As I mentioned on the platform in question, the new logo looks like a Band-Aid being slapped on something falling over.
186 publicly visible posts • joined 7 May 2010
The newly-installed fire suppression system in the computer room next to me was test-fired with a cylinder of CO2.
That's when the contractors found the uncoupled pipe in the false ceiling - mostly because the entire ceiling, dust, metalwork and all, was now resting across the floor and the IBM mainframe, while the air in the room was doing a good impression of the smoggiest day in history.
At least all personnel had left the room for the test. The cleanup bill was expensive because as well as replacing the entire ceiling, the mainframe had to be cleaned and all dust filters changed. Fortunately, no asbestos found.
Back in the early 90s, the place where I worked ran Sage Accounting on a system running AT&T UNIX.
Our semi-technical Financial Director was doing some housekeeping and needed to restore a copy of the bought ledger files from tape. As was Sage's way of things, all the bought ledger files started with 'b'. Unfortunately, the FD restored all the files into the root folder, so he just moved 'b*' to the right place and carried on.
A month or so later, the system was restarted but failed to come up. A bit of head scratching and a pile of 5.25" 'recovery' floppies later, we discovered that a rather critical file called 'boot' had been swept into the bowels of Sage alongside the bought ledger files.
Back in the 1980s, as a very young electronics engineering apprentice working in an R&D lab, I was tasked with operating and maintaining the lab's timesheet recording app, which was hosted on this big (small filing cabinet on its side) 'thing' with twin 8" floppies. It might have also had a hard disk, I don't remember. The program was written in BASIC and I didn't really think much of it at the time.
When I got back into the retro 8-bit scene a few years back, it dawned on me that the system was a Cromemco, probably sent over from our US parent company! I suspect the system was replaced with a PC eventually and the Cromemco hardware was probably scrapped for parts :-(
Likewise, just for one app that runs a chip programmer.
I always regret it though because the first thing Windows does is start doing updates, slowing the entire computer to a crawl (Core i7 @ 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Enterprise-class HDD; might change for an SSD).
Sometimes it's around 10-15 minutes before the machine is useable for browsing, email etc. I often spend perhaps 10 mins with the app and then reboot to Linux.
It's a traumatic experience every time.
Forget the oven.
Forget the hash browns if having fried bread.
Heat the grill on max minus a little bit (95%)
Sausages take 7 + 7 + 7 minutes, turning 120 degrees twice.
Tomato goes on grill after 1st sausage turn
Bacon goes on grill with a total of 10 mins to go.
Eggs fry on lowish heat from last sausage turn.
Add black pudding to grill for last sausage turn. Turn over the black oudding after 3.5 mins.
With 2 mins to go...
Beans go in microwave for 1.5 mins on medium.
Plate the eggs once the microwave starts.
Put bread in frying pan.
Start to plate up the meats and tomatoes when the 21 mins total is reached.
Turn the bread in the frying pan.
Add beans to plate/s.
Add bread to plate/s
Make sure grill and hob are off.
When Netware 386 3.0 came out, I had a nightmare server on a customer's site in London (my office was in West Sussex).
To cut a long story short...
Regular trips to site to try and catch the issue. Very stress-inducing customer.
Replaced components until the server was effectively swapped out - apart from the case.
Novell took an interest on the basis that it might be a software glitch...they found an issue with the 'network cable disconnected' code...but the server still crashed maybe 2-3 times a week. Nothing else in the server room was playing up.
I tried a mains analyser - nothing stood out except perhaps the odd 'blip' at crash time - but it was barely more than a bit of noise.
Widening the search for a fix, I asked about the room, which belonged to another company, behind the server room...it was their kitchen, and hard up against the wall behind the server was their dishwasher. It turned out that the dishwasher was switched on when full..a couple of times a week!
Hey - EMP from the some motor or pump in the dishwasher knocking over the server!
Fix: Move the server to against another wall.
** "There’s also Hitachi (owned by Western Digital)" **
Um, no. Not quite.
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies was created by an IBM/Hitachi drive tech business merger in 2003.
WD acquired the business in 2012 and rebranded it as HGST and from that time, it had absolutely nothing to do with Hitachi.
WD does not own Hitachi.
Don't write off the retro computer scene just yet...
This lot have just started regular UK meets: https://rc2014.co.uk/
...and shameless self-promotion:
At one place I worked, the in-house facilities guys turned one end of an office block into a fully airconned computer room with raised flooring:
1) They boxed-in a row of radiators behind drywall - but didn't shut them down, so from the getgo the room never reached the expected temperature. The aircon guys spent ages recalculating things, checking equipment etc., before someone commented 'does this wall seem warm to you..?' Out came the padsaw, holes were cut and valves were turned. The room temperature dropped, but the ugly holes were never fixed.
2) They put the room stat on a pillar next to a window so it was affected by outside temperature and sunshine. The room went into superchill mode when the sun was shining, and on very cold days the aircon would hardly kick in and the room stayed toasty. When someone put 2+2 together, the stat was relocated.
Me (on phone in 1990s - probably wrangling SCO UNIX): Hi support guys, this server OS doesn't recognize the optical drive properly - any thoughts?
Support: Hmm, well there's a drivers CD in the box somewh...oh, right....OK...The driver will be downloadable from our BBS [look it up, youngsters]...that server has a built-in modem.
Me: I can't see a modem on the devices list...?
Support: Oh, the driver'll be on the CD..
Me: See my problem here?
Support: Um, yeah - but the driver will be downloadable from the BBS too...oh, yeah.
Me: I'll just pop back to the office and fetch stuff on a floppy or three..
Support: Hey, if the server's hooked up, why not download the drivers on another machine and copy them across the network?
Me: There's no other machine here with a modem. Anyway, Would the NIC drivers be on the CD?
..Connectors will be super-cheapo and unreliable bits of bent metal, while cables to plug into them will cost extra and the controls will be similarly cheap and nasty, feeling more like a dead frog on its back than anything else.
So pretty much true to the original design?!
There's an Amazon Monopoly on electronic components and related stuff? Check out our curated list of suppliers on Reddit:
CPC Farnell UK
Electron Electronics UK
Element14 UK AKA Farnell.
Mallinson Electrical UK
Mega Electronics UK
Rapid Electronics UK
RS Components UK
Squirrel Labs UK
Arduino, components and robotics:
Cool Components Some say "The UK's Sparkfun".
Kitronik BBC micro:bit partner. Kits, Arduino, Sparkfun parts and components.
Oomlout Arduino, Adafruit, Sparkfun and components.
Pimoroni Stocks Adafruit parts.
Proto-PIC Stocks Adafruit and Sparkfun parts.
SK Pang Stocks Sparkfun parts.
ExpTech Boards and modules, robotics etc.
Tinkersoup Arduino, modules etc.
Waterott Electronic Boards, kits, robotics, components.
There's also a supplier in Thailand called Tayda that has stupidly-cheap stuff and 2 week delivery - they are used by many UK and global hobbyists.
Yes, Maplin is on our list - with a comment that they aint what they used to be in terms of stock and pricing. I could go on, but suffice to say I have a 4 digit Maplin customer number as one of their early accounts and the current company is not a patch on the 'original'. For others that hark back to the 1970s-80 hobby electronics scene and the Maplin catalogue, coloured vouchers you could collect towards future orders and the decent projects, check out some nostalgia here:
Above 1200, it's officially 'bits per second' as the modulation techniques changed so that one state transition can convey multiple bits. Baud is only used where 1 state change = 1 bit.
/Yeah, I passed my A+ Service Technician Exam.
//How many UK or overseas consultants could have told you that, and how much would they have charged!?
///I feel old.
There was something similar with one model of Cisco switch around 4 years ago where after a period of uptime something b0rked in the arp cache algorithm and the switches turned into hubs - you knew when it happened as network traffic ground to a halt and all the port LEDs flashed in unison.
>> down to KCL operations technicians. You could argue there was a lack of management oversight, but fundamentally someone wasn't testing the backups.
No, it was down to the Managers who either did not implement proper procedures or did not oversee any checks and balances to confirm that **working** backups were being performed. That's why you have Managers.
This issue was picked up by /r/networking on Reddit, and one Redditor suggests which component is the culprit - it would be useful for the electronics industry at large if the part was officially identified to help other manufacturers and users plan scheduled maintenance for this issue before it gets worse.
Edit: I see Gaz was onto this and has revised the article text.
I think what Nevil meant was that he's designed his own system/connector to mate with the pitch of the edge connector on the micro:bit - and in that respect he's dealing with what pitch the micro:bit designers chose and not numptyfying* anything.
When the micro:bit first came out, getting hold of ANY compatible edge connectors (or even the spec for one) was a PITA until Kitronik et al started to make them available.
I have been playing with a few pre-production samples of Nevil's boards for a while - kudos to him for the effort put into the project.
*That's Numptizing for our North American friends.
Dunno, but since I just lost Internet connectivity trying to check an email before I flew out of the house, I did a quick check of the network settings and the first entry in my DNS list was an IPV6 address and since my router does not have IPV6 turned on, I tried disabling the IPV6 protocol on my wifi adaptor and I was back online with only the expected two IPV4 DNS addresses showing.
Maybe something's not timing out as it should??
Just a thought - gotta dash....!
A colleague and I once spent a good week or so changing the network IP address ranges of 30 regional offices to match the 'harmonised' scheme of the company who'd acquired us. The change was not a major shift in numbering and we were clever enough to do a fair bit of it remotely through deft use of RDP and multihoming. After we'd finished and handed everything over to our new lords and masters (who very soon kicked us regional IT guys out), it transpired they'd forgot to tell us that the subnet masks also needed changing, so off we went again!
This same company ripped out the 8Mbit ADSL VPN connections (this was around 2004) between our HQ and the offices and replaced them with 1/2 Meg MPLS circuits - then wondered why everything ground to a halt (I bet the accountants loved the new bills too!)
The icing on the cake, was that the encumbent IT guys were sh*t scared of Linux and so out went the 300-user email system based on Postfix, to be replaced by MS Exchange + required Licences, and they abandoned the distributed, replicated, cross-site backup system based on BackupPC which performed full and incremental backups of data overnight from every office to two other locations, plus the clever rsync scripts that brought a copy of all regional data back to HQ every night for data mining - we had data coming in from MS-SQL, MS-Access and proprietary systems to be munged into one data set in MySQL - it was bloody brilliant, even if I do say so myself.
One of my old bosses was known to use cheesy metaphors in every meeting and presentation. One day he stuck his head out of his office and, in a very casual manner, asked me to 'take a look' at his IBM PC-XT in about 10 mins as the 'whole lot has gone up in smoke' and he'd be out for a meeting.
10 minutes later, I sauntered into his empty office to encounter a smoke-filled room and a big, melty, burnt hole in the top of his CGA colour ('Luxury!') monitor.