* Posts by The other JJ

48 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Jul 2010

Multi-factor auth fatigue is real – and it's why you may be in the headlines next

The other JJ

Re: Surely there's a design fault here

"surely the system should lock the user out completely after X number of rejections"

And the design fault with that is effectively denial of service. Some IT bod is working through the weekend on an upgrade, shipping are working through to clear a backlog or the chief beancounter is down to the wire for filing tax on Sunday night, and now they're locked out with no IT support available to fix the problem until Monday. Not every business has or can afford 247 IT support.

How I made a Chrome extension for converting Reg articles to UK spelling

The other JJ

Re: Fahrenheit -- banish

Don't forget meters which I've even seen sneaking into BOFH articles, a story set in England and written by a Kiwi.

And I'm sure you meant AmericaniSe. :-)

No, working in IT does not mean you can fix anything with a soldering iron

The other JJ

Touch tag

The worst thing about f+f support is that the last person to touch it takes on an unlimited warranty to fix any problem however unrelated. Real life case in point "Hey John, you remember a few weeks ago you fixed the squeaking noise our computer was making? [the fan was very dirty] Well since then my wife's been having problems downloading her email".

PowerShell pusher to log off from Microsoft: Write-Host "Bye bye, Jeffrey Snover"

The other JJ

Re: The only person(s) I'd ever root for at MS...

'...only...' may b a bit strong but by $deity, it was the nearest thing to a Swiss Army knife for Exchange administrators.

Confirmation dialog Groundhog Day: I click OK and it keeps coming back

The other JJ

Cotton-eyed Joe

Reminds me of a couple of years ago when I was one of a development team of two, struggling to meet increasingly ridiculous deadlines. So obviously to relieve our burden they hired a project mangler to encourage us to work smarter, not harder. They never did figure out why we would mutter darkly about someone called 'Jen'.

The Register gets up close and personal with ESA's JUICE spacecraft

The other JJ

Life resembling art again?

"...the end of the mission will see JUICE sent crashing into the surface of Ganymede to avoid any contamination reaching Europa"

Because obviously:


BOFH: Gaming rig for your home office? Yeah right

The other JJ

Re: Poacher turned gamekeeper?

What wasn't mentioned was that Simon put an order in for the laptop the user requested anyway but there was an oversight with the paperwork so it was never entered onto the asset register.

Comcast fixes broadband cables 'peppered' with holes after Oakland drive-by shooting

The other JJ

Re: Argument in favour of gun ownership in the UK?

"Sorry Sarge, was that your hedgehog sir?"

BOFH: On Wednesdays, we wear gloves

The other JJ

"I like to meet people halfway. Typically, halfway between their tube station and their home. At night. With a van."

Another classic!

Something 4,000 light years away emitted strange radio bursts. This is where we talk to scientists for actual info

The other JJ

Re: The universe is mind-bogglingly big

You may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

Terminal trickery, or how to improve a novel immeasurably

The other JJ

Fond memories of RSX-11M-Plus System Management, Internals and Drivers and Macro-11 at Shire Hall. One of those had a great fun female instructor who introduced us to the pub just over the motorway.

Stop press: I lie, the first was at Fountain House in the centre of Reading.

The Great Borkish Breakfast: I'll have a cup of tea, a sausage roll and a side of bork, please

The other JJ

Re: A coffee, sausage roll and a Windows license please

Possibly they're also linked to the till system so price updates are accurately reflected and maybe even display real-time availability of vegan sausage rolls and steak bakes?

How embarrassing: Xiaomi and Motorola show up to high school prom both wearing remote-charging tech

The other JJ

Re: A cradle with two contacts

Or just about every handheld mobile before the late '90s.

Nothing new since the microwave: Let's get those home tech inventors cooking

The other JJ

Still, there’s always the smart heating system!

Nailed it. Obviously the same manufacturer as my lighting control system.

Microsoft pledges to give Teams users multi-account sign-in then reels it back to one work and one personal

The other JJ

Re: Wot a Waste...

Even if more than one business account could be configured it doesn't address the requirement in the slightest if only one can be active and you have to keep switching. Recall that until about 2003 the only way to have more than one Exchange account in Outlook was to switch between profiles, then they allowed three and since about 2010 an unlimited(?) number. All the mailboxes are open and you can work with them simultaneously. That's what's needed in Teams, nothing less.

Yet again Microsoft assumes that every other business in the world works the same way as theirs.

For the price tag, this iPad Pro keyboard better damn well be Magic: It isn't... but it's not completely useless either

The other JJ

Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

I don't even recall the 2008 XPS M1330 being that high end, although I bought low and immediately upgraded disk and memory. But I was treating myself as it was going to be my main machine while working abroad for a year. I still use it for ham radio work as recently as last month. It's had two memory upgrades, at least two disk upgrades (most recently to SSD), dual boots W10 or Ubuntu and performance isn't as shabby as you'd expect for a twelve year old laptop.

Move fast and break stuff, Windows Terminal style: Final update before release will nix your carefully crafted settings

The other JJ

Re: How about a poll?

“Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration.” - Stan Kelly-Bootle

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT

The other JJ

Talking of electric motors...

Back in the mid to late '80s we supplied a system to an office plant rental company, the sort that supplied and maintained potted plants to offices all over London. A 386 box running Xenix with about six serial terminals, it was installed late Autumn when they said business was quietening down and had run fine through the winter until suddenly the customer complained that it was crashing a couple of times a day most days. Suspecting something to do with the usage increasing we took a look and did the usual sort of diagnostics but couldn't find a problem, and after a couple of weeks the problem went away. Some months later the problem started again so I went in to have another look. I wanted to speak to our contact who'd just gone out to their massive greenhouse and as I joined him I heard a grinding sound and looked up to see the windows being opened by a system of rusty gears and motors. "Yeah, it's controlled by thermostats" he said, pre-empting my question. "...and it happens in spring and autumn but stays closed all winter and open all summer?" I hauled him back to the office and sure enough we were met by the users waiting for the system to reboot. One UPS later (that they'd said they wouldn't need when we originally quoted) and they were happy horticulturalists.

Honor MagicBook 14: Nice keyboard and ports aplenty – but with a webcam forever fixed on all of your chins

The other JJ

Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

Or on the other hand if you regularly use your laptop on a desk as well as on the move, one cable into that USB-C port and you've got charging, a decent external monitor (or two), full-sized keyboard and mouse, wired network, printer, scanner, external speakers...

Linky revisited: How the evil French smart meter escaped Hell to taunt me

The other JJ

Ready Brek Children?

If you're old enough to remember Ready Brek children Dabbsy then surely you're old enough to remember Windscale flakes? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk0WzCtF0yY

Margin mugs: A bank paid how much for a 2m Ethernet cable? WTF!

The other JJ

Re: Not just business

Some fifteen years ago when my son was a teenager he saved up to buy a DVD player so we went off to a popular high street electricals superstore that's possibly been mentioned above. The salesman offered a regular HDMI cable for £9.99 or a premium one for £29.99. He pointed out two TVs on display, one with a noticeably better picture than the other, explaining that one with the better picture was through a premium cable. I repeatedly declined both (having a drawerful at home) until he gave up and while he was getting the DVD player I took a quick look round the back, confirming my suspicion that the good one was on a vanilla HDMI cable and the bad one on an RF output.

Imperial bringing in budget holograms to teach students

The other JJ

Appropriate that it should be Imperial

While the whole thing smacks of a publicity stunt at the time of year when sixth-formers are honing their UCCA selection, it would be appropriate for Imperial to be first as holography was invented there by Prof. Dennis Gabor, a senior lecturer and research fellow. I was privileged to attend one of the last lectures he gave in retirement.

As to Eric Laithwaite, it can't have escaped his notice that his undergraduate lectures were attended by far more students than were registered for his modules, including some from different departments, but he never seem to mind.

Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires

The other JJ

Re: "Not an uncommon story", you mean.

I've head both the platters and the boot story many times from unrelated stories.

Those packs have a pretty solid spindle and the heads pretty much vaporise under the conditions described. I have in my spare room a platter with a deep gouge in the edge from a DEC RA60 that an operator crossthreaded swapping disks in a hurry. The people present recount a sound like a gunshot when he mounted the drive from RSTS. The heads had to be vacuumed out of the unit. The possibility that a poorly maintained or mistreated pack could come apart can't be ruled out though.

As for the boot, the networking consultant Bill Hancock told that story about his own VAX/750 at a DECUS UK convention in the mid/late 1980s and knowing him it wasn't original either.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro: The unfashionable estate car wants to go to town

The other JJ

Re: Wrong

Call me a cynic but one starts to think the networks put pressure on the manufacturers to not make dual SIM available in certain regions, the UK in particular. I desperately wanted a Huawei P8 Lite (2017) (to keep up with my daughter who had one) but needed dual SIM and the best I could find was import from Germany or Spain at a £40 premium, so faced with the lack of warranty backing I bought a Xaomi RedMi 4X direct from China for less than the single SIM version instead.

From the graaaaaave! WileyFox's Windows 10 phone delayed again

The other JJ

Re: Getting rid of Truephone

It hadn't occurred to me either. My Spark X was no worse than the average budget Android with the exception of TrueCaller in the 7.0 update which was completely unusable unless, I think, you agreed to let them have a copy of all your contacts or something like that.

It's a moot point now because as of yesterday I'm the owner of a shiny new RedMi 4X (global) which is way faster than just about anything else in the sub £140 range.

A certain millennial turned 30 recently: Welcome to middle age, Microsoft Excel v2

The other JJ

Microsoft Cirrus, sorry, Access

Let's not forget that Excel's younger sibling celebrated a quarter century this month. Throughout the nineties much of the shadow IT that couldn't be done as Excel macros was done in Access.

Giza geezers' muon-geyser visor reveals Great Pyramid's hidden void surpriser

The other JJ

Surely El Reg should describe its size in approved Vulture Central units, so in this case the number of Olympic swimming pools or double-decker buses that would fit in it.

BOFH: Do I smell burning toes, I mean burning toast?

The other JJ

"Could that ever really happen?"

"I could pretty much guarantee it," I say pointedly.


Tell the public how much our tram tickets cost? Are you mad?

The other JJ

A beginner’s guide to using My Get Me There:

Manchester’s hilarious attempt at reinventing London’s Oyster Card.

An entertaining read that describes more of the Kafka-esque policies of TfGM:


50th anniversary of the ATM opens debate about mobile payments

The other JJ

Re: ATM = Automated Teller Machine

And if they refer to "Putting their PIN number into the ATM machine"?

London City airport swaps control tower for digital cameras

The other JJ

Re: Eyeballing?

Some years ago it was identified that accidents on the ground weren't decreasing at the same rate as those in the air, in fact taxiway collisions, runway incursions and wrong runway taxis were increasing with heavier airport use, so systems were introduced to monitor planes on the ground and raise alerts if they went where they shouldn't be.

Ransomware brutes smacked 1 in 3 NHS trusts last year

The other JJ

...and you now have to tell 1,000+ staff that you're rolling back half their day's work - because other than attempting to open every single file you've no way to tell which have been encrypted. That'll take an hour or so and by 3:30 you'll be able to begin your day's work again.

Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

The other JJ

Re: Password?

Like this you mean? http://dilbert.com/strip/2001-09-06

Fleeing Aussie burglar shot in arse with bow and arrow

The other JJ

Either way, in view of the target area I doubt the owner is going to want it back.

Blighty's Home Office database blunders will deprive hundreds of GB driving licences

The other JJ

Re: Home office can revoke as much as it likes

Are you sure an EU issued licence isn't valid until expiry (as is the case for an EU licence in Malta) but certainly a licence issued outside Europe varies in validity depending on host and issuing country but generally in the 3-12 month range. I say "licence issued outside Europe" because there's no such thing as an "international driving licence" despite what various scam sites may claim. There's an "international driving permit" which is essentially a translation of the driving licence to make it understandable to polis in other countries, but is not a licence in its own right but only when accompanied by the licence itself.


VMS will be ready to run on x86 in 2019!

The other JJ

Re: Ah, nostagia

Generally known in IT circles as ALL-AT-ONCE and for good reason. The SharePoint of the 1980s - massive potential yet mostly too obscure to use. A given system could support half a dozen users of something like Lex-11 for the each user of ALL-IN-1.

She wants it. She needs it. Shall I give it to her or keep doing it by myself?

The other JJ

Re: Been there, done that...

On my last day on a contract I usually wear my original Network Week BOFH tee with "YOUR computer's broken and it's MY problem?", unless of course it's more appropriate to wear the El Reg "My job went to India and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" one.

BT: We're killing the dabs brand. Oh and can customers re-register to buy on our site?

The other JJ

Re: Simply!

...and on Saturdays the queue at Simply went out the door, but it was worth the drive round the North Circular and an hour wait to get new shiny into your stickies for the weekend.

I remember using DABS back in their early years. If I called during my lunch break there was an evens chance that Atherton himself would answer the phone and be happy to chat.

Try telling kids today that you could once get knowledgeable personal service from a computer store...

Playmobil cops broadside for 'racist' pirate slave

The other JJ

We never had this problem with Meccano

...or indeed Lego or Playmobil in the days before themed sets, when what you created was all down to your imagination.

Thousands cut off from email after EE bungles domain renewal

The other JJ

Re: This is a wake-up call

The reality is that half (90%?) of the people out there don't understand the distinction between connectivity, ISP, domain, email, website and it's hardly in the interests of ISPs and web hosts to clarify that as it undermines their lock-ins.

After all, how often do you see a business card or van livery for, say "Quality London Plumber" with underneath "website: www.qualitylondonplumber.co.uk" and below that "email: qualitylondonplumber@aol.com" or "...@btinternet.com" or even "...@fsnet.com"?

Spoiling staff with toys could turn against your business

The other JJ

One of the better articles on BYOD

Good to see an article from IT's point of view. There were (at least) two points it barely touched on:

1. IT policy as part of the employment contract, particularly "Thou shalt not use your company email address for personal use" so they don't demand access after leaving so they can see their Ebay history (yep, happened).

2. And the corollary, "Thou shalt not use your personal mobile number, email address or Skype ID for company business". A client told me for years that they didn't see this as a problem until their sales director left for a rival, and they realised that HR had let him take his mobile number with him and his Skype ID was on his business cards, so prospects would be calling him direct rather than the client.

We've found people using personal email because they couldn't configure the company one on a new phone or wouldn't agree to allow remote wipe. We routinely run a script to find external mail forwards and then search mail logs to see if they've got other staff mailing them at that address - and take it to HR to deal with.

Taming the Thames – The place that plugged London's Great Stink

The other JJ

Re: Kew Bridge steam museum

It's now the London Museum of Water and Steam: http://www.waterandsteam.org.uk/

Nothing is actually in use but all the engines are run regularly at weekends - generally not all on the same day except for special occasions. There's also a permanent exhibition, various themed events, a narrow gauge railway and lots more. Check the website for details.

It's right by the Thames at Kew Bridge (for obvious reasons), close to Kew Bridge overground, 15 minutes from Gunnersbury underground and on several bus routes from West London.

Philip Glass tells all and Lovelace and Babbage get the comic novel treatment

The other JJ

Re: Another Glass anecdote

The Guardian, 24 November 2001 "Einstein on the Beach was premiered in Avignon on July 25 1976. Glass and Wilson were then offered the option of two performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where the critical reaction was delirious: "One listens to the music just as one watches Wilson's shifting tableaus," wrote John Rockwell in the New York Times, "and somehow, without knowing it, one crosses the line from being puzzled or irritated to being absolutely bewitched." The day after the performance, Glass was back driving his taxi: "I vividly remember the moment, shortly after the Met adventure," he says, "when a well-dressed woman got into my cab. After noting the name of the driver, she leaned forward and said: 'Young man, do you realise you have the same name as a very famous composer'."

The other JJ

Another Glass anecdote

A similar anecdote about Glass is that after a concert of his at somewhere like the Carnegie Hall, back in the cab for the late shift he gets a fare taking a couple home from a restaurant. As the lady tips him she says "Young man, do you know you look just like the composer we saw this evening, and one day he'll be very famous".

Mysterious STAR set to appear on Christmas Eve above Blighty: The ISS

The other JJ

Re: I wonder

As little as 5W will suffice (they only have a maximum of 50W themselves) but you'll need at least a four element yagi, ideally crossed - you won't get anywhere with a stubbie on a handheld. The chances of them being on air are slim however as they tend to operate at weekends or prearranged contacts (schools etc.). Also the azimuth is relatively low so they'll be something like 1,000km away rather than the 400km of an overhead pass. But it's always worth a listen because even if you only hear them you'll be better prepared for the next time.

Big biz BlackBerry refuseniks adopt Apple over Android

The other JJ
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Non sequitur

This is the second Reg article this week that seems to infer something about device usage from the ratio of activations - and it's not even clear here whether activations include new handsets on existing accounts. We know that many iPhone users upgrade every time a new device comes out whether the old one is still adequate or not whereas 'droid users don't (or they'd be upgrading every week). Perhaps the higher proportion of iPhone activations is simply because iPhone users lose or break theirs more often (and empirical evidence supports that).

DEC founder Ken Olsen is dead

The other JJ
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Ken Olsen quote

I guess the obvious '640kbytes' quote was "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home" but he also said something along the lines of "They say we make general purpose computers but everyone who buys one knows damn well what they're going to do with it".

I had a MicroVAX at home which when I shut it down for the final time had been running for 267 days. Try getting a Windoze machine to stay up that long.

Part of their "engineer salesman" philosophy was to give away books about the hardware, the software, the architecture etc. They were so detailed and comprehensive you could learn all you needed to get started from those before the machine was delivered. I still have a box of them amongst the clutter in my spare room but there's so much history there (not to mention the classic 80s styles of equipment and people in the pictures) that my children will have to clear them out when I've gone.


Telco sets honey pot for nuisance marketers

The other JJ

@Kevin Christoforou: not 4 million lines but 4 million numbers

They're a telco. They have substantial number blocks in many geographical and non-geographical ranges and they're simply putting the unallocated numbers to very good use. Their boss has blogged several times recently (revk.www.me.uk) about his time being wasted by dodgy marketing calls to his own TPS registered numbers and now it's payback time.