* Posts by DJV

1506 posts • joined 4 Aug 2009

Mind the airgap: Why nothing focuses the mind like a bit of tech antiquing

DJV Silver badge

That reminds me of a tale I heard when on a course at the Unisys training building in Milton Keynes back in the late 1980s. Their Unisys (ex-Burroughs) B25 systems (which were actually rebadged Convergent Technology NGENs) were built as clip-together modules where a module might be a CPU unit, a hard disk unit, a 5.25 floppy drive unit etc. The idea was that you could start with a small system and built it up as required, even to the point of exchanging the CPU module for a more powerful one such as upgrading from a 286 to a 386 (well, it was the 1980s!).

Someone had apparently been sold a second hand system and couldn't understand why it couldn't read the floppies and phoned up Unisys for some support. The engineer trying to help had trouble understanding what was going on for a while as the customer claimed the floppy slot didn't have an open/close lever. Finally, it dawned on the engineer that the customer had been sold two units, none of which contained a floppy drive, and they were trying to insert the floppies into the slim gap between the two units they did have!

For those who have never seen these machines before there's a picture showing two units clipped together here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burroughs_B20. The slot the customer was shoving floppies into was the one directly below the centre of the monitor in that pic.

DJV Silver badge

Back when I was uni in the 1990s (UEA) they had a Macintosh Lab stocked with large Macs with two floppy drive slots but mostly only fitted with one drive. It took them a while to seal off all the empty slots so that they didn't have to keep opening up the cases to retrieve the stack of 3.5" floppies the students had piled up inside.

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

DJV Silver badge

Re: Read and understand the instructions first

...and also print it out multiple times and have a monk recreate a copy by hand using a quill pen and some gold leaf!

DJV Silver badge

"you were left to your own devices"

"devices" - hah, well played!

Capita Consulting ditching more than a quarter of its workforce 45 days after consultations with consultants

DJV Silver badge

CEO John Lewis

Shirley, he's heading up the wrong company...

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

DJV Silver badge

Re: Quickest Fix...

Not sure if this counts but I've sometimes received an email from one of my website clients saying either they can't get something working or something else is broken. However, sometimes even before I've had the chance to look at the email, another email has come in saying they figured out what they were doing wrong and it's now ok, so I end up not having to do anything whatsoever.

This has taught me to check exactly how many emails have come in from a customer and then read the last one first.

The internet becomes trademarkable, sort of, with near-unanimous Supreme Court ruling on Booking.com

DJV Silver badge

I think you completely missed the point of what I said.

DJV Silver badge

Maybe if, when a company starts up, they call themselves "something.com" and that is the name they trade under, then it can become a trademark.

However, if the company is called "something" when it starts up then something.com can NOT become a trademark. For example, Marks & Spencer's online presence is at marksandspencer.com but they shouldn't be able to trademark marksandspencer.com because that ISN'T their company name.

Boffins baffled as supergiant star just vanishes – either it partially blew itself apart or quietly turned into a black hole

DJV Silver badge

So that's where Davros went to test his reality bomb...

Fasten your seat belts: Brave Reg hack spends a week eating airline food grounded by coronavirus crash

DJV Silver badge

"This offering will fill that market need and is destined to take off."

Well, as he was from Gartner, that pretty much condemns it to death!

Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length: macOS shifts from x86 to homegrown common CPU arch, will run iOS apps

DJV Silver badge

Re: Why?

They'd run out of room on "10/X" stuff and had to do a Spinal Tap!

Oh, and they needed to let Craig Federighi out so he could publicly salivate over their new icons.

Release the pressure: Win16 support arrives for version 3.2 of Free Pascal

DJV Silver badge

Re: And in the next release ...

Hey, don't forget the 1K ZX-81 - I'm sure they can fit it in!

What's the Arm? First Apple laptop to ditch Intel will be 13.3" MacBook Pro, proclaims reliable soothsayer

DJV Silver badge

Round things

Ah yes. That brings back fond* memories of the original iMac puck mouse - so gloriously round that it didn't matter which way you grabbed it, it always seemed to move the mouse cursor in an unexpected direction!

Also, I fully agree that holding balls in your hand is easy and comfortable - though, for some reason, the staff in Marks & Sparks take a completely opposite point of view...

* for negative quantities of "fondness", of course!

If you're despairing at staff sharing admin passwords, look on the bright side. That's CIA-grade security

DJV Silver badge


Well, that's certainly far more secure than the code on my luggage!

Meet the dog that's all byte and no bark: Boston Dynamics touts robo-pooch Spot with $75k-a-pop price tag

DJV Silver badge

Re: A less friendly-looking version of Spot was featured ...

When Apple start producing the iSpot those prices will probably look cheap!

DJV Silver badge

Re: Spot should always be operated at least two meters away from people

Yeah, get too close when it sneezes and you'll catch a bad dose of WD-40.

Microsoft disbands three-ring Windows Insider circus and replaces it with 'channels'

DJV Silver badge

Hey look!

Shiny new name!

(Same old bugs that never get fixed.)

Not so nice, we investigated them twice: EU opens double whammy of inquiries into Apple's biz practices

DJV Silver badge

The Register has asked Apple, Spotify, and Rakuten for comment.

And no prizes for guessing which one is highly unlikely to respond!

Wow, Microsoft's Windows 10 always runs Edge on startup? What could cause that? So strange, tut-tuts Microsoft

DJV Silver badge

Google thank you for your slurped data.

GitHub to replace master with main across its services

DJV Silver badge

Re: Just go full Weeb

Supreme All-Powerful Overlord Bwahahaha (with volume and reverb both turned up to 11) & Minion?

Overload: A one-way ticket to a madman's situation

DJV Silver badge

1992 and "Email was an interesting new 'thing' on the internet"

Hmm, someone needs a history lesson! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email

Bloke rolls up to KFC drive-thru riding horse-drawn cart only to be told: Neigh

DJV Silver badge

"the safety of our guests is really important"

If that was really true they'd stay closed and never serve food again!

DJV Silver badge

Re: "One was enough"

Oh, absolutely! That's also the exact number I've eaten (well, more like gagged on) in my entire life. Never again!

DJV Silver badge

Re: Obviously this nasty virus

Nah, it was like that before Covid - in fact, I think it's a job requirement.

After IBM axed its face-recog tech, the rest of the dominoes fell like a house of cards: Amazon and now Microsoft. Checkmate

DJV Silver badge

Re: re: Amazon, publicly dumped the tech.

The change from .co.uk to .com has also resulted in a softening of the bite somewhat!

City of London Corporation explores options to escape Oracle's clutches

DJV Silver badge

"The current Oracle solution is considered not fit for purpose"

Pretty much standard for Oracle then!

OOP there it is: You'd think JavaScript's used more by devs than Java... but it's not – JetBrains survey

DJV Silver badge

It would be interesting to see the stats on that 40% separated out from the JetBrains customers. I bet those figures would have given a completely different picture.

What could possibly make a cranky crocodylomorph more terrifying? How about one that chases you on its hind legs?

DJV Silver badge

Re: "The truth is out there"

Citation required!

You know Facebook has an image problem when major nonprofits start turning down donations over political lies

DJV Silver badge

Re: So what's that little blue 'f' for then?

Looks red to me - you sure you're not "f" blind?

Thought you'd addressed those data-leaking Spectre holes on Linux? Guess again. The patches aren't perfect

DJV Silver badge

Re: OY! 'Nuff o' this shite!

Aye, back in't primordial soup we could only count up to 1, and that was on a good day wi' no fog.

MacOS on Arm talk intensifies: Just weeks from now, Apple to serve up quarantini with Kalamata golive, reportedly

DJV Silver badge


Hmm, that's a bit close to "Calamity"! Is the person in charge called Jane?

Researchers unmask Indian 'infosec' firm to reveal hacker-for-hire op that targeted pretty much anyone clients wanted

DJV Silver badge


Hmm, is it significant that if you "uncross" the X they become BellTroll?

25 years of PHP: The personal web tools that ended up everywhere

DJV Silver badge

Re: Thanks Rasmus!

Same here - I was struggling trying to get something working in (Mod-)Perl back in 2000 for the company I worked for at the time. Then my company sent me to the Apache conference in London later that year. At first I went to some Perl and Mod-Perl sessions. Both had low attendance and had people complaining about things that just didn't work - it was all pretty negative. Then I went to a PHP session to find it packed and full of positivity. Upon returning home I ditched (Mod-)Perl, rewrote everything in PHP and it worked! Haven't looked back since!

Yes, there are plenty of ways of doing it wrong in PHP (the way WordPress has been coded being one of them in my opinion - awaits the downvotes!) but doing it right and doing it efficiently is also extremely possible in PHP as well.

Yet another beefy BSOD spotted lurking within the walls of US patty pusher

DJV Silver badge

"atmosphere of grease, disappointment and desperation"

That made I chuckle!

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

DJV Silver badge

Re: There is a reason for test systems


Back in the 1980s I was working in a company that was using Unisys kit (actually rebadged Convergent Technology systems) running CTOS. These could be "clustered" together into small networks. Downstairs, the boss and admin staff used a system that consisted of a network consisting of a master computer, with the hard disks attached, and two or three networked slave machines. Upstairs, each developer had a single computer but one developer (let's call him Derek, mainly because that was his name) had quite a powerful system.

When the downstairs master computer had a problem the boss decided that Derek's computer would have to act as the master computer for a while. Derek did warn them that, in the process of developing software, it was possible that we would often crash the computers, but the boss wasn't deterred. Derek had also discovered (via the CTOS API manuals) that there was a system call that forced a deliberate crash. He wrote a small program to call that API and every so often, when he was bored or whatever, would whisper to the rest of the developers (who were safely isolated on their own systems) something like, "Listen for the shouts downstairs." Then he'd run the program to crash the network resulting in cries of anguish below. He'd then shout out something like, "Sorry, but I did warn you that we often cause crashes."

It didn't take too long before a new spare computer was made available and Derek's system became disconnected from downstairs again.

Kinda goes without saying, but shore up your admin passwords or be borged by this brute-forcing botnet

DJV Silver badge

Re: IP blacklist

Yes, there is. One of the sites I administer was getting repeated attacks (lots trying Wordpress logins and the site isn't Wordpress, others trying SQL injections). I developed some code in PHP that recognised lots of the common attacks and, if found, added "Deny from [IP]" to the .htaccess file so they can no longer get access and then calls die() with a message that basically tells them to sod off!

It could be 'five to ten years' before the world finally drags itself away from IPv4

DJV Silver badge

Re: Oh my God

Luddite! I'm using IPv3.9999999999999 on an old Intel Pentium!

Google+ replacement ‘Currents’ to end beta and debut in G Suite on July 6th

DJV Silver badge

Re: I've lost count of the number of "chat" platforms they've killed off

There are people counting those and everything else Google kills: https://killedbygoogle.com

No more installing Microsoft's Chromium-centered Edge by hand: Windows 10 will do it for you automatically

DJV Silver badge

Re: Déja Vu

I seem to remember that Internet Explorer (probably version 2 or 3) running on Windows 3.1(1) would keel over and die after a period of web activity due to how (memory) leaky it was. Thankfully the place at which I was working at the time was replacing 3.1 with 95. Of course, then IE4 came along and screwed everything up once more with the infamous "active desktop".

If you bought a CRT monitor, TV 13+ years ago, hold on a little longer, there may be a small check for you

DJV Silver badge

Re: Last two bits of article sum it up nicely

I've got bank statements going back to 1974, which is when I first opened a bank account! The account number is still etched permanently in my brain even though the account itself is long gone. So, where on the sadness scale do I chart?

Fresh cup of WTF with lunch? TeamViewer's big in Twitter's domination-as-a-service scene

DJV Silver badge

Re: To do the same for free...

Blimey! Are you sure you're on Earth?

Western Digital shingled out in lawsuit for sneaking RAID-unfriendly tech into drives for RAID arrays

DJV Silver badge

Re: Silly way to drive customers away

Yeah, but they're still Seagate so they will still find their own way to fail prematurely.

Black horse down: UK banking giant Lloyds suffers an online wobble

DJV Silver badge

Re: Don’t their PR people ever read news stories?

No, and they should probably try looking at Down Detector as well. That was my first port of call after I got kicked out the Lloyds website and I saw a lovely huge red spike showing the status of the Lloyds service was at "Screwed".

After 30 years of searching, astroboffins finally detect the universe's 'missing matter' – using fast radio bursts

DJV Silver badge

I suspect it was down the back of the sofa all the time.

Software bug in Bombardier airliner made planes turn the wrong way

DJV Silver badge

"...is dependent on leg types..."

Do they just have to check that pilots have the correct leg types or must all the passengers be checked as well?

Inquiring minds etc.

Consumer hardware shipments forecast to drop 14% for 2020, but hey, it could be worse, says Gartner

DJV Silver badge

"IT number-cruncher-in-chief Gartner has predicted a sharp fall in the sales of personal hardware during 2020"

Well, thank goodness for that. We all know that whenever Gartner predicts something, the exact opposite happens!

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

DJV Silver badge

@Uncle Slacky

I think that came after the Vic-20.

Forget BYOD, this is BYOVM: Ransomware tries to evade antivirus by hiding in a virtual machine on infected systems

DJV Silver badge

Re: Turning the tables

Ah, that's more like it!

Mind your language: Microsoft set to swing the axe on 27 languages in iOS Outlook

DJV Silver badge

Re: I hear it's going to catch on at some point.

Not a chance, that nice, quiet mannered Mr Ballmer says so.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020