* Posts by MarthaFarqhar

46 posts • joined 9 Feb 2011

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.

Teenage duo sentenced over credit card Ghostmarket


Good job they weren't sent down

Otherwise they'd get to know the pain of having an open port probed repeatedly.

Sony threatens to ban PS3 jailbreakers from network


RE: I don't get this attitude...

They did have to include it in order to secure a tax break by declaring it to be a computer rather than a games console. So they did it not for the benefit of the enduser, but out of greed.

Sony tweets 'secret' key at heart of PS3 jailbreak case


It appears that the left hand and the right hand aren't aware of each others activities.

Here is a company that doesn't want users running Linux on a Playstation, which they marketed as a computer system for tax purposes, but are wanting to market a Playstation branded phone running android, derived from Linux. Do they not see that as strange?

Kid spanks a grand on Xbox using Mum's bank card


You don't have to buy using a credit card.

Then don't buy using your card. Take your card down to most supermarkets, they sell Live membership cards and Points cards that can be redeemed on the console.

The kid must have known full well what was happening, it tells you how many points or how much in cash it costs for each download.

And well done to the Daily Mail when they published this, you could clearly see the kids gamertag.


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