* Posts by Marty McFly

898 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Jan 2008


You shouldn't be able to buy devices that tamper with diesel truck emissions on eBay, says DoJ

Marty McFly Silver badge

Bypass devices should not be illegal

The government created an issue where modern diesel vehicles will not run without the required emissions fluid. I believe this puts lives at risk.

Imagine an emergency situation, for example a natural disaster, Diesel fuel is available. The people in the vehicle could drive to safety. However, they are out of the government required DEF. As designed for compliance, the vehicle will not operate. Lives are lost.

This is completely irresponsible for the government. Flag a non-compliance, turn on a service engine light, fail an emissions test....but don't intentionally put people in a dangerous situation for an emissions issue.

The alternative to stopping climate change is untested carbon capture tech

Marty McFly Silver badge

It is all rubbish and the height of hubris. This planet has gone through, and will continue to go through, cycles of heating and cooling. There is not a damn thing we can do about it, and it is arrogant to think we can.

The real issue here is save the humans from their own destruction. Humans are a minor surface disorder in the scope of this planet's history. A couple strong tectonic shifts in the right spots, pop off a few super volcanos, toss in a random giant meteor, and the humans are gone. Wait an eon or two and this planet will have erased every trace of our existence. And it will heat & cool many times in the process.

Who are we to think we can control the future of this planet? We can only control our existence on it.

Meta spends $181M to get out of lease at vacant London offices

Marty McFly Silver badge
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Using badges to track attendance....

Sounds like an opportunity for a side-hustle by one of the people who prefers to come to the office every day.

Twitter, aka X, tops charts for misinformation, EU official says

Marty McFly Silver badge
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Social Media and misinformation ranking

This is like trying to rank which Bravo-Sierra smells the best. One isn't as raunchy as the next, but they all stink pretty bad.

Besides, one person's Social Media "Misinformation" is another person's Social Medial "Gospel". Who is to say which is correct? All Social Media does is create the discourse & conflict so we debate each other...and end up spending more time seeing advertisements on their platforms.

It is friggin' SOCIAL media. By definition, NONE of it is authoritative sources of information.

California governor vetoes bill requiring human drivers in robo trucks

Marty McFly Silver badge

Hold on a second....

A California governor's veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in both the State Assembly and State Senate.

AB-316 passed the Senate with a 36-2 vote, and the Assembly with a 69-4 vote (both 94%). With that kind of a majority this is a slam-dunk for a veto override. Question is, will they Senate & Assembly do it, now that this is their decision?

The only debate we should be having here is to what extreme Newsom is ignorant to the will of the people.

No, no, no! Disco joke hit bum note in the rehab center

Marty McFly Silver badge

...some clever techie trick backfire on you

Didn't backfire on me, but I saw it happen.

The resident IT geek managed to land himself a steady date with the resident office redhead. This was back in the days of cryptic Win9x error messages. So he wrote a little script, made it auto-launch, and left it on her machine. Every few minutes it would pop up some random gibberish error message. And, of course, it always came back after reboots. He proceeded to tell her to write down the errors exactly so he could properly troubleshoot them. The 50th message was something about professing his undying love for her.

Everything worked out for the best. He found more time in his schedule to code cheesy scripts, and she bestowed her ample assets on a different target of affection.

The home Wi-Fi upgrade we never asked for is coming. The one we need is not

Marty McFly Silver badge

I had a real network that I manage running on the inside of mom's ISP router. Their device saw one thing and one thing only - the WAN port on my firewall. They can go F themselves.

That was all fine and dandy until they day mom had a problem and was courteous enough not to call me for help. The ISP remotely re-enabled their crappy wifi, told her the new network to attach to, etc. The one time an ISP actually tried to be helpful. It was a 120 mile drive to her house to put everything back the way it should have been.

Oh, and the original problem was completely unrelated to the network infrastructure.

Robocall scammers sentenced in US after netting $1.2M via India-based call centers

Marty McFly Silver badge

I let the scammers in once...

Had an isolated virtual machine ready to go the day they called. Spent around 2 1/2 hours pretending to be a technical dunce. The scammers are VERY good at their social engineering. Including multiple levels of expertise. The frontline guy even did a warm transfer to the backline guy because of 'how complex my problem was'. Spoke good English, friendly & personable. I can see how non-technical people fall prey to their scam.

My Windows needed to be activated - no way I was even risking my license key there - which they promised to fix for a small extra charge. The game was up when they pressured me for a credit card and I refused. I should have had a disposable card number ready from privacy.com, see how much money they would try to take.

I encourage all techs out there to do the same. It was an enlightening experience. I used to think their victims were just stupid users who deserved their fate, but the scammers really are that good. I can see how even a cautious person can fall for their social engineering.

Starlink speeds ahead in the satellite race but rivals aren't starstruck just yet

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: Why I stopped using Starlink

Agreed, calling bravo-sierra.

My work endpoint maintains a VPN tunnel with Palo/GlobalProtect for around 72 hours before corporate policy times it out and I have to reconnect. I have a PFSense running on VMWare which maintains a single VPN connection to NordVPN, and all my privacy secured endpoints point to the PFSense LAN port for their gateway. I regularly monitor whatismyipaddress.com to verify the tunnel is up and I am not getting shuffled back to Starlink. I've also got a VPN tunnel to AWS so that I can route SMTP traffic to my local email server.

VPN works just fine on Starlink. Think about it... How stupid would it be for Starlink to block VPN traffic? That would cut off a huge amount of their potential customer base who wants to work remote & VPN back to their corporate mothership.

Someone is spreading FUD about Starlink, or simply won't admit to a underlying PEBCAK error.

Having read the room, Unity goes back to drawing board on runtime fee policy

Marty McFly Silver badge


Roll-back of everything to the previous status quo.

Then kill the product & its associated license model as-is. It will be a long tail and wind down. Nothing going away, nothing changing, but also no improvements or changes.

Launch a new product exclusively compatible with new hardware & software platforms...and conveniently a spiffy new licensing model.

37 Signals says cloud repatriation plan has already saved it $1 million

Marty McFly Silver badge

This is what the cloud 'premium' pays for...

The ability to blame someone else. That's it. All the extra money is one big get-out-of-jail-free card for the C-suite.

Britcoin or Britcon? Bank of England grilled on Digital Pound privacy concerns

Marty McFly Silver badge

It is all about control during the next Covid crisis...

"No, this 'vaccine' shot is entirely voluntary. You do not have to take it. However, for the good of the people, we are suspending your ability to do transactions in public places."

Privacy focused crypto-currency already exists today. The work is done. If the government wants privacy in financial transactions, they can do it. The fact that they are even discussing this topic tips their hand toward their agenda & goals.

Google throws California $93M to make location tracking lawsuit disappear

Marty McFly Silver badge

Account perspective

For Google... $93M fine = COGS

For California... $93M fine = extra tax revenue

Airbus takes its long, thin, plane on a ten-day test campaign

Marty McFly Silver badge

Next up...

Airbus announces ultra dense pack seating. Travelers will be shrink-wrapped to a pallet and loaded in to the cargo area. Focusing on lower costs per passenger (not "seat cost") this will be going to market as "luggage class" ticketing.

Scientists trace tiny moonquakes to Apollo 17 lander – left over from 1972

Marty McFly Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Too bad the system is no longer working

Something sensitive enough to detect thermal expansion from 100 yards away is surely sensitive enough to detect the footsteps from aliens that now inhabit the moon.

Lithium goldrush hits sleepy Oregon-Nevada border

Marty McFly Silver badge

Will never happen...

Oregon's political climate will block this for environmental reasons. The Portland politicians who run the state want everything 'green', they just don't want the environmental impact in their neighborhood. Mining is a 'bad thing'. It won't be outright blocked, just 'studied', regulated, & taxed in to oblivion.

MGM Resorts shuts down website, computer systems after 'cybersecurity incident'

Marty McFly Silver badge

Complete coincidence!

Only a month after Black Hat was held at Mandalay Bay, a MGM property. Obviously unrelated.

Lawyer's Microsoft email snafu goes from $1.75M lawsuit to Ctrl+Alt+Settle

Marty McFly Silver badge

I am afraid we are going to see more of this...

More and more businesses (especially financial orgs) are pushing the 'save a tree, get an email' agenda. With the postal service, put a first class stamp on it an it is legally 'deemed received'.

However, this does not translate to email. Hitting 'send' does not mean the email was necessarily received. I am currently fighting a false positive problem with my ISP's anti-spam technology where legitimate bills & statements are getting routed to a junk folder. This results in missed communications that potentially have financial implications. Unfortunately businesses are doing a CYA with a forced EULA absolving them of responsibility.

As I reflect on this, it is surprising to make this conclusion... For all their faults, the postal service loses far less important communication than modern electronic communications.

Microsoft Edge still forcing itself on users in Europe

Marty McFly Silver badge

The browser wars continue

Back in the day it was Internet Explorer versus Netscape. That was a race to add features with not regard for security. MSFT knew that Netscape was developing a directory service and needed to slaughter their cash cow and stop the development funding. MSFT won the war and the result is Active Directory.

Now the primary objective is different. It is an arms race to control the eyeballs of the end user. Who gets to display the advertisements, and who gets the user tracking data. MSFT wants to edge out Chrome as the dominate browser and is making every effort to use their operating system to do so.

Might as well call it "Browser Wars, The Next Generation".

IBM Software tells workers: Get back to the office three days a week

Marty McFly Silver badge
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Not all butts fit the same size chair.

WFH needs the right company culture and the right employees. When those come together there are significant advantages, generally reduced costs and improved employee satisfaction.

I have been WFH for a decade now. The company decided to close my local office and save $100k in monthly rent. I am more productive now than I ever was in the office. Dedicated work space, no kids or other interruptions. And the 90-minutes per day I spent commuting, I mistakenly thought I would get those back. The company doesn't have to pay floor space, power, HVAC, Internet or other expenses for me. I have taken on those expenses, but dropped the commuting expenses, so it all balances out.

The bottom line is it is impossible for companies to apply a blanket policy toward everyone and expect it to be the right fit in all situations. Same thing for reports from analysts like Gartner. This is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

PEBCAK problem transformed young techie into grizzled cynical sysadmin

Marty McFly Silver badge

3GB was the functional limit of what XP could address. Yeah, there were some long forgotten tweaks to make it use the full 4GB.

Of course this back in the day when a 512MB workstation was for power users. A full 4GB system would fill all the RAM slots, and that was IF the motherboard supported expensive 1GB sticks of RAM.

I do miss the days of roll-your-own computing. Built-in CPU, RAM, storage, and SOC have pretty much taken most of that away. It was fun 'reclaiming' components out of unused hardware to max out the capabilities of my production workstation. I knew exactly what top end CPUs & RAM sticks my motherboard supported, and kept a stealthy eye out for them to appear in the workplace.

There was no sense giving high-end hardware to a pointy haired boss who didn't understand the correlation between the roller-ball mouse and the cursor on the screen.

Google Chrome pushes ahead with targeted ads based on your browser history

Marty McFly Silver badge

The real problem...

I have listened to Steve Gibson's (grc.com) analysis of Topics and how it works. The technical nuts & bolts all sound good. However...

The real problem is none of us trust Google. Every thing they do is self-serving, and 'free' just means I am the product being sold. They didn't put this new framework together because they were making too much money and decided it was enough.

Sure, give the new kid and his MCSE power over the AS/400. What could possibly go wrong?

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: A bit unusual

I took it differently. It appeared to me the boss called the remote sites and had the respective receptionists at those sites make the announcement. The n00b was simply unaware of those calls because he only heard the call on the local PA system.

I'll see your data loss and raise you a security policy violation

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: To be fair...

Poking around the file system...of the finance department computers....of a large mega corp. Yeah, that is a huge no-no without permission & an escort.

Just touching a workstation which potentially contains undisclosed financial information triggers all sorts of insider trading laws.

Germany's wild boars still too radioactive to eat largely due to Cold War nuke tests

Marty McFly Silver badge

Hold the f'ing panic!

"In 88 percent of the samples, the level of radiation from cesium-137 exceeded Germany's food safety limits of 600 Bq/kg.

By how much did it exceed Germany's food safety limit? Did they hit 601, or 6,001, or worse? What is considered a base-line normal level of cesium-137?

How does Germany's food safety limit compare to the rest of the world? Japan is hyper-sensitive toward radiation limits following Fukishima and other historical events. What limits are tolerated by other developed nations?

Dare I ask how much of Germany's food supply is made up of wild swine. And if wild swine is an insignificant part of the average German's diet, what does Germany's food safety limit have to do with anything? The whole basis for this article only matters if wild swine are a significant part of a the local food supply.

This article is nothing more than an induced panic hit piece that is short on relevant data, and long on data about everything else.

NASA to outdo most Americans on internet speeds, gigabit kit heading to the ISS

Marty McFly Silver badge

True, the Starlink satellites have their radio antennas pointed earthward. However, the latest generation of Starlink satellites are doing laser communication between them to accommodate for when a ground station is not visible.

Given the ISS is just another satellite, it doesn't seem like a big stretch to me, but I am not a rocket scientist either. The orbital mechanics may be prohibitive as ISS is at ~250 miles and Starlink orbits at ~340 miles.

Apple security boss faces iPads-for-gun-permits bribery charge... again

Marty McFly Silver badge

This is the problem with "May Issue" states vs "Shall Issue" states

In a Shall Issue state, the issuing authority must issue a Concealed Carry Weapons permit if the applicant meets the requirements put forth by the legislature.

In a May Issue state, the issuing authority may or may not issue a CCW, depending on the applicant's reason for wanting one. This introduces a subjective component to the process which leads to these types of situations.

California is a May Issue state and the Sheriff is the issuing authority. Remember, the Sheriff is an elected official which runs a campaign every few years. Surely there is no correlation between campaign contributors & CCW permits in May Issue states?

Shall Issue laws solve this problem by giving the issuing authority clear cut instructions on what requirements need to be met. The majority of states have some component of Shall Issue, with only a handful of states remaining pure May Issue. The trend is toward Shall Issue and it is surprising the more progressive states have not adopted it by now.


US Air Force wants $6B to build 2,000 AI-powered drones

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: Computer says boom

WOPR (War Operation Plan Response) spends all its time thinking about WW III. We really should just cut all the men out of the loop, and keep control at the top where it belongs.

If we are lucky, hopefully the AI will learn the only winning move is not to play.

Silicon Valley billionaires secretly buy up land for new California city

Marty McFly Silver badge
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Two words

"Company Town"


And I have to comment... If it was such a great area to live, then it would have been developed already.

Europe's tough new rules for Big Tech start today. Is anyone ready?

Marty McFly Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Scary, are we blind to this?

"tackle the spread of... online disinformation and other societal risks"

The truth is what we say it is! One person's "disinformation" is another person's truth.

Did the covaids teach us nothing? Have we already forgotten? Neither Big Tech nor Big Government can be trusted, especially when they collaborate together. They will pretend this about annoying advertisments or protecting the children. The real reason is to put this law in place so they have complete control of the information agenda the next time they produce a global crisis.

Windows screensaver left broadcast techie all at sea

Marty McFly Silver badge

1996. I was installing computers at a business in the Bahamas. Computers were ordered with extra RAM, which production failed to provision. So the RAM sticks were overnighted to me...but accounting accidentally invoiced them resulting in significant duty fees. It was cheaper to keep me on-site than it was to pay the fees, so they re-shipped again with the proper zero-dollar paperwork (remember, the duty was already paid on the original computer specs - no cheating was happening). I refused the first shipment and told them to return to sender.

Did I mention how in the 1990's, International "Overnight" shipping actually took two days.... Yeah, that was four extra days in the Bahamas.

Last day on-site the UPS driver asked if I still wanted the first package, which they were supposed to return to shipper several days before. It never left his truck and he was tired of carrying it around. He handed me the package, duty free, and I hand carried it back to the office.

Concorde? Pffft. NASA wants a Mach 4 passenger jet

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: The real problem with Concorde.....

>you had to change fuel load mid-air after taking off for the fuel needed for the supersonic/high altitude flight

Uhh... No. The SR-71 used the same JP-7 on the ground, launching, and at super-sonic speed. Yes, the special KC-135Q tankers had to manage multiple fuels types as they burned JP-4.

Netflix flinging out DVDs like frisbees as night comes for legacy business

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: One advantage with DVD's

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.... Editing out guns from the theatrical cut and replacing them with walkie-talkies.

Here comes the 'Trendy-trend-woke-woke bandwagon!' Let's all jump on!

Budget satellite drag sail shows space junk how to gracefully exit orbit

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: It works only if the satellite electronics still work at the end of its mission time.

Yeah, cost-to-orbit per pound is the real money.

This would need to be mission hardened and fail-safe to prevent an un-commanded deployment. No one is going to trust a multi-million dollar satellite to $30 worth of consumer kit and hope it doesn't activate early.

Biden to bolster boondocks broadband with a billion bonus bucks (barely)

Marty McFly Silver badge


This is all explained in the first three words of the article.

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: Wrong Priorities?

I think you are spot on. 'Essential services' don't take that much bandwidth. And 4k streaming is not 'essential'. Although it will be used to sell the idea to the masses.

From the government's point of view... Being able to track & monitor everything...well that does require bandwidth. Just a wee bit of self-serving interest there.

From big tech's point of view...Ads, ads, and more ads for everybody! Dream ads take lots of bandwidth: "Leela: Didn't you have ad's in the 20th century? Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines. And movies. And at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts and written on the sky. But not in dreams. No siree!"

Lesson 1: Keep your mind on the ... why aren't the servers making any noise?

Marty McFly Silver badge
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Re: Been there done that

> "Half of the UPS in service were APC the others Eaton."

Sounds like a good way to avoid a single point of failure should one UPS vendor have a product defect. One server power supply to APC, the other to Eaton. Also means two different management consoles, which really makes it tough for the uninformed to 'accidentally' power cycle all the power inputs at once.

>"I experienced that using the incorrect serial cable on a UPS."

My opinion...That is different vendors being dicks to each other and the customer getting caught in the middle.

California DMV hits brakes on Cruise's SF driverless fleet after series of fender benders

Marty McFly Silver badge
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Re: Well forget the second accident

The fundamental problem... The world we live in is NOT digital. It is analog.

For every IFTTT logical parameter coded in to driverless vehicles, there will be some sort of an exception. There is no way to account for all possibilities & permutations using only a sensory platform to analyze & determine the proper actions.

The only way this works is centrally controlled autonomous vehicles for everyone, and removing the human element from all driver's seats. Maybe society will accept that in a couple generations, but not today.

LG's $1,000 TV-in-a-briefcase is unlikely to travel much further than the garden

Marty McFly Silver badge
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Just stay home

>Put kids in car.

>Activate in-car back-seat entertainment system

>Drive to the wilderness

>Set up briefcase TV

>Watch the same stupid mass media garbage available at home

No wonder the next generation is growing up clueless in the ways of the world.

Cruise self-driving taxi gets wheels stuck in wet cement

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: stay well away ...

Excellent information to disclose as an excuse. Now all the hackers have a vulnerability to explore & exploit.

Pack of GM Cruise robo-taxis freeze, snarl up Friday night traffic amid festival crowds

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: Johnny Cab

"How did I get here?"

"The door opened, you got in"

<Rolls eyes>

Tech CEO admits role in tricking Qualcomm into $150M takeover

Marty McFly Silver badge

This long??

Crime occurred in 2015. Indictment in 2022.

Are the feds really that far behind in their fraud analysis of big-ticket corporate transactions? Or did someone tip them off several years after the crime?

If this all started from a tip, it it makes me wonder how many other similar crimes are going unnoticed.

Judge denies HP's plea to throw out all-in-one printer lockdown lawsuit

Marty McFly Silver badge
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Re: Why are they even fighting this?

Did you see how they settled the last one for $1.35M? That is a mouse fart compared to the revenue they make conning people in to buying unnecessary ink cartridges.

Lock-in to legacy code is a thing. Being locked in by legacy code is another thing entirely

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: So much fail...

Crash bars on doors? "Emergency exit only, alarm will sound"

I totally get security. However, if the value of the asset is such that the building needs to hard locked to prevent exit, then the valuation should require on-site security staff present 24x7.

US Supreme Court allows 'ghost guns' to fall under federal purview

Marty McFly Silver badge

Lots of fear in this article

This article states "Ghost guns are unserialized, privately made firearms often produced with a 3D printer."

While it has been demonstrated it is academically possible to create a functioning firearm with a 3D printer, they are not safe nor reliable to use with the smallest of rounds and lightest of chamber pressures. Someone with a 3D printer isn't going to suddenly become a firearms manufacturer. A machinist with a high-end CNC machine, however, is a different from 3D printing. Even an old-school non-computerized machinist could produce the parts required with some time & skill.

- Requiring gun components like frames and receivers to be stamped with a serial number

- Requiring gun dealers to add serial numbers to 3D printed gun parts once taken into inventory

- Requiring gun retailers to retain sale records for the entire time they're licensed to sell firearms,

These laws are already in place. No gun dealer or manufacturer is going to touch guns without serial numbers. That will get them a visit to Club Fed for an extended stay.

Requiring a background check before selling someone parts necessary to make a gun

That is the real issue here. 80% lowers are partially finished receivers that a person can complete on their own by finishing the machine work. Unfinished they are just a hunk of metal. At what point does that hunk of metal become a firearm and require a serial number?

Look it up, here is a 20% finished lower receiver for an AR-15. Should this require a serial number? https://www.80percentarms.com/products/20-lower-blank-ar-15-lower-receiver-forging/

How about a 0% finished lower? https://www.80percentarms.com/products/0-billet-ar-15-lower-receiver/

Salesforce to face court over claims it knowingly assisted sex trafficking website

Marty McFly Silver badge

Can't have it both ways!

January 11, 2021...Trump leaving office..."Salesforce has “taken action” to stop the Republication National Committee (RNC) from sending emails that could incite violence, though the company won’t say what that action is. "

In the situation reported here, they ignored / permitted / didn't care about SFDC being used for sex trafficking.

Sending emails that "could" incite violence, oooh yeah that is bad. We need to shut them down immediately and without due process!! Procuring or trading in human beings for the purpose of prostitution or other sex work....meh, that's okay.

SFDC does not get to pick & choose which customer's business practices they object to. Either they consistently take the high-road everywhere, or they don't do it at all.

Tesla hackers turn to voltage glitching to unlock paywalled features

Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: Not persistent, so not a problem

I get your point about being a complete waste. However, we are not privy to the math behind the decision. In some cases, like heated seats, it may be cheaper to produce all seats and associated wiring to support the feature. Versus maintaining separate supply lines, inventory, shipping, etc for heated & unheated seats. A lot of those expenses continue to grow over the supported lifetime of the vehicle (ie: keeping warranty spares on-hand).

It would be interesting to see how the math pencils out.

Google launches $99 a night Hotel Mountain View for hybrid workers

Marty McFly Silver badge

Supporting data??

This is the poster-child company for both overt and covert tracking analytics. Surely Google has data showing productivity levels of remote vs. on-site workers. I didn't see any reference to productivity metrics in the article.

I might be a touch cynical here... If Google has hard data showing greater productivity on-site, I expect they would be shouting it loudly. The absence of that data suggests either the data does not exist, or the data exists but does not support their return-to-office narrative. I am betting the latter is accurate.


Marty McFly Silver badge

Re: Fond memories

They taught me basic troubleshooting skills. Especially when coupled with the pirated software of the day. A stack of generic 5.25 floppy disks that where hastily copied from a buddy over lunch hour. No clue what they were or what they did. But they were games and they were cool. Everything had to be figured out. No documentation, no Internet videos, the word 'wiki' wasn't even invented yet.

Simpler times. Cheers!

How to get a computer get stuck in a lift? Ask an 'illegal engineer'

Marty McFly Silver badge

We built out a data center that needed 80t of air conditioning. The pointy-haired boss smartly ordered 2x 50t units to be installed for plenty of reserve capacity.

Everything was little birdies flying over the rainbow leading up to the install... Until one of the techies asked the question, "So where do we get the extra 30t of AC when one of the units is off-line for maintenance?"

That caused a minor (ahem) 50% budget overrun as a 3rd unit was hastily added to the plan.