* Posts by JimboSmith

1021 posts • joined 16 Aug 2012


Pen Test Partners: Boeing 747s receive critical software updates over 3.5" floppy disks

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Access Hatch

AFAIK there is one from the cockpit into the avionics bay below. It's there in case a pilot has to do the ultimate off-on-hit-it-with-a-hammer in flight fix.

The First Class area on a BA 747 is directly below the cockpit so hopefully there's no Avionics in there. There is I believe hatch in the nose cabin of a 747 that goes down into the avionics bay. Somebody I know was upgraded to First Class one flight across the pond. He described sitting in his very comfortable seat drinking a glass of champagne whilst a couple of engineers opened this hatch. One of them went through it and did something whilst his mate offered advice. After a few minutes he reappeared, everything was resealed and the captain thanked everyone for their patience.

Whoops, our bad, we may have 'accidentally' let Google Home devices record your every word, sound – oops

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: then disable the least significant part of it.

Fire tablets track, monitor and report back EVERYTHING you do on your tablet, and use this data to build a profile of you which is then monetised. You can turn some of this off - which is great if you like a pretty mirror.

I actually only really use it for watching Amazon Prime Video, I have a no root firewall for limiting what the tablet can send back to Amazon. I also sideloaded Google play apps and haven't opened or used the Amazon app store.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Damn those lone rogue engineers

Somebody asked me why I physically disabled the microphone on my Amazon Fire HD Tablet.

This is why!

Supposedly the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have either banned or heavily discouraged smart speaker use. I wonder why.

How did you spend your time at university? Pizza, booze, sleeping? This Oxford student is snooping on satellites

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Would be really interesting if he could send to the satellite too.

Reminds me of the Channel4 (Dispatches?) Documentary with Duncan Campbell about the Echelon System. I seem to recall him with a standard dish and a receiver of some sort and able to listen in to calls being routed via satellite. This was in the analogue era and hopefully things have changed but I won't hold my breath.

I got 99 problems, and all of them are your fault

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Correlation does not equal cause

Ah yes the solving of problem X is supposedly the cause of problem Y, been there too many times. One example from retail was a store manager who I had visited one Friday. There was a new router/modem that I'd installed replacing an older model. As I didn't have a long enough cable I'd then used the old one as a temporary switch/extender. This would allow moving the PC running the back end [of the] till functions wired network to the very back of the shop. Owing to another job taking longer than anticpated I'd run out of time. So I'd just left the box at the halfway point and would move everything on Monday. Come Saturday morning and the phone starts ringing with that manager on the line. She informed me that I'd broken the internet for the building by doing what I'd done yesterday. She was going to complain to my manager unless I fixed it that day. She then hung up and didn't answer her phone which was unhelpful as I couldn't enquire further.

Now I know it was working when I left so I didn't understand how it had suddenly stopped. I arrived and found that the shop still had internet access so what was wrong?!? Well aparently the flats above the shop had lost their internet connection. I tried explaining that it was highly unlikely it was anything to do with yesterdays replacement but no joy. I went round and spoke to two girls who inhabited the flat directly above the shop. They informed me that they had had no internet access since they got home on Friday night and were now relying on 3G. I asked if I could see their equipment and just got shown their phones. They had no idea what I was talking about because other than their shiny iPhones they said they didn't have anything else.

I spotted a BT master socket with nothing plugged in and had a sinking feeling. I asked if I could see one of their iPhones to check what was going on. One of the girls showed me here phone and as I suspected it was connected to the router I'd swapped out yesterday. As a result of that being unplugged from the new equipment there was no internet access using it. Turns out the previous manager of the shop had let the girls use the WiFi and had just given them the password. He was possibly:

a) A technical incompetent who had no idea about network security


b) Was eager to help out two very pretty young ladies by doing them a favour in the hopes of getting one in return.


c) Both of the above.

The new manager said she had no idea this was happening and apologised for calling me on a Saturday. The girls said they'd get broadband installed ASAP and were very grateful they'd had free internet access until then. I changed the wifi password on the old box and then disabbled the wifi just in case.

NSA warns that mobile device location services constantly compromise snoops and soldiers

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: phones in secured areas

A non techie friend asked about this very subject when he read another message/rant from the Tweeter in Chief of The USA. How if it was possible as I'd always claimed for tracking to be ubiquitous for Mr Trump to have a mobile phone whilst POTUS. I said it was easy to do in his case because you had the resources available to make it so. For example you know where he is most of the time because he's at the White House.

So you could run your own WH base station (pico cell) that only he and senior staff* can use their work phones to connect to. You'd also restrict his phone so it cannot connect to any other base station. As he never travels alone you have the secret service communications vehicles (Roadrunners) contain other ones for his trips elsewhere. In the case of Trump you'd also need to have base stations at Mar a Lago, Bedminster etc. All of these would connect back to the Whitehouse and calls get routed through to the normal public network there. This would make his location far harder to track.

* Just having one phone on the base station would be counter productive security wise.

Only EU can help us, pleads Slack as it slings competition complaint against Microsoft Teams

JimboSmith Silver badge

What annoys me about Teams is that I'm contacted by Microsoft on my corporate email. Somebody posts something in one particular one of my teams and I get an email "Your teammates are trying to reach you in Microsoft Teams" and then lists the contents. I know they are because I've seen the post(s) on Teams I don't need an email telling me. It also tells me I should install Teams and offers links to the Android and IOS versions. I wouldn't mind quite so much but I've already got the Android version installed

Also I was added to one team with one of my private email accounts as a guest because it's mostly contractors on that team. I tried to add myself on the app via the guest account using the invite. I got a message saying I couldn't be a guest in my own corporation. So I got the team admin to add me subsequently using my corporate email. Still have the guest listed in my orgs though and can't delete it. All bloody annoying.

See you after the commercial breakdown: Cert expiry error message more entertaining than the usual advert tripe

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Red triangle programs

I remember one of my schoolfriends announcing that he was getting a television in his bedroom. This meant he told us he could watch all the 'red triangle' films on Channel 4 unimpeded by his parents. He watched the first one after he got the set and was deeply unimpressed. It was an art house film and there was one exposed (female) breast at one point half way through. Worse he'd missed it because he was bored and was channel surfing through the three other channels when it happened.

I had an old colour tv hooked up to my BBC Model B computer as the monitor. Meant I could also watch anything unbeknownst to my parents.

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

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Re: Ofcom..

So you're saying that Ofcom believed that analogue radio was going to die out very soon (despite massive opposition for a switch off) and so they reduced the analogue license fees to essentially zero for an entire decade?

If Ofcom really believed that we would reach the 50% listenership needed to set a date for switchoff then they're the only ones. The rest of the industry believed it was an unlikely pipe dream and there was no chance we'd be anywhere near that by 2015. Yes the owners of Classic FM have basically paid nothing for the last decade and won't for another decade.

Trebles all round at Classic FM then!

They (Global Radio) also used a perfectly legal technique (Eurobonds) i believe to minimise their tax bill. So they didn't pay much if any tax after they bought GCap Media Plc either.

Part of the problem is what DAB offers to the listeners. The extra stations and ease of tuning mean that it's easier for the listener to find new stations they can't get on FM/MW. So if you're running an FM station why would you promote this new technology that may cost you listeners? There's no incentive but some disincentive and consequently a lot of Programme Controllers just didn't bother.

To get to the state of 50% digital listening over 1.5 billion quid and it's probably closer to 2 has been spent. Was it well spent? I'll leave that up to you to decide

JimboSmith Silver badge

Anonymous Coward

It's true that 58% digital means mainly DAB (in practice) but also IP, FreeView etc. But, it doesn't matter which flavour of digital radio is used, to inform the decision when to switch off analogue the only thing you need to know is how many people have abandoned analogue. What type of digital they moved to is irrelevant.

Except that the figures are I believe taken from RAJAR which to my mind at least makes them suspect. RAJAR is still using the diary system to record listening. This requires the person to remember what were listening to and how. From discussions with friends and family they don't remember what medium they were using to listen. My sister for example has a radio in her car that does FM, MW, DAB and LW. She can't tell you whether it was DAB or FM she has had on. Both FM and DAB have station and track information on the display. When I was involved in DAB there was a company listing sales figures for radios. They were supposedly recording all products with DAB capability that were sold but not all the products with an FM capability. They allegedly didn't include mobile phones for example.

Apart from extra stations there isn't much if anything that DAB does that FM doesn't. Personally I listen to FM, MW, LW and SW which I do on various Sony radios. I am a DAB owner but only because I was given the set by my ex-employers - I don't use it though.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: The future is behind you ....

Actually current plans (unless things have changed again) is that the FM frequencies will be used for community radio. Disclaimer: I used to work in the radio industry. The question of the national analogue license (INR) renewal came up in the context of renewal was in 2010. This was when those scamps at Ofcom decided that the length of the license might not reach 10 years. They based this on the (frankly unbelievable) basis that there would have been a switch to DAB in the middle of the license period. They decided that there was unlikely to be any new entrants willing to bid for a license under those circumstances.

This was despite the fact that at least one newspsper at the time found people interested in bidding. So under the Digital Economy Act the licences were not advertised for bidding. Instead they reduced the amount that both licence holders was reduced. Talksport went from paying £100k per year to £10k which isn't as shocking as the other license holder. Classic FM had paid £50k per year plus 8% of their qualifying revenue. This went down to just 10k per year and 0% of qualifying revenue which is frankly pathetic. That was based don't forget on the limited length of the licences. So now those are being extended by another 10 years for the current holders. I'm sure they're laughing all the way to the bank. I know the FCC (rightly) come in for a kicking on here but personally Ofcom deserve the same treatment.

US govt: Julian Assange tried to recruit hacker to steal hush-hush dirt and we should know – the hacker was an informant

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Just a polite request with an uncertain air of positive expectation?

As sombody who once worked in the media, when last I looked at the D/DA Notice rules they were voluntary. Although that has lead to at least one point* where a foreign outlet has released info that is subject to a D/DA Notice in the UK I believe.

*other than HRH in Afghanistan.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: chewed wires

Some friends of mine had Guinea pigs and some tropical fish. They explained how whenever they went away for the weekend a neighbour would stop by and check on their pets. Well one Sunday morning they had a call from the neighbour. Apparently there was a nasty smell in the house, the Guinea pigs were both dead and the tropical fish tank had no light or bubbles. They came straight home and discovered the power cable for the fish tank had separated from the wall it was attached to.

The cable had then swung down to within reach of the cage. Thus the Guinea pigs had found a new toy to play with. They chewed through this cable and killed themselves. Sadly that had blown a fuse or tripped a breaker and the fish had died because they got far too cold.

They described it as the Guinea pigs committing suicide and taking the tropical fish with them.

Maze ransomware gang threatens to publish sensitive stolen data after US aerospace biz sensibly refuses to pay

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Maze raged against victims who refused to play its game

When those scam merchants ask me to download the software and allow them to connect I have a surprise. I tell them I'll need to hang up to get on the internet which usually is met with protests. I explain that the modem has to use the phone line to dial the internet and no I don't have a mobile. After they get over the "You're using Dialup???" I explain that I've only really got the computer for online banking and shopping.

I hang up after promising to download the software and go back to what I was doing. A couple of them actually called back only to be met by Barry from Birmingham who runs a small garage/workshop. They often have trouble with my new Brummie accent which is amusing given the "difficulty" I have with theirs. The fun I have had either:

Telling them their 'big end' has gone. Explaining that you don't see too many of them around for an Austin Princess anymore. I ignore their protestations about not knowing what I'm talking about. I finish with if they can give me their bank details for a deposit I'll get looking for one.


I explain that the broadband is down can they help me fix it. This is especially good if they're "calling from my ISP." They've never been able to help sadly which is rubbish from "my ISP".

Since ditching the landline number I get less of these calls.

Apple's new WidgetKit: Windows Phone Live Tiles done right?

JimboSmith Silver badge

Have an upvote because that was my first thought too. I'm not sure that the IOS experience is going to match the Android one either. I've got Apple owning friends who think that's the one (and only) thing Android does better. I had a Microsoft Nokia and live tiles was an odd experience. Maybe Apple will get it spot on only time will tell.

Ex-barrister reckons he has a privacy-preserving solution to Britain's smut ban plans

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Re: Mind of a teenager

Yep I agree there's things far worse than porn that can harm the minds of children out there. Those wouldn't be covered by this 'solution' either and not what the minister was getting irked by. Why we're supposed to get all hot and bothered about smut when extremist material is out there and arguably much more damaging is beyond me. If we're supposed to be thinking of the children I'd much rather they were looking at a pair of knockers or a giant pole than something suggesting that racial or religious purity.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: What could possibly go wrong?

There was an edition of Dragons Den where somebody pitched an anti piracy device for films being shown in the cinema. Quite rightly Peter Jones (I think) said the idea had a fatal flaw. It only required one cinema to have the system off and the blockbuster is easily copied.

Same issues here.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Mind of a teenager

Too many young people and children are coming across porn by accident.

Excluding reddit how do you accidentally stumble over porn on the net? I've sat with my younger relatives whilst they're browsing the net on numerous occasions. Not once have they ever stumbled upon anything remotely dodgy. Whilst searching for work related stuff I've never found anything dodgy in my searches.

Unless it was a typo and should have been a U not an O. In that case I don't think it's an accident.

Chrome extensions are 'the new rootkit' say researchers linking surveillance campaign to Israeli registrar Galcomm

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Re: Maturity.

Then what do you call a person who doesn't learn from ANY mistakes: his own or others?


PC printer problems and enraged execs: When the answer to 'Hand over that floppy disk' is 'No'

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: How to be diplomatic in the face of idiocy?

This was back in the years when Mr Jobs and his iPhone were still fairly new Blackberry were still RIM. My boss asked me tp go and see a senior manager on the top floor. He and I knew nothing about what this problem was. He'd just received a call from this woman's PA asking for a member of Technology to come up. When I got there I was ushered in and told by the director that she wanted a recommendation for her personal mobile phone. I didn't want to say that's not part of my job description so Iasked a few questions instead. Such as what did she plan to do with it, what form factor was she most happy with etc.

I said I'd have a report in her email inbox by the end of the day. I then spoke to her PA who also gave me some pointers. I wrote said report listing her requirements, mentioned a few phones and the pro's and con's of each. At the end I wrote in conclusion that she basicaly wanted to send emails and make the very odd phone call. Therefore the best phone options from her carrier was either the latest iPhone or the latest Blackberry. The iPhone was touch screen and had more apps than the Blackberry. The battery life wasn't as good as the RIM offering and the battery fixed so you couldn't swap it and continue your day when it runs out. The BlackBerry on the other hand did not have a touchscreen and would last longer on a swapable battery. Also we were about to use them as company phones in the business. So we could possibly loan her an extra battery and she could have a machine to try out for an hour or two. Plus we'd have somebody looking after the company BlackBerrys so there'd be in-house support. It was entirely up to her but if it were me given her usage I'd choose the BlackBerry.

Heard nothing else like "Thank you" although her PA confirmed the report had been seen. So about three weeks later I'm on the end of a screaming phone call from this director. I'm an Idiot and I don't know what I'm doing and she wants to see me upstairs in her office ASAP. I explained to my boss what I'd done and what she'd said and gave him a printed copy of the report. We go upstairs and she's got an iPhone on her desk and a not very calm demeanour. She says that iPhone battery is shit it doesn't last half a day with her usage of it. She has to turn it off when driving to try and preserve some battery. "Why on earth your underling recommended it I will never know!"

My boss pointed out that:

It wasn't my job to recommend phones.

That I had advised the BlackBerry over the iPhone.

He then opened the report and circled this bit in bright pink highlighter.

He's technically my boss and would much prefer it if complaints were sent through him not screamed directly at his employees.

She did concede that her friend had told her an iPhone was more cool. She'd forgotten (or more likely ignored) that I'd said BlackBerry and had signed an eyewatering contract for the iPhone. Boss told me not to worry about it in the lift back downstairs and bought me a drink in the pub after work. An email went round the entire company that afternoon explaining about migrating to BlackBerry. It also contained a message saying that Technology staff would not be supporting enquiries about personal phones anymore. Funny that.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Ah IT 'managers'

I've been deputy head of department at one employer and would happily admit if I didn't know something. There were occasions though where I was happy to explain what my job title was and why I was correct.. With one senior manager/director I said I'd bet them a weeks extra holiday I was correct. Sadly she wasn't born yesterday and she conceded she may well be wrong.

My family have on occasions where I've been helping them queried my instructions. I'm used to this and I had a reply ready when the hapless person doubted me. My sister for example whilst I was fixing something for her over the phone told me:

"It won't work like that!"

"Which one of us has Engineer in their job title?"

"Oh well you do but..........F@$% me it's working again"

She asked how I knew all this stuff. I just said it's my job to do so.

Customers of Brit ISP Virgin Media have downloaded an extra 325GB since March, though we can't think why

JimboSmith Silver badge

A former (non technical) colleague of mine recently sent me a WhatsApp asking what a Boolean search was. I explained and asked why he wanted to know/where it had come up. He said he'd seen it when doing a search on a porn site. He very much liked the idea he could make his searches more relevant.

Wow, Microsoft's Windows 10 always runs Edge on startup? What could cause that? So strange, tut-tuts Microsoft

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Remember when...

I seem to remember fighting an often losing battle (in the late 90's) against windows software that wanted to be loaded into status tray at startup.

Oh yes, used a prog that whenever a new piece of functionality was required they just added another little sub program. This was done until it could be incorporated into a new version. As those came around every thousand years you didn't have long to wait. The sub prog usually just had a status tray icon to indicate it was running. The problem was if one of these went down so did your ability to use the system. The custom keyboard being a prime example of this. It took us a long time and a call to their UK head office to figure it out. It didn't help that the status tray icon didn't always disappear if something crashed. If you hovered over it, it would usually go but that was unhelpful. Also the icon didn't look anything like the thing it was running. To give one example the eye icon referred to the custom keyboard prog.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Remember when...

I used a program that had a batch conversion process built in and accessible from a drop down menu. In the next version it was gone completely much to my utter annoyance. Called the UK rep who told me it wasn't seen as very popular and had been removed as a result. I asked if I could downgrade back to the old version but the terms of the license didn't allow it. They had made a standalone batch converter though and if you got in touch you could have a copy under your existing license. I called it barking mad to do that.

Somebody once said to me that an engineer designs things to work well. Designers and Marketing then make it look nice. You can have software that works perfectly but is buggered by useless GUI. I've used some progs where everything works brilliantly and some where the UI just sucks. In one case everything was geared towards the American market. Sort of like not making left hand drive vehicles for Europe etc. Not a thing was done to allow for regional variations or heaven forfend a customer request. Which was a shame as the people we'd moved from would bend over forwards, to bend over backwards to help. We suggested a feature we wanted and they agreed it was a good idea. A month later we had a beta version to test.

Colt Technology UK nixes winding-up order threat from Italian VoIP reseller over £3.8m disputed debt

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: "how Colt Italy had managed to sign [..] with SGG in the first place"

I worked for a foreign company which had a robust compliance procedure. It also had a sales director who absolutely hated confrontation. One day a large-ish UK deal is in the offing. My company is keen to do the deal but there's a small snag. Everything is destined for use in the UK despite the deal being with another foreign firm. But there's this foreign bloke in the UK who is their UK rep. He's the one actually negotiating the deal and he would like a cut. Therefore he suggests that he signs what in reality is a £450k deal for say £500k with us. We then pay him commission on this which will be say 10% or basically the £50k overpayment. He says his employer is aware of this arrangement (which I highly doubted).

Despite it not being my deal I objected that this deal was whilst at the time just about legal it was ethically very unsound. It would also doubtless violate the bribery act if it came into force before the deal was signed. I made damn sure this was down in writing so I didn't end up as a scape goat. Nonetheless I was ignored because it was a good deal and represented a nice profit. Then a problem emerges in the form of one of the products. Despite our best efforts one of the products was not what the foreign customer was expecting. Therefore they were returning the units we'd supplied for test, as specified in the contract they could do. They wanted the cash paid for the eventual production run of those units back please.

I was amused when the sales director had a sudden revalation. He spotted that the if he made a full refund of the 100k for those units we'd be out by the 10k commission. I suggested that he refund the 90k and say to their rep that he owed the extra 10k. I said as his employer knew about the arrangement there shouldn't be a problem. That was popular with everybody except the rep who thought he certainly shouldn't be paying that. He didn't have a choice though. Thankfully the bribery act prevented any repeat of this.

The numbers have been changed and VAT ignored to make things easier to understand.

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

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Out of Office...

It wasn't me but it was a member of the technology department and somebody from one of the brand teams. Beyond that I won't say because I believe one of them still works there.

JimboSmith Silver badge

I spoke to my nephew who was attempting to do home videos during the lockdown. The aspiring Spielberg had called for advice on something technical. The phone was struggling to edit the footage doing any special effects. Turns out his phone is a very old one his mother had upgraded from. It had just 1GB of RAM and not much onboard storage although he did have a micro SD card to expand on this. I explained patiently that the computers when I started work didn't have 1GB as total storage let alone just RAM.

He didn't believe me at first and after I insisted just said "You must be really old then" instantly killing off his next birthday present. He redeemed himself and his future present when I asked how old he thought I was. Twenty five, when I'm nearly twice that made me smile.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Out of Office...

At one company we used Novell Groupwise. This allowed you to delay sending emails until a particular time. Very handy for sending press releases when needed say after 12am. It was also great for slagging people off after you've left the company, making it look like you're working late etc. So anyway two staff members at this particular company were having a friendly bit of banter via email. Unbeknownst to each other they were both going on holiday at the same time. They had both had the clever idea of sending the other a mildly insulting message after they'd left for sunnier skies. There wasn't a send once set on the out of office of either of them. So every time an automatic response was sent it triggered another in the other mailbox

The mail server filled up fairly quicly as one of them had included a picture of a beach in their out of office. Alarms started going off on the Network manager's desktop as the server started to reach capacity. Then we started to lose the ability to send and receive emails before the mail accounts were identified and finally dealt with.

The culprits weren't named but it was interesting what he said in the autopsy of what had happened. In the five years since Groupwise was installed this was the first instance of that happening. When pressed further on that he said most people didn't know you could delay sending email. That lead a lot of staff to believe it was people on his team - I couldn't possibly comment.........although I know exactly who it was.

An Internet of Trouble lies ahead as root certificates begin to expire en masse, warns security researcher

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: hopefully a response from the industry to start fixing stuff

My friend who has a few of them asked me if I'd like to have a brick or two. He said that's what they'll be next month.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: hopefully a response from the industry to start fixing stuff

I'd say "not a chance".

Already some manufacturers (as reported by El Reg) don't hesitate to kill perfectly working kit to force the users to update, and if they aren't afraid to do something as obviously malignant as that, why would they bother about some highly abstract problem which isn't even entirely their own fault?

Belkin are doing just that with their Wemo NetCams at the end of this month.


There's no use for them after that except maybe as parts. Belkin killed off viewing via other means in a previous firmware update. The original end date was the end of last month which was pretty shitty timing. Given people might be in lockdown and using them for security at workplaces etc that sucks even more. Probably done it now to try and keep the news buried under Covid 19 related news.

Frenchman scores €50k compensation for suffering 'bore-out' at work after bosses gave him 'menial' tasks

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Re: Lazy?

This was from Tiswas and allegedly aimed at children. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlY5z1CZx9M

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Sooo....

I worked for the French subsidiary of a multinational headquartered in the USA. There was a boss who everybody hated and he allegedly had a list of people who he'd like to get rid of given the chance. Well he was given that chance as he was put in charge of the headcount reduction for France. Out came the alleged list as did the at risk of redundancy discussions with those staff on this list. Heads of Departments were just told they would be losing these people - there would be no discussions about this.

A few people told him they'd happily take the money because they'd not have to work under him anymore. Some of these people were effectively irreplaceable and they were people we didn't want to lose. That didn't bother him, staff were expected to cope without their colleagues and their skills.

That was a pain and much grumbling was made but some people were happy to go. A month after staff had left word reaches head office in the USA about the situation. The fact that there had been a hit list had not gone down well. A senior Vice President was dispatched and arrived in France unannounced to see the boss. The VP held a meeting with him and the French HR director. They fired him on the spot (no one knows on what grounds) asking him to collect any personal items before he was escorted out of the building. He was from the account I heard furious and threatened to talk to lawyers etc. as he reached reception.

The VP then called a meeting of all the Heads of Departments. He apologised for inaction from the USA. He then asked who had been lost who was needed and who was a waste of space who could go instead. Sadly some of those who had gone already had new jobs and couldn't come back. In one case a bloke was on the equivalent of gardening leave and he was recalled from this. Another (a very talented product designer) just said no thanks no matter how much was on offer. I was one of those who was very glad to see the back of this bloke. I couldn't understand how he had been allowed so much power and then allowed to abuse it.

Japan to test self-destructing satellite to shrink space junk with string and an inanimate carbon blob

JimboSmith Silver badge

I hate to burst your bubble but there already are Skynet satellites...... and they predate anything James Cameron has done on the subject.

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

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Could have been worse

My bank which I won't name used to do premium accounts. The sort that gave you mobile/travel insurance, car breakdown cover etc. for a fee. I was asked by my branch manager if I'd like one and I said not at that price thanks. He says I can have it for free if I keep a grand in there. I did the sums and worked out that it's a no brainer in my case. The cost of the insurance etc. was way more than the interest I'd earn. Plus the account pays (another pathetic rate of) interest too. So that money comes out of my savings into the new account. I don't touch it....a few years pass and I get a letter from the bank about my account. They tell me that I have had the account for free before just by keeping my grand in there. Sadly now this won't be the case and it's going to be just under 20 GBP a month. This will start from the beginning of next month so I have 28 days to close it.

I took the letter in to the bank and eventually saw the manager. He looks at the letter then at the computer and says it's complete bollocks in my case. He took a copy but told me to just ignore it, "Someone's fucked it up". A week later another arrives from the bank this one informing me that it was indeed a mistake and they are very sorry for the cockup. When next in the bank the manager spots me and tells me that there were a shed load more letters sent out like mine. If they had a black circle at the bottom it was supposed to say you weren't going to have to pay. If it had a black square at the bottom it was supposed to say you're going to have to pay. I told a colleague of mine over lunch about this and he looked stunned. I thought it might be the size of the cockup that had bowled him over. No he spent the rest of lunch complaining that he'd always paid for the account. How the hell I'd got away with never paying was beyond him. He'd be writing to the bank, closing the account etc.

I've still got it and I've claimed on the insurance a few times which has been very handy.

If Daddy doesn't want me to touch the buttons, why did they make them so colourful?

JimboSmith Silver badge

To save some blushes these two people will remain anonymous. One parent in my old school had invited a small group of to go to the City (of London). He was working for a large bank and thought it might be fun for his son and a few friends to see where he worked. At lunchtime they were ushered through the security doors onto the trading floor of the bank. The children had already been told to touch nothing and most behaved. However his son who had sat down at a desk apparently decided to locate the games on the open machine.

Unable to find any (Win 95 era I think) he was just clicking shutdown as his father turned to look at him. The boy was about to end that traders day very early or so his father thought and he grabbed the mouse. Already it was trying to shut down but had stopped on the first item it tried to do. It wanted the user to confirm the closure of the program. The father said he could see his career at the bank going up in smoke until it stopped like that. He called IT support and told them what had happened and they dealt with it. He told me this at a school reunion and said if it had have been serious he would have just died on the spot.

The second I witnessed first hand which was at a retail store. There were two comms rooms in the building one on each floor with switches a patchbay etc. The Manager used bring your child to work day to do just that. The errant youngster had an interest in computers and it was decided that something IT related would be of most interest. He'd been shown various aspects of what we would be doing that day. This was wiring up the basement for taking 2 tills and a phone which hadn't been down there before.

There were three of us (including this teenager) wiring up and we were short of a long enough cable to reach from a floor point to a till. The boy was asked to go up to the IT store cupboard on the on the ground floor and get one. The cable needed to be at least 1.5m and ideally red as that colour was used for tills/external comms. Red was picked because it might make you think twice before unplugging it. But we didn't have and red ones that length that were spare. So any other colour would be fine.

Boy reappears with a nice long red one and we're stunned that he's found one. Then alarm bells start going off with myself and my colleague. We asked where did he get this from? He says a room on the ground floor just as somebody appeared at the top of the stairs and said the tills weren't working. He'd unplugged the cable that linked the ground floor tills to the back end computer in the managers office. He hadn't bothered going to the IT stock cupboard just to the comms room which was closer. We replaced the cable and the manager found a new job for her boy doing a stock check out the back

Nokia's reboot of the 5310 is a blissfully dumb phone that will lug some mp3s about just fine

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Would this be a good 'phone to have ...

Can't speak for where ever you are, but in Australia all 2G networks have been shit down since 2018 with the spectrum repurposed for the higher G's.

This has overtones of Officer Crabtree.

Hov they alsoo shit doon the massaging sonters as wool?

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Would this be a good 'phone to have ...

I think I'd pay more for a phone that didn't have facebork on it so I didn't have to manually disable/remove it.

Software bug in Bombardier airliner made planes turn the wrong way

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: It was *supposed* to turn the aeroplane

Gibraltar is another fun one. Especially fun if on an RAF plane as the Spanish have closed their airspace to these flights.

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

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Ah, customers.

That could mean you don't actually do anything but are very convincing.

Not there, you wouldn't have survived there if you didn't do anything. Everybody had targets to meet set by their line manager and these were reviewed quarterly.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Ah, customers.

One senior boss was reviewing all staff job types that we had after a merger. He asked one of the managers a rung down on the ladder who I was. I had a unique job title (IT related) and based on just that I should have been in another department. Technology manager said he has no idea but whatever he does he does it very well. His is the one team who don't cause IT and engineering any problems. Do not consider doing anything to his job please.

My boss mentioned that at my annual appraisal and that I couldn't get much higher praise than that.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: It went wrong all by itself

Both BSB and Sky were losing money by the bucketload and it was obvious a merger was needed. BSB did waste quite a bit of money on marketing etc. One of the biggest costs however was the IBA forcing them to broadcast in D-MAC as opposed to PAL. They were the licensed broadcaster and had to do what the IBA said. They also had to have their own two bloody expensive satellites in space with one as a backup. Again that was an IBA requirement. Then they were "invited" to show their encryption set up to GCHQ who made some suggestions. Chief amongst them was that the worry that they couldn't crack it. The system had the potential to send messages to individual subscribers like Happy Birthday etc. The bods in Cheltenham were worried they wouldn't be able to read these messages.

Murdoch at Sky went with the cheaper and easier PAL for their transmission system. He wasn't the licensed satellite broadcaster just decided to do it. He was using Astra (SES) and therefore avoided the huge cost of his own satellites. He also ran it as a tight ship and wasted as little money as possible. So that meant no "hospitality"* in the green room for guests on sky news etc. I met somebody who worked there back then. He said one guest stated they wouldn't come back after finding out there was no booze* in the green room just copies of Murdoch's papers.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Bad Babs!

I once witnessed an inquisition of sorts going on as a visitor somewhere. All the staff of one department were being called into a meeting room one by one. They would walk out after a few minutes and the next person would be asked to come in. The person I was visiting eventually finished in there and we went out for lunch. I innocently enquired what had been going on because it looked like a redundancy set up.

That wasn't it at all. They'd noticed that they were having problems with a particular system. They ran a complex report every night using a very high spec computer at 18:30 and this automatic. Only several reports spanning a period of weeks were missing and had to be re-run when the first person had gotten in in the morning. This delayed the start of day for several people. After a few instances of this happening they'd installed a logging program to see who was doing what on that computer. The logs had told them who had logged in and stopped the program running,

They'd found out it was Employee X but had decided to call everybody in not just him. They revealed that there was a now a monitoring prog on that computer. They asked each employee if if they'd got anything they'd like to mention at this point. None of the rest of the had anything significant just things like burning an copy of a CD etc. But X had sung like a canary. He used the machine to play something like Quake or Half Life etc. on as it had the best graphics card the most memory etc. He'd had to hide the game on the hard drive and was playing it after work. However the reports prog was quite memory and processor intensive when running. So he'd shut it down before playing and if his gameplay went beyond 18:30 no report was run.

Discussions were ongoing as to what punishemnt he'd get.

Surprise! That £339 world's first 'anti-5G' protection device is just a £5 USB drive with a nice sticker on it

JimboSmith Silver badge

I got given tickets to some Ideal Home Show type show years ago. Whilst there I found a more senior colleague from another department having a drink. He wasn't staying long but had to go back to a particular stand before he left. The stand he tells me has a device for limiting the amount of radiation that he was exposed to. He used his phone a lot and was worried about the energy it was exposing him to. I was curious to know what this was and walked over with him. I was expecting to see a cover closely fitting his phone made of a metallic substance. What I actually saw was a sticker that wasn't much larger than a current 5p piece and about as thick. I doubt that it cost much more than that to make either, they were selling them for a 'very reasonable' £5 each. Special show offer was £10 for three - utter bargain you understand.

So I asked how it works and I was told it absorbs some of the radiation the phone produces. Doesn't that affect the ability to use the phone? Would that not reduce the signal reaching the mobile phone mast? It's not that radiation that it reduces is the reply - "it's technical you understand" So as a joke I said is it the visible radiation that is reduced? “Yes that's it exactly, you're smarter than you look." I tried educating my colleague that his top of the range Nokia wouldn't be affected by this sticker. I said these things were a rip off using a headset would work better and visible radiation was just light. I was told to stop with the negative energy and he then went and bought £40 worth. Offered me one before leaving which I declined saying that it wasn't compatible with my model. I would like £5 if he was offering though.

Made-up murder claims, threats to kill Twitter, rants about NSA spying – anything but mention 100,000 US virus deaths, right, Mr President?

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Comparing the death rates

And why is his response 'piss poor'? He restricted travel from China in January. he did the same to the EU when they had mass positives. He was called a racist for the China restrictions. BTW - the US has a Bill of Rights that limits the royal decrees the EU and Britain are used to. Also BTW - do you notice that in the US the Covid hot spots are all in areas governed by Democrats? I know - facts hurt liberals. Man up and grow a pair.

So he closed the borders to China and Europe earlier in the year. He did that All for a virus that the CDC stated had a 0.4% mortality rate. Your words not mine:

way to ignore the actual facts. Live as a coward all you want. Cower in your house, wear your state approved mask, wash your body with bleach, whatever. All for a virus that the CDC stated had a 0.4% mortality rate.

So on the one hand you say this potentially deadly virus is so bad that borders had to be closed to stop people bringing it in to the USA. On the other you appear to be having a go at people for being scared of this virus.


Mr Trump was right to close the borders because this is a highly infectious potentially deadly disease.


Mr Trump was wrong to close the borders because this virus has a seriously low mortality rate.

Which is it?

JimboSmith Silver badge

way to ignore the actual facts. Live as a coward all you want. Cower in your house, wear your state approved mask, wash your body with bleach, whatever. All for a virus that the CDC stated had a 0.4% mortality rate.

If this virus isn't so bad why is the White House taking so many precautions around the President and Vice President?


Times of India


So lets see. 100K out of a country with 325+M population. You people seem to be seriously mathematically challenged. 100K over 4 months - when the country routinely averages 1M due to heart disease/cancer annually. But no one has ever - in the history of the world - stated that liberals can understand math. Your entire purpose is to promote fear and terror over those that can't figure out the math for themselves.

What about if it's 100k of Republican voters? I mean it's not like your risk of dying is increased by obesity BBC Health News now who do we know who could stand to lose a few pounds?

Members of my family have had the virus and it isn't pleasant at all. I've got a relative who's an NHS doctor and I'm seriously worried they might catch it still.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: You supported a system...

I take your point and you're technically correct but.........If the rest of the country is anything like my constituency then that's not how the canvassers painted it. I was told by both the Labour and the Conservative lot that a vote for anyone but their candidate is a vote for the other party's leader. I came away with the impression that either:

I could vote for Jeremy or the blonde buffoon would win.

I could vote for Boris or the loony lefty would win.

I wasn't convinced I cared anymore at that point or that I wanted either of them in Number 10 but I still voted.

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Fascinating, captain

It's interesting that he flies off the handle on Twitter about Twitter because Twitter dares to add a fact check to one of his tweets. Twitter hasn't even removed any of his tweets as far as I know, just added a link. Maybe he was expecting a Fat Cheque instead. Now that Fox News has turned against him what's left? Or is the HydroxyChloroquine making him more paranoid than normal?

My youngest nephew flies off the handle and makes threats against dictionary companies when it's pointed out he's used the wrong spelling of a word. To be fair the not yet ten year old also threatens me for correcting him with it.

EU General Court tears up ban on Three slurping O2. Good thing the latter's not set to merge with Virgin Media, eh?

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: Just as well

Probably the right decision at the moment. Nothing built, nothing burnt.

That almost cost me a keyboard, have an upvote.

Pablo Escobar's big bro and former accountant sues Apple for $2.6bn over FaceTime bug

JimboSmith Silver badge

Re: likely

This has to be slightly vague because it would identify me easily.

A company I worked for received a letter about a product that was described as defective. It wasn't defective the customer had chosen some incompatible options (and some personalisation) and then complained that they didn't work well together if at all. As a goodwill gesture we wrote back and offered to replace the components of the purchase that didn't work, at their expense. We would take off the cost of the initial components from the cost of the new ones if they returned them. This was basically a minor cost to them because the stuff was bespoke and had been personalised so technically it was their problem not ours.

This obviously wasn't to the liking of the customer who said in the next letter they wanted their money back. All the correspondence was passed on to the legal bod who just said to ignore it. Another week another letter this one from a lawyer stating in the first paragraph:

1. That the product was not fit for the purpose for which it was sold.

2. That we had not contacted his client even after him repeatedly contacting us.

3. We had not offered restitution.

The second paragraph started with something like:

"All the attempts at restitution that you made whilst in contact with my client have proved inadequate"

He went on to explain that it would go to Money Claim OnLine (the new version of the small claims court) unless all the money was refunded by a certain number of days after the date of the letter. As all the letters including ours were sent registered post his dating the letter a few days earlier than posting was pointless.

The lawyer had obviously overlooked the fact that he'dcontradicted himself in the same letter over the "facts". We had made no attempts to contact/restitution in the first paragraph and lots in the second. Our legal bod laughed out loud when he read it and agreed it was bollocks. He sent one back to the lawyer explaining that he'd be quite happy to go to court.

He explained that we had email chains where it was explained (in language even Donald Trump could understand) that the purchase was unwise. The customer was putting together incompatible bits and having things personalised. That the customer had responded that they understood and wished to continue knowing all this. That it stated quite clearly in our T&C's that if you personalise anything you can't return it subject to applicable laws on defective products. He also pointed out the contradiction in the letter the lawyer had written. He also said the goodwill gesture was withdrawn given the threat of court.

We heard nothing more about it. The legal bod said he suspected the lawyer hadn't been given all the facts. He said it still didn't explain the contradiction in the letter which was probably down to the lawyer being crap.



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