* Posts by Unicornpiss

1571 posts • joined 7 Oct 2011

Windows 11 still doesn't understand our complex lives – and it hurts

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Recent experience

I recently had to assist a contractor that freelances for many companies get on 'our' Teams, and connect to 'our' VPN. Had a lot of fun getting the thing to use the correct Microsoft ID to register his credential for remote access. Just when we thought everything was signed out and we were signing in with the correct ID, it would suddenly choose yet another one that was cached on his machine. Eventually after cleaning his Credential Manager, trying several browsers, deleting everything I could find, and general prayers, it suddenly began working.

Re. Teams: Like so many Microsoft ideas, it has great potential, and does much of what it's supposed to, but with major quirks and aggravations that get resolved at a snail's pace. And of course the random 'feature updates' that no one wanted or needed. Really, it has problems you expect from freeware, except freeware seems to run better on MS OSes than MS products do. Possibly because they weren't developed by committee with a looming deadline and no one communicating, which is the bane of so many companies, regardless of the industry. (some irony I suppose as it's supposed to be the de facto communications suite) I would just be happy if it was a bit less quirky with the audio settings, when everything else seems to get them right. I will say it's leaps and bounds beyond what Skype for Business was, and the call quality usually rivals my SIP phone on my desk. I fear that MS will abandon it for something else developed with a clean slate just when it hits its sweet spot fro usability and most of the bugs have been quashed.

Hubble Space Telescope may now depend on a computer that hasn't booted since 2009

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

I have confidence..

This is NASA, after all. With the exception of some hiccups (*cough*... Mars probe with wrong unit conversion programming, myopic lens on Hubble, and sadly Challenger, Columbia), they have a great success rate and a reputation for pulling off hardware and software miracles. (Voyager, Spirit, Cassini, etc., not to mention the whole Apollo program)

The computers may be based on 1980s technology, but that technology was hardened and pushed to its limits. It will still be capable of running Pac-Man for decades after our current smart phones and laptops have been shredded or are rotting in landfills. (though even then there may still be some Amigas, Apple IIs, and the PC that controls our building automation still functioning out there)

Dependable Debian is like a rock in a swirling gyre of 'move fast and break things', and version 11 is no different

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: Desktop is boring?

I 'discovered' Linux back in about 1999. It was far more frustrating to me than Windows at the time, though I liked the idea of a totally free (as in beer, and as in speech) operating system. I supported it for years in a previous job. I am grateful to Microsoft for its failings as it certainly helps keep me employed. And some MS efforts are a real masterwork, such as AD. But I love coming home and using Linux. It's like a vacation by a cool river after a day of supporting Windows.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Desktop is boring?

An example of an 'exciting' desktop OS is Windows 10. When it doesn't dazzle, it baffles with its bullshit. You never know what you'll get with the next 'feature update'. Eg., we just had to deploy a group policy to block the idiotic weather and temperature that suddenly appeared on the taskbar with the last update. (which might be marginally useful if it didn't default to a different area than yours if you have location services turned off) It just keeps you guessing. One day it boots, then you shut down and after 20 mins of unexpected updates, what will be broken? it's anyone's guess! And then the Edge browser... Oh yeah, it's edgy all right! Like mystery? You never know how your icons will be arranged, especially if you connect to a different display. 64-bit files are in system32 and 32-bit in syswow64. What a kidder! Mistype a UNC path? You'll be greeted with the court jester network troubleshooter that you have to swear at and cancel. Every. Time. Then there's the utter randomness of what features you'll have or not have, and how the UI will be rearranged with each O365 update. I just can't take any more excitement!

We don't know why it's there, we don't know what it does – all we know is that the button makes everything OK again

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: Illicit contols

Similarly, when I managed a restaurant, 1,000 years ago, I had a good employee that was chronically a half hour late every day. So I'd just schedule him an half hour before I really needed him.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Re: X25 service story

"Restoring the connection to a known-defective state would merely reset the time bomb for the next sod charged with "make it go, now" - a crime for which the afterlife offers ample opportunity for pain and regret."

--I must've been the guy that did such sins in a previous incarnation as it would then explain karmically (and sometimes comically) the situations I've encountered in my life.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Happy

Formatting

We used to have plotters that had a dedicated PC from the vendor that handled formatting the output to something the plotter would understand. They were running Windows, but we had no access to the OS. Once in a while the plotter would misbehave and we'd have to just power cycle the dedicated PC.

We did have conference rooms that had a similar 'black box' screwed to the bottom of the table for formatting video for the projector. Introducing the new guy who was flustered after a half hour of fruitless troubleshooting to the magic box that needed to be reset was always fun.

Version 8 of open-source code editor Notepad++ brings Dark Mode and an ARM64 build, but bans Bing from web searches

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

A favorite feature..

..is the ability to dynamically refresh open files, which is very handy for viewing certain log files.

BOFH: I'm so pleased to be on the call, Boss. No, of course this isn't a recording

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: 90 days

Someone leveraged it to actionalize their paradigm.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Re: 90 days

"On the other hand, you'd think that if you were going to nick a bunch of kit you'd do something more impressive in scale than 10 laptops."

--True that, but a properly spec'd "high-end" laptop, such as an Alienware or Dell Precision can easily come in at over $6K USD, so that would be a nice nest egg, especially if you're planning on retiring to a country where the cost of living might be significantly lower. And I'm assuming this wouldn't be the first appropriation by "Dave."

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

One reason I cling to my ancient Samsung phone..

..is the IR emitter. I have a few remote apps and they work marvelously for controlling all the electronics in my home when I've misplaced or just can't be bothered to find the remote. Also good for switching channels/muting/turning on captions on TVs at bars, etc. And handy for my bedroom aircon. The remote for that died a couple of years ago.

Maybe not a killer app as far as phones go, but a very useful one for me. Enough that I'm looking to replace my phone with one from TCL, which is one of the few remaining phones with this capability.

The server is down, money is not being made, and you want me to fix what?

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

More of the same

Most of the people and management where I work are pretty reasonable, but I do remember from some years back we had a high-paid consultant working in a guest office for a 3-month stint. (and making an easy 6 figures for it, it was rumored) She had that look in her eyes best described as glittering madness.

I was in the middle of about 3 things when I got a call from her because her monitor was showing a blank screen. I attempted to walk her through the basics such as "Can you check to see if all the cables are plugged in tightly?" and "Have you tried the power button?" My basic questions were met with an angry "Of course I've checked that! I'm not an idiot!" I made the trek across the building to her office, walked in, pressed the power button, and walked back out. No eye contact was made, no words were spoken. She never called me again for anything after that day. To be fair to her, we do all have bad days, though thanks for paying yours forward to me.

Man found dead inside model dinosaur after climbing in to retrieve phone

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

Deep Thoughts

..Somehow this reminds me of one of the old Jack Handy 'Deep Thoughts': "If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let 'em go, because man, they're gone."

ASUS baffles customer by telling them thermal pad thickness is proprietary

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Trollface

Re: And Facebook removes the link...

To be fair, there's a difference between removing content from a user that is chronically spewing nothing but harmful lies and rabble-rousing and removing something innocuous because a handful of people may not have liked it. Kind of the difference between taking someone's license after their 5th DUI or taking it away for a parking ticket.

Unicornpiss Silver badge

I experienced this years ago..

..when trying to repair a digital phone at a job I had. Replacement phones were $300 each and back ordered for over a month. Which wasn't great for a thriving business that needed all of its phones. I took it apart and found a crystal with one of the wire legs broken right where it entered the component. The printing on the crystal with any useful information was smudged, so I called AT&T's customer service and asked if I could buy one, since I couldn't get a replacement phone: "No, we don't sell components." Fair enough. Can you tell me the value of the component? "That's proprietery information" (this was before the Internet was ubiquitous--these days I could probably find a schematic) I ended up just taking apart one of the other phones and getting the value off of it, and it turned out Radio Shack had it, as it was a very common value. (Remember Radio Shack, and when they actually sold components?)

Researchers say objects can hide from computer vision by seeking out unusual company that trips correlation bias

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Logic

"I always lie. Now listen to me carefully: I am lying."

Michael Collins, once the world's 'loneliest man,' is dead. If that name means little or nothing to you, read this

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Godspeed, Michael

That is all.

The Fast and the Curious: Safety-conscious Red Hat eyes continuously certified Linux platform for motors

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

QNX anyone?

I'd feel much more comfortable knowing my car's critical systems were running on Linux or Android than any offering from Microsoft. Or IMO, IOS of any flavor, my main criticism being the way IOS likes to try and think for you and seems to always get your intention wrong, at least IMO. "Your mileage may vary", pun possibly intended..

Pentagon pal Microsoft to supply US Army with 120,000+ HoloLens units in contract somehow worth 'up to $22bn'

Unicornpiss Silver badge

I'm frightened..

..when I think of Microsoft trying to do anything that's "Mil-spec". I only have my career experiences with mostly consumer-grade and server stuff to fall back on for this opinion, but am not impressed with the reliability of all things Microsoft.

Microsoft nudges Windows 10 21H1 toward commercial customers

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Is it just me..

..or does Microsoft's current nomenclature for Windows versions sound like virus designations? "21H1" sounds like "H1N1" Of course many have proposed over the years that Windows IS a virus..

Northern Ireland hands deal worth up to £87m to Fujitsu: Now keep our 15-year-old Oracle HR system up and running

Unicornpiss Silver badge

On the surface..

..this sounds like a horrible idea to maintain this old, probably somewhat insecure, lumbering beast of a system. And it was incredibly shortsighted and lazy to wait until the 11th hour to do this. But hearing the horror stories of other companies' transitions to SAP or even newer versions of Oracle, or to different 3rd-party providers, it may be the wisest thing they can do, at least for the moment. They'll still need to modernize everything eventually, but at least it won't be like a family trying to move apartments in the middle of the night while bombs are falling. Still, whatever management waited this long to modernize really needs a review.

OVH data centre destroyed by fire in Strasbourg – all services unavailable

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

Backups..

"Yes sir, the fire's finally out. More bad news, our entire backup on celluloid film was utterly destroyed."

Delayed, overbudget and broken. Of course Microsoft's finest would be found in NASA's Orion

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

Deal breaker

I would love to be one of the first colonist on Mars, but if any Microsoft software was involved in mission-critical systems, you couldn't get me near the spacecraft.

Google says once third-party cookies are toast, Chrome won't help ad networks track individuals around the web

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Flame

If someone really wants to improve the world

..Then making telemarketing of all kinds (including spam texts) illegal would go a long way towards that, IMO. Or make it too expensive for the fly-by-night scammers to afford doing it, such as a mandatory charge of say, 5 cents a call and extreme penalties for anyone trying to avoid this or violating do not call lists. Making spoofing CLID (caller ID info) illegal would be great too. I know this would be very nearly unenforceable, but a man can dream..

There are few things that irk me more than walking through a cloud of gnats in the summer or getting some idiotic "extended warranty" call with the ID spoofed to look like a local number. And it always happens when you're incredibly busy and/or waiting for an important call. No one ever answers their phones any more and this is why.

The iPhone 12 captured our attention and wallets, says new report from Gartner

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Surprised, but only somewhat

Assuming this is true, since there are effectively only 2 mobile platforms, Android and iOS, and you can only get Apple gear from one manufacturer, it's amazing that Samsung held the top spot this long.

As an Android user, I like the look and feel of the 12, as well as what's under the hood. Finally another device from Apple that actually fits in your hand without needing a case. It has tempted me to go to the dark side more than any other device from Apple. But it still runs iOS, which for me is still a deal breaker. YMMV.

Microsoft kills broad entry-level IT certifications, replaces them with all-Microsoft curriculum

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

Re: Microsoft have shot themselves in the foot...Again...

And yet, with all this emphasis on "training", and seemingly screwing over existing and potentially new employees and partners, Microsoft's overall software quality is extremely low for production releases compared to almost everyone, IMO. I suppose this falls under the Why? "Because they can" category. Also, which of the new courses contains the "Creating deranged and annoying UIs" and "Market crap to your existing customers at every turn" modules that are apparently mandatory at MS..

Devuan adds third init option in sixth birthday release

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Naming conventions.

Pre-Alpha = production Microsoft 'Feature Update'

Voyager 2 receives and executes first command in 11 months as sole antenna that reaches it returns to work

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alert

Re: It's a different world

Have you seen how people drive on roads?? Do you really want them to be texting while flying?

Habitable-zone exoplanet potentially spotted just around the corner in Alpha Centauri using latest telescope technique

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alien

Re: a mere 4.3 light years away

While it's not possible to travel at or beyond the speed of light, there may be workarounds, such as proposed by Alcubierre. And who knows.. a lot of the tech we take for granted these days was 'impossible' less than a century ago. We've only even been meaningfully using electricity for less than 150 years.

Personally I'd love to live to see the development and implementation of a 'warp drive' or similar, but unfortunately I doubt we'll even have a manned mission to Mars before I die.

Microsoft's underwhelming, underpowered dual-screen Surface Duo phone arrives in the UK this month for £1,349

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Based on the quality of Microsoft's other hardware offerings..

..and the likelihood that it will be glued together and have a non-replaceable battery, I think I'll pass.

Dev creeped out after he fired up Ubuntu VM on Azure, was immediately approached by Canonical sales rep

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Thumb Down

The only way to stop behavior like this..

..is to resolve to always either decline what is being marketed or always go to a competitor when pushy sales methods are used, even if it's something you are looking for. Actual leeches are less invasive and easier to get rid of.

Linus Torvalds labels Super Bowl 'violent version of egg-and-spoon race'

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: If NFL...

This is why I like hockey better. There is violence, but it's understood that there will be and there are unwritten codes of conduct that are followed when beating on your opponent. And there is constant action unlike football where the game stops after every play.

ThinkPad T14s AMD Gen 1: Workhorse that does the business – and dares you to push that red button

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

The nipple mouse..

The first few laptops I used had a Pointing Stick or TrackPoint device, or whatever you want to call it. I guess I got used to it, like that crusty bastard in your office that insists on using a Trackball or has to have an ergonomic keyboard. I find it a lot more pleasant to use in most cases than a touch pad, but in practice I find myself switching between them depending on the task at hand.

I hate laptops that only have a touch pad, and despise it when they don't have physical buttons. The touch pads on Dell's Precision line especially irritate me as even slightly carelessly clicking the pad makes the cursor jump from where you want it. So I really just feel like the author doesn't know what he's missing, or just doesn't have enough practice with pointing sticks.

How do you save an ailing sales pitch? Just burn down the client's office with their own whiteboard

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: also I still don't get what advantages 110v has

"One has to admit that it is the United States that pioneered electrical distribution, based on the work of that guy who electrocuted elephants to cast doubts on AC, Thomas Edison.

--Edison was a guy who was too stubborn to admit he was wrong about DC power. He may have marketed the first successful light bulb, which was admittedly the killer app for electricity, but Westinghouse I believe, (and to some extent Tesla) were the actual pioneers of creating the USA's electrical power distribution systems. And US homes also have 220V, it's just normally used only for large, high-wattage appliances. I'll admit that 220V for everything is likely superior, as you don't need wiring as thick to handle the 15 or 20A 110V (really 120V normally) individual circuits like you do in USA homes and businesses.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: Taiwan

I may have to call BS unless the insulation was what failed. And most 120V wiring has insulation rated for at least 250V. Wiring is rated for current, not wattage. Which is why you can power a whole neighborhood off a high-tension wire that's often thinner than the drop from the transformer to an individual house.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: Opps

Had a tech on his first day manage to plug the molex connector to a hard drive in backwards and let out the magic smoke. I heard him fussing and asked how it was going and he says "It doesn't work and it stinks!" Ended up finding a same-model drive and replacing the circuit board so we could get the customer's data off of it. 5 years later and the same person has been promoted twice and has a reputation for being lousy at IT, but an incredible brown-noser and back-stabber. I guess all of us are differently abled..

Apple emits emergency iOS security updates while warning holes may have been exploited in wild by hackers

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: Once.....

"I always update immediately and I’ve never been left with a problem that affects use."

As a person that has in the past been tasked to support and manage over 2K Apple devices, I can say that you have indeed lived a charmed life. Not that Apple has really been any worse than Android or anyone else. Microsoft of course is the king of using the world as their unwitting beta testers.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Birdwatching

"A booby is a bird of the feathered variety."

They're very easy to spot as they almost always are seen in pairs in the wild..

Judge denies Parler an injunction to force AWS to host the antisocial network for internet outcasts

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: Censorship by Private Companies

You seemed to miss the point that this was not about free speech, but about Parler violating AWS's TOS. Corporations are not required to protect free speech, and whether or not Amazon pulled the plug for the common good or to avoid controversy and possible boycotts/lost revenue is irrelevant. Parler violated the terms of their contract and AWS is not required to stand up for the rights of idiots to post drivel and incite violence. Amazon, whatever you think of them, gave prior warnings and cited dozens of abuses of their TOS.

On the actual subject of free speech, I'm all for it, but there does have to be some accountability if you incite a riot or otherwise cause harm by spreading lies. It's not much of an extension of the simple rules that keep you from poking the animals at the zoo until they react.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

Satan..

"I suspect The Devil himself would think twice before cutting a deal with Oracle

Well, Oracle and Satan have history... after all, his minions apparently developed for Oracle and wrote the installer..

With depressing predictability, FCC boss leaves office with a list of his deeds... and a giant middle finger to America

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Landing on his feet..

I'm sure Pai, like so many incompetent, self-serving idiots with a resume that looks good on paper, will go on to become CEO or CIO of some poor befuddled company that should have known better than to hire him. And as such, assist them with their high-speed rollercoaster ride into the ground, sowing misery, disinformation, and infighting as he goes, but pulling the ripcord on his golden parachute just before impact. We all know how such excrement generally fails upwards.

Kudos to Jessica. Hopefully she has the energy and lifetime supply of antidepressants to lead the FCC out of their candlelit cave and into reality.

We didn't collude with Twitter to throw Parler off our servers, says AWS in court filing

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Flame

Re: Trump's you-tube account has been suspended as well

What is fascist about banning hate speech? Ironically, if hate speech had been banned 80 or so years ago, we might never have seen the rise of actual fascism.

You can claim that free speech means all content should be permitted, but you still can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater if there is no actual fire. Does free speech permit someone to mercilessly bully your child in person or on social media, to cite another example?

I believe people should be free to say what they want, but spreading ignorance and lies that inflame the weak-minded to violence should be condemned by all. Enjoying freedoms of action and speech is a basic human right, but unfortunately some people are stupid or dangerous enough to need a keeper and wreck things for everyone. The right to free speech does not override the necessity for truth in speech.

Parler games: Social network for internet rejects sues Amazon Web Services for pulling plug on hosting

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

Re: Thank god

It's kind of funny, don't you think, that Trump didn't make any allegations of fraud in 2016 when he won the Electoral College vote but lost the popular vote.. Gee, I wonder why that is? I'm beginning to think he might not be completely honest, perish the thought.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Alert

@Mike the FlyingRat

The one thing missing from your missive is the mention of posts inciting violence on Parler. You can yell that it's a violation of free speech all day long, but ultimately Parler signed a contract with AWS which AWS decided to terminate due to perceived violations of said contract. Whether AWS did this out of the 'goodness of their heart' and to protect people or because they didn't want to be viewed as scumbags by association and face a potential boycott by their users and loss of revenue I leave as an exercise for the reader. Free speech is protected (to an extent) by the constitution and Federal govt., but you still can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater (unless there is an actual fire), and corporations are not obligated to protect your right to rant drivel or hate speech. It will be up to the courts to decide. Personally I feel the same sense of relief as when a overly drunk, obnoxious, ignorant party guest that is trying to pick fights with everyone is finally thrown out.

Pizza and beer night out the window, hours trying to sort issue, then a fresh pair of eyes says 'See, the problem is...'

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Coat

"Next, you'll be telling us off for PIN number."

--well, you need that when you're using the ATM Machine.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Obvious?

I think that was a pretty good catch, really. Many people would have glanced over that 100x before the implications of it dawning on them.

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Happy

Re: OCR

When assisting a paralegal with how to make a scanned document editable, ran across a PDF scan that had been converted to text via OCR. Was mostly okay except where spell check had mangled "incompetent" and turned it into "incontinent", which adds a bit of a different dimension to the situation being described..

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Meh

"Perpetually understaffed IT team"

I think that is the description for 90% of IT departments everywhere. You wouldn't build a house without laying the foundation first, but businesses are so reluctant to properly staff and fund IT, which is often treated like more of a redheaded stepchild or necessary evil than one of the foundations that it is for all but the smallest businesses. And this includes not properly compensating most employees at every level.

Why? I think because IT isn't creating or selling products but instead seems like just a money sink to leaders that are too high up to see down. "I can get my email, what do you mean we need to spend another 500K to upgrade infrastructure? Didn't we just do that?" (ten years ago)

Be careful where you log into GitHub: Dev visits Iran, opens laptop, gets startup's entire account shut down

Unicornpiss Silver badge

Re: Artificial problem generators

I understand the spirit in which you made your post. And on paper (or electrons), it almost looks like a 'Bill of Rights' of sorts. The problem is that not everyone is ethical, many are stupid, prejudiced, mentally unstable, violent by nature or molded that way by life experiences, or just plain misinformed. And very few are altruistic. And quite a few are way too lazy to do the right thing if it inconveniences them even slightly. So despite being somewhere between liberal and moderate, I unfortunately have to say that we do need controls in place to keep the less well behaved people from impinging on the freedoms and lives of others, and/or from hurting people and destroying things that others care about.

You may have just misspoke (or I may be misinterpreting) when you said: "The freedom to just do it and see what happens versus settling for a predicted norm." But to take a page from current events, all the idiots that won't wear a mask or distance themselves because their 'freedom' is being threatened are certainly a headache (or possibly even a death sentence) to those of us that are just trying to get through this mess and realize that common sense and good judgement must always be applied, even when so many seem to have been born lacking any. There might be a time and place to heckle your brother about his affair with a stripper, but it probably isn't while making the toast at his wedding.

BOFH: Time for the MMOCC. You know, the Massively Moronic Online Christmas Call

Unicornpiss Silver badge
Pint

Remember..

"We are all drinking alone---together!" Merry Christmas everyone.

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