* Posts by Richard Gray 1

110 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Oct 2009


HPE's updated Spaceborne Computer-2 ready to hitch another ride to the ISS

Richard Gray 1

Service options...

And to think I used to moan about being sent to John O Groats....

Enterprising techie took the bumpy road to replacing vintage hardware

Richard Gray 1

Bizarre printer failure

We did have one person who didn't want to loose his personal Laser jet printer despite being told that the orders had come from on high.

If he was a better user we might have been slower to respond...

We did a guerrilla run into his office at night. used a strip of black insulation tape over the laser unit /fuser (I can't remember which).

He came down the next day with a printout with one column missing. We took the printer away for "repairs" and was never seen again

Cat accused of wiping US Veteran Affairs server info after jumping on keyboard

Richard Gray 1

When they said to cat the file... I don't think that's what they meant

How is this problem mine, techie asked, while cleaning underground computer

Richard Gray 1

Nasty IT places

Well I have been to several nasty places to support IT things.

I supported a pair of Netware 4.11 severs in Portharcourt, Nigera, which while the place was ok, it had the dirtiest power ...

For physical dirt it would be a toss up between some peoples houses as a service engineer, and a server in a diesel train depot in Scotland.

Hhmmm all those lovely oily particulates all over the outside and inside of the case.....

Airbus takes its long, thin, plane on a ten-day test campaign

Richard Gray 1

Re: in a 3-3 economy class configuration.

I had to travel Angola Air for a previous job.. an aging 747, and as you can imagine not very busy.

The in flight magazine was very self impressed that it had finally managed to pass a financial audit from many years previous.

I dread to think about the engineering records...

Anyway as it wasn't busy as soon as the doors were closed I noticed the middle row near me was empty, and thought "MINE!"

as soon as the seatbelt sign was off, I moved over, put all the armrests up, got all the cushions and blankets, lay down with the seatbelt around the outside.

I asked the very nice lady cabin crew politely for a large whisky, which she graciously supplied (several times). I fell asleep fully stretched out across all the centre seats.

Woke up just before landing.. one of the best flights I've ever had..

Attackers accessed UK military data through high-security fencing firm's Windows 7 rig

Richard Gray 1

From the other side


before I start and get flamed, their setup was just wrong and it should not have had access to external internet, been fire walled etc, I think we can all agree on that...

But.... having had to deal with some lab analysis machines that you were not allowed to put any form of windows update on, will never have their software upgraded / patched, and is generally not written by software people but by (probably Chemistry / Biology) students who worked at the place developing the thing a decade ago I do have some sympathy (not a lot see above)

I can't imagine that any process control software for the specific machine that does a thing will be any different. With weird hardware that won't / can't run on anything but the exact equipment that is now no longer available, and the the replacement (equally as bad but enough breaking changes that nothing done previously would work) is probably in the 10s or 100s of pounds.

Oh and they might just want to verify the licence information on their servers before it starts to work.

Don't get me started on BMS etc....

The installation was probably done not by the IT guy but an Engineering tech who has nothing to do with IT and wouldn't know a packet other than his packet of fags (cigarettes for our American cousins)..he would have just plugged the yellow cable into the network port as the instructions said and left it at that.

So yes is should have been done better but so should all the control software for all the little bits that people don't think about. Not every computer is in a nice clean office doing Word Documents or spreadsheets.

Is there anything tape can’t fix? This techie used it to defeat the Sun

Richard Gray 1

I need my local printer

When I was a lowly PFY, we were told that we were going to have to go to network printers around the office.

Most people didn't have a problem with that and just went with it.

One old guy HAD to have his local printer for printing his spreadsheets (no Idea whey he kept printing the damn things out).

The IT Manager said get rid of it..

The use said No


Cue one evening working late when his office was unoccupied..

a bit of black insulating tape over the laser of the printer and retreat.

It could not have been placed better! It took one perfect column out of his spreadsheet.

He called up to have it fixed, so we had to take it away to be "Fixed"

He never saw it again.

User was told three times 'Do Not Reboot This PC' – then unplugged it anyway

Richard Gray 1

Remove, Throw, Call

I was involved in a PC roll out.

This would involve changing the login screen which can be a bit confusing, so we did what any reasonable IT person would do...

Thought they were all idiots so we made it as easy as possible for them.

We emailed documents with instructions for the new login prior the the weekend roll out, we chatted with people where possible to informally let them know what was happening and what they needed to do.

We even printed out (with screenshots) a simple guide and placed it neatly on everyone's keyboard so it was impossible to miss. I think it even had something like "READ THIS FIRST " on it.

I guess about 50% of the people removed the annoying bit of paper covering the keyboard and threw it away.

They then saw the screen was different, panicked and called the helpdesk to ask what to do....

And these were allegedly intelligent people with degrees and stuff ( I don't want to say what in y'honour because of reasons)

Lockheed Martin demos 50kW anti-aircraft frickin' laser beam

Richard Gray 1

Frikkin Lasers

If someone doesn't develop an armoured vehicle called "Shark" so we can have a shark with frikkin lasers I'll be very disappointed

NASA overspent $15m on Oracle software because it was afraid an audit could cost more

Richard Gray 1

Learn guys...

Reminds me of of Good Omens..

“Along with the standard computer warranty agreement which said that if the machine 1) didn't work, 2) didn't do what the expensive advertisements said, 3) electrocuted the immediate neighborhood, 4) and in fact failed entirely to be inside the expensive box when you opened it, this was expressly, absolutely, implicitly and in no event the fault or responsibility of the manufacturer, that the purchaser should consider himself lucky to be allowed to give his money to the manufacturer, and that any attempt to treat what had just been paid for as the purchaser's own property would result in the attentions of serious men with menacing briefcases and very thin watches"

Voice assistants failed because they serve their makers more than they help users

Richard Gray 1

The real reason why voice activated is rubbish

I can so believe this:-



and never forgetting


NASA's Artemis mission finally launches after faulty Ethernet switch delayed countdown

Richard Gray 1

Launce from orbit

Ok it took off, but did it launch a Paris mission??

Oh back when the El Reg was young and exciting....

Martian microbes could survive up to 280 million years buried underground

Richard Gray 1

beat me to it :)

but still they come!!


Do Do Doooo Do Do Doooo

Wheee ooooww

Using the datacenter as a dining room destroyed the platters that matter

Richard Gray 1


I went to a remote site in Jo'burg. you know the one with just a rack for patching flat networking and possibly a server in the rack.

I found that the cleaner thought that the bottom of the rack was ideal for storing the mop and bucket in.

I was there to relocate the "server room" and the local contractor thought it was better to have the servers and stuff at the top and the patch panels at the bottom not thinking about things like .. stability ...

Boeing's Starliner CST-100 on its way to the ISS 2 years late

Richard Gray 1

Re: Just the two failures then..

I did say in the recent past, I'm hoping that the engineering & safety would have improved since the 60s

Richard Gray 1

Just the two failures then..

I'm curious as to how many other manned flights (in the recent past) had thruster failures?

I'm guessing none or they would have been reported more widely.

Given this is meant to be a demo flight for how everything is wonderful after the last time, I don't see having a single thruster failure can be marked as a successful launch.

Yes they can manage without those two thrusters but what about next time? 3? 4 failed thrusters?

They must do better for a manned launch vehicle.

BOFH: Pass the sugar, Asmodeus, and let the meeting of the Fellowship of Bastards … commence

Richard Gray 1

Icon denotes after effects

"And here is a mood lamp. This lamp will change colour to denote the secondary user's mood to the primary user."

I could have done with that about 30 years ago. The lady who ran kebab van we used to go to for lunch would take out her frustrations with her husband on the chilli sauce.

The conversations went something like :-

"Hi, one large Donner please... How's your day going??"

"Sure, Fine. Chilli sauce?"

"Yes please! load it up!"


"Hi, one large Donner please... How's your day going??"

"Sure, Oh that lazy Ba...[mutters]. Chilli sauce?"

"Just a touch today please."

The Register recreates Apollo 15 through the medium of plastic bricks, 50 years on

Richard Gray 1

Awesome... now link to the plans

Brilliant build, but why no link to the plans?

I want to be sure I'll build the right one .

Linus Torvalds tells kernel list poster to 'SHUT THE HELL UP' for saying COVID-19 vaccines create 'new humanoid race'

Richard Gray 1

Re: A new human race indeed


I'll need to keep out of the server room or I'll mess up the spinny things with my super magnetic powers...

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful

Richard Gray 1

Give me buttons ON THE TV!

It wouldn't be so bad it you could actually do something like walk up to the TV, press a simple on off button, press a channel (or AV selector) and possibly even a volume control... without having to have the contortionist skills of a snake and the ability to sense which button is which of a super hero stopping an explosive with the time at 1 second to Kaboom!

but no.. any buttons that may exist must be so minute that you need a sodding microscope to see them, and text to indicate what they are for... don't be ridiculous, there's no pint in that because they will be so far around the back that any attempt to see them will involve removing said TV and turning it to the wall.

And if you do turn it off and then back on again.. it will then reset not to the source you had previously but whichever sodding device it happened to see first.

Back in the day there was proper voice controlled TV....

"OY you {child closest to TV} turn the sound up" or "OY you {child closest to TV} turn it to BBC1"..

( I was that child)..

Today I shall explain how dual monitors work using the medium of interpretive dance

Richard Gray 1


I used to use a similar analogy for people who got confused between Memory and Hard drive space.

Usually after been asked by the Big Boss (my wife) to look at a friends PC that they bought cheap from PC world or something, I would suggest that it could probably do with some more memory to make it run a bit quicker. I would usually get the but it has 500Gb of memory...

So imagine you have a desk, and some filing cabinets

Your memory (ram) is your desk and your filing cabinets are your storage (disk)

some of the space on desk is used by your computer and screen and stuff so you don't have all the desk free

You pull documents out of your filing cabinets and onto the desk to use.

If there is no space on the desk you need to put the documents you are not using back into a filing cabinet.

The bigger your desk the more documents you can have on it at the same time.

You can have a huge filing cabinet but if you have a small desk putting all the things back and pulling them out again will take up time.

I find this is a useful explanation for non technical people like parents, friends and office managers, and is useful for them to buy the ram they need and stop bothering me

The future is now, old man: Let the young guns show how to properly cock things up

Richard Gray 1

F - up by experts

In the dim and distance past, I was working for a company that had an "office" (Jolly pad) in London. and because this was an office it needed to be connected to the Centrex phone system.

As a PFY at the time I was sent down to make sure it worked, with senior management not being trusted with such things. I was assured that it was all installed, I just needed to make a couple of test calls, job done. My plan was then to change my ticket back to Aberdeen to the weekend, find a cheap hotel and see the sights of London.

I get there, the fibre is not installed the MUX is not installed and the patching is not finished... Several calls to my Manager and heads started to roll and I was to remain on site until the work had been finished.

A couple of days later the hardware was installed and all was ready and "working".

It was fine if you just used one phone, but would hang up calls if you tried such ridiculous things as making/ receiving another call on another handset.

Another couples of days working though it and lots of angry calls from me to Cable and wireless as each of their fixes failed to fix the problem.

Finally sorted about 2 hours before the CEO who definitely wouldn't want to see a PFY in his "office" arrived.

Returned back to a pat on the back and very loose interpretation of what was acceptable expenses.

UK's National Cyber Security Centre recommends password generation idea suggested by El Reg commenter

Richard Gray 1

I suggested that in 2017


The beer is what you owe me :)

We know it's hard to get your kicks at work – just do it away from a wall switch powering anything important

Richard Gray 1

Re: My favourite one....

Oh the number of times when I did support for secretaries that had a problem with their keyboard...

Me : "There is something on your keyboard"

Secretary: "No there isn't"

Me: "Yes there is.."

(repeat above several times)

S: "Oh there is a folder touching my keyboard"

Me: "can you move it? fixed? great thanks"

'We're storing how this material should behave': Boffins' 3cm 'm-bit' cubes demonstrate programmable wunderstuff

Richard Gray 1

Re: Skynet by the backdoor

If we built them into roads they could monitor traffic flows, detect wear usage.

Then if hackers got in they'd be... floppy drives...

BOFH: Are you a druid? Legally, you have to tell me if you're a druid

Richard Gray 1

Re: Am I a Druid?


The Novell NetWare box keeps rebooting over and over again yet no one has touched it? We're going on a stakeout

Richard Gray 1

Of chairs and telephones

Our Phone system was declared non Y2K compliant so we needed a newer one.

The powers that be decided on a Centrix phone system. the biggest POS I have ever used, with the worst sales engineer / project manager it has ever been my misfortune to meet.

Anyway there was an issue with a phone hanging up mid call.

This went on for many months with phones, cables being swapped.

After all that it turned out to be the chair.

Apparently the phones were very susceptible to static discharge (tested in a false teeth factory I was told) and whenever someone stood up / sat down on the chair it created a static charge and killed the call.

One chair meet skip later all was solved.

Max Schrems is back... and he's challenging Apple's 'secret iPhone advertising tracking cookies' in Europe

Richard Gray 1

Legitimate Interest - just Foxtrot Oscar

After regularly going through the opt out of advertising that now seems to appear on every sodding page, only to find out that you can opt in all, but need to de select each one separately, they have now come up with "Legitimate Interest".

Look I've already told you to piss right off that means your DON'T HAVE ANY legitimate interest to me or my data. I don't care what you think you want, that appears on a quick read through to be almost exactly what you would have got if I'd opted in for your crap.

Can we not just enforce an API that you can set on your browser to choose at a browser level if you want to opt in, if you want to opt in for a specific company and the data you're willing to share.

Then No means No. and you can't have any sneaky tricks like making it hard to object to the legitimate interest by killing the pop up box after you've opted out of the targeted, but without being able to see if the legitimate interest has opted out too.

SNAFU: Clairvoyant train brings warning of what was coming down the line for 2020

Richard Gray 1

Re: My Money is on

Not the new Cadbury ones, they aren't the same anymore.

I like the nice proper chocolate ones these days.

What do you mean "Not those kind of Easter Eggs"?

I want my chocolate!!!

A cautionary tale of virtual floppies and all too real credentials

Richard Gray 1

Networked office

Remember the days when programs would be run from network drives to save the space on the local hard disks?

I'll never _ing forget... As a fresh faced PFY I had a problem with my local PC office, and it was suggested that I un install and re install.

Unfortunately with my rights it decided to completely un install office, including the networked version that everyone was using.

Fortunately quickly fixed with the /admin install back to the network location, with a lesson well learned that could have gone a LOT worse.

Bill Gates lays out a three-point plan to rid the world of COVID-19 – and anti-vaxxer cranks aren't gonna like it

Richard Gray 1

Oh ok then ... :P

'When asked in a recent interview if he wanted to use vaccines to implant microchips into people, the billionaire responded simply: "No." '

Well he would wouldn't he...

He contracted Dr Doofenshmirtz for the micro chipping


Please look at Icon BEFORE spamming me Thanks In Advance

Help! My printer won't print no matter how much I shout at it!

Richard Gray 1

Robocop ED 209

I was working as a subby in Scotland, and we were told to relocate a printer that kept jamming.

only to find it was one of those old HP large format printers that look like ED 209 from robocop.

It was located in a shed at the end of a platform at the train station.

The door was a bit sticky so we ended up having to "push it gently" with our shoulders. we then removed the printer and wheeled it down the platform and out of the barriers.

No one said a thing. We had a few funny looks but no one asked for work ticket, paper work, ID or anything.

When we relocated it it was plugged in and was not a happy camper. I unplugged it and recommended to my boss that we leave it until tomorrow to "have a look at it". Sure enough after a days warming up it worked fine.

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope

Richard Gray 1

Re: Stop pressing enter!

I had a classic do nothing fix.

I was senior enough to do things, but still junior enough to be sent out to the back of beyond and do stuff ( I loved it!) and was in Indonesia. The task was to merge their GroupWise with the main office GroupWise systems.

I had the local local guy, the local regional guy and me the "big shot from the UK" (that was probably close to what they thought of me, not what I thought of me which was wow free trip to Indonesia).

I was pre warned do double check everything because if you hit GO and then cancel, or it stops be prepared for World Wide Pain (TM)

So we checked, double checked and hit Go.

After half an hour there was nothing, no sign we had hit the button, no indication at all. not even a whirleygig the cheapskates.

After an hour the locals were getting nervous and wondering if something had gon wrong and should they cancel it and try again.

Given that we were doing this over a bit of wet string, I stated loudly that I was hungry and it was time for my dinner. "but the merge...." but I was resolute in wanting my dinner. or more to the point to take away the temptation for one of us to try and cancel it.

a couple of hours fighting through the local traffic, an nice evening meal, and fighting back, we came to the on screen message of merge complete 0 errors.

And that is how going for lunch can merge a system...

Beers becasue we had them after obvs...

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

Richard Gray 1

Provides a useful tool

I have been fortunate enough to work for a University Lab doing medical research.

One of the researchers asked me (a few years ago now) for a 4k laptop and 64bit office.

As you can imagine this was an arm and a leg, and at the time 64 Bit office was as stable as a very unstable thing.

When I asked why, he showed me ( I don't pretend to understand a fraction of what they do other than it was really important work for Diabetes ). They import the data then use the conditional colours to see the various gene snips.

It can make it much more obvious where changes / outliers are. you look down the column of red and see a blue indicates a different gene snip that can possibly indicate the faulty \ different gene sequence. Much easier than looking down a list of numbers \ letters

Knowing I was helping people in a very small way did sort of help my soul recover after working for _ing Lawers.

Beer (or Non Alcoholic beverage of their choice I know some of them don't drink, but the others take up their share ) for all the wonderful medical workers \ researchers trying to find cures for all kinds of stuff.

CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets

Richard Gray 1

Yes, it is surprising that they haven't eradicated the feral beasts, but I suppose that you're now allowed to trap students.

It's Political Correctness gone mad I tell you ...

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

Richard Gray 1

Phone forwarding

The company shall remain nameless, but back in the day, when mobiles were no as ubiquitous around the world as they are now, it was common to use a Sat phone. mobile > Sat phone was even more expensive than Mobile > landline > Sat phone, and it was easier to keep tract of the costs.

Imagine the suprise when the Bill that came in was HUGE! tracing thought the logs to find out who had made all the calls showed that it was in fact a local landline number.

At the time the Sky (Satellite TV) used to have to "phone home" to make sure of your subscription. Or people would buy a cracked on from the back of a van that would phone a random number that in this case ......

I think they ended up putting pin codes on it after that.

Why is the printer spouting nonsense... and who on earth tried to wire this plug?

Richard Gray 1


I was setting a office up in Dubai, and as one of the first on the ground I got to see them installing the electrics.

The guy that was doing the installation needed some light, so he took a light fitting down stripped the wires and jammed them into a socket...

When I saw it I gave him a bollocking and told him everything had to be done properly with the correct earth etc.

He pulled the cable out stripped the wires back and shoved the 3 wires into the socket rather than the live and neutral!

When I came round again I gave him another bollocking and said I meant plugs and sockets.

At the same place we had a sub contractor put in our door entry system. It worked, but when I had a reason to poke my head in the roof space I was horrified.

There was power running over cat 5 cables, cables and relays left hanging, wires twisted together. How it didn't stop working / burst into flames cause a rip in the space time continumumum I'll never know.

Another bollocking and it got ripped out and installed properly.

The moral of the story... always watch over the subbies and be prepared to poke your head in the roof / floor space before signing off :)

Oh noes! Half the NHS runs on Windows 7! Thankfully, here's Citrix with a virty vaccine

Richard Gray 1

Just think of the drivers

I have (unfortunately) had to deal with Lab equipment / Microscopes / gas thingys, and they ALL have the biggest pile of shit software / drivers ever written.

The are often still using serial interfaces. They BAN you from running an AV or windows updates.Those that do allow multi user access don't link in with AD or LDAP, requiring local user accounts.

They are never bought with any reference to IT to ask the complicated questions like what do you mean it needs to be on that specific subnet? we are using that for something else.

And these are devices that cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds....

Updated software that will be another few thousand, what do you mean you've spent your grant money on other things like staff and consumables?

All these manufacturers should be ashamed of themselves!

Rant over...

What a load of bollards! Object of bloke's street furniture romp run over

Richard Gray 1

post lunch...

I hope he doesn't end up HGV positive....

Welcome to the World Of Tomorrow, where fridges suffer certificate errors. Just like everything else

Richard Gray 1

My idea for a smart fridge..

The only smart bit of a smart fridge for me would be to work out if the fridge is cold enough to wait until the 'leccy is cheap ( yes this relies on smart infrastructure too) in order to cool down to balance the power grid.

I'd also like zones of various coolness, so 2-3 C for meat etc, and proper cellar temperature for beer without having to resort to a second fridge.

Beer because obvs

Be still, our drinking hearts: Help Reg name whisky beast conjured by Swedish distillers and AI blendbot

Richard Gray 1

Machine learning



Only one Huawei? We pitted the P30 Pro against Samsung and Apple's best – and this is what we found

Richard Gray 1


The question no one has answered is can it shoot in raw?

I like the idea of optical telephoto, I would prefer it over a super wide (I'm guessing I'm a special case), but only 8megapixel ? that's a but poor.

When you do these reviews can you shoot some lens test cards and a standard setup?

College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

Richard Gray 1

Re: Value added installer

I did something similar, but to software with no value.

I wrote a very small Pascal program, that created a text whirlygig (remeber those) that said something like "Updating Database" .

An that's all it did. Cue sit down with cup of tea not having to do anything. Shame there wasn't really any internet back then (Yes I know it existed, but not many people had it) to waste my time more productivly.

Tech support discovers users who buy the 'sh*ttest PCs known to Man' struggle with basics

Richard Gray 1

Before the internet!!!!

I used to work in the Tech department of a certain large store.

Parents would buy their sweet little sh... kids a PC and some games.

These would always need tuning, ensuring that the CDdriver was in the CONFIG.SYS and the MSCDEX.EXE was in the AUTOEXEC.BAT

So we would have to tell the little shi ... kids what to do over the phone. Said phone generally being in the hallway, while said PC was in a bedroom.

Cue the Chinese Whispers of Me speaking to parent, who shouted up the command to shi... child #1 at the top of the stairs who relayed it to shi.. child #2 in the said bedroom...

Beer because I needed one then and I need one now..

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

Richard Gray 1

Re: Lyca Customers

In touch for the very first time?

Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab

Richard Gray 1
IT Angle

Foodie Friday

Not really IT as such, but since it's about simply fixing stuf....

There was an advert on a local group for one of those really expensive food processors, you know the ones you see on all the cooking shows. saying that it only worked on pulse not properly hence {really low price}.

As She who must be obeyed, washer of socks and cooker of meals wanted one I thought why not..

I bought it, took it home and looked at it. The on switch had a bit of "gunky food residue" (tm) on it.

A bit of cleaning spray, a cocktail stick and a good hard 5 minutes of work, one fully functional food processor and one VERY happy She who must be obeyed, washer of socks and cooker of meals.

Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...

Richard Gray 1

Re: ED-209


Richard Gray 1


A few years back I was working for Scotrail, well not them, but as a sub contractor to the contractor contracted to the contrator with the contract fot Scotrail.

One day we had to move one of the large format printers from a shed on the platform as it wasn't working well ( in a freezing shed on a cold damp platform in the middle of Glasgow who'd have guessed) .

Although we had the key, the door was stuck so badly we had to shoulder charge it open (thinking, we'll get arrested if we are not careful).

We then trundled the thing along the platform out of the gates and into the street, and no one said a word..

When we installed it into the new office inside my 'boss' plugged it in where all the lights came on and beeping like a Glaswegian on Daytime TV.

"It's broken" (or words to that effect) he said.

I told him to unplug it and wait a couple of days (there would be a LOT of drying out and the buidling wasn't THAT warm.

Sure enough a couple of days later powered up and worked perfectly.

A flash of inspiration sees techie get dirty to fix hospital's woes

Richard Gray 1

Re: Poor Barry

You need training on them..

When I was doing my offshore course, they showed us pictures of fingers.

Polished up a treat, shame about the lack of any skin on them.

I won't say it was gruesome, but when a secretary came in to give him a message he covered up the projector lens.