* Posts by Admiral Grace Hopper

858 posts • joined 7 Oct 2008


The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The best time to build a semiconductor foundry is 5 years ago

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Optimistic?

can you point to a single change that actually makes life easier?

In the case of Win10, one change that made life easier was the removal of the last trace of Win8 from the sole of its shoe.

Thanks, boss. The accidental creation of a lights-out data centre – what a fun surprise

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: I may have mentioned this one before...

Management sprang a lot of cash on a huge flat panel display to show the systems dashboard to all sundry. This was very useful, as a flashing red graphic does catch the attention. Management then realised that they also caught the attention of visiting bigwigs, so someone *coff* wrote a script called green.bat that turned the dashboard to a more senior management friendly colour. The reset script was truth.bat

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Push me

I'd managed to get this far into Monday without hearing of something I wanted to buy. If I ever see the inside of an office again I'm getting one of these.

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Push me

Everyone who has been in the industry long enough has witnessed a Father Dougal moment.

Deadline draws near to avoid auto-joining Amazon's mesh network Sidewalk

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge
Big Brother

Bell Ringing

While visiting my Mother she had a chat with the police officer who had come to investigate the burglary that had happened to her next door neighbour. The police man was trying to get her to buy a Ring doorbell.

"S, what's a Ring doorbell".

"Mum, it's state surveillance privately funded"

At this point the policeman nodded vigorously and said, "Yes! We want everyone to install it".

Internet Explorer downgraded to 'Walking Dead' status as Microsoft sets date for demise

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

It makes sense

It's always good practise to get rid of redundant cruft. Now MS only have one inadequate browser to support.

The future is now, old man: Let the young guns show how to properly cock things up

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Just move some disks...

If you were working for ICL, the dress code for the data halls was office attire (including ties for men) with a white lab coat. This convention was still being observed by some time-served stalwarts until last year to my knowledge.

Protip: If Joe Public reports that your kit is broken, maybe check that it is actually broken

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: PC Upgrade

I used to work with a very effective project manager who simply parked her BMW on top of her laptop when she wanted an upgrade.

Oops, says Manchester City Council after thousands of number plates exposed in parking ticket spreadsheet

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Swiss number plates

Or multiple personalities.

Can't get that printer to work? It's not you. It's that sodding cablin.... oh beautiful job with that cabling, boss

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Printers are the Devil's work

Printers are intrinsically evil, but that is especially cruel.

In the late 80s and early 90s it was not unusual for offices to have all the memory cards removed from desktop PCs by burglars, but that is definitely enemy action.

Shame about the name of the new analysis system. Our attempt to develop the Program Error Notification and Information System survived two design meetings before the name was changed.

UK Court of Appeal rules Tiny Computers' legal remains can sue Micron and Infineon over 2002 DRAM price-fixing cartel

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge


I'm surprised to see that the ghost of Gateway 2000 is still chewing the cud, albeit as a zombie cow on a phantom prairie. My cow-puter was a sturdy and reliable beast, as was the Tiny box that preceded it.

BOFH: Postman BOFH's Special Delivery Service

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: 'Remote Onboarding'

Evil genius is still genius.

George Clooney of IT: Dribbling disaster and damp disk warnings scare the life out of innocent user

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge


Installing the BSOD screen saver was funny on your development colleagues' machines but unnecessary cruelty when it it landed on the users' desktop. The firm word of advice with clear boundary setting was exactly the right approach.

Quality control, Soviet style: Here's another fine message you've gotten me into

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

За твоё здоровье!

While on a week long requirements analysis course in Oxford in the early 90s I got talking to a crowd of Russians in the same hotel who were attending an English For Business course. We got on well throughout the week and when the last of the drinkers on my course went to bed on the last night I joined my new friends who showed no sign of stopping.

I'd grown up in a Staffordshire pit village which was home to many families of Polish descent - their father's had come over during WWII and married local girls and brought along their customs of hospitality, which had some similarities to those of my Russian drinking partners. In particular they taught me how to drink vodka.

We drank well and drank hard. The bar man, who had been drinking with us, fell asleep so we brought out our own supplies rather than cause him any problems with the till. The Russians had a bottle of Smirnoff each, while I had found a bottle of Moskovskaya in a local off licence which was greeted with approbation. We formed bonds of international friendship until dawn, and I was given the compliment that I drank like a Russian. I was, of course, drinking like a Pole.

After an hour's sleep and reeking like a distillery I headed for breakfast before working out that it was a bad idea. What became a worse idea was that the previous day I had been elected to give the final course presentation to several senior suits. I got through that somehow, with some arch comments from my team mates after. After loading my car, I slept in the driving seat for several hours before feeling safe enough to drive home. I started eating again 36 hours later.

Drinking with Russians is a fine, exhilarating activity, but it is best done when young and bold.

I don't drink any more, but I did get several months worth of drinking done in that one night.

Выпьем за то, чтобы у нас всегда был повод для праздника!

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Light maps

Some of us of a certain age and experience will have been called on to complete a light map when the mighty mainframe has ground to a halt in an undiagnosable manner. Simpler times, when the state of the processor can be written down on (an admittedly large) sheet of paper.

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Unwelcome interruption to important drinking

Not actually being on call is no block to being phoned up in the middle of the night, even when you're towards the end of the Friday night beer batch run.

IBM creates a COBOL compiler – for Linux on x86

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: [Aside] Storage media

It Can't Last (but it still lives on as one of the few parts of Fujitsu delivering a profit).

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge


She does.

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge





What lurks within the latest Big Sur beta? References to two unreleased iMac models

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: comma

Yes, it does.

From Maidenhead to Morocco: In a change to the scheduled programming, we bring you The On Call of Dreams

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Foreign travel

Pretty sure. I only needed a phrase book when I had to go to Wigan.

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Foreign travel

The furthest I was asked to go in response to a call out was Crewe. That doesn't quite count as foreign travel.

Listen to The Sound of Perseverance: Not the death metal album, but NASA's Mars rover on the move

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Sounds like ...

I too am surprised that the systems aren't sufficiently coordinated to allow for synched audio and video. I know that the survival of the microphone is an unexpected thing, but now that's it has happened it's unfortunate that they can't make the best possible use of the outcome.

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Sounds like ...

That's the best post-delivery enhancement request that I've heard in a long while.

Northern Ireland hands deal worth up to £87m to Fujitsu: Now keep our 15-year-old Oracle HR system up and running

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Judging by what survived, the worthwhile bits of ICL were VME and everything that ran on it. It seems that the only bits that were worth keeping were the bits that George Felton breathed on.

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: "a transfer of intellectual property rights"

I assume that Fujitsu have the IPR to the bits that were "heavily customised to align with the NICS HR policies and procedures."

Having worked on government systems that start with COTS software and then build on it and twist it into shape to match existing processes rather than doing a full system redesign because it's the government, I can imagine the baroque and grand guignol nature of the structure that sits on top of the Oracle part of it. I wouldn't be surprised if there was no tender process because there were no takers when the initial feelers were put out and Fujitsu are being forced to eat their own dog food, albeit being well rewarded for feeding from that particular bowl.

Why yes, I'll take that commendation for fixing the thing I broke

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge


A wise colleague once told me, "Experience is what you get just after you needed it".

Remember that day in 2020 when you were asked to get the business working from home – by tomorrow?

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Successful test

My then employer had seen Covid rip through its facilities in China and knowing what was about to happen sent everyone who could to work from home to loadtest the VPN. It held up, so we didn't go back to the office. Still haven't.

Boeing successfully flies unmanned autonomous military 'wingman' aircraft that may become pilot's buddy

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: "a human pilot in the lead"

Something something something Skynet something something achieved sentience * jazz hands*

I haven't bought new pants for years, why do I have to keep buying new PCs?

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: When you say "pants",

With some of my colleagues I'm convinced that they were a packaged purchase. I can't be sure, unlike the certainty I had about one guy's shirt re-use cycle when I noticed that the bloodstains on Wednesday's short were exactly the same as the ones that I saw on Tuesday.

Rookie's code couldn't have been so terrible that it made a supermarket spontaneously combust... right?

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

The power of coincidence

I was working in an office that overlooked the roof of the computer hall. I was demonstrating a new piece of code that did useful things to an Oracle database. As I pressed the button to do the business, there was a rumble as the emergency generators kicked into action, the flap on the exhaust of the generator engines flipped up and dark smoke started belching out while the lights dimmed briefly as the power supply switched over. I had to spend 5 minutes convincing the assembled management that the loss of external power had nothing to do with me running a script on the Oracle server.

You can drive a car with your feet, you can operate a sewing machine with your feet. Same goes for computers obviously

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: No, not there

No worse than my TRS-80/Tandy solecism. Let's have a beer.

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: No, not there

Yes, she did. My bad.

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

No, not there

"No, you don't use the mouse on the screen, if it you use it on the mouse mat it will make the cursor move on the screen".


As an aside, I had a nostalgic moment when reminded of the Trash-80. Being a Z80 machine the software sold for those machines also ran on my Dragon 32.

You would expect a qualified electrician to wire a building to spec, right? Trust... but verify

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: You would expect a qualified electrician to wire a building to spec, right?

The problem is, I trust myself more with electricity than water / sewage.

Absolutely. I can usually work out how stuff that comes down wires behaves. Stuff that comes in pipes is outside my competence.

The Novell NetWare box keeps rebooting over and over again yet no one has touched it? We're going on a stakeout

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

An extreme case

A colleague brought in his home made desktop-sized Tesla coil to show us all how clever he was. It was very sparky and pretty and wiped out our floor, the floor above and the floor below. Fortunately the coffee machine was made of sterner stuff, which made the otherwise quiet recovery time more bearable.

And you thought that $999 Mac stand was dear: Steve Wozniak's Apple II doodles fetch $630,272 at auction

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Interesting comment...the lawyers will love this

That's pretty how much the IPR clauses read when I worked for EDS. If you had a good idea you had to build good firewalls and air gaps between your idea and EDS before you told anyone about it.

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Amazing

That's not an unusual skillset. I started my paid programming for the Inland Revenue and before that I worked in an abattoir. It helps when dealing with users if they know that you can kill and disassemble a large mammal.

Cruise, Kidman and an unfortunate misunderstanding at the local chemist

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: We did manage to raise eyebrows at Boots one time

Pregnancy test, bottle of gin, couple of wire coat hangers. Always raises an eybrow.

CentOS project changes focus, no more rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux – you'll have to flow with the Stream

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Arse

Could be worse. At least they haven't embraced snapd. Yet.

A 1970s magic trick: Take a card, any card, out of the deck and watch the IBM System/370 plunge into a death spiral

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Tight loop

A colleague had written a piece of S3 (an ICL language) of terrifying efficiency and was having trouble debugging it. In went a couple of debug messages which didn't appear, until he noticed he'd sent them to a spool buffer rather than the screen. Once he could could see them it was soon fixed.

The next day a porter arrived with a trolley containing 68 boxes of fan-fold piano-ruled paper, all printed with his debug information. We constructed an armchair out of the paper.

There are two sides to every story, two ends to every cable

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Idiot Boasting Mob

Inert Blue Monolith, according to my colleagues in payroll in the 80s. We used other machines for production.

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Idiot Boasting Mob

Inefficient But Marketable.

Who knew that hosing a table with copious amounts of cubic metres would trip adult filters?

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Or, as my colleague shouted out when reading a compilation listing while the other side of the room was stacked full of visiting dignitaries, "You prat, there's an 'O' in 'count'!".

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Inside joke?

Our proposal for the Problem/Error Notification Information System survived two technical reviews before a name change was enforced by the budget holders.

Retired engineer confesses to role in sliding Microsoft Bob onto millions of XP install CDs

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

The early days of CD-ROM

A colleague came in clutching a copy of the Microsoft Dogs CD-ROM. Another colleague immediately asked, "What's on it? Windows 1.0? Word 2? Bob?".

Mysterious metal monolith found in 'very remote' part of Utah

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

We're missing someone

Where is aManFromMars when you need him?

It may date back to 1994 but there's no end in sight for the UK's Chief customs system as Brexit rules beckon

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

I rather like the name of the "Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border" system

Better get back to developing the "Read Data From Files, Fiddle Around With It Then Send It To The Virtualised Mainframe" system.

Solving a big, yellow IT problem: If it's not wearing hi-vis, I don't trust it

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Re: Live that everyday

When I was but a baby programmer, a grey and grizzled developer imparted their career advice in terms of sure certainty: "You'll see a paperless toilet before you see and paperless office, and always keep a CYA file". This wisdom has followed me down the decades.

Tax working from home, says Deutsche Bank, because the economy needs that lunch money you’re not spending

Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

Fuck off, Deutsche Bank

See title.



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