* Posts by Peter Simpson 1

1443 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Jun 2009


Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses... but not your H-1B geeks, L-1 staffers nor J-1 students

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: H-1B visas [ ... ]

Also, don't allow H-1Bs to replace currently employed U.S. workers, as you have seen in some of these IT outsourcing deals where H-1Bs are brought in and the the U.S. workers are forced to train them as replacements, and then shoved out the door.

Well, you see, that never actually happens. What does happen is:

- Due to cost cutting, the decision is made to outsource a particular function or department

- The employees currently doing the job are given the shove

- A third party contracting company, who just happens to employ H-1B labor gets the contract

So you see? No US workers lost their jobs to H-1B labor!

H-1B has been abused for years. Back to *at least* the early 90s. Some of the job postings were hilariously specific as to skills and education, but the punchline was the ridiculously low pay for a job requiring a Masters and 25-20 years experience. Of course there were no US applicants.

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

Peter Simpson 1

Fax...for when you want to send a slow, low resolution, black and white copy of an document you could easily have scanned and attached to an email.

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: I called the cops

It's (or was) 011 for international, then the country code and the number.

So for a UK number, you'd dial 011-44-[the UK number]

Of course, if you're behind a PBX, all bets are off. But that's the way it used to work on my landline.

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

Peter Simpson 1

Re: No drivers.

Funny you should mention...

My company-issued laptop runs Win10. With the work-at-home being normal now, I took the time to equip my Fortress of Solitude (basement office) with a decent (i.e.: free and robust) laser printer, to wit: a very clean used Laserjet 5M*. Bought a JetDirect card for it ($20 on eBay) and put it on my home network.

The company laptop installed it as the default printer and all was well.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. IT discovered my laptop needed updates. Duly installed, and I spent a day getting things back the way I like them (and deleting XBox stuff, etc -- why this is installed on an "industry Pro" version of Windows, I don't know) and noticed the printer was missing.

After a little investigation, I find that sometime between the last update my PC had and the most recent one, HP removed the PCL5 driver from Win10. Now...why would they do that? Go to HP website...older version of the PCL driver is not to be found. And PCL6 is not downward compatible with PCL5 (at least as far as the LJ5 is concerned).

Could HP be trying to get me to buy a new printer? One, perhaps, with the ability to "expire" toner cartridges whenever HP's cash flow takes a dip? You might certainly think that, I couldn't possibly comment.

Luckily, The Internet came to the rescue. Some nice chap has archived the old HP PCL5 drivers for Win10. They install quite easily and...my printer is working again. Except every print job now pops up a little warning telling me: "black toner almost empty". Goodness me, and I just installed a new cartridge and have printed maybe three pages off it.

So HP has chosen not to offer driver support for "older" printers. I'm sure this was a huge burden for them, and I find their actions quite reasonable...NOT!

*The LJ5M is built like a tank, metal chassis, easily repairable and the necessary parts are inexpensive and readily available, since the LJ5 was sold by the millions and is still doing service as the default office printer, even in my company's offices. Mine was offered free and broken by a local law office. $150 worth of parts (a rebuilt fuser assy for $125 and a $25 gear) and it's like new. Repair instructions, of course, on YouTube.

Ex-eBay security execs among six charged with harassing, threatening bloggers who dared criticize web tat souk

Peter Simpson 1

Re: Yes, right.

Thanks God there's always an underling to take the legal responsibility of CEO's decisions.


"I have a cunning plan, m'lord..."


Ooo, a mystery bit of script! Seems legit. Let's see what happens when we run it

Peter Simpson 1

Re: Efficacy of warning messages

Live and learn :-)

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

Peter Simpson 1

Buttons and Lights

I cannot tell al ie...'twas the buttons and lights wot got me into Computer Engineering, and it has been a great ride.

Please don't stop taking your kids into work. You never know what it might lead to!

// Tux, 'cause a Sun workstation got me wondering if there was life beyond DOS

//...and then I found comp.sys.os.minix...

Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

Peter Simpson 1

Re: Anon to protect the innocent...

I once worked on a project where the client insisted on an audio capability (to play nice tunes on startup IIRC).

I suggested to the firmware designer that we shouldn't let this opportunity go to waste, and provided him with a file of HAL saying his signature line: "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that"

When the machine was booted in maintenance mode, and an error occurred, Hal told you about it.

Peter Simpson 1
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Yeah, they make up for it, though, by taking the long way round. French doesn't have words for some things, so you have to explain what they are using words it does have. Can't think of any examples right now, but stuff like "logic analyser" is probably a fair example. French would have is as a "machine for displaying digital information" or some such.

Ireland's international tech sector bumps up against language barrier

Peter Simpson 1

Romani ite domum!

'Knucklehead' Kansas bloke shoots self in foot

Peter Simpson 1

Re: Driving for dummies.

Manual transmissions save lives!

// try texting while driving a stick

Peter Simpson 1

Re: What was he thinking?

Round chambered, safety off, and in his sock? Doesn't sound like a very responsible gun owner to me.

Aussie wedges spam javelin in ring spanner

Peter Simpson 1

Re: King Dick

I would have gone with Ridgid Tools, myself


Peter Simpson 1


Righty - tighty, lefty - loosey!

Maybe his was a left-hand thread?

US work visas for international tech talent? 'If Donald Trump is elected all bets are off'

Peter Simpson 1

Re: Good for competition?

Obviously, at some level, you need to look outside the local area. But there's an obligation to provide employment for people in the area, where that is a reasonable option.

I'd argue that importing IT people from India (or, in general, overseas) is in the long term, detrimental to the local economy. The H1B program is being blatantly misused to do exactly that. These are IT people, not professors. IT is a job doable by any graduate of a 2-year trade/technical school with a few years' apprenticeship. There is no reason to import people to do a job which has been done by locals for many years...except to lower costs. If you are a corporation who values your environment, you should offer jobs to your neighbors, because, in the long term, you want to be a good corporate citizen.

Peter Simpson 1

H1B - "degree-level skills"

To handle Windows trouble calls and backup servers?

Google kneecaps payday loan ads

Peter Simpson 1


How much would you like me to lend you at 36%?

Unicorn adopts rainbow as logo

Peter Simpson 1

I submit

“reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.”

That my storytelling and that of my mates is no more or less vibrant or diverse than in previous years, but that Instagram has only just noticed the vibrancy and diversity, due to the fact that the sample size they see has grown.

Transfer techies at SWIFT tell Bangladesh Bank: Don't shift blame for $81m cyberheist

Peter Simpson 1

Re: $10 switches are fine

I dunno...there's something about a bank buying a used switch/router for $10 (out of some bloke's car boot in a carpark after work?) that just doesn't inspire any level of confidence at all in their IT infrastructure.

Smoke, fire and all that...

Peter Simpson 1

$10 second hand Router and no Firewall

The bank's going to have a hard time demonstrating that their IT infrastructure was up to a generally accepted standard of security.


Bonus quote of the week:

"There might have been a deficiency in the system in the SWIFT room," said the spokesman, Subhankar Saha, confirming that the switch was old and needed to be upgraded.

French duck-crushing device sells for €40k

Peter Simpson 1

Re: 40K????

Simply place the cooked canard between two sheets of waxed paper, on a flat surface behind the rear tyre of your vehicle, and shift into reverse...

Voila! Your own 40k duck press! And it doubles as transportation.

'I thought my daughter clicked on ransomware – it was the damn Windows 10 installer'

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Don't worry, the upgrade will probably fail

Linux Mint seems to work quite well. I run it at home and on a second PC at work, and it's very solid.

The rest of my family runs Apple gear.

My work runs Win7. It's OK, so long as I don't have to deal with the upkeep. Except that it has decided not to see my USB keyboard. Good thing I had a PS2 one in the drawer. Can't be arsed to figure out why the USB one doesn't work...already spent an hour on it, that's more than enough.

Peter Simpson 1

Re: SAM Broadcaster? And the moral is...

Don't go in for an operation when the anaesthetic machine runs on a Microsoft

You can say that again:


Personal experience: I work for a consulting company. A client had asked us to prototype a diagnostic tool, using LabView (a bad idea for a number of reasons, but...). We built it up, using a "panel PC", running Windows XP Embedded, and delivered it. Time passes. Client calls up, says the system is running poorly.

I do some basic investigation and discover he's picked up a virus. Now, this PC has no networking, only a USB port for logging of data to a thumb drive. WITH AUTORUN ON BY DEFAULT. Yes, he'd plugged in a borrowed thumb drive and XP Embedded had autorun whatever nasty was on it.

I wiped the drive, reinstalled everything, DISABLED AUTORUN, and told him not to use anything but new thumb drives.

You can always rely on the Ancient Ones to cock things up

Peter Simpson 1

At the office -- repairs being made to the concrete parking garage to reduce leakage and improve drainage. Crumbling concrete being jackhammered and replaced.

Fast forward 6-8 months. The heavens open, a deluge of Biblical severity occurs. The folks in the downstairs offices begin crying out for help due to 3-4 inches of water on the floor and a healthy flow.

A soggy wall seems to be the source.

The plumbers arrive. The cast iron drain pipe from the flat roof runs through the soggy wall. At floor level is a cleanout plug, welded in place by rust. Around the cleanout plug, more rust, but not as strong as that holding the cleanout plug in place. The drain pipe has failed, allowing the runoff from the roof to enter the building.

Further detective work ensues to discover why the pipe failed. After all, there should be no back pressure, the water should have just kept going to the storm drain, right? Well, the investigation reveals that the drainage pipe is blocked. Where? A long way away, seems to be under the garage somewhere. A very solid blockage....

Measurements are made, jackhammers produced, and excavation begins.

A 10 foot section of drainpipe under the garage floor is found to have been filled with concrete during the "repairs" half a year ago. It is replaced. The rusty section of drainpipe in the wall is replaced and a shiny new cleanout plug is installed. The soggy wall is replaced. Runoff from the roof again flows unimpeded to the storm drain. All is well again.

At a rummage sale that summer, a recycled life ring is purchased and presented to the building manager, who accepts it with good humor. All repair to the pub.

Cops deploy StingRay anti-terror tech against $50 chicken-wing thief

Peter Simpson 1

Re: Be safe, use a chicken-scented burner phone

'Parson's Nose'

Mum always used to call it the 'Pope's Nose'

(and then immediately told us kids we should never say that)

// she was an escaped Catholic...

Peter Simpson 1

Police in Annapolis – an hour's drive from the heart of government in Washington DC – used a StingRay cell tower simulator in an effort to find the location of a man who had earlier robbed a Pizza Boli employee of 15 chicken wings and three sandwiches. Total worth: $56.77.

Yet when someone steals yer bike, breaks into your car, swipes your iDevice or empties your bank account...they're "too busy", "don't work on anything less than $10k", etc.

Donuts are a powerful drug.

Visitors no longer welcomed to Scotland's 'Penis Island'

Peter Simpson 1

Muff Divers

I wonder if they sell t-shirts?

Ex-HP boss Carly Fiorina sacked one week into new job

Peter Simpson 1

Re: On behalf of the human race


Twice the crazy -- twice the fun!

// not really

// God, please no

// how much crazier will it get?

Rampant robot tries to rip my clothes off

Peter Simpson 1

Save us from helpful chatbots

Like the kind that answer the phone now, and want you to read numbers and all your details to them.

And when you finally get to a live person, he/she immediately asks for the same information all over again.

Thanks $DEITY we have computers to "help".

Samsung's little black box will hot-wire your car to the internet. Eek!

Peter Simpson 1

Re: "a rundown of your driving"

I'd like to see some research results that indicate a correlation between the quantities measurable thorough the OBDII connector and accident rate.

For example: do frequent rapid deceleration events correlate more highly with increased accidents or only with increased brake wear?

Just because the insurance company has declared certain measurable quantities as indicators of "bad driving", doesn't mean there's any basis in fact.

Apple man found dead at Cupertino HQ, gun discovered nearby

Peter Simpson 1

What with all the layoffs and such, the standard of journalistic accuracy here in the Colonies is not what it once was.

// Walter Winchell spinning fast enough to power a small town

BOFH: Thermo-electric funeral

Peter Simpson 1

Re: as if owning IT antiquity was one of those positive character traits

Oh, and I also have a stack of IBM 5081 devices (Google them if you dare!).

No need.

Face down, 9 edge first.

// shopping list in the right-hand pocket.

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: as if owning IT antiquity was one of those positive character traits

...because there was too little space on the RK07 drive packs!

I spent two summers in Westfield, Massachusetts, aligning heads and servo systems on the RK06 production line during my grad student days.

RK07 was the double-density version of RK06. About 1977, IIRC.

How IT are you? Find out now in our HILARIOUS quiz!

Peter Simpson 1

Re: Last question should have been...

How do you feel?

(c) Like I need a trip to the pub...

How Apple's early VR experiments accidentally led to RSS

Peter Simpson 1

Point Cast Network

I remember that. Not only news, but ads as well.

I never installed it, but a co-worker raved about it.

This was back in the days of the 386 and Win 3.1, IIRC, and it involved, of course, TSRs and extended/expanded memory.

Utah declares 'war on smut'

Peter Simpson 1

Re: I thought they tried that before

...something like an hour of paid porn per household per day on average. Utah has 700K households or thereabouts - that equates to about a quarter of a billion per year in revenues.

Can we get that in Reg units?

knuckle shuffles per capita-hour?

swimming pools of...erm..."discharge"?

// open for suggestions here

// seems like too good an opportunity to let it pass by

Peter Simpson 1

Re: Erm....

When I'm referencing The Internet (I will continue to capitalize it) in conversation, as a source of information, I always use the phrase "in between the kiddie porn and the bomb-making instructions"

Point being, there's all kinds of stuff out there in the "tubes". Some of it is lowest-common-denominator stuff, but there's also scientific literature, user manuals for equipment whose manufacturers have long since shut down, and great literature. It all depends what you're looking for. And yes, there's porn, and there always will be. You don't have to look at it if you don't want to.

Peter Simpson 1

Small detail

Ralph Yarro, not Yarroo


Obama to admit Moon landing was faked?

Peter Simpson 1

The answer to a question posed in a headline...

...is ALWAYS "no".


Chinese con-artists cop to US military counterfeit chip switch caper

Peter Simpson 1

Re: Follow the Money

CSB time:

A company I worked for, back in the 90s, bought some hard-to-find chips at an obscene price from a used parts broker (you know, those guys that come up first in a Google search for obsolete parts)

They installed them in the boards, no surprise, they all failed test. Come to find out, some bright light in purchasing couldn't find the parts in distributor stock, so he decided to show some initiative and used a parts broker. Last time we ever did THAT.

Another favourite trick of these guys, is to buy "failed test" ICs from salvage companies (or steal them from the manufacturer while they're not looking) -- these are parts off the chip manufacturer's assembly line that got packaged, but for some reason failed testing. They are then sold by parts brokers as the genuine item.

Several years back, I bought some RAM DIMMs from a well-known vendor. They were made by a company I'd not heard of before. They all worked fine, but all failed within 6 months -- too late for any warranty claims. I have to admire the skill of the manufacturer -- timing is everything.

US congresscritter's iPhone hacked (with, er, the cell networks' help)

Peter Simpson 1

Re: within the grasp of powerful crime gangs and government agents

The only difference between a criminal gang and the government in the US is ...

The Government's doing it to "protect" you

Chilling evidence emerges of Kilocat weapon

Peter Simpson 1


TomCATfoolery, Shirley?

Admin fishes dirty office chat from mistyped-email bin and then ...?

Peter Simpson 1
Big Brother

Re: Using the company mail server

A true BOFH would have filed the email under the names of the two people involved. Just in case, sometime in the future, one of them happened to be in a position to do him a "favour".

// Friday, innit?

// yeah, he did the right thing

I am sending pouting selfies to a robot. Its AI is well buff

Peter Simpson 1

Re: What a...

Your "thick forest of hair" is still there...it's just migrated off your head down to your back.

// no thanks necessary, glad to help!

'Apple owes me $2bn'

Peter Simpson 1

Daisy also sued Reebok in 2000


Would you let cops give your phone a textalyzer scan after a road crash?

Peter Simpson 1
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Evidence is available from the phone company

1. There's no urgent need to obtain the evidence from the phone

2. There may be other data on the phone I do not want the police to view

3. The carrier can provide the usage information for the phone

4. A random cop doesn't have the training to operate every kind of phone, and may damage it or erase data.

5. Phones are not the only source of distraction: passengers, radio, makeup, food, nav/gps/"infotainment" system

Bad law, politically motivated and solves nothing.

UK cops trial £250k drone squadron

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: 1080p drone for 50,000 pounds each?

For that price, they had better come with a large flashing blue light and a yellow and blue checked paint scheme.

This year's H-1B visa lottery jammed full in just six days

Peter Simpson 1

Congress has been slow to act on years of reported abuse of the H-1B systems, but now they are finally noticing something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

That's because they've been paid very well to look the other way for years.

Field technicians want to grab my tool and probe my things

Peter Simpson 1

House calls? In this day?

And a woman?

You're leading a charmed life, sir.

Best I can do is a phone call from a nice Indian gentleman informing me that my Windows machine has a virus.

// kept him on the line for 30 minutes

// and surely, it was HER tool?

That naked picture on my PC? Not mine. The IT guy put it there

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Meanwhile, in t'mill

Mmmm...raccoon porn...kinky!


// say it in Hedly Lamarr's voice from Blazing Saddles