* Posts by JPeasmould

35 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Mar 2014

How not to attract a WSL (or any) engineer


What went wrong?

I was interviewed for a technician job at an English University a few (20) years ago. The interview panel was the head of the department, the person who would be my manager and an idiot from HR.

All seemed to go well until the HR guy, who had been glaring, silently at me the whole time, said "I see from your CV you did well at school. What went wrong after that?" (I had been chucked out of university after first year).

I thought my answer of "I discovered drink and drugs" would ensure me not getting the job but the idiot had pissed me off.

Both the head of the department and the manager grinned and the HR guy looked incredibly angry.

Two hours later I got a phone call to offer me the job.

Two months later the HR guy lost his.

I loved that job and the people I worked with (even some of the more annoying academics).

P.S. I still work in a University but in a completely different role.

Magna Carta mayhem: Protesters lay siege to Edinburgh Castle, citing obscure Latin text that has never applied in Scotland


So they try to use a foreign law that doesn't even apply in the country in which it was written.

Article 61 was removed a year after Magna Carta was given the royal seal. Even if it had applied to the general population, which it didn't, it's been null and void for over 800 years.

This is almost as funny as the protestors against the BBC trying to occupy a building the BBC disposed of 8 years ago.

Someone should teach these people that research involves more than visiting websites that reinforce their absurd beliefs.

But it is funny. I wonder what's next....

You *bang* will never *smash* humiliate me *whack* in front of *clang* the teen computer whizz *crunch* EVER AGAIN



The only bit of "computer" controlled kit I ever really wanted to smash to pieces was a Qlock synchroniser.

If you've ever had to go through the manuals making up cables for different tape machines and then spend ages tweeking pots, locating, noting the time taken to get the machines in synch and then repeating the process until it was acceptable to fussy clients, you'd understand.

Of course after the session had started they would decide they had to slave the audio machines to a Umatic, demanding frame synch and wanting two video monitors.

Then some confused tape-op or balance engineer (I might be showing my age here) would turn the audio master reel over to record a backward guitar on track 1.

Thinking about it, maybe the clients would have benefited from a hammering too.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles


International Recognition

When I was younger I thought it strange that the UK didn't recognise Scots as a language when it was recognised internationally.

It was also thrashed out of schoolkids as English had to be used or the tawse came out. I well remember the pain. One particular sadist in my school made sure your hands were a couple of inches above his desk when he struck head-on rather than from the side, making sure your knuckles were bleeding as well as stripping the skin from your wrist.

The older I have become, the more I realise that the difference between a dialect and a language is mainly about power and politics.

Internet use up 40 per cent in San Francisco Bay Area – but you know what’s even higher? Yep, alcohol, weed use


Re: Makes sense

Cask strength Laphroig might do it..

Remember that clinical trial, promoted by President Trump, of a possible COVID-19 cure? So, so, so many questions...


Re: The most important statement in the whole article.

I seem to remember a variation of that joke from school, and I'm 59. Then it was a "Scotsman, Englishman and Irishman" joke.

Found on Mars: Alien insects... or whatever the hell this smudge is supposed to be, anyway


Re: Use the historical documentary evidence

Ned Quatermass blew that theory in The Scarlet Capsule.

Could you just pop into the network room and check- hello? The Away Team. They're... gone


Re: Not an explosion, just my own daftness...

Try a 60 year old valve amp with paper capacitors.

When you see them bulge, duck or you get your face covered in hot, smelly papier mache.

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity


Re: Don't blame the Serbs

A headline (not the winner) from a headline competition years ago went: -

"Archduke Ferdinand found alive - 1st World War Fought in Vain"

It made me laugh but does point out the daftness of blaming his death alone for the mayhem that followed.

And in current affairs: Rogue raccoon blacks out city power grid after shocking misstep


Sheep on the overhead lines

A few years ago (just after privatisation) I got a wee job counting computers for a Scottish power supplier. They seemed to have lost their entire IT asset register.

Anyway, I arrived at a small engineering station on South Uist, took a note of the ports on the one PC they had and was about to leave when a crew arrived from repairing overhead cables, laughing as they came in, stinking of burnt mutton.

They had just removed a sheep that had blown off the hill onto the overhead cables.

Apparently it wasn't that unusual in winter.

As the wind had got up again, my flight back was cancelled so I booked into a local hotel. I arrived and was about to get out of the car when the barman ran out and shouted at me to turn the car around. I did as he suggested and found I couldn't open the driver's door. I climbed out the other side into a blast of wind that nearly took me off my feet. He told me he had recognised the hire-company number plate and new the insurance didn't cover doors being ripped off by the wind (something that had happened to another guest the previous week).

I loved camping in the Outer Hebrides last year - but wouldn't want to do it in winter.

Somerset boozer prepares to declare its inn-dependence from UK


Walcott Nation Day

I used to love the annual declaration of independence by the traders of Walcott Street in Bath.

Proudly carrying my passport, I would get wonderfully pissed on fantastic ale at the Bell's open-air bar, listening to bands and, later on in the day, watching people suck balloons until they walked into walls laughing.

That was when the Hat and Feather was a real (if disreputable) music pub instead of a wine bar/restaurant.

I'm getting old...

Bill Clinton's cyber-attack novel: The airport haxploit-blockbuster you knew it would be


Re: Thanks for the time saver

I thought his description was "arse gravy of the worst kind". Perhaps he said both.

True though.

Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers


couldn't do it

Back in the dim and distant past (1980s) I started working in recording studios in London. The first thing that was drummed into me was not to take any cassette copies of anything - on pain of losing your job.

Of course no-one else took a blind bit of notice but I'd had the fear put in me.

If I was rewiring Trident studios copy room now and the masters of David Bowie's 70's recordings were lying in a box, I would take copies.

At the time I just put the quarter inch tapes on and played them full blast all night while wielding the soldering iron.

30 cassette machines and I didn't make one copy....


I must say that, working in the eighties, there wasn't that much I wanted to keep. Soft Cell, Tears for Fears and Frankie Goes to Hollywood didn't excite me much but there was much worse (Einstürzende Neubauten springs to mind) out there.

A Hughes failure: Flat Earther rocketeer can't get it up yet again


secret organisations

You forgot to mention the Milk Marketing Board.

User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster


unhelpful descriptions

Reminds me of checking the studio fault book in the morning to find "sounds funny on the right hand side" with the desk in mid 72ch mix connected to two 24tr analogue machines and one 32 digital (tape) machine and every patchcord in use on the audio patchbay and two additional racks of outboard plugged in.

I'm just glad the buggers weren't mixing in quad. (They were also using the Cadac in studio 2 to submix the drums and feeding back a stero pair to the SSL).

It was a little frustrating. It turned out to be a duff patchcord on a plate return.

And all for a Slade album. (Thank you Roy Thomas Baker)

Cryptocurrencies to end in tears, says investor wizard Warren Buffett



Share trading and bitcoin trading are both just forms of gambling - one the establishment approve of and one it doesn't.

I was angry enough about The Names being bailed out when Lloyds of London had a bad year (after years of raking in profits), but the bankers continuing to get bonuses after costing the taxpayers a fortune is beyond satire.

I certainly have no sympathy for anyone who loses their shirt playing around in the cryptocurrency markets.

(Pint icon 'cos I get thirsty after a wee rant)

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


Re: Magnetic Tape and Magnetized Razor Blade

The first year I helped out with the tape-store clear out at a studio in north London, I just took one side off the reels and let the tape unwind into bin bags.

Spending the next morning collecting lengths of 2 inch tape that stretched the length of Highbury New Park from tree to tree taught me that cutting the tape off the reels was the way to go.

User asked help desk to debug a Post-it Note that survived a reboot


Re: Xerox photcopiers

The same ones who remember line level as +4dBm as opposed to +4dBu.

Li-ion batteries blow up because they breed nanowire crystals


Re: finger-like growths known as dendrites

On the plus side, cutting the screen usually got a bit more life out of old radios until a replacement AF117 could be bought.

I love disruptive computer jargon. It's so very William Burroughs


Re: Not metric

Shouldn't it be 79.5 chains anyway?

Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology


Re: Philips Digital Cassette Tape etc

There is a story of a British hi-fi manufacturer who sent their quadraphonic decoder to Pink Floyd to try out in their studio.

They sent it back with a 4-track recording of the unit being dropped from 20 feet on to a concrete floor with a note saying "this is what quad should sound like".

Mind you they had a cheek: the quad version of Dark Side of the Moon cost more than the two-track stereo version but, early on anyway, the only difference was the album sleeve (same pressing number).

Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone


Re: Engineering change at the BBC?

That was in the days that the BBC trained its own engineers and technicians.

Even buying audio mixing consoles, they would ask for alterations in the circuits and get the manufacturers to produce to their spec (see SSL E series schematics from the eighties), even if it was only an additional resistor here or there.

I wonder how many freelancers and contractors they use now to cover what once was done in-house.

US citizens crash Canadian immigration site after Trump victory


Re: and we thought brexit was a bloody stupid decision


says it all.

You shrunk the database into a .gz and the app won't work? Sigh


Re: Replace tape

When I worked at Wessex Studios in London in the eighties we cleared out our tape store once a year. We didn't wipe the tape and resell it as it had already been paid for.

The first year I just took the sides off the reels and let them unwind into bin bags. I spent the next day picking the tape out of the trees all along Highbury New Park (a good half mile) due to the antics of a couple of the local intelligentsia.

The second year I used a splicing blade to cut the tape from the reels. You can't get as much fun from 6" lengths of tape.

I did find all the "Never Mind the Bollocks" masters in the attic, but they had a bit of masking tape round them stating that they were being kept for the court (the Sex Pistols were fighting Virgin at the time). I assume Matrix got them as they were not claimed by the time Chrysalis sold Wessex.

I wish I'd nicked them along with the Reg Dwight demos...

Radiohead vid prompts Trumpton rumpus


Re: Videos coming up next

Wouldn't Morrissey be better represented by Deputy Dawg?

UK research network Janet under ongoing and persistent DDoS attack


service status

Our service status page is apparently externally hosted - so it's not available.

That was a good idea.

Big Brother


The only news site I seem to be able to get to (apart from this one of course) is the National.

Obviously the work of deranged nationalists.

Music lovers move to block Phil Collins' rebirth


Re: Gated reverb is luvverly (especially with a bit of reverse)

And I remember several bands sampling (from vinyl) the snare with the gated (backward) reverb, using an RMX15-80 (complete with the noise they produced).

That sound must have been used on a hell of a lot of tracks in early/mid 80s. It didn't seem to improve the music...

Will IT support please come to the ward immediately. Weeeee have a tricky problem


Recording studios

I used to work for recording studios in and around London in the eighties.

Cleaning the console faders in the mix room at Trident every month would give me at least a joint's worth out of every 8 faders or I would feel cheated (the amount of white powder was astounding after some sessions).

The best call I had to the mix room was a rhythmic "clonk" happening when the 24tr A80 was in play. I pulled the top off the tach idler and found the previous client had stashed a quarter and forgotten to take it with him - it was falling over every time the idler rotated.

The worst call was at Jacob's in Farnham. The desk in studio 2 had developed sticky group faders. I didn't think about it much and was happily cleaning the faders when I overheard what Francis Rossi had been doing with his girlfriend in the control room the previous night. I told them they could clean their own sodding faders next time.

Scot Nationalists' march on Westminster may be GOOD for UK IT



I'd love to see the figures for the use of the Braveheart image and harking back to history used by the two sides during the independence debate.

I have seen it used most by the unionists but that's maybe just my experience.

Weird interview questions


I had an interview at an English university for an AV Tech job. The head of dept. and the head technician seemed to like me but the dick from HR didn't.

"You did very well at school. What happened" was what he came out with. I was pissed off at him so I told the truth: I discovered booze and drugs. (I did point out that more then thirty years had passed and I didn't have any long term problems).

I was offered the job by phone before I got home and the HR person was "let go" not long afterwards

Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE


Re: Ah, New Zealand...

Glasgow council couldn't get the name changed: -


They even changed the surface of George Square to stop the locals calling it Red Square


Re: @ I ain't Spartacus (let the flamewar begin)

Grey squirrels are vermin and legal to shoot in Britain Shoot a red one and the wildlife warriors will nail you to a fence.

Soup or stew are ideal ways of using the little buggers.

Islamic script kiddies aim killer blow - at Bristol bus timetable website


Re: Muppets

Which ones? The Bristolians or the twits defacing the website?

I lived in Bath for a few years and there are some villages nearby where even the dogs have club feet.

Booze and bacon sarnies: A recipe for immortality?


Re: I call foul!

It was invented in Bristol and certainly used to be available in a couple of chippies in Newcastle.

I've never actually seen a deep fried Mars for sale in Scotland

Now a deep fried pizza - there's heaven in a chip-wrapper.