* Posts by Steve Kerr

117 posts • joined 26 Jul 2013


Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

Steve Kerr

To show how "safe" they are, a senior Boeing exec must fly on a scheduled passenger plane running the exact same versions with the pilots having the same training as other global airlines.

I think this is the one of the major ways for Boeing to dig themselves out of this mess.

If their senior management won't get on them, they're not safe.

With millions upon millions out of work in the US, here come the scammers claiming victims' unemployment money using stolen info

Steve Kerr

Re: Got an "IRS" call today...

Thanks for the trigger word - didn't think of that one before.

Much appreciated - it will become well used, now I just need a means of recording my land line.

Getting a pizza the action, AS/400 style

Steve Kerr


Got dumped with OS/400 once when I was helping configure one (without knowing anything it) by someone who promptly went on holiday for the next 2 weeks leaving me as the "expert" after being given an introduction into it using the words "This is the login/password, I'm off on holiday now, bye".

Cupboard full of manuals and people asking me about x, y, z.

Once I got into the steep learning curve of logging in and then "now, what", actually came to like the command verb syntax. I reckon if you thought about what you wanted to do, you could work out the command 95% of the time without looking it up, and the command prompting was excellent.

Very weird operating system though.

In case you need more proof the world's gone mad: Behold, Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels

Steve Kerr

I found McFeet

Having a nose around and telling friends about McWheels, I have found McFeet - https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MXNM2ZM/A/apple-mac-pro-feet-kit

$299 for some stainless steel feet!

I'm sure there's some marketing droid in Apple saying "Hmmm....what could we sell to the rabid fanbois that they will just lap up?"

I put my hands up, I do have an ipod touch (music), iphone (work provided), ipad (watching netflix on the train) and a macbookpro (2010 model used as main laptop) as I treat them as consumer devices that serve a purpose.

I balk at the current prices for non-upgradable macs though and accessories and have no compunction to buy any of them.

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

Steve Kerr

Called by the head of the dealing floor

Back at the end of the 90's

Guy calls the helpdesk at 18:45pm, comes through the Ops (me) as helpdesk finished at 6pm.

He's having a problem printing so I call the desktop people that work to 19:00, guy answers the phone and says "nah, I'm going home" and hangs up.

Phone the bod back and said that no-one is available from desktops and I can come down and have a look.

Get down to his office with his own huge HP Laserjet 4 in there and ask what the issue is, he says that the when he prints an email, nothing happens. I look on the printer and it says "load letter", knowing that outlook from the late 90's defaulted to letter and was rather hard to force to A4, I just pressed continue and his emails then came out.

He then said "Is that all I needed to do? I've been back and forth with desktop team for weeks about this and all they needed to do was to tell me to press continue on the printer?" He was very happy to just press continue each time he printed an email and was rather annoyed that no-one in desktops could give him that small snippet of info which he would've been happy with.

Ops 1 desktop 0

Education tech supplier RM smacked by UK schools closure

Steve Kerr

Ha - we had the 380z in the maths department.

We reckon it would've survived a fall from the 1st floor but would have damaged the ground.

Still got a couple of floppy disks of 380z software around somewhere.....

AI startup accuses Facebook of stealing code designed to speed up machine learning models on ordinary CPUs

Steve Kerr

Re: "nifty software tricks to achieve similar speeds on CPUs"

There are many multi-CPU motherboards out there.

5 second search found a Dell 4 CPU motherboard for sale as the first search result.

We have had 4 CPU servers in the past.

Xilinx's high-end Versal FPGA is like a designer handbag. If you need to ask the price, you probably can't afford it

Steve Kerr

If you have to ask, you can't afford it :)

Beer is currently still affordable

All the IT ladies (all the IT ladies), all the IT ladies (all the IT ladies), now put your hands up! Oh, still not many here

Steve Kerr

Romania 10-12 years ago

When I was working out in Romania on a project for an Austrian bank, I would hazard that 80% of IT were women all the way up to management.

Back then and over there, IT was seen as a woman's job, men's jobs were making and building things.

Interesting that different places, different opinions on jobs.

Other interesting things, terrible traffic issues in Bucharest so they made public transport stupidly cheap to get people out of their cars. Was also there when the first Ikea was built and opened, got caught up in gridlock as everyone tried to go there and it was off of the same road as the airport

Voyager suffers a power wobble as boffins start the final countdown for Spitzer

Steve Kerr

Just wow

I was just shy of my 9th birthday when Voyager 2 launched and it's still going now.

I am gobsmacked at this achievement of longevity and still helping science.

I honestly don't believe it would be possible for us to produce such an amazing piece of technology now.

Beers because, those people that built it and still run it deserver free beer for life.

The delights of on-site working – sun, sea and... WordPad wrangling?

Steve Kerr

Re: CrystalReports made me do it

I was inflicted by crystal reports when I was out of the office on a customer site in Sweden.

Had to login during the evening back to the office on a crap internet connection with a 13inch laptop screen to work out how to update a report when I had never seen it before or knew anything about it.

Being out of the office, I was unaware of this so it got palmed onto me by a vote I was unaware of by everyone else that decided to teflon it onto me as I couldn't immediately decline it.

Oh, it, didn't go well either

Help! I'm trapped on Schrodinger's runaway train! Or am I..?

Steve Kerr

Re: Charity and Anarchy

I use the Waitrose scanner so tracking what I buy doesn't really show exciting.

Some ready meals, assorted tinned fish, salad stuff, smoothies occasionally, some other assorted stuff, soap etc...

And lots of carrots and apples - for my horse's feeds, but then don't need tracking for that and the staff ask me if I've got carrots for my horse, they know me well, don't need a tracking app for that as I'm in there daily buying them.

It's Becoming Messy: Judge says IBM's request to shut down age-discrimination lawsuit should be rejected

Steve Kerr

This is what happens when the accountants take over and they play to the market for short term gain.

I'm surprised the venture capitalists aren't starting to circle IBM to asset strip it

Tragedy: CES squeeze forces frequent flier hotshots into economy hell

Steve Kerr

Boo hoo

My heart bleeds for those poor souls having to sully themselves in cattle.

No, wait, it doesn't.

<Morning rambling tangent story>

99% of all my business filghts of which I've had hundreds were all in cattle.

I should point out that I have a fear of flying including vertigo and ended up doing a job that at it's height meant flying each week.

Lovely bit of internal terror every flight.

By the end I couldn't care as I think enforced helplessness meant letting go - even when multiple other passengers were screaming on a bit of a bumpy flight.

Culminated in a flight on Jat airways between Bosnia and Serbia on a plane that I was surprised got off the ground and made it to the destination without the wing/engine/fuselage falling off.

<Morning rambling tangent story/>

A Notepad nightmare leaves sysadmin with something totally unprintable

Steve Kerr

Back to the future

Went onto a customer site once where payments weren't working and they were having a bit of a fit.

After analysis, found that the date on the payments servers had "mysteriously" skipped forward 100 years, the payments software didn't particularly like having this done to it.

Had to recreate the current days messaging and audit tables losing everything that was in them though I did manage to export the contents to a text file.

Turns out the MD had allowed his little Johnny to "play" directly on the server because little Johnny knew so much about computers from his playstation.

Suggested that nobody apart from those that worked and required access should be touching the thing and most certainly that did not include the spawn of the MD

Fortunately, wasn't me that done that.

have accidently bricked some very expensive hardware security modules when a software update failed but that's another story......

It's always DNS, especially when you're on holiday with nothing but a phone on GPRS

Steve Kerr

Re: No Service

I can drive 20 seconds from my house, there's no mobile reception there - on any network, whatsoever. I'm not in the outback, being just several miles outside the M25. Quite bad really. Admitedly, it is an area in a small valley

UK's Virgin Media celebrates the end of 2019 with a good, old fashioned TITSUP*

Steve Kerr

Re: don't go with just one supplier

Yup, worked in Bucharest for a number of months.

I was working there before Ikea was built between the airport and the city and the new motorway, during the both being built and when they were both open and especially the chaos when Ikea opened!

Also, the rebuilding of all the tram rails, which originally looked very scary to be in a tram riding over.

A lot of stuff IT related was very good.

The roads, very bad!

Not forgetting "yellow cheese" with everything.

I'm still not that Gary, says US email mixup bloke who hasn't even seen Dartford Crossing

Steve Kerr

Re: Can I get you to do Morrisons as well?

So if they accept responses back, e.g. 1 change the time, 2 cancel the order - then hit 2 every time.

Someone else can't enter their number correctly - cancel all their shopping :)

Double downtime: Azure DevOps, Google cloud users put the kettle on

Steve Kerr

Hooray for public cloud

Like clouds in the real sky, they have a tendency to evaporate - time to go for a beer looking at the clear blue sky.....

One man's mistake, missing backups and complete reboot: The tale of Europe's Galileo satellites going dark

Steve Kerr

Re: You had one job...

Unfortunately, ultimately, it will produce a black hole that will suck everything into it.

Hyphens of mass destruction: When a clumsy finger meant the end for hundreds of jobs

Steve Kerr

Re: SCO Unix

Someone (who lost access very quickly after) managed to do a chown -r from /

Took quite a bit of work to go and undo all the damage - compared to an equivalent system.

Unfortunately, it was a customer facing server so couldn't do a full restore from backup.

Fortunately, it wasn't me that had to do it (or was the one that caused it).

Like the Death Star on Endor, JEDI created a ton of fallout and stormy weather in cloud market

Steve Kerr

Re: Jump!

From memory - It was Kosh that said jump not Dorien as Kosh was the bit of soul still stuck in sheridan

Don't look too closely at what is seeping out of the big Dutch pipe

Steve Kerr

Porn hunter

When I worked for an investment bank late 90's into 2001, finally ended up in web support team. We had regularly updated blacklists from external vendors.

We also had to check whether the block filters were working correctly (paid to look up porn sites!), a few unsavoury things and the browser window went to the bottom of the screen so could see whether our block page was working correctly.

We also had a grad in our team, whilst adding things to blocklists which weren't supplied, the males in team had a success rate of about 10-15% in guessing web site names, she (yup, she), had a success rate approaching 90%

Our grad also had an uncanny ability of locating "stuff" people had stored on our their home drives on our fileservers - we were also having aggro with the amount of stuff stored on file servers including videos, music and pictures. The virus, which I forget the name of, that zeroed media files was a godsend, especially when users asked for files to be restored which invariably had a response of "please provide the business justification for madonna's greatest hits?", oddly there wasn't one.

When dodgy material was located we generally asked those people to "make those files disappear in the next 5 minutes"

A spot of after-hours business email does you good, apparently

Steve Kerr

No pay, no work

After being burned in a previous job, if I'm not being paid for out of hours work, you're not getting my time for free.

I've had phone calls in the evening/weekend where somebody has said "You didn't answer the mail I just sent", to which the answer is "I don't look at emails outside of my working hours". This is normally followed by an awkward silence. If it's an emergency, then I'll deal with it and claim the overtime, anything else will be dealt with during my working day.

My team does have a team chat so if that pings out of hours, I will normally have a look in case one of my direct colleagues is asking a question which may have a 20 second answer or if it's interesting stuff that colleagues are up to non work related.

Don't be so Maduro: Adobe backs down (a little) on Venezuela sanctions blockade

Steve Kerr

You mean the leadership in the US is annoyed that it hasn't managed to turn it into an authoritarian regime yet?

Hey, I wrote this neat little program for you guys called the IMAC User Notification Tool

Steve Kerr

Faster Payments

The current faster payments specifications has a number of payment types

SIP - Real time payments

SOP - Standing orders

A couple of others...

and POO - Payments Originating Overseas

Yup, someone has managed to get POO's into the faster payments specifications.

Always a bit of mirth and sniggering when talking to customers about having to deal with POO's.

When the satellite network has literally gone glacial, it's vital you snow your enemy

Steve Kerr

Re: Wind and rain...

Somebody I used to know was such a sound sleeper, he heard nothing, he woke up in the morning to no electricity, bits of buildings and trees scattering the road and nothing moving. He thought he'd slept through a nuclear holocaust!

I was 2 weeks into my first job, made it to Holborn on a bus to get into an office with no electricity. Got my introduction into powering up a VAX 8600 when the electric came back on. I was the only IT person that made it on site so started it all up with my 2 weeks of VMS experience.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise, politicians will philander... And US voting machines will be physically insecure

Steve Kerr

Trust in the manufacturers

I recall one of the CEO's of a manufacturer of voting machines publicly promised to make sure that his machines would "get the correct party into power"

Sounds to me like, you don't need the machines to be tampered with by dodgy officials and other bad actors when the manufacturer is willing to do it.

Behold the perils of trying to turn the family and friends support line into a sideline

Steve Kerr

Dinner charge

I will occasionally do a friends & family fix but only for a minimum cost of dinner.

Fortunately, the ones I've dealt with have mostly been to do with helping settings things up.

Though had one friend who I gave an old Mac mini too

Friend: i think the hard drive has died

Me: Why, what were you doing?

Friend: nothing

Me: are you sure?

Friend: no, thing

I find that the OS is corrupt and nothing is wrong with the disk.

He phoned one of my other IT friends and spoke to him about it to as obviously I don't know anything, he admitted to him that it was applying patches and he couldn't be bothered waiting so pulled the plug out to turn it off. My other IT friend told me the truth

So he lied to me and even when confronted lied until I told him I knew what happened.

Would only help him if he gave me the full story without missing anything out verbatim before I would touch anything of his again.

New lows at Bose as firmware update woes infuriate soundbar bros

Steve Kerr

BOSE, yuck

BOSE is to audio what Trabant is to cars

Except, BOSE is overpriced cheaply made tat.

(Opinions are own and I have been underwhelmed with everything I've ever heard that they've made)

Better off with the cheaper brands or buying proper hi-fi that exists around their price bracket.

Now on Amazon Prime: The Amazing Shrinking UK Tax Burden

Steve Kerr

But the tax laws are written by "advisors" to the government who just so happen to be the same "advisors" to the same big companies who seem to be able to skirt the rules to be just enough legal .

Fox helping design and build the chicken coop it seems.

The time a Commodore CDTV disc proved its worth as something other than a coaster

Steve Kerr


And here's your REWARD -->

(Rhymes in my accent)

Beware the developer with time on his hands and dreams of Disney

Steve Kerr

Re: back shift operations..

Ha! I actually had space invaders executable for VMS - still got it on a 1/2 inch tape somewhere!

Here's to beer, without which we'd never have the audacity to Google an error message at 3am

Steve Kerr

Emergency work for a spanish bank

Had to do some emergency work for a Spanish bank once to help move a banking operation from the Caymans to Jersey after the Caymans got hit by a bad hurricane many years ago. Had to fly to Jersey in an emergency and with no Caymans staff, some vague assertions of help and not much else, try to get global payments back up.

That's the background.

Turned up, was there for a couple of hours when the Spanish staff said we were all going for lunch, my response being "Er...I just got here"

Lunch + Beer, wine, shots.

Back to office

Work for a few more hours

"We're going to dinner now"

Dinner + Beer, wine, shots.

Stagger back to office, stare at wavy screen and continue until midnight....

Repeat for 5 days

What came out of this, was working payments, staff they found in the caymans and flew over and a happy bank.

5 day working bender paid for by Spanish bank and bender instigated by Spanish staff on full expenses paid!

White House mulls just banning strong end-to-end crypto. Plus: More bad stuff in infosec land

Steve Kerr

Re: Welcome back

No, they will release that as the new improved version 3 years later.

Steve Kerr

Welcome back

New improved US encryption method just released, state of the art - ROT-13

Another TITSUP* on this lovely Tuesday: Virgin Mobile takes time out to enjoy the sunshine

Steve Kerr

Re: There is a solution

Virgin are a disaster area where networks are concerned, their commercial network offerings for business are prone to blips.

On the starbucks side, the blackheath one did close down as the locals there voted with their feet and it was empty.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update thwarted by obscure tech known as 'external storage'

Steve Kerr

Amiga days.....

I remember on the Amiga being able to create disk devices called one thing, partitions called another.

Never had to worry about these things called drive letters.

Then I started using PC's and it was WTF is this crap, so backwards and so still there!

French internet cops issue terrorist takedown for… Grateful Dead recordings?

Steve Kerr

Global internet apocolypse

By the time every country inacts their various laws which will force takedown requests, there won't be much left on the internet.

With the (corporate) lobbyists in each country with the ears , a pre-emtive takedown fired in all directions, should hit everyone.

Uncle Sam charges Julian Assange with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion

Steve Kerr

Re: Is this the best that the USA can come up with ?

There's a difference, the issue with American chicken it that the chlorine wash at the end of production line is to get over the poor hygiene standards earlier in the production line, for example, the abbatoirs and at source.

Town admits 'a poor decision was made' after baseball field set on fire to 'dry' it more quickly

Steve Kerr

Re: Burning question

"Expensive for the town, and the employee who made the "poor decision" is still employed?"

No, he/she was promoted

And here's Intel's Epyc response: Up-to 56-core, 4GHz 14nm second-gen Xeon SP chips, Agilex FPGAs, persistent mem

Steve Kerr

Re: Heat

Actually not a bad idea to do spa's and stuff next to datacentres to use the excess heat

Most DC's are in pretty awful locations though so would to be lots of stuff done to hide the industrial nature of the areas

It was all Yellow: Mass email about a Coldplay CD breaks the internet

Steve Kerr

The days of telex

One company I was for (in my first job) at the end of the 80's had a lot of stuff connected up their Vax that handled the local applications + email.

Said company had Vax wired up to the x29 network as it was (the joys of accessing yellow pages over x29, was amazing)

Also, to the point, the Vax was also connected to the Telex network, so by generating an email with a certain address, you could send and receive telexes

Telex terminals prohibited the use of certain character strings which were just not possible to type, not so the case of the text of an email sent out.

So it came to pass that someone (manager) sending a telex via email on a Vax for some reason used a certain set of characters (unbeknown to anyone internally), that initiated a shutdown of the telex network in the south of England.

BT tracked it back to us and were rather angry, we were also given a list of things that under no circumstances must be typed and sent via this method.

Fun days!

Azure thing at last: Windows Virtual Desktop takes to the cloudy stage

Steve Kerr


Does this mean, you will have a windows machine (paying a per seat license or whatnot) connecting to a windows virtual desktop, with another per seat license?


Packet switching pickle prompts potential pecuniary problems

Steve Kerr

Talking of massive bills.

Back in my first job, used to have to download oil drilling data from drilling rigs in the North Sea (back in 1987)

Had a few ways of doing this, most involved setting up a comms link at the heady speeds of 4800, sometimes 9600 if managed to use the leased line link up to the goonhilly satellite base station.

So trying to get a comms link running with over an inmarsat link, in those days, had to pay for the satellite uplink and downlink costs, so everything was double cost - at £5.87 a minute times two plus vat

Spent 8 hours trying to get a comm link going with BP - we worked out that the bill was probably around 5 and a half grand minimum, and it never worked!

Fun times

Ah, this military GPS system looks shoddy but expensive. Shall we try to break it?

Steve Kerr

Miltary testing

I heard that military testing of equipment was based on "can it survive being used by a soldier to hammer in a tent peg?"

When you're cold, wet and just want to get into your tent, anything becomes a hammer

Blue Monday: Efforts to inspire teamwork with swears back-fires for n00b team manager

Steve Kerr

Managament (another name for donkeys beginning with A)

Worked for an investment bank once, had a manager that would take all the glory but none of the blame. Basically, anything that went well, he would crow from the rooftops that it was him that made it happen, anything that went wrong, he would throw to the wolves. I discovered this when I had a rather irate head of European settlements screaming obscenities at me down the phone.

There was a major issue and every day we had a meeting in a seniors manager room for updates, so round the room we would go where everyone would update on their tasks, he would always say "Not done it yet, getting right on it" - for 2 weeks. In the end in the middle of the meeting where he said it yet again, when it came to me I said, "Oh, I've done that". I was moved team the following week!

I got pushed a couple of years later (which I was happy about), I heard he got pushed at some point too.

Northern UK smart meter rollout is too slow, snarls MPs' committee

Steve Kerr

Re: If smart electricity meters can save electricity,

Oddly you mention smart water meters - I've just had one put in as part of a initial test scheme.

I had no say in this as technically speaking, the installation is outside of my property - had a letter through saying it was being done with no opt out.

I will need to query if that means I can now get up to the second water usage from my incumbent supplier (Thames Water)

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?

Steve Kerr

And then there was silence

Used to work for a large investment bank.

Went from my floor to the dealer floor to help with an issue, when I got there, there were people standing up looking round like meerkats.

Went back to my floor, people still standing up

Turns out, the power was out in the computer room, 1000 cabinets worth of stuff.

There was an electrician in the computer room, who was moving an electrical point, he had followed the cabling under the floor in direct line to a pair of power sockets on a pillar.


That cable, went round the pillar to the other side and another cable came round the pillar to the socket. On the other side was an emergency power off button.

Back in history when the DC was built, all the EPO's were wired up with orange cable labelled EPO every 6 inches, the installers ran out of EPO cable so rather than getting more, they used what was there which was reels of power cable in grey. The poor electrician, couldn't get the final tile up as something was sitting on it so assumed that he had the correct cable.

Outcome, a day of carnage for an investment bank :)

The electrician was escorted from the premises never to return.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers

Steve Kerr

Basement canteens

Not quite water.

One place I worked at had a basement canteen on split levels.

All well and good until the fuel tanks for the diesel generators sprung a leak and flooded the lower part of the canteen in 3 feet of diesel.

There was a background smell of diesel for months and even after redecorating could still see the depth line the diesel made.



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