* Posts by GlenP

752 posts • joined 25 Apr 2012


NOBODY PRINT! Selfless hero saves typing pool from carbon catastrophe

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Walk and talk

No carafes, kettle or pod in our office.

I did used to work with an a**hole who refused to refill the carafe machine, believing it was beneath him. We'd see him wander into the kitchen with his mug then wander out again with it still empty if it meant taking the last cup and being obliged to refill the machine.

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Re: Walk and talk

It's something I miss with Covid and working from home. Those coffee machine chats that could lead to early warning of upcoming problems.

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When we moved from dedicated fax machines to MFDs the staff were absolutely insistent that, "Faxes must be on green paper!" It took the engineer a while to figure that one out! Fortunately the machines were multi-tray so the default tray on the machine was the one with the green paper, then the white paper tray was set as default in the printer drivers.

It only really ended when we stopped receiving faxes, except for the bl**dy bank who are unable to supply certain documents any other way - we now have Fax to Email for those.

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Ah, the "good old days" ...

Yep, but we had an auto burster and collator. Cue endless arguments between ourselves, the machine maintenance people and the paper suppliers about why it didn't work.

Machine blamed paper, paper blamed machine and they both blamed us for the storage conditions.

Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Scheme

Or as Dabbsy alluded to, some jobs need to be done from the office.

For Government departments to still be using the excuse, "We can't process paper applications as there's nobody in the office to open them" is unacceptable. It wasn't acceptable during the lockdowns either.

BOFH: HR's gold mine gambit – they get the gold and we get the shaft

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Re: Favourite CPU socket?

Wouldn't know - it's a hardware problem! :)

Seriously, anything but the 40-pin DIL sockets of the early systems.

The perfect crime – undone by the perfect email backups

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Re: "Delete" = "Hide"

Essentially, yes, also the FAT table retained the sector links.

IIRC it changed the first character rather than adding a character (only 8 remember) so to undelete you had to know, or guess, what the first character should be*.

I can't recall the exact details but I was once able to reconstruct a Word temporary file via Norton even though undelete failed. The user, a young student placement, had spent all day typing a document then failed to save it - one of the times IT managed to save the day and prevent a lot of tears.

*I used to work for an Apricot dealer, swapping between PC compatible and Apricot versions of DOS. The latter used A: for the HD so it wasn't unknown to type Format A: on an Apricot then Y followed by "Oh sh*t!" Ctrl-C and Undelete usually sorted it.

GlenP Silver badge

We had a visit from the Police at work, asking if they could view our CCTV footage for a particular night as a crime had been committed nearby. Due to the ancient system we had then it wasn't easy to just view it, but I did offer to drop it onto a memory stick, which they were delighted about - promising to collect it in a couple of days.

That's the last we ever saw of them - so obviously it wasn't that important and I wasted my time trying to help!

The most they might have got anyway were times vehicles passed, the cameras didn't cover much beyond our immediate property boundaries and were poor quality.

Know the difference between a bin and /bin unless you want a new doorstop

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Clean desk policy

We had the opposite back when I was a civil servant many years ago. Anything that was in the bin and hadn't been physically torn through would be returned to your desk by the cleaners.

We did have a user who stored emails awaiting action in the Deleted Items folder as it was easy to send them there (but I don't thing she ever deleted the actual rubbish). She was most upset when, as part of trying to speed her machine up, we cleaned out the folder.

GlenP Silver badge

I've probably been working in manufacturing too long but I usually preface Bin with the type, e.g. rubbish, recycling, bread, anyway as the standard for stock locations tends to be Warehouse - Store - Bin.

No more fossil fuel or nukes? In the future we will generate power with magic dust

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I've Been Wondering...

Will all the offshore wind farms they're building on the East Coast of the UK have a significant effect on onshore wind speeds? They must have an impact, as pointed out you can't "make" energy, so in a few years time will the be blamed for localised climate change?

"I can't hang my washing out any more, thanks to all those ***** wind farms - I have to sue the tumble drier1"

How one techie ended up paying the tab on an Apple Macintosh Plus

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I was asked at one employer to investigate some issues with AutoCad. I can't recall what the actual problem was but I discovered the head draughtsman, supposedly very clever and well qualified, had used the CAD as he would a drawing board - if two lines don't meet just draw a third over/between them! His drawing files were, for AutoCad, huge and making changes was a nightmare.

I don't think he ever really got the message.

GlenP Silver badge

You also had to use a ', backspace and a . to get an !

Happy days (not)!

Google calculates Pi to 100 trillion digits

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Re: Google can't count

My go-to reference, Mathematics - From The Birth of Numbers, from 1997 states that a billion is 1 million million, except in the US where it's 1 thousand million as they based theirs on an older French system than the rest of the world.

From my recollection however that was already out-of-date for the UK when written. It was that way when I was at school, up to about 40 years ago but popular culture (ie US TV) probably started to bring about the change around then.

For the record no true mathematician would risk the confusion and I don't recall terms above 1 million ever being used during my degree, even a million probably only occurred in loose discussions in stats.

GlenP Silver badge

Re: If they were proper engineers...

Only in Indiana, allegedly.

Bill #246 of the 1897 sitting of the Indiana General Assembly has been claimed to make Pi = 4 but actually would have been 4/1.25 or 3.2.

Brute force and whiskey: The solution to all life's problems

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Re: Are You Guys Still Hung Over After Some Four Day Party or Something.......

Except that would be Whisky without the e, Compton Mackenzie being Scottish of course. :)

Yes, I've read the books and seen the films (all three, a rare time when the remake matched, or possibly improved on, the original). No, I didn't make the connection!

BOFH: Where do you think you are going with that toner cartridge?

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Re: Only thing worse

Add in the mandatory maintenance contract where they increase the price by 15% per year, just so they can persuade you a new machine is cheaper, but then tell you they can't guarantee a repair as "we can't get the parts" for a machine they, allegedly, manufactured.

GlenP Silver badge

That makes a change. They usually offer to "end the contract early if you take out a new one on some nice shiny kit!" Of course all they do is roll the remainder of the old contract into the new one.

GlenP Silver badge

Too Often...

The amount of crap we've thrown away over the years after staff thought they'd got a bargain is staggering.

Boxes and boxes of franking machine labels, "Ten boxes were cheaper than five!" We used less than a box a year and they ended up in the bin as the machine was near end-of-life (the replacement used larger labels).

"I got a great price on these fluorescent tubes!" For a box a month, every month, for a minimum of a year, when we probably needed less than a dozen tubes a year.

When management went nuclear on an innocent software engineer

GlenP Silver badge

A long way from being the same scale of devastation but we had an MFD engineer who set up a new machine, checked it was connected to everything, then cloned the setup from an existing machine without checking/changing the IP address.

Cue shouts from the main office when they couldn't print as their "printer" just sat there saying, "Duplicate IP Address Detected".

IBM-powered Mayflower robo-ship once again tries to cross Atlantic

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It seems to me that the switch failed on, preventing a circuit from being isolated. From past experience designers often cater for things failing off (redundant power supplies, separate circuits) but not the reverse.

The exception was with machinery guarding where we used monitored relays and redundant circuits.

Original killer PC spreadsheet Lotus 1-2-3 now runs on Linux natively

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Not sure why but I don't think I ever really used Lotus 1-2-3, I did install/support Lotus Symphony though for the business faculty at the local college. I seem to recall though that whilst it had the functions integrated each one, the spreadsheet, word processor, etc. was a cut down version.

Microsoft veteran on how he forged a badge to sneak into a Ballmer presentation

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Microsoft these days, of course, would much rather everyone ditched passwords altogether in favor of something a good deal more secure

You mean like ditching complex passwords in favour of cloud stored 4 digit PINs?

Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal

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Re: The buck stops at the boss.

Certainly some parts of British law, including Health and Safety and Data Protection, can lead to managers and directors being prosecuted although the bar is quite high so they'd have to be provably grossly negligent or shown to have been actively involved in the breach

Beware the fury of a database developer torn from tables and SQL

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Re: Literal translations

Google Translate E-J-E gives:

Invisible, out of my heart

Which is precisely the problem, each phrase has been translated with no sense of the overall statement.

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Just a quick question.

As a multi-national we have various native language speakers on our staff but still generally use professional translators for anything important (either internal or external).

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Rainbow - Nostalgia

the HOURS spent battling with printer drivers

Or even writing printer drivers - did that for both PDP-11s and PCs

Landmark case recognizes Bored Ape NFT as an asset

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You can find, and purchase, copies of Van Gogh's Sunflowers on Google, but someone still paid nearly $40 million for the original, which frankly makes no more sense to me than people buying NFTs.

Microsoft-backed robovans to deliver grub in London

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Although they do still have some way to go.

I saw one recently sat patiently at a pelican* crossing, waiting for someone to come and press the button so it could cross, and in MK one has gone for a swim:


Arm CPU ran on electricity generated by algae for over six months

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Re: Or..?

The Blyth aluminium smelter here in the UK had it's own coal fired power station with, at one point, 2 mines* largely dedicated to supplying it.

*I would have said pits but that might have confused things.

Confirmation dialog Groundhog Day: I click OK and it keeps coming back

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But who is REDO and where is START?

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them

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Re: Overinflated sense of self importance

I think the worst one I had in a similar vane was the customer demanding that I attend site *immediately* when I believed a reboot would cure the issues. Given that the site was an hour's drive away common sense said they should do the reboot themselves, first, before I travelled. After a slightly heated discussion he finally agreed that would be the quickest solution. I did have to go in the end, but that's a different story.

GlenP Silver badge
IT Angle

Unfortunately superyacht owners really do seem to believe the laws of physics don't apply to them.

I was watching something a while back where a Sunseeker owner had demanded red stitching on the deck upholstery then was complaining when it had bleached out after a few months in the Med. They tried every thread supplier they could find and none of them were prepared to say that their products would be colourfast in that environment, something anybody who's been involved in boats could have told them (red is the worst colour there is for fading). The issue was never satisfactorily resolved, I think in the end the owner just had to accept he couldn't have red unless he was prepared to have the upholstery redone every few weeks.

IBM's autonomous Mayflower ship breaks down in second transatlantic attempt

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Re: Size of vessel

I recall when I first saw the replica of The Matthew, Cabot's ship, in Bristol realising just how tiny it is at 24m.

LIDAR in iPhones is not about better photos – it's about the future of low-cost augmented reality

GlenP Silver badge

They could be interesting for a project I have in mind in the future, as I'm not into soldering SMD hopefully someone will stick them on a board with the minimal additional electronics.

Yahoo Japan strives for universal passwordless authentication

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SMS is all very well if you have a mobile signal.

I've had to resort to running upstairs, waving my phone out of the window and hoping the SMS message came through and I could get back down to type the code in the 15 minutes the particular site permitted. I got there on the third attempt having wasted the best part of an hour. WiFi calling helps but is by no means universal across operators and phones and still assumes you have a connection available.

I'm quite happy with using authenticators as an addition to passwords, not as an alternative - the clue is in the 2 of 2FA.

An international incident or just some finger trouble at the console?

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I was in a hotel in the Netherlands, the waitress apologised for not having an English menu (why should they?) and offered to translate.

She starts going down the menu...

Waitress: "That is baa baa"

Me: "Ah, lamb?"

Waitress: "Yes, lamb!"

It took us a while but the food was excellent when it arrived.

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Typing is not a good idea.

I learnt a long while ago that when setting pseudo-random user passwords it's a good idea to try typing them into the system at least once instead of just copy and paste. We had one generated password that, for some reason, was almost impossible to enter correctly no matter how you tried.

RAD Basic – the Visual Basic 7 that never was – releases third alpha

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Our ERP system provider has got rid of the first (allegedly), is working on the second but COBOL is too firmly rooted.

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout

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That's reminded me of another one.

When I took over the IT department at one company I found my predecessor had insisted on always adding new 3270s to the end of a twinax segment. The end result was cables going up, down and across the finance office (he had at least used rubber cable bridge!)

It tool less than 20 minutes one morning to disconnect them all and have nice simple cable runs down each side of the office going neatly from desk to desk.

GlenP Silver badge

Re: College Tales...

My bad - typed Acorn but meant RM!


GlenP Silver badge

College Tales...

Back when I worked at the local college (now University), 35 years or so ago, we were transitioning from terminals to PCs and at the time there was no common network standard.

We had rooms full of Acorn machines using their version of Cheapernet which were fine, except the little sh1ts quickly discovered that you could undo the T-piece just enough to make the network flaky without it being immediately obvious which machine was impacted. Our networking guy was forever having to go round the classrooms tightening them.

We then had one department purchase a network of IBM PS/2s, model 30 workstations and a model 60 server with minimal consultation. They then expected us to install and commission it with almost no information. We eventually worked out the network config and our ops guys installed the cabling, stapling it to the desks so tightly that any movement on the computers would rip the wires from the connectors!

ZX Spectrum, the 8-bit home computer that turned Europe onto PCs, is 40

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Re: Go Forth and prosper

I had the Forth interpreter and also an I/O interface to drive from it. I don't recall every doing much with it, it was more for the intellectual exercise.

IIRC Forth came out of radio telescope control systems.

GlenP Silver badge

Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be!

It can't really be 40 years, I'm not that old!

I started on an RM 380Z at school then quickly spent the earnings from a holiday job on a ZX81. That got upgraded in 1982 to a Spectrum and in, I think early 1985, I added a BBC B to the stable - the joys of accessing Prestel on a 1200/75 modem once the rest of the house was asleep and I could hog the phone line.

Not to dis your diskette, but there are some unexpected sector holes

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Closest I've seen...

his mouse would occasionally move erratically across the screen

A couple of roles ago we had a sister company that tended to go their own way. Amongst his other IT purchases*, without asking, the MD bought two identical wireless mice for himself and his finance guy.

He then complained of erratic mouse movements which we "must sort out". You can probably see where this is going! Their desks were effectively back-to-back, separated by a thin partition wall, and in those days wireless mice (mouses, meeses?) were single channel with no encoding so when the finance person moved his mouse there was just enough signal to cause erratic movement in the MD's mouse.

*His other one was to buy a Sony Vaio laptop from Dixons without asking. 13 months later we had to scrap it due to driver issues. Dixons weren't interested as it was out of warranty, Sony UK reckoned it was a parts bin special direct from Sony Japan so nothing to do with them,

GlenP Silver badge


That takes me back very nearly 40 years - we used those for our "Small Systems" course at uni, which was effectively assembly level programming.

Blood pressure monitor won't arrive for Apple Watch before 2024 – report

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Re: Only tangentially related:

I'd never though to look but...

Heartsafe I guess mainly display ones they've supplied. It picks up a local company but not the "public" one in the village. NDDB doesn't show either.

Looking at a nearby town Heartsafe shows one but suggests it's inside a store when I know it's outside on the wall, NDDB doesn't show that one at all.

So basically if you don't already know where the defib is located the casualty may well die.

Dell trials 4-day workweek, massive UK pilot of shortened week begins

GlenP Silver badge

Re: There s no way to buy more time

We didn't have any issues when working on a global ERP deployment in Detroit, until we'd been to visit Canada. On returning to the US the immigration officer really didn't want to let us back in, eventually he asked who paid our wages and on getting the answer that it was the European companies he gave up. That seemed to be the crucial element then and the corporate had been advised what we were doing was OK as we were representing Europe on the project.

GlenP Silver badge

Only Limerick? I used to commute to Detroit from the UK!

OK, only for a specific project for a few months but crossing the pond every week takes it out of you.

Buying a USB adapter: Pennies. Knowing where to stick it: Priceless

GlenP Silver badge

you're "paid" via a 4 pack of cheap beer or a £4 bottle of wine

I've obviously been fortunate in my friends as I've been known to get 4 bottles of really nice beer just for unlocking a Nokia mobile (a three minute job if you knew where to go on the carrier's website for the PUK code).

A, sadly now late, friend used to pay me an annual retainer for helping with his IT, a decent bottle of single malt! He was also good enough to know the difference between needing a quick 10 minute piece of advice and major work - in the latter case he'd happily pay.



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