* Posts by rototype

144 posts • joined 18 Feb 2010

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Software guy smashes through the Somebody Else's Problem field to save the day

rototype

Re: SEP became MP

Had to do rodent removal from a desktop on a farm once, someone had left an expansion blanking plate off and they (2 of them) had cooked in there and taken out hte power supply.

rototype

Re: It's a sad day for this IT rag...now reincarnated as HHG recollections

"my guess is that's why the 5th book ended by killing everybody and destroying the galaxy just to make sure that nobody could make him write a sixth volume."

But the 6th volume was written, only not by Mr Adams, instead by Eion Colfer although the style is pretty similar.

rototype

Re: Why cant you

Reminds me of a time when I literally got my mate to fall off his chair he was laughing so hard:

We were talking about seals (in this case for air rifles and I mentionned that the seals came in a pack

'What's a seal pack?' he asks (meaning the price)

'About 2 1/2inches' I replied.

You've stolen the antiglare shield on that monitor you've fixed – they say the screen is completely unreadable now

rototype

Re: IBM ATs are "liquid" proof

At that age I'd probably suspect they were Dell Precisions - we still have a few at work (most well over 10 years old) and due to be disposed of as soon as there's enough space in the WEEE bin...

These things are almost literally bomb proof - claimed by my super to be one of only 3 things to survive a nuclear blast, the other 2 being Cockroaches and Tardigrays.

The Ministry of Silly Printing: But I don't want my golf club correspondence to say 'UNCLASSIFIED' at the bottom

rototype

Re: Way Back...

A place I used to work had early PCs with printers that anyone could use (it was quite a technical department) - we also had the secretaries/typists who would do your typing for you. The general rule was if you wanted to compose something on the PC you did the whole process, start to finish and printed it yourself OR you got the secretaries to do it from hand written drafts. This was done to stop the secretaries being used just to correct the formatting (and occasionaly spelling) and printing it, which was demeaning to them.

rototype

Re: Back in the early 90's

Been there, embedding control codes in a text based application to get it to produce prettier output (never did get anything for that) but I remember spending many hours sending strings of codes to the printer to see what actually did anything. This was an old wide carriage Anadex printer that no-one supported I got it for £25 from army surplus in the 80s). Still, I managed to get it working on an old CP/M version of Wordstar well enough to use it to write up my reports for college and have all the usual text enhancements (Bold, Italic, Underscore Narrow and Double Width, never managed double height though).

Even managed to get it to print basic graphics (72 x 75DPI) - enough for small items but nothing big.

rototype

Re: Back in the early 90's

Anyone remember BeoWorks? I remember V1.0 came on 4 floppy disks (720K as I recall) and would run on an XT. Very limited (as if M$ Windows wasn't at the time) but V2.0 was a lot better, although it did take more space up it was nowhere near the amount Windows used by then. Major problem was application compatibility - if you wanted anything other than what came with it you were out of luck, having said that the Office type package that it was based around was pretty reasonable.

Sharing is caring, except when it's your internet connection

rototype

Re: I live half way up the hill ....

... and Dell Precisions

rototype

Re: My Fav

abc@123.com was my favourite

rototype

Re: "What the neighbours made of their sudden disconnection is . ."

Sounds like the keyboard lock they used to put on PCs, probably only 2 or 3 variants on most PCs, although I do seem to recall some manufacturers like IBM did use unique keys (or at least a much bigger pool of combinations).

Maker of ATM bombing tutorials blew himself up – Euro cops

rototype

Re: Playing with Chemicals that Go Bang

You try shipping a laptop battery on it's own by air freight - not going to happen.

rototype

Re: Pretty much standard

A fun one to look at on YT is the way the dutch use 'Carbide' for some celebrations. DON'T have the subwoofer turned on when you watch them though.

rototype

Re: Think of it

Reminds me of the story of a couple of good 'ol boys who were on their way back from a fishing trip when the pickup they were driving blew the headlight fuse. Apparently they replaced the fuse with a .22 long cartridge (yes, a live one) and were found in the ditch a couple of miles down the road with the driver now being said Darwin award candidate.

rototype

Re: History repeating itself.

The only 2 service dogs I know belong to my boss who has a potentially life threatening alergy. The first she had was a little black toy poodle who could sit on her lap quite comfortably when traveling (and very often went to sleep there), his replacement a year or so back is a big black labradoodle who's really cuddly but you know when he barks. Both religiously wear/wore their service jackets and are/were very well behaved.

BOFH: You. Wouldn't. Put. A. Test. Machine. Into. Production. Without. Telling. Us.

rototype

Re: Hah! New keyboard required!

I wouldn't knock the Titan branded stuff, I have a cheap (£50 when I bought it 18 months ago) 1500W SDS drill that's performed like an absolute trooper, recently drilling/chopping through 6" thick very solid concrete without an issue and is still as good as the day I bought it. In fact the only casualty of the entire concrete removal process was a 22mm (7/8") 450mm (18") long drill that sheared the SDS tang off.

OK, it's heavy but makes beautiful holes quickly and if necessary you can turn down the force for more delicte jobs.

rototype

Re: Whenever

Personally I prefer a 3lb Forge Hammer (Yes, I do carry one in the car - officially it's to aid in changing tyres), when a user has a tricky problem I often offer it to them, you should see their faces when I actually bring it into the office!

rototype

Re: The guy's here...

If you were at our place they'd say 'Hey, no worries, means you had a great holiday and a good break which is exactly what holidays are for' - Our management look at holidays as time to turn off, refresh and unwind so you're fresh when you get back to work again, even if it does mean IT need to reset your forgotten passwords. Did you guess a large proportion of our company are in The Netherlands...

rototype
Headmaster

Re: Testing 1 2 3

Not sure the ones at our school would have caught fire, they were too soggy. They were starting to rot (after 3 years the window frames were like blotting paper) and fall down on their own. Mind, we'd not have said no to a nice fire in one in the winter - were b****y cold in them.

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram deplatform themselves: Services down globally

rototype

Re: We could try to shame them

Damn, someone beat me to it. Almost fell of my chair when I read that even their ID card system was locked out because it relied on the same systems.

BOFH: You'll find there's a company asset tag right here, underneath the monstrously heavy arcade machine

rototype

Re: A little power

When I was working at a hospital a few years back, there was a guy employed (contractor) to PAT test everything. He'd quite happily pull the power cord from a running machine (even those specifically marked 'Don Not Unplug or Turn Off') and also had a habit of sticking the PAT test stickers over our machine identification labels (the ones we put on so the users can tell the helpdesk what their machine name is when it fails to do what it's supposed to - like after some eejit's just yanked the power cord our while it's still live.

rototype

Re: Personal heaters

For me it's a 1/2 height domestic fridge, a UPS (to keep the internet flowing and prevent nasty power surges) and a small NAS box, along with the dual 27" screens etc but everyone has those don't they?

Fix five days of server failure with this one weird trick

rototype

Reminds me of an old 386 I had to fix

Back in the day I was the computer guy at a shop that did computers and musical instruments (not necesarily at the same time) - the boss was a bit of an 'entrepreneur'. Had this PC in to fix, had it on the bench - powered it up no problem. Put the lid on - Reboot. Odd I thought, lid off - fine - what's it shorting on.

Looked around it for about 20 minutes and found nothing, had a sip of (now cold - not unusual) coffee while I was thinking, put the mug down a bit hard next to the PC - Reboot - What? used the back of a screwdriver to do a bit of tapping and got to the PSU, tap - Reboot, tap - Reboot. Faulty PSU diagnosed, replaced and PC sent out with relevant bill. I didn't bother repairing the PSU as they were always a sod to get apart and never went back together right.

rototype

Re: The "inspector"

Took the cover off (honestly, isn't that what you do with ANY problem?)

In my case (if I'm allowed) any new kit.

Congestion or a Christmas cock-up? A Register reader throws himself under the bus

rototype

Our place has a more sensible attitude

When someone screws up, as long as it isn't something tooooo drastic, if you 'fess up as soon as possible after you realise then they're generally OK about it. This has happenned twice to me, once I accidentally deleted the global security database in ISE - the response I got from that Infrastructure was 'Hey Fred (name changed) - you know that button in ISE that you should never press..." (I reckon they were just grateful it wasn't one of them who pressed it). Second time I was trying to remove an Azure group from a user who'd left, managed that bit OK, but I removed the group from everybody. As soon as I spotted that one I found the person responsible and told them, in both cases some minor disruption but not as bad as it would have been if I kept schtum (and tbh they'd have found out who it was from the logs anyways). Also in both cases it led to improvements in procedures that benefitted all of us.

To have one floppy failure is unlucky. To have 20 implies evil magic or a very silly user

rototype

Similar

Similar to this is the fact that students (be it school or college)can quite easily push a 3.5 floppy with a damaged cover into the drive but it often doesn't want to come out, not without leaving the little metal cover in the drive.

Back in the day I worked as IT support in a private girls school (no, it's nowhere near as glamourous as it seems, in fact a total pain in the a** most of the time)and they were all suppose to keep their floppies in a disk holder, available from the school shop for a few pennies (actually sold at cost price to rey and save money on support calls - it didn't work), we still managed to find the metal shields blocking the drives of a fairly frequent basis.

I wouldn't have minded if the little dears had reported it straight away (ie whilst it was still connected to the disk) - I had a method of gettin ghtem out quickly and easily with little or no damage - but no, they'd insist on ripping the disk out and leaving the shield in the drive.

As I mentioned I could get these out easily**, but I was told under no circumstances to do so until the culprit had been identified, and heir parents billed for a new drive, even if it meant 1/4 of the computer lab out of action with no floppies.

** 2 expansion blanking plates, inserted through the slot to squeeze the sides in and slide it out gently - worked about 98% the time.

rototype

Re: The endless story

This is why I'm planning a 'Blues** cookbook' when I can finally find enough spare time to get it all into the computer and proof test it all.

**Colourworks personality types, a large proportion of us on this forum will be in the blue corner.

rototype

Re: The last straw

The only reason I've replaced my last 2 mobile phones (smart phones) is because the previous one finally died completely (or completely enough to not be useable). Last one lasted just over 5 years and the one before lasted 6 1/2 years - I still have my old Nokia 5130 but I can't find a SIM card** or working battery to fit it anymore.

** the previous SIM card was trimmed to fit the newer phone then trimmed gain th fit the next one - not pretty but it worked. I now have a new SIM because I complained about not being able to turn off expensive voicemail and got a new contract for 1/2 the price with 10X the features (pays to buy your own phone SIM free then get a SIM only contract).

rototype

Re: if it works...

One word - Arduino

Mullet over: Aussie boys' school tells kids 'business in the front, party in the back' hairstyle is 'not acceptable'

rototype

Isn't the only reason...

That the mullet is trending because no-one can get to the barbers/hairdressers to get it cut during lockdown? money on as soon as the hair cutting establishments are alowed to reopen the mullet will die once more, hopefully for good this time.

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

rototype

Re: One thing people tend to forget about FOSS.

There is of course one other thing that's holding FOSS together - the people/companies who support it's hosting. There may well come a day when the data centre/IT manager says "What's that server doing, it's consuming resources and not providing income - Finance say we must have $$$$ profit to show for every device, shut it down and replace it with a marketing spam server"

At this point (when finance and marketing truely have control over business) anything FOSS on corporate resources will cease to be. Slowly things will begin to wither and disappear and once the origin in the link chain goes there's a whole branch gone since no-one these days bothers to host it themselves, they just link to it. (ever wondered where all of the dead links go to?)

True it may well take considerable time for things to get to this state (if we're considering Micros**t & Apple going as well it could be within the same time frame), but it will come.

rototype

Re: Uncle sounds like my father

Sounds to me like the real reason was that he begrudged the pice of the fuel to run said chainsaw. (and the kids labour is effectively free in comparison).

rototype

Re: When you say "pants",

IBM X3650 server (NAS) and Lenovo T410 still going strong, although now relegated to second fiddle since I bought one of these fancy IdeaPad Flip thingies in late 2019. Still use the T410 though, it's got an ethernet port on it so necessary for plugging in and sorting out issues with broadband modems/routers.

Oh, and the oldest trousers (pants) are probably on my good suit, circa 1990 - AND they still fit!! (just). Jeans just don't seem to last that long for me, I tend to wear them out (I don't believe in continuing once the knees/pockets are through etc..).

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

rototype

Re: Confession

When I was 16 I got a nice new shiny bedroom suite from MFI, over 35 years later my brother now has the wardrobe (no, he's not married) and the drawers are in the spare room - still going strong. Think the trick was to glue the joints as you assemble them, same goes for Ikea stuff now - makes them much more rigid and less likely to wobble (which is what breaks the joints and ultimately makes them colapse).

rototype

Re: Why have the switch ?

If you'd seen some of the machines I've seen (mostly for shop use) you'd not ask that - the rtaditional method for turning the power on or off was pulling the plug out of the socket and vice versa - having a switch on the socket means a lot less wear on the plug (and consequenty the cable). Whenever I've had a piece of kit like this the first thing I've done is fot a NVR switch to it (it usually involves some spinning thing that can cause serious injury) but still you see them on ebay with nothing between the motor and plug except an unbroken length of cable.

Another reasdon for te switch I think is the fact that we use 240V AC as opposed to the much tamer 115V you get on that side of the pond - trust me, 240V hurts more, if you can switch it off before unplugging you reduce the risks a bit. (and for the past 40+ years, all live/neutral pins have had to be shrouded 1/2 way up so you can't accidentally touch a live pin - got to think of the kiddies you know...)

rototype

Sounds a bit like a PC I was working on in the late 80s - fairly modern spec PC clone for the time but it just kept rebooting. No logic behind it - just rebooted seemingly whenever it felt like it. Then - a breakthrough (of sorts) knocked the bench getting up to see someone else and it rebooted again - Hmmm, Soon got to tapping it with the back end of a screwdriver and around the power socket Bingo! Cover off, more tapping -tap - reboot, tap - reboot. dodgy jooint in the Power On Reset circuitry of the power supply, changed the PSU and all was good from then on (I think the boss put the old one in the 50p bucket and some mug bought it - didn't come back though).

BOFH: Time for the MMOCC. You know, the Massively Moronic Online Christmas Call

rototype
Mushroom

Re: "We've signed up to a multi-presence company”

Sounds like there's going to be a lot of machine failures there in the near future, terminal ones.

Who knew that hosing a table with copious amounts of cubic metres would trip adult filters?

rototype

Re: Inside joke?

Nearly as good as when the Polytechnics were changing over to being Universities, Newcastle Poly narrowly avoided being remaned to City University of Newcastle upon Tyne. (I think it was the sports bods that gave them the headsup on that one)

When you're On Call, only you can hear the silence of the clicks

rototype

Re: On call phone.

Bit of a difference to our place at the time, the one they got us was so cheap and cr*p we dual SIMMed our own phones and just passed the SIM around (also saved carrying a normal phone and the 'support' Brick. That 'support' phone was so cheap & nasty that within 2 months the battery was totally knackered.

As far as I recall it was purchased after numerous complaints of getting woken up at 7am on Saturday morning (yes, usually after the usual amount of happy juice on Friday night) by the warehouse phoning us on our personal phones (no idea where they got the numbers from) wanting to know when we'd be printing them some work to do, when it was someone elses turn that weekend. (Crap shift pattern: Mon-Thurs, off Friday, on Sat & Sun, off Mon, back in Tues-Fri & off the weekend. Completely put me off shift work for life).

rototype

Re: end of on call week

In the immortal words of Alan jackson "It's 5 o'clock somewhere"

rototype

Re: how do i get that gig?

And it's also amazing how much tighter they are with parting with cash to replace/upgrade/fix their IT kit when it's end of life - I remember another unnameable financial institution that left 2 machines that drove document scanners (no, not the big expensive ones, small SCSI ones with feeders - when one went titsup we had to resort to ebay for a replacement) running on NT when they upgraded their estate to XP.

They were still there when we upgraded them several years later to Win 7. Their excuse was "It's a key system but the guys who wrote it left X years ago and no-one knows how to make it work with anything newer" - as far as I know it's still there and they're probably still buying second-hand junk off ebay to keep patching it up because it's cheaper than actually getting something that works properly and is actually secure.

IBM manager had to make one person redundant from choice of two, still bungled it and got firm done for unfair dismissal

rototype

I was one of the lucky ones

Many years ago I took on a role as CWF (Complimentary Work Force - long term temps in other words) to an IBM department working in a major financial institution. Roll on about a year and IBM lost the supprt contract to another outsourcer. We sort of heard about this but unoffically from one of the IBM managers as it hadn't been formally anounced then. Over the next month or two, a number of the IBMers who they wanted to keep were subtly reassigned to positions outside this organisation, being CWF this didn't really affect me, although since I'd been there for a certain length of time and was basically doing the same job, I was TUPEd* along with the remaining IBMers. (No, I had a full head of hair, still do).

All was running well, the new company supplied us all with new laptops and mobile phones (cheapest Nokia money could buy - never used mine, just dual SIM'd it in my normal phone) and promised everyone was going to keep their jobs, and we were keeping to about 98% SLA (more on this later). Roll forwards 9 months and financial crisis sets in. New employers offer to keep all of us for a 20% salary reduction - obviously not one of us accepted that so the next thing was a round of redundancies. After the redundancies hteir SLA performance dropped to the region of 60%. None of us have any idea what criteria they chose apart from they seem to have chosen the brightest and best to get rid of. One guy immediately came back as a part time contractor and a considerable number of the rest of us came back a few months later as contractors when they wanted to do another desktop refresh project.

Some time after I'd finished that refresh project, I moved to another contracting role for another global firm in the area, another refresh, this time rebuilding some machines and replacing others. The guy in charge of this was none other than the guy who had managed to keep our SLA figures up in the 90+% region and was very good at migtigating any SLA breaches (the organisation decided to get rid of him rather nastily and shafted him on his severance but he still went fairly happily - he'd managed to get the new position already and was pretty much leaving anyways.) I didn't need to interview for that contract, he saw my name and knew I could do what was going to be asked of me. He told me when I got there that the ones that had been made redundant were the lucky ones, everything fell apart after we'd gone, he was happy to have moved on and escaped the inevitable next round of shaftings. Funnily enough the headcount at the new contract showed a number of familiar faces from the last place, not just from our department either.

(*) TUPE - for those not familiar it means Transfer of Undertakings, Protection of Employment. Basically same job different paymaster, in otherwords they can't end the contract, sack everyone and then bring a load of new people in, it also protects things like medical bonusses and pension rights.

There ain't no problem that can't be solved with the help of American horsepower – even yanking on a coax cable

rototype

Re: Closest I've had to that ....

"If at first you don't succeed - Use a bigger hammer"

rototype

Re: Closest I've had to that ....

We had a good one in the 90s - the mail order company I was workig for were doing rather well and had decided to extend their warehouse a bit to cope with all this stock they're happily selling (that's another story).

At the time the ssytem ran on an HP Unix Fridge whose 2 19" racks pretty much filled our little server room. We were located in anothe office across the hall with the boss in the next office to ours. On the day in question one of our number was having his appraisal (review) in the bosses office.

The builders were digging trenches with a JCB. Now they did everything theuy were suposed to do, the plans for the building showed that the electric cable went along this end of the building and the water went out the other end - allegedly. Cue JCB digging a trench about 1/3 the way between the 2 corners, now what could possibly happen?

The first we saw was the screens on our PCs went a bit squiffy (this was the era of CRTs - the picture something like a Picasso painting for a few seconds). 'Hmmm, wonder what's going on' I say and wander into the server room - 2 feet inside the door and BOOMM!!

Next, cue the boss & the guy getting his appraisal dashing in expecting to find me with a charred screwdriver or the like. Turns out the UPS protection circuits on the Unix box did their job admirably and protected the main system by blowing themselves to bits. Turns out those electric and water conduits weren't where the plans said they were but instead were in the exact position the JCB was digging, and he caught both of then with the bucket at the same time.

We managed to get the UPS fixed under the 24/7/4 service contract (and that included shipping a new one from 50 miles away, no mention was ever made about the JCB drivers trousers though.

Ah, happy days.......

rototype

Re: Closest I've had to that ....

We had one case in the 80s where the cleaners managed to snag a telephone cord withtheir floor polisher and rip it in two (the connector stayed in the socket and the phone stayed on the desk), they very helpfully repaired it - by tying the two snapped ends together!

rototype

Re: Never work with children or animals?

I did once hear from a fairly reliable source that Boeing used to use ferrets to run their cables through the narrow cable spaces on aircrafts.

Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns

rototype
Coat

Re: Fundamentals

Ye Cannae change the laws of physics Cap'n

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

rototype

Re: Wheeled office chairs

Ever heard of 'Lucky' - GSD trained as a guide dog - See QI for details

rototype

Re: Static

Obligatory "Who needs more than 640k?"

rototype

Re: Static

1986/7 more likely to be 10MB

rototype
Coat

Re: Static

Think you mean Stacking - Staking is what you do to Vampyres when they become a pain in the neck.

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