* Posts by Admiral Grace Hopper

776 posts • joined 7 Oct 2008


IBM job ad calls for 12 years’ experience with Kubernetes – which is six years old

Admiral Grace Hopper

Human Remains

We've been joking about this since the '80s. It may have been going on before that, but at that point computing was something I did for pleasure rather than financial reward so I wouldn't have noticed.No matter when a technology was announced, as soon as a job advert went out for it the starting point was always 5 years. It was ever thus and always will be. HR aren't actually people and you can't expect them to behave like people.

The reluctant log trawler: The buck stops with the back-end

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: From the "if you have to ask" files ...

If @Jake had to deal with HMRC he'd be having a bad day. I guess he's got his plate full with the IRS.

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: Switching on the "monitor stand"

I always put it down to our user base at the time being used to having a terminal and a keyboard on their desk while the processing was done in a building somewhere "over there" in an air-conditioned room filled with magical boxes, spinning tape reels and the happy band of skilled acolytes servicing their every need. I could understand the assumption that all the user had to do was switch on the screen, log in and start typing. That understanding faded and lapsed into frustration by the time we got to Windows 3.11 and folk really should have started to get it without me reaching for the Clue Hammer.

Admiral Grace Hopper

Switching on the "monitor stand"

I'm sure I'm not the only one here old enough to have had to beat into users' heads the idea that the computer was the beige box with lights and slots and not the screen that was sat on top of it.

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: pop corn time !

Has he ever been seen in the same room as Steve Bong? Enquiring minds need to know.

Admiral Grace Hopper

Could be worse

At least nobody has tried to sell the current government a bridge. Oh, hold on ...

Finally, a wafer-thin server... Only a tiny little thin one. Oh all right. Just the one...

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: "cartoons depicting lazy American workers"

It was a few months after we were sold to a Big American Corporation that I saw a picture of Pearl Harbour used as wallpaper on a colleague's PC. When asked why, I was told that it reminded him of his current project, which largely consisted of Yanks running round putting out fires and scooping up the dead and injured having actively ignored all warnings for several months.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: Alternatives are good.

I was young and still drinking. We were at the right end of a particularly good bottle of wine at the time and I was in a forgiving mood, for the short term anyway. The chillis on the shared pizza were for me, so his picking them off was his way of sharing, I guess.

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: Alternatives are good.

"Or anything else for that matter"

I'm now flashing back to the evening with the boyfriend who picked the chillis off his pizza then neglected to wash his hands before demonstrating that he knew the location of my clitoris.

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

Admiral Grace Hopper

Also works the other way round

My desk phone number was one digit away from that of the Swallow Hotel, Leeds. There were some very tedious mornings as a result of that.

Sure is wild that Apple, Google app store monopolies are way worse than what Windows got up to, sniffs Microsoft prez

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: @Iglethal - Damage the hard drive?

Au contraire, Apple kit makes an excellent platform for many a Linux distro.

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: Microsoft are much more evil

The AC has a very good point. My home machines are all Linux, MacOS and iOS ever since Vista showed me how Microsoft actually hated me, but work insists that I use Win10 and it’s a perfectly reasonable OS, in the corporate non-slurping version, anyway.

PC printer problems and enraged execs: When the answer to 'Hand over that floppy disk' is 'No'

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: "I'm the IT director for ..."

A Large Government Department doesn't get to pick and choose its customers. That's why they aren't customers. Service has to be delivered to all, no matter how much of a custard they might be. We were a third party supplier so we had to play the same game. If the Department were so minded I am sure that they could have made this person's life uncomfortably complicated, but that, fortunately for this guy, was not how they rolled.

Admiral Grace Hopper

"I'm the IT director for ..."

I was immensely proud of a junior member of my team when we were third line support for an early web application for a Large Government Department. Things that reached us had been through two lines of support and were deemed to be Technical Issues, rather than user or process problems.

I could hear his side of the conversation going circular with the punter obviously losing it from the sounds like Dick Dastardly's boss in Stop That Pigeon that leaked out of his headset. This young lad kept his calm, was clear and direct and gave simple, good instructions until I heard him say, "Well, I'm surprised that you can't configure a printer then". The call ended fairly quickly and he turned to me and told me there was a complaint on the way. I was surprised, but sure that he'd done the right thing.

When I and three layers of management listened back to the call (recorded for training purposes) we heard our man calmly trying to guide an increasingly irate and frankly stupid man through the process of printing from the browser. He took him to the point where the problem was local to his machine and went the extra mile to fix his local setup. Having got to the point where there was nothing left that it could be apart from the printer itself, which was so far beyond our remit we couldn't see it from where we were standing, matey on the other end explodes in foul mouthed fury and shouts that he is the IT director for [NATIONAL NEWSPAPER] and that he will be shouting at the minister personally.

Our young hero was exonerated and bought beers, by me and others, at the next available opportunity.

Printers are the Devil's work, but the General F*cking Public is far, far worse.

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: Memories

A memory upgrade was usually the next purchase after spending £59 (1995 pounds, at that) on the upgrade CD-ROM. 4MB to 8MB led to usability, going to 16MB was expensive but felt smoother and racier than silk knickers.

If Daddy doesn't want me to touch the buttons, why did they make them so colourful?

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: Press the button Max ...

After six months in a hotel in Basingstoke on a project that started as a Death March and got worse, I'd have pressed that button.

Admiral Grace Hopper
Thumb Up

Re: But I didn't touch nuthin!

[0] is an excellent question.

I believe the last time was during a heated discussion with Human Remains when an agitated colleague informed the HR droid that if they said, "reach out", once more that they would reach out and give them a "touching point" that would probably raise a weal.

Admiral Grace Hopper

The magically levitating disc pack

If only the designers of the ICL EDS 60 had adopted this approach. More than one errant finger, elbow or buttock caused an inadvertently airborne disc pack.

The UK's favourite lockdown cheese is Big and Red but doesn't require a stinking great audit after consumption

Admiral Grace Hopper

Something smells

I've supported systems that stank like Maroilles.

Rather like durian fruit, the sublime flavour of Maroilles can only be enjoyed by those who can endure the proximity of something that smells so strongly. For those who can't quite get near to the cheese itself, a tarte au Maroilles is a less hard core way to enjoy this delicious cheese.

NASA renames dark-energy telescope after its first Chief of Astronomy and Mother of Hubble: Nancy Grace Roman

Admiral Grace Hopper

A worthy tribute

It's good to see her name put on a thing that directly continues her work.

Doors closed by COVID-19, Brit retro tech museums need your help

Admiral Grace Hopper

The road not taken

If I'd got the job I interviewed for with Tarmac back in the '80s I'd have worked on the ICL 2966 they've got there. I'll send them a contribution on payday.

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?

Admiral Grace Hopper

A frequent error

We've all been there, we'd be lying to say that we haven't.

'We're changing shift, and no one can log on!' It was at this moment our hero knew server-lugging chap had screwed up

Admiral Grace Hopper

Cut the blue wire

I'd like to say that I have never pulled the wrong LAN cable due to inattention/brain fade/last night's refreshment taking toll this morning, but I would be lying.

De-racking the wrong server is quite impressive though. Chapeau!

Data centre reveals it modeled interiors on The Hunt for Red October sets

Admiral Grace Hopper


"Right, so the look we're going for is 'hollowed out volcano'. I want the server racks over there, the perimeter monorail is going there, the wall-mounted armoury over there, we can have the stone-walled confinement cells over there and I'd like a narrow bridge with no handrails over a shark pool here, leading to a podium with a big desk, large enough to sit behind stroking a white cat. For the general feel, think stainless steel, natural rock and I need a siren system. That's architecture sorted out, now to design the boilersuits for the men and the minidresses for the women. Busy, busy, busy!"

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: And what about the people ...

I tend to use B12 2JP. Tiswas FTW.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: Experienced tester.

We used to treasure our colleague Gordon who was born to be a UAT specialist. Our software would pass unit testing and integration testing, then we'd give it to Gordon. It was only a matter of time before he'd wander round to our desk.

"If I select this, then this and press this, is does that. Is that right".

"Why would you even try to do that?".

"Because the software lets me".

A perfectly reasonable response. He always found things to do that none of us could imagine. I loved him and I loved his work. Once Gordon couldn't break it, it was ready for the great unwashed.

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: the picture in the article

My favourite safety instruction: “Accidents with chainsaws are rarely trivial”.

I’ve always taken the same approach with angle grinders.

Red Hat’s new CEO on surviving inside Big Blue: 'We don’t participate in IBM's culture. It’s that simple'

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: "We are good at winning over the tech people; they are good at the C-suite."

Not in this case, I’m afraid. Boss man thought that the sales droid had shown them Satellite applying hardening rules. What he had been shown, without realising, was Satellite coordinating OpenSCAP to do the job. Cue two days of, “But it was Satellite, we don’t need anything else”, “No, it was SCAP”, on a loop for two days, because it wasn’t the simple fix-and-forget he wanted. Unless the next version of Satellite incorporates the functionality of SCAP then it won’t fix that issue.

He’s generally a smart guy, but he’s a sucker for a sales pitch.

Admiral Grace Hopper

"We are good at winning over the tech people; they are good at the C-suite."

Which means that I have to be good at disabusing senior managers of the false notions that they picked up at demos from the likes of IBM and RedHat. Our latest battle was persuading them that Satellite didn't work they way that they thought it did and while it could be used to coordinate and schedule what they wanted to do, it was a different suite of software altogether that did the actual job. That was two days of wasted life I'll never get back.

Web pages a little too style over substance? Behold the Windows 98 CSS file

Admiral Grace Hopper

Now for a Win 3.11 version

Hotdog Stand theme FTW.

Cloudflare goes retro with COBOL delivery service. Older coders: Who's laughing now? Turns out we're still vital

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: “Old Hardware” is fake news

"However most COBOL is dependent on the unique and complex mainframe environment."

That's why ICL (then Fujitsu, after they bought them, but the people were largely the same) made sure that the emulated versions of VME running on Linux look to the code exactly like a VME box soldered together in Manchester in 1974.

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: Mindset

"That's just a Birmingham screwdriver"

Unless you're from Birmingham, in which case it's a West Bromwich screwdriver.

Admiral Grace Hopper
Thumb Up

Excellent news

Message ends.

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: Proper lash up

The "6 months - tops" lash-up code that I wrote in 1992 is still running I hear. I wonder what happened to the project that it was a stop-gap for?

Animal crossing? Nah! Farmyard frolics, courtesy of Novell and pals

Admiral Grace Hopper

Career Planning

My career has happened mostly by accident. I was brought up next to a mixed arable farm and for many years I could imagine no finer ambition than to be a mixed arable farmer - I like cows plus you get to drive a combine harvester and how cool is that? If I hadn't fallen into IT I might have been a mixed arable farmer after all. One thing would be different is I had. I'd have to deal with a hell of lot less bullshit.

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response

Admiral Grace Hopper

There's still a large amount of the United Kingdom's IT infrastructure running on ICL VME mainframes, as well as the fine manufacturer's you name. Sperry-Burroughs had a particularly fine salad bar in the canteen that I visited, I recall.

Admiral Grace Hopper



Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

Admiral Grace Hopper
Big Brother

It's always the board members who do the worst things

Back in the early days of internet connectivity being delivered to the desktop I was part of the internet police for a Large Government Department. We had a visit from the headest of honchos who was interested in all things internet, as part of which we were to demonstrate the tools we were using as Marshals of the Wild West Web. After giving the broad outline of the principles and process and assuring that the money they were spending with us was worth every penny and more, I gave him a quick practical demo of how we could capture what the users were browsing, how we worked out whether it was a Bad Thing, how we tied this in with a machine and the user logged into it and how we reported it the Powers That Be.




"So you can see that this user thinks that it's a good idea to look at chickswithdicks.com over lunchtime".

"Who is that?".


"Ah. I know who that is. Before you start the rest of the process, let me have a word with him at tomorrow's board meeting".

We heard about a sideways career move a couple of months later.

Stob's vital message to Britain's IT nation: And no, it's not about that

Admiral Grace Hopper

Inspirational message

We've set up an email support network for the women in the company I work for where we get a random name of someone to whom we send an inspiring or uplifting message. I'm running out of things to send, so I'm using that last speech as my text for tomorrow. Thank you for the pointer.

London court tells Julian Assange: No, coronavirus is not a good reason for you to be let out of prison

Admiral Grace Hopper

Every cloud

As someone who will be working from a small room next to my bedroom and not being able to step outside my front door for 12 weeks, for once I'm in a situation where Julian Assange (tm) might have some useful advice to offer. If only I'd got some embassy staff on hand to pop out to the shops for me.

Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: The Radio Series and Only the Radio Series

The announcers' comments are certainly on the BBC CD edition that I have. They are very much part of the episodes as broadcast.

You've duked it out with OS/2 – but how to deal with these troublesome users? Nukem

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: A wunch of bankers ...

The bankers can do what they want - I would hope that the fellow toilers at the IT codeface would stump up for the beers.

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: A wunch of bankers ...

Well, quite, but if they had been carpeted for it there would have been a queue of colleagues offering beers after the no-biscuit/no-tea interview with the boss.

BOFH: Here he comes, all wide-eyed with the boundless optimism of youth. He is me, 30 years ago... what to do?

Admiral Grace Hopper

So true

I feel the same every time our apprentice, blessed with endless energy, enthusiasm and keenness, comes bouncing over seeking enlightenment. I don't want to kill or even temper his enthusiasm, I just can't bear to be around when life rips it from him and shreds it in front of his eyes, then pisses all over it.

Disk stuck in the drive? Don't dilly-Dali – get IT on the case!

Admiral Grace Hopper


I love this coinage. Succinct, descriptive, complete and coherent.

In the early part of the century a Major Government Department launched its online services with a major advertising blitz and much hoopla. What they didn't tell anyone was that due to a lining up of the holes in the requirement/development/delivery swiss cheese, one part of the processing relied on a trusty operative copying a bunch of data onto a floppy disk, walking down two flight of stairs to the data hall, sticking the floppy into the drive on the message queue server then stoofing it manually into the SQL server database. This happened daily until I left the team as it was cheaper than the political cost of fixing it. We called it our "Sneaker Net" application. I wonder if it's still running?

I heard somebody say: Burn baby, burn – server inferno!

Admiral Grace Hopper

"Yeah, but it's a dry heat"

There's a uniquely horrifying feeling to the heat in a data centre when the AHUs have gone down, accented by the screaming of the fans as the server struggle to cope with an environment for which they weren't designed. That's when you discover which of your machines are truly mission critical as you frantically switch off everything that isn't.

Anyone pulling this sort of stroke needs some firm corrective action. Don't fuck with my servers.

Good news, everyone: The US military says it will be ethically minded about how it develops AI

Admiral Grace Hopper

As my Uncle used to say

"When we flew over, the Germans ducked. When the Germans flew over we ducked. When the Yanks flew over, everyone ducked".

His being on the receiving end of well-intentioned but poorly aimed American supporting fire in Normandy may have led to him being biased.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save data from a computer that should have died aeons ago

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: One Per Desk

My then employer, a heavy user of ICL kit, took one look at them and ran away as quickly as they possibly could. For a company that could produce some excellent and far-sighted technology (e.g. CAFS), they could turn crap out some real turds when they wanted to.

Tech can endure the most inhospitable environments: Space, underwater, down t'pit... even hairdressers

Admiral Grace Hopper

Re: What's in the box Doc?

" what had probably been yogurt"

This phrase genuinely scares me.

BOFH: Darn Windows 7. It's totally why we need a £1k graphics card for a business computer

Admiral Grace Hopper

"And given that the Y2K thing was a big fat zero,"

It's rare that I question BoFH's judgement, but the Y2K thing was the biggest driver for tech refresh I have seen in my career and if he missed the opportunity to suck on the teat of the Y2K budget then he dropped a massive clanger.



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