* Posts by MarthaFarqhar

54 posts • joined 9 Feb 2011


Buying a USB adapter: Pennies. Knowing where to stick it: Priceless


I'm changing career to creative accountant

One of my friends brothers has a knackered laptop. A 2013 Dell running Windows 7.

After his daughter spilt juice on it, he messages me frantically about fixing it.

I told him to immediately power it off, leave it off. I'd look into getting parts, he might have been lucky that it was only the keyboard that was tatered.

Got the part numbers, got him prices, and was then told that was too expensive, he'd have to think.

Couple of days later

"It can't boot.Why can't it boot"

Told him that it could be the juice has gotten past the keyboard, and why the chuffing hell did you switch it on again. Was told "That's what all IT people do, turn it off and on again"

It got better, he asked could I install the drive into a Mac, which then sparked the conversation that newer Macs had SSDs, so I'd probably have to get an adapter/caddy for him to use. That sounded expensive to him. Especially as he had about 300 quid to get a Mac laptop with 512 GB storage, and he needed 1TB for his music, plus some software to use with a mixing desk. He'd got a licence for one piece of software, he just needed to buy Logic Pro X.(174.99 from the App Store)

So from 300 quid for a laptop, minus software that was more than half of that, plus the possibility he might have to pay for a new license for other software from the PC for the Mac and the dock for his hard drive, what spec Mac was he looking for.

2017 MacBook Pro. Said I must know someone with one to sell.

I asked if he had been on the pop as his figures were all over the place.

He's told me he's going to get his MP3s off his hard drive and will let me know when that's done so we can talk about a discount as he's doing the hard work himself.

I didn't dare ask if he had backups.

When forgetting to set a password for root is the least of your woes


A student who was a Student's Union officer left herself logged in.

Another student decided to post under her login "I'm a stupid expletive expletive. I've let myself logged in" and an invite to tell her that via her email.

This was posted to alt.test, misc.politics, alt.flame, alt.tasteless and a few other delectable groups.

The sysadmins had a hell of a time with her account mailbox being over quota within minutes of this happening.

ASUS recalls motherboards that flame out thanks to backwards capacitors


Re: Abit tale of fail

You didn't work for a company that sounds like Piglen, did you?

I kind of remember the V69 towers with Pentium III contenders had this issue, we used to set ourselves Pit-Stop style challenges who could strip a board out and have the machine reassembled, and powered up in the quickest time. I can't remember the exact time, but when they sent a few with a tech rather than just the boards themselves, he was rather impressed how quick the turnaround was from us.

Swooping in to claim the glory while the On Call engineer stands baffled


Re: Obvious in hindsight

Eco friendly directive at a University datacentre during a hot summer.

Open vents in the roof to allow the hot air to escape.

Didn't realise that in many climates, prolonged hot periods are followed by thunderstorms.

AIrcon cost saved were possibly in the 100s. Replacement parts for damaged servers/switches in the thousands.


Re: It's all about the bass

Security Staff-the living embodiment of percussive maintenance when verbal requests don't seem to work.


Re: Hands On (and Eyes On Too)

When diagnosing the faulty caps used during the early 2000s on motherboards from a certain manufacturer, first sign was an acrid smell,a pop followed by a ping as the metal case from the leaking capacitor left its earthly shackle and flew for freedom until it hit the side of the PC case.

The Nose 0.7a (still in early testing found a eggy smell near some UPS banks. Using TouchTemp(tm), we found that the UPS batteries were cooking rather nicely.

Never had to use taste yet at work, apart from experiments back in school with a PP9 battery. Tangy, with hints of citrous.

England's Data Guardian warns of plans to grant police access to patient data


Re: It's a bit late now

I believe the spoonerism bazy lastard covers my constituency representative at that time. The MP at the time for RIPA didn't attend the debate despite being asked and told of my concerns. When questioned, he said that he was waiting for the party to give a clear line. After the third contact, he was told that the party were opposing it.

I told him it was too late, it was already at third reading and off for royal assent.

Wasn't particularly impressed when I asked what he did to justify his expense claims for London when he didn't bother to visit the House of Commons.


Re: It's a bit late now

Some of us did when RIPA and IPA were in the House of Commons. It sometimes helps when your MP makes an appearance in Parliament.

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope


When we moved from our departmental hosted email to GroupWise (shudder) as a result of management wanting to standardize, one of the first questions the users asked was "Can we get Elm or Pine working with it?".

Samsung says it makes the world’s best holes. Yes, holes. Holes so good they even get a brand


Re: So if it's the 'Best' hole ....

Bit of a stretch to ask for that.

University of Cambridge to decommission its homegrown email service Hermes in favour of Microsoft Exchange Online


Re: Modern

As well as the whole internal versus external costs, University management now use the "it's not us, blame them" if anything goes wrong. If you don't own the service, you aren't responsible for the problem, so you don't take the blame.

Even if though you as a management group chose that solution.

The way for IT in Higher Ed is going the way of Facilities Management in Buildings and Estates. Why buy the tools and expertise when you can rent? When it all goes wrong, not your fault, not your problem, time to find a new supplier, on the merry-go-round we go.

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?


Back in the days of Napster, Kazaa, students setting up their own workgroups in halls of residence and them not being isolated from the real campus network, there was a lot of network traffic purely just for evaluation of copyrighted material *ahem*.

One bright spark decided to use our mail server to email his mp3 collection from his office computer to his own account. Via an old Sun SPARC running our mail service with a spool of around 70MB.

People kept wondering why mail was patchy that day. Of course, the logs were being filled with disk full, and then once the non-delivery reports started to fill the logs, /var started to rapidly fill.

Drastic action was needed. Short of using the scissors method of network disconnection, it was a small enough building to find the (ab)user and inform him how we applauded him on his understanding of the concept of attachment size limits, however, flooding the mail queues with multiple mails exceeding the mail queue for the department wasn't a good thing.

He then opened Outlook Express (his choice of client). His mail queue was about a third of the capacity of the entire University mailqueue. At that point, we advised him it was probably quicker to invest time in learning about sftp or scp, or investing in a CD-RW.

Reply all storms seem to be cyclical. Every so many years, these happen, until a personal attack/information disclosure gets sent to all, is memorised by everyone as an example, then people move on. New people move in. Wait about two-three years. Off we go again.

Oh what a cute little animation... OH MY GOD. (Not acceptable, even in the '80s)


Re: Ever done something in your youth that leaves you still gnawing a knuckle or two decades on?

cat "ezekial25.au" > /dev/audio in a lab full of Sun Sparcstations with a 3 second delay per workstation with a slow increase in volume.

Wait till there is one student in there at 3 am while the rest of you are in another lab with a view in. Wait and hear the gunshots. See the jump scare.

Wait till the sysadmin reviews the CCTV after the complaint, finds out the miscreants logins, changes their login scripts so the next time they use the Suns, they get the same treatment.


Re: Head

Hmmm, Please make sure that you have an ample supply of mind bleach fior this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0rlYSJQkyw cover of the Divinyls.

Dixons in the 90s. The Goatse boot floppy. A store full of Packard Bells with boot from floppy as first option.

We weren't absolute bastards. We only booted from the floppy. _We_ didn't overwrite the drives.

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


Re: Luxury


A bored teenager working in a store with the right diameter pin could cause havoc.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2


Re: In pre-computer days people were used to memorize sequences....

My first boss at a real job used the mantra "If you want to find the easiest way to do a job, find the laziest man to do it."

He was also of the opinion that if you mess up and hide it, that's sackable. Mess up, fess up, that's learning.

God I miss him and his ilk

Beware the trainee with time on his hands and an Acorn manual on his desk


Re: Ah the good old days

Ah, the goatse boot floppy was used by miscreants in Currys, PC World, Dixons...


Re: Oh, the joys

The write command and wall were abused horrendously in our labs as a student. Some of us sensibly set mesg to n, but even so, some of the abusers didn't get tire of this. cat core|write idiot was a suitable warning, as well as cat /dev/urandom | write idiot would tend to lock their session.

Hey, I wrote this neat little program for you guys called the IMAC User Notification Tool


Too right. I had someone who I had to deal with called Mr Angus. He really lived up to his autocorrect surname.

Rise of the Machines hair-raiser: The day IBM's Dot Matrix turned


Or he thought he was of Royal blood?

Guy is booted out of IT amid outsourcing, wipes databases, deletes emails... goes straight to jail for two-plus years


I had a similar situation, I was the local IT and he thought my position was redundant, he decided to play silly buggers. Got a new position, wrote meticulous documentation, made sure I left everything in order.

He didn't actually understand my role, but soon realised.

Whatever instructions/documentation etc would not be followed and calling me two days after I left and started my new role, that I wasn't going to "do him a favour" and bail him out of brown stuff.

It cost him a weeks wages to get me back in, in cash before I set foot in the area the fault had occurred.

Despite me telling me repeatedly that spares are good in time critical situations, it backfired spectacularly when they lost around 100,000 quids worth of production, a production line crew standing idle for what should have cost 1600 in parts and one electrician following instructions to restore a backup to a touchscreen. He had to wait till morning to get a refurbed screen,

I left site 10 minutes after I arrived, a huge grin and a perfect tale for future employers that documentation, courtesy and spare parts can really make a difference, and Schadenfreude is real and so, so satisfying.

Sex and drugs and auto-tune: What motivates a millennial perp?


Re: Well there might be a bright side

Or more likely that Kims arse is the only thing that could accommodate Kanyes ego.

Daddy, are we there yet? How Mrs Gates got Bill to drive the kids to school


"If it takes a village to raise a child then maybe put it onto the local tax..."

Knowing my local council, they'd tax it at the county, district and parish level.

Is that a stiffy disk in your drive... or something else entirely?


Re: Re. Zip disks

We still have machines with SuperDrives in, as well as blank media. USB superdrive is hanging around somewhere as well


For that very reason, we used to put m-m or f-f connectors on any piece of kit in the general areas so that if they did force the cable in the port the wrong way, we'd spend 90p getting another changer rather than having to spend hours trying to repair the port.


Re: Help! My stiffies stuck in the slot

Have the same thing here. The problem we now have is that they don't send engineers over, they leave it to a "print champion". Namely the muggins that used to have to do the jobs, but were allocated different tasks to make up for the loss of maintaining the printers.

All mails from the outsourced print team are now correctly routed to /dev/null

The peelable, foldable phone has become the great white whale of tech


Re: Like self-driving cars, isn't it?

I'd love a self driving car. My licence has been suspended on medical grounds, but the chance not to use public transport I'd buy one in a jiffy.

Cheapskate Brits appear to love their Poundland MVNOs as UK's big four snubbed in survey again


Re: Are you sure?

Never let the facts get in the way of the tone of the article

So, that's cheerio the nou to Dundee Satellite Receiving Station: Over 40 years of service axed for the sake of £338,000


I believe its worth 205.47112462 duck houses at MP expenses rates.

You were warned and you didn't do enough: UK preps Big Internet content laws


They didn't listen when RIPA was up for vote in Parliament, so this is hardly a surprise.

Get the smell out of here! Gaming tournament bans players who raise a literal stink


I remember going to Games Workshop in my youth, and I always wondered why the army didn't weaponize the stench from some of the customers. Definitely an area effect weapon up to 30m range, 2D4+20 damage for 6 rounds with Save against Poison 18 or above.

Are you sure you've got a floppy disk stuck in the drive? Or is it 100 lodged in the chassis?


Drive head cleaning disks

Anyone called to somebody trying to save data to one of these.

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s


Dell Laptop. Incontinent cat. Keyboard a nice place to rest. You can guess the rest.

Happy Thursday! 770 MEEELLLION email addresses and passwords found in yuge data breach


Text file encrypted using RSA-2048 gpg key. I'm buggered if I lose/forget the passphrase!

Is Oomi the all-in-one smart home system we've been waiting for?


There are some security issues with certain boyfriend/girlfriend models

They're good, but sometimes when the security is breached they can empty your bank account quicker than a Nigerian fraudster.

Fighter pilot shot down laptops with a flick of his copper-plated wrist


Re: Random PC reboots

Possibly a million to one, but we all know that succeeds nine times out of ten.


Re: Random PC reboots

Similar thing happens when you have a lab above an MRI scanner. That seems to cause a spontaneous reboot, lockups, missing keyboard errors. Move the computer to a room away from the scanner area, works fine for weeks.

Down the other side of the corridor from the scanner. A rock crusher. The joys of working in a shared building


The way round that is wait till they have a skip delivered at work, and then place all equipment that gave you grief, climb in and pretend you're Thor with next to no cleanup.

Edinburgh Uni email snafu tells students they won't be graduating


Re: three or four years of sex, booze and drugs...

If you'd studied harder at school, you'd know how to avoid paying that tax. Or be able to pay someone to do that for you.

The revolution will not be televised: How Lucas modernised audio in film


Says it all when I went to see The Force Awakens in a THX certified screen that the colour was all over the place, focus was in and out and the sound was poor due to blown out speakers. Its alright having certification, but its like an MOT. Only fit for the day it was issued.

Virgin Media boss warns Brexit could hamstring broadband investment


There's been a capacity issues where I live since September 2015. Latest fix date is Feb 2017. They jumped the gun and predicted Brexit results way before the vote. Bravo VM.

EU vetoes O2 and Three merger: Hutchison mulls legal challenge


Re: Hypocrites

You are assuming that the EU has the ability to learn from its own mistakes and make better choices.

Computers shouldn't smoke. Cigarettes aren't healthy for anyone


I've had two memorable ones brought to me for diagnosis. First one was a laptop that mysteriously had stopped working. Checked the power supply, all well and good. Then moved onto the laptop,which had a bit of a funky smell to say the least, and when opened up could see there had been a bit of fluid spilt on it. Asked the user what happened, and she said, "I got up to make a cup of tea, and the cat lay on the keyboard, he does that because its warm on the laptop. He's a bit old, so...." and it was then we both realised her incontinent cat had peed on the keyboard, and this had seeped into the electronics and fried them.

Second one was another member of staff who loaned a printer, and returned it stating it no longer worked. Found most of a pack of bourbon biscuits and a custard cream wedged in the print head, as well as various soft drinks that had been dumped into it. She claims her children were never let near it. She was asked to pay for a new printer.

HERE: We're still, er... HERE


I've had a 930 for over a year, and loved the here suite, as if I was driving, the offline maps was invaluable, as on holiday last year in California and Nevada with very patchy data coverage, and when I was using public transport, Here transit was great for showing you the different options available (bus, train, tram where available) and made getting round an unfamiliar city a doddle.

The Windows Map application doesn't have train or tram support for its route planning for non-drivers, so isn't as useful to me as here is, which is a shame.

Get lost, Windows 10 and Phone fans: No maps HERE on Microsoft's OS


Re: Another one bites the dust

Embrace and extend appears to mean push away members of your existing user base, as they've already had your money.


So xbox appears to be going to a service platform, and the best app for Windows Phone will not be supported. And you thought Ballmer was a fuckwit? I think they're trying to kill off all their hardware systems.

Why does herbal cough syrup work so well? It may be full of morphine


http://www.pharmacyfirst.co.uk//index.php?productId=9210&sort_by=relevancy&_a=viewProd was a popular remedy but it seems you can only get it online now as it contains opium tincture.

That thing we do in the UK? Should be ILLEGAL in the US, moans ex-State monopoly BT


Re: Openreach...

Openreach decided that they weren't going to add FTTC to my old houses cabinet, as it they could then claim it an improvement under the rural program for my county. They basically used that money to infill where it wasn't economically viable due to their poor planning in setting out cabinets, rather than the intended purpose for rural improvements. And the new place we moved to? VM had already cabled, so BT decided not to bother.

Tidal music launch: Pop plutocrats pour FLAC on rival Spotify


Pushing back the tide

Tidal? Never has there been such a collection of self absorbed utter Cnuts assembled in one place in the whole of history

Ten Xbox 360 games you may have missed


PES? No thank you.

Sorry, after Konami delivered successive versions with the worst netcode possible, there's a reason FIFA outsells it. Piss off your core audience, and if a competitor comes along with a decent product, they will buy that instead. Seabass screwed over gamers after PES 6, subsequent releases just took the money and never fixed the underlying flawed code.



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