* Posts by Morrie Wyatt

149 posts • joined 14 Oct 2008


The old New: Windows veteran explains that menu item

Morrie Wyatt

Re: An idea

And not to forget the user that puts the date and time into a filename as something like

**My Important Document 19/10/2021-7:49:32**

And then wonders why the OS does a dummy spit.

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

Morrie Wyatt

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

As I recall, Beneton did much the same with an F1 Renault engine.

Today I shall explain how dual monitors work using the medium of interpretive dance

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Examples...

Compared to the floppy disks they replaced as primary storage, yes they were.

You could now lose a lot more data in a fraction of the time.

Colonial Pipeline was looking to hire cybersecurity manager before ransomware attack shut down operations

Morrie Wyatt
Black Helicopters

On the bright side.

Whoever does end up with the job has a better chance of being listened to seriously when they point out security issues.

Doesn't mean that they will follow through on any recommended actions though.

There's always that managerial type person convinced that it will never happen to them. (Until it does of course. Then it is open season on scapegoats.)

On a dusty red planet almost 290 million km away... NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flies

Morrie Wyatt
Black Helicopters

Penguins on the red planet

When he started developing linux, I bet Linus never envisioned seeing a flying penguin on Mars.

Doing well so far. I've seen all to many model helicopters end up doing the dead chicken dance at the slightest excuse.

If I recall the definition correctly: Helicopter: Thousands of parts all trying to kill you.

Partial beer print horror as Microsoft's printer bug fix, er, doesn't

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Sing along!

The bugs are being found faster because Microsoft now has so many more beta testers.

They are known as Windows 10 users.

(Azure outages are just to keep people from looking too closely at the other things Microsoft have managed to foul up.)

Don't attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by Microsoft.

Red Hat returns with another peace offering in the wake of the CentOS Stream affair: More free stuff

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Too late, trust has gone.

"And damn-near impossible to restore."

What, they don't have it backed up on tape somewhere?

Linus Torvalds labels Super Bowl 'violent version of egg-and-spoon race'

Morrie Wyatt

Re: As an American, I can tell you some Super Bowl secrets

"This might be questionable content, however."

Why? What's Pintsize up to now?

The Fat iPhone, 11 years on: The iPad's over a decade old and we're still not sure what it's for

Morrie Wyatt
Black Helicopters

Re: Pilots

There's also Austin Meyer's Xavion app, which plays continuous "What if?" using plane performance data to provide best alternative airports. (Not necessarily the closest, but the best that fits the glide profile of the aircraft.) It also provides standard instruments, artificial vision, maps jet wake turbulence and many other features. (The wake turbulence feature was added after Austin found out the hard way that hitting it can be a serious pain in the neck.) It does this independently to the aircraft's avionics, so a full power outage of the standard instrumentation, providing a very useful level of redundancy for the pilot.

After 11 years, Australia declares its national broadband network is ‘built and fully operational’

Morrie Wyatt
Big Brother

Politicans Logic

"So something that's not true can be true? Politicians apparently live with a different set of logic rules than the rest of humanity."

Of course they do.

They also believe that it is possible to have secure encryption that is breakable by themselves, (or their duly appointed representatives) at any time they feel the urge, but not be breakable by any other party.

Secure encryption is a binary choice. It's either secure, or it's not secure. There is no third option.

(Unless you are a politician, in which case tri-state binary somehow becomes possible, and the laws of mathematics no longer apply whenever they happen to be deemed inconvenient.)

For every disastrous rebrand, there is an IT person trying to steer away from the precipice

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Oh yes...

Which is why you make sure to get it all down in writing and signed off by the customer before work commences.

Considering the colonisation of Mars? Werner Herzog would like a word

Morrie Wyatt


They did it to us first!

Quatermass and the Pit. (1967)

'This was bigger than GNOME and bigger than just this case.' GNOME Foundation exec director talks patent trolls and much, much more

Morrie Wyatt
IT Angle

Re: I'm just rebuilding my desktop ...

<Grey Beard>

Actually, CTRL-S is the XOFF terminal control character for VT100 terminals and the like.

</Grey Beard>

Yes, I remember when such things were new and exciting with instant (nearly) responses to your inputs.

(Usually syntax errors.)

The alternative was punch cards and batch processing.

(And they almost invariably included syntax errors too. It just took a lot longer to find out how badly you had stuffed up.)

Burning down the house! Consumer champ Which? probes smart plugs to find a bunch of insecure fire-risk tat

Morrie Wyatt


Kudos for the Catweazel reference.

Ethernet failure on Swiss business jet prompted emergency descent, say aviation safety bods

Morrie Wyatt
Thumb Up

Re: FCS is not new.

Sounds like you really know where your towel is.

Future airliners will run on hydrogen, vows Airbus as it teases world-plus-dog with concept designs

Morrie Wyatt

The other issue with Hydrogen.

Hydrogen is only liquid at extremely low cryogenic temperatures 20.28ºK (-353ºC), or at very high pressures.

So hydrogen in an aircraft will be able to destroy it if the tank ruptures, spray all aboard with cryogenic liquid, or go up in flames given oxygen and an ignition source. Kerosene based fuels by contrast are liquid across the range of temperatures experienced during flight without need for pressurisation, and don't transition from liquid to gaseous state anywhere near as easily as hydrogen.

This PDP-11/70 was due to predict an election outcome – but no one could predict it falling over

Morrie Wyatt

Re: The elevator did it

These types of schoolroom explosion go back beyond my father's youth.

(And I have a 14yo grandson.)

Back then it was the gas tap in the chemistry lab. Two holes pinched into an empty coffee tin. Into one was fed a rubber hose from the gas taps (used for bunsen burners) and the other (upper) hole left open.

Turn on the gas, wait a bit then light the gas coming out of the upper hole. Turn off the gas and remove the rubber tube. Stand back and wait until the stoichiometric ratio was reached, then BOOM, off went the lid to the delighted juvenile cackling of the assembled miscreants.

OH&S would be all over such activities these days of course.

Ex-boss of ICANN shifts from 'advisor' to co-CEO of private equity biz that tried to buy .org for $1bn+

Morrie Wyatt

Re: It stinks...

More like Surströmming in an air conditioning duct.

Cornish drinkers catch a different kind of buzz as pub installs electric fence at bar

Morrie Wyatt

A short sharp shock.

They won't do it again. Dig it?

I mean he get off lightly.

Things can't go on like this. You need to get fit for the sake of your health. I'm going to write you a prescription for... an e-bike

Morrie Wyatt

I wonder.

If 16 degrees warrants an e-bike, what would they prescribe for Fargo Street in LA?

(A padded cell perhaps?)

It has a 33 degree grade and runs an annual challenge to see who can make it to the top on self powered wheeled devices.

One fellow "Terry (Unigeezer) Peterson" has beaten the challenge many times. He was 55 the first time he did so back in 2011.

ON A UNICYCLE. Last I heard he is still holds the title as the only person to do so on a unicycle.

When a deleted primary device file only takes 20 mins out of your maintenance window, but a whole year off your lifespan

Morrie Wyatt

Re: ""We said a small prayer, crossed our fingers, booted the server..."

Not at all.

If the small prayer didn't work, they never stood a prayer in the first place.

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

Morrie Wyatt

Re: We had the inverse issue

His name wasn't Steve Jobs by any chance was it?

It looks like you want a storage appliance for your data centre. Maybe you'd prefer a smart card reader?

Morrie Wyatt


More of the wonderful results from the SEO industry.

Stuff in sufficient keywords and anything you didn't want, with little or no relevance can be pushed to the top of the garbage pile.

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

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Uh ho ...

This one's old enough that it's hardware rather than software testing.

Vinten Communications used to make the radio equipment used by the Victorian Police and other emergency services.

This was back in the days of valves and dangerously high voltages.

They had one wiresman in particular who was absolutely meticulous in his work. Every wire of a particular colour entering one end of the loom would exit at precisely the same position with respect to all of its neighbors. This greatly simplified fault finding. (Debugging wasn't yet a part of the common vernacular.) As such, he was the go to person for all new prototypes.

On day however, a new product was put on the test bench for it's first power on. Unbeknown to the wiresman, his colleagues had got there first.

The prototype was duly turned on, and they watched the blood drain from the poor wiresman's face, as smoke started wafting out of the case.

One worker was hidden away out of sight, and a string of waxed paper drinking straws had been run to an inconspicuous location on the unit under test.

The hidden worker was blowing cigarette smoke through the straws.

However one of the observers broke up laughing, and the ruse was revealed, much to the relief and annoyance of the poor wiresman. The device itself worked flawlessly.

Patently dogged: Apple unleashes lawyers to slash $454m patent rip-off bill – even after Supreme Court snub

Morrie Wyatt

I wonder.

At what point does Apple get declared as a vexatious litigant?

The icon? It's as good an icon for litigation as any, each party screaming to the judge how badly they have been done by.

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

Morrie Wyatt

Obvious really.

If you want to survive a career in IT

Avoid Windows.

Surprised nobody mentioned it earlier.

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

Morrie Wyatt

Re: the ozone smell

Indeed. All that was missing was the accompanying KZERT as the sedation was administered.

Damn. No lightning bolt or LART icon when you need one.

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

Morrie Wyatt


Well they were after all on the "B" ark.

Ancient Ore Crusher or KillBot 2000? NASA gets ready to pick a name for its Mars 2020 Rover

Morrie Wyatt

If the El Reg is anything to go by.

Jeph Jaques seems to have an appropriate character to name it after.


Train-knackering software design blunder discovered after lightning sparked Thameslink megadelay

Morrie Wyatt

With penalties like that

You certainly wouldn't want it happening with any frequency.

Google security engineer says she was fired for daring to remind Googlers they do indeed have labor rights

Morrie Wyatt

Popup notifications?

Google do that to us all the time. They call it Advertising.

Boffins harnessed the brain power of mice to build AI models that can't be fooled

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Douglas Adams was right all along then...

An unbeatable post?

Maybe not.

Not if you are pondering what I am pondering.

"One is a genius, the other's insane." NARF!

Holy smokes! Ex-IT admin gets two years prison for trashing Army chaplains' servers

Morrie Wyatt

He should have known

That he didn't stand a prayer of getting away with it.

Naming your company 101: Probably best not to have the word 'Oracle' anywhere near branding

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Unopposed

Nah. Nothing like Nike.

"Klaatu... verata... Nik 2"

(I'm the one with the saw arm covered in Ash.)

I'm just not sure the computer works here – the energy is all wrong

Morrie Wyatt

Re: WHAT? Mythbusters

Radios before transistors were valve radios (thermionic valve radios to be more precise). They used a vibrator (no, not that kind) where a solenoid would open the contacts supplying power to its own coil. (A bit like an automotive turn signal flasher can on crystal meth.) The resulting intermittent power would provide pseudo AC power to step-up transformers to generate the necessary high voltages to run the valves. There were no transistors in those radios. Triodes and Pentodes, not transistors.

(The inverter circuitry sometimes had its own box, hidden in the engine bay to keep noise (electrical and acoustic) well away from the radio itself.)

There were portable (a loosely defined term at best) that ran on valves, powered usually from lantern sized dry cell batteries.

Then came the transistor, allowing a radio that was much smaller and ran on far safer voltages.

"Or what did you think they used before silicon?"

Germanium. (Well you did ask.)

Germanium transistors were what you usually found in early transistor radios. Silicon transistors came along later.

China on its way to becoming the first nation to land on the far side of the Moon

Morrie Wyatt
Black Helicopters

And of course

They will need to beware of those steampunk Nazis.

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Had to be said.


What makes you think it's restricted to the UK?

As I'm not British either, I felt it best to be carefully non-specific.




And just about anything to do with Donald Trump.

It seems to be endemic to the breed anywhere around the world.

(I'm an equal opportunity cynic.)

Morrie Wyatt

Had to be said.

"A phone's GPS accurate to roughly 15 feet, although military GPS devices can be accurate to centimeters. Then there is the fact that tall buildings will often throw a signal off and signals can be impaired by any large, dense object."

So GPS doesn't work for politicians then.

Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...

Morrie Wyatt

Re: ED-209

"A few years back I was working for Scotrail, well not them, but as a sub contractor to the contractor contracted to the contractor with the contract for Scotrail."

Lone Star, is that you?

The Schwartz be with you.

Dark Helmet: I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.

Hooray: Google App Engine finally ready for Python 3 (and PHP 7.2)

Morrie Wyatt

Pratchett mode enabled

Is that anything like Bilious, the OG of hangovers?

You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

Morrie Wyatt

Pie Iesu domine, dona eis requiem

Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.

Astronaut took camera on spacewalk, but forgot SD memory card

Morrie Wyatt

I'm probably going to hate myself.

Andrew, it's only a bloody GoPro. Hardly rocket science.

Sorry. had to be said.

US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years

Morrie Wyatt

144 years?

That would be a gross over extension of copyright.

Admin needed server fast, skipped factory config … then bricked it

Morrie Wyatt

And in a similar vein

My father used to work for the now defunct "Vinten Communications".

They had one "wiresman" who was absolutely meticulous in his wiring. If a wire entered a loom at a particular location, you could be certain it would come out at exactly the same location at the other end of the loom.

So this fellow was always assigned the new prototypes, as his attention to detail made any necessary troubleshooting of the new prototype so much easier.

One day after he had finished assembly of one such prototype unit, the staff gathered around to watch it fire up for the first time.

The power was switched on, and after a few moments smoke started wafting out of the prototype.

The wiresman's face slowly turned white as the smoke billowed forth.

Unbeknownst to him, the staff had hidden some paper drinking straws taped end-to end into the back of the unit, with one of the staff hidden away at the far end of these straws, blowing cigarette smoke down the straw. Fortunately for the poor wiresman, one of the observers couldn't hold a straight face for too long, exposing the practical joke as everyone cracked up laughing.

Strangely enough the poor wiresman was not amused.

So Douglas Adams was right, even before he wrote that "what they really couldn't stand was a smartarse."

Icon? Well where there's smoke...

April FAIL as IETF's funny-but-dodgy draft doc arrives a week early

Morrie Wyatt

Re: Trollptical illusion

Or a Piecemaker perhaps?

(The Rincewind shaped blur went thataway! -->)

Due to Oracle being Oracle, Eclipse holds poll to rename Java EE (No, it won't be Java McJava Face)

Morrie Wyatt

Isn't it obvious?


East of Java. (It's actually west, but never let the truth get in the way of a catchy title.)

Biker nerfed by robo Chevy in San Francisco now lobs sueball at GM

Morrie Wyatt

Re: I think the cyclist is at fault#2

Or to paraphrase the way my father put it when I first started learning to drive:

Drive with the presumption that every other road user is an idiot.

'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'

Morrie Wyatt

Large bipolar electrolytic capacitors are always fun.

Back in the late 70s, I was a young apprentice.

The company I worked for also imported cheap Taiwanese bench grinders.

One of these had been returned under warranty, so was on the department manager's bench with the base off to check the wiring. When nothing obvious presented itself the switch was turned on and we retreated to the office doorway. These grinders used a large capacitor and a centrifugal switch to energize the motor start winding with the resulting L/C circuit providing a phase shift to ensure the motor started in the right direction. The grinder started up and seemed to be running normally, until with a loud bang, the capacitor blew its lid, (through the small covered pressure relief hole in the end of the cap) blasting a jet of evil smelling vapor directly at all standing in the doorway.

We at least now knew what the fault was. The centrifugal switch "didn't", leaving the start winding connected. The start winding and capacitor weren't designed to run for more than about 10 seconds, so the capacitor overheated, boiling the electrolyte until the weak point cried uncle.

The office became almost uninhabitable for days, and took many months before the smell finally faded to barely perceptible levels.

I still work for the same company some 40 odd years later.

China's first space station to – ahem – de-orbit in late March

Morrie Wyatt

Jeph Jacques beat them to it.

" Next Amazon delivery setup, orbital warehouses dropping capsules with whatever you ordered.

The step after that, they drop meals which cook using the heat of re-entry."


(Start at 3042 for the back story. Or better still, start at 1 for the full experience.)

Of course Uber allegedly had a tool to remotely destroy evidence

Morrie Wyatt

Equally apropos

While the "Nuke it from orbit" reference was obvious, (see icon) there's also the older choice that fits nearly as well.

Fire up Ripley and leave the jury to: "Believe it or not."



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