* Posts by Linker3000

186 publicly visible posts • joined 7 May 2010


What does Twitter's new logo really represent?



As I mentioned on the platform in question, the new logo looks like a Band-Aid being slapped on something falling over.

Brit broadband subscribers caught between crappy connections and price hikes


Happy me

I am very happy with a 1gig FTTH connection from a regional provider at £24/month.

The connection has been rock solid, except for a 1 day outage when Openreach damaged the fibre while doing some unrelated work.

Datacenter fire suppression system wasn't tested for years, then BOOM


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.

Google's bug bounty boss: Finding and patching vulns? 'Totally useless'


Ha ha


I see what they did there!

Know the difference between a bin and /bin unless you want a new doorstop


Son of a 'b'

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.

ZX Spectrum: Q&A with some of the folks who worked on legendary PC


Joystick Adapters

Wow, that's a hefty looking adapter!

If you just want a simple Kempston-type one, just get wirewrapping!


Mind you, there's always this:


DIY Sinclair clones: Left it too late to back the Next? Build your own instead


CP/M Systems

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 :-(

Start or Please Stop? Power users mourn features lost in Windows 11 'simplification'

Thumb Down

Win 10 treacle mode

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.

Debian 11 formally debuts and hits the Bullseye


Re: Benefits vs. features

But, hey, very thick crust = extra airbag.But plan ahead!

Thunderbird 91 lands: Now native on Apple Silicon, swaps 'master' for 'primary' password, and more


So far so good

I downloaded and installed 91 on a laptop running Mint linux, having first uninstalled 78.

It picked up all my settings except for Google calendars, which I had to remove and re-setup/re-authenticate.

The only other task was to setup a launcher to get a program icon.

Revealed: Perfect timings for creation of exemplary full English breakfast


Fry up

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.


The PrintNightmare continues: Microsoft confirms presence of vulnerable code in all versions of Windows


They never pony up.

150,000 lost UK police records looking more like 400,000 as Home Office continues to blame 'human error'


The more the merrier

The BCS said in a statement: "It is likely that a developer, test analyst and release manager would all have been part of the process leading up to the failure...."

No room for a competent Change Manager in the mix?

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


Oh the memories...

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.

Western Digital shingled out in lawsuit for sneaking RAID-unfriendly tech into drives for RAID arrays


Correction: HGST/Hitachi

** "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.

If you're writing code in Python, JavaScript, Java and PHP, relax. The hot trendy languages are still miles behind, this survey says

Thumb Up


Works for me!


The Iceman cometh, his smartwatch told the cops: Hitman jailed after gizmo links him to Brit gangland slayings


Hi-viz bike

"Kinsella was killed on May 5, 2018, by a masked gunman on a bicycle wearing a high-visibility vest."

I guess the bright orange/yellow bike drew some attention too.

Microsoft liberates ancient MS-DOS source from the museum and sticks it in GitHub


Re: for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery.

Don't write off the retro computer scene just yet...

This lot have just started regular UK meets: https://rc2014.co.uk/

also: https://www.retrobrewcomputers.org/doku.php?id=start

...and shameless self-promotion:


Microsoft gives Windows 10 a name, throws folks a bone


Re: for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery.


Wordstar on CP/M is where it's at...


2nd last pic. (me a week ago)

Heatwave shmeatwave: Brit IT departments cool their racks – explicit pics


Re: for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery.

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.

TalkTalk plans to sell family B2B jewel to Daisy Group for £175m



*EBITDA (Talk Talk)

Earnings Before IT Disaster Again

Microsoft patches problematic OS to deal with SSD woes


Re: Yes, but...

My dual-boot Debian Stretch/Windows 10 box survived the process.

IBM bans all removable storage, for all staff, everywhere


Same old...

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?

Support: Yep!....Oh!

Sir Clive Sinclair dragged into ZX Spectrum reboot battle


Re: for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery.

..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?!

We sent a vulture to find the relaunched Atari box – and all he got was this lousy baseball cap


Knock your socks off with TV Pong on an Atmel microcontroller:


RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics



For anyone not sure where to go (or where they should probably have gone in the first place):



Re: My life in 1976

Orange - very orange!


Facebook invents new unit of time to measure modern attention spans: 1/705,600,000 of a sec


Units of measurement...


One more credit insurer abandons Maplin Electronics


Amazon, Shmamazon

There's an Amazon Monopoly on electronic components and related stuff? Check out our curated list of suppliers on Reddit:


(Abbreviated list:)

EMEA Suppliers

Bitsbox UK

CPC Farnell UK

Electron Electronics UK

Element14 UK AKA Farnell.

HobbyTronics UK

Mallinson Electrical UK

Maplin UK

Mega Electronics UK

Rapid Electronics UK

RS Components UK

Spiratronics 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:


Spy-on-your-home Y-Cam cameras removes free cloud storage bit


Re: for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery.

There's also Zoneminder (Linux, Open Source)

FCC boss Ajit Pai emits his net neutrality extermination plan


Re: for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery.

Fake views

BBC’s Micro:bit turns out to be an excellent drone hijacking tool


Re: @Steve Evans

"Having said that you can program the micro:bit to write rude words in the air as you spin it round on a piece of string."

...all while playing a fruit keyboard with your other hand. Rock on!

Roland McGrath steps down as glibc maintainer after 30 years


Re: for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery.

Ditto - I received the full Kermit dump on a 2400' tape from Lancaster Uni so I could pull out the version for the VAX 11/750 I managed at the time. Happy days!

Currys PC World given a spanking for misleading laptop savings ads


Things are really BAD if Maplin is a better option than PC World

Consultancy titan EY to shift jobs to Indian outsourcer TCS


Re: we are in the process of transforming how we deliver IT services

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.

'Major incident' at Capita data centre: Multiple services still knackered


Re: XML is so 1990's

My rule for any situation that makes me want to start a sentence with "You'd think that...." is to STOP and take a reality check.

Cisco boxen hang after 213-and-a-half days


Re: Nothing New

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.

UK uni KCL spunks IT budget on 'reputation management' after IT disaster headlines


Re: Mountain out of a mole hill

>> 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.

FYI: Ticking time-bomb fault will brick Cisco gear after 18 months


"Prize Plum"

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.


Bloke launches twinkly range of BBC Micro:bit accessory boards


Re: “I’ve designed my own connector,“

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.

2 FWIWs:

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.

Microsoft quietly emits patch to undo its earlier patch that broke Windows 10 networking


Re: ,So there's an online fix for not being able to get online?

It's probably available online as a PDF. Oh, wait....

Botched Microsoft update knocks Windows 8, 10 PCs offline – regardless of ISP


Re: Is this a UK only problem?

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....!

Sysadmin told to spend 20+ hours changing user names, for no reason


Resistance was futile

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.

Hackers waste Xbox One, PS4, MacBook, Pixel, with USB zapper


Re: Ridiculous

Have to nitpick: There's a lot of DMX stuff out there which is not galvanically isolated - the signal just gets thrown into a regular RS485 buffer chip with not an opto or transformer in sight.

Half-ton handbuilt CPU heads to Centre for Computing History


Re: Back-door?

Yes it does have a backdoor - it's a 4-panel, white oak affair with glass top panes and gold fittings.

'Pavement power' - The bad idea that never seems to die



It's at LHR and I came here to post exactly that comment about how unnerving it was to walk on. Any energy cost savings will be wiped out by the NHS expenditure for ltreating lower-back and leg joint problems.

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


Re: Metaphors

From the same period, someone rang up to say that whenever they switched on their PC, the date had gone back to 1980. I told them that the PC's clock battery had probably gone. 'GONE!?' came the startled reply..'Who could have taken it!?"



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.


Wow, everyone loves our drives, says Seagate sitting on a pile o' cash


Re: How much of that was replacing dud drives?

HGST you mean?

(Hitachi ≠ HGST)

Before Bitcoin, digital cash was called Beenz – all that's left is a T-shirt




That is all