* Posts by Kiwi

4368 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Sep 2011

Not a Genius move after all: Apple must cough up $$$ in back pay for store staff forced to wait for bag searches

Paris Hilton

Re: Minimum wage?

Kieren's insert commentary of "..earning just above minimum wage..." seems to be way off.

Dunno where you learned maths, but last I looked 14 was just above 13 :)

The article does not mention anything about how many people at Apple get a minimum wage (although looking at their reputed manufacturing practices, it seems "the least possible" is quite normal for them - based on my extensive studies in the topic which involves reading the occasional Reg article...). It does imply that a certain group are on minimum wages (those named individuals).

The article is right to bring to mind what it must be like for those who are on the lower ends of the scales (who may have a 2nd job to get to, or kids to pick up, or just a home to go to) who have to wait sometimes as much as 45minutes just for a manager to check them.

Not surprised though - Apple clearly don't value their employees. Actively showing distrust in them, and going to court and lying about it - that's low.

Oh, and 2.5 x minimum wage is still pretty damned close to minimum when you look at what those at the top end of Apples pay scales will be getting. Or even those in the intermediate ranges.

Call us immediately if your child uses Kali Linux, squawks West Mids Police


Re: Be a government informer! Betray your family and friends! Fabulous prizes to be won!

BTW the curve on the cleaver blade and the sharpness means it’s excellent for chopping herbs holding the blade rather than the handle. I probably use it more for that than dismembering dead things.

But.. Arent't the herbs rather dead once you've harvested them, and isn't the act of chopping them up dismembering them?


has there ever been any situation in which it's a good thing that you or your child are 'known to the police'.


The best thing to say to the police is NOTHING. Maybe except in the case of an emergency, but basically as little as possible. It's their job to get you to speak, for by speaking you give them words they can then twist to help them get another conviction.

They don't care if the person convicted is guilty, or even if a crime was committed. They just care about the conviction - enough of them and they get a healthy bonus, and hey - "everyone is guilty of something".

(El Reg, can we get a "sour grapes", "bitter pill", or "soapbox psychorant" icon please?)


Guilty of teaching kids bad things...

Not too many years back I was asked to guide a kid who was causing his parents all sorts of grief, namely trying stuff with the family computer that constantly had related problems.

One of the first things I taught was the use of virtual box and using VMs to help protect his computer, and also a spare box I gave the family where I taught him how to use images to quickly revert to a 'fresh install'.

I won't say what he does now, but I will say it's linked to one of my less-liked organisations and he's involved in a certain form of "security".

If someone didn't give this kid a decent start (and that's all I did, he took the hand-up I gave him and flew) the "white hats" wouldn't have him on side. If his parents had reported him for the tools he was using, he'd have been "turned around" by the local dodogooders society/been introduced to nasty criminals like psychologists, and the person he is now would never have existed.

The use of the tools can go both ways, just like the number of people who as teens engage in small levels of what is often called "crime" like trying dope, under-age drinking, speeding and so on (even small levels of theft or vandalism) yet with decent support manage to turn things around and actually be valuable. It's not what we grow up with on the computer that makes or breaks, it's how we're treated.

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


Re: and it was said to rip the keys from your trousers.

Many an old timer welding person will remind you of the time they had an MRI and during the process it removed a slither of steel from an eye.

I have my doubts about an eye (had fragments get in, trust me you don't wait around for that to be fixed!).

But I can easily believe bits from hands or other places. I had an iron splinter break off inside my hand, and I could feel it there for a couple of years before it broke down (yes I did get it checked, Dr said if it wasn't too bad wasn't worth worrying about, cutting me open could be worse). Wish I'd've thought to ask the local hospital if they could let me sit inside the machine for a moment...


Re: needing to haul together on a rope to remove a ferrous tool

Really? I've not seen a ferrous key in a long time! (not saying I disbelieve you, just that IME they're rare these days)

I have a ferrous key ring, but I don't think any of my keys are. House keys are aluminium, garage and padlock keys are something that is supposed to be brass, the bike and car keys are... [goes off hunting a magnet] - not sure what they are but not magnetic so most likely non-ferrous (unless there's a tiny amount)

[wanders off in hunt of more keys]..Ancient house key - aluminium. Pushbike pretend-lock key - oh, here's a surprise. This one actually IS ferrous.. I am quite surprised at that! Was a cheap crappy lock and I'm surprised they used something as expensive as plated steel!

Some sciencey/engineering stuff... When stuff is plated, the plating solutions can gain an amount of iron that can be transferred to the item. I had an argument with a guy where I was telling him that both zinc and copper were not magnetic, and he demonstrated some headscratchyness on my part by holding up a zinc-plated copper rod with a magnet. very simple and effective way to prove your point! But after talking to the platers, the guy showed me some markings on the hook that he said were "iron contamination", ie the zinc solution needed IIRC hydrogen peroxide (to precipitate out the iron) and filtering.

Point of the above is there may be small amounts of iron in a key that your normal household magnets won't notice but an MRI machine would have a field day with!


It is more fun if you find the 'Beware of the Cougar' sign.

Not quite there yet =>

A surprising number of downvotes.. Have one up, and one on me!

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


5. Also, are gay men "red-blooded men"? I'm sure pretty much all of them are, actually. Or perhaps they all have anemia from looking at insufficient numbers of sexy women. Perhaps someone should reveal this scientific insight to the world.

El Reg should start a subscription model, only as your 'credit' grows you get some extra buttons, like 10 "credits" gets you a "+10 upvotes".

I'd find your post quite expensive but worth it.

FTR.. When running wiring for a couple of new "nerdy gadgets" (as a mate calls them) for my bike yesterday, I managed to cut myself. Pretty sure the blood was red, but I guess it may not have been blood after all...

Astroboffins may have raged at Elon's emissions staining the sky, but all those satellites will be more boon than bother


Re: Rocket carcasses

As for Starman and his car: Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.

"The ocean is really big. Let's just dump all our trash in the ocean. Who'll ever notice?"


Re: Nuts

Why do you need 50,000 satellites to fix this problem when you've already got millions of guns?

Because doing anything like standing up to the government in any fashion requires getting off their copious backsides and doing something.

OTOH, letting Musk provide the links not only means that someone else is doing something and they don't have to, but if/when something goes wrong with the Starlink service it gives them something else to rant and moan about whilst still sitting in the same over-stressed armchair (he says, whilst sitting in a chair that has a couple of springs that should be replaced).

I'll also wager that, like many other products and services the world over, Starlink will be sold to us today as "very much cheaper than the others on the market, and much better", but when it comes time to buy we'll find it's barely cheaper and barely noticeable better, and that only for the first few months.


Re: Missing the point

I would say that if you can't more or less constantly spot a satellite you are not making an effort as there are usually quite a few non geostationary ones i.e. moving ones in the sky at the same time.

Yep. Lower Hutt, New Zealand. I'm on the Eastern edge of the valley. On the edge, but still plenty of light pollution.

I went outside last night at about 10:50pm IIRC. Moon hadn't yet risen (at least not enough to be visible). Outside and indoor lights on. Inside a minute I could pick out one bright object crossing the sky, even though the light pollution meant I could see few starts and barely make out the Milky Way.

A couple of minutes or so later I was able to spot something else as well. If I had been somewhere darker, I'm sure I could've seen more satellites in the sky at once. Very easy to see with the naked eye in heavily light-polluted conditions. That doesn't mean those in a lower orbit will be much as bad, but for significant periods of time they will be.

I've also just realised the moon will probably cast enough light onto these sats to make them visible, at least when the moon is at a lower position on the horizon.


Re: Missing the point

I live in an official designated dark sky area and we have a couple of holiday cottages and on a good night you can hear the gasps through the windows as they stare gobsmacked into the sky.

One of my favourite roads is "The forgotten world highway", an sometimes-gravel road through the backblocks of the wop-wops of NZ. Not long before Whangamomona is a rest area, and on rare occasions I get to stop there at night taking someone through. It is possible to travel this road end-end without seeing another car. Aside from your own lights, it is possible to cover most of it without seeing a single artificial light (bar for satellites). There's usually a few on in Whangamomona, but that's not guaranteed.

I still get amazed by the view. But people who come from large brightly-lit cities? They've never seen anything like this!

You can see the start of the Tangarakau Gorge at 38°58'16.41" S 174°54'27.71" E. If you use Street View or similar, you can see that beautiful sign that says 'winding road next 16km" - but it is misleading as you've been on a very windy road for miles already. Also see one of my stopping points.

Years back on what we shall say was an "accidental exploration of alternative routes" I found an old timber milling camp site. Would love to find it again and spend a few nights there! But better to it this year before that musky foulness pollutes the sky :(

-->Closest we have to starry-eyed enjoyment of the starry-sky.

Crazy idea but hear us out... With robots taking people's jobs, can we rethink this whole working to survive thing?


Re: They toooock ewre joohbs!!!

It's _literally_ neo-Nazi propaganda. It has no relation to the truth whatsoever. It's a lie that comes from neo-Nazis, who are well aware that to get any traction they have to persuade people they're getting less than their share.

Perhaps you have some evidence of this? Perhaps you have some evidence that only they claim this and no one else does?

Nazis also practice and promote the breathing of air, and many promote keeping fit and healthy. I am told several of them use electricity and consider it to be beneficial.Do you need to stop breathing, using power etc because they also do it?

Is the fact that the Nazis happen to agree with certain things your only argument against those things, or do you have a stronger argument?

Just because a vile piece of trash utters a truth, that does not change the truthfulness of what they say.


Universal basic income is the answer, even Nixon considered it. Here's an interesting read on the subject with it's history,

Basic income bill

Thanks very much for that. Definitely an interesting read.


Re: Seriously, how many centuries has this exact debate been going on?

The poor see by far the biggest benefits from cheap stuff, since the rich could always afford expensive stuff.

Not quite so much as you think.

For many who are on a very tight budget, a $5 trinket makes a difference to how much food is in the house, or it might mean having a couple of cold dinners to keep the budget balanced. Skipping a shower saves $1 on the power bill, and that could be the difference between being totally broke at the end of the week and having an extra $1 in the account.

For some, something that was $2,000 but is now just $20 is still unobtainable. There are a lot of people who have to think carefully about things even that cheap.

Things might seem cheap, but that does not mean they're affordable. 15 years ago I was living comfortably on $500/wk income. I could've taken extra hours but why? I had enough cash to travel, I had enough to save, buying hardware/toys wasn't done on the basis of "what can I afford" but "what do I have room for?". And the family kids got expensive Christmas and Birthday presents each year. Wish I'd saved much more of that when I had it!

I earn a fair bit more than that today, but I have to work extra hours (usually making/designing something for someone - hence the growing collection of interesting tools!) if I want to go away for a weekend, even just a couple of hours away. Travel to Auckland? That's months of savings, not a "Yeah what the hell, I'll be on the next plane/drive up tomorrow" like I used to. My income hasn't doubled, but petrol costs are more than twice as much, bike registration costs are somewhere near 5x the amount, many rents have seen more than a 5x increase (not quite 4x in my case, $110/wk is now very nearly $400/wk - but I am very lucky). Power prices have rocketed, petrol went from little over $1/L to over $2/L. Some food prices are similar, some cheaper, many have gone up - some of that blamed on fuel/land/ingredients etc prices. And higher wages...

Older relatives of mine have had to keep downsizing houses to remain ahead. Their homes are freehold, but due to the costs of living they'll sell a bigger home and move into a smaller one, putting the rest into the bank. As medical, vehicle and just trying to keep somewhat of a comfortable lifestyle eat into what they save, they have to plan for it again and again.

When you're tight for cash, an extra $5 can make a huge difference, and something that costs $5 could still be to expensive to consider buying. I see this around me all the time, and I've been there myself.


Re: They toooock ewre joohbs!!!

At which point it will become cheaper to get a person to do the work rather than invest in a robot.... if "Company A" now only has to make 500 widgets instead of 6 million because 500 is all they can sell then it would be cheaper to get a person to build the widgets than invest millions in an auto widget maker.

I don't think it would work like that.

With things like some of the nicer CNC machines and 3D printing (which has come a long way in recent years), instead of several big companies making big runs of things you'll see the number of items per run reduce, but as it's trivial to feed a set of designs to a production line, load feedstock into the plant, and let it do the rest automatically, one company could do lots of small runs of a few hundred items.

This is already possible to a degree now, and the systems will only get better as the tech is refined and new methods/materials are developed. It is reasonable to expect we could see a time when there is very few manufacturing plants left, most people no longer work (unless we get a big drop in population numbers), and we either have some form of a "universal income" or a hell of a lot of starving homeless people.

A lot of stuff is getting cheaper and better as well. Today I'd say the replacement cost of my tools would be less than $NZ5,000. I have a couple of items that 10 years back would've been a big portion of that (if not more) on their own, including some cheap USB devices which can allow a smartphone to "also do" things that used to employ a fairly large and specialist computer cabinet. This is just a small sign of what is happening to manufacturing. Methods have improved, and things that were made at a rate of 10 a month by a team of specialists are now pouring out of a single machine at a thousand an hour (numbers pulled out of a certain non-sunlit orifice but may not be that far from reality).

And that machine is so well designed now that it can easily be reprogrammed to make other things instead, in minutes. In the time it takes me to change a drill bit it can change the whole line to make something very different.


Re: They toooock ewre joohbs!!!

b) things that are worth MORE cost more money

Explain diamonds then :)

c) Jobs that are WORTH MORE pay more money.

Can a brain surgeon work in a theatre that has not been cleaned? Can a heart surgeon perform open-heart surgery with tools that haven't been properly cleaned?

Many "unimportant" jobs underpin the economy. If people stop doing them, a lot of other things stop as well. Try shopping at your supermarket without shelf stackers, using any public service without the low-paid assistants in the back room, or use roads without the previously low-paid work crews.

And there are many things some people who currently feel rich enough simply won't do.

I do understand the utility of having people start at the bottom and work their way up, especially school-leavers with little or no experience. The stuff I do today didn't come about naturally, I had to learn it and while I was learning my output wasn't as fast as someone with years more experience. But, as the apprentice, it was also my job to make the tea/coffee, clean the toilets, vacuum the floors etc. If I didn't do that someone else would have to, so my doing that job was worth half the hourly rate of a fully qualified person, maybe more (I'm taking into account 2 people were involved, but when you think about it - the FQP wouldn't be able to do their high-earning job while mopping the kitchen floor)


Re: They toooock ewre joohbs!!!

since about the 1980's fewer and fewer people can afford to buy their first house

That is largely due to house prices which have increased by substantially more than inflation. It's a problem that needs to be solved, but is unrelated to wages.

Except it has everything to do with wages! In 1990 a friend purchased a house worth a little over $50,000 NZ. On even a 10 year mortgage he barely noticed the payments. Same house is nearly $500,000 now, but the wages have not risen to match.

Rentals are also very high. In the Hutt Valley alone it is difficult to find a 2 bedroom place for under $350/wk, and forget it for 3 or more bedrooms - generally $450+/wk for the worst places (and they get hundreds of applicants each). Yet most couples are still on less than $1000/wk between them. I know many people who have had to move in with someone else/take someone else in, and if one party leaves the other party won't have enough income to cover the rent.

There are no other options within the Wellington region, save for rare country places

and a higher percentage of people have had to give up luxuries that they had enjoyed before.

Do you have a source for that? It doesn't fit with the figures I've seen.

You didn't do much reading before posting did you? Try pretty much any newspaper, food bank, economist (yes even they sometimes get some minor stuff right), budget advisor, shop owner, supermarket owner, butcher/greengrocer, ice-cream seller... There's a lot of cheap stuff that does hide the full impact , but the information is so readily available it'd be hard not to see it.

the number of people who cannot afford basic necessities has increased.

No, it has not. Look at the OECD data.

[citation needed]

Here's one that (on a brief skim read) shows otherwise. I've just been to DDG and used the term ""number of people unable to afford basic necessities UK" and grabbed the first result. The information is NOT hard to find.

Perhaps you can provide a citation for this "OECD data" that you claim shows otherwise?

Take a look around at the % of the population who do go out for a movie/show each week (if you can find any theatres left) or even each month - the numbers have dropped considerably (the total number going may be up, but that's due to population growth NOT an overall improvement in the standard of living). The % dining out (even basics like "fish and chips" or cheap joints that claim to sell burgers).

Look at the schemes to provide food to kids in schools because the parents can't always afford to provide them with lunch. This was almost entirely unheard of in 1990 for a kid to not have lunch available, yet today it's fairly common.

Just ask anyone in their 50's whether they had a better lifestyle in 1990 than they do today, and most will say that they did

I'm in my 50s. In 1990 I had a mortgage to pay, today I do not. Even without that (I'm investing an equivalent amount of money for retirement) I have a far better standard of living than I did then.

I'm not in my 50s, and I had a much better standard of living back in the 90s, and the same can be said for most people I know even among some of the well off. I'm better today than I was in the earlier 2000s, but that's due to changing to a more relaxed job and doing 'outside work' when I can, plus some blessings that I'm afraid I can only blame God for (including things like the space, knowledge and inclination to grow veggies)

If you look at the figures back then and compare them to today you will see the big issues like not being able to save for your deposit - in the 90s I could get a mortgage with a 0% or at most 5% deposit, while also much lower prices. So a $60,000 3brm house + decent yard, 5% deposit is $3,000. Despite the lower wages at the time, I could've put away nearly $100/wk so I could easily have the deposit in a couple of years.

Today, we have a minimum of 20% deposit in NZ, and average prices around $500,000 IIRC - but will work on $400 ,000. That deposit is now $80,000. The house won't be as good, and even if I can save $400/wk it'd be nearly 4 years before I have the amount - but very few people can save $40/wk let alone $400.

Given the level of your research, and your "I'm one of the lucky ones so no one else matters" last paragraph, I'm not surprised you posted AC!

Who needs the A-Team or MacGyver when there's a techie with an SCSI cable?


Re: Bah!

Not one tale included the phrase "flames shot out".

Flames? Dunno about that...

My first PSU insertion... I'd somehow got a pile of mobos and some machines in cases. The "expert" I mentioned earlier had got me started the day before, but I was still barely beginning. One machine I had was a NEC one and instead of having the PSU lead split into 2 equal portions (IIRC 4 and 4), this one had 3 and 5, and had been unplugged (whether I unplugged it or it was someone else I cannot recall, but quite possibly me). When it came to connecting it there was a problem, either plug could go on either end and there was NOTHING to say which. So I looked at a known working machine in the pile, noted all the lack wires were in the middle, and set the NEC up the same way. And fired it up..

I dunno if flame was involved. I do know some tantalum caps split and released a decent amount of sparks, and some other components transformed themselves into black scorch marks on the board - there were sparks a-plenty and shrapnel (in the "utterly harmless' and sub-millimetre range I expect but still shrapnel), smoke, some noise..

But I don't think there was any flame.

Thankfully, I was not looking down at the machine from overhead. I don't recall why not, but I can tell you that ever since, when I turn on an un-cased machine of uncertain explosiveness, I am out of the firing line. And even many machines where I am certain they will not explode for that matter.. You never know if some lost screw from previous surgery will be sitting in a bad place after transport.


Re: Move along ..... nothing to see here !!!

I don't think the side of my computer has ever been screwed shut all the way.

I've seen wooden beer crates (and other boxes) used as cases before. One person used their glove box (back in the very early days of making an MP3 player 'portable'), and another had done some fancy work with mounting mobo's under the seat in a minivan, LCD screens in the backs of seats - enough kit the kids could do some network Doom/Quake on long trips.

Once you get the traditional closed beige (or black or white or eggshell or...) box out of your head and start to think "where else can this go?" you can come up with all sorts of interesting ideas. Just needs enough airflow in the right places for cooling...


Re: IDE in servers

(you could usually manage two-channels of 2 drives each once you added a few network cards)

I remember showing a "computer expert" friend my BBS machine once.. Inside was 2x2IDE drives (2HDDs on one and 2CD drives on the other, one a 4 or 6 CD caddy), and a further 5 or 6 SCSI drives on there.

He as adamant some fakery must be going on because he'd never been introduced to SCSI and as far as he was concerned a PC could only ever manage 2 HDDs. When I started in computing he taught me all he knew.. Strangely, within a couple of months I knew far more than he did, despite his self-promotion as "one of Wellington's pre-eminent experts".

Know any good baggage handlers? I see I have some more junk to get rid of!...


Re: HOWTO Move Your Server

Solution was to replace half amp fuse with the biggest one they could find, turn the machine on and stand well back until the actual broken part began to smoke!

When I was doing my apprenticeship that was a fairly common diagnoses method.

Of course, sometimes the actual faulty part wasn't the one smoking/glowing (ever seen a tiny little signal diode handling more juice than it wants? I think I know how super-bright LEDs were invented!), but a nearby part drawing on (or in the case of a tranny, putting out) more A (or V) than was considered ideal for the circuit involved.. (And in fire-fighting parlance, some of them became "well involved").


Re: Flixborough

This can lead to some... "creative" pipe routing, requiring many more bends and supports than you might have imagined are necessary.

Thanks for the memory of one of the more dishonest times in my life :(

I often was asked to give tours of one of the plants I was at. I often suspected this was the reason why some of the piping had more bends than would be necessary.. If asked I often mumbled something about old pipework/structures/other stuff that had been there when the pipe was made but was since removed, and we'd have to shut down for a while to straighten the pipe.

At least now I can be more sure that yes, it was built in the common fashion of government-funded sites - a part of Muldoon's "think big" projects - though one not widely publicised as such.. I'll leave it to the imagination as to why it wasn't trumpeted as a government success...


Re: Frankensolutions

PHB: "Can the plant do X?"

Engineer: "MMmmmm... yes. If we can get some of that stuff over there to here. I'll just draw up the..."

PHB: "Just run the pipe from there to there and see if it works, we (i.e. YOU) can engineer in the elegant solution afterwards."

I think there's a very good chance we know some people in common.

I won't say where... There are some things that should never again see the light of day, or be mentioned in polite society or even on El Reg..


Re: I could tell a story about a machine with many SCSI-to-IDE adapters...

... but I still have nightmares thinking about it. Maybe another time....

Maybe.. But first, please have many of these -->. At least enough till the memory fades.

And then... Er, what were we talking about again???

(There's some things I just don't want to know, and if I have to squander the life savings buying someone enough booze so they forget.....)


Re: IDE not SCSI but the hack worked

Spark up said cig, heat needle and melt the offending offending plastic away.

Done that a few times :)

Also learned that the plastic covering the hole was often a thin film that could be punctured by the pin with sufficient force, maybe a little starting encouragement in the manner you describe...

--> Closest to sharp pointy things we have 'ere.


Re: Bless..

Currently having fun soldering Copper water pipes with Lead-free. Lots and lots of flux and oodles of heat from a really good quality blow torch, seems to work well...

Would that stuff ever be allowed on gas pipes?

I've used up my swear quotient for the day so I won't describe what I think of the majority of the lead-free solder I've seen (if anything earned the term 'SODder...)

When they started using it in mobos, about 2 years later we started seeing lots of failed boards where you could pin it down to a 'dry joint" in the form of a cracked joint. For whatever reason, the (IIRC zinc-based) stuff would go brittle fairly quickly, leading to failures.

Not just mobos either, but TVs, audio gear, and probably all sorts of other consumer electronics. So much stuff destined for the landfill years earlier than it should've been. Had lead solder bee used, many of these devices could've seen more than 10 years (some more than 20) of faithful service.

Given the number of components that'd have to be removed, "reflowing" was generally far more expensive than the cost of replacing.

Another ill-conceived or ill-implemented 'pollution solution' that made things worse, not better.


Re: Bless..


Do you know how hard I needed to fight just to limit my comment to this???


Re: Bless..


Hear hear!



When all was needed was a bloody chicken sacrifice.

I presided over many a chicken sacrifice to get kit working..

Usually in the guise of "you cook me a nice roast chicken dinner while I mess around with your kit"



Basic rule - terminate at the end of the cable, not in the middle. If using resistor packs, make sure that pin1 goes in the right hole!

But what if it's easier to hold the plug upside down? Shouldn't it then go in the left hole?

Should I be saying things like this with all this talk of "termination" in the air?

Perhaps I grab my coat now.. It's the kevlar one with the cammo motif...



and use active terminators

Oh trust me.. Last time someone wanted me to install a SCSI setup using the cheapest 2nd hand no-name components he could find, I was all for "active termination".




The man's dreaming! MONTHS?????

I know a machine running still that 10 years back I told them was "a kludge guaranteed up until the moment this conversation ends. If it's still running when I leave the carpark consider yourself lucky. Get the data moved!". And it's still going..

But... That's not the worst...

In the factory we had a hulking great rectifier. Energy levels that would give a dictator wet dreams, and internals that gave electricians wet daymares. Mor'n 20 years before I saw it the original cooling fan sucked it's last bit of dust, and was replaced by an old fan from the roof. The rest of the fans were pulled from the roof and tested, working ones put into storage. Oh, replaced? I mean sat on top of the thing above the old fan. I doubt any of the original internal wiring was left by the time I first saw the thing, and the original circuit diagram was a memory in the head of some poor fellow down the local asylum - the last electrician to try and match the paper with reality.

Despite bypass cable after bypass cable, despite cooling fan failures, despite a build up of dust and - well you can imagine what gets into the air in a metal plant - this thing just kept chugging along. Replacement cost was near the valuation of the business, and it had to be kept running as we needed it going.

For the life of me I cannot fathom how it ever passed an OSH or any electrical safety inspection. No clue how the firm kept some pretty extensive insurance policies in place with this thing in the workshop, and that's not considering it being powered up. I think it was so terrifying that it burned itself out of the memory of those who only saw it on occasion. Perhaps they thought it was a 'joke' or diversion, something not really running but with an old neon indicator light inside to give it it's characteristic operating glow (which, tbh, could've been one such light deep inside - or perhaps an old valve - or perhaps something inside was getting toasty).

In time I kinda grew fond of it. If anything was going to send me home early, this would've been it. My own personal death machine..

It's probably still running somewhere, unhitched and miles from any known power source, all it's wires burnt and salted, no sign of any cooling fan or other moving parts, yet it hums and glows and whirs as if all it's bits were factory-new.

If you hear screams in the night, it's memory has visited my dreams...

Forgotten motherboard driver turns out to be perfect for slipping Windows ransomware past antivirus checks


Reminds me of one I met years back

I think it's name was Bronski, or something similar.

For a brief time this thing seemed "airborne" as it was infecting anything in the office. Even air-gapped machines quickly fell.

Turned out it was something that got into the driver area of USB sticks (the little bit of firmware that tells the OS how to handle the stick). Undetectable to scans of the sticks, and we had a policy that sticks were formatted and reloaded only on certain machines, but somewhere someone cross-contaminated a group of machines..

I did get to set up a new Linux machine just for managing sticks, and we had it made that using sticks outside of a specific pool was grounds for dismissal. Couldn't get management to spring for a big bag of sticks and use a brand new one for every transfer. The backup policy I pushed for (lots, kept offline, RO, kept far away) was somewhat vindicated :)

I can't recall if this thing hit anything later than Vista, maybe it was only XP. I'm not sure that we had any 7 machines around the office at the time. Was a bit worrying when air-gapped machines that only got a "clean" USB stick (formatted and re-scanned) in them got infected.


Re: Missing Recommendation

Probably going to be tricky in these cloud based backup times.

Many of those systems at least have some level of "version history" and new versions take a bit of time to upload.

Me and my friends? Shared drives in diverse locations. When we're near each other we swap backups. Wellington could be taken out by a meteor/nuke/quake/storm etc but my data will survive - though I may not :) Several backups will disappear with anything I have local, but something of the data will remain.

Fortunately my music and movies are 'recoverable' fairly easily, my photos (and family videos) are safe in a LAS array (large-area Sneakernet) as are other stuff, and my email is "safely" ensconced in the providers' servers. I hope.

Is Chrome really secretly stalking you across Google sites using per-install ID numbers? We reveal the truth


Re: Ad flinger makes browser, ad flinger needs to track you

There is rumored to be more tracking in closed source Chrome.

Surprised and saddened by what you mention in Chromium (though I tend to use Waterfox).

Pretty sure Chrome will have as much tracking/gathering as they can get away with (and then some).

Ugh.. Times like these I kinda wish 'hell' was real...


And regardless of all the noise about it, I've never actually seen anyone show any data suggesting that MS really is copying everyone's hard disks to the cloud. Even when all the "privacy invasions" are left on.

There's this site that has LOTS on articles on that you might wish to peruse. I hear they have a somewhat functional search system even that could help you find the articles on MS slurpage - tinfoil-hatter, suspected, logical and actually proven.

It's called "theregister.co.uk". An article about some winslurp borkage that meant local data/software search would not work because Bing was not reachable is a good place to start. If MS aren't slurping everything, why is the local search tied to Bing?


Re: Randomly change what's sent back ?

"Strategy." "What about it?" "Need some."

It's not so much the strategy we're lacking as the "suitable numbers of people with the will and ability to carry it out" :(

Sometimes you can't win, but you can still hold to principles and do what you can. You may only be able to do a small amount, but if you're doing it you can hold your head high. Most people don't do anything of value.

Windows 7 will not go gentle into that good night: Ageing OS refuses to shut down


Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

Modern drives shouldn't suffer head crashes from sudden power losses, unless they're already having other problems (e.g. failing drive electronics). It only takes a tiny bit of power to park the heads, and it's easy to supply that with a capacitor on the drive controller, along with the logic to self-park.

It's actually less technical than that even... The head arm is lightly spring-loaded, sufficient to withdraw it from the platters and onto the parking block in the event of a power loss. Still, I have seen a number of "click of death" drives that had to be opened to get them working again (easy to build yourself a small "clean box" for that work - look at a sandblasting booth and get your inspiration from there (only instead of feeding sand+air in your use a vacuum cleaner to suck it out, and a set of dust filters on the other side so only clean stuff comes in).

TYVM for the Dell charger link BTW. Has annoyed me no end how it refuses to charge the battery even when the laptop is turned off, even if you have a laptop that wants a 65w PSU but you only gave it a 60W, or wants a 95 but you only have a 65. Bloody Dell - you can still charge the battery when the thing is turned off even if the charger only gives 2w! I did see a few Dell's where the power socket suffered a broken solder joint - often the power pins were fine but the charger ID pint was the one out of commission. Did at least lead to extra work for us - the hardware repair of the socket plus the repair of the corrupted disk where Dell could've handled that more gracefully!


Re: And contrary to "expert" advice ...

I really dislike that "shutdown isn't shutdown" behaviour in Windows 8/10. In no small part because of some people who when I say "restart" instead go and use the shutdown option then manually power back on.

For me the issue came from the point of doing data recovery work, or backing stuff up before working on the disk. Often the easiest way is just to boot from a Linux USB/PXE etc and copy over what you need, but when Windows is hibernated most distro's wouldn't mount the disk even as RO (should've played with that more and set it so the general user gets RO but a root user gets RW but I digress).

Some BSODs could be fixed by a Linux-based registry editor. The W10 startup menu wasn't very functional unless you'd told the machine to go into "safe mode" at the last shutdown before the error occurred (that was one of the stupidest things MS did, requiring safe mode to be initiated from a perfectly working desktop rather than from any attempt to start the machine).

I'm glad to be all-but right out of the industry, and I do not do support on W10.


Re: Microsoft has a long history of sabotaging products which they want their customers to replace.

My (now air-gapped) Win7 dev box hasn't had this problem. I wonder if not installing last month's patches has anything to do with that?

If MS were doing this competently, they'd've set it up some time back, not on the last update.

And if MS were doing this really competently, not all machines would fail at the same time either, and perhaps not all in the same way.

Thankfully MS aren't that competent these days so probably actually a true bug... :)


knackerware updates

So... Standard behaviour for MS?

(El Reg, we need a better "bleeding obvious" icon!)


Re: "Less well supported"?

Several MS employees and graybeard-equivalent experts on the Microsoft forums would lead the seeker-of-truth down many twisty passages which didn't help.

I only know of "Nethack" (IIRC that's what it's called) by reputation only. I have never played it or even seen it.

However, I feel that I could ace it after a few experiences with MS "support".

If any one is capable of taking the most convoluted route from a simple question to a ridiculously stupid answer they get hired by MS support and immediately promoted to senior support levels.


Re: This sort of issue is not thought about

Have a look around.. You'll find many pros using Linux for their day-day stuff. Film making, picture editing, publishing.. Been some interesting threads on here in recent weeks...

As to small.. The most used kernel in the world by far is "small"? Windows has the desktop, Linux has servers, phones, tablets etc.. You know, the stuff people use today..

And didn't "multimedia" die out in the mid 90s? :)


That's true if the software on the OS does not change. If there is stuff like the Adobe service that automatically updates though, or you install new applications, that is when the problems occur.

Thing is.. Much software still supported XP for years after it went EOL, and I believe there's more differences between XP & 7 there there is between 7 & 10.

This is not even a month after EOL for 7.. I honestly don't believe that there would be that much of a change in these systems...

And why is Adobe changing stuff that affects these keys (or is fixed by changing these keys)? Has Adobe actually released any updates in the last few days (if memory serves me, almost certainly yes, several gigabytes, each time, each hour, or so it seemed - been years since I've had anything more than "Elements" on a machine!)

It does not feel right that updates would be released this early that 'accidentally" cause this issue, although it is a given that both MS and Adobe have had lets just say "some rough patches" with their QC depts...


Re: Adobe Genuine Monitor Service

Thank goodness I have no Adobe software, cracked or otherwise.

The way things are going these days, I think you'd have to be pretty cracked too have Adobe software!

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


Re: If this was a car

The ideal interface for a car is one that you can interact with without opening your eyes.

These exist. They're commonly called a "spouse".

Unfortunately, they often get quite upset if you won't open your eyes while interacting with them, but it can be safely done (so long as you do all the cooking)


Re: Gobsmacked!

Nice as that would be, the problem then is the repeated testing one would have to do each and every single time the consoles were opened for repairs or maintenance of whatever is inside.

As someone who had some involvement in model boats (at a "snotty-nosed ultra-annoying spectator-only but still always-near-and-interrupting kid" level), it's trivial to seal up individual modules in their own sealed box, thus when the console is opened the only devices that would need testing are those opened.

As someone who used to work on ancient colour TVs, it's trivial to make various modules that can be absolutely sealed and unplugged as needed, for servicing/refurbishing/testing back at base. So if a certain unit becomes faulty, unplug it, toss it in the "to be fuxed1 bin", pull one out of the "works fine" bag and plug it in.

Honda was able to make reliable connectors in the 70s and earlier that survive on trail bikes in all they go through (heat, water, dust, vibration, fuel/oil spills, bladder spills...), as was Suzuki etc etc etc... Maybe not so much Lucas but any one else could. I'm sure the airline industries can make reliable connectors that plug in with little effort and effectively clean and seal themselves.

These problems are solved already. Have been for decades. And with the "5+ 9s" and multi-million-uses-before-failure that we expect from cheap consumer devices, I'm pretty sure any manufacturer with a reasonable reputation can churn out a billion switches that'll get used millions of times a second and still outlive the aircraft designer's great-great-great-great-grandkids. Hell, I still use the clock radio I brought with half a week's paper-run money when I was a teen, although I expect if I tried to play a tape in it I'd find at least one of the belts has perished.

1 Contraction of "Can be fixed" and "It's probably f.....", but the determination was to be made back at base.

That's what makes you hackable: Please, baby. Stop using 'onedirection' as a password


"rock solid"? Password cracking engines have been using adaptive dictionaries that accommodate l33tspeak and other simple substitutions for years. John the Ripper had support for l33tspeak in 2008, for example.

Hence rate limiting. With machines that can do (IIRC from Reg articles) a couple of billion or more tries per second, even good databases will fall.

But no website lets you try 2 passwords a second, let alone 2 billion and decently done ones have timeouts. IIRC "fail2ban" has a default of 5 failures=5 min lockout (I change to 3=1hr).

I could use a common phrase on my bank, or even a common single word. You have 3 chances at guessing which word before the account gets locked out, and requires phoning or visiting a branch depending on how the lockout occurred. Lock out the phone app = a visit to the branch.

Big Brother

Re: Don't underestimate

Inevitably an awful lot of users, maybe most, choose the buggerit route of using the first memorable thing that comes to mind.

Actually... For sites I doubt I'll visit much, I use whatever random stuff comes to mind so long as it meets the reqs.

If I go back, there's always the password reset option. or... Well, they can use another small boost to their "registered user" numbers.. (and why I think I may have created 20 odd facebook accounts over time - what, give them my real name??????????)