* Posts by GlenP

474 posts • joined 25 Apr 2012

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'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

GlenP Silver badge

We give our field staff MS Surfaces. We've had very few issues* and no damage failures.

*Except for battery life. Depending how they're handled and used the batteries can be severely degraded after 2 years, equally we've got 4 year old ones still going.

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Every time

at 09:53:01

Quoting the exact time to the second is remarkably effective at negating the "It wasn't me!" response.

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Which is why I always turn off email sigs...

We have a standard corporate email sig, partly to ensure the legal requirements are complied with and partly for consistency, but it's added at the server end, only on external emails* and only once, if a reply to a reply already has it it's not added again.

*We have a different, brief, one for internal emails solely as an additional security measure.

Voyager 1 cracks yet another barrier: Now 150 Astronomical Units from Sol

GlenP Silver badge

Re: They don't build them like they used to

Just because something is newer does not mean it is better

Very true. We've got a nearly 10-year old label printer in one of our factories. The engineer himself advised us to keep it going as long as possible as, "The newer versions are all made out of plastic!"

Dutch Gateway store was kept udder wraps for centuries until refit dug up computing history

GlenP Silver badge

For a while in a previous role Gateway were our (American) Corporate preferred supplier for laptops. We dropped them due to support issues when the first-level queues on the phone were 3+ hours long and there was no alternative.

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Some Gateway stuff is still out there unopened

HP certainly did some boxes where the logo badge rotated through 90 degrees,

Class move, Java. Coding language slips to third place behind Python in latest popularity contest

GlenP Silver badge

I Wonder...

How many of the Python activities recorded are just people playing about with Raspberry Pi's? I know I've contributed to the statistics while writing software to control my model railways.

Raytheon techie who took home radar secrets gets 18 months in the clink in surprise time fraud probe twist

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Secure Bag

Way back in the early part of my career I was a Civil Servant for a while. As the IRA were active at the time they'd removed all the identifying logos of the vehicles but hadn't thought to issue standard tax discs instead of the "Government Vehicle" ones so they weren't exactly difficult to spot.

I was never important enough to have any classified documents* so the brief case issue didn't arise!

*I did have access to some sensitive information but I can't tell you about that...

What evil lurks within the data centre, and why is it DDoS-ing the ever-loving pants off us?

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Why is the IT manager deploying HA Proxy?

I'm an IT Manager and I do things like that, although we're a medium sized company in turnover terms we're low staffing levels so it's a small department. If he was the most experienced person there why shouldn't he carry out the necessary fixes. Better than the sort of manager who is clueless and just stands there shouting.

GlenP Silver badge

TomTom Updates

Not in house but...

Not long in my current IT Manager role, and with an inherited 2MB leased line to the 'net we had similar issues with our entire connectivity grinding to a standstill. This included the RD connections for two factories so was a critical failure.

Frantic sorting through traffic statistics and logs from the main Cisco device then checking round the building traced it to a TomTom device update. I figured out roughly what was happening, the SatNav would request an update packet from the servers at Akamai; if it didn't receive the response in a certain time it would assume packet loss and resend the request. The update server would happily service both packet requests though and with a slow connection neither would be received in time so the device would send another request for the same packet, slowing things down more; repeat, rinse and recycle ad infinitum. Once the device was disconnected and the multiple update packets had worked through the system everything returned to normal. I was able to then justify adding a backup ADSL line to use for any updating.

The same user had a habit of leaving the Sky home page running on his computer, the video playing constantly also impacted on our traffic levels until I told him to stop. More recently we've had an issue with the standard IE* home page hitting the CPUs on the Parallels servers but a GPO change to force the homepages to an internal site cured that.

*We have to use it for legacy apps.

Brit telcos deliberately killed Phones 4u, claim admins in £1bn UK High Court sueball

GlenP Silver badge

Re: How old?

Yes, I can probably find a few.

There won't be anything on them of course!

I really must have a clear out some time.

Mainframe madness as the snowflakes take control – and the on-duty operator hasn't a clue how to stop the blizzard

GlenP Silver badge

SU Credentials

For some reason lost in the mists of time the Unix box used for programming our Operating Systems project* had a lock out set for all accounts at lunchtime every day, I guess it was to allow the operators time for any maintenance work needed.

Somehow one of our group managed to get the SU password from one of the supervisors which enabled us to override this. That's all we ever used it for, with a large number of students using the box for a marked project nobody would risk any shenanigans that could significantly affect final grades.

*Groups of 4 writing a multi-tasking operating system in out spare time over a couple of months, we did it and it worked!

From 'Queen of the Skies' to Queen of the Scrapheap: British Airways chops 747 fleet as folk stay at home

GlenP Silver badge

Once...

I got to sit upstairs in a 747.

Flying back from Detroit I checked in early due to the availability of a lift to the airport for a BA flight. Unfortunately the project budget didn't run to Business Class (even though we were entitled to it under Company rules) but BA had a couple of 747s with Cattle Class upstairs. Being early and looking fairly respectable I was offered a seat up there. It was cosy but they only allocated 2 of the 3-across seats and we had our own very attentive steward. The only downside was whenever anyone went to the facilities they had to brush past the pull-down projector screen (Titanic was showing, which dates when this was).

Crossing the Atlantic every week for several months was sheer hell but I've got a few stories from the experience such as probably travelling on the fastest every DC-10.

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?

GlenP Silver badge

Not quite on the same scale but...

We use SharePoint (yes, I know but I inherited it and we're tied to being an MS site anyway). I had one user a few years back who set up email alerts on a Library for All Changes and Send Immediately (contrary to advice otherwise).

He then bulk uploaded a few thousand files (it was the ISO 9000 Library) and wondered why his email on the laptop and Blackberry (I said it was a few years ago) were going mad.

Pretend your holiday wasn't cancelled from next month: Microsoft Flight Simulator cleared for take-off

GlenP Silver badge

I can remember...

when MS Flight Sim was the best test program for true IBM compatibility!

Well that was our excuse.

TomTom bill bomb: Why am I being charged for infotainment? I sold my car last year, rages Reg reader

GlenP Silver badge

Re: As I read that

I don't know what constitutes a lifetime in TomTom's eyes

In my past experience it constitutes whatever they decide it does. Typically it's the lifetime of the base technology, not your device.

I've twice had so-called lifetime updates from them end because, "We no longer support the technology".

At least in the latest case (iPhone app) they credited the original outright app purchase price against the subscriptions for the new version.

E-scooter fanboy so hyped for Teesside to host UK's first trial

GlenP Silver badge

Re: No consistency.

I believe the specs are for a max speed of 15mph so match an eBike although of course the latter can go much faster if you pedal.

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

GlenP Silver badge

Quickest Fix...

I think my quickest fix was answering a call from a user and hearing a distinctive beep-beep-beep... so pretty much before she said anything I told her to move the file that was resting on the corner of her keyboard.

She was impressed I knew the problem without even seeing the computer!

Not had that problem for a while, largely since I developed a DMS so most of our docs are available online now.

Finding SAP hard to swallow? ERP giant says it's working on something more bite-sized

GlenP Silver badge

Done Right...

If it's done right it could be an attractive alternative for us when we decide to upgrade and consolidate ERP across the group. The reality is this is SAP and I doubt it will be viable.

By emptying offices, coronavirus has hastened the paperless office

GlenP Silver badge

40 Years Ago

It's over 40 years ago that we were shown an ICL PERQ with the, for the time, very high res portrait monitor and told this heralded the *paperless office*, I'm still waiting!

We've reduced paper usage in-house by stopping printing most customer documents, instead they're emailed and filed electronically, but I suspect in many cases they're then printed and filed at the other end.

HTC breaks with tradition to push out 2 phones someone might actually want to buy

GlenP Silver badge

Re: 32mp selfie camera

I was thinking exactly the same. Unless you're going to print images or crop them anything much over 3MP is a waste of time other than for digital zoom (and you could get a half decent print off 3MP if you didn't look too closely).

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails

GlenP Silver badge

Been There...

We had almost exactly the same scenario years ago of two bouncing out-of-office messages, neither with "send once" set. It took a while to manage to stop it happening as the server was so overloaded. I can't recall now whether that was with Notes or with the predecessor system which was a proprietary email box connecting to the world via an ISDN line, I suspect it was the latter.

EU aviation wonks give all-electric training aeroplane the green light – but noob pilots only have 50 mins before they have to land it

GlenP Silver badge

Can't Wait

I hope the flying schools at my local airport have some on order. It gets blooming noisy here on training days (I'm about 300 yards off the end of the runway and pretty much in line with it).

Ooo, a mystery bit of script! Seems legit. Let's see what happens when we run it

GlenP Silver badge

Not quite the same...

I did on one occasion use a provided script on a database running on a VAX 11/780. Knowing it would take a long time to provide the relevant analysis I left it running over the weekend, Monday morning I found 3 boxes of fanfold printer paper on my desk so around 5,000 pages. I hadn't noticed that log switch in the script was turned on so it had printed every analysis action before finally giving the summary I was after, the operators just assumed it was deliberate and allowed the print to complete.

I wasn't short of scrap paper in the office for the rest of my time in the role but couldn't take it home to reuse as it was Government data (albeit very low level).

So you really didn't touch the settings at all, huh? Well, this print-out from my secret backup says otherwise

GlenP Silver badge

Re: It went wrong all by itself

The VAX 11/785 had a cutdown PDP that was the boot controller

"Happy" memories of applying a VMS upgrade on an 11/780 that for some reason had been supplied on 8" floppies, the drive for which was part of the PDP in the bottom of the cabinet. I can't remember exactly how many disks I had to insert and remove but I think it was around 75.

That week the Beeb's computer programme was about storage, they showed an 8" disk with the comment, "Nobody uses these any more!" I was not amused.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

GlenP Silver badge

I Remember...

Pascal was the primary high level teaching language at Newcastle Uni when I was there in the early-mid 80's. IIRC it was the UBC* flavour which had a couple of oddities (such as the character map not having A follow 9), running on an IBM S/370. I just missed punch card input by one year as they implemented a Unix based data entry system, it was still a minimum 15 minute wait from submission to results though which taught us to get it right first time.

I later acquired the two Pascal ROMs for the Beeb B so continued with the language after entering the world of work.

*University of British Columbia

Did nobody tell them about the lockdown? Logitech releases new 'luggable' mechanical keyboard for LAN parties

GlenP Silver badge

How Much?

It's around 30 years since I spent that much (of someone else's money) on a keyboard.

SAP proves, yet again, that Excel is utterly unkillable

GlenP Silver badge

Re: In my experience

I gave up, I largely just create Excel spreadsheets with linked data. At least that way I can generally control the source.

Windows invokes Sgrîn Las Marwolaeth upon Newport

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Generally listed as Llanfair PG which is much easier!

We beg, implore and beseech thee. Stop reusing the same damn password everywhere

GlenP Silver badge

Re: protect what you value

Agreed.

I have a generic password that I know has been compromised but is still in use on a few sites where it really, really doesn't matter. Eventually I'll probably catch up and change them to something equally obvious.

For anything that is important I use totally unique passwords and a password manager.

It looks like you want a storage appliance for your data centre. Maybe you'd prefer a smart card reader?

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Bit like Amazon at the moment

Photographer says yes but can't use any of them as Reagan wasn't wearing the correct protective equipment.

When I was on the editorial team for a festival newsletter we had exactly the same issue. Someone would say, "I've got a great picture of X doing Y!" We'd immediately reject it due to incorrect PPE, bad working practice, etc.

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate

GlenP Silver badge

Re: DIMM Slots

I had a PHB who did something similar, except he only asked me for assistance when the newly inserted module started smoking!

Dumpster diving to revive a crashing NetWare server? It was acceptable in the '90s

GlenP Silver badge

Very Minor...

Had a very minor bodge on an HP 486 SCO Unix server where the power switch was perilously close to the tape eject button. Fortunately we discovered this whilst still in the test phase and not when the server was live.

The fix was simple, cut up a DAT tape box to provide two pieces of plastic with a workable hinge between them and attach to the server with double-sided tape forming a cover over the power switch.

House of Commons agrees to allow Zoom app in Parliament, British MPs will still have to dress smartly

GlenP Silver badge

We've used GotoMeeting for several years and have expanded out licensing in the current situation.

It was the best solution I found of several tried/

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Remember serial breakout boxes?

Yep, see above!

I'm wondering where mine is as I'm sure I wouldn't have disposed of it (I never throw out IT kit!)

GlenP Silver badge

RS-232...

I have not-so-fond memories of RS-232 from those days, debugging both hardware and software could be a right pain in the proverbial.

I ended up making my own test lead set, two cables with 9 and 25 pin D-connectors at one end and a 25 pin at the other, plus a single long extension and a bought in test/breakout box. It served me well for a few years when serial printers and comms were common.

Hardware/software issues included twice developing suitable hardware and drivers to run a plotter over the same serial line as the terminal. For reasons lost in the mists of time we couldn't use the AUX (or was it PRT?) port on the DEC VT-220 for the first so had to construct a wire tap, for the second we could just set the VT to pass-through but had to tweak the drivers as one of the Calcomp plotter commands would cause the terminal to lock up.

In a later job we had a MicroVAX 2000 with 4 separate RS-485 connected serial port hubs. The hardware was second-hand (it had been the test/demo kit for the MRP system provider) so the hubs came with a single backplane. It made far more sense to run a single RS-485 connection to the more distant offices instead of large bundles of serial cables but DEC wanted a ridiculous sum for separate PSUs for each hub. I handed it over to our in-house electronics engineer who built me 3 wall boxes to act as RS-485 terminations and power supplies so the hubs could just plug in.

Upstart Americans brandish alligators at the almighty Reg Standards Soviet

GlenP Silver badge

Re: The alligator is not a unit of measurement

Although, as I suspect the alligator would be quicker than me

Apparently they give up chasing on land very quickly so a few Osmans away is quite adequate.

You in for a curl up and dye? Yeah, looks like the same for this screen in a hairdressers

GlenP Silver badge
Pint

In a Nutshell

I spend a happy afternoon in the Nutshell drinking Abbot. It's so small everyone has to be friendly!

Beer ----> 'cause Thursday is the new Friday this week!

Reg fashion special: Top designer says 'video chat accessories' are in for spring!

GlenP Silver badge

Hmm, visible in mine are a couple of toolboxes, a pair of ear defenders and a workmate plus spare monitors and a model railway baseboard.

They already know I'm a sad git so I'm not bothered!

We're number two! Microsoft's Edge browser slips past Firefox in latest set of NetMarketShare figures

GlenP Silver badge

The key feature for Edge is not clear

There is an advantage where you've got legacy apps that only work properly on IE as the Chromium Edge compatibility modes work OK (provided your happy to fiddle with GPOs).

Real-time tragedy: Dumb deletion leaves librarian red-faced and fails to nix teenage kicks on the school network

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Similar

Even more useful when it was the only DC on that domain

Which is why you always have a backup DC!

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Paris...

You did remember to travel with carry on hand luggage only, didn't you?

No luggage at all on the return, and only the one laptop case on the way there, fortunately.

GlenP Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Paris...

I once had to do a day trip to a sister company there, essentially all I did was deliver a laptop that they didn't want (wrong keyboard, QWERTY not AZERTY) and have a nice lunch* before spending several hours in the concrete hell of CDG's Eurohub due to a cancelled flight.

Afterwards people were saying, "Paris, how lucky you are!" Business travel ain't glamorous.

*And deliver a magazine to a colleague. He kept asking on the phone if I could take him a copy of Whateefee. It took ages to figure he meant What HiFi.

Huawei P40 pricing is in step with previous P-series efforts – but flagship lacks the apps punters have come to expect

GlenP Silver badge

It is all about the apps...

It was the lack of apps more than anything else that killed Windows Phone in my view. I finally gave it up when MS wouldn't even bring the Office apps up to the same level as the iOS and Android versions.

Whatever we IT professionals may think the general public wants the convenience of apps. Yes, most things can run on websites (but note the comment above, a lot of 2FA is app based now) but a few screen presses are a lot quicker and easier for the digital generation. Given a choice of Brand X with a full app store and Huawei with a restricted one, and phones that are comparable in performance and price, they'll go for Brand X.

Announcing the official Reg-approved measure of social distancing: The Osman

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Tallest men in British TV

Martin Bayfield (rugby presenter) is 6'10" (1.038 Osmans). I stood next to him in a bar once, he was ducking and I still got a sore neck.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

GlenP Silver badge

Not quite the same but we had a French placement student who'd spent all day typing a Word document (when it was DOS based) without saving it. She then closed Word and ignored the warning message.

Fortunately in those days some judicious use of Norton tools enabled me to retrieve the temp file so it just needed tidying up.

Surge in home working highlights Microsoft licensing issue: If you are not on subscription, working remotely is a premium feature

GlenP Silver badge

Good Job...

Good job I made sure we have enough CALs in place in advance then!

Not having enough hardware is a more serous issue. We've just about managed to scrape together enough kit for our desktop users if/when it's needed (not everyone is working from home yet) but we've been caught out by headsets for VOIP and online meetings. Managed to get a few 3.5mm plug ones from Amazon (assuming they're not hijacked on the way) but no USB ones to be found.

Captain Caveman rides to the rescue, solves a prickly PowerPoint problem with a magical solution

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Yesterday

Thank you for the virtual beer!

That's exactly what we're doing here. Trying to sort people out as quickly as we can.

HMD Global revamps infamous commuter-botherer, the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic

GlenP Silver badge

Re: Shut up and take my money

Could someone explain to a poor Canadian what the "c" in "and c" refers to? Probably a party drug reference, I'd guess, but I don't know the lingo.

and c is a slightly archaic version of etc.

I can actually see a use for these as a festival/exercising/whatever burner phone where you want music and to take calls but aren't bothered about anything much else.

You get fibre, you get fibre, you all get fibre: UK Ministry of Fun promises new rules to make all new homes gigabit capable

GlenP Silver badge

Re: If it's wanted, of course

We recently had FTTP installed locally as part of one of the rural broadband initiatives. As I've already got 70 Meg FTTC I see little point in paying nearly double, and nor do any other locals as far as I'm aware.

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