I worked for a now-defunct computer manufacturer supporting a certain flavour of Unix back in the late 90s. After a 40 hour week I then twigged they expected me to go out onto a customer site for the whole weekend... every weekend, with no overtime pay. I managed 6 months. The other guy (yes there were only two of us) seemed to really enjoy the job.
Posts by Rufus McDufus
135 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Mar 2012
Results are in for biggest 4-day work week trial ever: 92% sticking with it
To make this computer work, users had to press a button. Why didn't it work? Guess
Re: Press the button
Back in the late 90s I had to go on site to a hospital north of London to do some work on storage array used in a new X-ray system. The on-site engineer told me of the fun they had building a new server room for this equipment. They put the racks in, then realised there was no power to connect anything to. Took all equipment out and fix. Repeat - no networking. Repeat - no aircon. Months later they finally got all the services they needed installed, and then the aircon leaked and soaked everything,
Using the datacenter as a dining room destroyed the platters that matter
Lapping the computer room in record time until the inevitable happens
Apple's new MacBook Air: Is the jump to M2 silicon worth another $200?
Majority of Axon's AI ethics board resigns over CEO's taser drones
Phishing operation hits NHS email accounts to harvest Microsoft credentials
Datacenters in Ireland draw more power than all rural homes put together
What do you do when all your source walks out the door?
IT blamed after HR forgets to install sockets in new office
Similar tale in a hospital
A long time ago (well, about 1998) I was called onsite to a hospital north of London to work on storage arrays used to store X-rays and other scan data (I was employed by the storage manufacturer back then). The sysadmin on site told me the story of their server room built for this task. Whoever had designed it had forgotten to put mains sockets in. They realised the mistake, dragged all the shelves/equipment out, and cabled it for mains, and put everything back in. Except then they realised they'd forgotten networking. Rinse and repeat. Finally all finished! Except equipment is getting very hot. Oh no, they'd forgotten cooling. Repeat again. Finally with all working, the aircon decides to spring a big leak and submerges the room with a lot of water.
Privacy is for paedophiles, UK government seems to be saying while spending £500k demonising online chat encryption
What begins with a 'B' and is having problems at tsoHost? Hopefully not your website
Re: Left them just over a year ago
I look after a site which has been on a VPS with TsoHost for a few years (and Evo Hosting before they were bought) and it's dire. Frequent high load periods throughout the day meaning probably an hour of unavailability every day. I don't own the site unfortunately and owner seems happy with it. Begins with "d" though.
You've stolen the antiglare shield on that monitor you've fixed – they say the screen is completely unreadable now
My first job
...many years ago was as an operator in the comp sci department at a university which specialised in technology and medicine. We also looked after the student computing labs and all the gear and networking for the staff. Cleaning equipment was a big part of the job. One morning a lecturer came in with a keyboard which was no longer working. She happily told me she'd been sick on it and tried to clean it. First she put it under a running tap, and when that didn't do it she decided, for some bizarre reason, to use some cooking oil. Needless to say even though it was an expensive keyboard I decided not to take it apart and try and fix it.
Thank you, FAQ chatbot, but if I want your help I'll ask for it
Swooping in to claim the glory while the On Call engineer stands baffled
Hot hot hot
Started working at a software company once. They had an issue where their servers seemed to be fine overnight but started failing in the daytime when people came into the office. Seemed worse in winter too.
Servers, well PCs, were all in a store room. As was a radiator. I noticed the thermostatic valve for the radiator was sitting on a shelf, and not attached to the radiator inlet. Room was unbearably hot too, because the radiator was scalding hot. I put valve back on radiator and closed off the valve, and server problems mysteriously disappeared as if by magic. I lasted about 6 weeks at that company.
A tiny typo in an automated email to thousands of customers turns out to be a big problem for legal
GPU makers increasingly disengage from crypto miners
Amazon tells folks it will stop accepting UK Visa credit cards via weird empty email
Pulling down a partition or knocking through a door does not necessarily make for a properly connected workspace
Re: Working on that..
Years ago in my house I realised with the obligatory shock that an electrician long ago had used the "1 wire too few" approach to wiring the top and bottom stair light switches so that switching off either the downstairs or upstairs lighting circuits at the fuse box meant they were both still live.
What do you mean you gave the boss THAT version of the report? Oh, ****ing ****balls
If this refers to a certain telecoms provider in a Yorkshire town - back in the mid-to-late 90s I was second line support for a database provider and was asked to fix a problem on your development or staging database. I had some problems remotely connecting to the server (a Pyramid I think?) and when I finally did succeed in dialling in I was greeted by the console messages of a server rebooting, which was a little disturbing. It also turns out I'd connected to your live database server rather than the development one. If anyone from the company is reading this, sorry I might have rebooted it by mistake.
Electric car makers ready to jump into battery recycling amid stuttering supply chains
Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the BBC stage a very British coup to rescue our data from Facebook and friends
McDonald's email blunder broadcasts database creds to comedy competition winners
A practical demonstration of the difference between 'resilient' and 'redundant'
Scalpel! Superglue! This mouse won't fix its own ball
I worked at a good university (known for science, engineering and medicine) in the computing department 30 years ago. A PhD teaching assistant once brought in a keyboard, probably a Sun or Apple one, saying it wasn't working. I could immediately see it was glistening somewhat. Turns out this TA had puked on the keyboard, then rinsed it under a tap to clean it. It still didn't work, so the next obvious step was to douse it in cooking oil. Weirdly that didn't do the trick either so (s)he brought the sorry mess down to me.
NFT or not to NFT: Steve Jobs' first job application auction shows physically unique beats cryptographically unique
Pipe down, Jeff. You've only gone where Gus Grissom went before, 60 years ago today
Global Fastly outage takes down many on the wibbly web – but El Reg remains standing
Firefox 89: Can this redesign stem browser's decline?
Terminal trickery, or how to improve a novel immeasurably
Sun workstations were good fun too My first job was as a support guy in a university computing department. Our "office" was in the server room (which might explain why I'm almost deaf). There were glass windows everywhere so we could see most labs. It was fun to pick a victim and make their display turn upside down, or make it snow/screen static/spiders running round behind the windows etc. I'm sure they all found it absolutely hilarious too.
Housekeeping and kernel upgrades do not always make for happy bedfellows
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to step down this summer, AWS boss Andy Jassy to step up
You can drive a car with your feet, you can operate a sewing machine with your feet. Same goes for computers obviously
This also reminds me of the same university I just commented on. A doctor (of computer science) came down with a non-working keyboard one day. She'd tried to clean it, firstly under the tap, then for some bizarre reason with cooking oil. She then somehow managed to throw up on it. Keyboards were expensive back the. but sadly this one had to go. I believe she's head of the computer support group at that university now.
I worked for a university back in the late 80s/early 90s which had thousands of Sun workstations. They had mostly laser mice. There was a fairly bewildering number of possible mouse mat/mouse combinations as Sun introduced different models over time. The original mats got swapped out onto other machines, and possibly some third party ones got introduced somehow, and I got to learn pretty much all the possible faults with mismatches, or in some cases just the mat the wrong way round,
I worked for a very well known internet retailer back in their early days (the fact they hired me tells you something about their questionable hiring policy back them). I heard of a promising new-hire web developer, who on their first was ushered to the desk. He/she took one look at the computer mouse and asked "what's that?". Lasted in the role until lunchtime apparently.
I built a shed once. How hard can a data centre be?
This reminds me back in the 80s, I worked at a university nearby and we were asked to help out moving some gear from one of the grade-1 listed buildings near the Albert Hall. The equipment - I think probably some VAX 11/750s or 11/780s, though from memory a few things a bit larger (maybe a Cyber? I remember some impressive things), were in the basement of this very grand building. The staircase had to be encased in metal sheeting to protect it, and had a few corners. The gear had to go up to the first floor, with some help from motorised crawlers, and be taken through the window using a crane as the main door was too small and it was cheaper to take the large first floor window apart.
It also reminds me of a hospital I visited in a tech support role. The poor onsite techie told me of the story building the server room (this was for a X-ray digitised record system, quite impressive for the mid-90s). They, presumably some not-very technical people, got all the server gear in the room, and then realised they'd forgotten to wire it for sufficient power . Wheeled it all out again, did the work. They then realised they'd forgotten networking. Repeat again. Finally, switched on and everything overheated. They hadn't put cooling in. Put cooling in. Cooling leaked and flooded the server room.
He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended
I member in our server room at a university I worked as an operator, we had a few little Mac SEs (I think they were) which functioned as file servers for an AppleTalk network. These were located close to our seating area. I remember chatting to my boss once and noticing suddenly they were all aflame just behind him. Not the first fiery incident with early Macs & SEs either.
I got 99 problems, and all of them are your fault
Mainframe madness as the snowflakes take control – and the on-duty operator hasn't a clue how to stop the blizzard
My first job was as an operator at a university. As well as the old mainframe gear in the server room I sat in, we also had some shiny new Sun workstations in the labs. Bored in a late shift, and with a view of all the labs from where I sat, it was fun to discover I could logon remotely to a student's workstation and run the "falling snowflake" utility on their screen, or occasional static, or ants running around, or turn their display upside down. Simpler times.
MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs
Fancy watching 'Bake Off' together with mates and alone at the same time? The BBC's built a tool to do that
Re: And yet they still can't manage subtitles....
I've not yet seen subtitles on programmes played at their scheduled time. They seem to be added on catch-up though. No idea why and it makes viewing "live" pretty hopeless for someone deaf like me.
More annoying with BBC4 as they changed the multiplexes around for S London (and elsewhere?) a couple of years ago and many people with fairly standard-type TV aerials can't get BBC4 terrestrially, so the only option is via iPlayer. The claim is that it's temporary so I don't want to change aerial for something temporary. Plus it looks like they're dumping BBC4 at the end of the year anyway.
Capita, Fujitsu and pals tuck into slices of £3bn London NHS framework
Remember the Dutch kid who stuck his finger in a dam to save the village? Here's the IT equivalent
Laughing at me
Same happened to me, probably more than once, but the one I remember is in the early days of a certain large e-commerce retailer using, then Dec Alpha servers Went to reboot an app server, pressed button on NFS server. Spotted mistake while finger was still pressing button. Stuck there while colleagues came in and laughed at me.