* Posts by Skinny

43 posts • joined 29 Jul 2008

From stage to stream: The unseen tech at the BRIT Awards 2013



I've done rigging for local theatre work before, and network cabling for offices but this is a whole new level.

Brilliant article, it covered everything I didn't realise I wanted to know, from connector types to what a CCU was etc.

More like this, and lots of beer for the people trying to keep track of what cable goes where!

Symantec trims targets as subscriptions put off payday


Re: Code

Hell No! Our Enterprise licence just expired, and have ditched it for another product entirely now. Although it was a bit of a project to remove Symantec from all the machines, a project we could have avoided if we had just renewed, we actually ended up spending about the same if not a little more for it's replacement.

ALL our staff are so happy with the performance improvements to their workstations now SAV isn't installed on them!

Helpdesk Heroes or unappreciated geeks?


A few recent ones

I don't man the help desk anymore, I managed to somehow move away from that, however I still work in IT, so I do still have to help people on occasion. Just a few simple ones that I've encountered recently..

1. Pressing more than one button at a time is difficult - Ctrl-Alt-Del? Oh man, 40 minutes to get someone to do that over the phone. After trying not to insult their intelligence for the first 30 minutes, I had to resort to the old, put a finger on this key, leave it there, now get another finger put it on this other key, whilst keeping the first on the first key type deal. They were actually very happy I went to that low level, as in their own words 'I learnt a lot - Thank You' so all was good that day.

2. Laptops that have a keypad on the keyboard - I can't type in my password / password not working, I can't type letters, I get numbers instead. Stupid laptops that think it's great to ahve a mode they can go into that make the middle of the keyboard a number pad. See #1 for the fun of getting FN + F7 key pressed together. (Actually this person could manage multiple buttons just fine, so it wasn't that bad)

3. New user, sent instructions on how to use one of those RSA password token things, where the numbers keep changing. User couldn't login, when asked what they were doing, checking the account, usual stuff, it turned out that in the instructions was an example to show how you used the token. The example had a dummy password in it to be able to show the process. The user was using the example password rather than the numbers on the token.

Those were from the last couple of weeks, another thing I've noticed is that issues come in seasons. You can go months without a particulat issue, and then suddenly it's all you encounter for a week.

Oh one the most usefule trouble shooting tools are :

1. Remote Control - Once you manage to establish a connection, it's the single best invention ever. You don't even really need to talk to the user from that point. They can't lie about whats on or missing from the screen.

2. Mute Button on the Phone - Getting Stressed? Can't insult the user directly, hit mute, have a good swear about them, calm down, carry on with the call. You really do de-stress a lot for a 5 second rant, and you can usually get on with the call in a much faster / professional manner.

MS opens up Security Essentials downloads from today


Go ahead push it out...

Personally I think they should push it out, similarly to how they pushed out IE8. Let windows update download it, but durnig install offer up a box asking if the user wants to install it.

Those that already have protection can just say no.

Those that don't and hence putting the rest of us at risk (and our mailboxes) probably aren't going to go hunting for some security software themselves, even if it is from Microsoft, but give them a big window with 'click here for some free protection' and they just might do it.

Okay that's the serious bit, now onto a minor, but real ulterior motive....

if a side effect is that Symantec and McAffee die a horrible, agonizing death, then all the better :-)

Bletchley Park earns first ever lottery grant

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I shall wear my El Reg - Enigma T-Shirt with pride today.

Blade Runner tops sci-fi movie poll


2001? God I hate that movie

I could argue about others on the list, or suggest my own etc. but really my problem is with 2001 getting any praise at all.

It's slow, drawn out, tedious, mind numbingly dull.

Lets face it, it has a scene that goes on for what 10 minutes (It feels like a lot more, so I'm assuming 10 minutes as I think my memory is exaggerating) of a space ship docking with a space station. That's at least 9 minutes 30seconds too long (I'm not going to time it, and I don't care if it was really 5 minutes or something, it was still WAY too long)

What was with the monkeys? Don't get me wrong, I quite liked HAL when it got going, but it didn't get going for bloody hours, and hours, and even then the good bit only seemed to last 30 minutes.

Pretentious, arty, 'cool' kids, go and vote for you're favourite bottled water or something.

Nortel gets the nod for enterprise networking sale

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Nortel BCM's should be allowed to die

@PushF12 - Seriously I couldn't agree more. Multiple call centers to manage, initially all on Nortel BCM's - slowly switching over to a more responsive system (Shore Tel) 2 down, 3 more to go..

Bidders 'plot Nortel break up'


Not Worth Buying

We use a lot of Nortel kit here, but we've almost completed a move to a different vendor.

The Nortel kit kind of sucked to be honest, but the cost of replacing kept us with them, then when they went into bankruptcy that was the kick up the backside the senior managers needed to give us the budget to move forward with the replacement project.

I do feel sorry for those losing their jobs, I really do, but I'm more than happy the bankruptcy happened from a selfish perspective as the new kit is much nicer to use, and they actually give us some support!

I can't imagine we're the only firm in this situation, so buying the Nortel business may not be as good a move as these companies think. The customers are already looking elsewhere anyway, they'd be better served hanging around picking up the deserters.

Acer debuts thin and light notebooks for the masses

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Acer looking good

Between myself and a few family members who all asked me to help them buy a laptop, I've surprised myself (although it probably shouldn't) that I've ended up with an Acer on each occasion.

Factoring in the 'looks' of the machines, the specification and most importantly the price point they've just been the obvious choice, whether it was a 17" gaming laptop for my brother in law (Blu - Ray Drive, 17" screen, 4Gb Ram, 250Gb HDD, NVidia dedicated graphics with dedicated memory $999) or a simple e-mail browser (Acer Aspire One) it would appear that Acer really are on the ball at the moment.

Reading some of those other articles you link to at the end, I really like the looks of their nettop (Bad word, must think of something better) so I'm guessing Acer will have a good year.

BBC mobile gets pimped


Now Show

I'm just glad to see I'm not the only one who listens to the Now Show via that podcast....

Terry Pratchett knighted for services to literature

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Oook, Oooook, Ook, Ooooooook, Ooooook, Ok, Ooookkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

* Well done Terry, much deserved, now please pass the peanuts the shows about the start...

YouTube 'poisoned baby food' hoaxer pleads guilty



@ hikaricore - It's just the same as shouting fire in a public place, which is already outside of free speech laws I think.

Speaking as a dad, I'm glad this is an offense, you have to trust that the food your buying your child is safe, and things like this which threaten to harm your child are not, and should not be condoned.

Entire class fails IT exam by submitting in Word format


Sorry Kids

OK, So I accept that the exam board had specifications for submissions, but to fail an entire school because of a teachers mistake is stupid.

If it's just 29 students, exactly how hard would it have been for them to just open them in word (I'm sure they have a copy somewhere, if not I'm sure they know someone who does) and then either print them for the examiners to check, or re-save in the correct format.

Sure they should have reprimanded the school itself, fined them maybe, given them some bad press etc. but failing to mark the students work is just picking on the kids, for a problem not of their making, they were trusting their teacher.

Happy Christmas kids, you just failed your exam because your teachers to stupid to read the specs, and we're too lazy to spend an hour undoing their mistake.

The True Confessions of an Election Official

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Great Article

Just adding to the list of people who enjoyed this article, very informative, and very well written.

A follow up would be greatly appreciated.

Ford to drive green motoring with 'leaves and vines' dashboard


I dunno

You know something, I quite like it. Ok the leaves growing on vines bit is a little silly, but the rest of the cluster looks ok to me.

A lot of dashboards these days tend to the boring, and anything new is good. Let's face it you spend more time looking at the inside of your car, than you do at the outside, and unless your flash enough (and probably have no kids to carry around) to have a high powered motor, the thrill of driving isn't going to help you out any.

I've driven one of the new Civics, now that's just a normal family sedan, has some quite nice styling to the body etc. but normal power, nothing to beat anyone from the lights etc. but the multi-level dash, with the digital speedometer is at least different, and makes you know you're in a new car. I really liked it, and I think the ford dashboard pictured here is the same kind of thing, colours everywhere, LCD's etc. Doesn't have to be too distracting from the driving, but just enough so you know it's something different and new. Give a person that feeling and they may buy the car, and with Fords (and the other US automakers) current issues, anything that helps them sell cars has to be worth a shot.

So yes the leaves on vines may be stupid, but the overall 'newness' look is welcome, although I still prefer the more starship looking dash in the new Hondas.

Merchants and punters cry foul over Verified by Visa

Black Helicopters


The first time I encountered this 'system' was when I was purchasing a Bletchly Park T-Shirt from El Reg's own Cash 'n' Carrion.

I was very dubious about the pop up, and it meant an otherwise 5 minute purchase took closer to 30 minutes, as I checked and double checked URL's and owners of IP addresses etc.

Google: The Satan Phone cometh



The interface looks slick, and some of the 3rd party apps I've read about look kinda cool.

But no Exchange sync, combined with, lets face it, an ugly, ugly phone means I'll wait for now (Not that I was going to buy one anyway, but now saying no is even easier)

Mars rover sets sights on distant crater


Brilliant Really

I hope they make it, as an example of an engineering / scientific feat going above and beyond, you can't get a better example than the rovers.

I say, let em run till they can't run any more!

I hope whoever designed those beauties have gotten some nice pay raises since they landed.

BOFH: Remote access malarkey


One other thing

I realise that you're putting the BOFH story in a frekily huge box to the side of the main stories, AND in the BOFH section at the bottom of the page, but I have to say it made it harder to find.

The huge box looks like ad advert, so I of course, didn't pay it any attention.

The stuff at the bottom is so far down the page, and below the 'do not miss' banner that I actually forgot there was stuff that far down.

Can you please also leave the article appearing in the stories list as normal? Oh who am I kidding, I'll probably get used to it, but old habits die hard you know.

Gates Halo

Most Amusing

Seriously though, the advent of easy access remote control has made the life of anyone working in IT, especially support personnel, SO much easier and less stressful.

I sometimes think back to the bad old days of having to talk a user through repairing their own monitor, when I couldn't see what they could see, and was reliant on them telling me what was going on, which seldom, if ever, seemed to bear any relation to what was actually on the screen.

Google's 'Smart Grid' idea? Get the govt to pay for it


Interview with Eric Schmidt

I heard this yesterday, it was an interview with Eric about this very thing.

I quite liked his honesty at one point in the interview when he said (and I'm going from memory so not a direct quote) "Google uses a lot of electricity, this will help bring down the cost of electricity, so in the long term this will save us money, we're not doing this to be kind, or gentle, although their by products, and welcome ones, this comes down to the bottom line"

Full story and listen again link here :


Reg readers rage at comment icon outrage

Black Helicopters

I feel deprived

Somehow I managed to miss out on the cartoon Paris icon, by the time I got in this morning it was back to the original, anyone got a copy so I can see how bad it was?

Reading through the suggestions I'll second the call for a new WTF?, Tw*t-O-Tron, Old Timers icons.

As for the new icons, some are ok, but please restore the flam, crossbones and dead vulture icons.

Helicopters because at least that hasn't changed.

iPod Touch, Nano disassemblies reveal surprises


Pity they still come with iTunes

I can't stand it, what with all it's add-on ridiculous software it installs. (Not to mention the apple updater then trying to ram Safari down your throat)

I had to install it for an aunt of mine, I never realised how lucky I was not to have to use it until then. Why does it need it's own DNS resolver? Why does it have to run it at machine startup, rather than when iTunes loads? Why (as I recently read) does it cause BSOD's?

Apple they can draw pretty pictures, but they can't code for toffee.

iGoogle personalises personal pages on other people's behalf


Pushed me away

I got 'chosen' a while back, I e-mailed, read the forums etc. to turn it off, but in the end, it made me setup a netvibes account, and that is now my home page instead of iGoogle.

The sidebar took up too much space, the rss views were overly expanded, I couldn't set the links in feeds to open in seperate tabs, only in it's weird viewer thing.

It used to all fit on one screen, now you have to scroll down two or so pages to see what you used to see on one. Netvibes after changing some of it's default settings, has solved all this for me.

The Google-isation of all the net's access points

Paris Hilton

Again with the present buying

Just skim read through the 'comic' and saw the part about it having a privacy mode, in the same vein as IE8.

They used exactly the same example, the 'buying a present for a loved one'

I thought Google was at least brave enough to call it what it is, 'porn mode'

Paris - Because I'm sure she'll get plenty of presents bought for her in Privacy mode.

Acorn alumni to toast tech pioneer's 30th anniversary



Can't find a case made specifically to pretend to be a BBC B, but you might find this interesting, where someones taken an old BBC and turned it into a PC (Seems like a waste of a perfectly good Beeb to me)


Crayola colours keyboard... you know... for kids


Not sure about the colours

But the fact it's a big buttoned keyboard 'without any speacial windows keys' is exactly what I've been looking for for my toddler.

He does like to bash on the keyboard, and somehow always manages to press the random selection of windows + letter to do stuff I didn't realise there was a shortcut key for! Kids today always think they know more than their parents, and apparently even without trying, they're right!

Let's see him do that with one of these

E-voting outfit confesses vote-dropping software bug


Is it any wonder

That so many states are trying to ditch all the e-voting machines they've bought (Some by choice, some forced) Just about every state that's had them, has decided they can't be trusted, not only from Diebold (But I have my suspicions some of the Diebold 'bugs' were deliberate, see above comment about Ohio) but from other suppliers too.

I still don't understand how a system, that simply adds up numbers can go so wrong.

I love computers, I love technology, if it's got a flashing light on it somewhere I'm usually all for it, but when it comes to something like an election, you just can't trust them, paper / pencil for me everytime (Although their not fool proof and can be rigged, they can't be rigged on such a massive scale as an e-voting system)

Beeb to resurrect Reggie Perrin


True Story

My maths teacher was Judith Hanns brother.

TW Used to be quite informative, and educational in an entertaining way, but towards the end it got more into entertainment and less into science and gadgetry.

Luckily I caught the earlier shows, and I do miss them. That along with a number of Johnny Ball shows (There was a man that could inspire a desire to do science in ANYONE!) certainly helped put me on the path I've now followed.

Flame, as everyone knows the best science involves or creates some form of fire.

Reader comments bigger legal risk than forums


So does this mean

That the Moderatrix has not only the responsibility of ensuring only the cream of the comment crop get published (which has to make you wonder what the quality of the ones that don't get passed her are like)

But she also has the responsibilty of ensuring El Reg doesn't get sued back into the stone ages? Now that's quite some whip she's wielding over her employers!

Three found guilty of web extremism plot


So the leader is called Khan?

Does he have a following of genetically enhanced super-humans?


Samsung builds phone from corn


Oh Great

Another thing to be made from Corn, don't these people read the news, apparently all this ethanol production is forcing the world to starve, plus the way corn prices are going this will be a hell of an expensive phone.

I'm not sure if that's accurate or not, but I reckon we should be making stuff out of algae, I love algae products, their so soft and huggable.

Midwife's lost diary sparks mums and baby alert


It was encrypted

Have you ever tried to read the handwriting of a healthcare professional? Eligible scrawl isn't just for the doctors you know.

The IT Crowd goes west


Nice Screen Saver

I particularly like the way the smoke seems to come out of the monitor

Is Microsoft's Silverlight evil?


It is very clear though

I've watched a few events from the nbcolympics site, politics / cross platform aside, it really is very good quality.

It puts most of the flash video streams I've watched to shame, as well as most of the Hulu streams.

Paris Hilton - the compromised candidate

Paris Hilton

Just for the icon

It's so rare to have a genuine PH story with a verifiable IT angle (Not unheard of, but rare), I'm only posting so I can use the PH icon in a legitimate manner.

IBM's Ubuntu deal favors the server


Notes Still Sucks

First I would like to say I used to administer a farm of Notes servers spread across a number of sites / countrys (Well ok 2 countrys UK & Netherlands, but that still counts), probably all told handling e-mail and such like for maybe, 2 to 3 thousand users. So not up to the 11,000 quoted above I admit.

I didn't say it didn't do it's job, I just say that it did it in the most unfriendly, difficult to administer, idiosyncratic manner I've ever had the misfortune to encounter.

The idea of seperated servers, doing all that lovely replication, not just for e-mail, but data sources (and even applications) wonderful, so I'll give you that, the replication works well, after you've configured it of course (see below).

Everything else, you can keep it, the client is bulky and slow, the usability is shitty, the end users couldn't grasp more than the basics of send / receive e-mail, ask them to use anything else and your in a sea of hurt.

The multiple gateways required to do stuff, the endless, pointless farting around in configuration databases to get what should be simple to work, sometimes of course just changing the configuration in the config databases wouldn't be enough, oh no, that would be too bloody simple, no you had to go and change some config files hidden away somewhere (and where they would be depended on the aspect you were configuring, how the server was setup, what the developer was smoking at the time when they came up with that aspect) then go and restart the whole damn thing.

I do appreciate that some of the above could be levelled at exchange and friends, but I've never encountered the same level of intense hatred that Notes has inspired in me in the past (Just mild hatred, soupled with some annoyance), when something goes wrong, put the kettle on, you're going to be there for a while.

So for those of you that have to use Notes (I will not argue that there aren't some cases where using Notes makes sense) I'm glad your happy, you've a tougher skin than me.

Ok I'm done now, please continue with your Notes compliments, I'll be in the corner having vivid flash backs and nightmares.

* Ok I just read this comment again, and my first post, so er, I did kind of hint that it didn't do it's job, when I compared it to MobileMe, which well, doesn't do it's, but I don't care, Notes still sucks.

Alien face, because he looks kind of annoyed too.


I bloody knew it

See my comment on the original 'Lotus Symphony' article...

I so called that IBM would use this to force Lotus Notes out there. Admittedly I also put that I thought I was being rhetorical and just going on an anti-notes binge, but it turns out I wasn't joking after all..

I bloody hate Lotus Notes.... Why won't it die? Hell even MobileMe is better than Lotus Notes.

Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the Ubuntu waters, along comes a bloody great white shark with bloody teeth smiling at me, damn you Lotus Notes, damn you, now open wide and bite down on this air canister whilst I fetch my gun....

IBM gets hip with 'cool' Ubuntu PC deal


Yeah but...

Lotus Symphony is just one step closer to forcing Lotus Notes on people...

Actually I know that's BS but I am scarred for life from past experiences with Notes, so anything that has to do with Lotus deserves some poorly thought out fist waving (In text form)

Notes sucks, ergo all Lotus products must also suck Q.E.D.

Bloody Notes, and it's stupid interfaces, and crappy design, I want those years of my life back damn it.

Olympic ticket scammers still going for gold


@ Dennis

I hope you used network solutions to search for those, then they won't be available for a few days at least.

Why flying cars are better than electric ones


Be Quiet

I don't care about green or not green, safe or not safe, licenses or training. Al very important stuff I'm certain, but they all miss the point.

I was promised a damn flying car when I were little by all the TV programmes around at the time, and damn it, I want my bloody flying car.

I don't care if I fly it the once, crash into some idiot (or it could be me being the idiot) and die in a firey ball of er, fire, I want my flying car.

Oh and a jet pack, and laser cannons, and a robot / monkey butler (delete according to personal taste)

Mines the one with 'my other cars stuck in orbit' on the back

Extra-heavy minicopter 'Jetpack' astounds world+dog

Black Helicopters

I know their stupid

I know their impractical, expensive and all the rest of it.

But I want one (Of the Gen H-4's), I really do. I know I won't be allowed to fly one to work, but well, I think the fine would be worth it.

That ducted fan thing looks kind of cool, but I think the extra range of the H4 that Lewis linked too would be more fun.

Swedish spy agency sics lawyers on wiretap critic


Someone was using my name for other posts, so I've changed mine

"crime against freedom of speech." ??

Surely they mean a crime FOR freedom of speech.

I always thought the swedes were supposed to be neutral in everything, asking no questions, telling no lies sort of thing, isn't that why Swedish bank accounts are so favored by those with something to hide?


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