* Posts by sandman

653 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Jul 2009


The perfect crime – undone by the perfect email backups


Quite sound (pun intended) advice. I had some quite valuable books stolen in Portsmouth, I didn't bother with the police, just went almost literally around the corner to the nearest antique/second-hand bookshop, recognised my books, pointed out to the shopkeeper (fence) my signature inside each one, and issued a few brisk threats involving physical harm and property damage. My books were grudgingly returned.

Dutch nuclear authority bans anti-5G pendants that could hurt their owners via – you guessed it – radiation


Hmm, could do with updating. "If you build an idiotic system, idiots will flock to buy it."

How do you call support when the telephones go TITSUP*?


Easy, go old skool by walking around carrying a bunch of paper. Bonus exercise too.

How to keep a support contract: Make the user think they solved the problem



Vents on CRT monitors also made excellent drainage channels for causally slopped coffee. Occasionally you might even find a plant being lovingly watered on top of one.

Computer scientists at University of Edinburgh contemplate courses without 'Alice' and 'Bob'


Full crew

I always wondered what Ted and Alice did to be excluded. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064100/

Cheeky chappy rides horse around London filling station, singing: 'I don't need petrol 'cos he runs on carrots'


Thames Ditton

Hmm, Thames Ditton may in theory be in Greater London, but in reality it's in an affluent part of Surrey. People not only recognise what a horse is, a few probably own one.

UK promises big data law shake-up... while also keeping the EU happy, of course. What could go wrong?


Deep, deep, joy.

Oh wonderful, I can't wait to rewrite all the %&^$£ing training materials. I'll make sure I keep the old ones in case we have to quietly revert.

The common factor in all your failed job applications: Your CV



Let's assume you've done all of the things mentioned in the article and your CV has been passed on to the employer. You're one of three who've made the cut, you've all got similar experience and qualifications, what else can elevate you above the competition. Here's where pure randomness comes in to play. I got one job because I put Formula I in the interests section of the CV, seriously, my future manager turned out to be an absolute F1 nut. Of course, I don't know how many other prospective people were completely revolted by the mere idea. ;-)

Be careful, 007. It’s just had a new coat of paint: Today is D-day for would-be Qs to apply to MI6


Re: Cover

Unlike their Secret Service guys. They have business cards, which calls into question exactly how the "Secret" bit works. (I spent a happy afternoon drinking with one of Clinton's guards in a Washington bar).

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


Re: Hummmmmmmmm.....

Back in the 70s, The Royal Brunei Yacht Club was mostly run on alcohol. Chinese restaurants would serve Tiger Beer from teapots into teacups, complete with saucer, so as not to offend Muslim customers. Expats seemed to have two main occupations, drinking and adultery. It's a lot stricter now, sadly. ;-)

A word to the Wyse: Smoking cigars in the office is very bad for you... and your monitor


Mellow Yellow

Ah, the days of upgrading the office computers. Carefully remove the case (carefully because they were really cheap and the unground metal edges would rip your hand open). Admire the bright yellow fluff gathered around the board. Remove. Smile at the rivulets of dried tar on the inside of the case. Wipe clean. Note how sticky the motherboard was. Shrug. Insert new modem/memory/graphics card/whatever. Carefully close case. If careless, wipe new bloodstains off case and get a plaster. Repeat 12 times.

Two clichés, one headline: 'No good deed goes unpunished' and 'It's always DNS'


Re: My Manager!

I had one like that, he wasn't particularly good at any form of IT/Design/etc, but deliberately only employed people who were. He said his job was to protect us from all the corporate crap and in return, he'd bask in the reflected glory of our (hoped for) successes. He was as good as his word.

Buggy code, fragile legacy systems, ill-conceived projects cost US businesses $2 trillion in 2020


Re: Praise Where and When Praise is Due.

You are not alone - I still have some MAD books lying around from the late 60s/early 70s.

Scotch eggs ascend to the 'substantial meal' pantheon as means to pop to pub for a pint during pernicious pandemic

Thumb Up

Re: "has only left people scratching their heads"

Best ever comment on the leading controversy of the last 1,000 years!

"p.s. Hello from Cornwall, you disease ridden eastern bastards! That'll teach you to put the cream on first. ;-) "

When even a power-cycle fandango cannot save your Windows desktop


Re: Too Many Stories!

Ah yes, when I was a sprog doing technical drawing and engineering at the local technical college, one of our instructors got his tie caught in a lathe. Unbelievably, ties worn with boiler suits were a mandatory part of the uniform. That time I had to dive for the emergency button before we had an unfortunate meeting of chuck and face.

Did I or did I not ask you to double-check that the socket was on? Now I've driven 15 miles, what have we found?


Re: My favourite

Oh yes. I've been sworn at about that. Me "Is the computer turned on at the plug socket". Salesperson "Of course if f***ing is, do you think I'm stupid?" Hmm, better not comment. Wander across to his desk, machine is humming happily away. Me "Is the monitor turned on?" "What's a monitor?" "The TV thing". Again, "Of course if f***ing is." "Is it plugged in?" (Having already looked under desk and seeing that it's not). Silence...

Tech ambitions said to lie at heart of Britain’s bonkers crash-and-burn Brexit plan


Re: Well it's kind of a good idea but...

Ah, so just about anything that starts with the word "British"!

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


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


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


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?



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


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


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


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


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


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


Re: Champagne

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


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?


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


Re: Mass extinction?

Probably in mid-journey...

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


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


Your partner believed that old "hacker" excuse?

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


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...


Re: Fahrenheit?

To be fair, they are American scientists.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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.