* Posts by OGShakes

82 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Oct 2013


Microsoft: Many workers are stuck on old computers and should probably upgrade


Here is a thought - buy a better device to start with

6 year ago working in an MSP/out sourced IT support company, I made sure every laptop/desktop that we delivered had an i5 and 4GB ram minimum, we pushed our customers to get SSD if it was in budget. Talking to the guys still there, they are just putting in more RAM and upgrading SSD on most of those devices as they are still fast enough for the users needs. The policy there is still to get the customer to buy something that is higher spec than the minimum as £100 extra will save hours of waiting on the device effectively saving thousands on staff time and the device will last way longer. Buy cheep, buy twice is true of IT stuff just as it is of anything else.

There are some interesting side effects to this. Apparently staff who leave the customers talk about how much better the IT was where they were and this gets the support company more work. Also staff feel better looked after as they feel their employers have invested in them by buying good equipment.

BOFH: You. Wouldn't. Put. A. Test. Machine. Into. Production. Without. Telling. Us.


Been there and done that

10 year old server that had no production databases on it, it was simply alive out of luck and strictly only used for Dev/Test monkey business when trying ideas for a strictly hypothetical things. 7 years ago it had been the physical box used for production databases, these had long since gone else where in to a cluster split over 2 data centres. This server was turned off and removed from the rack due to a building move, 12 hours later data refreshes between production CRM and Finance systems started to fail and no one knew why...

Troll jailed for 5 years after swatting of Twitter handle owner ends in death


But even Americans cant always spot the difference between accents from very different parts of their country, where as here 10 miles can make all the difference. I say this as a British person who has family in Canada and the USA, its easy to spot a New York vs Newfoundland vs Quebec, but there is almost no difference in accent between Victoria Vancouver island vs Chilliwack British Columbia, yet the distance is similar to that of Southampton England to Cardiff in Wales.

The coming of Wi-Fi 6 does not mean it's time to ditch your cabled LAN. Here's why


Thick Walls

I live in a one bedroom flat, it was converted from an old folks home 30 years ago and before that the building was 2 houses. So as I am sure you can imagine all of it has been a little knocked around over the years and this leads to some interesting issues with my network. The wall between my lounge and bedroom is thick enough that wifi signal drops by about 65%, combine that with the Wifi signals from the flats around us and its possible to lose signal completely from time to time!

I used the site survey tools from work to run a check on the place and no one could believe that this was possible in a small flat, that less than 10 metres from the router you will not get usable signal. Interestingly, once I wired my home network and put anything that could be on a cable on one, this improved things a great deal and I am now able to watch iplayer/netflix on my tablet in bed.

To have one floppy failure is unlucky. To have 20 implies evil magic or a very silly user


Re: The last straw

I feel like I should defend farmers a little at this point, yes some old boys are slow on taking on new tech, but for the most part a farmer will use any tool that comes to hand to make their work easier/quicker. I worked for a 70 year old farmer back in 1998 who had a fully computerised feeding system for his dairy herd that used RFID tags on the cows necks to know who was who and feed them accordingly. He also had a dairy parlour (milking room) based on a very old design, that had been 'updated' from time to time so it worked fine, but after 40 years in use he did not see the point updating something that was fit for purpose. Farmers may appear behind the times, but more often its a case of if it works...

From Maidenhead to Morocco: In a change to the scheduled programming, we bring you The On Call of Dreams


Re: African customs

My girlfriend tells me to expect her to only use her British passport and speak English when we go through customs in Tanzania, apparently the officers there don't know how to ask for a bribe in English so she pretends she does not speak Swahili until she is out the airport. Apparently having a fat hairy white guy along who really does not speak it will make them less likely they will question her deception!

Smart doorbells on business premises make your property more attractive to burglars, warns researcher


funniest thing I have seen

Any signs of security can make a property more attractive to buglers as it means you have something worth taking, what it does do is separate the smart from the stupid. I had a former boss who was bugled several times over a few years after putting in cameras etc after setting up to run his company from his house. I saw footage of a burglar looking right in to the camera on the outside of his house, no mask or any attempt to hid their face, while trying to see if the camera was real. Unsurprisingly the police knew where the burglar lived and were able to get everything back that morning. On another occasion a different crew took the camera off the wall while wearing masks and did not even bother to enter the property...

Anyway, I learned from his mistakes and have small cameras in my home that upload to the internet as well as good locks on all my windows/doors/etc. Nothing on the outside to say 'rob me' but come in and I will have you on film even if you take the cameras. Plus when I did catch a bloke (well I say bloke, he looked about 19) looking in my window last summer at all my shiny toys, he left fast when I picked up the rusty old fire poker I keep on a hook in the corner, surprisingly the old school methods are sometimes best...

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


Re: Foot pedal

Old? I saw these in use still at my solicitors the other day!

Server won't boot? Forgot to make that backup? Have no fear, just blame Microsoft


We have all been there

I remember having to pull an all night repair session on a server that I was replacing the tape drive on, it turned out it had never been turned off and did not want to start after I shut it down. As a bit of a 'kill or cure' I put one of the disks from the raid array in a desktop and it magically booted fine giving us back the data.

We're not saying this is how SolarWinds was backdoored, but its FTP password 'leaked on GitHub in plaintext'

Paris Hilton


I wonder if that was the password they used for the FTP 2020 was on before we all downloaded it?

There are two sides to every story, two ends to every cable



I once had a similar issue at a firm with a site based in the countryside, as we knew there were rats/mice there we always asked them to test things by plugging in to a different port to be sure it was a new cable fault. This would be then followed by a call to the exterminator and cable guy to correct the issue. Unfortunately, one sales manager got 'smart' and instead of calling started just swapping peoples ports around then calling us, was just swapping peoples ports with the ports of someone who was not there. This fast ended up with them playing musical ports with anyone who was not in the office and lots of long cables being trailed over the floor. This carried on until someone did a heath and safety audit, then they tried to read us the riot act about the trip hazard...

Let's... drawer a veil over why this laser printer would decide to stop working randomly


I am sure we had these...

I heard a tail of a server that would go down regularly back 20 years ago, only to find out the cleaner was unplugging to plug in the vacuum cleaner.

I had regular calls from a lady who would have her 'typing line' (the cursor) jump else where in her documents while she was typing and mess up her work as her new laptop was faulty. After a short investigation that involved me watching what she was doing as I walked towards her, it was realised that she was brushing the mouse pad with her wrist as she typed and making the laptop thing she had clicked else where on the page. Fix was 'here is a mouse and this is how you turn off the mouse pad'.

My personal favourite was the home PC that would magically get filled with malware and come to me for a service every month when I worked at a small support outfit. This was because the owner turned off the antivirus thinking it slowed things down and installed lots of their favourite 'tools' for getting free films, these all came with bonus malware before they downloaded anything.

The engineer lurking behind the curtain: Musical monitors on a meagre IT budget


Did this a few times my self!

I worked for a small repair company that would 'service' peoples computers and regularly did a number of tweaks like that when an otherwise clean PC came in for a look. On one occasion we had someone bring back a machine that had been riddled with nasty malware before its first visit, saying they did not see any improvement, so the second visit consisted of these tweaks and another quick sweep to be sure something had not got back on. After that they sung our praises and recommended us to several other people.

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


Reminds me of my mum

She drops her laptop and is amazed when it stops charging, then is shocked when I tell her because she used it till the battery is dead I am going to have to take it a part to get her data on to her new one. New one arrives, is connected to the wireless and checked as working with her printer etc. Then she gets a new router as she finally upgrades from ADSL to Fibre (saving about £20 a month on her bill in the process) which my sister fits to save me a headache and a day later Mum calls me as she now cant print which she cant remember doing with the new laptop so that must be my fault...

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?


Re: The Terrible IT Manager

"chronic but poorly concealed alcoholism" could also describe some of the best people I have worked for!

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


Re: Dear Reg...

I am sure its April now, I think it may be 94th of April. I think its something like year 7 of the lock down, although it feel longer as my exwife was meant to move out 2 weeks after the lockdown, started and we are still rattling around the same flat.


A long time ago

I learned that if you bodge something with a bit of tape and string (or these days a Powershell script and task scheduler) you can expect it to still be there years later! These days I always put a plan together to 'tidy up' bodge work into something more long lasting once the crisis has past.

Elevating cost-cutting to a whole new level with million-dollar bar bills


Something Smillar

I did massive amount of Cable and switch replacements in a small school to try and fix an intermittent drop in the network. It happened mostly at lunch times but at random through out the day, it was only luck I was in the staff room one day when it happened. Some one used the ancient microwave in the kitchen area, seriously it must have come off the arc, and that was when it all dropped. As I said this was a small school and the server room was off the staff room, most of the cables were trunked behind the microwave in question. Thankfully due to its closeness to the server room, I was able to pull though enough slack to move the trunking up about a foot and fix the issue. We also added tinfoil to the inside of the trunking and added a wire to earth it as a little extra protection. To be honest it would have been better to replace the faulty microwave, as it must have been slowly cooking their staff too, but they were happy we had fixed the issue...

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


Give that Librarian a Banana

Life in plastic, with a classic: Polymer £20 notes released into wild sporting Turner art


Re: Offensive?

I upset vegans by pointing out their organic fruit and veg uses animal products as fertiliser...

Bloke forks out £12m, hands over keys to tropical island to shoo away claims that his web marketing biz was a scam


Re: Organised religion

I don't know why people knock others faith? I don't knock the idea other people have of giving large amounts of money to watch sweaty men chase a ball, now that is a scam!

Come to Five Guys, where the software is as fresh as the burgers... or maybe not


Re: One of the better Windows releases

ME replaced 98, it was not anything to do with 2000.

Social media notifications of the future: Ranger tagged you in a photo with Tessadora, Wrenlow, Faelina and Graylen


A rose by any other name...

I know someone who was given silly name by his parents, his kids all got dull names that their mum abbreviated to be cute.

Hey GitLab, the 1970s called and want their sexism back: Saleswomen told to wear short skirts, heels and 'step it up'


Dress to Impress

I worked for a company that would put 'dress to impress' as the requirements for the big company party. This always struck me as the right wording when you wanted people to look their best without specifying anything limited by gender or body shape, but still made it clear you should wear clothes...

The time that Sales braved the white hot heat of the data centre to save the day


There was the time...

I got lots of temperature warnings from monitoring at 3am and assumed the aircon had failed, as it had been acting up the week before. Unfortunately, when I tried to call building maintenance/security to get them to meet me there and unlock, I found out the building was on fire...

BOFH: You brought nothing to the party but a six-pack of regret


"Being employable in the motor industry as a speed bump"

I had an apprentice hired somewhere years ago that could have described, he was hired because his dad was a big thing at a big customer.

Having trouble finding a job in your 40s? Study shows some bosses like job applicants... up until they see dates of birth


Re: HR is the problem

We have been looking for someone for a while and had said no to lots of people and in one case had someone not turn up to interview. A new HR person started and we got all those CV's sent to us again, including the no show.

They dont know what is a good or bad IT CV, so I tailor the first page to them with a block that shows all the buzzwords and MS/ITIL/Cisco/etc logos, then page 2 is all my real experience examples for when the hiring manager looks.

BOFH: 'Twas the night before Christmas, and the ransomware struck


How dare they hide something from him!

We have a job that looks for any encrypted/password protected files on our network so we can go ask the owner what it is and why its not in an approved secure repository. Apparently in the early days someone password protected a load of critical data on a Friday and forgot the password by the Monday.

Key loggers should be part of every IT toolbox!

Cheque out my mad metal frisbee skillz... oops. Lights out!


Being honest always pays

I worked for a small MSP where everything was about being honest with the customer, offering reasonable recompense when we dropped the ball and always warning if there was a risk to be aware of with any job. This caused all the customers to trust us more with things after a cock up as they knew we were on the level with them.

Hate speech row: Fine or jail anyone who calls people boffins, geeks or eggheads, psychology nerd demands


The N word

I can call anyone I work with a Nerd and no one gets upset, but if I called them one of a number of other N words I would be taken out of the building and given a 'good talking to'. So someone who clearly needs to spend time dealing with real prejudice, make her see what its like to be a second class citizen and feel unwelcome everywhere she goes. In other words make her dye her hair ginger and see how far she can get publishing her badly thought out book!

Seriously though I know someone who is transgender who gets genuine shit for it, her whole family cut her out of their lives because she wanted to be her real self. Going to watch a football game in the local with my friend can be interesting and she was abused in one pub for using the correct toilet for her assigned gender. Compare that with someone calling me a Nerd as I can fix their computer, it does not even compare!


Blessed are the Geek for they shall inherit the World (Wide Web)

I love being a geek, a nerd and a boffin. How dare she say the words should be banned!

We just need to teach kids that bullying is wrong, I suggest next time they pick on the ginger kid take them out side and give them a kicking they never forget. The Bully, not the ginger kid that is...


Re: As my dear old mum used to say...

Unfortunately this old 'Sticks and Stones' thing has been proven to be nonsense and words do cause massive harm to a developing mind. I say this as someone who embraces Geek as my identity and is happy to be called it. But having been bullied as a young child due to my differences, I still have issues as a 40+ year old when people make reference to me possibly being stupid in any way, my 140+ IQ and achievements do nothing to stop the memories of being bullied as I needed learning support for my dyslexia early on.

Words left scars that have not faded!

We've found it... the last shred of human decency in an IT director – all for a poxy Unix engineer


I would not believe it if I had not had a manager like that

I worked for a MSP where the if one of us messed up it was all about how we as a team avoid doing it again. I could have wiped customer data and the boss would have stood by his team. His name was on the company so it was his issue to fix and his mistake, helped by the fact if something went wrong he had engineers like me who would not stop working till things were sorted. I saw him give big refunds to customers for things that were not our fault, just to make sure everyone was happy and got a fair deal.

The only time he was truly angry was when we had an engineer send a email to others in the team taking the piss out of one of the junior engineers for his ADHD. The engineer was out the building by the end of the day and told he was lucky to be being paid his notice.

Go champion retires after losing to AI, Richard Nixon deepfake gives a different kind of Moon-landing speech...


Faking it

I wonder how long till someone makes a tool to face normal people being on a vid conference, it would save me about 4 hours a day of pointless meetings....

The silence of the racks is deafening, production gear has gone dark – so which wire do we cut?


Small business support

I worked for a company that did small businesses as a choice. The boss had a nasty habit of forgetting to include a new Potato Clock, i mean UPS, or battery refresh to the old one with every new server install. He also had a habit of thinking that 'its not that old' when he had installed it 4 years before. This came to a head when we had a run of 3 or 4 UPS units fail due to their age followed by a power cut at a customer who had completely out grown the 750 unit they had protecting 2 large servers, a firewall, PoE+ Switch and by extension the 12 phones in the office. Some how he managed to turn this in to a positive with all the customers and sent out emails offering to do a power requirement assessment on all UPS including age check for a small fee. The other 'new' policy was not to plug both power supplies, if there were 2, in to the same UPS, making sure the one not in the UPS only ever went in to a surge protected supply.

I lost track of the number of UPS and Surge protectors we sold in the following month, in the bosses defense they were sold almost at cost since he was charging for our time. The person I feel sorry for in all this was the Delivery Driver who carried them up to our 2nd floor office...

AMD isn't playing around: Bad console quarter a drag on chip slinger's finances


Re: Intel's dirty tricks department seems to be asleep

Intel are too busy trying to fix security issues with the chips and get yields back up to match demand. Either that or they have realized that the 86 market is big enough for both of them and they need to both work hard to avoid being losing business to the ARM and other platforms that are out there!

Remember that competition for non-hoodie hacker pics? Here's their best entries


Stock Photos

As the son of a graphic designer I know what fun it can be to find a stock photo that fit and is not generic in some way. (how is the everywhere girl doing these days I wonder?) At one point my dad was using so many photos of generic football teams and referees doing things, that the company he worked for paid for a a photo shoot with a bunch of my mates in football/rugby gear. 20+ years on and I have never seen any of the photos used, I suspect no one who works there now even knows they have them.

You're flowing it wrong: Bad network route between Microsoft, Apple blamed for Azure, O365 MFA outage


100% utilised redundant links

This sounds like an outage I had, we had 2 links to our hosted 'cloud' telephony system provider, one from each building with a route between both buildings so that if one dropped all the traffic would route over the other link. What we did not realize (as the provider said they monitored all this) was that both links were running around 80% utilization, so when one dropped (thanks British gas for digging up the cable) we started dropping calls all over the place in both buildings.

It took them 2 days to admit they had not noticed the high utilization and this was the cause, after making us go through every single switch and check the QoS was as it should be...

BOFH: The company survived the disaster recovery test. Just. The Director's car, however...


"The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault."

Been there, done that, no one was selling t-shirts! Live through that and suddenly putting everything in Azure/AWS looks like a very good idea.

Conspiracy loons claim victory in Brighton and Hove as council rejects plans to build 5G masts


If you are going to Brighton...

Play this before you come to Brighton, its got so bad even our Zombies eat tofu brains...


Egyptian government caught tracking opponents and activists through phone apps

Black Helicopters

BBC Watchdog

This is nothing, BBC Watchdog showed that John Lewis and other high street shops are using similar tactics to target you with adverts for their stuff. Facebook knows where you shop, how long you spend there and what parts of the shop you were in. This is why i turn my phone off before I go to carpetright and the builders depot for quicklime...

BOFH: We must... have... beer! Only... cure... for... electromagnetic fields


Irradiated Haggis

A few years ago I was setting up WiFi for a recording studio at a country house between a military base that was on a map and one that was not. Unnamed Recording Artists who had various top 10 hits would come in and spend time in the studio, so the WiFi had to work 100% of the time or else. We found that a cheap consumer AP would last about 2 days before becoming unreliable, good quality business units lasted better but still didn't give the 24/7 reliable service they wanted. Blame was given to the military sites and plans were put in place to tinfoil the walls, floors, ceilings and anything else that interference could enter through including the cat flap. It was at this point they had the equipment in the studio updated, including the wiring, amps, mixing desks, wireless microphones... all of which were powerful enough to be used in any stadium. Amazingly the issues went away...

Right-click opens up terrifying vistas of reality and Windows 95 user's frightful position therein


Re: pet peeve

I have Dyslexia and my Mum worked as a proof reader, so when windows 95 came out and I was doing GCSE course work, I was lectured about every one of these little grammar rules. Once I reached college I realized the staff all had worse grammar than me and spell check helped me with the rest, so didn't let her near my work again.

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


Cup Holders

I have been called out for 'a broken cup holder' back in 2002 ish, this was a CDROM drive. In 2010 I had to explain to someone that their internet did not work as they had no phone line. Just last year I had to explain to my mum that the PS4 game she got me would not work in my XBox...

To us tech people it may appear obvious but there will always be someone who asked where the 'any key' is...

The wheels on the bus go round and... Oh dear. Chancellor Sajid Javid unveils spending review


Put it on the side of a bus

Considering a Bus helped put us in this situation, you would think they would avoid mentioning buses!

Electric cars can't cut UK carbon emissions while only the wealthy can afford to own one


Charging points

If I got an EV I could not charge it at home, I live in a house where the only parking is on the road so often not near my house. I could not charge it at work as there are not enough spaces in the car park for me to get one. When I got my last car I looked at EV and spent a day trying to figure out the logistics to solve these issues, but ended up just getting the most efficient IC I could and left it at that.

My MacBook Woe: I got up close and personal with city's snatch'n'dash crooks (aka some bastard stole my laptop)


happened to my neice

we were at breakfast in the hotel at disneyland (one of the proper on park ones) and her phone 'disappeared' from her tray while she was putting bacon on her plate. The plate was on the tray, just to let you know how bold the tea leaf was. Disney staff and other guests could not give a sh1t. Thankfully we used find my phone to track it, it was either in the staff locker room or an office where they keep the lost property depending on if we take their word for it or trust our eyes...

Microsoft Notepad: If it ain't broke, shove it in the Store, then break it?


Re: F*ck Microsoft Notepad,

Have you never been warned about plugging in a USB stick to a server and the virus risk that is? Also in this age of virtualization and clusters it is unlikely the box is in the rack is the server you are looking at. If you turned up to consult at my company and wanted to plug in a stick so you can put notepad++ on a production server, once we had finished laughing at you, you would then not be left unsupervised during your visit so you don't do anything that would result in us having to use the cattle prod.

Never let something so flimsy as a locked door to the computer room stand in the way of an auditor on the warpath


sometimes its too secure

Many years ago (when computers were still cream and monitors gave the user a dose of radiation) the print firm my Dad worked for was broken in to and their MAC computers all taken. 3 months later the robbers came back and took all the new shiny Mac's, so a big metal door was fitted with a metal frame. 6 months after that the criminals returned, this time hooking a chain to the frame of the door and using their car to pull it out the building. At this point the owner had enough and fitted a 'smoke cloak' system linked to a monitored alarm system as well as a new heavy duty door. The criminals never returned, but the alarm people accidentally set the system off while servicing it, the engineer was found curled in the corner shaking from the shock of the noise and not being able to see/breath due to the smoke, all the mac's had to be cleaned as they were covered in dust.

The worst thing about all of this, as a senior designer with customers who just wanted to deal with him, my Dad was in another part of the building with his own reception, private office and assistant. So his Mac was not taken and he was stuck with the oldest slowest machine in the company, he was not happy about this an said if ever he got his hands on the crooks he would tell give them a key and tell them about the internal route from his office to the main design studio that bypassed the metal door.

A real head-scratcher: Tech support called in because emails 'aren't showing timestamps'


CC the printer

I had a similar incident early in my working life, a customer who printed emails and posted them as well as sending normally 'just in case' the email got lost on its way...