell at once that you were a bender, and that you would realise your destiny." One character tells another wonderingly: "There are some really powerful benders in the Northern Water Zone." Another whispers tensely: "We want to minimise their bender sources." A key figure is taken away by brutal soldiers, one of whom shouts cruelly: "It's… a bender." And so on, for almost two hours.

I mean, how are you NOT going to giggle like a kid?

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

Martin

Re: Seems ok

If this was just a business client, then yes. But when even the bereaved relative of a friend is viewed as an opportunity for profit?

But it was a business client. When he queried the amount, the secretary shouted "Pay the man - he's saved you a load of money." If there's a secretary, it's in an office. If it's in an office, it's a business client.

Ukraine invasion: We should consider internet sanctions, says ICANN ex-CEO

Martin
FAIL

Re: its over

I'm NOT convinced that RANDOM capitalized WORDS helps your argument any.

DOWNvote administered.

One decade, 46 million units: Happy birthday, Raspberry Pi

Martin
Happy

Re: How many?

I have three. One is a music streamer (Squeezeplayer) with an amp HAT, driving a pair of Gale speakers - the smallest little stereo I've ever owned ! One more is the Logitech Media Server for the system. The third is currently idle - it was a PiHole, but I had some problems and haven't had the time to solve them.

And the fourth I owned was sold to a collector as it was a very early one.

Apple seeks patent for 'innovation' resembling the ZX Spectrum, C64 and rPi 400

Martin
Happy

Re: Cambridge Z88?

And if your battery ran out, and you'd forgotten your charger - just pop down to the local shops for four AA batteries and you'd be fine.

I wish I still had mine - no idea what happened to it.

IBM cannot kill this age-discrimination lawsuit linked to CEO

Martin

Re: Not new

The other problem is that the knowledge goes with them.

Your app deleted all my files. And my wallpaper too!

Martin
Happy

Re: Concepts are hard to understand

When I was a student, the best piece of advice I ever had was "Make sure you have a good piling system on your desk."

File suffixes: Who needs them? Well, this guy did

Martin
Happy

Re: extensions and version numbers

That should have been sent to El Reg as a "who, me?" story. How long was it until someone discovered what had happened?

Beware the big bang in the network room

Martin
Happy

Re: red alerts

Come on, be fair. Colin was young. When you're young, you think red flags are for decoration.

Real-time software? How about real-time patching?

Martin
Happy

Re: Work or pleasure?

Apropos of nothing really, but a good quiz question is "What is the first country other than the USA you get to if you go due south from Detroit?"

Martin
Happy

Re: Site Acceptance Test

I once flew to from London to Chicago for a two-day presentation about some new products. Only it turned out to be only a one-day presentation.

So I chatted to my boss who said "Just take the plane home you were booked on, and spend the extra day in Chicago." Which was great.

To err is human. To really tmux things up requires an engineer

Martin
Happy

I once (well, perhaps more than once) restarted a process on the production box when I should have restarted it on the dev box.

I put my hand up to the mistake (fortunately, there were hot standby systems and no-one noticed) and suggested ever-so-nicely that perhaps the systems should be modified so that people like me were not ABLE to restart processes on production boxes....?

New York Times outlays seven-figure sum for 1,900 lines of JavaScript – yes, we mean Wordle

Martin

Re: Also see also: adversarial version

Absurdle is interesting, but has one major snag - if you use the same words, you get the same answer. So it's up to you to randomise it. I normally start a new game with the word that came out of the previous one.

Martin
WTF?

Re: What have they actually bought?

I didn't fucking ask, actually, and you have now removed a few minutes of pleasure from my day, just to show off that you could. Bravely posting as AC, as well.

Are you really the sort of person who just likes spoiling things for others, just to get a little boost for yourself? Do you go up to people reading Agatha Christie on the tube and tell them who did it?

How can we recruit for the future if it takes an hour to send an email, asks Air Force AI bigwig in plea for better IT

Martin
FAIL

Re: Big Biscuits

OK - 700,000 people need a new box. Let's assume that they are paid on average $50K a year. Let's call that a thousand bucks a week.

Now, assume half an hour a day is wasted waiting for the machine to log in, to reboot, etc etc etc. That's going to be 10 hours a month, or, conservatively, about 100 hours a year. That's well over two weeks of productivity lost. That's well over two thousand dollars.

Suddenly, a $1500 box for each person seems like a bargain.

Why should I pay for that security option? Hijacking only happens to planes

Martin
Happy

Re: Ah, yes. The dreaded "fix it NOW!" call ...

I remember that earthquake. We had a large network of Sun workstations. I remember a huge thud, all the lights failed briefly, and the whole office said "WTF was that?" And about half of us had to wait for our workstations to restart.

Martin
Headmaster

Cue - prompt or signal

Queue - line of people

Hence - Cue me getting blamed...

Martin
Happy

Re: Would they ever...

Not quite like that. You've got to have a slightly convincing story.

Knock on the door.

Stranger: I'm from the local car service company. We've found an urgent problem with your car and it needs a recall, so we've decided to save you the trouble of bringing the car in by collecting it from you.

PA: Excellent customer service! Here are the keys. You'll give me a ring when it's done, right?

Stranger: Of course.

Hauliers report problems with post-Brexit customs system but HMRC insists it is 'online and working as planned'

Martin

Re: Hmm

We'll have to agree to differ here. However, I don't think you'll ever find a politician who reaches your high levels of integrity. And if you do, I suspect they'll be unelectable.

Martin

Re: Hmm

There is still a fundamental difference between a PM who is doing what they believe to be best for the country (no matter how much you don't like what they did), and someone who is a PM who is doing the job entirely for his own gratification. Just because you don't like what Blair and Starmer did, doesn't mean they lack integrity. I couldn't stand Margaret Thatcher and her governments, but again, they had integrity - they truly believed that what they did was the best thing for the country.

Blair made some dreadful mistakes - but don't forget, he couldn't go to war by himself. He had to get it through Parliament. Starmer has hardly had a chance - you can't do much except pontificate when you're in opposition. And he's not a fool - he knows that if he says "Labour will reverse Brexit" he has as much chance of winning the next election as I do.

Johnson has not a shred of integrity. He is a dishonest immoral PM, leading the worst government I can remember in all my sixty six years.

Martin

Re: Hmm

No. Boris Johnson ONLY cares about himself and his friends. Blair and Starmer actually care about what's right for the country. You might disagree with what they are doing, but they both (Iraq war notwithstanding) have more integrity in their little fingers than Boris Johnson and his cabinet.

Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes found guilty of fraud: Blood-testing machines were vapourware after all

Martin
Happy

Re: Now, if only ....

In the UK at least, just start at the top.

Yule goat's five-year flame-free streak ends ignominiously

Martin

But one thing about Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet - they actually had integrity. They truly believed that what they were doing was the right thing to do, for the good of the country. I might disagree with them (and I did, vehemently!) but she did what she did for what she believed were the right reasons.

The current lot have literally NO integrity. They are doing what is best for the Conservative Party and their rich mates. They couldn't give a fuck about the country.

BOFH: The vengeance bus is coming, and everybody's jumping. An Xmas bonus hits me…

Martin

Yes, he did. But he was meant to be old and retired in 1921 in his first novel and was still detecting in the sixties and seventies. Reference is made in one of the books to his cases in the Belgian Police in the eighteen nineties. So either he was well over a hundred at the end of his career, or, like Steve Carella, he got older at a slower rate than the rest of us.

Martin
Happy

I think the BOFH and PFY are a bit like the heroes in any long-running book series - they don't age like you or me. Steve Carella was in his early thirties in the fifties when Ed McBain's 87th Precinct started. By 2005, he was probably in his late forties. See also: the Famous Five, Roy of the Rovers, Spenser, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, the Black Widowers, etc etc etc....

Fisher Price's Bluetooth reboot of pre-school play phone has adult privacy flaw

Martin
WTF?

(And as Americans, we had guns too. I was 6 the first time I fired a gun.)

Up until then, I'd sympathised with your post. But that last line was clearly put in deliberately to wind up us Brits.

Downvote administered, with a cheery "Merry Christmas"!

Tesla disables in-car gaming feature that allowed play while MuskMobiles were in motion

Martin
Happy

Re: What is the point ?

I think the "Yes, it is boring" was referring to the experience of the passenger.

Martin
Happy

Re: Removing distraction = good

Talking of roundabouts - my aunt was once on a driving lesson, and she came up to a roundabout. "Go straight across this roundabout", said the instructor. So my aunt did - up one side, and down the other. As she bumped off the roundabout and back onto the road, the instructor said "I don't think you're quite ready for your test yet, Madam..."

Page:

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022