* Posts by Bruce Ordway

375 posts • joined 22 Apr 2007


Exsparko-destructus! What happens when wand waving meets extremely poor wiring

Bruce Ordway

Reversed polarity

After powering up a test system I heard an awful humming, shut everything down before any damage.

Turns out that all extension cord reels in the shop had been installed with reversed polarity.

I stuck with wall outlets from that point without any problems.

I also notified the building manager but I'm not sure they were rewired (or if he understood what the problem was).

UK celebrates 25 years of wasteful, 'underperforming' government IT projects

Bruce Ordway

Re: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree

You could also replace the first 3 words with "Enterprise IT projects".

I don't know about others but I personally have not seen an IT project that has actually lived up to its expectations, where people felt like it was really worth the trouble.

Best results, systems with minor disruptions, worst... barely functional.

But, landscapes are changing so fast, companies are damned whether they do/don't take on these projects.

Troll jailed for 5 years after swatting of Twitter handle owner ends in death

Bruce Ordway

System failure?

A LOT of teenagers have been reckless in the past (myself included)

but... today it seems like tech has unleashed those bent on unscrupulous behavior?

Wonder how/when systems will catch up?

The lights go off, broadband drops out, the TV freezes … and nobody knows why (spooky music)

Bruce Ordway

Re: Supply pipe location

Slightly different - where my house was built in the 1920s and it is waaay back on the lot.

The city was replacing gas lines recently and first they used a tool to check/measure the existing pipe. Unfortunately their tool had a limited reach, designed for modern homes located nearer the front of the lot. They finally ended up estimating from the location of the meter.

Luckily it doesn't interact with my cable (at least I don't think it does).

Report: 83% of UK software engineers suffer burnout, COVID-19 made it worse

Bruce Ordway

problem is we are repeating over and over again ...can't wait for retirement

>> I used to get such a kick out of my job.

Yes, seems like most of my time is spent reworking old "stuff" because of system upgrades.

Sure, it is nice to have some work/income but... it can get pretty boring too.

This always-on culture we're in is awful. How do we stop it? Oh, sorry, hold on – just had another notification

Bruce Ordway

Re: Not office hours? No contact

>> I do no always remember to take a phone

Just send me an email - clearly stating the task/issue.

I always respond, usually under 4 hours, evenings and weekends (but never mornings).

I keep my overhead and rates low - so companies are happy to accept my schedule.

Or if they aren't, I really don't want to work with them anyway.

Developing for Windows 11: Like developing for Windows 10, but with rounded corners?

Bruce Ordway

Windows 11?

If I remember the Windows 10 launch correctly, it was announced as the "last" version forever?

Now we have a better idea of how MS defines "forever".

I'd be happy to see the version where MS finally cleans out some of the schizophrenia.

Some consistency in the areas of computer admin, settings, etc... would go a long way in winning back some of my original affection for Windows.

(Which I lost at Windows 8 and have not found since).

‘What are the odds someone will find and exploit this?’ Nice one — you just released an insecure app

Bruce Ordway

why would anyone want to hack us

Since there is an (almost) infinite number of monkeys are out there hitting keys.

The question should probably be "how bad will it be after I've been hacked"?

Windows 11: Meet the new OS, same as the old OS (or close enough)

Bruce Ordway

Re: What is an OS for?

Same as our friendly GOM...I'm gonna pass on W11 (like W10)

>> compared to Windows 7.... Windows 10 has won hearts


>> 8, let alone Vista

OK, I'll concede that I'd use Win 10 before those two

Excuse me, what just happened? Resilience is tough when your failure is due to a 'sequence of events that was almost impossible to foresee'

Bruce Ordway

Re: When it comes to imagining failure modes…

>>Murphy has a better imagination than you

This remind me of an upgrade where (I believed) I had every potential for failure fully accounted for.

I swapped out an HP K400 with an L1000 over the weekend.

Sunday afternoon... congratulations all around.

Monday morning.... chaos, no file access for users.

I quickly discovered that a power supply for an unrelated file server had failed early AM.

Even though a coincidence... this and any other issue was blamed on that weekend upgrade for several days.

Lesson learned... I now avoid making public announcement of IT upgrades/projects.

So that I'm more likely to get credit for "the fixing" rather than "the breaking".

Whoop! Robot/human high-fives all round! Oh, my fingers have disintegrated

Bruce Ordway

Re: We're the grumpy old men of IT

>>Shopping for books used to be a.... sociological expedition

Yes... once upon a time,

I used to go to the library every Saturday so I'd have a fresh stack of books at home. For good measure, on the way back home I'd also check out the used bookstore by the university. I gave up the habit sometime in the 90's and reclaimed quite a bit of living space when I donated (almost) all my books. The way I get/store reading materials today may be more efficient but not very many "fond memories" generated along the way now.

How much would you pay me to develop a COVID tracking app that actually works? Ah, thought so: nothing

Bruce Ordway

Ursula Le Guin

Good stuff

Lessons have not been learned: Microsoft's Modern Comments leave users reaching for the rollback button

Bruce Ordway

Re: "Modern Commenting"

Larry...."IT is more fashion driven than ladies' fashion"

Too late for me to be quoted I guess. (I was talking about this just the other day).

China all but bans cryptocurrencies

Bruce Ordway

Re: Self Interest, Public Interest

Cryptocurrency is one of those things that sounds good (to me) in theory but...

none of the current implementations seem like they are ready for "primetime".

Too erratic for me to gamble and when I read about the energy being consumed... ugh!

Cloudflare launches campaign to ‘end the madness’ of CAPTCHAs

Bruce Ordway

Re: Hardware dongles?

>>>That happens to me periodically, but I'm on a VPN

Apparently Google doesn't like my VPN anymore.

the last few months, whenever I try to use Google search I'm confronted with multiple image selection challenges. What irritates me is that there doesn't appear to be no rhyme or reason to the number of challenges I must complete before I'm allowed to proceed to my search results.

(On average must deal with 10 challenges... talk about madness)?

So... I've set my default search provider to DuckDuckGo.

Occasionally I still want to run a search thru Google and just deal with the related annoyance.

At least picture challenges work eventually whereas text based captchas never seem to end (for me, my VPN)

Compsci boffin publishes proof-of-concept code for 54-year-old zero-day in Universal Turing Machine

Bruce Ordway

nothing is totally secure

I sometimes think insecurity is just part of our nature, on an emotional level.

I trust myself so... why shouldn't I be granted full access?

"Other" people though, yeah probably need some rules for "them".

The swift in-person response is part of the service (and nothing to do with the thing I broke while trying to help you)

Bruce Ordway

Wonder where these addresses are coming from?

Took a couple of days once to figure out why a site had started seeing random user problems.

Finally tracked it down to a rogue DHCP server that had been enabled on that switch.

Oops.. it was the spare switch I had grabbed from the equipment room earlier in the week when I needed a few extra network connections at my test bench.

Now before installing any gear that has been "lying around", I ALWAYS reset to factory default and configure as needed

Nobody realized I had been the cause, were just happy it was resolved.

You want a reboot? I'll give you a reboot! Happy now?

Bruce Ordway


Yes, I stopped the wrong database once.

Only about 5 minutes to recover but...

I have never forgotten the noise wave as it swept through the building in my direction.

Since then, I check my screens multiple times before I commit any entries.

Home office setup with built-in boiling water tap for tea and coffee without getting up is a monument to deskcess

Bruce Ordway

Another desk option?

In addition to being kind of lazy and not liking exercise, I have worked remotely in front of a PC for years.

Not exactly obese but would definitely like to look a little more trim/fit.. without having to change or put in any extra effort.

This reminds me of "inverse" exercise machine.... one of my fantasies.

Where I could sit/lie down and the system would cycle thru a set of mechanical motions.

This in turn could move specific parts of my body... while I could offer some resistance but otherwise be perform my "work".

Next... I'd just need to figure out a way to boost heart rate?

To have one floppy failure is unlucky. To have 20 implies evil magic or a very silly user

Bruce Ordway

Re: I've done the same thing

>>Pick Operating System

Pick! This brings back memories...green screens, HPUX, etc...

Microsoft drops 64-bit OneDrive into the pool: Windows on ARM fans need not apply. As usual

Bruce Ordway

Re: It really does not need to be 64bit

>> people failing to understand 64bit apps are actually for

At one site with a "mission critical" driver, currently 32 bit.

User often request application upgrades to 64 bit.

The matter is dropped after they learn the price of the new 64 bit version of the driver.

It has always been interesting to hear peoples ideas about what 64 bit is, why they need it.

Prince Philip, inadvertent father of the Computer Misuse Act, dies aged 99

Bruce Ordway

Re: Bad greek

>>Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Rio Grande River.

Hmm, in my elementary school they were the Rio Grande and the Sierra Nevadas, but spanish lessons were mandatory back in the 60's.

Now I only vaguely remember how I might look for a dog.

Eman, Eman, como esta Eman....

SpaceX's Starlink: Overhyped and underpowered to meet broadband needs of Rural America, say analysts

Bruce Ordway

Re: Current user here

>> people can't imagine the lack of quality internet options available in much of the US.

Yeah, wish there were on a federal agenda. Makes me almost want to bring back Ma Bell. Sure they were tyrants but... they got a lot of stuff done.

Satellites, space debris may have already brightened night skies 10% globally – and it's going to get worse

Bruce Ordway

Re: It doesn't actually get dark here.

>>The clearest skies I have ever seen... too cold.

Northern Minnesota for me ( I'm sure it does not get as cold at what Eclectic Man saw but still... )

Now I have to go pretty far north to really see much these days,

Around Minneapolis I can only see a handful regardless of time of night.

On a related note, I have often wondered if there is a practical way to add sensors to the types of lighting systems used by cities? Where n individual light would be able to quickly/efficiently fire up and power down as a person/object approaches and recedes?

A borked bit of code sent the Hubble Space Telescope into safe mode, revealing a bunch of other glitches

Bruce Ordway

For some perspective

In the late 80's I worked briefly at Perkin-Elmer in Minneapolis.

A long commute for me but, it was one of the "cooler" places where I spent any time. They were building a lot of "neat stuff" (I thought), including some of the Hubble components.

Last I heard Perkin-Elmer has become "a shadow of it's former self"

Too bad if that's true.

A word to the Wyse: Smoking cigars in the office is very bad for you... and your monitor

Bruce Ordway

Wyse terminals and foot-long cigars

This brings back memories.

Instead of IT, I actually started out in engineering where everyone smoked. We all worked in one big room filled with drafting tables and old steel desks on the left. After lunch you could always count on the thick, low hanging cloud of smoke building up. I switched from cigarettes to cigars when I decided I was going to quit smoking... it actually worked for me.

The thing I remember about Wyse terminals is that it was common for them to lose their configurations. Either due to power loss or users accidentally entering certain sequences. Once I started tinkering with the tech, I was hooked and have never looked back.

Seagate UK customer stung by VAT on replacement drive shipped via the Netherlands

Bruce Ordway

Brexit really was...

".... a yes/no question referendum about something so complex"

What always seemed even crazier to me was that it only took a simple majority?

Here in the USA, every once in a while I've heard that some percentage of the inhabitants want their sate to break from the union. I'm pretty sure nothing like that will ever be put to a similar vote but... the past few years have reminded me that I should never to say "never"

Big Tech workers prefer 3 days at home, 2 in the office. We ask Reg readers: What's your home-office balance?

Bruce Ordway

How about

I have only worked onsite a handful of times over the last 10 years.

Even when some physical access is needed, then I can usually just walk someone thru the steps.

I'm already past retirement age so can only wonder. how "everything remote" will change people and society in the future.

Up until lately I've believed the more a people socialize, the better the outlook for us as a whole.

Now... not so sure.

How do we combat mass global misinformation? How about making the internet a little harder to use

Bruce Ordway

Re: That's the sort of thing

I was onsite IT support back in the 90's just as people were discovering the internet.

So... in addition to be asked to fix A LOT of home PC's, I also fielded questions about what had been read on the internet and if it was true.

My go to site back then was the Snopes site, and I still rely on it today for my personal sanity.

e.g. quick search of Snopes for Covid testing...


To plug gap left by CentOS, Red Hat amends RHEL dev subscription to allow up to 16 systems in production

Bruce Ordway

The trust is gone and it's not coming back.

I don't remember ever trusting Red Hat.

Back to the office with you: 'Perhaps 5 days is too much family time' – Workday CEO

Bruce Ordway

Re: I'd have to disagree...


Me too... sort of.

I have also been working remotely for about 10 years, and for the most part things go pretty smoothly for routine operations. Simple email for assigning tasks and reporting hours worked.

However, I think it can be harder when kicking off new/collaborative projects remotely.

Especially where some members of the team are more used to being spontaneous and improvising while onsite. I know I have wasted plenty of hours on remote projects, mostly due to specs being just a little vague or ambiguous.

>>some people who need the social element

Yeah... while I'm a fan of remote work, can't forget to address this part.

That's it. It's over. It's really over. From today, Adobe Flash Player no longer works. We're free. We can just leave

Bruce Ordway

Faint memories

I still remember seeing my first demo of Macromedia Director.

Along with Fractal Design Painter, it became a favorite of mine.

Later, when Flash became available I did spend a good about of time learning the basics

However, I lost my appetite for working Flash pretty quickly.

I can't remember today, exactly why I didn't like using it.

It wasn't too long that I also started looking for ways to actively block Flash from running on my systems.

The reasons for this are fresher in my memory, security issues but mostly just didn't like the way so many web sites with Flash were slow and trashy.

Oh well, at least my love for Painter has survived the test of time.

(now from Corel instead of Fractal Design).

PhotoShop? Pft.. you're kidding right?

Now that I think about it, there's not much from Adobe that I really care for anymore.

Failed insurrection aside, Biden is going to be president in two weeks. What does it mean for tech policy?

Bruce Ordway

Section 230...the real issue

>> fake news, misinformation, and offensive content

Yes, I have mixed feelings about this.

When I was a kid, people with "fringe" might have a small storefront and pass out pamplets on a corner.

Now everyone has the ability to publish anything, and with instant, international exposure.

Luckily, for all of us it's not against the law to be an asshole...yet.

I'm all for freedom... of speech, to be an idiot if you want, etc...

But there sure seem to be a lot more individuals going beyond the reasonable lines all the time... and that look to ruin things for all of us in the future?

I'm not sure how the government can ever handle individuals who lie, incite, etc... without some changes to the protections to the enterprises that provide the publishing platforms?

What can the 1944 OSS manual teach us before we all return to sabotage the office?

Bruce Ordway

Section 12 General Devices for Lowering Morale and Crating Confusion... nice

a.) Give lengthy and...

b.) Report imaginary...

c.) Act Stupid.

d.) Be as irritable...

e.) Misunderstand all...

Hmmmnn..... these remind me of so many.

Windows might have frozen – but at least my feet are toasty

Bruce Ordway

Re: Always expect th unexpected from users

>> why people think it’s ok to cover things like fans or vent holes.

Not computer related, just reminded me of a "e" vent from the past.

My friend was remodeling his house (100 years, very old for this part of the US).

Everything was fine until winter came.

Whenever the heat kicked on, the whole house felt like it was shaking apart.

I finally noticed he'd covered a vent in the living room with new flooring.

Turned out that old vent was actually the source of the intake air for the old heater (not to code).

After ripping a square thru that new flooring and returning the old vent cover, no more shaking.

Eventually, when that old heater had to be replaced, a proper intake vent was put in place.

Search history can calculate better credit ratings than pay slips, says International Monetary Fund

Bruce Ordway


>>alternative data sources are often superior than traditional credit assessment methods

I don't think that is saying much.

30 years ago I took out my one and only loan, to buy a new truck.

Even though I had a steady job, owned a house and had plenty of money on hand, it was difficult to get that loan, due to no lending history.

I realize credit may be necessary but... I prefer to accumulate funds and pay as I go.

I believe credit rating is overrated and I'm not a big fan of credit anyway.

Here in the US, I have the feeling people are trained from an early age that going into debt is a good thing.

This product is terrible. Can you deliver it in 20 years’ time when it becomes popular?

Bruce Ordway


On the flip side, it seems like anything I REALLY like will be discontinued.

e.g. GE Saf-T-Gard floodlights with the built in light sensors, Star Gate Universe, etc...

AWS is fed up with tech that wasn’t built for clouds because it has a big 'blast radius' when things go awry

Bruce Ordway

“Software you don’t own in your infrastructure is a risk,” DeSantis said,

No shit?

Not sunshine, moonlight or good times – blame it on the buggy

Bruce Ordway

Re: The First Law Of Computing

>> but to really...

..at record speeds

Panic in the mailroom: The perils of an operating system too smart for its own good

Bruce Ordway

Bomb threat?

>>We received a bomb threat in the data centre a few weeks later.

Ahh... no doubt it would be a bomb threat in 1973.

The times were so much more innocent?

Instead of today where you might have expected conspiracy theories and at least one local militia planning your kidnapping?

How the tables have turned: Bloke says he trained facial recognition algorithm to identify police officers

Bruce Ordway

Re: AI face recognition of cops

those drivers more likely to be wearing facemasks now too?

After Trump, Congress, Supreme Court Justice hit out at tech giants' legal immunity, now FCC boss wants to stick his oar in, too

Bruce Ordway

Pai...one of the first replacements?

Coincidentally, I was wondering about this recently. In Pai is in fact replaced soon, who are the likely candidates? In one of my more vivid fantasies, I imagined Richard Stallman heading up the FCC. Wouldn't that be fun (I think)?

Selling hardware on a pay-per-use or subscription model is a 'lie' created by marketing bods

Bruce Ordway

Re: Depends?

>>But I think that's the point: what's the company supposed when the employee leaves

Yes, this is what I have been seeing.. more than companies getting rid of people.

Where ( I think ) personnel just tend to move on - especially SMB's.

Right off the top of my head I know of several sites where either IT personnel has voluntarily moved on and/or senior management/company ownership has changed.

i.e. normal evolution that is leading to vulnerability... and it's low on their awareness scale.

Bruce Ordway


I personally hate "as a service" but... I have recommended it.... to some sites.

These are smaller outfits that (often don't even know they ) struggle to maintain a capable workforce to run their current IT systems.

e.g. site running that 15 year old ERP system and they only have one (usually old) employee who has any idea what to do if anything goes wrong.

So my advice to those outfits is that the next time they think about an upgrade.... also look at "as a service" options.

This is purely from a disaster recovery angle other than anything else.

A decades-old lesson on not inserting Excel where it doesn't belong

Bruce Ordway

Re: beancounters were checking lists of Office licenses against users and...

>> implement in ACCESS

Now that you mention it, I also like/use Access.

Again, as a personal tool, not so much when shared with other users. ( And I prefer 2003 before MS started deprecating some of nicer features, added the ribbon, etc... ).

Where I like Excel for handling numbers & math for accounting and Access for quick and dirty data queries, manipulation.

These days when users need a database they can share in the workplace, I've been steering them towards MS SQL Express and in some cases even VS Community. So far..so good.

Bruce Ordway

beancounters were checking lists of Office licenses against users and...


This has happened to me on several occasions, numerous license types MS Office but Dynamics, tools, etc...

At least I (usually) don't have to dig around too much before I find the point of failure.

As for Excel, a LOT of people REALLY love it. Sometimes I think that is the only application people really know how to use. I really do like it as a personal tool but anything beyond that.... not so much.

One of my pet peeves with Excel is surprises from copy/paste. I've been bitten more than once when Excel "guessed" on a data type and changed a few values along the way.

Help! My printer won't print no matter how much I shout at it!

Bruce Ordway

Just the opposite

>> solved a silly problem, but spared the user from office-wide embarrassment

I worked with a guy who would do just the opposite of this.

This person was very creative in the ways he could make printers (and just about anything else) fail.

He would then take much joy in exposing the next user (victim) to as much scrutiny as possible.

No one was off limits and surprisingly everyone enjoyed his shenanigans.

Microsoft leaks 6.5TB in Bing search data via unsecured Elastic server. *Insert 'Wow... that much?' joke here*

Bruce Ordway

Tor... Google is pretty hostile in terms of "anti-robot" tests.

Yes....Google search also routinely objects to my use of a VPN.

The anti-robot testing seems very erratic too. Sometimes the challenge may be matching 3 images and the next time it could take 20 image matches before a successful "Verify".

Due to this, I also use DuckDuckGo occasionally. In general I'm not a big fan of their search results or the connection to Bing.

Is today's AI yesterday's software routines with better PR? We argued over it, you voted on it. And the winner is...

Bruce Ordway

every person is

>>at least intermittently not "intelligent"

Yes but rather than lapses or mistakes, I'm more interested in decision making that is based on things like humor, creativity, boredom, etc...

When I played chess, sometimes I'd choose one move over another simply because it looked more "interesting" or appropriate for the current setting, opponent.

A computer may already exist that can do this but I haven't personally seen one.

IBM repays millions to staff after messing up its own payroll

Bruce Ordway

Re: Incompetence or Evil

Reminds me of a theory called Inverse Incompetence.

I first heard of this at a site in the 90's used to understand the retention of some managers. It explained that people with bad enough plans who can execute them poorly enough may end up achieving something unintended, even beneficial. Superiors, not (never) familiar with details end up basing opinions of the individuals competence and effectiveness on misleading results.



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