* Posts by David Robinson 1

131 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Sep 2009


Work for you? Again? After you lied about the job and stole my stuff? No thanks

David Robinson 1

One would have hoped that Zaphod was dual CPU.

David Robinson 1

Did they use a Tolkien Ring network?

Shock horror – and there goes the network neighborhood

David Robinson 1

"Plus it was too dark to recognise anyone's faces."

Douglas Adams was right: Telephone sanitizers are terrible human beings

David Robinson 1

Re: Agree but...

"Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry." -- Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time

GNU Terry Pratchett

Turning a computer off, then on again, never goes wrong. Right?

David Robinson 1

Re: Reminds me of an old (early '80s) AI koan ...

"It is not a matter of knowing which button to press but knowing how to press it."

Cunningly camouflaged cable routed around WAN-sized hole in project budget

David Robinson 1

But how did they ensure no-one gained root access?

Uptime guarantees don't apply when you turn a machine off, then on again, to 'fix' it

David Robinson 1

Re: Well

"Fresh or saltwater?"

Sysadmin infected bank with 'alien virus' that sucked CPUs dry

David Robinson 1

Re: NIce one!

I remember reading about the exploits of a sysadmin/operator back in the late 90s. He was working at a university at the time. I wonder what ever became of him?

No, I will not pay the bill. Why? Because we pay you to fix things, not break them

David Robinson 1

Re: It goes far beyond that ...

How about the dyslexic, agnostic insomniac who would be awake all night wondering if there was a dog?

David Robinson 1

Why did the programmer put his Christmas decorations up for Halloween?

Because OCT 31 = DEC 25

(Mind, I know of people who already have put up Christmas decorations.)

Linus Torvalds to kernel devs: Grow up and stop pulling all-nighters just before deadline

David Robinson 1

Re: Success!!!

At one place I worked at, the team rule was that Friday afternoon fixes were never rolled out until the following Monday.

I got to hone some of my Linux skills by making a "simple" change to my personal Linux systems before going to bed. Two hours later, I'd still be unpicking the fallout from the "simple" change.

A character catastrophe for a joker working his last day

David Robinson 1

Re: I'd say that ....

<Alec Guinness voice>"Now there's a name I haven't heard in a long time."

Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made

David Robinson 1

Re: Deliver us from office keyboards

I have a few spare Model M keyboards in the loft if you want to borrow one. She'd be begging you to go back to the clicky keyboard after five minutes.

BOFH: Tech helps HR investigate the Boss's devices

David Robinson 1

Re: A thing of beauty

Depends how long you let them stew in their own juices.

Buying a USB adapter: Pennies. Knowing where to stick it: Priceless

David Robinson 1

Re: The Old Engineer and the Hammer

And would that money just be resting in your bank account?

David Robinson 1

Re: The Old Engineer and the Hammer

Just don't get Ted Crilly to tap out the dent.

David Robinson 1

The Old Engineer and the Hammer

The Graybeard engineer retired and a few weeks later the Big Machine broke down, which was essential to the company’s revenue. The Manager couldn’t get the machine to work again so the company called in Graybeard as an independent consultant.

Graybeard agrees. He walks into the factory, takes a look at the Big Machine, grabs a sledge hammer, and whacks the machine once whereupon the machine starts right up. Graybeard leaves and the company is making money again.

The next day Manager receives a bill from Graybeard for $5,000. Manager is furious at the price and refuses to pay. Graybeard assures him that it’s a fair price. Manager retorts that if it’s a fair price Graybeard won’t mind itemizing the bill. Graybeard agrees that this is a fair request and complies.

The new, itemized bill reads….

Hammer: $5

Knowing where to hit the machine with hammer: $4995

Linux Mint 20.3 appears – now with more Mozilla flavor: Why this distro switched Firefox defaults back to Google

David Robinson 1

Re: And this is why

The 1990s called and want their argument back. Dependency hell is nothing to do with the packaging container but rather how careful the package maintainers are with specifying the dependencies and how many third party repos you're using. The Debian packagers were, and probably still are, anal to the extreme about such matters. I cannot recall the last time I encountered any RPM dependency hell using the officially sanctioned repos for the Red Hat systems under my control and my personal Fedora systems.

The Filth Filter is part of the chipset, honest. Goes between the TPM and SEP. No, really

David Robinson 1


Given the demise of top shelf mags, should we start recycling our old laptops by leaving them in hedgerows with some suitable material left on the HDDs?

Electron-to-joule conversion formulae? Cute. Welcome to the school of hard knocks

David Robinson 1

Re: At least they had a firedoor...

"Youngest (and lightest) engineers."

Because they'd yet to succumb to the effects of years of Friday liquid lunches?

David Robinson 1

Re: Ask the dog - it has an 80% success rate


Although, with me, it's not a rubber duck I talk to but a non-programmer. I've lost count of the number of times I'd be explaining a knotty coding issue to someone when they'd notice the light coming on behind my eyes. "Gotta go!"

You walk in with a plan. You leave with GPS-tracking Nordic hiking poles. The same old story, eh?

David Robinson 1

Re: Bargle nawdle zouss

Yeah, the Aldi and Lidl whiskies for £17.49 aren't bad for single malts. For when you fancy a whisky but don't want to break out the really good stuff.

David Robinson 1

Bargle nawdle zouss

Hmmm, sounds like a lot of the stuff you get in Aldi/Lidl. I've yet to see either store beat having a MIG welder as one of their weekly offers.

Not too bright, are you? Your laptop, I mean... Not you

David Robinson 1

Re: me too

Been there, done that. A friend's daughters had received identical laptops for Christmas, could I call around and configure them for wi-fi access? First laptop, I got it onto their wi-fi no problem. Second one, just wouldn't. Went through a few cycles of driver installs and other diagnostic steps until I noticed a little slide switch on the front edge of the laptop. *Click* and the laptop could see the wi-fi.

A practical demonstration of the difference between 'resilient' and 'redundant'

David Robinson 1

Re: An SFW tale to share?

Not after it had bitten my sister.

Fix five days of server failure with this one weird trick

David Robinson 1

Re: Need to smash the hell out of that power brick

"SCSI is *NOT* magic. There are *fundamental technical reasons* why you have to sacrifice a young goat to your SCSI chain every now and then." -- John Woods

David Robinson 1

Only if they contain flux capacitors, story was from 25 years ago.

David Robinson 1

I'm guessing TSB

TSB were fond of reminding us in their adverts they were "The bank that likes to say 'Yes'."

I had to scurry off to Wikipedia to remind myself of when Lloyds and TSB merged. 1999 to save you a trip and 2013 when the two demerged back into their separate entities.

BOFH: Here in my car I feel safest of all. I can listen to you ... It keeps me stable for days

David Robinson 1

Re: Box Tickers Anonymous United .......

A Møøse once bit my sister... No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given her by Svenge - her brother-in-law - an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian møvies: "The Høt Hands of an Oslo Dentist", "Fillings of Passion", "The Huge Mølars of Horst Nordfink"...

Go to L: A man of the cloth faces keyboard conundrum

David Robinson 1

Font recommendations

And I don't mean the ones used for baptisms. Which monospaced fonts have you found offer the clearest distinction between lower 'el', upper 'eye' and number '1' and upper 'oh' and number '0'? And also look good at a range of sizes? Lucida Console (Windows) and Liberation Mono (Linux) are my go-tos, just wondering what else is out there.

We don't know why it's there, we don't know what it does – all we know is that the button makes everything OK again

David Robinson 1

A Story about Magic


Don't be a fool, cover your tool: How IBM's mighty XT keyboard was felled by toxic atmosphere of the '80s

David Robinson 1

Re: keyboard condoms

One woman in our office managed to scratch an LCD panel with her fingernail while pointing at something on the screen. Fortunately it was the one on her desk. If she'd done it to mine, there would have been an after hours swap.

David Robinson 1

Re: keyboard condoms

Upvote for Ice Pirates reference.

I haven't bought new pants for years, why do I have to keep buying new PCs?

David Robinson 1

"But I hardly use it."

My dad mainly uses his laptop these days, but in his study has a old tower PC I built for him. I recently got a call from him, "My PC won't turn on."

Me: "Well, it is quite old, it's probably given up the ghost."

Dad: "But I hardly use it."

Me: "Didn't you tell me that you never used to turn it off because it took too long to start up?"

The next time I was around my parents, I cracked open the side panel to see if I could spot anything obvious but nothing jumped out at me. Out of curiosity, I did a search for the motherboard model number. Released in 2004, so a 16 year old PC, most likely running XP.

Me: "Yeah, after 16 years, I think it owes you nothing at this point."

Fortunately I was able to pull the IDE(!) HDD and successfully copy his files to an external HDD.

BOFH: 7 jars of Marmite, a laptop and a good time

David Robinson 1


Allegedly you cannot hypnotise someone and make them do something they wouldn't normally do. That the boss did strip naked and cover himself in Marmite says a lot about him.

Housekeeping and kernel upgrades do not always make for happy bedfellows

David Robinson 1

Mistakes are how we learn

I've done "rm -rf /usr" before. Fortunately it was on a personal Linux machine. For whatever reason I'd made a copy of /usr and then came time to remove it. Of course muscle memory kicked in and put the '/' before 'usr'.

Back to the title of my post. I got into Linux in the late 1990s. Back then, you learnt by scouring Usenet groups and using this up and coming search engine called 'Google'. (I wondered whatever happened to them?) You'd try something, break your system and work out how to put the pieces back together. Over the years I've noticed a trend for newer users not to experiment but want the answer spoon-fed to them.

Vote machine biz Smartmatic sues Fox News and Trump chums for $2.7bn over bogus claims of rigged 2020 election

David Robinson 1

"We are sorry that we were caught out in a lie and won't let it happen again."

Freezing in Newcastle? You're not alone: For one lonesome creature, the world stopped on 31 Dec 2020

David Robinson 1

The last line says what is needed, Send Police Community Support Officer.

Pizza and beer night out the window, hours trying to sort issue, then a fresh pair of eyes says 'See, the problem is...'

David Robinson 1


Policy is that all text config files are held in CVS or similar. You check out the latest version and make changes to that. Should anything untoward happen on deployment of changes, it makes it easier to roll back.

David Robinson 1

Re: Doubtless with the assistance of a baseball bat peppered with rusty nails.

I prefer an IBM Model M keyboard. You can run them through a dishwasher to remove blood, allegedly.

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?

David Robinson 1

Executives left in the dark

Many moons ago, my dad had the electrical maintenance contract for a local software company. One day he gets a call from the head of facilities.

"There's a big board meeting going on and the room's in darkness, can you get here ASAP and look into it?"

My dad drops his current task and hies himself to the software company. He gets escorted to the boardroom where his first diagnostic test is to flick the light switch, which had the effect of illuminating the room. My dad left shaking his head at the thought of all these people charged with running a company not thinking to check the light switch.

He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended

David Robinson 1

Upgraded Sneakernet

How much of a bandwidth upgrade is Rollernet over Sneakernet?

The power of Bill compels you: A server room possessed by a Microsoft-hating, Linux-loving Demon

David Robinson 1

Re: Power!

So a binary search to find the break in the cable?

You *bang* will never *smash* humiliate me *whack* in front of *clang* the teen computer whizz *crunch* EVER AGAIN

David Robinson 1

Re: With great power comes great incompatibility

There are many IT tales regarding random reboots due to cleaning staff or tradespeople unplugging kit. One would think they would have been told upfront not to unplug anything they did not plug in and if they do, it's instant dismissal.

Having different socket/plug configurations doesn't stop someone unplugging to only realise their plug won't fit.

You had one job... Just two lines of code, and now the customer's Inventory Master File has bitten the biscuit

David Robinson 1

Re: Adding a comment sometimes caused compile failure

An unexpected period or missed period can ruin your day, as most women know.

Venerable text editor GNU Nano reaches version 5.0 and adds the modern frippery that is scrollbars

David Robinson 1

Re: Cult?

Vi[m], because back when Unix had more flavours than Starbucks, vi was nearly always available. And I had to switch between a few different flavours of Unix back in the day.

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

David Robinson 1

Early optical rodents

The first couple of generations of optical mice had problems with certain colours. A chap I worked with had a mouse mat with a red-eyed green tree frog printed on it. He swapped from a ball mouse to an optical one and retained the mouse mat. Every time the optical sensor moved over the frog's eyes, the mouse pointer went crazy. It took him a while to figure that one out.

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

David Robinson 1

I was with the story until the civilian in a fishing boat. Anyone care to chip in with a reason why the Navy wouldn't have cleared the area of non-essential personnel?

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?

David Robinson 1

Re: Varieties of rodent

I purchased my own rodent and keyboard for use in the office, whereas most others are content with the cheap shite supplied with the base units. If I'm using something 7+ hours a day, I want to make sure I'm comfortable with it. 16 year old MS IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0A, still going strong. Keyboard is one using Cherry MX Red switches, as I'm not allowed to use my Model M in the office. Something about Health & Safety and exceeding dB limits...

Dumpster diving to revive a crashing NetWare server? It was acceptable in the '90s

David Robinson 1

Re: I'm pretty certain I've heard this solution before ...

Not an El Reg story, but from the Daily WTF. Even mentions using phone books to get the height right. I'm thinking this story may be in Urban Legend territory.