* Posts by G7mzh

56 posts • joined 9 Apr 2010


When the IT department speaks, users listen. Or face the consequences


We had a few customers like that. When they found out how much it would cost to recover, somehow their data always became less important!


Where I used to work, every employee had their own storage area on the network, mapped as "Drive N:" on their PCs. It also had a shared directory used for things like software updates, so people couid run the update when they weren't otherwise busy.

Despite it being frequently mentioned, I think only two or three of us actually used it for personal data.

It liiives! Sorta. Gentle azure glow of Windows XP clocked in Tesco's self-checkouts, no less


Not long ago I happened upon a faulty cash dispenser that was in the throes of rebooting. It was running OS/2.

And a surprising number of shops still use DOS for stock control and ordering. Most Chinese take-aways do, as does a well-known chain of bookshops.

Potato, potato. Toma6to, I'm going to kill you... How a typo can turn an AI translator against us


Re: Spelling check?

Just watch the subtitles on a popular news program to see daily demonstrations of this failure mode.

I remember one instance on "Question Time" where, in the subject of legalisation of cannabis, the subtitling machine decided to produce "can of piss". I've got a photograph of it somewhere.

I've always thoufght it a bit odd that the misprint is invariably a word or phrase less common than the corect one.

The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB



Yet again, this is the BBC being economical with the truth. The 50.9% is not digotal radio listening, it is DAB+TV+internet.

If you refer to the RAJAR document, it's quite clear that digital radio listening is just under 37%.

User jams up PC. Literally. No, we don't know which flavour


Re: Good design my a***

The laptop is useless without wifi! I can see there would be the odd use-case for turning off wifi, but to make it a key that's prominent, or even not prominent but easily accidentally pressed

I raely use my laptop for the internet (the one on my desk does that), but frequently use it for the church Powerpoint and recording meetings. In neither of those do I want it connected - or trying to connect - to the outside world.

It's an HP, and the wifi switch is a dedicated button, with associated pilot light (light on = wifi on) well away from anything else.

Microsoft sued by staff traumatized by child sex abuse vids stashed on OneDrive accounts


If they're going to look

They shouldn't be upset if they find what they've been loooking for. And some of those quotes (regarding content) I simply don't believe.

Christmas Eve ERP migration derailed by silly spreadsheet sort


Re: Ah, Excel sorting

Of course, a lot of this wold be avoided if people didn't insist on using spreadsheets when they should be using databases.

It's round and wobbles, but madam, it's a mouse pad, not a floppy disk


Re: Insert a new disk and press Return

"May contain nuts" - this includes the possibility that it does not contain nuts. I'd love to ask the makers what the probability is.


Re: If I could have a dollar for every time…

I used to do TV and VCR repairs, and had a regular customer whose children would post toys, sandwiches and other artifacts into the VCR. (It didn't seem to have occurred to her to put it on a higher shelf).

That machine finally ceased to be viable (and ceased to be a source of income) when the dear child decided that the machine needed a drink and poured haf a tin of cola down it.


Re: Not Snopes

> Staples are evil - just ask the person who has to the fix the photocopier!

I had a customer who cost himself a lot of money after buying a new laser printer. After a few days, he complained all the prints had nasty black marks on. We investigated, and discovered he's put some pages through with staples in. Now required, new drum and rollers.

Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable


Have they thought?

"South Carolina will still be able to get their grumble flicks on demand, so long as they pay a $20 charge"

In other words, the state government will be selling pornography.

Local TV presenter shouted 'f*cking hell' to open news bulletin


They realised the mistake "immediately" but it took them three days to apologise? Should have done so in the first ad break - or even before if there was a suitable point in the programme.


Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this


Re: Impressive???

My father had the original Mini (when it was still called an Austin Seven). Eevert year, it carried me, my parents and my grandmother away on holiday to various far-flung parts of the country, together with enough luggage for a fortnight. To this day, I can't work out how we got everything in!

Hell desk thought PC fire report was a first-day-on-the-job prank


Re: so..

If the customer is expecting a technician, they will not be happy with someone who turns up looking like a bank clerk. The reason being, he won't be wanting to do any "proper" work - such as scrabbling on the floor or rummaging in dusty cupboards - for fear of getting his suit dirty.

The possible exception to this is where the company supplies overalls, but I haven't seen that for a long time.

It's finally happened: Hackers are coming for home routers en masse


"admin" left as the username

with "admin" left as the username

I've come across more than one router - Netgear for example - where the username "admin" is hard-coded and can't be changed.

You call it 'hacking.' I call it 'investigation'



I used to work for a large credit company in their call centre; when we called people we were supposed to just ask for a couple of details to confirm that the person who answered the phone was who we wanted to speak to, but in practice we generally (unofficially) used a similar system - "I see you live in NW1, what's the rest of the postcode?" and so forth. If the person at the other end wasn't who we wanted, we hadn't given anything away.

If they insisted, we asked them to call the number on their card.

Is there paper in the printer? Yes and it's so neatly wrapped!


Re: Locked in? BTDT.

The place I used to work in had one of these "air lock" doors which frequently broke down. If someone got stuck in it there was no way to open the door until someone came along and let you out. How it was legal I don't know; I'm sure a H&S case could have been brought.

Password strength meters promote piss-poor paswords


Re: Passwords need to be rethought

The company I used to work for had two systems, both of which demanded you changed your password every few weeks- usually at random times during the day when you were in the middle of something more important (like speaking to a customer), and which couldn't be anything you had used before or something similar (So if you had used Password1, then Password<n> was verboten).

Several of us got into the habit of changing the password on the first of the month (which reset the timer) and instead of trying to think of something secure we just used the date. March2015 was sufficiently different from April2015 etc, and of course wouldn't be used again! Since it ended up with half the office using the same password, the system obviously didn't recognise that this was going on!

Why thay did this is unknown, it wasn't an environment where operator security was relevant.

Harrison Ford's leg, in the Star Wars film, with the Millennium Falcon door


Re: Eh? What?

Wonder how long a door that could crush somebody without safety features would last in an office building.

Not quite the same, but the place I worked at had a rotating "air lock" door which - supposedly - detected when someone had passed through one door, closed that and opened the other. When it failed to do so, which it did frequently, you got trapped in it because there were no controls on the inside. Fortunately it was a high traffic area, but more than once a victim had to use their mobile to telephone the switchboard for help!

Oh dear, Vodafone: Sales dip in UK


Doesn't surprise me. I use them for landline indirect service (that is to say, the account still exists but is rarely used). Paying them is impossible. They don't take payment in the shops (a sealed envelope marked "billing" left on the counter followed by a hasty retreat is invarably lost), a cheque in the post takes weeks, and over the phone, although theoretically possible, involves so many transfers and instructions to ring a different (chargeable) number it's rediculous. Once they charged ny credit card without permission (and for an amount that bore no relation to the amount owing) and I got it reversed by the card company. My last payment was left with the shop and I'm not going to do it again, it's up to them to sort out. Never any communication from them.

I was at one looking at them for landline, but never in a million years!

Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces


Re: Cheeky bastards.

Maybe I'll take my Honda there - to change the bulb you have to take the wheel off! (You can just do it without, but it's a complete pain).

Field technicians want to grab my tool and probe my things


More reliable?

Modern TVs are not more reliable, if the number of the relatively new ones I've fixed is anything to go by. Granted, we no longer have to worry about PL509s flashing over, or the dreaded Sony SCS's going short, but the power supply modules of many current sets (all bought in on the cheap) are unrelaiable in the extreme, due to a combination of bad design and sub-standard components. Most shops aren't interetsed in fixing them, preferring the customer to send it to landfill and spend more money on a new one (and repeat the process in three or four years), but usually a repair can be done quickly and cheaply.

Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware storms live TV weather forecast


Use XP

No pop-ups, no nag screens, no problem. It just works.

Cinema boss gives up making kids turn off phones: 'That's not how they live their life'


Don't bother telling them, they'll ignore you. Just line the walls with chicken wire and earth it. If they don't get a signal, they can't play!

Reminder: iPhones commit suicide if you repair them on the cheap


Save money

And buy a Chinese imitation instead. Probably more reliable.

Cops hate encryption but the NSA loves it when you use PGP


Use enigma

Use Enigma with a decent password. Since it's simply text (albeit 5-letter groups), it won't be flagged up by the PGP-detection machine. If a file has been UU-encoded, that can go through Enigma as well.

Time for a brutal TELLY-OFF: Android TV versus Firefox OS


Nice old GEC set in the photo

That was my first colour TV, got it from Spectra (later bought by Granada). Wonderful set, I don't think it ever went wrong. The box underneath must be the teletext unit, it wasn't fitted as standard.

China wants to build a 200km-long undersea tunnel to America


Shades of "Battle Beneath the Earth".

Ads watchdog: Er, what does woman in her undies have to do with ‘slim’ phone?



Who started this fad of referring to actresses as though they were male?

And I don't see the point of the current Money Supermarket ad either - it certainly wouldn't make me use their service.

UKIP website TAKES A KIP, but for why?


UK by name but not by domain

ukip.org.uk still returns a 404 error!

The Information Age: A day out for grown-up children?


Or the "Media Museum" in Bradford

An excellent example of of style over content; very disappointing.

Could YOU identify these 10 cool vintage mobile phones?


Re: From the days when phones were real phones.

I used to have a Motorola flip phone (forget the model number). It was supplied by the employer, and while it was nice to use the RF section was as deaf as a post. Many conversations were punctuated with "pardon? what? let me stand by the window". When my division closed, they insisted on having the phones back (despite being offered money for them) becasue they were all under contract to Cellnet. Within months, they all turned up at car boot sales.

Newly-private BMC gets cloud/social/mainframe (!) religion



British Motor Corporation?

The cute things they say


Customer telephones:

Us: Are you in Windows at the moment?

Cust: No, I'm in the kitchen.


I used to work in a call centre, which people would occasionally misdial.

Me: What number did you dial?

Caller: I don't know, I'm on my phone.

(Why he was specific about it being his, I have no idea).

You 'posted' a 'letter' with Outlook... No, NO, that's the MONITOR


Re: Telephone calls

You should have let them talk to each other.

I love those "Indian Microsoft" calls - they're so keen to get you you send them money it takes them a very long time (at international rates!) to realise you're taking the mickey. One guy simply couldn't understand there was any other OS than Windows (I told him I was using Gem!).

They usually hang up, often with a burst of abuse, when I start chatting them up!


Re: My favourite was the PA whose monitor was "broken"

The PA told me her screen needed a new bulb.

At least she didn't say it was the picture valve.

China to become world's No 1 economy. And we still can't see why


BT gone?

" Former UK national telco BT"?

I hadn't noticed British Telecom jumping ship recently.

Look, pal, it’s YOUR password so it’s YOUR fault that it's gone AWOL


The company I used to work for forced a new password every few weeks, and the system came up with various excuses why the one you chose wasn't valid. The result was that people gave up and simply used each others' login details until they could be bothered to think of one the machine liked.

The other thing that always makes me roll my eyes is when you're trying to pay a bill over the phone and the payee wants all sorts of security checks. Why they need to know all that when I'm trying to give them money is beyond me. I used to work in a collections office and we didn't care _who_ was paying the account, as long as they were paying with their own money.

Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly


They're asking the wrong question

All they need to say is "How do you like to be referred to?" and give options of Him, Her, or It.

I know a few trans people, and all of them prefer the traditional "him" or "her". I'd like to hear from anyone who objects to both of those, and what word they would like instead.

Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen jacks will be REVERSIBLE


Re: Other desirable features...

Why not use a minijack? 4mm diameter and 4- or 6-pole, like the old Post Office ones, should do nicely.

When the lights went out: My 'leccy-induced, bog floor crawling HORROR


Re: "Motion sensors"

The company I used to work for used, ahem, moving people detectors in the loo - but again, not in the cubicles, though the timeout was long enough not to cause embarrassment.

Strangely, the loos were the only places where people-detecting lights were used; the staffing level was high enough that the lights turning themselves off was very rare. On the other hand, the rest of the building - which had large windows and was brightly lit by sunlight for much of the time - had the lights manually controlled and they were left on all day every day, even in areas that saw little use.

Once, they asked for ideas on how to enonomise. All responses were completely ignored.

Every so often, we got notes round telling us to remember to turn our PCs off when we went home at night and turn the light off in the kitchen (just an alcove off the main office area). The general reaction: "Why the hell should we?"


Re: Oh yes, power cuts in the '70s

We had a box of candles, and the front room had a car battery and a couple of headlamp bulbs. What did we do when there was a power cut? Listened to the radio and read a book.

(It was curious that there was never a power cut while Star Trek was on - the Seeboard men must have watched it too!)

The legacy IE survivor's guide: Firefox, Chrome... more IE?


Re: Editorial suggestion

Holiday brochure quoted by Gerard Hoffnung: "There is a French Widow in every bedroom!"

IT bloke publishes comprehensive maps of CALL CENTRE menu HELL


Re: Please Enter Account Information

I used to work for a credit card company. The phone system always asked callers to type in their card number; why it did this is a mystery as the information wasn't passed to the telephonists.

BT's machine also asks for your phone number, and this aparrently is also not passed to the person who eventually answers the phone.


In the place I worked, most options came through to the same place (even the ones we couldn't deal with and had to generate an email for someone to call the customer back).

The company spent a huge amount of money on a new phone system, the only advantage of which was that it provided a private line between the various company outposts. It was beset with misrouting, failure to connect, and trying to be "intelligent" with the result that even outbound calls didn't det through.

It became obvious that whne a customer complained they'd pressed 1 but got option 2 that it was the phone system's fault; after trying - unsuccessfully - to put them through to the right place, I started giving out the switchboard number. (Though I suspect the poor woman on the board had just as much troble as we did).

BBC pulls plug Ceefax ahead of analogue TV's end tonight


Still on RTE

Aertel is still going on satellite - encrypted but the teletext still works.

Dyson alleges spy stole 'leccy motor secrets for Bosch


Re: Bah!

I've got a Dyson upright - no idea of the number.

It doesn't get used much because neither I nor my partner can lift the thing. Once we've unravelled the peculiar hose/handle/switch (why the hell doesn't it turn off when you stand it up again? and why do you have to stand on the FRONT to pivot the handle?)), the suction is so powerful it keeps trying to suck the hose back into its body.

You can't beat tne Hoover Constellation (the round ones) - had one for years, never gave any problem.


We've had electric motors for over 100 years.

How different can you make one?



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