* Posts by sandman

638 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

Page:

A memo from the distant future... June 2022: The boss decides working from home isn't the new normal after all

sandman

Re: More Middle Manager insecurity

Personally I don't want to shame my managers with my book collection behind me. All the Gary Larson cartoon books, every Asterix book, Sandman, etc. They just couldn't compete. ;-)

Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo dies aged 92

sandman

Just behind me in my "home office" is a shelf with every Asterix book, plus a couple of duplicates in French and Latin. Still read one at random on a regular basis and still find them funny. I got a bit sniffly when I heard the news, which is very unusual for me :-(

Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean

sandman

Yep, we had a plug with a DO NOT TOUCH sign on it in bright red, bold, underlined, plus the plug switch was taped down with yellow and black electrical tape. We were running 3D renders of a new building overnight (back in the day, when it would take all night). We had a super-urgent request for a drawing that had to be shown to a certain royal personage with an interest in architecture the next day. I started the render and left for the night. The cleaner came in, could't find a spare plug, so just pulled off the tape and plugged the vacuum cleaner in. Next morning panic ensued and the cost of a motorcycle courier to get the drawing to its destination in time for the crucial meeting was considerable. The whereabouts of the cleaner is unknown... ;-)

There are already Chinese components in your pocket – so why fret about 5G gear?

sandman

Drugs

I was listening to the Huawei debate in the House of Commons and seriously wondering a) What drugs some MPs were on, and b) where can you get them. I've rarely heard so many speeches grounded on so few facts.

The time that Sales braved the white hot heat of the data centre to save the day

sandman

Re: The quiet hero almost never gets the beer.

The number of times I've had to patiently explain to senior management that nothing, repeat nothing, should ever be launched on a Friday. (Usually explaining that they will have to respond if anything goes wrong and/or there'll be a whole weekends worth of irate customers to deal with, works).

It's always DNS, especially when you're on holiday with nothing but a phone on GPRS

sandman
Devil

Re: No Service

A simple tactic is to tell everyone you're going to be out of contact, because you'll be spending most of your holiday exploring deep gorges/rain forests/coral reefs/etc with no reception. Many people will believe you because there is a strange belief that outside Britain and the US, mobile coverage is poor, when the situation is exactly the opposite. Then, when at your destination, turn the phone off and lock it securely in a nice steel hotel safe - just to be sure.

The time PC Tools spared an aerospace techie the blushes

sandman

Re: Windows 3.1

Hey, I still use the old TNI excuse (mostly to save very senior users' blushes. As in "No, Director, it wasn't your fault that you failed to save the document, it must have been a network glitch." I have the survival instincts of a cockroach). Don't give away trade secrets! ;-)

Email blackmail brouhaha tears UKIP apart as High Court refuses computer seizure attempt

sandman

Re: The Pity of It All

Or use said islet for testing the latest iteration of Trident?

And then there were two: HMS Prince of Wales joins Royal Navy

sandman

Re: Bloody Shambles

I had one of those managers. Keeping with the military theme here, he provided top cover for us. To quote him. "I'll protect your backs and then bask in the reflected glory of your successes."

We've found it... the last shred of human decency in an IT director – all for a poxy Unix engineer

sandman

Re: Champagne

Worried about glass? Pour the bubbly through a cheap plastic tea-strainer to add a bit of class.

sandman

Shock tactic

I used to work for a US company that had the worst blame-avoidance culture I've ever met. Anything that went wrong was always someone (or something) else's fault. We had a minor snafu one day and a meeting was held to deflect responsibility. I just opened my mouth and said "Yep, my fault, I screwed up, I'll fix it" Absolute silence, apart from the sound of jaws hitting the table and brains gently frying. :-)

Why can't passport biometrics see through my cunning disguise?

sandman

Re: Checks

Don't remind me. I've been through quite a few passport photos. The sequence was something like this: Chubby schoolboy (aren't you a bit young to be flying by yourself?); Total stoner (step out of the line please); Carlos the Jackal (the bastard even had the same glasses) and Serbian warlord (not helped by the fact that the background was half red and half blue, looking like I was standing in front of a flag, all I needed was an AK47). Fortunately the latest one looks at least semi-human and I get through at the same rate as most dubious travellers these days.

Heads up from Internet of S*!# land: Best Buy's Insignia 'smart' home gear will become very dumb this Wednesday

sandman
Mushroom

Re: Mass extinction?

Probably in mid-journey...

Remember the 1980s? Oversized shoulder pads, Metal Mickey and... sticky keyboards?

sandman

Re: Keyboard woes

Ah, yes, I had to maintain our company's computers back in the old smoking days. the tar would happily build up on the cooling fans, mingling with the usual dust and crud to make an effective caulking agent. It was a bit of a competition to see which fan would stop working first. The site of lines of tar running down the inside of the casing really put me off smoking.

'Six' in the city: Kiwi sportswear shop telly beamed X-rated flicks for hours over weekend

sandman

Your partner believed that old "hacker" excuse?

Orford Ness: Military secrets and unique wildlife on the remote Suffolk coast

sandman

Re: Nobody is quite sure what it was originally built for.

Probably not for the Laundry, no pentacle inside the circle. ;-)

Geo-boffins drill into dino-killing asteroid crater, discover extinction involves bad smells, chilly weather, no broadband internet...

sandman

Re: Fahrenheit?

To be fair, they are American scientists.

The time a Commodore CDTV disc proved its worth as something other than a coaster

sandman

The old days

Oh there were some classics in the days when many people were meeting computers for the first time. Although I was the IT project manager, people assumed that I would be happy to fix their little problems. My favourite went like this. "My computer isn't working!" "OK, have you switched it on?" "Yes, do you think I'm bloody stupid?" (Biting inside of cheek - hard). "Have you turned the monitor on?" "What's a monitor?" "The big TV thing on your desk." Silence...

Same problem, different (and politer) user. Computer on? Check. Monitor on? Check. Hmm, screen still black and no little light. Is the monitor plugged in? Nope.

Rise of the Machines hair-raiser: The day IBM's Dot Matrix turned

sandman

Try a Lathe

When I were a lad, I was doing metalwork at our local technical college. Bizarrely we had to wear boiler suits (sensible) and shirt + ties (gibberingly insane). Watching one of our instructors getting his tie caught in a lathe rather demonstrated the idiocy of that rule. A lucky hit on the emergency stop button prevented a facial puree and a pair of tin snips took care of the tie. Were the rules changed? Of course not, don't be silly.

'Cockwomble' is off the menu: Uncle Bulgaria issues edict against using name in vain

sandman

Re: It's a shame...

Hmm, then we'd have the problem of chasing down the waste after it flees the repository...

Literally braking news: Two people hurt as not one but two self-driving space-age buses go awry

sandman

Re: Bus v Pedestrian or Pedestrian v Bus

I use "phombies", it's easier to say (or shout, if swearing doesn't seem apposite).

Guess who reserved their seat on the first Moon flight? My mum, that's who

sandman

Re: Maglev first stage

See "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein for more on mountains for launching.

Drone fliers are either 'clueless, careless or criminal' says air traffic gros fromage

sandman

Re: "The drone community"

Everybody is lumped in a bloody community now. You are also part of the Reg Commentard Community (Please note, this is not a sub-community of the Crunchy Nut Cornflake Community).

Hot desk hell: Staff spend two weeks a year looking for seats in open-plan offices

sandman

Re: This is true

Being a generally awkward person and working in an open plan office I had the annoying habit of when someone in the room emailed me with something trivial, I'd just walk over to their desk and say "Yes/No/You must be joking/Maybe" as appropriate.

Exclusive: Windows for Workgroups terror the Tartan Bandit confesses all to The Register

sandman

Revenge

One company I had the pleasure of working for had a particularly unpleasant sales person who hated the IT Department (someone must have told him he couldn't have a new laptop sometime in the past). He particularly hated one member, who to be fair did have an incredibly loud and annoying laugh. While said sales drone was on holiday, we replaced all his Windows sounds with a recording of the laugh. Being technically completely ignorant, he couldn't find out how to remove it. Since his manager and the CEO were in on the joke he couldn't even get any joy by whining to them. Eventually, he had to abase himself and ask us to fix the "problem". Oddly, he still hated the IT mob after that incident...

Giga-hurts radio: Terrorists build Wi-Fi bombs to dodge cops' cellphone jammers

sandman

Re: WiFi? Timers!

The invention of the aniseed ball timer (and other lethal and dubious devices) is well covered in: Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat - £1.99 from Amazon (Kindle version). A fun read!

Veteran vulture Andrew Orlowski is offski after 19 years at The Register

sandman

Best of luck - it's been fun! :-)

A real head-scratcher: Tech support called in because emails 'aren't showing timestamps'

sandman

It doesn't end

Yes, I also worked for an organisation where one of the directors insisted their PA print out all emails so they could read them and then dictated the answers. Fast forward a few years and management changed. This lot would only look at bulleted PowerPoint slides. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Take a hike: Grab a flask of tea – South Korea is opening hiking trails in the DMZ

sandman

Re: I quite like tourist trails...

Health and Safety gone mad I tell you!

Take your pick: 0/1/* ... but beware – your click could tank an entire edition of a century-old newspaper

sandman

Re: Talking of paper...

If you printed the holes in straight lines they made excellent roach material as well (or so "a friend" told me). ;-)

A quick cup of coffee leaves production manager in fits and a cleaner in tears

sandman

Fan Heaters

Back in the day I worked in an old office with another 5 people. The electrical system was almost as venerable. We started out with just two computers, one running the database and my CAD setup. Then desktops became cheap and the other three got one each. When winter came, the old steam heating couldn't provide enough output to keep us warm, so fan heaters were turned on. One heater was fine, two heaters OK, but a third was just too much and there would be screams of frustration as everything went dark and cold. Being a poor charity, it took a couple of years before we could afford to replace the wiring for the whole building. It looked like a scene from a Dickens' novel as we huddled over the keyboards in winter coats, woolly hats and fingerless gloves.

Town admits 'a poor decision was made' after baseball field set on fire to 'dry' it more quickly

sandman

Re: It's not a proper sport

You got to swap shirts at half time? Luxury!

Chap joins elite support team, solves what no one else can. Is he invited back? Is he f**k

sandman

Re: Unfortunately predicable

Sometimes you can get away with it. I was the IT analyst on a large eLearning project. As such, I wrote the specs for the project - comprehensive specs, very, very, comprehensive specs. This was in the days when the differences between browsers was a real problem. So, to cut a long story short, a director hands the project build over to an external design company and everything proceeds. Six months later, I'm invited to the unveiling in their building. During the presentation the designers of the quasi-3D environment (it was a trend, even though users hated it) proudly stated that it only worked on IE5 (could have been 5.5). I pointed out that the client only used Netscape and banned IE... The director turned round and snarled "Why wasn't that in the specs?" At this stage I lost my temper and replied "It was, I wrote them, did you read them?" and stormed out before I started using unfortunate language.

Later that day, back at base, I was called into his office. Mentally clearing my desk I was more than a little surprised when he offered me a job in his own department. I politely refused, mostly on the grounds that he hadn't got a clue what he was doing really. After that I always produced a PPT with the mission-critical specs to present to those with short attention spans, as well as the full document.

OK, team, we've got the big demo tomorrow and we're feeling confident. Let's reboot the servers

sandman

The other side of the coin

In one company I worked for, I was on a small panel that evaluated any software we were thinking of buying. The scenario was always the same, the super-confident salesperson would spout about the ease of use, the huge productivity gains to be had and the miraculous ROI. Then the poor bloody techie would attempt to demonstrate the miracle software... To be fair, after much sweating and naked panic, something would usually appear on screen, at least temporarily. It was fun, in a perverse way, to watch the salespersons eyes as the prospect of a juicy commission slinked away.

I am just a mapper: Solar drones take to the skies above Blighty

sandman

Brilliant

"The vehicle has a 38m wingspan but weighs little more than a typical sysadmin: 149kg (328lb)."

'Numpty new boy' lets the boss take fall for mailbox obliteration

sandman

Re: 100% honesty 90% of the time

I once worked for a company that had a total blame culture (one of the reasons why I suspect it failed later).Not realising this when I started, I made an error when configuring the settings on a new LMS. When it was noticed, the cry went up "Whose fault is this!!!" I turned my chair round and said "Whoops, I screwed up." You could have heard a pin drop... They were so shocked that nothing else was said. :-) Mind you, in the same company I did threaten to defenestrate (from the 9th floor) a colleague who tried to pass the blame for a really critical error on to me.

Millennium Buggery: When things that shouldn't be shut down, shut down

sandman

Re: God Bless written instructions

Documentation rocks - particularly when dealing with directors who could be described as "marginally sane". I once specced out a very large elearning project and sent it to said director for sign-off. (This was something like 140 pages long). It duly came back, signed by his own fair hand. This was a multi-partner project, originally planned to work in pseudo-VR and developed by a third-party company. The great day comes for the first live demo and the director goes utterly ballistic - it simply doesn't do what he wanted. He barks at the whole room, "This wasn't in the specification!" Unfortunately I lost my temper a little bit and snapped back. "Yes it was, I wrote it and you signed it off, did you read it?" Silence... a long silence. My career was floating away in front of my eyes. Luckily he was mad, but fair, and back at base apologised for his outburst - he hadn't read it. This was the day I learnt to provide executive summaries of specifications, in PowerPoint, using a lot of very simple pictures and diagrams.

Brexit-dodging SCISYS Brits find Galileo joy in Dublin

sandman

Re: Merry Brexmas ...

"Haha, suck it up Englanders: you'll be up shit creek, with high unemployment, a fleeing populace and civil unrest like third-world, shit-hole countries under WTO rules like... USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand."

WTO - ha, ha, ha. More like NAFTA, CETA, ANZCERTA and TPP.

Countries sign trade agreements for a reason.

sandman

Re: Sadly with May running the clock down...

Outside Context Problem.

Roll a diplomacy check to win the election: Vote tie resolved by a D20

sandman

I love D20s - nice and smooth if you stand on one in bare feet. D4s however, make Lego bricks feel like feathers!

Time for a cracker joke: What's got one ball and buttons in the wrong place?

sandman

Hand Holding

I used to work for a global company that was trying to specialize in eLearning. Because of the "global" bit we started using conferencing software (Centra for those old enough to remember it). Our CEO found it extremely difficult to use, so during the conferences, I'd go into her office and literally guide her hand and mouse around, pressing on her finger to click. I rather admired her for admitting she was finding it difficult to use and not being afraid that the whole company could see me holding hands with her. ;-) (Reader, I didn't marry her).

Mystery sign-poster pities the fool who would litter the UK's West Midlands

sandman
Devil

I'm so glad that my lightly "humorous" post managed to excite such ire. My day's work is done and done well! Bwah, ha, ha!

sandman

Mommy/Mummy - how common, Nanny cleans up after one.

Jacob Please-Mugg

Watchdog sceptical UK.gov's Universal Credit can handle 8.5m benefits claimants

sandman

Correction

Let me correct the headline for you: Watchdog sceptical UK.gov's Universal Credit can handle 8 benefits claimants.

Silent running: Computer sounds are so '90s

sandman

Sorry, I'm a sadist

I used to have the opening bars from 21st Century Schizoid man (King Crimson) as my ringtone. It would make the whole office jump. Sadly it had to come off as it had the same effect on me. :-(

Brace yourself, Britain: Health minister shares 'vision' for NHS 'tech revolution'

sandman

We're all doomed (again)

Ah well, having skillfully avoided all NHS contracts last time round, I'll be doing the same again. Most of the people I know who worked on the last round are now clients of the NHS - the psychiatry wing of it.

Leaked memo: No internet until you clean your bathroom, Ecuador told Julian Assange

sandman

Re: Considering....

I think that perhaps a branch of the US govt (there are many overlapping jurisdictions) would find it much easier to "pick him up" in Ecuador than even in the UK...

Scanning an Exchange server for a virus that spreads via email? What could go wrong?

sandman

Re: Sweet memories...

Yep, that's rekindled a few grey cells. We thought we were on top of it, repeated warnings sent out, 24pt, bold, underlined, bright red, dire threats and all. Then, one person in PR decided to completely ignore all that... When asked, they said, "Oh, I never read messages from IT, you're always just sending out warnings."

Google now minus Google Plus: Social mini-network faces axe in data leak bug drama

sandman

Never trust the +

Another lesson in not trusting anything with a + sign at the end:

Google+

Canada+ (or++) (or +++)

C++ (you can like this one, but trust, nah).

sandman

Re: Google+ users

Me too. Oh, wait, I don't have a cat.

Page:

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020