* Posts by rototype

179 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Feb 2010


Bringing cakes into the office is killing your colleagues, says UK food watchdog boss


Used to happen a lot pre-Covid

Now it's just occasional. People would bring in cakes etc for their Birthdays and put them in the communal eating areas. Generally if I knew the person I might indulge - problem was always getting to it before it was all gone.

BOFH and the office security access upgrade


Re: Ah, time management systems

Last 2 lines unnecessary, this was implied by the first 2. Just tell me - was the Fire Brigade involved at some point?

Haiku beta 4: BeOS rebuild / almost ready for release / A thing of beauty


Re: You ran it on WinCE and..a..Dreamcast?... Really?

And the frighteningthing is it's still not dead - Fiat Blue & Me units in their cars use this as the background OS for the Bluetooth modules and Yes, it's reliability is poor at best and causes all sorts of system instabilities in the car when it fails. Since I don't need 'that' functionallity I eventually managed to locate (hidden under the passenger seat - need to remove the seat to physically remove it) and disconnect this unit in mine and tell the system it never existed - much more stable now. I may (when I eventually sell the car) get it repaired/replaced but this isn't a priority at the moment.

Don't lock the datacenter door, said the boss. The builders need access and what could possibly go wrong?


Re: rebooting the system

I remember cleaning the rollers on the mice in one of the English departments computer rooms one day (this was back in the day when they still had balls, ands many of the balll accesse had been superglued up to stop the little sods nicking the balls out of malice - I saved all of the crud and presented it to the Head of Department (who prided herself on how clean everything was kept) - apparently all of the kids were made to wash their for the next month or two (until the rest of the staff got sick of enforcing this) before touching the computers.

Cleaner ignored 'do not use tap' sign, destroyed phone systems ... and the entire building


Re: Windows

Similar story but different bank that had their main data centre under the landing path of East Midlands airport. After one incident in the 1980s (January 1989 - I lived a few miles away and could see it from the motorway bridge) when a plane made an impromptu heavy landing on the M1, they decided to build a backup data centre about as far away from any flight paths as they could in Staffordshire. (I found this bit out several years later, when working for said bank)


Re: Water and IT

To be fair to the regs, I'd not want to be in a confined space with any gas cylinder if it suddenly decided to let go, be that air, O2, N2 CO2 or anything else, no matter how small the cylinder. The worry isn't about small leaks (although these would be annoying) but total failure.

Safety sign foe obvious reasons.

IT manager's 'think outside the box' edict was, for once, not (only) a revolting cliché


Re: On the floor?

One of the techs in one of our offices reduced dead HDDs in his office to almost zero overnight by turning the desktop/tower PCs (that were sitting on the floor in tower configuration) over so the HDD was at the bottom instead of the top when they invariably got knocked over (this seemed to be happening several times a week and was becoming a pain in the a**e).


Re: protective film? That was a privacy screen

I have a touch screen 'flip' laptop I bought a few years ago - I fitted it with a scren protector that can be easily cleaned if I get finger marks on it. I've also got a big (24") touch screen on my main computer that gets cleaned regularly, whether it needs it or not - very useful for enlarging those product images where they don't want you to see the details.


Re: "make static electricity a menace"

Sounds like you had the same Chemistry teacher I did

To make this computer work, users had to press a button. Why didn't it work? Guess


Re: Users are the worst

Some of the very worst users I've come accross are the 'Professional' types (Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers) whose view is 'If I can do XXXXX then this computer can't be difficult" and then proceed to totally stuff it up and blame the tech for not making it so they could operate it without intervention and NEVER FOLLOW ANY TROUBLESHOOTING STEPS OFFERED!!! Then they say "Of course I've tried that I'm a XXXX"


Re: Bad design

"I'm pretty sure it wasn't attached to a working line at the time."

Don't be so sure, my uncle has an ancient pulse dial phone (the old bakelite type with the little drawer underneath for phone numbers) up until about 5 years ago when thet had to replace it because they needed an emergency system fitting (both he and my late aunt were well into their 80s at the time). This does now mean that he can have Internet...

Revealed: Perfect timings for creation of exemplary full English breakfast


Re: Multicultural Cardio Breakfast

What the F**k is spinach doing in there? - NOTHING GREEN EVER goes on the plate of a fry-up. I can handle hash browns (or Rosti) but the more british version is Potato waffles.

As regards cooking order - Mushrooms & onions in, then the sausages (good high meat content only, prefereably from the butcher), then the bacon & Black pudding. Tinned tomatoes in a separate pan then when the bacon is done hoof it all out onto a waiting heated plate while you do the eggs then the fried bread in what's left of the fat (add butter to it if you've been a bit sparing on the grease).

Never really been a fan of beans with breakfast or the big grilled mushrooms/tomatoes (if it's grilled then it isn't a fry-up is it!).


Re: Or.

Upvote for the egg yolk reference

BOFH: Who us? Sysadmins? Spend time with other departments?


Re: Management style fads! - Something Different

Nothing wrong with pineapple on pizza, so long as the ham and mushrooms are also there in the correct ratios as set out in holy doctrine. (Domino's recipe handbook).

In a time before calculators, going the extra mile at work sometimes didn't add up


Re: £sd

Bloody millennials, it's never been that hard if you can do maths and know the base units (those get learned from the start).

Now if you want difficult try converting US MPG to European l/100km WITHOUT USING A GOOGLE TOOL! (Yes, I can but I have to think about it).


Re: Bank Accounts

"Or do marketing "geniuses" care about that kind of thing?"

Of course they don't, those that even realise it (any advance on 1%?) - it's all revenue no matter wherther it's valid or not and if you're hitting someone outside your intended audience then that's a win as it's a potential new customer.

The rest of us just get more and more sick of adverts and subversive marketing both on snail mail and t'interweb.


Re: Honesty kills

I sometimes find being excessively honest is better than fudging things, especially when what you're being honest about seems a bit over the top or excentric/bizarre since in many cases people just don't believe you and think it's just a joke ot bravado.

A classic when fixing computers - "Should I get the 3lb Forge Hammer from the car?" - Most people just think it's a joke but those that really know me know it's not. Yes, I do carry one in the car, for removing wheels when they get stuck - well, that's the official line and I'm sticking to it.

Best part is that if someone calls your bluff in these circumstances you can prove it (and I have - several times).

Keeping your head as an entire database goes pear-shaped


Re: Best practice for fsckups

Yup, managed to do this twice where I am now and fessed up immediately. First time I was just a contractor and I reckonned I'd be looking for another job next day. Turns out I told exatly the right person who then shouted over to another tech 'Hey, you know that button in X that we should never press..." and all had a sigh of relief that it wasn't one of them that'd done it. They managed to get most of the data back and the rest was rebuilt over the next few weeks but it was noted when I had my interview to go permanent that my handling of the incident was one of the reasons I was being made permanent.

My other memory of that interview was there was a poodle sitting in on it (yes, a real one - but that's a story for another time).

Second time I realised within a few seconds what I'd done (removed the access group instead of removing the user from it) and contacted the one pwerson who I knew could do something about it ASAP - as a result no major fallout and another potential hole removed.

'I wonder what this cable does': How to tell thicknet from a thickhead


Re: colour me sceptical

Not to mention USB B into a RJ11 - yes it does go, seen it several times ("I thought it was a USB modem")

<mutter mutter rant growl>

Burger King just sent spam receipts to customers


Re: The bigger problem with the app..

The Macdonalds app might actually work but I'm not putting it on my phone regardless of what bonusses or points cashback offers it gives you. I did look at doing this once (there's one just around the corner from work and it'd save me 5-10 minutes standing in line with the rest of the denizens), but then I looked at exactly what it wants to access on my phone (pretty much everythuing) and decided very much against it. There's no reason for it needing access to my address book or photos, and that's just the start.


Re: It's not marketing

A wise man once said 'Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence'

Dev's code manages to topple Microsoft's mighty SharePoint


Re: Exchange

Doesnt need to be done all at one time but over the years it's easy. Think about 20 sources of information (customers?), each split up by year then by week (or month) - don't take too long for someone that's being 'organised' to hit the limit.

OK, boomer? Gen-X-ers, elder millennials most likely to name their cars, says DVLA


Mostly from models or reg plates

Mosty of mine were named from their reg plates or models, with a couple of exceptions...

Helen (reg on a 405), The Pig (Cavalier SRI - plenty of grunt but no refinement), Vicky (Vectra), Saffy (Zafira), Callie (reg on 2nd Zafira), Aggi (Agila), Steph (reg on mum's Meriva), Debby (Doblo) and my current one Giji based on the reg on my new Doblo, not to mention Dee (Deloris the Delectably Delightfull Deluxe) - Lambretta J50 Deluxe.

Hive to pull the plug on smart home gadgets by 2025


This is one of many reasons not to use any IoT devices FULL STOP


Re: Hands up all those who did NOT see this coming

Didn't you realise those so-called updates are only so they can change the adverts they throw at you every 5 minutes?

NOBODY PRINT! Selfless hero saves typing pool from carbon catastrophe


Re: Hobnobs - invented for mans pleasure

For "Biscuits and Gravy" forget DDR, try DDD (Diners, Drive-ins & Dives) - surprising what you can learn.

The perfect crime – undone by the perfect email backups


Re: Email backups

When I first read that I read it as 'Doggy' not 'Dodgy' - probably the same anyways though..


Re: Manager and Cashier

This is only a reasonable issue if you expect to live forever. If you're reasonably young and expect to have another 50+ years to go then you'll need more, if you're closer to retirement and only expect up to 30 years you can run down the capital.


Re: "Delete" = "Hide"

I remember there was a trick with Psion organisers and the Datapacks - the 64k (yes k) datapacks were quite expensive, but the Oxford Spelling Checker was a reasonable price (about 1/2 what the 64k datapack cost as I recall) and came on said 64k datapack - one trip through the EPROM eraser at work and I had a 64k datapack - I think most of the PSION user group knew/used this trick as well.

BOFH: You'll have to really trust me on this team-building exercise


Re: Ahh, Team building/break the ice exercises....

We had one of these a couple of years ago (pre-Covid) and they are actually worth doing (Yup, surprised the heck out of me too). A lot of this I think had to do with the presenter actually REALLY knowing his stuff (and having a good bag of funny stories to tell along the way).

Other than that most of the rest of the events we took part in the rest of the week were pretty lame by comparisson.

Your software doesn't work when my PC is in 'O' mode


Re: How friggin' tough could it be to just print the words?

Interestingly I have experience that in some countries the light switch is up for on and in other countries it's down for on - I've yet to see a light switch that works left to right but I have a feeling there's probably some out there...

Day 7 of the great Atlassian outage: IT giant still struggling to restore access


Re: But but but....

... and we all know one in a million odds come up 9 times out of 10

If you fire someone, don't let them hang around a month to finish code


Re: Laid off

Got laid off once (2009), was one of the 'lucky few'* (including our then manager) that had been selected to be 'at risk'. (we're sure they selected those they needed most to go since those were the ones to go). During the next 3 weeks before we were given the final decision that we were going I think I vaguely turned up for about 2/3 of the time, almost no work getting done and our manager (again, one of those slated to go) couldn't have cared less.

* this statement means more than it first seems - see below

On the date we were destined to go it had alresdy been decided that once we were officially redundant all we needed to do was hand in our official laptop + charger + mobile (POS really) + it's charger and we were free.

What didn't go so well was the fact that one of the people slated to go (who had worked out how much he was going to get and had mapped out 2 years of travelling etc) was then told he wasn't going and that he needed to get back to work asap. I ended up about 3 months later getting the contract to go back there to work on a rollout (they hadn't shitted on me really so I went). Strangely enough I met up with about 5 or 6 others who'd been let go who were also contracting for the rollout.

I did spend some time at the branch that the guy that hadn't been allowed to leave was still stationned at - the other rollout contractors moaned that the onsite guy was very un-cooperative, when I saw who it was I quietly enlightened them as to a small bit of recent history and none of them complained any more. In another twist, one of the guys at another branch that'[d been allwed to leave was back 3 days a week on more money than he was before working full time, basically doing the same job he'd been doing before he left.

Rollout finished (and this time I was very glad to go, the project managers for the rollout were total assholes, and we managed to get through about a dozen of them before the rollout was complete). I was the last of the original batch that had been let go that were still there, some had left, others had been shown the door (to be fair those shown the door had mostly deserved it because of their attitude).

Roll forward to my next but one contract that was a local(ish) ISP that had been bought out by a multi-national software giant and they needed 'Corporatising' (as well as removing the old redundant IT kit from the estate). Strangely enough I found the guy heading up my batch of contractors was none other than the guy I'd been working for (he was the co-ordinator, not the boss) when I was full-time at the previous place. Didn't need to interview - he saw my name and said Yes without needing to think too hard about it (nice when this happens).

Turns out that they'd shat on him as well and the place had gone to the dogs after we all left - he was good at 'mitigating' SLA breaches so they invoked an almost never before used clause burried deep in the small print to dump him (the 'We don't like you so you're gone' clause). I also met a number of other former colleagues at that contract (not necessarily in the IT area either) who'd jumped ship when the writing on the wall started to reveal itself.

When forgetting to set a password for root is the least of your woes


In my experience it's usually p***ing about with the mouse settings to make things awkward (or changing things like the keyboard language settings where inappropriate) - There's a whole raft of things you can do if you have enough time, one favourite is taking a screenshot of the desktop and setting it as the wallpaper after hiding all the icons.


Re: Hitting Enter....

CTRL key for me - always works


Re: Nobody told me I wasn't allowed to do it.

I've got to send that to some of our Devs - if not educational it'll at least make them think

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


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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

... and Dell Precisions


Re: My Fav

abc@123.com was my favourite


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


Re: Playing with Chemicals that Go Bang

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


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.


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.

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


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.