* Posts by Empty1

63 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Mar 2014


The many derivatives of the CP/M operating system



I had great fun and learning experiences running TurboDos, initially on a desktop multiuser system and then my Nascom systems.

Looked very like CP/M at the command and interface level. You may have seen it in the dim past as Leconfield RCPM bulletin Board

Know the difference between a bin and /bin unless you want a new doorstop


Re: Clean desk policy

"Empty desk, empty mind"

That time a techie accidentally improved an airline's productivity


I was also impressed by the number of CDs that could be fed in before they realised something was wrong.

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them


nautical tems

"The boat was anchored in the right direction for the chimney stack to not be in the way etc... All these things checked out."

Being an ex sparks,some words or phrases grate a bit

right direction = correct heading, (Right could mean "right hand" or Starboard)

Chimney stack = funnel

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout


Re: Full names please.......

Someone at work with the unfortunate moniker of Michael Hunt and the poor girls on reception who put the page out of "has anyone seen my {censored}"

BOFH: The Geek's Countergambit – outwitted at an electronics store


"going up"

The clue is in the announcement - getting a little height to increase descent velocity.

Back up for a minute – Backblaze HD reliability stats show oldies can be goodies


publishing data

Plus brownie points for publishing what many would say was commercially sensitive data.

Plus more brownie points for responding to questions publicly.

What happens when a Royal Navy warship sees a NATO task force headed straight for it? A crash course in Morse


Re: Vomit inducing

I don't think I will forget travelling on a little tugboat from Scotland to Montreal in winter. and then having to climb the mast and stand on the railing to fix the radar at night. In the days long before H&S

When everyone else is on vacation, it's time to whip out the tiny screwdrivers


spare nuts

It used to give me Devilish pleasure to secretively drop a couple of nuts under my mates car when he was working on it.

Big red buttons and very bad language: A primer for life in the IT world


SMD 80 meg

Anyone else get pulled aside carrying an SMD cartridge in an airport in those day. Nice big writing on the 80 meg ones 80MB

Oops, says Manchester City Council after thousands of number plates exposed in parking ticket spreadsheet


"MC1192" MC=Mobile Camera?

Known software issue grounds Ingenuity Mars copter as it attempted fourth flight


Re: Have you tried switching it off and on again?

only to discover some pilock left a floppy in the drive.

George Clooney of IT: Dribbling disaster and damp disk warnings scare the life out of innocent user


Re: Am I Old?

With the dinosaurs (users) possibly being on bonus for keystrokes per hour, the "clever sod" would have been strung up.

I remember with fear entering a 'data entry room' when it was silent and a 100 pairs of eyes following me to get the system back up

Yes, there's nothing quite like braving the M4 into London on the eve of a bank holiday just to eject a non-bootable floppy


It's even more frustrating when the person involved is a fellow field engineer who swears blind he's done as asked.

'Incorrect software parameter' sends Formula E's Edoardo Mortara to hospital: Brakes' fail-safe system failed


Re: Fail safe systems...

We used to get more downtime due to UPS failures than power outages.

The wastepaper basket is on the other side of the office – that must be why they put all these slots in the computer


Re: Whoops mind your head if there is a fire, and dont trip

The builders should have known better - Fire extinguishers are the tool to keep fire doors open.

How do you save an ailing sales pitch? Just burn down the client's office with their own whiteboard


Re: When <i>something</i> goes bang Need more volts.

As youths, when we ran out of rockets, we found that electrolytics went much further fed on 110v AC from one of those yellow transformer thingies.

Windows Product Activation – or just how many numbers we could get a user to tell us down the telephone


I always wondered why "Phonetic" didn't start with an F

Singapore changes the rules and will now use COVID-19 contact-tracing app data in criminal cases


Re: "Singapore is a parliamentary democracy"

The freer the name, the tighter the control.

The Democratic republic of .....

The Peoples republic of......

The Democratic Peoples republic of ....

Solving a big, yellow IT problem: If it's not wearing hi-vis, I don't trust it


Re: Big motors

Mid 70's and desk sized accounting machine. Likewise weekly powering off and on (core memory so just carried on from where it left off). Tracked down to the use of a Mother Of All Lathes. The chuck was horizontal in the floor and about 20ft across. A 1970's motorised variac on the computer supply sorted it .

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


Re: Low IQ or low volition?

I used to give them an old loaner from the scrap pile complete with toner everywhere to stop them complaining about being left with no printer and getting new one by devious routes

We don't need maintenance this often, surely? Pull it. Oh dear, the system's down


Re: Also works for hardware

Where the network topography consists of the postman or courier.

Did this airliner land in the North Sea? No. So what happened? El Reg probes flight tracker site oddity


Satelitte ADS-B

From Flightradar24

"Satellite-based ADS-B data now available to all Flightradar24 users"

Here's why your Samsung Blu-ray player bricked itself: It downloaded an XML config file that broke the firmware


Re: Not Surprised

I well remember when mysterious adverts appeared on their TV's


Oh what a cute little animation... OH MY GOD. (Not acceptable, even in the '80s)


Re: BUFH (Bastard User From Hell)

The user base was a bit different in those days (1980's ?) and were much more gentlemanly.


Re: BUFH (Bastard User From Hell)

When I ran a BBS many moons ago it allowed folk to drop into the o/s which looked and felt like CP/M but was in fact the multi-user Turbodos. There were no built in commands, everything being executables. I made all the dangerous CP/M commands like format, fdisk, del etc as just hidden bat files that logged their use and user for public display and disabled their accounts.

it just showed how many bastards existed.

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time


Wrong number in Mag

Many moons ago I ran a fairly busy modem BBS and one of the magazines of the time had a nice big review of it - sadly printing the wrong phone number. Unfortunately it was for an old dear down the road. It was Hull Telephones at the time and I never did find out how they resolved the problem of her no-stop disturbances, I can only think of giving her a new number.

'We're changing shift, and no one can log on!' It was at this moment our hero knew server-lugging chap had screwed up


Re: Labels people, and read them!

Labels people, and WRITE them!

Behold: The ghastly, preening, lesser-spotted Incredible Bullsh*tting Customer


Pillocks like that don't have friends so they have to pretend.

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


In the dim and distant past as a college admin, I found "deep freeze" and it was a life saver for everything except a small lab of Autodesk pc's

No backdoors needed: Apple ditched plans to fully encrypt iCloud backups after heavy pressure from FBI – claim


Re: But can you really disable icloud backups?

"The only non-tracking remote paging device was the old Motorola pager (at least in Italy) which could be used to track you only in very big macro-areas (north, center, south of Italy)."

The British BT pagers were, AFAIR, untrackable as they were one way devices, oly being receivers.

Sometimes shining a light on a nuclear problem just makes things worse


Mice too

The rare appearance of bright sunshine at certain times of day caused some old rollerball mice to behave eratcally

El Reg presents: Your one-step guide on where not to store electronic mail


Re: users would learn

In the old days (80's?) I used to hope for new hardware customers to have a data-losing fault. Learning the lesson early on reduces the chance of heart ache in years to come.

Far too many times at far too many places II was offered a couple of floppies when asking for their backups after replacing their dead 10Mb drive s

Questions hang over Gatwick Airport after low level drone near-miss report



Not forgetting millibars vs inches of mercury for air pressure

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


Re: Where's the EU when you need them?

+1 for being trapped with O2 email and no way out

Techie with outdated documentation gets his step count in searching for non-existent cabinet


"While you're here"

"While you're here" - The worst three words for a service person of any ilk.

What did turbonerds do before the internet? 41 years ago, a load of BBS


Leconfield RCPM

I never said "goodbye" when I pulled the plug on this - the last SCSI drive died and there was nothing I could do. Started off with 4 or 5 10mb seagate drives

System was multiuser Turbodos (cpm clone) with the ability to drop out of the BBS bit into the command prompt and use system commands for up/downloading.

Such good fun.

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter


Re: Remember

For the first Moon landing I was a newly qualified sparky on a ship traversing the North Sea - stood precariously on the bridge railings fiddling with the aerial to get an almost watchable picture. Skipper told navigator not to change course or else.

Brit prosecutors fined £325k after losing unencrypted vids of police interviews


"lost" - "unencrypted" is worse.

They've been fined for losing a DVD.

They should be hung, drawn and quartered for generating them without encryption.

Data exfiltrators send info over PCs' power supply cables


Old tech was easier

Oh, it was so much easier decoding the clack of the abacus

User fired IT support company for a 'typo' that was actually a real word


Re: One of my spall chuckers ...

Eye halve a spelling chequer

It came with my pea sea

It plainly marques four my revue

Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a quay and type a word

And weight four it two say

Weather eye am wrong oar write

It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid

It nose bee fore two long

And eye can put the error rite

Its really ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it

I am shore your pleased two no

Its letter perfect in it's weigh

My chequer tolled me sew.

(Sauce unknown)

Waddawewant? Free video codecs! When do we... oh, look, the last MPEG-2 patent expired!


Re: I wonder

I thought that was to release the hardware decoding ?

Military techie mangled minicomputer under nose of scary sergeant



I've seen similar where he door release button was next to the emergency stop button.

At a hot standby datacentre in a bunker. "'twas the BT man really!"

The healing hands of customer support get an acronym: Do YOU have 'tallah-toe-big'?



I witnessed this event for the first time in the 70's so at least I know it's true



A well endowed young lady who could never demonstrate the problem when a techie arrived to see what was wrong - due to her pushing her chair back somewhat to let the screen be seen.

Phantom keystrokes returned when chair pushed back to normal position.

Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires


Emergency Retract

ISTR working on 80mb SMD drives and they dumped a charged capacitor onto the voicecoil to yank the heads back and off the disk for various faults detected. The carriage and heads shot back at a Hell of a speed.One of the labs were I did a bit of training still had an errant 6" bar magnet, as used with a coil for speed feedback ) buried in the breeze block wall behind the drive and was used as a warning not to stand directly behind the drive when first powering up after any repairs in the carriage area.

156K spam text-sending firm to ICO: It wasn't us, Commissioner


issued vs collected

"The ICO has issued £2m in fines across 20 cases since April 2017, and expects to impose another £1.4m in the coming months. "

How much has it collected in fines compared to issued. When I read of fines , much of the time the co. goes titsup and reappears like a phoenix under anther name.

Your future data-centre: servers immersed in box full of oil, in a field



I just hope they don't use PCB's to cool their PCB's


"Some PCBs share a structural similarity and toxic mode of action with dioxin.[5] Other toxic effects such as endocrine disruption (notably blocking of thyroid system functioning) and neurotoxicity are known"

.. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / .-. . .- -.. / - .... .. ... then a US Navy fondleslab just put you out of a job


...."....does the tablet work when 10 m swells send salt spray onto it?"...

Or the sun shines brightly?

Smart meter firm EDMI asked UK for £7m to change a single component


Re: Reverse energy

"On a green note I'm told that a so called smart meter won't work for me because I have solar panels and the meter isn't smart enough to cope with 'Reverse Energy'."

Mine does.