* Posts by Paul Mitchell 1

9 posts • joined 13 Aug 2009

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home

Paul Mitchell 1

Data transmission problems at month-end

Back in the early 80s we had a problem reported from one of or satellite offices in France. A girl's terminal connected to a mainframe in the UK was suffering repeated retransmits. The mainframe would send a screenfull of data followed by a checksum. Her terminal would verify the checksum and if it didn't match would request a retransmit. She said it was happening several times an hour. After a couple of days she stopped reporting it so we didn't pursue it.

But then the week after another girl in the office reported the same issue. She was more vocal so myself (programmer) and a comms engineer planned to fly out there on the following Monday with a datascope so we could view the traffic and try to work out what was going wrong.

When we got there on the Monday morning she sheepishly told us that the problem had gone away. Just in case, we hooked up the datascope on her line and waited. Nothing happened.

On the Tuesday a third girl in the office started reporting the problem. We attached the 'scope to her line and sure enough the screen data was frequently arriving corrupted.

One of the girls then red faced announced that she knew what was causing the problem. She had notice that the problem affected any girl in the office who was menstruating. Anti-static mats under all their chairs solved it.

Sysadmin sank IBM mainframe by going one VM too deep

Paul Mitchell 1

Infinite booting

Back in the early 80s I was sys admin on a Honeywell DPS-6 used by about thirty developers.

I needed to reboot it one evening but I couldn't hang around to perform the boot myself. I had a tiny assembler program that would perform a "level-2 interrupt" . This would skip any shutdown malarkey and perform an immediate reboot.

I placed this command into the batch queue scheduled for 6pm. The other developers assured me they'd be gone by then. So I expected to arrive the following morning to find a freshly rebooted minicomputer.

Unfortunately, since the level-2 interrupt rebooted with so little bureaucracy, there was no chance for the batch processor to remove the job from the queue. The result being that as soon as the machine started up and looked in the queue it found the reboot command there ready to execute again.

This led to an infinitely looping reboot and a bunch of angry early-bird developers when I arrived the next day.

People hate hot-desking. Google thinks they’ll love hot-Chromebooking

Paul Mitchell 1


"If a worker’s machine breaks, they just grab a new one"

"30,000 unique users rack up more than 100,000 loans in the last year"

So users are having to replace their Chromebooks over three times a year due to failure?

Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

Paul Mitchell 1

This article could benefit from some proof reading.

This article could benefit from some proof reading.

Top US science wonk wants Grand Challenges and 3D printers for the kids

Paul Mitchell 1

By ten

"reduce the cost of a space launch by ten."

Ten what? Ten percent? Ten dollars? Ten human lives?

A million TVs to go dark across London

Paul Mitchell 1

Go dark?

I would have thought they'd go all snowy.

News of the World TO CLOSE

Paul Mitchell 1

Web page

Is it any surprise that domain name TheSunOnSunday.com was registered just two days ago?

Women face 'glass cliff' after breaking glass ceiling

Paul Mitchell 1

Cause and effect?

So when women take the helm, a crisis usually ensues?

Microsoft at a loss in Word patent case?

Paul Mitchell 1
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No great hardship then

"Cannot sell or import..." So licensing and exporting like they've been doing till now are both still okay then?


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