* Posts by Rufus McDufus

144 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Mar 2012


Forcing Apple to allow third-party app stores isn't enough

Rufus McDufus

Re: It's not whether the App Store is good or bad...

Well 180 billion NHS funding per year divided by 30 million taxpayers is about 6,000 pounds per average taxpayer per year. You could get very good family health cover in the US for that.

Nobody would ever work on the live server, right? Not intentionally, anyway

Rufus McDufus

I once supported a certain database software, and the customer was a certain Hull-based telecoms company. I'd been given a number to dial in to access a test server to do some work on it. I dialled in and immediately saw reboot messages displayed. Hmm, weird I thought. This may have happened a second time on a subsequent login. Anyhow, later on I saw it reported that this telecoms company suffered some outages...

Bizarre backup taught techie to dumb things down for the boss

Rufus McDufus

Re: American English at work?

Google can't seem to make their mind up whether it's called "Trash" or "Bin" depending on whether you're using the Gmail web client or the mobile app.

Rufus McDufus

Deja vu

Similar happened to me with another (now huge) multinational retailer around the turn of the century. To save some disk space we decided to put a retention of 30 days on emails in the Trash folder. Judging by the howls a month later, I reckon at least 10% of staff were using the Trash folder as their primary email archive. The explanation was "it's easy just to click delete to move it out of the Inbox".

False negative stretched routine software installation into four days of frustration

Rufus McDufus

Re: On the other hand...

I worked on a problem like that when working 2nd-tier support in the late 90s for a (then) well-known relational database product. The issue only seemed to occur on MIPS R4000 & 10000 chipsets. The error was different every time - SEGVs, SIGBUS etc. - and different again when run under a debugger, and different again under a different debugger. I'm recall spending 9 months trying to track this down and never did. The most nightmarish problem I ever had to deal with.

Gen Z and Millennials don't know what their colleagues are talking about half the time

Rufus McDufus

It's the employees born in 2012 I'm more concerned about.

That old box of tech junk you should probably throw out saves a warehouse

Rufus McDufus

Waiting for the gotcha

I was waiting for what was going to go wrong, and predicting maybe the Sun PSU was AC instead of DC...

Slightly disappointed sparcs didn't fly.

EU's Cyber Resilience Act contains a poison pill for open source developers

Rufus McDufus

Re: A car analogy

Are car manufacturers liable for any possible security breach of their vehicle for the entire lifetime of the vehicle?

Thieves smash hole in wall to nab $500K in Apple iKit

Rufus McDufus

Roof job

I worked in one office building of a certain online retailer about 20 years ago. There was a new building being constructed next door, around the same height as ours - 10 storeys or so. One morning it had transpired a number of laptops had been lifted from the desktop support office. Turns out the crooks had used the crane on top of the building next door to lower someone onto the roof of our building, they'd got in that way and somehow got down to the floor where the laptops were. Presumably they'd exited the same way.

Funny thing was the laptops were all broken and in for repair.

Results are in for biggest 4-day work week trial ever: 92% sticking with it

Rufus McDufus

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.

To make this computer work, users had to press a button. Why didn't it work? Guess

Rufus McDufus

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

Rufus McDufus

With their powerful air conditioning, server rooms can be great places to dry wet clothes.

Lapping the computer room in record time until the inevitable happens

Rufus McDufus

Another fun activity

...in the university computer room I worked in was climbing up onto the furthest computer and trying to traverse several rooms as fast as possible without your feet touching the ground. You had to be a bit careful not to shake the "washing machine" disk drives too much.

Apple's new MacBook Air: Is the jump to M2 silicon worth another $200?

Rufus McDufus

Re: Inexplicable...

Does he control the Euro as well?

Rufus McDufus

Re: Not the main issue

That's the MacBook Pro 13 2022. We don't know if the Air is the same yet, though I have a suspicion it might.

Majority of Axon's AI ethics board resigns over CEO's taser drones

Rufus McDufus

Re: This isn't a solution...

See also Switzerland where gun ownership is very common.

Rufus McDufus

Re: Follow the money

Though ironically some of the worst-affected airports (Manchester, Luton) are council-owned and run.

Phishing operation hits NHS email accounts to harvest Microsoft credentials

Rufus McDufus

Re: Too little, too late.

The Theresa May government increased NHS funding by 390 million a week (the promise was never per day!) and the budget has increased a lot more since then.

Datacenters in Ireland draw more power than all rural homes put together

Rufus McDufus

Though Amazon first set up a European datacentre in Ireland in 2005, before Brexit was a twinkle in the eye. They did it for tax reasons. I worked for them and on it.

What do you do when all your source walks out the door?

Rufus McDufus

Re: Never get the chance to do it again

"John Kettley's Porn Stash" ... wasn't that a Half Man Half Biscuit song?

IT blamed after HR forgets to install sockets in new office

Rufus McDufus

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

Rufus McDufus

Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

Well, the likes of Telegram are looking likely to be banned in a number of countries in the very near future.

What begins with a 'B' and is having problems at tsoHost? Hopefully not your website

Rufus McDufus

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

Rufus McDufus

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

Rufus McDufus

Re: Intelligent websites?

Just a few minutes ago on the same site I got a recommendation for nail clippers with attached magnifying glass for the elderly.

Swooping in to claim the glory while the On Call engineer stands baffled

Rufus McDufus

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

Rufus McDufus

Or there were always a few people hogging the call and convinced they knew the problem, and you couldn't get a word in edgeways. Meantime I or a colleague often found the problem while they were droning on and then announced "fixed it".

GPU makers increasingly disengage from crypto miners

Rufus McDufus

Re: miners

UK QE since 2009 has totalled 895 billion. The vast majority of that was due to the 2008/9 crash and the second largest proportion due to Covid-19. 70 billion of bonds were purchased in 2016. You seem to be imagining things.

Amazon tells folks it will stop accepting UK Visa credit cards via weird empty email

Rufus McDufus

Re: Coincidence?

The Amazon Mastercard is run by Newday, not Amazon. I suspect it'd be highly illegal if Newday were sharing all transaction data with Amazon,

Pulling down a partition or knocking through a door does not necessarily make for a properly connected workspace

Rufus McDufus

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

Rufus McDufus


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

Rufus McDufus

Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

Could call it "habrood". No - "highbrad". No! Help me out here.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the BBC stage a very British coup to rescue our data from Facebook and friends

Rufus McDufus


University Challenge is produced by ITV Studios (now a division thereof called Lifted Entertainment). It started on Granada TV.

McDonald's email blunder broadcasts database creds to comedy competition winners

Rufus McDufus

Willard Scott, creator of Ronald McDonald, died a few days ago. Coincidence?

A practical demonstration of the difference between 'resilient' and 'redundant'

Rufus McDufus

Re: Proliant server

I did that with a Dec Alpha probably around the same time (late 90s). Powered off server for maintenance. Oops - wrong one - I got the mail server by mistake. Stuck for about 15 minutes with my finger pressing the button in before my colleagues came in and laughed at me.

Scalpel! Superglue! This mouse won't fix its own ball

Rufus McDufus


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

Rufus McDufus

Re: Oh NO!

But think of the money you can make selling each piece of shredded paper. And they're all unique!

Pipe down, Jeff. You've only gone where Gus Grissom went before, 60 years ago today

Rufus McDufus


Don't forget the North American X-15 which, 58 years ago piloted by Joseph Walker. flew to maximum heights of 105.9 and 107.9 km respectively, reaching speeds over 3,700mph.

Global Fastly outage takes down many on the wibbly web – but El Reg remains standing

Rufus McDufus

Re: Fastly


Firefox 89: Can this redesign stem browser's decline?

Rufus McDufus

Re: We need Firefox to keep going

Brave is getting pretty usable now on desktop and I'm tempted to switch from Firefox.

Terminal trickery, or how to improve a novel immeasurably

Rufus McDufus

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

Rufus McDufus

Re: The secret to intelligent tinkering ....

I often think the sign of a real expert is not just avoiding the cock-up, but also knowing what to do if the very worse happens.

Rufus McDufus

Yes, I did this once too. Early version of Solaris I think back in the mid 90s. I did it as root. The damage was impressive.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to step down this summer, AWS boss Andy Jassy to step up

Rufus McDufus

He was also a senior VP at hedge fund DE Shaw by 1994 so I can't imagine 300k was a lot of money to him at that point. Seems more like an opportunity for the parents to invest.

You can drive a car with your feet, you can operate a sewing machine with your feet. Same goes for computers obviously

Rufus McDufus

Re: Claurty

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.

Rufus McDufus

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,

Rufus McDufus

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?

Rufus McDufus

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.