* Posts by Andy the ex-Brit

127 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Feb 2012


BOFH: Smells like Teams spirit

Andy the ex-Brit

I'm hearing a "ding" every few seconds right now. Colleague is not at his desk. Where's my hammer?

Help! My mouse climbed a wall and now it doesn't work right

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: Wow

Now I'm wondering what I'm missing. My memory of mechanical mice was irritation when the rollers got grungy, and the first symptom was jumpy pointer behaviour. I'm using a cheap Logitech wireless optical mouse right now, and I can move the pointer in single pixel increments. How much more precise can it be? My limitation is pretty much just the stiction of the little plastic pads that touch my desk.

One fun project I did at work when optical mice first came out was to gut one and put it above a rubber conveyor belt at a production facility, sort of like a long supermarket cash register conveyor belt. We used it to measure the belt speed by reading the signals coming off the IC. It was way cheaper than anything marketed for the purpose.

UK agriculture department slammed for paper pushing despite tech splurges

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: "reducing contingent labor to 12% of headcount"

I read it as reducing the portion of their headcount that is "contingent" -- meaning not permanent, full-time employees -- to 12% of the total. So if it's e.g. 15% now, they'd reduce by 3% to get down to 12%.

Intel CEO suggests AI can help to create a one-person Unicorn

Andy the ex-Brit

I for one look forward to the world where 90% of economic* activity is in trillion dollar single employee AI companies whose business plan is helping other people start their own trillion dollar single person AI run companies which teach other people to start their own single person trillion dollar AI run companies....

* in USD/GBP/EUR etc. moving around, not in actual productivity of goods and services we want to consume

They call me 'Growler'. I don't like you. Let's discuss your pay cut

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: Don't we all have an ex-boss we never want to meet again?

I had one absolutely terrible boss. I never realized until reporting to him that me and the rest of my high functioning team were actually slackers who were lucky he didn't fire us. He eventually got shunted off somewhere else and things got better.

Another reorg, and I heard they he'd applied to supervise the group that most of us would be moved into. I went to the manager and said "if he's my boss again, he won't be my boss for more than an hour." I was completely prepared to walk. Luckily he didn't get it, and actually got laid off shortly after. Good riddance!

Work for you? Again? After you lied about the job and stole my stuff? No thanks

Andy the ex-Brit

I currently work for the best boss I've ever had in well over a dozen bosses in my 25+ year career. No bachelor's degree, he worked his way up from a technician job.

Unfortunately, he retires next month. I just need to last about 28 months with his replacement, then I can too.

Post Office threatened to sue Fujitsu over missing audit data

Andy the ex-Brit

Looks like a good "On Call" story.

Drivers: We'll take that plain dumb car over a flashy data-spilling internet one, thanks

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: "better insurance rates"

I think each car costs me maybe $200 per six months, so it's close to a 10% discount.

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: If your car can spy on your sexual life

No danger of that for me, I drive a MINI. On the off chance we succeeded, we'd have to be extricated by the fire department.

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: "better insurance rates"

I've been with State Farm for over 35 years now. I did get on their Drive Safe and Save program a few years ago, because it will always lower your rate, never raise it. I drive a MINI and like to go around corners a bit fast (when safe to do so) so I get dinged for that, but still I get about a $15 discount every six months, so I'm up several hundred dollars by now.

Silicon Valley weirdo's quest to dodge death – yours for $333 a month

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: consuming no more than 1,977 calories a day

I'd literally starve. I'm a very healthy weight (161 lb / 74 kg at 5'9" / 1.75 m) and with the amount of exercise I get I'm burning an average of 3000 Calories a day. There's no way he can get enough exercise to keep his cardiovascular system healthy and not lose weight.

Andy the ex-Brit

It's a sort of mousy brown (was so blonde it looked white until I was about five), but cheers!

Andy the ex-Brit

I'm older than him, but look younger than him (or did until I recently grew my beard out, which unlike the rest of my full head of hair is grey.) I drink beer and whisky, and get lots of exercise.

PLACEHOLDER ONLY Someone please write witty headline here

Andy the ex-Brit

I spent hours reducing some physical formulae (flow equations) in combination with some other processing to get a vastly simplified one that was just one line and took far less time to compute, but really wasn't recognizable. My comment was "trust me."

Bank boss hated IT, loved the beach, was clueless about ports and politeness

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: bullshit detected

An RJ-11 fits into an RJ-45 way better than a DE-9 "fits" into a DE-15, or a DE-15 "fits" into a DE-15, but the wrong way up. Both of which I've seen.

Privacy advocate challenges YouTube's ad blocking detection scripts under EU law

Andy the ex-Brit

I spend maybe an hour a day watching YouTube, mostly channels I subscribe to. I've been getting these pop-ups recently (using Adblock) and just closing them with no consequences.

However, most of the channels I watch, mostly science, cycling, or urbanism related, are also available ad-free on other services with a small fee, such as Nebula. If I get too frustrated with Youtube, it won't hurt too much to jump ship.

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: I've always been curious...

I honestly didn't know you could milk a baby, let alone legally sell the milk!

Lyft driver takes off with cat, global search ensues

Andy the ex-Brit


As it turns out, it entered the OED in 2015.


Lawsuit claims Google Maps led dad of two over collapsed bridge to his death

Andy the ex-Brit

I don't see why Google can't very quickly figure out that the road is closed. Surely they could have noticed that of the hundreds or thousands of people it sent that way over the years, exactly zero went across the bridge. It's an easier problem than showing congestion due to construction or crashes.

They could even follow-up with an in-app message to a few users, just like it asks "is the speed trap still there?"

We noticed you turned around at this location. Please select the reason.

1. Road temporarily closed

2. Road permanently closed

3. Bridge missing

4. Troll attack

Watt's the worst thing you can do to a datacenter? Failing to RTFM, electrically

Andy the ex-Brit

When I was an engineering intern at a very small company, I was doing some board level troubleshooting and using our one and only Fluke multimeter in milliAmp mode to measure some currents. When I stepped away, an experienced engineer came and borrowed the meter to check the 480 V power supply to a milling machine. He changed the dial from mA to VAC mode and put the test leads on the supply wires. This immediately resulted in a flash, a loud bang, and bits of the face of the multimeter hitting the ground several metres away. It was not repairable.

He had, of course, neglected to move the red lead from the ammeter side to the voltmeter side, causing the meter to be a dead short. He tried to blame it on me, but nobody fell for that.

Aliens crash landed on Earth – and Uncle Sam is covering it up, this guy tells Congress

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: Not impossible, just ludicrously unlikely

I find it ludicrously unlikely than anyone with the technology to travel interstellar space would then crash on Earth. Even our own planes don't crash very often (it's only a daily occurrence because we have LOTS of planes in the sky.)

BOFH: You can be replaced by a robot or get your carbon footprint below Big Dave's

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: Ahh BOFH time again

Like a little piggie.

California man jailed after manure-to-methane scheme revealed as bull

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: "Brewer moved to Montana under a new identity"

It was already a federal crime if even one of his "investors" was out of state.

Missing Titan sub likely destroyed in implosion, no survivors

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: A fitting epitaph

In the case of FSD, we'd also need them to spend time outside the cars, repeatedly walking into the road as the car approached, or riding a bicycle in the lane. Safe for the occupants ≠ safe.

FTC sues VoIP provider over 'billions of illegal robocalls'

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: Then how will they reach me about my car's extended warranty?

My car is a 2005 model, and I still was getting those calls last year.

Also, I already have an extended warranty.

Andy the ex-Brit

Don't hang up immediately. Tell them you're very interested and ask them if they can hold on a minute. Then put the phone down until they hang up.

If we can waste enough of their time they become unprofitable. Some Youtubers (Scammer Payback, Kitboga) are doing the Lord's work baiting scammers and wasting hours of their time until they flip out.

Misinformation tracker warns 'new generation' of AI-scribed content farms on the rise

Andy the ex-Brit

Fake review sites

I've seen some bicycle reviews and related articles recently that look to be generated by AI to me.

www.stringbike dot com /tern-gsd-vs-hsd/

That article is filled with contradictions and blatant untruths.

Clicking around the stringbike site, every article looks like it was written by a bad AI, then lightly edited by a teenager.

Here's some more absolute garbage. It mixes up "10 speed" bikes and BMX bikes within the same article, a mistake I doubt even the laziest person creating a platform for monetizing ads with crappy "articles" would make. Then, of all things, it starts talking about 10-speed vehicle transmissions and fuel economy.

www.stringbike dot com /10-speed-bike/

CAN do attitude: How thieves steal cars using network bus

Andy the ex-Brit

My car doesn't even have an alarm, as far as I know.

Andy the ex-Brit

I don't have a car that's likely to be stolen (it's 18 years old and has a manual transmission in the US) but if I did, I'd install a hidden switch somewhere in the cabin, with a relay that simply cut power to the ECU when toggled off, then make a habit of flipping it when I parked the car. Maybe a couple of hours of work for a lot of peace of mind.

Lawyers cough up $200k after health data stolen in Microsoft Exchange pillaging

Andy the ex-Brit

I'm curious, what would have been acceptable as "proof that the data had been deleted?" It seems an epistemological impossibility to me.

No more rockstars, say Billy Idol, Joan Jett in Workday Super Bowl ad

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: Why?

My employer has been using it for a couple of years now. It is, indeed, terrible, but I actually like it because what we had before was even more terrible (a cobbled together combination of Lotus Notes applications, IBM mainframe applications in a terminal window, emailed PDFs. and actual paper.)

Scammers steal $4 million in crypto during face-to-face meeting

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: Proof of Funds

This doesn't seem terribly uncommon, even for an investment as pedestrian as starting a Dunkin Donuts franchise.


Prepare to be shocked: Employees hate this One Weird Clause

Andy the ex-Brit

There used to be a way around this using one neat trick...

When I started this job 25 years ago, all the HR papers were sent home with us to be brought in signed with required documents the next day. A colleague, apparently smarter than me, took advantage of this to print out superficially identical forms but with pesky things like non-competes reworded to be meaningless. They never caught on.

Non-competes are no longer enforceable in my state (Illinois) for those making less than $75k US (about 60k GBP), though I make a bit more than that. Colleagues have left for direct competitors before with no repercussions, so they're really not enforcing it unless you directly take trade secrets with you.

The one they do enforce is if I were to leave and go to a supplier, I can't come back on-site to my current employer for business until a year later, which does make some sense.

Smart ovens do really dumb stuff to check for Wi-Fi

Andy the ex-Brit

"You don't buy a device for a year – they last five to 10 years."

That's really, really terrible. My "dumb" oven came with the house that I've lived in for about 20 years now. It had fake woodgrain on the control panel until my better half covered it in contact paper.

BOFH: It's 4ft tall, heavyset, has optional fax. No they didn't take the toner!

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: A4 or Letter?

"Not even in the USA the Letter format is being used anymore for all I know."

Nope, we still pretty much all still use letter size / A / 8-1/2 x 11" / 216 x 279.5 mm.

This can’t be a real bomb threat: You've called a modem, not a phone

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: "They even asked for a physical description of the caller"

"How VERY dare you?!"

World's richest man posts memes as $44b Twitter acquisition veers off course

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: Waah

My first thoughts were Popehat or Legal Eagle.

IT manager's 'think outside the box' edict was, for once, not (only) a revolting cliché

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: I can imagine the instructions....

Surely "boxed mats" or "un-unboxed mats?" Or is "boxed" used in a similar manner to "shelled" or "pitted"?

No, I will not pay the bill. Why? Because we pay you to fix things, not break them

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: I have a problem..

I nearly only give 10s at work now. If I give an 8 or 9, you messed up.

This after working under a survey system at the same job, where my [2nd worst ever] supervisor decided that anything less than a 7 "exceeded expectations" meant a meeting with her and the internal customer to determine what had gone wrong. I had several of those, and she didn't get the hint even when the customer was there with her saying "why are we having this meeting? I marked "met expectations."

We were also expected by her to improve our average survey results by x% each year, pretty tough when a 4-6 was "met expectations" and my average was about 8.5 . So yeah, f that, nothing but 10s for my colleagues.

Loathsome eighties ladder-climber levelled by a custom DOS prompt

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: point of order

I learned FORTRAN in high school in the late 1980s. By then I had already taught myself BASIC, Pascal, and C. The assignments in FORTRAN were really easy, but I hated the editor, so within a couple of weeks I was using an editor I wrote for myself in FORTRAN. By the end of the semester, half the class was using my editor.

Block this: Using satellites to plaster ads over our skies could work, say boffins

Andy the ex-Brit

New paper needed

Anyone have time to write a similar paper on the cost to crowdsource bringing such a satellite array down in a lovely fiery display?

Now's your chance, AI, to do good. Protect endangered eagles from wind turbines

Andy the ex-Brit

When do we send in the cane toads?

To preserve Earth's treasures, digital silence is golden

Andy the ex-Brit

More examples

Reminds me of a couple of places ruined by people (Instagrammers) trying to recreate iconic photographs.

(1) The lone tree in a lake, eventually had a branch snapped off for the sake of a photo, then vandalized with a saw.


(2) Lavender fields in France, repeatedly trampled without permission for wedding photos.


BOFH: It's Friday, it's time to RTFM

Andy the ex-Brit

Worse than acronyms

My employer makes large machines and their engines, and at one point tried to get everyone to start using what they called "mnemonics" for every data channel recorded during testing. On the one hand, it made sense so that you could search the data, you don't want one group calling it "engine speed" and another "tacho", or something. The implementation, though, was terrible, with chained together things that were sort of mnemonics, but the collection was not. We'd end up looking at lists of channels named "ZZTPMM", "GREMTS", "ILPFHI" and "EDNDST".

Example: ENTCPA1

EN - it's an engine

T - it's a turbocharger

T - it's the compressor side

P - it's a pressure

A - it's air pressure

1 - it's the number 1 turbo

There you go, number one turbo compressor outlet pressure. Now go find your engine speed channel at ENNCF.

The rebellion was strong. These channel names are still out there, but they're buried deep in a nerd layer between the data acquisition software and the analysis/reporting.

In a time before calculators, going the extra mile at work sometimes didn't add up

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: Bank Accounts

...The Black Boy...

Ah, Caernarfon. I've eaten in that pub a few times!

Real-time deepfakes can be beaten by a sideways glance

Andy the ex-Brit

Honestly, Jim Carey is not a good test. I'm pretty sure he could make his face do that.

I paid for it, that makes it mine. Doesn’t it? No – and it never did

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: You know you're old when...

What an odd take. Of course if they sold it over here they would adapt the design with an element made for 15 A @ 120 VAC so it would only take twice as long, and a clock made for 60 Hz. You may as well have said we couldn't use it because it would have the wrong plug on it!

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: You know you're old when...

"Not usable in US due to not enough voltage from normal wall socker to boil water, (would need an appliance circuit run)"

We have plug-in kettles in the US, they just take twice as long as they would on UK mains. Wouldn't be a big deal for a Teasmade, the element could just come on five minutes sooner.

A Teasmade wouldn't have been popular in the US because hardly anyone drinks tea in the morning.

Bloke robbed of $800,000 in cryptocurrency by fake wallet app wants payback from Google

Andy the ex-Brit

Re: Oh dear


This is the military – you can't just delete your history like you're 15

Andy the ex-Brit

Some users are really dumb about it

We used to have a company-wide shared drive with folders for each employee, usually mapped to O:. Each employee had a folder under their user ID, so O:\s\smithtj for example. We could then share data with each other and say "I put it on your O drive" or "it's on my O drive." Anyone could see or modify anyone's files. All files were automatically deleted on a rolling 7-day basis, so nobody used it for permanent storage.

Sometimes I would try to drop files on it, and it would be full. What I would do then was search the entire drive for files over 100 MB (that was a lot.) I'd sometimes find movies or music, and I could IM the owner and ask them to delete them to free up space.

One time, of course, I found a huge trove of adult oriented files. Nothing creepy involving underage, but hey, it's pr0n, at work, and it's stopping me from using this drive. I summarily deleted it and all of the other files in the same user's folder, then for good measure the folder itself, knowing he'd be unlikely to start an investigation into where all his files went.

Honestly they're lucky I found it instead of someone who would have reported it. I did consider doing so, and would have if it had been CP.