* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

4125 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Reg readers tell us what they wanted for SysAdmin Appreciation Day

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Happy

I am surprised ...

a suitably modified cattle prod wasn't high on the list (next to the quicklime and carpet supply)

BOFH: Selling the boss on a crypto startup

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Indeed, the spirit of Clippy still resides deep in the code.

BOFH: Would I lie to you, Boss?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coffee/keyboard

Freudian slap

I think I can see a use for that technique.

Brilliant!

BOFH: HR's gold mine gambit – they get the gold and we get the shaft

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coffee/keyboard

Stonkingly good episode

Some absolutely beautifully crafted detail

" – including a bloke with a cassette tape library of birdcall recordings."

or

"... his 12 years in the holistic hemp oil industry not helping him much with that question."

Genius, sheers genius

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

It depends. Maybe being put in a shallow grave in a forestry setting is just a gentle warning for a more minor offense?

For a given value of "gentle" of course

Microsoft pulls Windows 10/11 installation websites in Russia

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Re: A different approach

Or install any version of Office with Clippy installed in such a way it cannot be turned off

That would likely also fall foul of the convention on human rights

BOFH: Tech helps HR investigate the Boss's devices

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coffee/keyboard

Absolutely superb episode

"Not our OWN photocopiers obviously. No, I use the one up in Human Resources."

is a lovely detail

NASA's 161-second helicopter tour of Martian terrain

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Re: So gullible

I suppose you also don't believe in lunar landings. Better not tell Buzz Aldrin, he might deck you, even at 92 years of age.

Keeping your head as an entire database goes pear-shaped

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Re: I'm not a DBA...

No database expert whatsoever, but even I have gathered DROP can drop the unwary in it, in a very, very serious way.

BOFH: Where do you think you are going with that toner cartridge?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Thumb Up

Superb episode once more!

Nice extension of problems with windows installs (or database normalisation warnings) to printers

Infusion of $3.5bn not enough to revive Terra's 'stablecoin'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Somehow ...

I do not regret not getting involved in stablecoin or any of its ilk. A 20% interest rate is a huge red flag, in my view. A simple rule I follow in these cases is "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".

Confirmation dialog Groundhog Day: I click OK and it keeps coming back

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

+++ REINSTALL UNIVERSE +++ REDO FROM START +++

I really would like to see an error message like that when testing code

+++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR +++

would also be nice

BOFH: You'll have to really trust me on this team-building exercise

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Happy

Safety warning

Team building, PFY and BOFH form a volatile mixture, mixing the without precautions may lead to injury or Database Normalization Warnings

BOFH: Something's consuming 40% of UPS capacity – and it's coming from the beancounters' office

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coffee/keyboard

I love the smell of burning beancounter kit in the morning

Absolutely brilliant episode!!

Batenburg LeydenJar conjecture

***DUMMY MODE ON***

Hadn't seen that mode engaged in a while. Love it

BOFH: The evil guide to upgrading switches

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coffee/keyboard

"They're over here, on the shelf by the window …"

I can sense a Database Normalisation Warning, and a problem with a windows install coming up

Brilliant episode, once more

Debugging source is even harder when you can't stop laughing at it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Juju-flop and turlingdrome I can countenance, but I draw the line at Belgium

BOFH: Putting the gross in gross insubordination

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Thumb Up

Very nice indeed

Selling the car to one of the accountants as a preemptive move shows real cunning

BOFH: Gaming rig for your home office? Yeah right

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coffee/keyboard

Simon is on form, these days!

"... and even signed you up to host your mother's bridge club and offered to open up your garden to influencers' photo shoots."

Now that is pure evil, right there.

It's amazing what computers might do all on their own. Carl must feel so much safer with the BOFH watching over him.

BOFH: All hail the job cuts consultant

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Pint

Best use of AI I have seen so far

But it is still not as smart as the devious mind behind it

Superb episode

Beware the techie who takes things literally

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Re: In the manner of the BOFH....

Or he would have found a use for that old carpet and the store of quicklime

Make assistive driving safe: Eliminate pedestrians

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Stay in lane features can be a menace, I have found. Overtaking a cyclist typically does not require going to the opposite lane, but I do like driving around them rather than through them (personal preference, others may feel differently), as the lane assist would have me do. It is totally unnerving when the car (a rental Volkswagen Passat) basically tries to take over control of the wheel and nearly drives you into a bike. Don't get me started on the various alarms going off when trying to back out of a parking space, because the proximity sensor detects the presence of a wall in front of the car. A wall you are clearly moving AWAY from.

I am so glad my own car has far less AI (alleged intelligence) built in

BOFH: The Geek's Countergambit – outwitted at an electronics store

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coffee/keyboard

Superb episode once more

Colin and co may be good, but are they as ruthless as the BOFH? I very much doubt they get through as much quicklime as Simon does.

Trio of Rust Core Team members take their leave

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Interesting. We had one who loved green beans and beetroot. He also had a fixation on grapes (which he hated when offered, but tried to steal when we were eating them)

Cats are mysterious creatures

BOFH: On Wednesdays, we wear gloves

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Pint

Superb episode

Simon making full use of Gary's fertile imagination.

Something 4,000 light years away emitted strange radio bursts. This is where we talk to scientists for actual info

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Thumb Up

Nop-notch boffinry!

The universe never ceases to amaze

BOFH: What a beautiful classic car. Shame if anything were to happen to it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Pint

I needed that

That was the perfect birthday gift

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Ever alert

Absolutely lovely detail. True craftsmanship!

Billionaires see wealth double during pandemic as tech bros lead the charge

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Mushroom

Why does Jef Bezos want to have industry in space?

In space, he can't hear is employees scream

Snap continues to make a spectacle of itself as it tries to trademark the word spectacles

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coat

You could see that decision coming

Especially with the right prescription specs

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'd better get me coat

On Christmas night, a computer logs a call to say his user has stopped working…

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Happy

Sexing goldfish using MS Office

Brilliant phrase. Might want to use that for special occasions when asked to do the impossible ...

again

BOFH: The vengeance bus is coming, and everybody's jumping. An Xmas bonus hits me…

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Flame

Brilliant episode!

True BOFH Xmas spirit. Just the thing I need to steel myself for the impending visit to the parents-in-law

The Filth Filter is part of the chipset, honest. Goes between the TPM and SEP. No, really

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Re: I now need to revise my 2022 goals for work...

My thoughts exactly. Absolute BOFH material, that man

BOFH: Time to put the Pretty Dumb F in PDF reader

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coffee/keyboard

Buggier than a bullfrog's breakfast

That had me in stitches

Might use it on some of my students (but only if they really deserve it)

BOFH: What if International Bad Actors designed the vaccine to make us watch more Steven Seagal movies?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coat

Re: Loonies are reading this

Are they really downvoting posts, or are the nanobots making you believe that? ...

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll get me coat

BOFH: You drive me crazy... and I can't help myself

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Happy

Re: Genius

All that's missing is some quicklime

BOFH: So you want to have your computer switched out for something faster? It's time to learn from the master

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

My thoughts exactly. It might have been the fact that the user in question wasn't blatantly lying that may have exempted him from a database normalisation warning

I would drive 100 miles and I would drive 100 more just to be the man that drove 200 miles to... hit the enter key

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Re: "So my urgent 200-mile round trip ended, …

Reminds me of the "IMPOSSIBLE ERROR" message I got from the wonderfully named D02BAE routine from the NAG Fortran Library Mark 14 on the Cray J932 way back when. I was running multiple instances of this ODE solver in parallel, and it turned out library had not been compiled for parallel execution properly (brilliant, on a 32 CPU shared-memory parallel machine). This meant only one instance of the the named common block used by the routine was created, so the 10 instances I was using were happily overwriting each others data, causing such confusion that an IMPOSSIBLE ERROR was generated.

Not a hardware fault, but it took some hunting down

AI caramba, those neural networks are power-hungry: Counting the environmental cost of artificial intelligence

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

They don't even do statistical analysis. If they did, they would be able to put confidence limits on their classifications at least.

The power issue is a serious one. Last year we published a "hand-crafted" method for stereo vision for a gardening robot that was perhaps not quite as accurate as some deep learning methods, but ran happily on a Raspberry Pi, as opposed to a powerful laptop with GPU. The accuracy was good enough for the purpose of the robot not running into trees.

Volkswagen to stop making its best-selling product for Wolfsburg workers: VW-branded sausages

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coat

They must prepare for the wurst!

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'd better be going.

Mine's the one with the book of bad dad jokes in the pocket

BOFH: 'What's an NFT?' the Boss asks. In this case, 'not financially thoughtful'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Flame

Some NFTs are just too hot to handle

Someone was bound to get burnt, and it wasn't going to be Simon

Great episode again

Come fly with me. But first we need to find a boot device

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Sentient Urinals?

I stood and wondered why the urinal in the motorway service station in Germany needed to reboot Android.

More cryptically, another such urinal had the message "Slave cannot connect to master ... Retrying"

Next up, urinals with the GPP feature, or defocused temporal perception, causing them to start sulking in basements

Without a trace: Baroness Dido Harding to step down as chair of NHS Improvement

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Re: Not a career move I'd fancy

I nominate Baldrick. He should have a cunning plan

BOFH: They say you either love it or you hate it. We can confirm you're going to hate it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

I suppose...

the marmite contain a high concentration of quicklime

BOFH: But soft! What light through yonder filing cabinet breaks?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Coffee/keyboard

Superb episode!

"In my peripheral vision I can see the PFY reaching for the workplace accident report form, but I shake my head slightly and take the Boss into the server room."

Priceless. I must say I was mentally reaching the same conclusion as the PFY

Here boy! Making the Sample Fetch Rover that'll collect soil from the Red Planet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Thumb Up

Amazing boffinry

Very complicated mission indeed. Ten years is a long time to keep your fingers crossed

BOFH: Where there is darkness, let there be a light

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Flame

Re: Definitely pick which battles you want to fight...

"Mice, keyboards, headphones, cables - all consumables."

Absolutely, and all are readily consumed by fire

BOFH: Here in my car I feel safest of all. I can listen to you ... It keeps me stable for days

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Thumb Up

Brilliant, just briliant

Simon is on form these days!

DARPA nails cash to project 'FENCE' — a smart camera that only sends pics when pixels change

Michael H.F. Wilkinson

Potential problems: trees, leaves, wind and sunshine (or clouds)

This bears a striking similarity to a traffic camera system produced by a local IT company I visited a decade or so ago at least. The aim was to let traffic cameras only record the passing cars, and stay shtum when there was no traffic. So a simple image differencing method was implemented, and if the sum of absolute differences between consecutive frames was sufficient, the system started sending a burst of frames, until the situation became static again.

Some traffic cameras, happily transmitted continuously from sunrise to sunset, especially on windy, sunny days, when the pattern of the shadow and light caused by the sun shining through the trees along the road caused loads of pixels to change, without any actual vehicle or person passing by the camera. Rushing clouds could trigger similar problems, as could snowflakes, hail, or rain. In the end they had to do far more advanced object recognition, in particular recognizing license plates to make the system robust (pedestrians and cyclists were not of interest in this system).

No doubt the boffins and DARPA will have thought of this

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