* Posts by A K Stiles

713 posts • joined 16 Jul 2010

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The reluctant log trawler: The buck stops with the back-end

A K Stiles Silver badge
Alien

Bodging someone else's cock-up

Obviously there are many 'bodges' in all our pasts, but during my time on-call at a financial institution, more often than not it was coding correctly for someone else's half-assed code that had made it to live and, on several occasions, because there was some data missing from a product configuration causing the system to try and do a divide by zero. Sometimes I've just flagged the problem account and product (and checked for others that might fail in that run) for admin to fix the next day, with a note to get the config screen fixed, other times I've fixed the config screen there and then, middle of the night, to prevent zero values being entered. I've often referred the issue back to the original developer, but almost always I ended up being the one who had to fix it because they were now working on 'something new'...

It's National Cream Tea Day and this time we end the age-old debate once and for all: How do you eat yours?

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: It doesn't matter..

Really? That is a new one on me too. I wonder where that pronunciation (shone/throne) originates from, or if it's "homegrown' Canadian out of the mix of accents from settlement / invasion.

A K Stiles Silver badge
Joke

Re: ...delightful cakey accompaniment is pronounced "scone"...

Well now you've gone and done it!

A K Stiles Silver badge
Pint

Really had me wondering what "apple butter" was... Failure to parse sentence, apply more beer!

A K Stiles Silver badge
Coat

Re: It doesn't matter..

Did you miss an icon, or are you from an area with pronunciation unfamiliar to me?

shone = Shh-on, stone = St-own

also as mentioned above Scone = Sc-on, unless it's a place of venerated granite and then it's Sc-ooon, as in "Oooo, that's a nice bit of granite you've got there!"

As far as cream teas go, butter, then jam then cream, on a Cornish split. Battered and deep-fried optional, and only if you make it into a sandwich, otherwise the jam and cream try to escape in the heat!

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

A K Stiles Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Switching on the "monitor stand"

Nope, you're not.

Also see kicking out cables, pushing monitor power buttons with the back of the keyboard, pressing switches on power strips with shoes / handbags, replacing toner in printers / photocopiers, fixing the franking machine and swapping the fuse in the plug of the fridge in the office kitchen.

I've never been employed as first line support but apparently having a technical bent and being in proximity to anything with a power supply immediately makes it my problem...

Consumer orgs ask world's competition watchdogs: Are you really going to let Google walk off with all Fitbit's data?

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: Alternative Issue, Soehnle

Weirdly, reading Charlie's comment, I got the impression that's exactly what they intended to do and the whole 'connected-ness' of the scales was there but entirely extraneous to their requirements?

Isn't language wonderful where the same set of words can have completely different senses to the reader when removed from any sense of intonation...

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

A K Stiles Silver badge
Childcatcher

chewed wires

The main problem I've ever had with chewed wires is where the l-users have managed to completely tie them around the castor of an office chair in such a way that they've managed to sever them in multiple places and require not just new mice or headsets but at least a temporary replacement for the office chair as one of the wheels would no longer spin (until it got a good talking to with a particular set of angled long-nose pliers, not company issue!)

Icon, 'cos it felt like that's what I was dealing with most of the time!

Maybe there is hope for 2020: AI that 'predicts criminality' from faces with '80% accuracy, no bias' gets in the sea

A K Stiles Silver badge
Joke

Re: Very dodgy subject

I think "pass[ing] mustard" would certainly bring a pained look to your face...

Hey is trying a new take on email – but maker complains of 'outrageous' demands after Apple rejects iOS app

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: Tops vs Bottoms redux

All of these issues pale to naught when the email system encounters colleagues like some of mine where they will answer questions in an email by replying with the answers scattergunned throughout the original message rather than above or below.

They also have a tendency to just pick a conveniently located previous email and reply to it without changing the subject or clearing history when they want to contact you about something new and completely unrelated to the replied-to email, rather than clicking 'new message' and typing a name and relevant subject.

Build me an email system that can cope with those things and I might start to be interested...

NY Attorney General warns Apple, Google to police COVID-19 tracing apps in their souks – or she will herself

A K Stiles Silver badge

as I understand it, it's not enough to just have been 'walked by' by an infected individual, but to have been near enough for a number of minutes to have increased the likely chances of being infected, so you'd need to go stand within a few metres of many of your competitors employees for 5+ minutes for the apps to consider you as at risk of infection.

Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

A K Stiles Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Colour me square

Sounds about right. In another data entry experience I was told I was being 'too accurate' in a data entry role because it would take me 4-5 minutes to key in data from a paper application form, where my team-mates would do them in about 3 minutes. Completely ignoring the fact that, my next task in the day was to go through and amend the new applications (at around another 3 minutes per application) returned to our team by the underwriters because they had too many mistakes in the original keying. Let's just say it was rarely the applications I originally processed which needed rework, and there was a reason they brought them to me when they returned them...

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: Colour me square

So many times, this sort of crap.

When I started out I was doing temp admin crap that involved keying in account card numbers from a box of plastic 'credit' cards and checking the name on the account matched the name on the card. So, something like 16 digits, confirm, read name, quit out of record, repeat. If it doesn't match, pull the card from the box, put it to one side and carry on with the next card. cards in ascending numerical order (Lunn validation). Both I and my colleague cobbled together terminal macros that did "quit, increment last number, confirm", and then we'd read the account name to check the match. 7+ hours a day.

We got through the boxes way faster than they were expecting and didn't believe we'd checked them all until we demonstrated what we'd done. Then we got bollocked for not following their instructions exactly...

Another instance from about 11 years ago, I was seconded from development to the systems admin team to cover for staff shortage (long story). Part of the roll first thing every morning was to check that a set of jobs had run successfully on the server. They did this by manually reviewing the scheduler database and ticking the entries on a sheet for every job successfully run each day. Took about 30-45 minutes most days.

I built a version of the tick sheet in excel, set it to connect to the scheduler database and match job names pulling back the job status for the current run date, then populate the next column with a tick where the job ran successfully. Took less than 5 minutes to open excel, run query, check the right jobs were all ticked, print it, walk to the printer, walk to the hole punch, walk to the shelf with the binder and file the report. The manager lost his mind 'cos how could that be a proper check? Thus demonstrating his effective ignorance of how any of the technology his team controlled actually worked...

A K Stiles Silver badge
Coat

Re: Creative Spelling

That'd be because it isn't English, just abusing the same character set?

A K Stiles Silver badge

Been through that statement a few times and I'm still unsure - to me (as a northern right-pondian) "boot "and "book" are the same vowel sound (like the end of "You", "too", "hew", "hue")

Is it that "book" edges towards "buk" whilst boot sounds more like my description above?

Hooray, space boffins have finally got InSight lander's heat probe back into Martian ground again

A K Stiles Silver badge
Joke

"stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed"

Well I"m dtsying tunrd but keeoing mt fingres crossedf id msking typing wuite diffucilt!

So you really didn't touch the settings at all, huh? Well, this print-out from my secret backup says otherwise

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: Ah, customers.

In the context of university level sports we used to say

"Those who can, do.

Those who can't, teach.

Those who can't teach, judge"

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

A K Stiles Silver badge

Approvals

Even if the FAA approve them (and hopefully it's a full type approval process and not just the same shtick as last time), Boing are going to have to do some serious work to convince the rest of the world that they are safe to fly. Then they are also going to have to convince the global public that they are safe. Much like cars and IT I suspect that the vast majority of the flying public have no real interest in the plane they'll be on, but if there's a plane people will be checking for, it's going to be this one. As an airline, at a basic level, it's some interesting sums to consider loss of bookings vs potential running cost savings.

Das reboot: That's the only thing to do when the screenshot, er, freezes

A K Stiles Silver badge
Windows

Re: Funny that

Now try doing that with a non-GUI command line interface... No self respecting PFY... caught dead... mouse...

As well as hiding the menu bar you should dock it to the top or right edge of the screen so any inadvertent edge bounce at the bottom doesn't pop it up.

Hooray! It's IT Day! Let's hear it for the lukewarm mugs of dirty water that everyone seems to like so much

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: ISO 3103

Neither - that's not a guide to a good cup of tea but a procedure to enable consistent brewing for blending and comparison. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAsrsMPftOI

I'm much more to the RSC version Jake linked to above, brewing time to vary depending on blend and taste.

A K Stiles Silver badge
Unhappy

Experienced that with club rugby in the nineties, played a cold and wet away game and we got back in to the changing room at the end of the match where we were presented with a giant metal tea pot.

It was poured out into polystyrene cups and a few folks commented that it was odd to have the milk already in it in the teapot, but we could see it was easier than trying to provide separate milk.

Then we took a sip and practically spat it across the (thankfully wash clean with a plumbed drain) changing room as it was also sugared at what seemed like 3 spoons per cup level.

From memory there was only one person on the entire team who enjoyed that foul brew.

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?

A K Stiles Silver badge

Varieties of rodent

A wander round our office gives (gave? who knows whether the office is still there these days) a fascinating insight into the variety of pointer controllers. Many 'standard' mice, mostly now optical, some wired, some wireless. Some that are shaped like upright shells, some shaped like joysticks but still pushed around the desk surface, some that are joysticks and look almost identical to the previous ones, some trackpads, some 'nipple' controllers, and a couple of roller-bar mice beneath the keyboard. I've probably missed some other variants. I'd guess that around 40% of our office users have some sort of adaptation to their pointer controller over a standard mouse, though not in the dev team. I fully accept that there are a number of folks with RSI and restricted mobility issues that need some kind of help, but it definitely feels like there are a lot of folks who also need to be 'special'.

I suspect we have recently spent quite a bit on duplicating many of these devices so that folks can have one at home and one in the office for however the future work environment develops.

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: Even easier to get wrong with Sun optical mice

Loughborough Elec Eng?

Behold: The ghastly, preening, lesser-spotted Incredible Bullsh*tting Customer

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: There should be an IT Driving Test

7 year old child of friends has apparently decided that he should be wearing his uniform whilst doing school-work at home, without any apparent prompting from parents or school.

Parents are happy enough with that as at least the uniform clothes are getting some use before he out-grows them.

BOFH: Will the last one out switch off the printer?

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: Surely in these times there can be only one Board Game...

At this point, it's possible that this one is more appropriate for the future...

https://www.zmangames.com/en/products/pandemic-legacy-season-2/

A K Stiles Silver badge
Pint

I'm waiting for when we get back in to see how many of the devices that were turned off as we left the office have been thrown off the domain due to not having been seen for 3+ months...

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much

A K Stiles Silver badge
Gimp

Re: Wear face protection?

Not currently UK recommendation (though there is a growing grumble that it could be helpful, at least to protect others from you being infected). I see from the byline that Kieren is in San Francisco and I suspect that there is a lean to masking up in those parts of the world, so I think it's leaked over, plus some of the readership is situated that-a-ways so trying to find a blend of advice from everyone's official recommendations must be a little challenging.

NASA reveals the new wavy Martian wheels it thinks can crush the red planet

A K Stiles Silver badge
Coat

If the tips go faster than the speed of sound but the roots don't ('cos they do a shorter distance in the same time) then you essentially end up with a shock compression part way down the blade, which is 'a bad thing' structurally and stability speaking.

Even if you could get the entire blade to be supersonic (instantly, no accelerating otherwise see point 1), you then run into issues if you add any velocity to the vehicle as the receding blade may drop below the speed of sound when you combine the velocity of the blade with the velocity of the vehicle, causing the repeated transition shocks from point 1.

16 years and counting: How ESA squeezed oodles of bonus science out of plucky Mars Express probe

A K Stiles Silver badge
Pint

obligatory beer

for all those involved in making mars science better value for the money.

Announcing the official Reg-approved measure of social distancing: The Osman

A K Stiles Silver badge
Coat

Re: 'Pointless' is OK,...

Wonder if they'll need a social distancing version of answer smash? Take one thing and then split it as far apart as possible?

First impressions count when the world is taken by surprise by an exciting new (macro) virus

A K Stiles Silver badge
Pirate

Re: Again, Word 6.0

Around the time of word 6.0, I was doing stuff for a significant UK engineering company.

Both the CAD software and the Finite Element Analysis (I think?) software had the capacity to save and load the models as a plain text file, though with differing formats.

In order to convert CAD models from the design software to the analysis software, the official process was to export into plain text, load that into word, run a word macro over it which did the format conversion then save it out again to be loaded into the FEA system... It wouldn't surprise me if they had some sort of airgapped machine still running word 6 in order to still do this...

Captain Caveman rides to the rescue, solves a prickly PowerPoint problem with a magical solution

A K Stiles Silver badge
Coat

Re: Understated..

Depending on the tree / bush you might be able to simply harvest some leaves?

Laurel seems a bit tough, Nettles seem a bit... spicy... too early for the grape vine... perhaps some judicious (and external only) application of rhubarb leaves?

Microsoft Teams usage jumps to 32, no, 44 million as Windows-slinger platform slides onto home workers' PCs

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: The only thing I lilke about Teams

I think my main preference would be to use one set of comms channels, whatever they are.

Currently juggling some unholy combination of Outlook, Teams, Skype, Skype FB, Slack, multiple websites/blogs, Yammer, Zoom, Adobe Connect, Webex, Gotomeeting ...

Yes, that's all in 2020 and all for work related stuff.

Aww, a cute mini-moon is orbiting Earth right now. But like all good things, it too will abandon us at some point

A K Stiles Silver badge
Coat

Re: Another question for QI

Massively challenged ?

Just the place you'd want to spot a BSOD: While waiting in line for a roller coaster that lifts you up 124ft

A K Stiles Silver badge
Coat

confidence inspiring

At least it's only the advertising / queue entertainment screen and not the solidly tested coaster control system, right? right...

Yo, Imma let you finish, but for the 6,000 people still using that app on a daily basis ... we have a question: why?

A K Stiles Silver badge

DuckCockMateLovePetChuckMyLoverMyLambPal

A K Stiles Silver badge

What duck?

Reddit gets downvoted as site takes a Wednesday tumble

A K Stiles Silver badge
Coat

Re: "Major Outage"

Guess the Redditors had to suffer their own Private Collapse.

Bloke forks out £12m, hands over keys to tropical island to shoo away claims that his web marketing biz was a scam

A K Stiles Silver badge
Joke

Question 3

I could tell you the answer, for just one small $10 payment...

You'll never select all and mark as read again after this tale of peril... Oh, who are we kidding? Of course you will

A K Stiles Silver badge
Joke

Re: User problem: needed to be escalated.

That's just taking it a step to far!

A K Stiles Silver badge

Doors possibly 'air-locked' and access controlled? But yes, it does seem like a sensible sort of approach to have a last check before commencing demolition!

Hey GitLab, the 1970s called and want their sexism back: Saleswomen told to wear short skirts, heels and 'step it up'

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: Why isn't any one offended men were required to wear a blazer and slacks or suit?

You mean like the annual round of various schools not allowing the boys to wear shorts etc on particularly hot days, so they end up coming to school in skirts and blouses, to make the point about equality quite clearly?

A K Stiles Silver badge
Coat

exactly - if the invitation had said something like "Business fancy: shirt and tie with blazer and slacks / suit or cocktail dress and heels" without specifying categories to whom the options applied then maybe there wouldn't have been a reason to register complaints?

Mine's the one with the comfy flats in the pocket, for later.

NASA's Christina Koch returns to Earth as the longest-serving woman astronaut – after spending 328 days in space

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: Question : What's more import ?

Thank you for the added clarity. What with being currently 41 years old, that would seem to be some potentially interesting science for her to be involved in over the next 20 or so years.

A K Stiles Silver badge
Pint

Re: Question : What's more import ?

Certainly with (to my knowledge) ladies being more prone to osteoporosis, the wasting effects of prolonged microgravity on bones could hold significant science, or perhaps even her capacity to replenish the bone density now she has returned to 1g.

Maybe stout instead of lager for the alleged health benefits (?) but a drink to each of the 'nauts for having the drive to get them there, and back again.

BOFH: Darn Windows 7. It's totally why we need a £1k graphics card for a business computer

A K Stiles Silver badge
Pint

Canny director?

This one seems to be too smart to have reached those levels of manglement.

Well, right up until the liberal application of sedatives anyway!

Mmmmmm, sedatives...

Tech can endure the most inhospitable environments: Space, underwater, down t'pit... even hairdressers

A K Stiles Silver badge
Joke

Magic smoke

Everyone knows the kit doesn't work if you let the magic smoke escape.

It seems that human hair isn't an appropriate material for attempting to prevent it from escaping...

Fed-up air safety bods ban A350 pilots from enjoying cockpit coffees

A K Stiles Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

Re: The problem is obvious from the picture

Tray tables seem almost designed to dump the tea/coffee in your lap, from cattle seat experience. fortunately it was breakfast and we were heading into a warm climate so the emergency change shorts in the carry-on were a suitable change of clothing.

A K Stiles Silver badge

Re: Easier said than done

To my understanding, when a pilot needs a break they can leave their co-pilot in charge, and switch out with a senior member of cabin crew who is there to ensure the remaining pilot is awake and functional. So you could readily have the coffee break around the same time, or use a no-spill mug as has been suggested repeatedly elsewhere in this section.

Apple finally clambers to top of phone market again as spider-eyed iPhone 11 lures fanatics out of the shadows

A K Stiles Silver badge
Holmes

Weirdly, I also just replaced my old phone (Note 3) with a new one (Note 9). Every single one of those is also better on my new phone than the old one too.

I never bothered with a tablet as the phone works for basic consumption and the laptop for actually doing stuff!

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