* Posts by gryphon

128 posts • joined 2 May 2011


Excel's comedy of errors needs a new script, not new scripting


I remember the accountants at a previous firm back in Excel 97 using very large spreadsheets filling up pretty much every cell plus macros and so on.

I think the line then was that you could assume 1 error for every 20 lines in Excel so they probably had hundreds of errors in something that was basically driving the company. <Shiver>

Plus they kept breaking it because it was so large, average spread sheet back in the day was a couple of hundred Kb if memory serves, these were Mb's.

Thankfully they didn't understand Access or that would have been the next thing they would have pounced on.

On the other hand if you want to actually understand Excel and use it to it's fullest extent it's always best to talk to an accountant.

Xcel smart thermostat users lose their cool after power company locks them out


Re: Control issues

My thought as well.

Power companies don't help themselves either though in pushing the benefits.

I regularly get e-mails from Octopus saying why not get s Smart Meter so you can sign up for our 'Smart' tariffs.

Umm, no. You know my monthly usage from the readings I diligently give you, why not give me even a ballpark estimate of how much my savings would be in the email itself and then I might have a think about it.

Only way I can really save on power usage is convincing the wife that bath towels can be used more than one time which would cut down on one washing and one drying load per day. :-(

General Motors charges mandatory $1,500 fee for three years of optional car features


Re: Other car manufacturers are available.

Very similar to restaurants.

Have a look at the menu for The Ivy for instance.

Teeny, tiny text at the bottom

"A discretionary optional service charge of 12.5% will be added to your bill."

For one thing discretionary and optional are a tautology. For another if it's automatically added in my opinion it's neither since most people will be too embarrassed to ask for it to be taken off.

Not me of course. :-) Obviously I left a direct equal tip in cash since I believe the Ivy like many others impose an 'admin' charge on their own stuff if done within the whole bill.

Wasn't my choice of restaurant in case of course.

Just noticed they've also started adding a cover charge of £2 as well when I looked at a menu online.

For heavens sake.

This would be like adding an 'every time you switch the engine on there's a charge' in the auto industry to get back to the real topic.

Microsoft thinks there are people on 2G networks who want to use Outlook


Re: "the best Outlook experience"

Well Outlook on my Corp laptop takes about 200MB currently.

Teams on the other hand, nearly 900MB between all the different processes.

This credit card-sized PC board can use an Intel Core i7


These are also nice


Earlier generation of Core i7 and require a dock for desktop use or can do a cluster in a modified peli case.

British intelligence recycles old argument for thwarting strong encryption: Think of the children!


Re: Surveillance

There was a book or story written about that but I can't remember by whom.

Basically it was illegal to be out of view or hearing of a govt. owned camera or microphone whether at home, in the street or in a vehicle.

Even the brothels had them.


Re: Quite apart from online...

If memory serves that was Douglas Adams theory from the foreword to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

No idea if it was original or not but certainly makes sense. :-)

He also had the idea that about voting to make sure that the wrong lizard didn't get into office. I'm sure he wasn't thinking about any of our honourable members there.

Other alternative is 'The Voter' I think it was called by Isaac Asimov.

One person per electoral cycle talks to a computer which then decides every single elected official.

All depends on the algorithm I suppose.

UK chemicals multinational to build hydrogen 'gigafactory'


Re: "the increasing urgency to decarbonize transportation"

I believe many Greens have already moved on to decrying all forms of personal transport whether hydrocarbo, BEV or Hydrogen on the grounds that the particulate matter from brake dust and tyre wear is equal or worse than the NOx or Co2.

i.e. They've changed the goal posts

Watch a RAID rebuild or go to a Christmas party? Tough choice


Re: Pre-emptive swap

Or says its rebuilt the mirror but actually hasn't so if disk 1 has been replaced and disk 2 then fails bye, bye array.

Looking at you HP Smart Array.

Thankfully caught that when I joined a new company since one of the first things I looked at was firmware versions on servers, RAID controllers etc.

Listed as a critical issue on release notes but nobody had noticed up to that point.


Re: It's got RAID so it can't fail. . .

Similar issue we found in managing some Exchange servers where HPE's preferred architecture had been followed.

Use single SAS disks per group of replicated databases but make each one a logical array within the Smart Array (SA).

Ok, fine. Whatever.

Problem being that for some reason if Windows starts showing errors on the disk, i.e. unable to read file, bad sector etc. it does NOT get flagged up by the Smart Array as a predictive failure or failed disk.

So if your Wintel guys aren't specifically monitoring for the correct NTFS event log ID's you'll be blissfully unaware of the issue. There is a Smart Array event generated saying couldn't provide the file to Windows but SA doesn't class it as anything it cares about so does nothing.

Back since the IDE days seeing a bad sector on disk means there have already been multiple failures and spare good sectors have been mapped in until they've run out. Replace disk immediately if you see that.

Getting that syncing feeling after an Exchange restore


Did a new motherboard not often need a new HAL?

Don't think changing the HAL was supported without a rebuild.

But then again there wasn't any way to convert a domain controller to a member server either but there was a lovely piece of software called UPromote that could do it.

Completely unsupportable by MS but solved a problem so all good.

Teeth marks yield clue to widespread internet outage in Canada


Re: Emergency credit?

Presumably no-one has the manual card entry devices these days as a fallback.

They were fun when I was a petrol cashier with massive queues on a Saturday afternoon. :-(

I think some people damaged the magnetic strip on purpose so it would take a few extra days for payment to be requested from their card each time.


Microsoft delays next Exchange Server release to 2025


Re: Yah! Exchange 2019 is now supported on Server 2022 !

Even now it is supported they are wary of Exchange 2019 on Server 2022.


Re: Yah! Exchange 2019 is now supported on Server 2022 !


Only problem is Windows Server 2022 is a bit cutting edge for many clients so they want Exchange 2019 on Server 2019, and will then be confused when an in-place upgrade to vNext can't be done and why are those nasty Exchange people wanting double the storage, again.

How about Server 2019 or Server 2022 core I hear you ask?

Oh, we haven't tried all our security stacks on that and the BAU guys get confused without a GUI so just go with Desktop Experience 'k?

Fact that the BAU guys having to actually RDP to an Exchange server should be a once in a blue moon event cuts no ice.



I'd have thought they'd be trumpeting it from the rooftops as a separate article.

We said we would get to it, and it's only 3 years late so not too bad for us. :-)


Do keep up old chap.


Elon Musk orders Tesla execs back to the office


Re: Tesla obviously don't use workday

My company uses it for performance review stuff, time off, noting on call, overtime etc.

Certainly not the best system out there but it’s usable. But as noted finding out holiday days left is indeed an exercise in frustration.

We use a separate system for tracking time allocated to particular projects.

Azure Active Directory logs are lagging, alerts may be wrong or missing


Love the CRUD acronym

BOFH: Where do you think you are going with that toner cartridge?


Re: and the sad part

That is not sad in any way. Just prudent.


Re: HP Laserjet 5

There was an oddity with the 8000 series which succeeded the 5Si if memory serves.

Some software’s printouts would just look weird with the 8000 driver so the trick was to use the 5Si driver instead.

Functionally identical really but must have been some slight difference in the PCL coding.

Was in a graphics department so must have been Autocad or Solidworks.


Re: HP Laserjet 5

Always hated working on the Si’s. Not because they were hard to work on but because they’d always be stuck in inaccessible corners and needed to move them to work on. Heavy and unwieldy beasts at the best of times and never anybody else to help you.


Re: HP Laserjet 5

Spent many ‘happy’ hours of downtime between service calls replacing the Teflon type rollers in various LJ fuser units. Easy peasy once you’d down a few. Think the roller was about £3, refurb unit about £35 back in the day. Always caused by some numpty using standard acetate or labels and melting them on.

I was always very proud that I could strip a printer down to base parts and put back together without any screws etc. left over. Same with laptops and board swaps.

Nowadays my wife doesn’t even trust me enough to change a socket.

IBM band printers on the other hand - scary stuff when you had to bypass the lockout mechanism on the lid to see where it was failing.


Re: HP Laserjet 5

Final feed assembly on lj4 can be a bit of a pain to swap out but yup pretty bulletproof otherwise.

Original killer PC spreadsheet Lotus 1-2-3 now runs on Linux natively


Re: Lotus 1 2 3

The original AutoRoute disks worked like that as well if memory serves.

All UK roads and the program on a 1.2MB floppy.


Re: Word Star

1st year at Uni they spent ages teaching, i.e. instruction, us WordStar and we had all the key combinations off by heart and were very proficient.

Came back after summer to find they'd changed 95% of the PC's over to WordPerfect.

Training. Hmm, here's a few handy hint sheets that we found at the back of a photocopier, off you go.

BOFH: You'll have to really trust me on this team-building exercise


Not Team Building

Many years ago site management had done an 'improve your skills' type course with mind mapping and all that jazz and decided that us peons should also do it.

I was feeling rather unhappy since I had a ton of work on which nobody else could do and deadline wasn't being shifted for my attendance at this thing.

His first statement was along the lines of "let's not see problems as problems let's see them as.."

I didn't let him finish "I work in IT support, a problem is a problem is a problem 99% of the time", 'umm, yes, we'll get back to that'

Next thing from him was, "when you come back from break please all sit at different seats so you get a different perspective"

I just sat at the same seat all day glaring at him and pointing out where his pearls of wisdom might apply to management but not to us peons who actually did stuff for a living on a manufacturing site.

I don't think he was my best friend by the end of the day but it was of course him who was laughing all the way to the bank.

Apple to replace future iPhone Lightning port with USB-C next year, this guy claims



Is the EU planning on a standard charger, i.e. with a USB-C outlet or a common charging port?

Every report I've read keeps saying standard charger without defining properly what that actually means.

Email out, Slack and Teams in for business communications


Re: Teams...

Plus resource usage.

My teams currently has 10 processes open totalling nearly 1GB of RAM.

Outlook - 1 process - 150MB.

Not exactly sure what Teams is doing in all those processes, presumably the system tray notification item and main chat screen at least, others, who knows.

Beijing bails out bankrupt Chinese chipmaker Tsinghua Unigroup


I wonder which bank made a killing on the overnight markets lending against that $9.4bn that was being transferred.

The time you solved that months-long problem in 3 seconds


Re: I replaced a network cable.

Started a new job.

Late Friday afternoon 10 days later manager asks "How would you like to go to Turkey for a couple of days. They have a teeny tiny problem with an ERP system. Oh, you need to be on a flight on Sunday afternoon".

Me: "Umm.. Sure"

Actually ended up spending 16 days there mainly working 08:00-22:00 although we did manage to grab some of a Sunday to see the sights.

Proper kebabs though so all good.

There were also various trips to Zurich including pulling an overnighter to swap over a server system board and then replace disks one at a time letting RAID set rebuild between each one. (They didn't trust the disks for some reason but didn't want to replace all at once and restore from backup for reasons)

That was OK apart from taking me ages to translate the error message on the coffee machine to work out that the grounds tray needed emptied. Was a bit groggy at 03:30.

Ukraine's nuclear plants: Chernobyl off diesel power, explosions explained


Re: Good news


"The same goes for information regarding the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant – part of which caught fire briefly after President Putin's military shelled the facility."

Journalist won't be prosecuted for pressing 'view source'


I think for 'Highway Patrol' read 'State Police' by another name

Saved by the Bill: What if... Microsoft had killed Windows 95?


Also the joys of IRQs before we had PCI.

A network card AND a SoundBlaster.

Hmm, ok.

COVID-19 was a generational opportunity for change at work – and corporate blew it


Re: Practicalities


In most places employers have a statutory duty of care to their employees if they are 'making' them work from home.

Which includes environment, equipment etc.


Could BYOB (Bring Your Own Battery) offer a solution for charging electric vehicles? Microlino seems to think so


Re: I want to see Jeremy Clarkson test drive it...

You are correct. It's come back into memory now you've mentioned it. :-)


Did BMW not do a semi-enclosed moped or motorbike at some point, albeit with sides open, but still needed helmet?


My car commute takes me on average 25 minutes each way, and allows me to stop off at supermarkets etc. on the way home.

Using public transport and walking would take about 2 hours each way and involve 2 trains and a bus that only runs every hour if I was lucky, or would involve a taxi between final rail station and work each way.

Edge case perhaps since I live on city outskirts and work is in the sticks a bit but sure there are many others with similar issues.

I'll keep my car thank you very much.

I would be happy to get something like this as an additional car if my wife actually drove and could make use of our current family car but that's not going to happen. No point having 2 cars just for me.

BEV or Hybrid equivalent to my current pretty modest car would be around £30,000.

I couldn't afford that even before the current high inflation etc. Not actually sure what I'm going to do when this one dies, hopefully prices will have come down a lot.

And before somebody says why don't you just move closer to work I was a lot closer 3 redundancies ago but events dear boy, events.


Re: I want to see Jeremy Clarkson test drive it...

I seem to recall an episode of Top Gear where he drove a tiny car around the BBC offices and absolutely loved it.

Can't remember the model though. :-(

Admins report Hyper-V and domain controller issues after first Patch Tuesday of 2022


Re: Text message today

Really depends on your risk appetite since MS hotfixes are known to often have problems.

But that sort of thing should be brought out during the change management process if it is anything more than a box ticking exercise.

And presumably everybody has pre-release environments to test these things on? :-)

Ransomware puts New Mexico prison in lockdown: Cameras, doors go offline


Re: Wait, what?!

Airgapping. We’ve apparently not heard of it.

When product names go bad: Microsoft's Raymond Chen on the cringe behind WinCE


Re: That's ok

Back in the day company had a username policy of <first 6 letters from surname><first initial>

Had a few 'interesting' ones from that.

Funniest one was for an Italian lady that worked out to 'ALLPORN'

Infosec bods: After more than a year, Sky gets round to squashing hijacking bug in 6m home broadband routers


Re: Oh, ther joys of running unverified code ...

Even BT is slightly better in this regard which is unusual.

Default admin password on the latest home hub is about 12 characters semi-complex.

i.e. Numbers, caps, lowercase but no special characters as far as I remember

Here's a couple who deserve each other: Facebook links Workplace enterprise offering to Microsoft Teams


My company insists on using Workplace for no great reason that I can see. Teams is bad enough.

I actively avoid it if for no other reason that it's run by Facebook.

Tried it a couple of times but people keep posting unnecessary photos and videos in the channels? which really slows things down.

My view is if something is important then send it via e-mail so I can easily search for the damn thing in my mail client without having to jump out to yet another external service, which of course requires MFA so wastes yet more time while I open the code app.

However it's always "We've put all the information on Workplace, check it out". No thanks. !!

Unvaccinated and working at Apple? Prepare for COVID-19 testing 'every time' you step in the office


Compulsory Testing

My sister lives in Sydney and works at a reasonably large US owned factory.

Even though she is double-vaccinated with Pfizer along with most of the staff, they all have to take a test every day when they arrive on site.

Originally it had to be administered by company nurse totally but I believe they've now moved over to a more rapid test which I presume means not having to shove a swab up ones nose.

Not sure if that is a company policy or New South Wales govt. though but we know how paranoid android the Aus authorities are.

Currently they all also have to wear masks as well but she said that is going away for those who are vaccinated from Monday.

Apparently there are a few VERY vocal anti-vaxxers on site but they declaim rather than discuss.

Personally I was on vaccine trial for Novavax and feeling somewhat screwed over that it still isn't approved. Supposed to be getting a whole new course of Pfizer to go 'official' for travel etc. but it's currently in a "we'll let you know what's happening" pattern.

Firewalls? Pfft – it's no match for my mighty spares-bin PC


Re: I could post my history of 'temporary' bodges .....

Short term fixes rarely are.

Apple emergency patches fix zero-click iMessage bug used to inject NSO spyware


Re: Apple screws the pre-iOD 13 customers


I got an update on my old 6+ last month.

In Microsoft's world, cloud email still often requires on-premises Exchange. Why?


Re: Confused.com


However are you giving mailboxes to on-premises AD accounts or only to ones that are Azure AD only?

In the former circumstance you can certainly provision a mailbox but then you won't be able to manage it properly.

Think you can solve the UK's electric vehicle charging point puzzle? The Ordnance Survey wants to hear about it


Re: Parking time and charging time mismatch

Workplace charging not exactly useful if people still continue working from home.

Microsoft to require proof of vaccination from on-site staff, pushes back full reopening


I'm probably misremembering this or misreporting but I read somewhere that since Covid mainly enters through the nose and develops there then 'moves inside' that the body isn't so good at recognising it and fighting it until that latter stage.

Therefore the hopefully minor symptoms that a vaccinated person have won't appear until Covid has been cooking for some time and possibly getting passed on to others.

Ironic in that half the people you see with masks will have it over their mouth but not their nose.



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