* Posts by OGShakes

70 posts • joined 28 Oct 2013


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...

Sure, we've got a problem but we don't really want to spend any money on the tech guy you're sending to fix it


Travel and other wasted things

So I had a boss in the past who required first class travel to do any work at customers international offices and a 5 star hotel. When they opened a new office in the UK and realised any of us could do the basic network fit out, he was shocked when they got local contractors to do all the network install for us and told him to set up the servers remotely. He blamed us for stopping his free holidays!

I had several wasted days working for him, he would regularly require us to 'spend face time' with customers for issues that were easily fixed remotely and I had to do a 300mile round trip to check that a cable was plugged in right, weirdly the customer made it clear they were not paying us for my day when I 'wiggled the network cable' and everything started working.

Uber won't face criminal charges after its robo-car killed woman crossing street


Re: Safety driver?

Weirdly in the UK there is a level of liability on the Pedestrian, they still need to stop look and listen before they step out in to traffic. If they don't do that drivers are not at fault outside of a marked crossing! If they are on a Zebra crossing then the pedestrian should pause to make sure they are seen by the driver so they can stop, but legally the driver will be considered at fault for hitting them without additional evidence.

I have been involved in some events where the Car insurance industry has started looking at the 'who it liable' side of things for self driving cars, it is a nightmare and will cause problems for years to come.


Re: What? The car can't do emergency braking on it's own?

I have commuted to London daily for a long time and get 10 min on the train before someone else's bum is in my face. The return journey is just as bad, with the bonus that by the time the train is empty enough for me to get my book out I have to get off. It depends on your train. On the plus side, getting to central London by car takes even longer, so any idiot who thinks they are better off driving always arrives in a stressed state. I guess self driving cars would make them not stressed from other drivers, but they would still be another hour on their way in.

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s


Mice are weird

My Dad used Apple Mac computers, since he was a graphic designer, starting in the 90's with one running system 7. When ever he tried to use my Windows PC with a 2 button mouse, he could not figure out which button to press. This was made worse once I got a mouse with scroll wheel and he refused to touch a windows PC ever. To be fair later in life he chucked the mouse completely and just used a graphic tablet!

I'm just not sure the computer works here – the energy is all wrong



My favourite memory was of the systems in a plant hire company with offices that are still to this day a bunch of porter cabins. They started to have some weird network issues from time to time that we could not fix until we traced the network cables through a hole in the floor in to rats nest of wires that contained a genuine rats nest. A quick rewire so all the network cabling was in trunking inside the cabin, not under it, and everything was fine. As far as I am aware, no one was brave enough to remove the old cabling from under the cabin, so the rats are likely still living there.

Crystal ball gazers declare that Windows 10 has finally overtaken Windows 7


Who cares?

Only us tech people will view Linux as a reasonable option and don't get me started on Apple still assuming people don't make viruses for their products. All 1000 staff at the company I work for are now on 10, it works and all their software runs on it. If I was to wander in to any team and talk about getting something different, there would be a panic and we would have to spend months training them all how to use even the most simple other system. Some of my more 'special' staff didn't even notice that their new laptops were running W10 not W7, they were more put out by the new laptops being silver not black.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing


Brewing is easy!

Pointless machine that destroys the fun! I have only ever done all grain and only produced one beer that was undrinkable in about 3 years... I will always swear its the crappy 'malt kits' that produce really bad home brew!

As for the time it takes Brew day is just a excuse for me to play xbox all afternoon with several short breaks to stir, filter and boil.

Not tried using a Sodastream but I do put all my water through a Brita filter before I start.

Lush scrubs its card-processing servers squeaky clean


Simple Object Access Protocol

This is what Soap is... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOAP

Cash? No idea, did you mean Cache?

What if tech moguls brewed real ale?



ABV 3.5%

A standardised IPA recipe that has an over complicated flavour that no one really likes.



Looks and tastes like most mass produced lagers, think fosters, but it leaves you totally unable to access any of your memories from the night before....

Avengers: Infinity War: More Marvel-ous moolah for comic film-erverse, probably


Re: Howard wouldn’t be seen again until...

I am glad I am not the only one who spotted that! I can only assume the Writer didn't know you don't leave the cinema till the screen goes dark or you will miss some sneaky little in joke or nod to the next movie!

LESTER gets ready to trundle: The Register's beer-bot has a name


Press for Beer

A pub in Brighton did have booths with 'press for beer' buttons on the wall that would summons the bar staff to get your order. It lasted about 6 months before they turned them off. Apparently on a busy Saturday night as you carry 3 pints back to your mates you will spill about half a pint, if they bring them too you at your table they have to be full thus losing them the additional revenue from all those spilt drinks.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020